Like in other CCG, Duelyst decks can often be broadly categorized into major archetypes. Here are a few pointers to introduce how Duelyst players refer to their decks.
Main Deck Archetypes
Aggro (short for “aggressive”) decks are decks that want to kill the enemy general as soon as possible, preferably before they can react. To do this, they use a lot of cheap and strong minions and spells that do direct damage. The cards aggro values most is the cards that do the most damage as fast as possible, like Flameblood Warlock, or minions with rush.
In contrast to aggro decks, control decks try to avoid pushing for damage, and instead opt to slow the game down and executing a long-term game plan. The longer a game goes on, the more a control deck can make use of slower, more powerful cards. In order to survive the earlier turns versus faster decks, most of the deck uses spells or minions that slow down the opponent like Plasma Storm or Punish. When they’ve stabilized the board and have a hand full of cards, they usually play a card that can close out the game, like Winter's Wake.
A midrange deck is a deck that tries to conquer the midgame by playing a lot of valuable creatures in the mid game, typically around turn 4 or 5. Usually, a midrange deck drops a lot of high-value creatures combined with disruption to win the game. This archetype is also named “tempo” from time to time because of the high amount of tempo plays it needs to make. Arclyte Sentinel is a card that fits perfectly in midrange, it allows for a positive trade while leaving a body on the board.
A combo deck is a deck that allows you to win the game on the spot by having a deck that tries to assemble a combination of cards to win the game on the spot, usually within a single turn. A combo deck typically has ways to protect itself to stall before you find your combo pieces, like general healing or interaction. It typically wants to use replace every turn to aggressively find combo pieces.
A Swarm deck is defined by its ability to fill the board with myriads of minions, usually through the combined use of the General's Bloodbound Spell, minion generators, and other multi-body minions. Abyssian and Arcanyst can quickly fill a board of minions.
A tempo play is a play that allows you to become ahead on the board, usually because of interaction with your opponent or because of cost reduction. Cards like Flash Reincarnation that allow you to cheat out creatures early or Arclyte Sentinel that allows you to 2-for-1 an enemy minion are both very good tempo plays.
Tribal decks are based on minions of a specific tribe. Tribal decks play generally weaker cards with the upside of good synergy: Golem Metallurgist makes all your Golems cheaper, Owlbeast Sage makes all your Arcanyst minions tougher, etc.
Value means getting a lot of advantage out of a single card. Things like a minion giving card draw on an Opening Gambit like Replicant (which gives card advantage) or a minion that kills another when entering the battlefield like Lavaslasher (a card that leaves a body and kills another minion).
A vanilla minion is a minion without abilties or any other text.
Zoo (or "Titan")
Zoo is a deck that plays a lot of low-cost minions, combined with spells that allow you to control the board. Zoo decks differ from aggro in that way, where aggro wants to push damage and hit your opponent’s general most of the time, zoo aims to make tempo plays, stabilising the board with removal spells while pressuring the enemy general as well. An example of a zoo deck is Titan.
The name zoo reaches back to Magic: the Gathering, where the initial zoo deck was named after most of its creatures, most of which resemble animals.
Wanderer is a deck type built around Mythron Wanderer, which requires a player to build a deck with only one copy of each card at most. The payoff to this is that you’re able to start with an extra card in your hand (that being the Wanderer), and after you play it, your minions get a permanent +1/+1 stat bonus.
Wanderer is also often to referred as Highlander due to the deckbuilding constraint, after the movie ("There can be only one").
Solo / Wizard
Some Generals, like Vaath the Immortal, are well suited and have faction support to directly attack enemies on the front line. Others can dance around board threats with relative ease. A solo deck uses a maximum amount of General-buffing spells and artifacts, and include a side of healing to keep it up. A wizard deck similarly runs very few minions, controls the board and then kills the enemy General with potent spells.