How to be a Warlord: Magus Death Pt. 1

Warlord Final Chps

Magus Death: Part 1 of 2

The project continues

In this series of guides, a wizard from each school is made from scratch and thrown into PvP matches until the rank of Warlord is achieved. This is basically a walk-through of how to level up in arena. The goal is to show the simplest, no-crowns approach for each school and demonstrate that- with the right tools and strategy- anyone can do well in arena.

Part 1 is taking care of business: choosing gear, finding the right pet, building a deck, and connecting all the stray pieces. Then? I jump in to matches and see how it all works out (stay turned for Part 2 for the results).

This time around: Magus Death gets the Warlord treatment!

Project Warlord Hunter Starting

Getting Started

Ideal Level

In the previous Warlord guides, Sparrow leveled up most of the Wizards to Magus, with one or two exceptions like Balance. Death is normally an exception. For a long time, Death is considered PvP ready around levels 25-28. For this project, however, I’ve decided to push the boundaries a little. Hunter Bluethorn is starting out as a Level 30 Necromancer.

Here’s why:

  • Deck of the Lotus – One of the best midlevel decks available. A level 30 can have access to 50 main deck slots and a nice sideboard as well. The next best deck at 29 or below would grant me 35 cards. That’s fine, but after the 2nd age Reshuffle change, I’m personally favoring a slightly larger deck.
  • Sky Iron Hasta – Arguably the best midlevel wand. Power Pip and 10% universal damage. Having to use non-crowns gear, I need all the help I can get.

Going higher to 35 can net you useful spells like Doom and Empower, if you wish.

Training Points

In this post, I ask for deck advice and ideas on where to use Training Points. At Level 30, I had exactly 14 points total. Here’s what I finally decided to train:

  • Ice to Tower (5)
  • Balance to Weakness (3)
  • Reshuffle (1)
  • Infection (free)
Need help deciding how to spend your Training Points? Check out the Duelist101 Training Point Calculator.

That leaves me with exactly five points left. Commenters on the deck analysis thread gave me a large variety of good options. Not wanting to make any hasty decisions, I’m deciding to just train the fundamentals first. I will be training as the need for certain spells arises. I’ll see how far I can get, and alter as I go.

Training Points for Mastery

This guide is strictly limited to no crowns at all, but readers can use whatever they want. If you have a Mastery Amulet, Death has some alternative options like Balance Mastery.

theonlyone522's main deckThis is probably the most popular for Death. It allows Reshuffle for Power Pips. Many of our mid-level Death guides like Balance Mastery, and take it one step further to train Sandstorm (2 points after Weakness) to help with killing opposing minions.

Theonlyone522 (many time Central Tournament winner and writer of Archmage Balance: Ice Mastery here on Duelist) shared a great setup on the deck analysis post for 35 Death, which works even better with that Balance Mastery. Blaze Raven also has a great Balance Mastery setup for this level here, if you choose to spend some crowns.


 Choosing Gear

Dressing for Success

We will be using the best gear I can find at the bazaar. You will ultimately need the full Commander gear that Diego sells to stay competitive.

What I will do here is recommend 2 types of gear you can begin with.

1. The best gear you can find at the Bazaar. This is what I’ll be using, and I think it will suffice until I can gain tickets and begin piecing together Commander gear.
2. The best gear you can farm for. These are rare drops and may be extremely difficult to obtain…but they give resist, and might be worth the effort if you find that you’re struggling with your matches.

From the Bazaar:

  • bazaarClanker’s High Quality Cowl – 88 health, 3% pips, 7% Death damage, 8% Death resist
  • Terminal Robe– 198 heath, 4% pips, 6% Pips, 7% Death damage
  • Smogger’s Shoes of Agony – 44 health, 2% pips, 3% Death damage, 6% Death resist
  • Widow’s Breakneck Ring– 55 health, 7% pips
  • Vernal Shears – 6% pips, 150 health, 34 mana
  • Nightshade’s Choker– 2 30% weaknesses. Which is awesome.
  • Sky Iron Hasta – Power Pip, 10% damage, 6 85-damage fire wand cards
  • Deck of the Lotus– 50 Main Deck Slots (4 copies for all spells), 20 slots in treasure deck.


