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Old 03-26-2018, 12:48 PM
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Default The Slay the Spire thread of talking about Spire Slaying


Please inject this game right into my veins.

Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding roguelike. Did you like Dream Quest? You need this game. Did you want to like Dream Quest but couldn't get past the graphics? You require this game.

"But Dream Quest is great," I hear you saying. "I don't need more roguelike deckbuilding." That's where you're wrong.

Why Slay the Spire is great

Listen to this boss music. Listen to this dungeon music. Right-click, select Loop. That second one in particular got stuck in my head so hard that it still hasn't come out. I would be a liar if I told you it was not a factor in my purchase.

"OK, it looks and sounds way better than Dream Quest. But Dream Quest was great for entirely different reasons."

Sure. You're not wrong. I just wanted you to be listening to one of those tracks for the explanation.

HEY NERDS, HERE IS A HUGE COMPARISON BETWEEN DREAM QUEST AND SLAY THE SPIRE. If you don't care about Dream Quest, skip the spoilerpop.

Fundamentally, Dream Quest and Slay the Spire come at the deckbuilding from different angles. Dream Quest is what I'd describe as a more traditional deckbuilder: you turn your deck into a lean, mean combo machine. Trim that fat. The best deck you ever had was something like six cards tall, none of them the ones you started with. This is a great feeling.

Card removal in Slay the Spire, on the other hand, is something that exists. It is something that, given the opportunity, you will want to do, but that opportunity might happen three times in a run, and you might pass on one of those opportunities because there's a really cool relic for sale. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to add a card to your deck after every single encounter, and a lot of the time, you will add that card. What you have in the end is less of a machine and more of a contraption, and you really hope it works.

Sorry, this probably reads as "Dream Quest does deckbuilding better." What I'm trying to say is that Slay the Spire takes an approach to deckbuilding that is more roguelike: it is more like Rogue. You might prefer one approach over the other, and there's nothing wrong with either, but they're sufficiently different to make it worth owning both (even if Dream Quest's Dragon leans toward the Slay the Spire approach).


Now, how about the combat? Dream Quest has a threefold economy in combat: cards, actions, and mana. Skill cards cost actions, spells cost mana, and everything costs the card it's printed on. The upshot of this is that card draw is always good, and you can easily draw and play your entire deck every turn with the right deck.

Slay the Spire condenses the economy to just spells and actions, but nearly every card carries an action ("energy") cost. You start with three energy per turn, and that will rarely change. This means card draw is good but not essential -- you don't have enough points to play your whole hand anyway. (Exceptions abound.) This dovetails nicely with "your deck is at least 30 cards and not all of them are very good."

(Aside: I will note that one thing Dream Quest does that I prefer is to prevent you from drawing the same card twice in a turn. Cards played in Dream Quest go to the "play area" until the end of the turn; cards played in Slay the Spire go to your discard pile and can be recycled immediately, which can be abused for infinite combos.)

Slay the Spire avoids two of my serious gripes with the combat in Dream Quest:
  • Healing. Dream Quest has some really powerful healing cards, and it's often worth wasting time in combat so you can top off. In contrast, Slay the Spire has very little healing. Instead, half of your starting deck is "Defend" cards, which give you 5 Block. What's Block? It prevents damage, but only damage you take on this turn. You can see how much damage each enemy plans to do to you this turn, which makes planning your turn a very tactical affair: is it worth taking 2 unblocked damage and playing that extra Attack card?
  • Piercing damage. Of course, Dream Quest has its own version of Block, but it also has Piercing damage, which is a "get past every defense free" card. It bypasses all resistances -- sure, that's the point of Piercing. But it also bypasses all defenses. The damage is applied directly to the enemy's health. The game sets up this huge system of interactions, then it has a back door that lets you skip all of that. WHY.



Tell me about the game, though

There are currently two characters (with another coming soon), and each has an entirely different set of cards. That card you like? The other character can't use it.

You start with access to the Ironclad, a beefmonster who specializes in allowing you to beat the game. I have one Ironclad game under my belt, which I won. Within each class, there's some meta-progression, unlocking cards that can show up in future runs.


