Counterplay Games’ Duelyst has won over legions of fans looking for a more strategic and/or less random version of Hearthstone, but that wasn’t always the case. It may seem like ancient history now, but it was just over a year ago that the game switched gears from pay-to-play to free-to-play, enraging a number of its backers on Kickstarter.

The negative response was amplified, as most negative things on the internet are, but in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Counterplay’s Keith Lee said that only 3% of players took him up on a refund offer. He and his counterpart, Emil Anticevic, agree that the outrage was justified, but they’re more than pleased with how the game has turned out since declaring as F2P, with over 100,000 games being played per day.

A big reason for that success, Anticevic says, is Duelyst’s generosity, with the ability to earn roughly a pack a day through gameplay and the chances of getting a legendary card at about one in four packs, as compared to around one in 20 for Hearthstone, prompting him to boldly declare:

“In terms of free-to-play, our game is purely better because it’s more generous.”

Lee adds that they’re just trying to “offer players the most value” and not expecting to have profits that rival the bigger games out there. It just goes to show that you can have a successful and well-liked F2P game without gouging players, as long as you accept that it’s a niche title.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


  1. This is the most generous CCG I have ever played. It’s not as hard to get new packs as the others and the dailys really help. The gauntlet is also really fun.

  2. This game is INSANELY P2W. It uses the same model that Hearthstone does. That is, a few fast perks to start to get the basic cards and 1 or 2 ok cards (a taste of the shop). Then you HAVE TO WIN X times to get currency to get packs. So you are constantly fed upon by the payers. Your only hcance is based ona mathematical formula saying you get in on a popo boost peak time as new players come in. So there is the bottom feeder pool that makes you feel like “yeah this is great”. The reality hits in as you RANK UP in EXP but not GOLD so you are literally a leader ofa defunct army. Low pop = just fan bois that cashed out swarm around fighting each other and feeding off you, doubeling their own pool of wealth. That plus the “checker board” turn based crap is easily exploitable/memorized so copy and paste builds and roflstomp builds put in. JUST NO They offern othing but cash grab. Shut it down.

    • Lie, guys. just play and see.

      If you do the daily quests for a while and learn how to play the gauntlet, you can have a decent deck in no time, FREE. Of course you won’t be able to do it in just 2 or 3 days of playing.

  3. The game looks beautiful. Anton Fadeev’s art introduced me to the game and I liked it + all those pixelated creatures and strategy… It’s my first CCG and I LOVE it !

  4. lol so sad, developers from this game are posting them self herein order to make the game look good.

    the gmaeis just another pay to win RNG garbage, plus it looks terrible.

        • Wow, guess Derpina is quite the proper name for you… lmao! I played for a few days before getting used to the game and constructing a deck with new card packs (its actually easy to earn more than 1 a day) and am actually FLYING through the ranks, no I didn’t spend a penny. Ignore the retards saying the game is P2W beacause it is far from it. These few are clearly just sore losers and are just abolsutely terrible at the game and have nothing better to do than whine about it being p2w. You want to see p2w? Look at Perfect World, Archeage, plenty of others, this doesn’t even make sense to say it’s p2w… Go play hearthstone ya fanboy crybabies!

    • People complaining about it being p2w just want to have it all handed to them. You can build really solid budget decks to be competitive and if you do daily quests and learn to play gauntlet you can get packs in a fairly easy way. Not to mention is not so rare to open a orb (pack) and discover a legendary and two epics in THE SAME ORB.


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