In Slay the Spire, the character you choose will greatly influence your playstyle, as all cards and most relics will be vastly different. And for each character, you will have many different possible startegies you can implement, in order to conquer the Spire once and for all. Below, you can read through the best builds each character can pull off, as well as what they need in order to succeed. Just remember: there is no clear path to success in this game, so feel free to always experiment with the cards and choices you are given.
10. Silent Discard build
Out of all the builds in this list, I would argue that this one is the most difficult to make work properly. That is mainly because Silent has a few good Discard cards that work well on their own, but it’s not so easy to increase their power level when put together.
Tactician is perhaps the most important card to have in order to get some combos going. My advice for a novice player would be to only attempt building a Discard deck further if you have found at least one Tactician. After that, you can use cards such as Tools of the Trade, Dagger Throw and Acrobatics to both cycle through your deck and discard your Tacticians or Reflexes.
If you have great deck cycling going, I suggest adding cards like Eviscerate and Sneaky Strike, to make the most out of your Discard synergies. With enough planning, you can end up building something close to an infinite deck: a deck where you’re able to cycle through your cards many times without running out of energy.
The Silent also has Relics such as Tingsha and Tough Bandages, made especially for Discard synergies and, if you are lucky enough, you can even combo them with Gambling Chip and Calculated Gamble.
What it excels at:
- Allowing you to use Discard synergies without mainly relying on them
- Potential infinite combos
- Great deck cycling
Discard build key cards:
- Tactician or Reflex
- Cards that combine drawing cards with discarding for better cycling
9. Ironclad Pain build
This build is slightly harder to pull off if you are inexperienced with the game, as it revolves around sacrificing your health for various bonuses. On the upside, you won’t need many expensive or high rarity cards and Relics for it, so it is easy to build but more difficult to play properly.
This type of deck will definitely help you become better at decision-making in this game: knowing when to Block attacks or when to sacrifice your health will be essential to you, but also knowing how to achieve a good balance of Attacks and Blocks/Heals in your deck.
Rupture is a good card to include in such a build, alongside any cards that deal damage directly to your hero: Hemokinesis is a great one to find, but also Bloodletting and Combust. Once you have a few synergies between these cards going, you can go in any direction you want with your deck: want to go the more offensive route? Simply add some Flexes or Spot Weaknesses to your deck for some quick Strength build. For a more defensive route, simply add some good Block cards like Shrug it Off, Rage, True Grit or Flame Barrier, or Reaper for a quick heal back up.
Having relics like Self-Forming Clay and Red Skull can also be a great addition to this build, no matter if you’re going for a defensive deck or an offensive one.
What it excels in:
- Being a versatile deck that requires little set up
- Using health as a valuable resource instead of protecting it
Pain build key elements:
- Damage-inflicting cards like Hemokinesis, Combust and Bloodletting
- Reliable Heals/Blocks
- Ironclad’s starting relic and others such as Self-forming Clay and Red Skull
8. Ironclad Exhaust build
Another great build for Ironclad, although harder to get right, is the Exhaust one. Just like the name suggests, this build revolves around killing your enemies with cards that you only use once in a battle and gaining bonuses from Exhausting them.
There are quite a few core cards and relics that you need for this to be a reliable build. The Corruption + Dead Branch combo is the main one and is probably one of the strongest synergies in the game. Power cards like Barricade, Dark Embrace and Feel no Pain are also essential for this build to work perfectly, and for you to get the most out of Exhausting all your skills. Because there are a lot of Power cards you need to put into play, this build can be quite slow to set up, but once everything is in its place the Ironclad becomes a powerhouse.
With Barricade and all the free Block cards you play each turn, you can easily reach triple digits of Block in a battle, making the Ironclad basically impenetrable. It’s best to keep as few Attack cards in your deck as possible, Body Slam being the essential one: with this card, your immense amount of Block will suddenly be more than just a defensive resource.
What it excels in:
- Creating insane amounts of Block
- Can become an infinite card generator without cluttering your deck
Exhaust build key elements:
- Powers like Corruption, Barricade, Feel no Pain, Dark Embrace
- Lots of Block cards (and other Skills)
- Attacks like Body Slam and Dropkick
7. Defect Orb build
This build revolves around the Defect’s unique mechanic, Orb generation. This isn’t such a straight-forward type of deck, as it is incredibly versatile and can be done in various ways.
