1. #1

    How I got from 1000 to +1500 Elo in 10 days and what I learned

    I recently had some time available and did what the title says and thought I'd share some of the things I learned on the way since I think it would be of great benefit to others out there trying to do the same.

    I would like to point out that I am in no way a super skilled player and don't end up high on the jackpots but have a 3.76 average in Swisses which I consider pretty good. So if I'm able to do this it means that you to can.

    The deck that I used from 1300-1500 was My Myranda deck which I've also made a detailed analysis of for every card. So if you want to learn more about academy and also get some tips on general gameplay and deckbuilding make sure you check it out. It's a very strong deck and by far the most fun to play out of the ones I've tried so far.


    Elo dropping.
    I passed 1000 Elo a few months back with just the basic deck and some improvements I'd made from reinforcement packs. Felt pretty proud of myself once it happened but then got put down since I was crushed in almost every game. It does get a lot more difficult after 1000 and so eventually I dropped back to below the 1000 threshold again like so many people do. This created the false idea that the people above 1000 were so far beyond me that I would simply not be able to play there until I had a T1 deck at least.

    This really held me back, especially in Swisses and jackpots since I simply wasn't familiar with how a complete deck works. The thing is you need and ok deck above 1000 elo to do well, but it doesn't need to be perfect. Trust me you will learn so much more by playing with better players than playing like a chicken making sure you only face low lvl opponents. Also I had a 85% win rate after 1400 which is higher than I ever had sub 1000, and trust me it was so much more fun.

    Most people want it to be a pay to win game, but it's not.

    Quite often there will be a thread saying how this game sucks and that it's only pay to win and impossible unless you put money into it. They'll say how they constantly loose because their decks aren't good enough and all who win over them have paid a lot of money to get such incredibly overpowered decks. This is convenient of course since it means that it's not their fault that they lost, it's the greedy developers who rigged the game in favour of people who pay...

    I personally bought the dlcs from Steam when they went on sale because first of all I wanted to support the developers for making a damn good game that I love playing. It did expand my card pool immensely which in turn made it possible for me to try a lot of different builds I would not have been able to try otherwise. But here's the thing. I currently have +250 WC and +6000 seals saved up for the new expansion and or Bs2. In other words, I could've gotten exactly what I have now and more without putting a single dime in. I could've easily built the deck I used to get past 1500 without any money invested and then a few more. I'm sporadic in the time I have available to play and so I chose to put some money in instead of playing more to farm up my cards. People seem to have this aversion to spending money for F2P games and almost seem to believe it's wrong. Guys (and girls ofc) if you've spent a 100h playing this game and you like it, why not spend $50 or $100 and have even more fun while simultaneously making sure that the game keeps getting developed and improved?

    Learn from your mistakes

    You need to loose a lot of games to improve so make sure you learn something every time. This is the best way to improve and it makes it more fun to play if you don't get angry and rage for every loss. If anything try to always say GG after a game and when opponent does a good play, tell him so. Maybe even ask him how he did it and if they have any tips on how to improve. I've had people I've met in game send me a page full of tips and hints on how to improve my deck and play by simply asking them. Most people playing this game are kind and generous with their time if you just ask them politely.

    I remember one time when I was in a Swiss final and on turn 15 vs a mill deck. I had 2 paos a town portal and an open lane. So what did I do? I put the Pao down and did three damage taking enemy to 3 health. Knowing this was a given win I then did a town portal on a Void shade and... Well nothing happened ofc since he's anchored and can't be removed. Next turn he did cosmic realignment and I had no cards left so I simply let the last minute pass while I kept said what a noob I was for missing a free win. This really got to me since it was such a stupid mistake. But I learned from it. In my mind I never thought about actually being able to Town portal my own creatures which btw means you can theoretically use 10 Paos with the deck I have. And most importantly I really started reading the cards before I did plays just so I wouldn't make mistakes like this again.

    The ironic thing is this. There's a small chance I could've rearranged my creatures in such a way that I could've been able to win the next turn without cards thanks to Myranda's ability, but I was so focused on loosing right then that I missed it...

