Desert Revenant – Guide for New Players

This is an introductory guide for new players. This game is quite challenging and has a lot to offer, so hopefully this will help those brave enough to venture into the sands of Elmyr.

Beginners Guide


Desert Revenant is deck-builder rogue-like game. In its current phase of development, it offers 2 playable characters: the Leper and the Seer. This guide will explain a bit about the core mechanics of the game, while also giving some starting tips for new players.

Core Mechanics

Just like other games in the genre, Desert Revenant offers the player with a deck, a discard pile, a banish pile, and a mana pool. Cards used during your turn are sent to the discard pile and are returned to the deck when your draw pile is empty, while cards with Banish keyword go into the banish pile and cannot be used until the next combat. You use mana to play cards (spells) in order to defeat your enemies by reducing their Hitpoint (HP) total to 0.

Each map contains 3 storylines that you have to go through before eventually reaching a mini-boss, then the Jinn King, the main boss of the area. Defeating the Jinn Kings will put you on the leaderboard, unlock new cards, and unlock new curses (used to make the game harder for those seeking a better challenge and wanting to place higher on the leaderboard).

  • Each character in the game can usually be affected by buffs (helpful conditions), debuffs (harmful conditions), and states (passives that affect certain aspects of the game). Your main character can also choose from an array of talents which are considered as passives/states.
  • Talents and states are displayed on top of the HP bar.
  • Buffs are displayed below the HP bar.
  • Debuffs are displayed below the Buffs.
  • Buffs and Debuffs are separated by a thick black line.
  • There are 2 types of numbers that are represented on buffs, debuffs, and states. A value number displayed on the bottom of the icon, and a turn counter displayed on the top. When the turn counter reaches 0, the buff/debuff is usually removed.

Each playable character in Desert Revenant comes with a starting deck, usually composed of 3 types of cards:

  • Chaos (Red Cards)
    • These are harmful spells that you use to target your enemies. They deal damage and apply debuffs.
  • Fate (Blue Cards)
    • These are helpful spells that you use to target yourself and your allies. They heal you and apply buffs.
  • Creation (White Cards)
    • These are helpful spells that you use to summon your allies on the battlefield. You have 2 available platforms to use, and so can have a maximum of 2 summons at the same time. Creation cards are automatically sent to the banish pile when used.

What’s Different About Desert Revenant?

Here are some of the most noticeable functionalities that differ from other games in the gene:

  • Summons. A great aspect of this games is the plethora of summons card offered. Each character has his own minions, and the game offers you neutral summons as well. They all work differently and offer a lot of options for your deck.
  • Enemy intent. Unlike other games in the genre, you can see the target of the enemy but not the ability used, nor the amount of damage dealt. This will make affect your decision making process in a new refreshing way.
  • Huge customization options. Every character has around 70 different cards, each having 2 unique upgrades. Your character has also around 12-15 unique talents to choose from. The game also offers a variety of neutral cards, wish jinn blessings, and perk points. You can even make the game more difficult by choosing curses at the start of your run. If you combine all of these together, you can come up with tons of different strategies and builds.
  • Random battle conditions that are called affixes. They are highlighted at the beginning of a combat and are displayed at the top of the screen. They make the same battle play differently depending on the affix.


When starting off on a new map in the game, you are offered 3 areas to choose from. The first one you enter is the easiest and each one afterwards increases in difficulty.

Once you click on an area, you are taken to a smaller map with nodes and paths connecting them. You start on the left side of the map and have to make your way to the right side. Here are the current type of nodes:

  • Battle
    • Represented by a flag. These are the enemies that you have to fight to progress in the game.
  • Gold
    • Represented by a pouch. This is a reward node that gives you gold, the main currency in the game.
  • Reputation
    • Represented by a small shield. This is a reward node that gives you a reputation point, used to unlock perks in the reputation tree. Reputation points are kept after a defeat and can be used at the beginning of the subsequent run.
  • Wish Jinn
    • Represented by an ancient lamp. This is a reward node that offers you several options. You can get a random card (sometimes upgraded if you’re lucky), gold, max HP, or a blessing (you choose between 2 buffs).
  • Merchant
    • Represented by a camel. This is a reward node that lets you buy. upgrade, and purge cards from your deck. It also gives you the option of buying potions that instantly heal you.
  • Dialogue
    • Represented by a paper and a quill. These are encounters with NPCs in the game that usually help you on your journey. You can get NPC cards through these dialogues.

You will notice small icons over the connectors, and these are called affixes, random battle conditions that will affect the battle connected to this path. You can hover over an affix to see how it will affect your gameplay.

General Tips

  • This is the most important tip of them all. Read the cards, buffs, debuffs, affixes and states. Seriously, you cannot beat this game by playing your cards randomly, and playing the same strategies against different enemies might not always work. It will take a few runs to know your cards and enemies, but once you do, the game will be way easier.
  • Know your enemies, The game has a great functionality that lets you inspect your enemies. You click on them and it will show you their abilities, passives and buffs/debuffs.
  • Finish off one enemy before attacking the next. It is usually better to not spread the damage unless using Area of Effect (AoE) cards.
  • Try to preserve your HP in the early battles. It will go a long way during your run.
  • Be versatile in your gameplay. A card that might seem OP in a fight could be useless in another. Sometimes, it is better to switch your build rather than lose the game.
  • Plan ahead when you choose which path to take. If you don’t have a lot of gold, it might be better to not go towards a merchant for example.
  • When you finish an area, a random encounter spawns on the main map. This is a narrative event that could give you a boost or hinder your progress. Be careful which choice you make.
  • Do not be afraid to purge a card and remove it from your deck if you’re not using it a lot.
  • Choose the card upgrades that fit your current deck. While some upgrades seem better than others, you might surprised how well some might do in a different deck.
  • When you visit a Wish Jinn, you will heal for 10% of your max HP. Although it is mentioned in the game, I seem to always forget this.

Leper Tips

The Leper is one of the currently available playable characters in Desert Revenant. He focuses on heavy damage output and lots of debuffs. Here are some tips for new players:

  • Do not be afraid to take some damage if you can kill your enemy faster. Ending a fight early will spare you a lot of damage taken by the end of the battle.
  • Try to take talents and buffs that will mitigate the damage you take from your own spells. Blood Resilience is a great talent to have, and Upsurge is a wonderful buff for the leper.
  • Use your summons. With ‘Sentry‘ in your starting deck, it is easy to taunt your minions, forcing the enemies to attack them instead, and this will save you a lot of HP. In general, it is a good idea to add more summons to your deck if you can.
  • Try to regain the Lifebloods on the enemy by using the Drain mechanic of the Leper.
  • If you’re low on health, try to find a merchant and consume potions to heal quickly. If the merchant is a long way from you, go to a Wish Jinn instead to automatically heal for 10% of your max HP.
  • Kill off the enemies that deal the most damage first.

Seer Tips

The Seer is one of the currently available playable characters in Desert Revenant. He focuses on buffs build-up and defensive play. Here are some tips for new players:

  • Use the Rune of Illumination to stay healthy early on, but do not count on it to win the whole run.
  • Get value off the Forbidden Realm by playing Banish cards but be careful not to lose too much HP.
  • Add some damage cards to your starting deck as the Seer has less offensive cards compared to the Leper.
  • The Seer has a lot of ways to generate value, be it more mana, extra draws, or random cards and upgrades. Make use of those to your advantage.
  • Do not focus only on buffing yourself. If you take too long to kill your enemies, some of them will out-power you and end your run unexpectedly.
  • Do not be afraid to try crazy ideas with the Seer. Some combos might surprise you.
Originally posted by Niz

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