After your first game (maybe? I'm not sure on the unlock conditions), you can play as the Silent. The Silent specializes in, like, poison and stuff. I have done about twenty Silent runs, because the Silent notably does not specialize in allowing you to beat the game.

Status effects are a Big Deal in Slay the Spire. Weak (deal 25% less damage) and Vulnerable (receive something like 50% extra damage) are fairly common for both you and the enemy, and because Weak makes damage round down, it's much better than the numbers make it sound.

But maybe you're more interested in statuses that stack. The Ironclad gets lots of cards that increase his Strength (every time you deal damage, deal that much more), while the Silent has greater access to Dexterity (every time you gain Block, gain that much more). Of course, poison also stacks, and it's about the only way to bypass an enemy's Block. (Fortunately, enemies do not poison you.)


Between rounds of combat, you are presented with a map that shows various routes you can take to get to the boss. You can see the entire map from the start of the dungeon, meaning you can plan to go up against elite enemies that give you a Relic with permanent, passive bonuses in exchange for their increased difficulty, then you can swerve to the last minute to a campsite because you have no chance of killing an elite at 10 health.

Anyway, the whole game is great, and you should play it.

"But Slay the Spire is in early access. I don't like playing early access games."

Listen. I get you. But two things here: first, the price will go up when it leaves EA, and second, it is going to leave EA any day now. For the time being, though, it's getting weekly updates with new content and balance patches. In this case, "early access" is secret code for "the developers are still interested in maintaining the game."

Also, on top of the already-lower EA price, the game is on sale in the Humble store right now. You know what you must do.
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Old 03-26-2018, 01:28 PM
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Hmm, I liked Dream Quest a lot, but thought it suffered a bit from the common DBG ailment of rote and obvious turns. That is, there were interesting decisions to be made between battles about how to build your deck, but picking the right order to play each turn's hand was usually (with occasional exceptions) fairly trivial. Battles were the way to find out if your deck was good enough, but not really a tactical challenge in their own right, a problem given how much of the play time they took up. Monster Slayers had the same problem, but it was even more noticeable because the animations further stretched the average time between interesting decisions for me.

How does StS do with this? Only being able to play a limited subset of the cards in your hand most turns sounds like a step in the right direction.
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:08 PM
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Yes! That is a marked improvement over the turn-to-turn in Dream Quest.

One big thing that I only touched on lightly is the ability to see enemy "intentions": if an enemy is going to attack you, you will see exactly how much damage it will deal. If it's going to block, buff, or debuff, you can see that, too. You don't know exactly which debuff it's going to apply, but you do know that you don't have to apply 20 Block to prevent damage if nothing's attacking you. (And I entirely omitted that battles aren't 1v1 in Slay the Spire.) The simple fact that the game asks you to proactively respond to the enemy's actions does a lot to make combat interesting even at the start of the game when your deck is just Attacks and Blocks.

I'd suggest checking out YouTube videos if you want to see this in action.
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:08 PM
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Maybe I'm just full of myself, but I feel like this entire thread is directed squarely at me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Within each class, there's some meta-progression, unlocking cards that can show up in future runs.
You have my attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
"But Slay the Spire is in early access. I don't like playing early access games."

Listen. I get you.
You don't, actually. I've sworn off of buying or playing Early Access games, and that's because they have been uniformly too good. I have the same engagement arc every time, where I play the shit out of the game in Early Access, burn out on it, and then never get around to playing it when it's actually done, which bums me out. So I'll be waiting. It's living at the top of my Steam wishlist right underneath Dead Cells, which I am also waiting on to leave early access.
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:14 PM
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I've been interested in trying this for a little while, and hearing that it'll both leave early access and get more expensive soon might be enough to get me to pull the trigger. I'll let you know if I do!
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
Maybe I'm just full of myself, but I feel like this entire thread is directed squarely at me.
Slay the Spire is directed squarely at you.

