A Beginner’s Guide To The Opening Move

Hey everyone, Alexicon1 here with a brand new gameplay guide! Today I’ll be taking you through how to play the first turn of a game, including strategies at the replace screen and how to get the most out of your mulligans. NOTE: This guide is aimed at beginners, so more experienced players may not get as much value as newer players. I’ll be breaking this down into sections for going first (Player 1) as well as going second (Player 2), so I’ll have all the bases covered.

Quite often the mulligan screen can decide or at least contribute to how matches will play out, especially if your deck is not optimised to have something for the early game (See the guide here for tips on how to do this and other deckbuilding stuffs). Drawing too many high-cost cards can instantly put you on the back foot, especially if you are going first. The replace feature is a unique aspet of Duelyst, and can be very, very helpful to get you back on your feet if the RNG Gods aren’t in your favour when you draw those first 5 cards.

For both going P1 and P2, you want to try and get a 2-drop first and foremost, but P2 doesn’t need to rely on it as much if they can get their hands on a 3-drop. Be aware of your curve and prioritise your positioning based on what you have in your hand, so don’t try and contest mana tiles if it will put you in harm’s way and then not use the mana. But I’m not here for a positioning guide, so let’s continue.

We’re going to be using PandaJJ’s Healing Tempo Argeon deck that currently rests atop the Tier List on bagoum.com as a basis for this guide, and you can find the deck here. This is an extremely powerful deck that utilises many aspects of the Lyonar Kingdoms in order to quickly beat you down. But I’m not here for a deck tech either, let’s get into the guide!

Player One

So we have 3 different opening hands below, some good, some bad. One of these is the one I’ll be starting from for this section of the guide, so take a guess and I’ll tell you below, so stop scrolling if you want to have a go!

I chose the third one, and before you disagree with me, yes, the first one is also good depending on what you want to do. The Azurite Lion is a beautiful T1 play if unanswered, and can quite often bait dispel/removal and allows you to ramp to 4 mana and still get a move in, like a Holy Immolation to the face. A Holy Immo’ed Azurite Lion in the early game can completely remove your opponent’s board and put them on the back foot which is what Tempo Lyonar is all about. The 2 Slos are also nice for ramping, but 2 aren’t really needed, so we’ll send one of those to the Spiral. Bloodtear is good for early game pinging, especially against Abyssian with their Abyssal Crawlers, Gloomchasers and Wraithling Swarms so we can keep that. Repulsor is nice, but unneeded so early as Abyssian can’t put out big minions on the first turn or two without utilising Darkfire Sacrifice. We could keep it as removal, but I’d rather mulligan for a Holy Immolation for the early swarm plays of Lilithe.

However, you should keep in mind that the cards that you would replace for one matchup can change depending on the matchup. Like I said above, Abyssian doesn’t put out massive threats early, but factions such as Lyonar and Magmar with their Silverguard Knights and Sunsteel Defenders respectively make Repulsor Beast good to have in hand, so always keep your eye on the matchup when deciding what to mulligan. Player 1 has more reliance on 2-drops as they obviously start with 2 mana, and with Repulsor Beast in hand, it would lower the chance of getting a 2-drop if we didn’t already have one.

We’re tossing away the Repulsor and one Slo, preferably to pick up a Holy Immolation and either a source of card draw (which in this deck is a Trinity Oath) or some healing, such as Azure Herald or Healing Mystic. Perhaps another 2-drop wouldn’t go amiss, such as a Windblade Adept, or something like a Silverguard Knight in order to lock down your opponent. It is quite likely we won’t get what we wanted, but always remember that Replace can be used every turn, even turn 1, so you can always switch out the card you least want out of the two you get from the mulligan. Also, remember that you don’t always need to get rid of two, or you could even get a god hand and not need to replace at all. The chances of these increase as the optimisation of your deck increases, so try and fine-tune your deck to up the chances of the amazing starts happening as much as possible.

 With the low curve of Tempo Argeon, it’s quite common that first hands have multiple possibilities, and with Slo we could play up to 3 cards this turn. However, as we have no card-draw in hand, it is definitely ill-advised to do that. We’ve drawn Arclyte Regalia and Windblade Adept, which is nothing to complain about, especially if Azurite Lion escapes removal as we can ramp to 4 mana, play Arclyte and clear the majority of 2 and 3 drops that are played on the manatile. Windblade Adept could also be played in order to potentially bait out a Daemonic Lure, which is quite a common play.

Additionally, if we had drawn a Silverguard Knight after our mulligan, I would have been tempted to use the Scientist Opener as it is such a strong beginning. The Bloodtear is just plain good for utility, and the Slo can be used in place of the Azurite Lion moving onto the manatile, which allows the Lion to sink at least 4 points of damage into the opponent. Feel free to think about what you think your best play would be, but for me, I went with the Azurite Lion bottom-right to contest the tile, as you can see below.

In my opinion, this is the optimal play as it opens up so many possibilities on what we could do next turn, it allows us to ramp, or clear an early Wraithling Swarm and much more. If the opponent doesn’t want their board cleared straight after they play it, which is likely as the Lion has Celerity, they could use some precious removal on a two drop, and you can ramp to 4 mana anyway using Slo. It really is a win-win situation. If you have other ideas on why other cards would be better plays, feel free to let me know in the comments. Now, we’ll move on to the other half of the coin, and see what you can do as Player 2!

I’ll see you next time for Part 2 of the article, where we’ll go through what to do as Player 2 in those opening moves.

Until next time,