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Duelyst is getting its third expansion next week, here's a first look at six new cards

Duelyst's third expansion has been in full tease-mode for a couple of weeks now, but the new set, titled Ancient Bonds, will finally be arriving in less than a week. On March 15, Ancient Bonds will add 39 new cards to the game, a new keyword called Bond, and a whole lot of tribal synergies. We've got the first details on what Bond does, how it will be distributed, and a sneak peek at six new cards from the set.

Ancient Bonds is going to be focused around fleshing out some of the tribal mechanics, specifically for minions that are part the Golem and Arcanyst tribes. The two tribes have been split between the factions, with Lyonar, Magmar, and Vetruvian getting new Golem synergies and Abyssian, Vanar, and Songhai getting Arcanyst synergies. Each faction will get three unique minions [Update: this originally said four, but Counterplay reached out to correct the initial number we were given to three.]  from their respective tribe, and developer Counterplay told me it hopes this set will both open up more deck archetypes for each faction and make players look back at their old (and often unplayed) neutral cards in a new light.

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The new keyword, Bond, is also tied into this tribal theme. It's a minion ability that essentially works the same as Opening Gambit (or Hearthstone's Battlecry) but the effect will only trigger if there is a friendly minion from the same tribe already on the board when you play it. So if you play an Arcanyst minion with Bond (like Nightshroud, shown below) and you don't have any other Arcanysts in play, nothing will happen. But if you have at least one other Arcanyst in play, it triggers its Bond effect when summoned.

The real kicker is that Bond abilities will also activate when a minion with Bond is re-summoned, not just cast from hand. So casting Consuming Rebirth on Nightshroud or a Bond minion hatching from a Rebirth egg (like Ragebinder, also shown below) will activate the effect again, assuming you still have a friendly minion from the same tribe in play. Each Faction will get one Bond minion of its own, along with access to two more Neutral Bond minions for a total of eight in the set.

Ancient Bonds will follow an identical release model as that of Duelyst's last expansion, Rise of the Bloodborn. You can unlock the Ancient Bonds cards in packs that have three copies of three different cards each. Packs will cost either 300 gold or $3 and won't give duplicates, so once you've purchased 13 packs you are guaranteed to have the whole set, or you can buy three copies of all 39 cards outright for $20. 

As I mentioned (and probably what many of you really care about), we've got six new cards to show off, one from each of the factions and two of which have the new Bond keyword. I've included some description and a few of my thoughts with each card, and you can view theme all by flipping through the gallery below. You can also find the full resolution PNGs and animated gifs of each card here.
 

Duelyst is free-to-play and available through Steam.

Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on Twitch.tv/pcgamer to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.