Dropped Crowns Gear Alternate:

  • Spectral Cowl– 162 health, 2% pips and 4% resist, Spirit Armor item card. Dropped by Meowiarty in Big Ben.
  • Vestment of Assistance 255 health, 2% pips and 4% resist, Helping Hands item card. Dropped by Dr. Katz in Katz Lab.
  • Boots of the Elements– 135 health, 1% pips and 4% resist. Elemental Shield item card. Dropped by Smogger, Katz Lab.
  • My advice with a ring: once you have 100 tickets, buy the Loop of the Lucky from Diego. This provides 75 health, some mana, 9% pip chance and +15 stun resist.
  • Heartsteel– 45 health, 5% resist. Dropped by Prince Gobblestone in Colossus Blvd. (Or buy it for 260 crowns.)
  • School Mastery Amulets– these are exceptionally rare drops. I’ve farmed many hundreds of times for these, never won a single amulet. As mentioned, Balance Mastery is a popular choice for Necromancers.
  • Phosphorescent Maul Sky Iron Hasta. Always Sky Iron Hasta.
  • The Magical Deck with Room For Every Spell You Could Ever Want– This continues to not exist.

Picture 2013-11-23 04-47-55Check out my stats (including my pet’s 9 Proof) with the starter gear. The best stats ever.

This starter gear won’t get you to warlord, but it will help bring in those tickets, which is all you should worry about for now. Can’t say this often enough: save tickets for Commander gear. Once you’ve purchased that, you’ll have a much easier time surviving attacks and powering through to warlord. Until you have this gear, just go slow and don’t sweat your losses.


For an overview of dropped crowns gear, click here to see our guide on where these items can be found in the game.

Choosing a Pet

Because you have to

You can skip this section if you’re set up with a pet. My advice is pretty simple: work on getting Spritely/Fairy and Spell Proof on the same pet. Once that happens, work on adding in Spell Defy. This is necessary given the importance of resist and healing in arena (as described in our PvP pet guide). But it’s also necessary because, as you rank up, nearly all of your opponents will have these talents, usually with an extra “may cast” heal thrown in. You’re just at a disadvantage if you lack the resist/healing pets that most others will have.

Red Ghost

Red GhostGet this. Now. If you’re serious about Death PvP, you cannot go wrong with a Red Ghost pet. As you can see, fully training this little guy gives you access to three cards: attacks that give you a 25% Death damage bubble. As a Death too low for Doom, people will bubble on you for free. Having something to push one out and actually benefit you…it’s just beautiful.

Unfortunately….this pet could cost you some crowns, since its from the Nightmare, Skyvern, and Hydra Hoard Packs. On top of that, I don’t see many people with them. My advice: Don’t buy packs if you don’t have to, and search around for a hatch.


Vampire Pet CardThis Vampire pet was another of the new Halloween 2013 pets. What sets this guy apart is that as he levels up, he receives up to 3 Vampire spell cards. All three of these cards are better than your trained Vampire Spells (a little more damage, and a special healing reduction trap). That means you might be able to remove some of your main deck vampires for something else. Sounds like a win to me.


This is a fun little guy. Deathbat is a pretty standard pet, except that he comes with a 1-pip death Damage over Time card. A nice, cheap way to strip shields. You can farm this guy at Kagemoosha, if you can’t find a hatch anywhere.

Shadow Beast

I’ve seen many of these guys scurrying around. Shadow Beasts are a solid choice, since they come with a Deathblade item card. Perfect for setting up a heavy hit.

Sea Dragon

Sea Dragon. Every time. There’s just very few 1st gen pets as great as Sea Dragon. Spritely, Spell Proof. And not one selfish talent in his 1st gen lineup. You can find him dropped from any of the Trial of the Spheres bosses, or you can fork over the crowns. He’s one of the best pets to get you started.

Rain Beetle

Duelist101 loves this little guy. Multiple copies of a 1-pip Tower shield breaker that also gives you a Balanceblade. Such a great way to put yourself in a threatening position. You can rarely go wrong with beetle.


If finding MC heals is a sore spot for you, this guy is one place to start. For those who had the chance to complete the Halloween 2013 quest and defeat Nosferabbit, they received the Frankenbunny pet. What makes this guy special is that he comes with a Healing Current item card and Energizing Battery talent, the MC Healing Current talent. You can barely go anywhere without seeing one of these guys lately, so if you didn’t pick it up, try hatching for him.

The best no-crowns pet option for those without perfect pets: a Starfish, which you can buy for 10k gold in the Base Camp of Celestia. First generation Starfish contain both Spritely and Spell Proof. Your odds of hitting one or both is not great, but if you repeatedly buy them, train them, and dig around for those talents, you will eventually get what you need.