    Skill needed for different Elo's

    So if you play the game enough it won't be difficult to create a strong deck without any money put in or with if you like to explore and experiment with different champions then just buy some seals in game or dlc from Steam (good idea to wait for sale of special offer though). Meaning that the cards you need to get a deck viable for 1500 is a given if you just play some and also get the free rewards of the day. So what is required for the different levels of play and what should you focus on?

    Sub 500 Elo
    You just started playing the game and have basically no idea what you're doing. Just play the game and learn how the basic functionality works and make sure you have fun. Don't worry to much about building the perfect deck and save your Wc since you will probably regret most of what you buy once you figure out how the game works.

    500-1000 Elo
    You probably think you're pretty pro at this game and flame people for being noobs if they win using anything other than creatures. Call everyone with the championship deck a noob since they invested money unlike you who are obviously a pro in the making if it just wasn't for the game being rigged against people not using money. Just buy more packs to expand your card pool for future experiments.

    At this level focus on recognising the different creatures, spells, fortunes and heroes. Understanding what they do and what you can face. What is an ambush, how does honour work, and start learning the different spell schools, recognizing which have Aoe damage, single target removal, utility etc.

    1000-1200 Elo
    This is when you should start focusing on spending your Wc and building a deck which you think is strong. A tip is to get the championship deck from the shop since it's a steal and should easily be be strong enough to get you to 1500 once your skill improves.

    What you need to focus on here is to learn all the most popular spells, creatures, heroes fortunes and how to deal with them. You're facing dark magic? Then don't put big creatures on the deck past enemy magic 4 when shadow image is available or 6 when puppet master and enthral is available. Learn how to deal with these two if they do come. A disspell will cancel enthral but not puppet master or shadow image. A town portal will cancel out all three and give you the card back unless it was a shadow image. Facing air magic, then don't leave gaps in between your creatures to prevent aoe damage. Facing Light magic, then don't put creatures in a row etc..

    Learn what the normal builds and tactics for the most popular champions are. Expect Forbidden flame when an inferno puts down a magic pedler and try to get as much damage in while not putting out to many good creatures before he does. Also be prepared for a bunch of blackskull vulture riders being dropped even when he's got 0 action points if it's a stronghold champion and Forbideen Flame has not been played yet.

    Also start reading the cards on the deck and especially fortunes so you see how they influence your turn. Mana storm on the table and you're using spells. If you want to put a creature out and use a spell, then put the creature down first and then use spell since otherwise you might not be able to. Then again if you're low health maybe you have to choose since mana storm will damage your hero.

    1300-1400 Elo
    Now you need a strong deck to get past this point. And at the same time it will be impossible to get past this point with a T1 deck if you don't know what you're doing. Whereas before you could've simply had a strong deck which almost anyone can make 1000 with but, here you need skill.

    At this point you should know all the major spell cards and creatures and how they're used. Not just the basic theme of the spell school but you actually need to know all of the spells to get past this point. Not only will you need to know the basic theme of the different standard decks but also have a deeper understanding of how and why they work as well as how to counter them. You should now be able to put together a good deck not just by using guides but because you yourself understand what makes a good deck. How do you balance the cost curve ratio of might, magic and fortune? What is your play style with different decks and most importantly, what do you enjoy playing?

    1400-1500 Elo
    I had 72 games at his level and a 85% win rate with my biggest win streak being 20 games. You need a good deck here but not necessarily T1. More important though is that you need to know all the ins and outs of your deck. I solely played my Myranda deck after 1300 which I also made a detailed guide to at the top. You have to know how to get back from a crappy start, know how to deal with all opponents and what they will likely pull even before they do. Look at what they're increasing and predict what kind of strategy they will use, look at their Elo and judge by that how they'll play is also important.

    The reason I love my Myranda deck is because it's so consistent and allows for some seriously fun plays which gives it a sense of finesse. It can deal with almost any champion and strategy and I've put it together myself by trial and error to the point where I know how to deal with most opponents. If I had the same deck when I was 1000 Elo I would never have been able to pass this point simply because here a good deck becomes a given and skill and game knowledge is what's important. Most of the opponents you'll face are going to be 1000-1300 somewhere and you need to win pretty much all of them since a win will give you 1-10 elo and a loss could loose you 35 or 40. This is why it's so difficult to get to 1500. I checked my replays and about 13 out of 500 opponents while I was 1000-1500 Elo where at this level so if you're here your good!