The first one, and a personal favourite, revolves around the quick generation and Evoking of Lightning Orbs. Cards like Static Discharge and Tempest will allow you to cast a huge number of Orbs in very few turns, while Electrodynamics lets you channel their power to damage all enemies at once. Although not essential, for me Thunder Strike is what really pulls this build together – dealing insane amounts of damage and killing big Bosses in just one turn after casting tens of Orbs is always satisfying.
Another way you can build an Orb deck is by simply adding any Orb generation cards you can find, paired up with Biased Cognition, Loop or Defragment for extra Focus or bonus effects. With this, you can combo Frost Orbs with Lightning Orbs, or Dark Orbs with Frost Orbs – there is no limit to what you can do once you unleash the Defect’s power.
What it excels in:
- Amazing versatility
- One-turn-kill potential with Lightning Orbs
Orb build key elements:
- Any Orb-generating Powers or Skills
- Focus-increasing cards or Relics
6. Silent Shiv build
Another great, reliable Silent build revolves around Shiv-generating cards and quick deck cycling.
Not much can be said about this build, as it is pretty straight-forward: all Shiv-generating cards are pretty good on their own already but put together they allow you to deal quite a lot of damage in one turn while also keeping yourself protected. Cloak and Dagger is perhaps one of the best cards in the Silent, and you should definitely try to get more than one in your deck. Other Shiv-generating cards, such as Blade Dance and Infinite Blades work perfectly with Accuracy, card made especially for this build.
The Silent also comes with several cards that benefit from you playing as many attacks in one turn as possible: although not essential, Choke and Finisher are always nice additions.
The best part about this deck is that the Silent is well equipped with many Relics that improve it substantially. Ninja Scroll and Wrist Blade are two of them, but even some Relics available to all classes work amazing with Shivs: Shuriken, Kunai and Ornamental Fan are stellar for this build, and Vajra and Pen Nib can work as well.
What it excels at:
- Using many cheap attacks in one turn
- Defense and Attack are equally important
Shiv build key elements:
- Shiv-generating cards
5. Defect Claw build
If you are looking for a machine-gun-type deck, meaning dealing lots of low-cost Attacks in a single turn, then Defect’s Claw deck is your best friend. There is nothing more satisfying than assembling this deck: although there are very few core cards, they synergise in crazy ways, allowing you to create huge amounts of damage over a few turns.
Like the name suggests, the star of this build is the Claw card – make sure you get as many as possible. They cost 0, but every time you play one all the others’ damage increases as well, meaning that only in a few turns your character will become a killing machine for any enemy. The secret to this build, however, is figuring out ways to play your Claws more than once per deck shuffle. All for One is another essential part of this build, and once you have it, you can add other 0-cost cards to your deck as well.
Cycling quickly through your deck is another thing to keep in mind when playing Claws: you can use cards like Coolheaded, Skim, Scrape or Overclock to draw your entire deck as fast as possible, play your Claws, then use All for One to bring all your essential cards back to your hand and give your enemies a round two.
Although this build is more on the offensive side, the Defect excels at passive blocks using Frost Orbs: simply add some Glaciers to your build and some Focus increasing cards to push your build over the edge and make sure you can survive until you pull off your combos.
What it excels in:
- Building up lots of damage quickly
Claw build key elements:
- Claws and other 0-cost cards
- All for One
- Frost Orb generation
4. Ironclad Strength build
In my many playthroughs, I found that this is the most reliable build you can make with Ironclad: it is easy to make it work even with minimal knowledge of the game.
This strategy mainly uses Strength building cards, like Flex and Spot Weakness, to consistently deal increasingly more damage every turn. Limit Break is definitely a core card of this build, alongside Heavy Blade: with a huge amount of Strength, this card will be able to kill any enemy in one turn. If you get your hands on an upgraded Limit Break, your damage will be able to reach even triple digits in no time.
Cards that inflict Vulnerable on enemies (like Bash or Shockwave) are also a great addition to this build, as the damage increase is added after the Strength, making your attacks even more powerful.
Like with many builds, there isn’t a single perfect way to achieve a consistent Strength build, but Ironclad has quite a lot of cards that can work both individually and in combos with other cards. Sure, you have your core cards, but the great part about this build is that it can work even without them if you’re a bit more experienced.
Without Limit Break, you can still build a pretty consistent amount of Strength with Spot Weakness or Inflame, and you can use plenty of other attacks besides Heavy Blade: you can go the AoE route with Reaper and Whirlwind, or build a deck centred around Strike cards.
