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Let's Talk - Slay the Spire
Like Clank! and Thunderstone, this is an attempt to bring the dungeon crawl to the deckbuilding genre. Or vice versa. But it's much better at doing that. I don't want to spoil too much, but there are three classes, each with a fairly unique take on your standard Warrior/Rogue/ Sorceror trifecta that we saw with games like the original Diablo, because who wants to play a solo Cleric anyway?
You start with the Ironclad, this game's warrior. You start with a garbage deck, like the Estates and Coppers of old. Like Ascension, you can play multiple cards in a turn, but you're limited by an additional resource: energy. This replenishes every turn, and basically means you can play 3 actions per turn, until you get some cards that cost 0 or 2 energy to complete. (The Ironclad does start with one 2-coster actually, and the Silent starts with a 0). This core mechanic goes a long way towards making the design space more interesting and textured.
My favorite so far is the Defect, the take on the sorcerer. Once you get the hang of his subroutine, he (it?) is a lot of fun.
I'll have to go back to it, but maybe with a timer handy (actually, my wife works just as well...)
I've poured about 20 hours into it so far and I'm almost scared to pick it up again because it's such a time thief. I thank the lord I've got the PC version rather than the more convenient Switch one.
It's also totally a board game in disguise. So much so I put it on this list:
Matt Thrower wrote: Slay the Spire > Into the Breach. The puzzling mechanic got old after a while, even with different teams. Slay the Spire is fearsomely addictive, with easily enough variety to keep it fresh on multiple runs.
The achievement system and score tracking from Into the Breach gave it longevity for me. I eventually wanted to get perfect 30000 runs on hard with as many squads as I could. The level of control you get despite random spawns and enemy behavior was cool, despite being puzzly. Tactical games are also probably my favorite genre.
Some of the achievements in Slay the Spire just seem kind of random or impossible to get unless you devote a run to them. (I'm sitting at around 63% of them complete, with the remaining ones just being really hard). And I'm not sure if "more addictive" = "better." I'm not even gonna fight the more addictive point. It certainly has its hooks into me. Some of the "just one more run" comes from that randomness of the card draw. Your best run can be ended when that boss does his Hyper Beam, even if you know it's coming, just because that's the turn you get the bad draw.
I know that bad draws can be mitigated, because you can control what goes into your deck. Much like Dominion, the best advice I read online was that you don't HAVE to take a card each time you kill a monster if none of them gel well with what you're building. I also know now that each boss and elite has a set pattern to them- their attacks don't appear to be random at all. Many normals appear to have a set pattern too, but not all, some seem to have 2-3 options that they cycle through randomly.
Slay the Spire is certainly harder than Into the Breach, although I don't know if it's harder in a way that promotes continuous learning from your mistakes.
There are two main stances-
Calm- Does nothing, except when you leave it, you gain 2 energy.
Wrath- 2x Damage taken and dealt from attacks
Obviously many cards care about which stance you're in when it comes to their effects. A number of cards also have "retain" on them meaning they stick in your hand until used, so this character is all about setting up long combo turns.
The only way to get out of the stances is to play a card that switches to the other, or play a few select cards that return you to neutral stance.
There's a 3rd stance called Divine which instantly gives you 3 energy and triples your damage until the end of the turn, at which point you automatically leave the stance. You enter it by gaining 10 Mantra, which certain skills add to you, most adding 2 or 3, but one Gold (rare) card adds 10 and makes you die the next turn (lol I love that card).
After 3-4 runs I got to the end of act 3 one time, getting the last boss down to 10 hp before dying... I had ice cream (retain unspent energy between turns) which went a long way towards making the whole combo thing work.
I would have to say my favorite feature is the daily challenge where you get three modifiers to work with/work around.
Oh for anyone with the XBOX game pass (I got the sub at $1 for three months) they have both Slay the Spire and Into the Breach. Based on this thread I'mma give ItB a shot.
Ironclad I'm good with but only because of the 6HP auto heal, combined with Barricade, Entrench, Flame Barrier etc means it's the only character with an actual possible defensive build.
Silent I tend to do okay with because poison is a great effect to get around block, but ultimately is always too weak defensively and can't generate enough block against later enemies to survive for long.
Defect is really interesting, and is capable of some supremely powerful builds with extra orbs enhancing any powers you like and setting up a 'production line' of powers to constantly push through and give you block or damage enemies, but doesn't do it reliably enough to be consistent against later enemies. Seems like you can only be good on one axis.
Watcher is so far out of my level of competence it's not funny. Changing stances is obviously key, beyond that I haven't a clue.
I can't work out where I'm going wrong after dozens of hours. It can't be focussing entirely on defence and then sitting back and chipping away at the enemies, right? But you do want to thin your deck and get rid of strikes, right? If I had this on Switch I would probably never stop playing it regardless.
I also find it kind of interesting that you say the Ironclad is more defensive and the Silent is low on defense, because I feel like it's the opposite- the Ironclad tends towards attacking, Silent toward Skill cards,* and then the Defect towards the Power cards.
*At some point I read a Silent strategy guide that basically recommended getting only defense cards and using Noxious Fumes (poison everyone every turn Power card) as your win condition. That's a bit extreme, but it was informative and made me think more about deck construction.
Jexik wrote: My biggest piece of advice in these deck-building games (which you might be doing already), is to not always take a card. If none of the cards on offer work for your overall strategy, it's a waste of space and will bloat your deck from what it's supposed to do.
This might be it. I always take a card.
Now that it was released on iOS I have something to do for an upcoming 14 hour flight and mandatory day quarantine in a hotel room. After that I get two weeks in my residence. Hopefully this will be my sanity check on the flight. It's going to be a charter flight without entertainment. Ugh.