Conditional AoE vs. Unconditional AoE

Text Wall Incoming?

Had an idea for a spell, thought I would write about it here. We’ll talk a bit about conditional/nonconditional AoE too, so that I can pretend this is educational content that other people should look at.


Someone on Reddit posited the question: “How much mana would/should a board clear cost?

In jest, but only kind of, I replied: “10 mana to completely clear board.”

Conditional vs. Unconditional

To expand on this point, Duelyst has what I call conditional AoE and unconditional AoE. I assumed this question was regarding the possibility of a card that was a spell that said “Destroy all minions.” (or “Destroy all non-General units.” or similar) – a spell that would unconditionally reset the board to nothing but two generals. Frostburn is another unconditional AoE – it deals 3 damage to all enemy minions, hitting them regardless of any other factors such as where on the board they are standing.

Frostburn is a great example of unconditional AoE.

Now that we’ve established unconditional AoE, let’s take a look at AoE that’s conditional. Faie’s bloodborn spell Warbird is a great example of conditional AoE – it always deals 2 damage to the enemy general, but it only damages other minions with the condition that they occupy the same column as Faie. Another example of conditional AoE is Decimate, which reads “Destroy ALL minions that are not nearby any general.” The condition here is that minions must not be adjacent to a general in order to be affected by Decimate.

Decimate is one of the most powerful conditional AoE spells in Duelyst.

Power Overwhelming

Decimate and Frostburn are both incredibly powerful effects, but they operate in very different ways. An unconditional board clear would be unprecedented in Duelyst, and in my opinion would be too powerful when the cap on player hands is six cards, but there are cards that tend to clear the entire board when played – and more.

Obliterate, aka The Juicy Stuff.

Obliterate, more often than not, tends to be played when it clears most of – if not all of your opponents board (or when it will allow you to kill them, or both). Cards that cost 7+ mana are among the least-played-with in Duelyst, so Obliterate is a champion among an elite few. Setting up a decent Obliterate does take some investment – early Abyssal Crawlers and Oozs, and liberal application of Abyssal Scars and Dark Spheres allow Cassyva to make the board inhospitable to her opponent while she sustains on Kelaino’s healing procs. Once she accumulates enough cores and shadow creep, Cassyva digs for Obliterate, pressuring her opponent with Spectral Revenants to sustain her early game aggresion in the meantime.

I think it’s fair to say that Obliterate leans very far on the conditional side (establishing shadow creep, surviving until 8 mana) – on it’s own, it’s an 8-mana spell that does nothing. In the right conditions, it’s one of the strongest cards in the game. When cast, Obliterate deals its damage conditionally, but it targets unconditionally, giving it an enormous amount of flexibility. I think this is the ideal format for high-end AoE effects in Duelyst. Obliterate establishes a clear objective to how Cassyva wants to play once it’s included in a deck and has become a signature finisher for her since Shimzar’s release.

Rise of the Bloodborn

With all of that said, this is the idea for a Lyonar card I had:

Fury of the Heavens | 25 mana / Lyonar / Epic | This spell’s cost is equal to your general’s health. Deal damage to all enemies equal to this card’s cost.

I really want to add a general heal, or maybe remove the damage to the enemy general – in this form I think it’s still too powerful, but there’s a lot to consider. If you haven’t noticed, I’m still a little obsessed with Blood Taura at the moment. Maybe I’ll write a bit more specifically about Fury of the Heavens’ concept in the future.

Cheers, -Raine

Conditional AoE vs. Unconditional AoE

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