What it excels in:
- Damage that can increase to insane amounts over just a few turns
- Being a versatile build that is easy to pull off even with not so much game knowledge
Strength build key elements:
- Limit Break and Strength cards like Flex, Spot Weakness and Inflame
- Heavy Blade
- Relics such as Vajra, Bag of Marbles and Pen Nib
3. Silent Poison build
Perhaps one of the most fun decks to put together, the Silent’s poison build is easy to construct and easy to play as well.
Obviously, the core cards of this build will be all the Poison cards you can find. Some are better than others though, so for starters you should make sure to gather some Deadly Poisons and Bouncing Flasks to set up your enemies for a Catalyst play. Catalyst is what will take your Poison deck to insane levels – even doubling an enemy’s poison is amazing, and upgraded, this card can even triple it.
For an easier time setting your Poison up on enemies, you might consider adding some secondary cards, such as Burst or Well-laid Plans. Relics such as Twisted Funnel or Snecko Skull can also be great additions, although not essential.
While Poison, by itself, is amazing for defeating single, big-health enemies, it doesn’t excel in fights with multiple enemies. This is where the card Corpse Explosion or the Relic Specimen come into play – the first one allows you to only focus on one enemy, that will take down the others with itself when it dies, while the second one will make sure your double-digit or triple-digit Poison value isn’t lost once one enemy is dead.
What it excels at:
- Insane amounts of passive damage
- Easy to set up
Poison build key elements:
- Any Poison-inflicting cards and relics
2. Defect Snecko Eye build
This is not the type of deck that you ever plan for, but if you can find a Snecko Eye early on (end of Act 1 is desirable) then your playstyle changes drastically, and you can build all new types of decks with combos that weren’t possible before.
What Snecko Eye does is allow you to add the highest cost cards into your deck with basically no planning, and Defect has quite a lot of them: Echo Form, Meteor Strike, Sunder, and even cards like Force Field or Glacier are some of the cards with great potential when using this relic.
All for One is also a great addition to your deck if you have Snecko Eye, as you will be able to bring back some strong cards into your hand if their cost is reduced to 0.
You should keep in mind that choosing Snecko Eye is a very high-risk, high-reward play, as even one bad turn with this Relic can end your run dramatically.
What it excels in:
- Making new, unique combos possible
Snecko Eye build key elements:
- The one and only Snecko Eye
- High-cost cards
1. Watcher Divinity build
Out of all the four characters, the Watcher has the best burst potential due to the damage-multiplying ability of her Stances. This build tests your ability to plan ahead and even your mathematical skills, as even a small miscalculation can lead to a defeat.
Divinity is the only Watcher Stance that requires more set up, as it requires you to gather 10 Mantra to enter it: cards like Prostrate, Pray, Worship and Devotion will help you do that consistently if you plan your turns accordingly.
Divinity only lasts for one turn, so you need to make sure all your important Attacks are in your hand once you reach it: luckily, the Watcher’s Retain mechanic was built for the combo potentials of Divinity. You can use cards like Windmill Strike and Sands of Time, or cards that generate Smites, such as Carve Reality and Battle Hymn – none of these cards will leave your hand once the turn is over, so you can keep them ready for when you reach 10 Mantra and enter your God-like form.
A riskier play can be using a card like Blasphemy, but you will need to make absolutely sure your enemy won’t survive past your turn, otherwise you will be defeated instead.
What it excels in:
- Huge amounts of burst damage
- Testing your skills as a player
Divinity build key elements:
- Mantra-gaining cards and Relics
- Retainable attacks
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As an expert in Slay the Spire, I can provide you with information related to all the concepts used in the article you shared. I have a deep understanding of the game mechanics, strategies, and card synergies involved in each character's builds. I can guide you through the best builds for each character and explain the key elements and cards required for those builds to succeed.
In Slay the Spire, the character you choose greatly influences your playstyle, as different cards and relics are available for each character. Each character has multiple possible strategies that you can implement to conquer the Spire.
Silent Discard build
The Silent's Discard build focuses on utilizing cards that allow you to discard other cards from your hand. The goal is to create powerful synergies by cycling through your deck and discarding specific cards for additional benefits. Key cards for this build include Tactician and Reflex, which combine drawing cards with discarding for better cycling. Other cards like Tools of the Trade, Dagger Throw, and Acrobatics help with deck cycling and discarding Tacticians or Reflexes. Cards like Eviscerate and Sneaky Strike can be added to make the most out of the Discard synergies. The Silent also has relics such as Tingsha and Tough Bandages designed for Discard synergies.
