On August 31, the strategy card game Duelyst is receiving its first expansion titled Denizens of Shim’zar, and we’re going to show off a couple of the upcoming cards (if you just want to see the cards, scroll down). Included will be a total of 94 cards, which will consist of 13 per faction and 16 neutral units. We reviewed Duelyst earlier this year, after the official launch, which contained more than 350 units and spells in itself.
The mix of card drawing mechanics and grid-based battlefield set Duelyst apart from all of the other digital CCGs, and it left a very positive impression upon if. If you’re interesting in checking out the full review, it can be viewed here.
Shim’zar Expansion Changes
The Duelyst Shim’zar expansion won’t simply build upon the core set and will include brand new mechanics, unit types and include some very positive changes to the way the game is played. One of the main new additions coming in Shim’zar will be battle pets. In exchange for higher stats or interesting abilities, players won’t have full control over their battle pets once played. Instead, the A.I. will take over and have a pre-determined set of rules to follow.
From what we’ve been told so far, battle pets will be designed to be predictable and countered once understood. It’s not clear whether certain battle pets will act in different ways, but the current belief is that they will move towards and attack the closest general or minion. Furthermore, battle pets will be considered a tribe that will synergize with other cards, similar to golems or Arcanysts.
So far, there have been quite a few battle pets already revealed. Z0r synergizes excellently with Mechazor decks by adding a Mech to your hand with dying wish. Magmar even has a spell that creates four copies of a battle pet in a 2×2 area. There are other minions that work directly with them as well including the Calculator, which gains attack and health equal to the combined stats of all battle pets in your hand. This leads to many opportunities for interesting combinations, but we’ll have to see if the payoff is worth not having full control of your units.
In addition to the battle pets, major changes are coming to both Abyssian and Magmar decks. Currently, Cassyva Soulreaper is one of the strongest generals in the game because of her insane out-of-hand damage. One of her most popular decks is based around creating as much Shadow Creep on the board as possible and then ending the game with Shadow Nova, which turns a 4×4 section of the board into Shadow Creep that does damage based on the total number of creep tiles at the end of the turn. In many cases this will either end the game or take out enough enemy minions to secure a victory.
This deck doesn’t necessarily have the strongest units or combos in the game, but it’s simply not much fun to play against and doesn’t offer a lot of counter play. Once the Shim’zar expansion goes live, Shadow Creep will no longer scale in damage, but it will be more cost effective. This way it will still provide area denial but players can choose to take some damage in favor of positioning instead of the damage being so overwhelming that there is no real option.
Overall, Shadow Creep should be much easier to get on the board but it will do less damage. Additionally, Abyssians are also getting a new game-ending card in the form of Obliterate. This will clear all Shadow Creep tiles while doing that much damage to the enemy general and minions.
Although not as significant, Magmar will also be getting a slight change to the way Rebirth works. There are certain Magmar cards with the Rebirth ability that will transform into a 0/1 egg if killed. That egg hatches at the end of the player’s next turn. The upcoming changes will instead have the eggs hatch at the beginning of the turn and the minions can attack instantly.
Counterplay mentioned that there would probably be some other balance changes due to a few very powerful cards, such as Slithar Elder, which spawns eggs that replicate itself. This will also give more utility to Egg Morph, which either hatches an egg or turns a minion into an egg. We haven’t see a lot of Shim’zar cards that synergize with eggs, besides Lava Lance, so we’ll have to wait and see what else Counterplay has up its sleeves.
Even though Rebirth is getting a bit of a rework, the Shim’zar expansion seems to be attempting to expand Magmar from the one-trick pony it currently is. Starting out at 12 mana, the Mandrake is a 6/6 minion with no abilities but it can reduce its cost. This definitely seems geared towards a Starhorn aggro deck and not the current Vaath face-rush meta. Depending on how your opponent players, this should at least hit the mana curve by turn 3 but could easily be a free drop by late game.
Whether the Mandrake sees play or not will probably be determined by the popularity of Starhorn once the expansion becomes available. There are currently a few decks that utilize him, but Vaath rush decks are definitely more popular at the moment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t synergize with tokens at all, but it could work by spamming a lot of cheap battle pets.
There currently aren’t a lot of minions in Duelyst with the Forcefield ability, but it can be very frustrating to deal with if card draws aren’t in your favor. At 5 mana, Frostiva might not look like she has a lot of value with only a 3/3 body, but she could quickly ramp up if not immediately killed by spells. Her Vespyr Night Howler spawns will also work with Frostfire and trigger effects from Glacial Elemental and Borean Bear. Furthermore, she could be especially scary when played mid to late game in a Kara deck.
However, her high mana cost and initially weak body make her a very risky card to play against certain matchups. Cards like Lasting Judgement, Bloodtear Alchemist, Phoenix Fire, Entropic Decay, and Dark Transformation can help get around her ability.
With the Shim’zar expansion slightly more than a week away, quite a few cards have already been revealed and we’re very excited to see the full set. Counterplay has plans to continue to reveal cards throughout the week through social media and various streamers. Let us know which of the new cards you’re most excited for in the comments section below.Related: CCG, Counterplay Games, Duelyst, Expansion, F2P, Preview, Strategy