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Slay the Spire is both a Roguelike and a deckbuilding game.

Neow, the Whale Edit

At the start of each playthrough of Slay the Spire players will always encounter Neow, a big, whale-like creature. If they have at least encountered the boss of the first Act in the previous run, she will offer a selection of 4 starting bonuses.

  • The first 2 options are always beneficial, often offering a common relic, gold, cards, potions, or a card upgrade.
    • As the second option Neow may offer to make the first 3 combats of this run have 1 HP. This is given in the form of the special relic Neow's Lament. The effect works on Monsters as well as Elites, but only for 3 combats. Thorough examination of the map ahead of time is crucial when given this option.
  • The 3rd option is always a trade-off, requiring the player to give all their gold or even sacrificing HP, but offering potent starting bonuses like rare relics or rare cards.
  • The 4th option has the player give up their starting relic in exchange for a random boss relic.

Traversing the Map Edit

After speaking to Neow, the player is brought to the Act 1 Map. The Map is where the player chooses their path, manipulating what kinds of rooms they will encounter. Each Act has a separate map, which is randomly generated to be different for each run (following some rules). For an explanation of the icons and options available, see Map locations.

Building a Deck Edit

In the game, the player will fight monsters, complete events and collect items. Players start out with a basic deck and acquire cards during gameplay. In this way they can improve the quality of the deck.

As the player progresses on their way upwards the Spire they will encounter a number of opportunities to add cards to their Deck. Certain cards have meaningful ways of interacting with specific relics, enemies or cards. To further refine the deck they will also be given options to remove cards from the deck, to improve the overall consistency, as well as the option to Upgrade cards to stronger versions.

Card Types Edit

There are several types of cards in the game:

  • Attack - Usually deal direct damage to one or more enemies, with some adding a secondary effect.
  • Skill - All sorts of temporary and strategic effects are in this card type. Commonly grant Block or other temporary buffs to the player or debuffs to one or more enemies.
  • Power - A permanent upgrade for the entire combat encounter. Some Powers give flat stats like Strength or Dexterity, others require certain conditions to be met or add beneficial effects whenever a certain event occurs in battle. Once played, the Power card is removed for that combat.
  • Status - Unplayable cards added to the deck during combat encounters. They are designed to bloat the deck and prevent the player from drawing beneficial cards, with some of them having additional negative effects. Unlike Curses, Status cards are removed from the deck at the end of combat.
  • Curse - Unplayable cards added to the deck during in-game events. Similar to status cards they are designed to bloat the deck and prevent the player from drawing beneficial cards, with some of them having additional negative effects during combat. Unlike Statuses, Curse cards persist in the players' deck until removed by other means.

Card effects Edit

Certain Keywords affect how cards behave during combat encounters:

  • Unplayable - Cards that cannot be played normally, unless otherwise altered, and hence have no Energy cost.
  • Exhaust - Cards that are exhausted are removed from the players' deck until the end of the encounter.
    • Although Powers do not have the Exhaust keyword, and will not activate any "on-Exhaust" effects, they will be removed from your deck for the remainder of battle when played.
  • Ethereal - Cards that exhaust themselves if left in the players' hand at end of turn.
  • Innate - Cards that are innate are guaranteed to be in the players' starting hand.
  • Retain - Cards that are kept after ending your turn.

Combat Edit

Combat is performed as a turn-based card game. Players use cards from their built deck to fight the opponents that inhabit the Spire. Players draw a default hand of 5 cards, and have 3 Energy to play each turn. Each card has an energy cost. At the end of each turn, the remaining cards in the player's hand are discarded. Then the enemies have their turn. When the player tries to draw from an empty deck, the discard pile is shuffled back into the deck.

After defeating all opponents the player is rewarded with a choice from 3 cards to add to their deck as well as some Gold and sometimes a random Potion.

Certain rare combat encounters pit the player against Elite monsters, superior enemies which are harder to overcome than regular opponents. In exchange, players are rewarded with an additional Relic at the end of battle.

Merchant Edit

When players encounter a Merchant, they have an opportunity to buy cards and supplies alike in exchange for Gold. A shop always offers:

  • 3 random Relics, potentially including some which are exclusive to the shop.
  • A card removal service, which is one-time-use per merchant. This service costs 75 Gold initially, and increases by 25 every time it is used. Can be permanently decreased to 50 this run with the Smiling Mask.

Events Edit

On their journey, players can encounter a number of Non-Combat Events of wildly varying nature. Some are strictly beneficial, offering free card Upgrades, Relics or Gold. Most have a trade-off, requiring the player to sacrifice certain amounts of gold, HP or other items or even Curse the player, but grant stronger bonuses in return. Others, however, are harmful to the player and hinder their journey by damaging them, applying Curses, removing cards involuntarily or lowering their maximum HP.

Chests (non-Boss) Edit

Sometimes players can happen across Chests while ascending the Spire. These chests open for free and always contain one random Relic. Some Relics can change what a Chest will give, however.

  • Matryoshka: While active, the Chest will contain 2 Relics, instead of one.
  • Cursed Key: Opening the Chest will add a random Curse to your deck.
  • N'loth's Hungry Face: The Chest will be empty, even if you have Matryoshka. The Matryoshka charge will still be consumed.

Rest Site Edit

Every once in a while players will encounter a Rest Site. At a Rest Site, they have the option to either rest and heal 30% of their maximum HP or to smith and Upgrade one card in their deck.

The last encounter before a Boss is always a Rest Site.

Certain Relics can add more options, while others interact with campsites themselves.

  • Regal Pillow: Rest heals an additional +15 HP
  • Eternal Feather: Entering a Rest Site heals you for 3 HP per 5 Cards in your deck.
  • Dream Catcher: Rest gives you a choice of a random Card reward.
  • Girya: Adds the "Lift" option to gain a permanent +1 Strength (max 3 times).
  • Peace Pipe: Adds the "Toke" option to remove a card of your choice from your deck.
  • Shovel: Adds the "Dig" option to gain a random Relic.
  • Ancient Tea Set: Whenever you enter a Rest Site, start the next combat with 2 additional Energy.

Boss Edit

At the end of every Act, a Boss awaits the player. Bosses are very strong opponents which the player has to overcome in order to progress. All Bosses have powerful attacks and often unique skills and effects which the player has to fight around strategically.

Defeating a Boss will heal the player to full HP for the following Act. Bosses are NOT meant to be challenged while retaining your HP for future encounters. Defeating a Boss with 1 HP remaining is a perfectly valid and safe strategy (until Ascension Mode, at least...)

Bosses offer vastly superior rewards for their difficulty. Upon defeat, Players receive an increased Gold reward (typically 90-110 gold), a guaranteed Potion, a choice from 3 Rare Cards for their class, and a choice from 3 exclusive Boss Relics.