To truly start from scratch, Sparrow worked with first and second generation Starfish, trying to make a no-crowns PvP pet. And it worked! After about 10 to 12 hatches, a Spritely/Spell Proof pet popped from the egg. It just proves: you can start with nothing and get what you need for PvP.

Picture 2013-11-01 09-31-15I personally was not quite as intensive, but I still followed the basic spirit of this guide.

This Myth Imp started out from a Dread Grimoire I received from a lucky drop back when Avalon first came out. Over a few months, I trained him from selfish talents to have Spritely, Proof, and Unicorn. I’m still working to improve him, but this is good for now.

Also, I did it on hard mode. From the moment I received the Grimoire to this SPU Myth Imp, I did not use a single mega snack. At all. It’s possible, I just wouldn’t recommend it.

Seriously, don’t do it.

It hurts.

Constructing a Deck

Pick a card, any card…except Pacify

 Sometimes I wish there was a magical Training Point fairy that just sat in the commons, handing out TP to anyone who asked, and maybe even to some that were ethically opposed to the idea. Until she decides to visit the Spiral, I have to work with what I have.

Above, I said I’d be training just the fundamentals to start off with, and adding things as I need them. With that thought, here’s the recipe I came up with.

Picture 2013-11-23 07-11-51

Pretty standard stuff here, nothing groundbreaking. Max Weakness, Max Infect. My minions are lasting upwards of 5+ turns lately, so by the time one dies I have the next Animates. I’ll keep it at 3 for now. Plagues are for increased weak stacking while shedding a white pip. I’m very much into attacking out of main deck when feasible, so an assortment of Vampire, Poison, and Pirate. I’ve enjoyed Feinting into a Vampire/Pirate, two copies there.

This is really just a trial deck, I’m seeing how I want to improve it.

Picture 2013-11-23 07-12-07

Towers for those gotta shield now moments, Fairies for those gotta heal now moments. Triage were put in after dying to Snow Angel and Heckhound during trials preparations. Deadly Minotaur (from Zachary Strider’s playbook) have replaced Pirates, and are rare TC in the Bazaar. I’ve found them to be extremely useful damage spikers and finishers. I use them to close out matches from second, when necessary.

Infallible are here for emergencies, where someone with 50% resist is building up for a high level TC and I have to kill them first or die. I haven’t used them otherwise. I’m willing to remove them if people think they don’t match the spirit of these Warlord guides. Vamps and Poisons speak for themselves. All Monstrous there. (How to Enchant Cards)

I’m not sure where to position this deck in the whole high temp offense or minion deck scale. Against some players, I’ve had to establish minion, flood weakness, then work them down. Others, it’s been a kill them before they kill me game, rapid fire attacks. So far, this setup has netted me 9 wins and 1 loss.We’ll see if this holds up once I rise more.

Some cards I’m considering altering already. I haven’t found the need for three shuffles yet. I often discard Death Shields more than I use them. But in the spirit of honesty, this is exactly what I’ve been using.

As stated before, this deck will most likely change  as I rank up. If I find I need snow shields, I’ll train them. If I end up needing Sprite, I’ll train that. Same with Cloak. Etc. Etc. That said, I’m always welcome to suggestions. 

A Word on Crafted Spells

Deer Knight. deer knightGet this. Get this. Get this. If you have the time and some friends willing to help you farm, absolutely grab this spell. I’ve personally had no luck yet, but Deer Knight would go in this deck the moment it drops from Loremaster. You can not go wrong with a big helping of chivalric venison.

Lord of Night is also a cool drop, for an upgraded drain from Vampire. I might throw in a copy if it drops, who knows.


Final Thoughts

kev at the bazaar– Be patient, don’t sweat losses. Until you have commander gear, PvP can be tough. Low resist means you’ll lose sometimes, especially when going second. Just work on learning from mistakes and building up arena tickets.

– Many suggestions here- like pet hatching and buying Monstrous- involve spending a lot of gold. I recommend finding a money-farming spot where you can keep the finances in place for funding these various projects. (Click here to see a video of Sparrow’s favorite money-farming technique.) Sorry Kevin, the Bazaar is gold only.

– You will run into a lot of mid-level players using high-level treasure card strategies. This can be frustrating at times, but these are strategies that become less reliable against wizards with decent resist. Again, get those tickets, get gear, and you’ll eventually have no problem dealing with high level TCs.

The Warlord Logs

On Community, I’ll be keeping a blog of every single match I have on the way to Warlord. The opponent, what kind of strategy they used, stuff like that. If you feel like checking it out, here’s the first one with my first five matches.