The meta progression is maybe a little disappointing compared to Dream Quest; there aren't nearly as many unlocks (as far as I can tell), and progression is tied to your score.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
You don't, actually. I've sworn off of buying or playing Early Access games, and that's because they have been uniformly too good. I have the same engagement arc every time, where I play the shit out of the game in Early Access, burn out on it, and then never get around to playing it when it's actually done, which bums me out. So I'll be waiting. It's living at the top of my Steam wishlist right underneath Dead Cells, which I am also waiting on to leave early access.
You might still want to pick up the game now, even if you don't intend to play it. It won't be this cheap again soon.

That said, I suspect the game won't stop updating when it leaves EA. How do you decide when to start playing a living game?
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
That said, I suspect the game won't stop updating when it leaves EA. How do you decide when to start playing a living game?
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:57 PM
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meanwhile I impulse bought it off of Humble Bundle

you MONSTER
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:18 PM
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I love Slay the Spire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Yes! That is a marked improvement over the turn-to-turn in Dream Quest.

One big thing that I only touched on lightly is the ability to see enemy "intentions": if an enemy is going to attack you, you will see exactly how much damage it will deal. If it's going to block, buff, or debuff, you can see that, too. You don't know exactly which debuff it's going to apply, but you do know that you don't have to apply 20 Block to prevent damage if nothing's attacking you. (And I entirely omitted that battles aren't 1v1 in Slay the Spire.) The simple fact that the game asks you to proactively respond to the enemy's actions does a lot to make combat interesting even at the start of the game when your deck is just Attacks and Blocks.

I'd suggest checking out YouTube videos if you want to see this in action.
In addition to this stuff, there are a bunch of relics that can influence how you play your turns in interesting ways.

Ice Cream lets you carry over energy between turns, so you might pass on playing a weak card now in expectation to get a stronger one later. Art of War gives you an extra energy if you didn't attack the previous turn. Pen Nib causes every 10th attack to deal double damage. Etc etc.
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:37 PM
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Anyway, here are some of my favorite decks.



Fiend Fire exhausts your hand, dealing 10 damage per card, then exhausts itself. Charon's Ashes deals 3 damage to all enemies for every card exhausted. Double Tap causes the next attack to be played twice, and Necronomicon causes the first 2+ cost attack every turn to be played twice. These don't normally work with Fiend Fire, because your hand is gone after the first use, but Dark Embrace draws a card every time one is exhausted, and Dead Branch gives a new, random card every time one is exhausted. All together and that's a potential ~380 damage for one attack, or thereabouts? Also Feel No Pain+ gives 6 block for every exhausted card.


Neow gave me a Grand Finale to start, which deals 50 damage to all enemies, but can only be played if there are no cards in your draw pile. I grabbed a bunch of draw cards of varying amounts (Acrobatics, Backflip, Prepared, Adrenaline) to draw precisely the right amount, and used Well-Laid Plans to hold Grand Finale when I couldn't get it played. Frozen Eye let me see the my draw order, which helped a lot in planning turns. It was fun, and by far the longest game I played. I got close to going infinite with the deck, but it was just a little too big.


This deck went infinite halfway through Act 2. Acro/Reflex/Backflip/Expertise to draw cards, Heel Hook to draw with some damage, Concentrate to give energy and thin the hand for more drawing, and Sundial to give a big chunk of energy after a few deck shuffles. Actually dealing damage was slow, but I picked up a Letter Opener from a shop in early Act 3, and Flechettes was regularly hitting ~8 times with all the skills in my deck.


Neow gave me a Snecko Eye to start, which lets you draw two more cards every turn, but randomizes all of their costs from 0-3. Not a great thing to start with when all you have are 0-1 cost cards! I picked up pretty much every 2+ cost card I saw, and things got pretty nuts in Act 3 when I duplicated Bullet Time and could play my entire hand pretty much every other turn. I hit my Catalyst with Nightmare to kill the last boss with something like 2000 poison damage. Also a rare sighting of Wraith Form making it in one of my decks.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:51 AM
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I finally won with the Silent last night, but I only pulled it off by cheating: if you Save & Quit during a fight, you can reset the fight from the start. It is not a practice I try to indulge in, but I was really tired of running the Silent. I reset the final boss three times before finally pulling it off.

Then I did my first daily run, which was Ironclad, so now I'm two for two on that character.