    So basically you need to know all of the major cards used and have an understanding of how they synergize with each other. There are currently 652 cards in this game you might say, how on earth am I going to know all of them. Like I said, this is why people actually want this game to be a pay to win since few are willing to invest the time to learn how it works and would rather believe that it's a strong deck that gets you to 1500. And also, to not make you too scarred you don't need to know all of the cards since there's a large amount of cards that you will never encounter.

    +1500 Elo
    A bit of an anticlimax since there is no reward, hope they change this since it's a much bigger accomplishment than 500 or 1000 barriers. You will start facing a few more 1500 players but there are simply not that many around so you'll still be playing 1000-1300 opponents most of the time.

    For me it's now become more about having fun building different decks and experimenting trying to come up with fun ways of using decks and simply getting an even deeper understanding of the game. I haven't ventured into Jackpots that much yet since it's so competitive and I enjoy fooling around for now. In no way are you finished or a pro because you're 1500. You might simply know one deck and nothing else which will make the game boring quite quick so start expanding your builds.

    I have no idea what percentage of the players are at this level but it seems to be low considering how few of the people you face are at the same or higher level. And it's almost impossible to gain any elo since you loose all of it with one or two losses against a lower player and gain almost nothing, sometimes you actually gain no elo from a win. In 1000 games or so since I started I've met two players above 1535 where I am at right now and I'll most likely drop down to 1500 next time I loose against a 1000 Elo player.

    When I decided to pass 1000 again to see just how far I could go I had an Ishuma deck that I played with and I really thought it was a lot of fun to use. But Ishuma is a complicated hero and the builds can vary quite a bit so I hung around on the forums and started threads asking for help. I got a lot of replies and tips on not only how to build my deck but also how to use it. Without a doubt, had it not been for the feedback of the forums I would never have been able to pass 1500. And more importantly, I really enjoyed interacting with other people changing ideas and discussing how to best chose and use my deck. The two main forums that I know of are Reddits Duel of Champions and Ubisofts own.

    On a sidenote, one of the most fun things to experience is to encounter someone you've chatted with on the forums in game and duel it out!

    Listen to everyone and make sure you're polite in your interactions with all, this will get you far. And remember that there are a lot of people who love to give their opinion about things that they have very little idea about. I've seen people adamantly insist that a specific card used in a deck is crap even though the deck builder says it's great, only to later find out that the person criticising didn't even have the card in question. Theory crafting decks in all honour but until you have a 1000 games or so played you need experience and many cards that seem good on paper simply don't work out in reality. Or maybe just not in the deck you're using. A good example is the Dervish master I had in my Myranda deck. It's a great card but I never had much use of it so after 30 games or so I put another Djin in instead since the blocking potential, magic channel and spell resist won out most of the time. This turned out to be a great choice for this particular deck.

    Building a deck
    This is such a vast topic and there are infinite things to learn and improve here. I would say that the basic thing is to learn where to look for good builds and start understanding not just the cards but what makes the combination work.

    Always keep 59 cards unless you have blind cards that simply pull a new card. If you take away one card then put in another, think about it in game. If I would've pulled out the other card instead, would it have helped me more or less? One of the main misstakes of new players is to throw every card they have which seems strong into their deck without thinking about how they all work together or chances of being able to draw and use them the way you want.

    Cost curves and how they work for different champions. Every time you level up might, magic or fortune is a turn you could've pulled a card and also the more of these you have to do the less likely it is that you'll be able to use all of your cards before game ends. This is one of the key concepts and I discuss it more in my Myranda guide. You need to understand this it's so vital. As a general rule try to keep the amount of level ups to 6-7 spread out over might/magic/fortune.

    Balance between creatures, spells, fortunes is equally important. You need a good starting hand so that you're not stuck with a bunch of cards that aren't of any use the first 3 turns. This goes hand in hand with the cost curve.


