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Duelyst: A Fine Mix of Hearthstone and Final Fantasy Tactics

William Murphy Posted:
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If you haven’t yet played Duelyst, you really should. A mix of CCG with a tactical battlefield like Final Fantasy Tactics, and a deep lore and history akin to a fine Joe Abercrombie novel, Duelyst is something special. We recently sat down with developer Counterplay Games founder and CEO Keith Lee to chat about the game’s progress since funding in 2014, and its impending launch and the future.

Since its beta began, Duelyst has enticed over a million players, and now sees 200,000 games played a day. In short, it’s quickly and quietly becoming a favorite competitive game among many. And soon it’ll be officially live and launched for all to see and enjoy.  There are hundreds of cards to collect across six factions and 12 generals you lead on the battlefield and level up with more cards. Below is a great overview of what the game is all about, so I encourage you to watch it, love it, and go download the beta (as it’s open right now).   It’s a free game, with a fair and simple monetization practice of purchasing booster packs of cards, which can also be earned in game by winning matches and completing challenges.

When the game launches next week on 4/27, the 12 generals will each get Bloodborn traits that make them more unique and give them special skills and abilities to bring to the battle – something the beta participants have been wanting for a while now.  But that’s just part of what’s coming in the near future after launch.

Right now, the game has these sort of puzzle-like solo challenges.  Each one gives you a goal, like killing the opposing general in one turn, or defending against this attack, or something that has a definite solution you need to figure out. Players have loved these, so dozens and hundreds more are on the way, with rewards for completing each.  But that’s not all. There’s a whole wealth of lore in the game, around 500,000+ words worth. It’s supplemental to the game, not essential to be able to play, but Counterplay is working on a series of solo PVE type missions that’ll lay out even more of the story. They’re even considering a campaign, as Keith is a big fan of Final Fantasy Tactics. 

Interestingly, designing the game for multiplayer has made things easier when it comes to designing it for PVE, so they’ve got a lot of ideas of how they want the game to go.  The history of the world is already there, thousands of years of it really. But what comes next and where the story goes is something Keith and the Counterplay folks will let the players decide through various means – in-game actions being one of them. How that’ll all play out, we’ll have to wait and see.

The team’s first major tournament was just this past week, and with hundreds of folks watching on Twitch, even in the beta phases, it’s plain to see that Duelyst could very well be a competitive force like Hearthstone and Magic before it. People were chanting (or typing) the winner’s name by the end of the event because he ruled the competition with a unique deck that no one had ever seen before. Keith has seen chess and go players come into Duelyst because the battlefield adds a layer to the collectible card game that hasn’t been seen before.

There’s a whole lot of room for this unique CCG to grow, but it’s already something truly special. Be sure to check it out now in its beta, or when it goes officially live next week on 4/27. If you like competitive strategy, you’re going to love this. 


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.