Let's talk about dailies for a bit

Like, say, Binding of Isaac, Slay the Spire has a daily challenge. It's a fixed seed, so everyone gets the same run, and you get ranked based on your score. I have no idea how to get a good score in Slay the Spire.

Now, occasionally, Binding of Isaac's dailies will have some sort of special conditions: starting items themed around a holiday, say. Slay the Spire has special conditions on every daily. This daily had three conditions, but the big one is that regular encounters drop relics instead of cards, which, first of all, is a great way to fill out your library if you haven't been playing long. More importantly, it really mixes up the way you play the game, which is really cool.

If you've played the game, you'll recognize pretty quickly that relics instead of cards is actually really good, and so maybe I can't brag too much about that win. Not all of the conditions are positive: this daily also had one that caused you to lose 1 max HP each time you entered a new room. The result (presumably) is that you have some daily challenges that are challenging, and you have others that are easy. If you're into the score attack aspect, then you've got a fight on your hands either way. If not, then you at least get a new experience each time.

FTL could really have used a feature like this is what I'm saying.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:08 AM
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I played one game as each character last night, and I have to say I'm hooked. It's certainly not as deep as I would like, but it being Early Access and all, I'm not phased.

I got a lot of relics early as The Silent that gave me three shivs in my opening hand, and had so much money I could purchase the relic that guaranteed a skill card in my first hand... so I applied that to Bullet Time. And also had Death by a Thousand Cuts and After Image... yeah, that was fun. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of juice past my first hand and diluted my deck too much with cards that didn't give me block, so I died on the final boss. But still! A lot of fun.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:58 PM
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Hooray! I finally had a successful, legitimate Silent run - on Ascension 1.



If you so much as beat the first boss on a run, you're entitled to a starting bonus on the next run. For the Silent, I like to replace her starting relic with a random boss relic, which in this case gave me the Specimen: a relic that causes defeated enemies' poison to spill onto a random other enemy.

The Silent does not actually start with any poison cards, and I haven't historically thought very highly of poison. Sure, it stacks nicely, but it's too slow. But the Specimen is a very clear mandate, so I built around the inherent slowness of poison with a very defensive deck.

After beating the first boss, I took the relic that gives you +1 energy/turn in exchange for not being able to read the enemies' intentions. At this point, I was still not thinking very highly of the run. In a normal deck, that relic is probably suicide. In a deck where I'm always stacking Block, it really doesn't matter nearly as much whether the enemy is going to attack you.

I got very lucky in the final area, picking up a silly number of copies of Noxious Fumes, which give 2 poison to all enemies at the start of each turn (3 when upgraded). Since they stack, I was sometimes passively adding as much as 20 stacks of poison. I also got lots of copies of Footwork, which increases Dexterity and therefore works very nicely with the many copies of Backflip I picked up (Block + draw 2).

This all nearly came crashing down on me at the final boss. I got the birds (Awakened One) this run. In my estimation, that's probably the easiest last boss, but it gains strength every time you play a Power. In my deck, that included Noxious Fumes and Footwork -- that's seven of my 32 cards, but then I had the genius idea to use Nightmare to spawn three more copies of Noxious Fumes. Boss bird woke up with 16 strength, which is, uh, really bad when you consider that the pre-awakened form has a six-hit attack. Also, the boss resets status when it awakens: this is also bad.

So I played it really stupidly but managed to win anyway. The MVP was definitely Blur, which adds Block but also makes it so Block doesn't fade at the start of your next turn. This was huge in mitigating hand variance. Runner-up is Backflip, which cycled through my deck fast enough that I could get Blur semi-regularly.


Through all this, I discovered the secretly-amazing Ice Cream. Spoony mentioned it earlier: it makes unspent energy carry to the next turn. Ice Cream is even better when you can see how much damage is coming and stop playing defends once you've got enough, but even in this run, it more than pulled its weight.


Hold on, what is an "Ascension 1"

Oh right. "Ascension Levels" are difficulty modifiers. You unlock Ascension 1 by getting enough wins. You unlock subsequent Ascension Levels by winning in your current highest Ascension Level. Each Ascension Level brings a new condition, and these are all cumulative: level 3 also has the effects of levels 1 and 2.

