Backlog Club: Slay The Spire Part Two – A Tale of Frustration, Obsession, and Venom

Image: Kate Gray

This article is part of our new experimental Backlog Club series, in which we (Nintendo Life!) pick a game that’s likely to be on our “games we should play” list, and then (NL + you!) spend the next one month playing this game.

This is the final part of April’s game Slay The Spire, an awesome roguelike deck builder that combines luck, strategy and perseverance…

Read Part Zero and Part One if you need a refresher!

Image: Kate Gray

Friends, buddies, backlog club participants: I have a confession. In fact, I didn’t kill The Spire. I know! I am sorry! I had a whole month to do it and believe me it wasn’t for lack of effort.

I actually contracted COVID in mid-April and spent about a week and a half doing nothing but hacking up my lungs, complaining about the cold and lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself – the last of which affected a many Video games because that was all I had energy for. So believe me when I say I’ve played one much by Slay The Spire. Even more than I had intended. I played 20 hours on Xbox and another 10 hours on Switch when I couldn’t get out of bed.

Oh, since this is a book club-style feature, by the way – have you tried the cookies? I made them specially. They are gluten free you would believe! Come on, have one with your tea.

Image: Kate Gray

I realize it’s a bit embarrassing to play 30 hours of a skill-based strategy game and not really finish it, but in my defense, it is very hard. There are three levels, each increasing in difficulty, each with a challenging boss fight at the end, and many of your achievements will be determined by the maps and relics you get along the way. Sometimes you make difficult decisions, e.g. B. whether you should keep your deck small and powerful or big and unpredictable, or whether you should take a “curse” card, which usually comes with a boon but can hurt your run.

Multiply all of these individual decisions together and you can either have a surprisingly good run or a terrible one, and both can depend on a single decision.

So, here’s how you actually beat Slay The Spire when all of those decisions work in your favor:

  1. Beat the game with the Armored Character (Emphasis Strength/Block)
  2. Beat the game with the Quiet Character (focus on Poison/Shivs)
  3. Beat the game with the malfunction Character (focuses on passive damage/orbs)
  4. Beat the game again (with any character) and make sure you get three keys along the way that grant you access Another Boss that is very tough
The beautiful keys that you MUST pick up along the way
The beautiful keys that you MUST pick up along the way

Oh, do you want more tea? I can put the kettle on if you want. Yes, there are more cookies. I see you’ve already eaten them all. No, that’s okay, that’s what they’re for, I just didn’t expect you to eat them so…quickly.

beat the game Sounds easy. And sometimes it is. i had some Fantastic builds, and I’m both proud of my ingenuity and incredibly impressed with the game’s flexibility in offering all of these options, so get ready for another list:

  • The stop hitting yourself build: A build that relied on my deck being filled with Status and Curse cards because each one would deal 26 total damage everything enemies
  • The “It doesn’t even hurt” build: Combining the Tungsten Staff (reduces all damage by one) with a bunch of cards that did me one damage in exchange for various effects (draw a card, damage all enemies, gain more energy) and a card that gave me + 2 gave Strength whenever I lost HP, so I ended up being super buff
  • The “I can do this all night” build.: Nothing special, just TONS of energy gained from various relics or The Defect’s plasma orbs that allowed me to just play every single card in my hand
  • The Trash On Purpose build: A deck built around discarding, where each discard gave me extra cards and energy, so I could just discard things until I had the cards I wanted
  • The 1-2-Punch Power build: The Defect’s incredible Echoform card lets you play the first card of each round twice, meaning you can play some really powerful cards multiple times. I combined this with Buffer (negates all damage once) and a different Echo form to basically avoid death over and over again

And those are just the ones I remember! My greatest success was with The Defect, my first successful run to the third boss on Xbox, and The Ironclad, which defeated the third boss first time on Switch, but oddly enough, I enjoy the runs with The Silent the most. I just like poison I guess.

There she is!
There she is! (Image: Kate Gray)

But even with all these amazing creative builds, I still haven’t managed to beat the game. The closest I got was with The Ironclad, who made it to the finals. final Boss (literally the beating heart of the tower), and I even had two Fairy In A Bottle potions that would negate death and heal me to 30% of my max HP, so I felt confident. But this final boss has 750 hp and hits difficultmaking it more of a war of attrition and avoidance than a fun, strategic, and fast-paced battle.

What is that? MORE cookies? Do you want me to just make you lunch or something? I think I have pizza in the fridge.

The thing about Slay The Spire is that with your map choices, you prepare yourself for certain enemies that can bite your butt later on. My nemesis is the spherical guardian that appears in Acts 2 and 3 and keeps piling on shields; The Defect’s Melter card does a great job of mitigating this, as does Silence’s Poison, but The Ironclad is out of luck. But other enemies – especially large groups – are easy work for The Ironclad, who excels at dealing damage to all enemies at once. Buuuut If you build your deck around large groups, you won’t do well with bosses… and so on. It’s all a delicate balancing act that begins as soon as you choose your character.

RIP me
RIP me (Image: Kate Gray)

So I’m wondering what I can do to make it back to the heart. Do I need a longer strategy or just luck? Should I throw myself against the wall until cracks appear? Should I try the extra-hard Ascension mode, or is that just going to cause trouble? Is there a secret I don’t know about, like never taking a certain relic or avoiding curses at all costs? That’s where you come in folks: unlike a book club, we can discuss tactics, tips and tricks in the comments, so let me know what your suggestions are – I’ll be sure to return to Slay The Spire whenever I do Fancy a quick run and I’d really like to hit it.

and since this is a book club style thing, here are some more topics for discussion for all of you!

Kill the Spire Questions

  • Which is your favorite character?
  • I didn’t mention the optional character The Watcher at all (she’s way too complicated for me) – have you played with The Watcher? What do you think?
  • Who is your nemesis in the game and why?
  • Which boss do you find the most difficult (not counting the heart)?
  • Think strategy or luck is more important in Slay The Spire?
  • Would you rather have one extra energy per turn or two extra cards per turn?
  • Did you like the cookies?

And that’s it for this month’s Backlog Club! We’ll be releasing the next game on Sunday, which will be Earthbound (thanks to your votes!) – you can pick it up via the Nintendo Switch Online service, or buy it on the 3DS, the Wii U virtual console, or any other means you choose can find. We are not picky.

Thanks for taking part in this fun new experiment and I hope you enjoyed Slay The Spire! Backlog Club: Slay The Spire Part Two – A Tale of Frustration, Obsession, and Venom

Fry Electronics Team

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