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Slay the Spire - Roguelike Card-em-up


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Got to the end of a decent run yesterday, was quite enjoying it after a few tense points. Last boss was the awakened, and I managed to get through it. Whew! Then after that it awakened and I had to do it all again, but I'd burnt all my Apparition intangibles by then and despite some heavy strength scaling with Demon Form and Heavy Blade I'd built by that point in the battle, I was fucked.

 

Does that thing always do that? Felt a bit cheap and ended up really pissing me off. 

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3 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Get all three keys during a run and beat Act 3 and you get to play Act 4.

 

@Fondue Just to expand on this a bit, you get one key from passing up a relic in a chest, it's key or relic. You get another from a campfire, but you have to sacrifice healing or upgrading to get the key and the third comes from a particular elite. When you see it on the map it's got shimmery black flames around it, and it's tougher than normal. If you get all three keys...

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Yup, awakened one does that every time. It’s pretty different the second time. It no longer heals, does different attacks, puts void cards in your deck and doesn’t buff strength when you play powers. Forces some tricky decisions about when to play powers and when to use exhaust cards etc. 

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Are the bosses random or are they chosen specifically to counter your deck?

 

I built a stonking Powers-based deck for the Defect yesterday and of course got the Awakened One who took me apart in short order.

 

Also have decided that Gremlin Nob is well-named, get him early in Act 1 and he can derail a whole attempt.

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I've done Ironclad and Defect now, I'm having good progress with The Silent but I keep getting nailed early on or at the boss in Act 3.

 

I'm finding it quite hard to decide how to focus my card picks. Defect is weak at blocking so I am always tempted to pick up the free block cards. 

 

What sort of thing should I be looking out for? If I start getting poison stuff early on I tend to gravitate to that.

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After playing this for a few weeks I've finally managed to beat the 3rd floor boss for the first time on a normal Ironclad run. It was more by luck than judgement but I ended up with what you might call a Strength deck, with loads of strength-buffing cards and relics, and that really did the trick. Perhaps it was also down to the fact that this was the first run through where I didn't try to avoid elites on every floor. Instead I fought at least one elite on each floor and I'm sure the extra loot I got from them helped no end.

 

Now I'm not sure what to try next - Ascension with the Ironclad, or normal with one of the others?

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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Are the bosses random or are they chosen specifically to counter your deck?

 

I built a stonking Powers-based deck for the Defect yesterday and of course got the Awakened One who took me apart in short order.

 

Also have decided that Gremlin Nob is well-named, get him early in Act 1 and he can derail a whole attempt.

Can't confirm either way, but it definitely feels like that sometimes. I had a great Shiv deck last night and got absolutely hammered by the Clock Sucker (so maybe it wasn't that brilliant after all).

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As far as I can tell, the game doesn't choose bosses to specifically counter your deck, but man, it sure feels like it. Every single victory I had going through A13-A19 with the Silent (bar one) had the Time Keeper as the act 3 boss, and I'm basically all in on shivs every run.

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And the double hyperbeam (ultralaser) clinches it!

 

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Beating A19 was an absolute mission! Feels like it took more time and attempts to get from A15-A20 than either of the other two characters. High ascension Defect is definitely the hardest of the three for me to play effectively.

 

I can't believe how it went down in the end. I'd just got out the habit of mindlessly taking hello world (definitely not as universally good a card as I had hoped), and was starting to feel a little bit better at building Defect decks, but was still getting slammed repeatedly in act 2, much like I was with the Silent. Then this run happened, and I ended up taking hello world at the end of act 1 as I just didn't have any block cards, and despite my apprehension, it worked out...fine?! IDK, it had its uses for a little while, but I might remove it at a shop in act 3 if I were to play this game again. Then again, free holograms were pretty damn good in the act 3 boss fight!

 

Near the start of act 1, I decided to take the early hyperbeam offered to me, as if nothing else it would be solid for acts 1 and 2. Managed to pick up core surge to make hyperbeam a little more useful, but was absolutely gutted with the choice of act one boss relics. Not an energy relic in sight, and faced with the prospect of card bloat via orrery or a tiny house, I thought lizard tail would at least mean a good chunk of HP in reserve. Maybe this was OK though, as I have a habit of ignoring decent relics in favour of anti-synergistic energy relics, and I had sundial (meh) and charge battery at least for some extra energy. You just feel so much safer with 4 energy every turn!

