Duelyst’s first major expansion launches later this month, here are 8 new cards

Click the arrows to see the hi-res version.

Duelyst’s first major card expansion, Denizens of Shim’zar, will be launching on August 30th. It will bring 105 new cards (including token minions) to the game, a small number of which are a brand new minion tribal, Battle Pets. 

Developer Counterplay Games adds four new cards to Duelyst every month, but Denizens of Shim’zar is going to have a much larger impact on the game than anything since its release this spring. For context, there are currently 400 cards in Duelyst, so after adding the Shim’zar cards to the mix, they will make up roughly 20% of the entire collection.

Denizens of Shim'zar card back

These new cards can only be acquired through specific Denizens of Shim’zar Spirit Orbs (Duelyst’s card packs), which still give you five random cards for the same price. Shim’zar will also have a pre-order deal where you can buy 50 Orbs for $50, a discount that also comes with an exclusive card back. But in a particularly cool twist, 10% of all pre-order proceeds will be put into the prize pools for the official Duelyst tournament circuit and World Championship. 

If you’ve been aboard the Denizens of Shim’zar hype train, you’re probably most curious about Battle Pets. Counterplay has previously revealed that Battle Pets are minions that won’t be under your direct control, instead acting independently but in a very predictable, counterable way. This makes them easier to predict and play around, but Battle Pets generally give you more value than the mana you are paying for them to compensate. They gave us an exclusive on the first Battle Pet of the set, Z0r, which you can see by flipping through the card gallery below.

Counterplay’s Emil Anticevic wouldn’t tell me exactly how Battle Pets move, instead saying they wanted players to learn it through the game. He likened it to Shadow Creep, saying if they were adding that mechanic to the game now, you wouldn’t be entirely sure how it works until you saw it in-game. Similarly to Shadow Creep, there will be information about the behavior of a Battle Pet when you mouse over it. Anticevic also made it clear that although there are other cards that specifically interact with Battle Pets, overall the new tribe is only a small percentage of the Denizens of Shim’zar expansion. 

A dozen or so cards from Denizens of Shim’zar have already been revealed, but today we get to show off eight more. You can flip through the gallery below to see the new cards, along with my thoughts and some insight on their design from Counterplay—including details on a nerf to Lyonar's Divine Bond. You can also download the full resolution PNGs here.

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Z0r (neutral) — Behold, the first Battle Pet card! The adorable robot Z0r, a tiny 2/1 to support Mechaz0r decks further. Like I said above, we still don't know exactly how Z0r will behave, but since his ability is a Dying Wish, he either has to be cleared by an enemy or get close enough to one to take a swing before you can benefit from the free minion in your action bar. But who cares about all that, look how cute he is!

Z0r (neutral)

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Ironcliffe Heart (Lyonar) — Ironcliffe Guardian is a staple card in pretty much every Lyonar deck, and now you don't even need to run the minion itself for it to make an appearance! The Ironcliffe Guardian/Divine Bond combo can be ridiculously explosive, and this makes it even easier to pull off. However, Counterplay told me that Shim'zar will also come with a nerf to Divine Bond, raising its mana cost from 2 to 3.

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Nature's Confluence (Magmar) — Nature's Confluence is a hard card to judge until we've seen all of the possible Battle Pets, but the ability to summon four minions (that I'm told are "all strong") at once can't be underestimated. You still won't be able to control them, however, and Counterplay said they end up sort of "fanning out" from the spot you summoned them.

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Arcane Devourer (Abyssian) — Counterplay specifically told me, "Ramp Abyssian is an archetype we'd like to bolster," and Arcane Devourer could certainly help with that. But an 8/4 body you effectively have to play on turn 8 (or combine with Darkfire Sacrifice) means the second minion you summon better be worth it.

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Battle Panddo (Songhai) — The thinking behind Battle Panddo is to give Songhai another value generating minion besides Lantern Fox, Counterplay tells me. It's a card that can effectively deal with lots of little minions, but Counterplay's Keith Lee also confirmed a potentially terrifying combo: playing Deathstrike Seal on Battle Panddo means this minion's ability will completely wipe your opponent's board every time it activates.

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Pantheran (Vetruvian) — I'm not sure what to make of Pantheran. At least one of each of the Scion's Wish cards are in most Vetruvian decks as it is, but I've never really kept track of how often I manage to draw and play all three of them. It's a weak card if drawn too early in the game, but with the potential to be a large, free body later.

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Winter's Wake (Vanar) — The Ents are going to war! Well, the ice walls are. Counterplay's Emil Anticevic pointed out that walls have always had the ability to attack, and now they have the means to really hit hard. Its high mana cost and need for a board full of walls to really be effective could keep it from seeing play, but regardless I love the image of an army of walls suddenly rising up to fight.

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Inquisitor Kron (neutral) — Counterplay mentioned to me a couple times that they really wanted to support a few under-served deck archetypes with this expansion, and a "replace deck" is one they specifically want to give some love. Inquisitor Kron has fine stats for 5 mana, and when combo'd with an Aethermaster or White Widow already on the board, it could get out of hand quickly.