Hunter Bluethorn title ScreenNext Stop, Warlord!

That’s it for Part 1. I’m off to finish grinding through matches using the deck set-up described here and the Bazaar gear. I’ll follow up with the second half once I’ve reached warlord and will break down strategies for PvP at higher ranks.

If you have questions or advice about Magus Death in PvP, let me know in the comments!



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Leave A Comment!

  • ChoGath

    This is an awesome start! Love the detailed discussion, which points to the fact that death is well suited for mid-level dueling. I have a L20 death that has been a plant farmer / pet trainer for me, but is now tempted to strap some gear on and got out to play in the arena.

  • Oooh! If you are pursuing this setup, you’ll be anticipating Halloween. Nightmare pack for Pet Vampire(or Red Ghost if you get that first), the Frankenbunny pet from the dungeon(if you decide to pursue that path with pets) and dead beets from the dungeon! Dead Beets drop sooooo many of those Deadly Minotaur, I sold plenty and got like 750 gold per TC! You’ll really wanna farm this place, guaranteed.

  • SophiaShadowhunter

    Awesome guide, as a newbie, the explanations are easy to understand and easy to see why you have set up the way you have :)…….btw a mummy cat is also useful as it gives u 3 Frankies

  • Cody AnoyingOrange

    Dat my deck I: I have those same deck set up XD But my side deck fill with aura spells and poison and myth spell XD— Note: currently using myth mastery and spam medusa :d

  • AngelAngle

    I would recommend the enchanted armament pet, it helps with blades quite a lot. Also, once you get to higher ranks, skeletal dragon might be good so that they can’t just heal your damage off. Even with infection, once you get to higher rank, people can heal with the cosmic kris and stellar signet through infection. They can also critical.

  • Psy this is an impressive article. Well written and b-e-a-utiful. Go Death, Go PSY!! WOOT!! 😀

  • jewelshadowcaster

    Since I’ve been following the progress of this young Necromancer I’m having double fun now reading about it :D. Can’t wait for more. GO PSYYY *cough* *cough* I mean GO HUNTER! lol

  • BreakCloud

    Great set up to start with! Im liking the deck so far. Deadly minotaurs can really pack a punch! In my opinion, i wouldnt recommend using high level tcs in the future. I find mid level spells or lower a much more effective and safer way of approaching offense especially from second turn. I cant wait how this turns out! I also wonder if you have a channel? You should upload your matches. 🙂

    • I agree – we want to see videos, Psy!

      • Or you can just announce when you will be in PvP so we can all come watch! 😀

        • BreakCloud

          Yes Definitely! It also be great if you make more vids too azores 😀

  • BreakCloud

    Onw more question. When and what should i spend on my tickets on? Should i get something now or wait until commander for commander gear? Thanks

    • Psylent Night

      Hey BreakCloud!

      Duelist101 usually always recommends waiting on Commander and grabbing Commander Gear. Ticket farming is such a slow process outside of Tourneys that you don’t want to be wasting precious tickets on Veteran Gear.

      You can purchase the Diego Ring and Athame if you find yourself needing the boosts now, since those are generally the best of those items you’ll have at that level. But yeah, we prefer working to Commander and buying Commander Gear one piece at a time, skipping Veteran. Hope that helped 🙂

  • BreakCloud

    Omg i finally got deer knight! During the sale of hoard and lore packs i got it after buying like 20 🙂

  • casspvp

    Everyone should sign a petition telling KI to allow us to craft deer knight, it is only available to people who are able to complete cl, I am a grandmaster artisan at lvl 30 and i have everything needed for deer, yet the wont let me continue and they put it in ms dungeons?
    taunt or more of an in your face moment

    • Oh joy

      You could farm loremaster, but agreed, I don’t think we should need to be legendary crafter, now I need to get 4 wizards to legendary artisian.

  • Oh joy

    Are you still working on this I haven’t seen an update in a while

  • scot hexeyes

    are you gonna make part 2 soon?

  • Jakob F.

    very good!

  • Sabulous Sabrina

    This guide really helped me build my warlord deck, I needed move on from killing with skeletal dragon. :d Can’t wait to see part 2!

  • Hunter spell shield

    First off, this guide is amazing!!!! And will be so helpfull for my pvp loving death wizard that is level 33. Second off, I wanted to recomens to people looking to get a good pet for the first time and are really struggling to get the ones in the article, to by purreas plentiful pet provisions I got the camelion on first try and it right away got May cast conviction and add a reshuffle item card. It’s not the best but it was a good start

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