 

Anyway, I thought I'd play it safe going into act 2, and lucked into a happy flower in the first shop I reached. I avoided elites for the most part, but did face down the slavers in a very satisfying display of hyperbeam's utility. Still, I knew I'd never make it so long as I lacked scaling, so I needed focus or orb slots. Well, the slots never arrived the entire game, but I did pick up a consume+ fairly soon after, and the mysterious writing event gave me the enchiridion, which was an absolute saviour on some tricky fights.

 

Fought The Collector, who didn't actually cause em too much grief. Once again hyperbeam MVP for clearing his mobs, which was especially potent with pen nib. This time the card reward was an OK but slightly pointless reboot+. OK, it saved me once or twice, and it was already upgraded, but I was really hoping for a biased cognition or echo form. Once again though, the relics on offer SUCKED! Ended up taking white beast statue, as the others on offer were pandora's box and astrolabe, and I'd already removed all four strikes by this point!

 

So, with my meagre 3 energy I once again decided on the coward's path. I fought the bare minimum - one elite, and took all the events I could. Even though act 3 events can be harsh, I knew that health was my top priority. At least it was nice to be able to use potions without worrying too much about coming up short in the next fight. :)

 

I actually did pretty well out of the act, getting a buffer and buying a second core surge alongside a (rare for me) frozen eye. Really wish I hadn't bothered with the double walker fight for a rare relic right before the last bonfire. It got me a worthless old coin. At least I didn't lose much health.

 

Fighting Time Eater was intense. First up, enchiridion knocked it out the park by giving me a 0 cost echo form on my first turn. I had to use a consume early on to beef up my frost orbs, but only had two slots for the entire fight. I didn't have much in the way of powerful attacks, beyond hyperbeam and streamline, and there was no way for me to incubate a giant dark orb with only two slots. What proceeded was an incredibly calculation-intensive grind, looking at frozen eye for every turn, trying to survive as long as possible while slowly whittling the clocksucker's health, and eventually getting to a position I could use some core surge / hyperbeam / echo form combinations once I'd managed to set up as best I could. Shame the clocksucker eats so many artifact charges, it made everything such a drag! Also I had 6 buffers at one point, and needed almost all of them! Anyway, that's A19 done, now to try for the A20 heart kill... Tomorrow, maybe!

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I love the way that one Act 3 boss is now just universally known as the Clocksucker. I accidentally called him that in front of my 10-year-old son the other day and had to follow up with a swift “err, don’t call him that especially when your mum’s around”. 

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Well. I just got to the heart on A20 with the Defect. Went in with 28 health, couldn't get set up in time and got absolutely munched. Now I have a light headache from all the maths. :hmm:

 

Funnily enough I got enchiridion again, but this time my deck was just a bit more generally solid - decent focus and orb slots, if still light on damage, but with creative AI as the general scaling game plan. Had some great/silly games with multiple copies of echo form and about 8 loops on the go in one fight. Unfortunately enchiridion absolutely flubbed it where it counted though, giving me storm against the heart, and I never even got to play creative AI before I bought the farm. :hmm: 

 

Next time, then...

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Had a funny Enchiridion run with Ironclad yesterday. Went into bronze automaton expecting death as I had no scaling whatsoever and it gave me demon form. As penance I had to make do with fire breathing about 10 times over the remainder of the run. Really interested to see what they do about that card when they patch it because it is surely the worst power in the game. 

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YESSSS!

 

200 hours on the clock. A20 Heart killed with all 3 (current) characters!

 

 

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I regret the awful kill-shot. I did a lot of maths and figured I could get the kill by getting a lightning orb in play and consuming one of my two meagre orb slots. Only after ending the turn did I only realise I hadn't taken the screenshot, so excited was I to see the motherfucker die.

 

Anyway, I'm super proud of myself for this one. Somehow managed to clinch it with one of the most no-frills Defect decks I've played in a long time. Well, it did have echo form, biased cog, loop, and gold plated cables... but I didn't get a single chance to boost my number of orb slots the entire run, and I had to buy panacea and the clockwork souvenir to make i'd be making the absolute most of my orbs in the final act. Also, I'm very happy to report I put my money where my mouth is, despite picking up and upgrading hello world in act 1, I actually got rid of it via astrolabe after the act 2 boss. By that point I had an okayish deck I thought would benefit more from quick cycling, but honestly I was fairly certain that without some form of miracle I was going to die before I got too far into act 3 anyway, so why not remove hello world to see how my deck would change? Anyway, I had good block from the ice orbs, and 2x seek meant I got set up very quickly, so I think removing HW was the right choice. I wish I had been offered an equilibrium or a glacier at some point, but it wasn't meant to be. 

