Slay the Spire: A Guide to Ascension 20

Learn How to Beat This Challenging Game... 20 Times!

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Slay the Spire is an indie rogue-like deck building game that has you climbing a tower and battling enemies that become subsequently harder the farther you make it. The caveat is that for each turn-based card battle won, you receive rewards in the form of better cards, potions (one time use items), and gold. Gold can be used at the store for relics (permanent buffs), potions, and cards. It is an incredibly simple game, highly addictive, and painfully difficult. 

Each time you beat the game you can restart it at a higher difficulty, or Ascension, all the way up to 20 levels. Each new ascension gives you something else to stress about like starting your run up the tower damaged or cursed, to making bosses and enemies tougher. Getting to and completing Ascension 20 is no easy feat but I’m here to hopefully help along the way.

For each class, of which there are four, I’ll provide some tips, tricks, and great cards to look out for!

Class 1: The Ironclad

Slay the Spire The Ironclad

The Ironclad is Slay the Spire‘s run-of-the-mill soldier character, whose starting relic is healing six hit points after each successful fight. He is the most straight-forward strategically and the easiest class to play to learn the game. Typically in Slay the Spire you want to minimize the amount of damage you take as much as possible, and with the Ironclad it is quite easy to do that early on. Instead of needing to negate all incoming damage, you can leave space to take up to six hit points because you’ll heal that amount when the enemy encounter is over – so keep that in mind! The easiest deck with the Ironclad is to focus on cards that increase strength such as Inflame, Spot Weakness, Demon Form, and Limit Break (which lets you double your current strength). Pairing these cards with Heavy Blade, an attack affected by strength five times over, can lead to massive hits, sometimes ending a boss fight in one or two attacks!

Class 2: The Silent

Slay the Spire The Silent

The Silent’s trait is that she gets an extra card draw, which can be very helpful to ensure you have options during a fight. She has the lowest starting health though so you may want to invest in some defense early on. Some of the decks I’ve had the most success with include stacking poison damage with Deadly Poison, Poisoned Stab, and Catalyst, doubling the enemy’s poison. This is a similar build to the Ironclad’s deck described above. Another good deck for The Silent involves stacking Shivs (Blade Dance, Cloak and Dagger) which are weak but free-to-play cards. If you receive the Shuriken relic, which is a permanent upgrade that gives you 1+ strength for every three attacks you do in a turn, it can make the Shivs deceptively powerful. 

Class 3: The Defect

Slay the Spire The Defect

The Defect is probably the most difficult class to learn in Slay the Spire. He has orbs that follow him around and deliver passive benefits such as damage, defense, or even more energy to play additional cards. A lot of his strategy has to do with how to manage these orbs. It’s recommended to focus a deck on one specific orb-type. For example, only go for cards that stack Frost orbs or only go for cards that stack Lightning orbs. These cards will stack on each other as opposed to having a bunch of different types of orbs that do not work well together. My favorite deck of his includes Ball Lightning, Static Discharge, and Tempest. These cards will lead to an AOE nightmare for large groups of enemies.

Class 4: The Watcher

The Watcher from Slay the Spire

The Watcher is another strategic character-type. Her focus is on entering and leaving different forms at the right times. After entering and subsequently leaving her Calm form, you gain more energy to play cards. When in Wrath form she deals double damage but takes double damage from enemies as well. Knowing when to enter and leave Wrath is key to winning difficult fights. Her final form is Divinity, which has her dealing triple damage to enemies with no downside! For the higher Ascensions I’d recommend going the Divinity route; stacking mantra with the cards Prostrate (+2 mantra) and Devotion (+2 mantra at start of turn). Once you hit ten mantras you enter Divinity for that turn only and then your mantra counter goes back to zero. This is your opportunity to deal some massive damage before building up your mantra again. 

Hopefully at least some of these deck-building tips help you climb all the way to Ascension 20 in Slay the Spire in no time!


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When I’m not traveling and writing I’m playing video games and writing. I enjoy immersive, open-world RPG games, love to pretend I’m good at Fortnite, and want to share my gaming world with you!

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