    At first I wanted to put this in the requirements for different Elos but I would say that this is one of the core concepts to master and has much more to it than it seems. It probably wasn't until I was around 1300 that I started understanding how to use mulligans in a good way. This is a skill that can't really be taught since it's so dependent on the situation and different for every deck, only experience and reflection will teach you this. But I'll give some pointers that should help you get started.

    When you start out you just click on mulligan if you didn't get any fun cards or because you want a perfect start. Then you start understanding that when there is a 1 underneath your action points it means that you will be second in turn so you start taking that into account. Maybe you also start looking at creatures in balance with spells/fortunes and imagine how your first turns will play out.

    Next step would be to actually look at enemy hero and see how your hand is for that particular matchup. Enemy is inferno with fireschool, well then most likely you won't need any disspels and need to be able to handle some strong early creatures so you take a decision based on this. Also having knowledge of your deck you will know what kind of cards you are likely to pull the next few turns and how that will help you. Say you have a deck full of fat creatures and you pull a starting hand with some single target removals and blockers. That might just be a perfect hand to stall with since you know that you have a high percentage of high cost creatures and are likely to pull them before you hit might 5 or 6. If you do a mulligan you know that you might get stuck with 4, might +5 creatures and die before you even get those creatures out. There are programs out there that will do random draws so that you get a better understanding of how your deck draws if you don't have the time to play enough games.

    Later on once you've played your deck for a while you'll get a feel for what a draw can and can't give you together with what might be vital cards for you to win. In my Myranda deck having a forked lightning gives a lot of weight to keeping my hand, but if there are 3 of them I'll mulligan it. If I have no first turn creature and I'm first but the hand looks decent after that, then I'll keep it because I know that every now and then I'll get a hand full of late game spells and creatures and that's really hard to play with. All at the same time as I'm taking into consideration if enemy is likely to rush me, stall me, have creatures or just spells which of course would make my Forked lightning useless. In fact when you choose to mulligan or not is when you makey your first plan on how you want to face your opponent, based on experience of what they're likely to play, and knowledge of what cards are in your deck to counter that.

    I would say that I mulligan much less now than I did at lower level plays because I'd rather take an ok hand than risk getting a bad hand for the chance of getting a great one. This is ofc dependent on your deck and you should start thinking of this.

    What it all boils down to is. Based on your knowledge of your deck is it likely that you will draw a better hand for this matchup and is it worth the risk to mulligan it? Rembember that to reach 1500 you need to consistently win around 80-90% of your games and your starting hand is a big part of that.

    Replay manager
    This is an awesome tool, and it's free! It will let you see statistics for all your games sorting by elo, opponent, turns taken to win etc. It's great for seeing not only how you're doing but also for remembering what build you used to have. Say you're tweaking your deck and after a while you start loosing and loosing and you just want to go back to the way it was a few days ago. No problem, just look at your replays and see when it started turning red and click on a game before that. You can then see your own deck as well as the opponents which btw is a great way to learn if you face someone you thought had a great deck.

    Another great feature is that you can easily copy replays and send to others. I meet people in game sometimes that ask for help against specific heroes and I can simply sort out the replays of that matchup and send to them.

    The program uses the replays saved in your gamefolder so if you install it now you'll se statistics for all your games since your last install.


    It's taken me quite a few hours to put together this document and my guide to Myranda and it's my way of saying thank you to the MMDOC community for all the help it's given me. It's my hope that it will help others improve their game and most importantly have more fun while playing since this is a game after all and if you're not having fun then you should seriously consider why you're playing. A thing to remember is that things generally become more fun when you get better at them.

    I'm not associated with Ubisoft in anyway and generally think they've done a great job with this game. There is a lot to be desired though when it comes to server stability and also implementing patches and user content. The unique card change took almost two weeks from when they said it would come shortly to when it actually came and while I'm writing this they still haven't fixed the Silent death issue that came with last patch and that's several days ago (update, this was fixed shortly after this post was written). Compare that to League of Legends where it would've been hours at most before they did a new patch to fix something like that. But I have hope that Ubisoft will send more love to this game and I am happy that they have people involved with the forums and creating content which I think is a vital part for the future of this game.