Ironclad Pain build
The Ironclad's Pain build revolves around sacrificing health for various bonuses. This build requires good decision-making skills and balancing attacks, blocks, and heals in your deck. Key cards for this build include Rupture, which increases your strength as you take damage, and cards that deal damage directly to your hero, such as Hemokinesis, Bloodletting, and Combust. You can go for a more offensive route by adding cards like Flex and Spot Weakness for quick strength build, or a more defensive route by adding block cards like Shrug it Off, Rage, True Grit, or Reaper for healing.
Ironclad Exhaust build
The Ironclad's Exhaust build focuses on killing enemies with cards that you only use once in a battle and gaining bonuses from exhausting them. The core cards for this build are Corruption and Dead Branch, which create a powerful combo. Other important cards include Barricade, Dark Embrace, and Feel No Pain, which work together to maximize the benefits of exhausting your skills. This build can be slow to set up but becomes a powerhouse once everything is in place. With Barricade and free block cards, you can reach triple digits of block in a battle.
Defect Orb build
The Defect's Orb build revolves around the unique mechanic of Orb generation. This build offers great versatility and can be done in various ways. One approach is to focus on Lightning Orbs, using cards like Static Discharge and Tempest to generate and evoke a large number of Orbs quickly. Another approach is to combine different types of Orbs, such as Frost Orbs with Lightning Orbs or Dark Orbs with Frost Orbs. The Defect has many cards and relics that enhance Orb generation, allowing for powerful combos and one-turn-kill potential.
Silent Shiv build
The Silent's Shiv build revolves around generating and playing multiple Shiv cards in a single turn. Key cards for this build include Cloak and Dagger, Blade Dance, and Infinite Blades, which allow you to generate and play multiple Shivs. Accuracy is an important card for this build, as it increases the damage of your Shivs. The Silent also has several cards that benefit from playing many attacks in one turn, such as Choke and Finisher. Relics like Ninja Scroll, Wrist Blade, Shuriken, Kunai, and Ornamental Fan greatly improve this build.
Defect Claw build
The Defect's Claw build focuses on playing lots of low-cost Attacks in a single turn. The key card for this build is Claw, which increases in damage for each Claw played in a turn. All for One is another essential card for this build, allowing you to bring back Claws and other 0-cost cards to your hand. Cards like Coolheaded, Skim, Scrape, or Overclock help with deck cycling to play your Claws multiple times per turn. This build can deal massive amounts of damage over a few turns.
Ironclad Strength build
The Ironclad's Strength build is a reliable and versatile build that focuses on increasing your damage output. Key cards for this build include Flex, Spot Weakness, and Inflame, which increase your strength. Limit Break is a core card for this build, allowing you to double your strength. Heavy Blade is another essential card that deals massive damage based on your strength. This build can be adjusted based on the available cards and relics, allowing for different strategies like offense, defense, or a balanced approach.
Silent Poison build
The Silent's Poison build is a fun and effective deck that relies on inflicting passive damage over time. Key cards for this build are Poison-inflicting cards like Deadly Poison and Bouncing Flask. Catalyst is a crucial card that can multiply the poison on enemies. Other cards like Burst or Well-laid Plans can help with setting up the poison. Relics like Twisted Funnel or Snecko Skull enhance this build. Corpse Explosion or the Specimen relic can be used to deal with multiple enemies.
Defect Snecko Eye build
The Defect's Snecko Eye build revolves around the Snecko Eye relic, which allows you to add high-cost cards to your deck without planning. This build opens up new possibilities for combos and unique strategies. Cards like Echo Form, Meteor Strike, and Sunder work well with Snecko Eye. All for One is a great addition to this build, allowing you to bring back strong cards if their cost is reduced to 0. However, using Snecko Eye is a high-risk, high-reward play that requires careful decision-making.
Watcher Divinity build
The Watcher's Divinity build focuses on entering the Divinity stance to deal massive burst damage. This build requires planning and calculation to optimize your turns. Key cards for this build include Prostrate, Pray, Worship, and Devotion, which help you gather Mantra to enter the Divinity stance. Retainable attacks like Windmill Strike and Sands of Time work well with Divinity. Blasphemy is a riskier card that instantly enters Divinity but requires careful timing. This build offers the best burst potential among the four characters.
I hope this overview of the concepts used in the article helps you understand the different builds in Slay the Spire and provides you with the information you were looking for. If you have any more specific questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!