 

Once again, the attack in the deck was very light. I had hoped a capacitor would have bolstered my offensive capabilities via lightning orbs, but that didn't happen and so act 3 was exteeeemely slow going. I was basically whittling down every elite and boss with echo formed streamlines, while sitting behind the 74 block that would be generated for free via my two ice orbs.

 

I don't think I would have actually beaten the final boss if it wasn't for some incredible luck the final act. First the final store gave me dark shackles which I absolutely needed to avoid the last huge multi-attack, and the elites also dropped bronze scales, which accounted for a huge chunk of damage dealt. The scaling on that fight gets so ridiculous, and setting up is so slow/perilous because of

 

beat of death

that by the time you're ready to fight, the enemy is doing just ridiculous damage. Anyway - huge sense of accomplishment from not only getting it done, but getting it done without intangible cards or dead branch or the enchiridion or anything super-duper OP or luck-based.

 

Here's the decklist.

 

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Note how flipping slow that game was. The Defect requires entirely too much maths!

 

Just before this, I actually played a game of A20 Ironclad. My first game since beating the A20 heart with him in fact. To my surprise I was absolutely crushing it. Getting immolate as a Neow reward basically meant I could do no wrong. Especially when I had pen nib in act 1, and in act 2 I got the necronomicon meaning I could deal multi-target damage in the hundreds with that and some vulnerable. Immolate basically took me through the entire game! Unfortunately though, after killing the super elite in act 3, I accidentally took a bird-faced urn relic instead of the blue key at the final chest, and was so gutted when I realised this at the last bonfire I went into the end of act 3 unable to really try my best. Shame, I think that run could have made it all the way!

 

What a fucking incredible game!

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Sorry for the double post, but I've had TWO successful heart runs in one day!

 

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TBF, it happened again. Dead branch in act one. Secured corruption somewhere deep in act two, and well, things like this happened:

 

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A turn 4 kill on the collector felt absolutely insane! I took off over a third of his health in the first turn alone! The act 3 bosses were a lot more intense though. Took a lot of careful calculation, and I actually lost about 50 health on the awakened one as I ran out of skills with about 100 HP to go.

 

Decklist:

 

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The Ironclad is prettttty good, IMO.

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It's good if you've got a deck full of high-cost cards, I guess.

 

I've only used the Snecko Oil potion in emergencies (drawing three cards and hoping for a zero-cost card to save me) and I've never picked the relic at all.

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49 minutes ago, Horribleman said:

Why is snecko eye good? Everytime I get confused I seem to have all my cards cost more or the same.

 

I was looking on the STS reddit the other day and someone had run a monte carlo simulation on various deck compositions to understand how good it was. Basically snecko eye is good because you draw two extra cards a turn with it, along with the energy randomisation. Unsurprisingly, decks that ran more 2 and 3 cost cards got insane bonuses (around 1.5 extra energy per turn - better than a bone fide energy relic, and with the bonus of extra card draw to boot). The actual surprise was that even in a deck of entirely 0 and 1 cost cards, snecko eye still provides an average 0.5 extra energy per turn. This is because even if some cards become higher cost than normal, because of the extra draw you'll still have enough cards that cost less or same as normal to make it worthwhile on average. You'll still get turns where everything costs 3 and you can only play one thing and you die, but these turns happen even without snecko eye, right!

 

It might seem counterintuitive to add such a crazy layer of randomisation to a game where variance can mean the difference between winning or losing a run, so I wouldn't say it's a given every time it comes up, but it is definitely a really strong pick in a lot of cases.

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23 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

Snecko as a starting relic is almost a free win. I had that 2 in a row. The first 1 half an act or so can be a little tricky until you obtain enough high energy cards.

 

It's a boss relic, right - so you'd have to pick it as a replacement to your starting relic to get it?

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Two extra cards per turn is so strong. With Ironclad, for example, there's such a stark contrast between decks with battle trance and those without it, but Snecko Eye can sort that issue out for him entirely. Getting that draw buff without having to play a power/spend energy/sacrifice health etc. is  amazing, and that's without all the energy saving the confusion can provide. Then the confusion itself, even with the bad turns, any time Demon Form costs less than 3 energy and you don't have to spend a whole turn's energy to activate it is a game-changer, and Snecko produces things as powerful as that routinely. It helps you get to your big-hitter cards quicker and it makes you more likely to be able to play them when they pop up. There are dead turns of course,  The Snecko giveth and The Snecko taketh away, but overall it is extremely potent and is up there with Pyramid as one of the more game-breakingly powerful relics.

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