    Feel free to post your thoughts and comments if you think I've missed anything or if there's something you liked and want to highlight.

    Cards can only get you so far, skill on the other hand has no limit...
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  2. #2
    This is a very good guide for people that are new to the game, good job!
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  3. #3
    Useful guide, thank you.
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  4. #4
    ZergRusher's Avatar Duel of Champions Grandmaster
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Great article!! I linked it in the Cassandra guide in the Massage to new players section so they can read it.

    I think i agree with almost everything although i dont consider Myranda a top hero - but it proves that you're an even greater player if you can make her work ^.^
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  5. #5
    Allinim's Avatar Swiss Conqueror
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    I'm almost sure that devs and CMs don't have cheated accounts with all the cards.

    About the "pay to win" thing, i think that this is understandable : imagine your a new fresh player, playing garant and you just passed 1000 elo. Your new objective now is 1500 elo cuz your really ambitious. During your grind of the ladder, you are match against a sandalock 1500+ player ( my story is a bit old i know ), and he easily won against you. Well, you wonder, what was this deck, it was looking really strong !! You're looking for a decklist on a fan website, and you discover that you need 4 thrones of renewal. you have none, but about 50k gold, you choose to buy void rising packs, where you don't find any throne and any epic card actually. Now the sandalock you played against is the strongest in the meta, and you're absolutely sure that with this op deck, you'll be able to break 1500+ but you can't even get 1 throne, and this player had 4 ! He obviously paid for this game, that's why he's 1500+ !

    This reflexion is really from mine when i was a youger player ( except for the p2w thing ), i thought i could break easily 1500+ with dhamiria slow poke. I broke 1500+ with a deck i didn't know he was existing 3 days ago, and i almost never played the faction before ( ishuma creature ). That has been said many times, but as new player or as player without all the cards, focus on the decks you can build with the card you got, and not those with 15 epic cards you don't have . You'll get to play this deck too, but later, so enjoy the game with the cards you got atm
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  6. #6
    Revalon's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    No, the team does not play with full card set. At least not in general.

    When FW was released, SpaceElephant said (I think on Enclase's 24h FW release marathon) that he put some seals (3000 or so) on his account to buy packs, but did not just put the cards on it.
    Emduril (german CM) plays just normal, don't know if he put some extra seals on his account or not.

    And that's how it should be, they should know how the players experience the game.

    Besides that, thanks for the great post. Though there is not much new for me (besides that once again it was shown that probably nearly every hero can be used to reach 1501), there are some great things for new players in there. Also, you clear some things that are deep within the mind of big parts of the community though not being true, like that you should try not to reach 1000 before you have a great deck.

    And then, most importantly, congratulations on reaching 1501.
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  7. #7
    Thanks for the comments guys, glad you like it!

    Just red through your Cassandra guide and it's really good. Thank you for putting a link to this post in there! I agree that Myranda isn't The strongest hero in this metta but she is highly underrated and I think if people understood better how she's played we'd see a lot more of her which is why I wrote the guide

    I agree with you fully on your description of why newcomers feel that way and it's completely understandable. My intention was not to say these people are dumb (even though I make fun of it when I discuss it) but rather to help people see that even with all the cards available to you, you still wouldn't get very far. Since past a certain point having a complete deck is more or less a given, and after that it comes down to skill whether you progress or not. And since you just cleared 1500 that means you must have skillz, congrats!

    About devs having access to full set of cards or not. I guess they must have different people with different accounts. Maybe the guys who hang on the forums want to understand what it's like to play from the start. But if you think about it, they have to help balance the cards and get a deeper understanding of how the current metta works so they need all cards to do their job which I in no way see as cheating. In other words I would be really surprised if they didn't at least have access to accounts with all cards even though they might not use them all the time. Or maybe it's just the developers who do? Also I've seen screenshots from them where they had 1000 000 seals or something like that, although not sure if this was their main accounts or not? I really don't know about this so see al of it as speculation one of them comes and clears it up
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  8. #8
    I was in the same boat as OP when I started playing a couple of months ago. I choose the haven deck and somehow, without really knowing what I was doing, farmed my way up to 1k elo after I lucked out and got an Alia from HoV. This was back during FW times, and I didn't have Wolf Captains, FF, Treasurers, Watchmen, Pao, DA, only 2 fireballs, etc. So naturally I hit a brick, then I looked at my cards and saw that I had pretty good necro creatures, a lucky Atropos I got from a reinforcement pack, and Malik, so I added some Paos and switched to Malik. Thereafter I had much greater success up to about 1.2k-1.3k, and it was a pretty good farming deck, but I couldn't get any higher. I would say 75% of my losses were due to me repeatedly making dumb mistakes (which even now I have a tendency to do), and only 25% were because I just didn't have that strong of a deck.

