New Duelyst expansion lets itself in, makes itself at home

Oh, hey, is that Rise of the Bloodborn, the second expansion to free-to-play card-battler Duelyst [official site]? We didn’t see you come in. Oh, what’s that – you snuck in through patch 1.78, which went live a couple of days ago? Please, make yourself at home. I’ll just tidy up a bit while you get settled.

Rise of the Bloodborn adds 39 cards to Duelyst, which is a pretty weeny set compared to the hundreds we’re usually used to. But these cards aren’t picked up by grinding through orbs (card packs in Duelyst speak) for months – oh no, these ones cost three times more than normal but contain three copies of three different cards, and you’ll never open that card again.

So, with 39 cards and three cards in a pack, you’ll only need to open – get your counting fingers ready – 13 packs to get the whole set. Or you can just plonk $20 down for the whole set and save yourself the effort of counting.

Some of the Rise of the Bloodborn cards also comes with a new mechanic, known as Blood Surge – which let other units get a unique effect – such as restoring health, teleporting around the arena or dealing damage – every time you use your Bloodborn Spells. That’s a pretty interesting new twist, and one which will hopefully see better results than when Hearthstone introduced its similar (and still largely unpopular) Inspire mechanic – you can take a peek at the full range of cards over on developer Counterplay Games’ page.

Duelyst is free to play from the devs and through Steam.

You can read more about Duelyst in Matt’s Wot I Think.


  1. jasta85 says:

    I played this game religously when it first came out and had at least one copy of every card in the game when it came to steam, then sort of just dropped out as I had played it so much. I’ll probably wait for another expansion to drop and then jump back in so I have plenty of new cards to aim for.

    • mukuste says:

      I too played it religiously for a while (though actually after the first expansion) and kind of fell out of love with it. The reason for me was the crazy overall power level, there are just too many cards that are “dispel/remove this now or you lose”. For me, this over-reliance on extremely powerful cards and good card draw kind of drowned out many of the tactical subtleties that the board could provide. In the end, it felt more like Hearthstone with a bit deeper tactics rather than a tactics game with some card elements.

      That said, compared to Hearthstone it definitely *is* deeper, less RNG-based, and IMO the much better game.

      • jalf says:

        Yeah, that was my experience as well. It’s a really fun game for a while, but at a certain point it just starts to feel like it comes down to “number of dispels vs number of insanely powerful cards” in your deck.

        And while the business model really isn’t especially bad compared to Hearthstone, it nevertheless feels painful when I’ve spent the last year playing a Living Card Game, which doesn’t have rares or randomized boosters. Compared to that (including one designed by the same designer who made Duelyst), the model where some cards are rare, expensive and powerful, and others are “decent, if you don’t have a rare to replace it with” just feels kind of regressive.

        Duelyst is still a very good game, but I kind of fell out of love with it after a month or two.

  2. Aetylus says:

    Anyone know how this compares to Atlas Reactor? I’ve been booked on AR since it came out… and it seems similar to Duelyst, but with less cards and more tactics. Anyone tried both?

    • Lobotomist says:

      Personally i think its far better game. Not because AR is not good. But unlike AR , it is just you – and not entire team of pickups that are responsible for victory. And individual games are much faster. Almost never going over 10 minutes. Usually resolved in 8-9 turns.

      It is a great combination of miniature tactic + TCG. Something very unique at the moment ( but not for long, since others are already trying to copy it )

      • Captain Narol says:

        It’s not that unique and innovative, Pox Nora did that long before Duelyst even got in developement and is still around with a devoted fan base.

        However Duelyst seems easier to get started, making it more accessible.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Duelyst is not a team game. Duelyst is a deck based game, so it probably isn’t as pure a strategy game as Atlas Reactor – there’s a certain amount of RNG inherent in drawing cards. Positioning is important, but there are some out of hand global damage options.

      Right now, with the expansion, the meta is heavily into fast attacking play. Not that it’s better than other options, but it’s the most immediately obvious to understand strategy enabled by the new cards.

      I haven’t played Atlas Reactor, I downloaded it off Steam, and then gave up when it opened yet another installer. One thing Duelyst has in its benefit is that the download is tiny and you can literally just play it in Chrome at

      Try the tutorial. Try some solo challenges. It’ll take like 15 minutes of your time. Add ‘xhanx’ as your referral if you like it :)

    • Che Eder says:

      I tried both. They are both very good, but also very different. If you wanna compare them to other games:

      Atlas Reactor is maybe like Overwatch, but (simultaneous) turn-based. You pick heroes with different abilities and fight each other in teams.

      Duelyst on the other hand is like hearthstone, but with minions on a tactical board. You build a deck with your collectible cards. During the game you are one on one. You place your minions on a chess-like battlefield, which adds a new layer of strategy, because you have to think about positioning, movement and such.

    • Aetylus says:

      Sounds good enough I should give it a crack… cheers all.

  3. Dilapinated says:

    I tried getting back into this after this post, but.. It’s still plagued with the strings of connection errors that either don’t let you into the game, don’t let you play (or count a before-game-failed-connection as a loss), and/or lose your rewards for doing something.

    The latter’s particularly bad as the F2P drip-feeds you gold & orbs at a rapidly decreasing rate until it’s.. Quite grindy, and then having even that snatched from you by a server error..

    I’ll try it again in a few patches time, perhaps, but for now, avoiding. Which is a shame, because the core gameplay seems worthwhile, just the F2P + server framework it’s attached to.