Economy Class Duelyst – Shim’zar Edition

Shim’zarrr me mateys!

A new expansion, tons of new cards, revamped mechanics and a set of new AI-controlled minions – a lot of things to consider now when playing out your games and building your decks. When you’re new, or when spirit is tight and you want to get your quests done on the cheap (under 1900 spirit) – these decks should come in handy.

There are 10 decks here. 10 decks for 12 Generals, you ask – well, it’s a personal feeling that Zir’an and Sajj decks cannot be ideally committed to with low spirit totals, without turning them into generic Argeon/Zirix decks with a different leader. Reva, Starhorn, Cassyva and Kara all manage their own distinctive play style even at sub-2000 spirit.

Another thing worth noting is the low curve even in the non-aggressive decks, this is a direct result of how the stronger decks in the developing meta are performing. Usually both players posture early towards mana orbs (often with initial strong battle pets like Pax and Ooz) and then come 5 mana drop something huge that will derive a ton of value if unopposed (looking at Kron, Ironcliffe, Nimbus, Ghost Azalea and so on). Now since at a low budget you don’t usually have access to similar high value threats – the more tactical approach is to use an early-game focused deck with short-term removal options. This is why we stick to some general ‘rules’ – 8-9 2 cost minions that can be played turn 1 to contest mana orbs, 6 forms of card cycle or draw and 2-3 Repulsor Beasts to give yourself room to execute your plan.

(P.S. craft Kron, great now, and is possibly a future investment of spirit!)

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.


One of the easier play styles to understand. Playing minions to establish board control is priority, after which utilising Provoke and buffs will do the rest. Roar is a good tempo-play, use it often. Sabrespine Tiger is often a piece of the finishing damage. A surviving Azurite Lion can wreak havoc with Afterblaze. More Holy Immolation and then an Arclyte Regalia is the way to go. Zir’an decks will look at Sunriser, Sunforge Lancer, Arclyte Regalia, Circle of Life and Ironcliffe Heart.

Kaleos has become the less popular general over time, but Shim’zar brought some interesting tools for him such as Mirror Meld, Xho and Shadow Waltz. The budget deck however, will stick to basics. A little backstab-focused to begin with, and can be modified cheaply too (e.g. Chakri Avatar and Wings of Paradise instead of Kaido Assassin and Gore Horn) since the core idea of the deck is – have minion, have buff, combine. Lantern Fox and Onyx Bear Seal are ideal for most decks, and card draw such as Spelljammer and Heaven’s Eclipse are also great future crafts.


Quite safe on a budget and with the new cards Thumping Wave and Mandrake can maintain a deceptively versatile set-up. Diretide on Tiger is basically your DIY Makantor, and between this and Plasma Storm you have the best mid-game Obelysk control. The usual weakness is ranged, but Thumping Wave is a great addition to ranged removal. Makantor Warbeast remains the best crafting choice.

One of the more fast and furious style decks that low budget is known for. Output of damage is your first and often only concern. Getting bodies on the field early game with Pax, Obelysks and Dunecaster buffs on ephemeral dervishes is the set-up. Tempo plays with both Wishes, Primus Fist and Dunecaster buffs, combined with minion removal from Ykir, Falcius and Repulsor allow your small but dangerous minions to maintain pressure. Nimbus is the new Value Generator of choice, and Rasha’s Curse is still a game-winner.


There is a reason ‘Faice’ was a term used when describing Faie decks. While this isn’t completely in the spirit of full aggro, the concept is not far removed from it, since that is a stregth of Faie’s Bloodborn spell. The new 2-card combos here are Tiger and Wings which can combine with Wailing Overdrive meaning your potential long range damage is very high past 4 mana. Other than that, it is the usual combination of moving their minions around with Hearthsister and Repulsor, often to deal Warbird procs and continuing the steady stream of damage from your spells and minions. Iceblade Dryad is a worthwhile choice if you go Vespyr focused. Possibly still the best Mech general.

Probably took the worst hit of all the generals in recent times as far as the swarm play style is concerned, but at lower levels (and with good luck and Deathfire Crescendo, at higher levels) can still snowball out of control. Damage output is the only limiting factor in this instance, with wraithlings, Daemonic Lure and Ritual Banishing allowing area control. Void Steal, Shiro Puppydragon, Primus Fist and Shadow Reflection all provide powerful chunks of damage. If you get any measure of board control, Bloodmoon Priestess and Shadowdancer will finish the game for you. Deathfire Crescendo is a staple for this deck, and Spectral Revenants are still great.


This is a concept I have a little bias towards, and it is both budget as well as fun, so do give it a try when your regular Songhai antics are not working out! Anyhow, it’s a Reva deck with a Spell and Ranged focus. Early setup is to avoid getting too close to the enemy minions, grabbing the mana tile with your 2 drop and getting to play either Four Winds Magi (spell) or Arrow Whistler (ranged) safely on the board. Arcane Heart synergises with both, and so do your buffs. Repulsor and Phoenix Fire help with removing pesky threats that get too close. Owlbeast Sage can fit in quite snugly in most Reva decks, as well as the cards mentioned for Kaleos above.

Starhorn’s Bloodborn Spell draws cards. Let that sink in. On a budget, this means you benefit most from just building a super low mana curve deck with cards that are all quickly playable no matter what it is since they all cost so little. Flameblood Warlock, Tiger and Elucidator can combine with Primordial Gazer, Diretide Frenzy, Greater Fortitude and Thumping Wave. Flash Reincarnation seamlessly turns Gazer, Fist and Elucidator into damage, with Repulsor to shift away provokes. Vindicator is the shoehorned staple, but if this somewhat mindless aggro appeals to you, Keeper of the Vale to revive Elucidators is the way to go.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of the Shim’zar cards were added in here. This is not to say they don’t work for Kara – rather, mostly anything with a serviceable Opening Gambit and a low enough cost are fine, as well as the monthly reward cards (particularly Wood-wen and Elkowl). This is not an aggressive deck despite the low curve, first 3 turns you patiently remove threats and then progressively suffocate the opponent. Spelljammer is perhaps the best craft for this deck concept.

Another deck that ideally is not an aggressive one, but the elements are there. With so many changes to cards with the new Shadow Creep mechanic update, and the best win conditions both being legendary (Ghost Azalea and Obliterate) some adjustments have to be made. Tiger and Reflections do just that. The rest of the deck is fairly well composed of now-standard Creep components, with the caveat to remove all Shadow Nova once you get 2 copies of Ghost Azalea. Shadow Sister Kelaino continues to be as irritating a staple as possible, and Spectral Blades are often useful.

That’s all for now, duelysts! More later.

{Quick P.S. – Any 2 non-2-cost minion cards of your choice can be replaced with Lightbender (2 costs with Ephemeral Shroud) if you find things are getting too oppressive}

{Also a shout out to for their updated deck builder, and the Russian Duelyst playing community as well!}

One thought on “Economy Class Duelyst – Shim’zar Edition

  1. Daniel says:

    Thanks a lot for this, it has been very helpful.
    One thing I noticed is that has Sojourner listed as a Common card, but it is actually a Rare. This changes some of the Spirit requirements.


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