    Then one day I saw a replay of a Cass fortune deck, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever (and she was my original hero), so I spent all my seals and wildcards to build this deck. I actually started to lose more games at first because I had no idea what I was doing. So money cannot buy you instant skill. Gradually though, I started to understand how to play this deck, how to use it against the various matchups. I got better and better with this deck, until recently I broke the 1.5k barrier. I didn't even realize it at the time, and it didn't really feel that great. I still feel like there are still a lot of subleties for me to learn and ways to improve.

    In many ways, the game only really starts for a new 1.5k player. I looked around at my cards and thought about building various other decks. I also wanted to avoid spending too many resources on cards that aren't going be in BS2. I saw that I have Takana and an Honor Binds Us, along with a decent mix of Sanctuary creatures and even both uniques, so I added a second Honor Binds Us and started playing around with this deck. I practiced a bunch and kept tweaking around my cards, until I felt confident enough to enter some Swiss. I won many second place finishes, and eventually even a 1st place to get me the achivement + Shalan. This accomplishment felt much more satisfying than hitting 1.5k.

    For the vast majority of players, card sarcity is an issue for deck construction. I know I just don't have the wild cards to make whatever deck I feel like. Deck construction is easy when you are just starting out and have no cards, since you just go with whatever is playable. It's certainly harder when you have every card, since you really have to think about and understand card synergies and overally deck strategy, plus what your opponents are playing. This can result in some very expensive decks. Simply put, while T1 deck construction is strategically interesting and by no means an easy feat, it is out of reach for most players.

    I think it is the hardest deck construction is between those two extremes, where you have a good number of cards yet lack the WC to buy multiple rares/epics, and are unsure how to proceed. It may be good for the community for high level players to share some "budget" decks at various levels, or even host some mentoring sessions (AKA sweat sessions) where they go through the card list of a player and try to come up with some viable builds. Of course at the end of the day, the player will need to think about his deck, tweak it, and learn how to do the best with the cards he has.

    Thanks again to OP for the great post.
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  9. #9
    Uraxor's Avatar Heed the Call!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Originally Posted by Avecforte Go to original post
    About devs having access to full set of cards or not. I guess they must have different people with different accounts. Maybe the guys who hang on the forums want to understand what it's like to play from the start. But if you think about it, they have to help balance the cards and get a deeper understanding of how the current metta works so they need all cards to do their job which I in no way see as cheating. In other words I would be really surprised if they didn't at least have access to accounts with all cards even though they might not use them all the time. Or maybe it's just the developers who do? Also I've seen screenshots from them where they had 1000 000 seals or something like that, although not sure if this was their main accounts or not? I really don't know about this so see al of it as speculation one of them comes and clears it up
    There is a balance server, where both devs and VIPs testing this game have access to all cards, precisely for the reasons you named. (That's where any such screenshot would come from as well.)
    Within the live game, we're all equal. Doesn't mean some of us don't have all cards x4 - but that's because we farmed them up (or bought them, in some cases).
    Hope this clarifies your suspicions.
    Devs are evil rulers of this game - but not cheaters
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  10. #10
    Thank you for clearing that up, I was hoping someone from the team would post about it. I removed that part of the guide and also to clarify, there were never any suspicions since if anything I find it strange that you don't have accounts like that. I would only see it as a way for you to be able to do your job better And like I said in the post, past a certain point it's all skill, not cards.

    Nice input and great to meet you ingame today! Always love it when someone you chatted with in the forums pops up in a duel
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