I have only written about Slay The Spire twice – once back in February, 2018 on a recommendation from Zubon at Kill Ten Rats; and a second time when I gave it my coveted game of the year award in December 2018. That approval is as powerful as an Oscar, and many game companies wine and dine me for that title.
A bit of delusions of grandeur there, but I mean, I think my dog likes my writing. Well, being pet by me while I write anyway.
Hurry up and go buy it if you haven’t already. I’m sure there is / was / will be a Steam sale at some point on it.
No, seriously. Money back guarantee! (from Steam*).
If you already own it go back and play it – I had not done that for a while and was delighted when I did to meet the new class : The Watcher.
The Watcher is inspired (aesthetically, at least) by martial arts and is the second female playable character. One male-ish, two females, one androgynous robot thingy. You know, you usual cast of characters.
The core mechanic to the Watcher is a “stance dance”. Various cards and potions allow you to enter “Rage” or “Calm”,. While in Rage you do double damage – but also TAKE double damage. Being in Calm doesn’t do anything, but leaving Calm grants you two Energy.
There are some great ways that this plays out. Your enemy telegraphs that they are going to attack – 6 damage in the above. I use Rupture to do 9 damage and enter Rage, then use Strike to do 12 damage (up from 6), and then a card to place me into Calm (or out of my current stance) and I have just traded 4 to 1 on damage suddenly. The danger is entering Rage without a way to exit it – it’s a big gamble that can lead to some pretty spectacular deaths if you aren’t careful.
And I don’t play careful.
There are a lot of fun, new cards introduced here and also some new Relics. My favorite is a poison style mechanic that each time you use it, does that damage to the enemy – but it stays on them and you can layer it next time. It also does that damage to all. So an 11 damage card does 11 the first time, and when you put another 11 on it does 22 the next. It’s a good way to skip shields and armor and go straight for the health. When you have this card you just want more of this card, and nothing else – so you keep your deck small if you can.
Another favorite is Judgement, which takes any creature with less than 30 health and kills them outright. That is a fun one. There is also a huge chain card that goes ALPHA (spawns a beta card), BETA (spawns an Omega card) and OMEGA (gives a buff that does 50 damage this turn, and the next turn, and every turn into they are all dead or you are dead). Having a couple of those as well as lots of defensive cards is also a fun deck to build.
This character also plays in “Scry” territory – looking at upcoming cards with the ability to discard the card – but I find that deck type and the beneficial supporting cards aren’t as strong to build as the Alpha decks I listed above.
The last, fun pathway to winning and deck building is ‘Mantra’. If you can get your Mantra to 10, you do triple damage that round. There are items and cards that grow mantra each turn, and my favorite is one that puts you into the state but then kills you next round if you don’t already win. That is a high risk play!
There are many ways to build win conditions with the Watcher. It has been a fun, refreshing visit back to the game.
Anyhoo – getting good with the Watcher and have had some deep runs – but haven’t beat the third boss yet. It took me long enough on the other characters to do that – you need just the right blend of Relics, Cards, and luck – and in a highly randomized game of skill it’s hard to hit on all three on any given run.
Have you gone out to buy already? SHOO!
*I don’t know Steam’s return policies but I know you won’t return it anyway, unless you have bad taste.