Ascension Level 1 simply adds more elite enemies, which is... not entirely bad, since elites drop relics. After that, the next few levels increase enemies' difficulty.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:37 AM
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Hey, I bought this! Not sure when I'll actually fire it up, since I'm 100% addicted to Subnautica right now and...I think I had some sort of Let's Play going? Nah, couldn't be.

Anyway, there are spire slaying times ahead! Just not sure how far ahead.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:07 PM
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Today's daily: the Silent with Diverse (two cards from Ironclad's set), Midas (200% more gold, but you can't upgrade cards), and Insanity (start with a random deck of 50 cards).

I think you buried the lede there! Let's do this.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:26 PM
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So! Insanity ends up actually being pretty good. Sure, you've got an enormous deck full of random junk, but it's random junk that is, for the most part, strictly preferable to your starter deck. Midas works really well with Insanity, too, because it's not like upgrading five of your cards is really going to make a difference in the long run.

Today's random assortment of cards has a few notable features: lots of After Image (gain 1 Block each time you play a card), decent discard synergy, and an okay amount of Accuracy (Shivs deal +3 damage) and Shiv (free damage; disappears when you use it) generation. This was a very easy deck to build around. After you've played enough After Images, you generate enough Block that you don't need any Block cards, and Shivs work really well with After Image. My final deck had three copies of Accuracy, which gave me plenty of damage.

The boss in this run was Time Eater, which you might easily imagine is not the best boss to go against with a deck like this (every 12th card you play ends your turn and gives the boss +2 Strength). It ended up just fine, because it turns out if you just play 12 cards every turn, you don't have to worry about getting caught in the cold.
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Old 03-29-2018, 06:23 AM
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I had to abandon my run because of bedtime issues but I did manage to beat the second act boss of the daily challenge last night. By the time it died it had over three hundred stacks of poison on it.
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Old 03-29-2018, 07:18 AM
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As far as I can tell, the path to victory can be boiled down to:

Ironclad: stack strength

Silent: stack poison

Note: I have not actually won with the Ironclad.

My biggest gripe with the game is the stupid whale that forces you to get to the first boss to get a starting bonus. If I'm having a bad run I should be allowed to quit without being penalized.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:52 AM
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I have found that there are many paths to victory, and poison has not historically been a very successful one. (It's all about the shiv synergies.)
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:01 AM
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You can edit your profile to flick the bonus back on. I'll check for the exact file when I get back home. I agree that you should at least be able to get some bonus option without reaching the boss, though.

Those are good ways to build a winning deck, but it's also a good idea to get some frontloaded damage in your decks. Poison and Strength scaling can take a while to really get off the ground, so a Glass Knife or Bludgeon or something can go a long way towards finishing hallway fights in a timely manner, especially since a lot of enemies will also scale as the fight goes on.

Try block stacking with Barricade and Body Slam on the Ironclad sometime too.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
I have found that there are many paths to victory, and poison has not historically been a very successful one. (It's all about the shiv synergies.)
For instance, Shivs synergize really well with the card that applies poison on every unblocked hit.

Tomorrow is my early shift so I won't have time to slay any spires tonight =(
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:08 AM
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HRNGGG
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:09 AM
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you should just buy the game, jbear

if you must, buy it now while it's discounted, then wait until EA ends to actually install it
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:12 AM
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The craziest Shiv interaction by far is with Dead Branch. Definitely try that sometime!
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
you should just buy the game, jbear

if you must, buy it now while it's discounted, then wait until EA ends to actually install it
Enh, it's only a $3 discount, and I have a policy these days of only buying games if I intend to play them immediately, unless they're discounted to under $10.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:56 AM
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For the record, both my wins came from Block strategies (one on each character). 4 x Metallicize + Blockade + Body Slam... I killed the final boss by doing 85 x 3 with my body slams.
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Old 03-29-2018, 07:32 PM
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Slay the Spire is really good! Unfortunately, it's good enough that I've already played enough for it to go through the full FTL spectrum, as I call it. That is it went from "I really like this, it's fun and interesting" to "a new update has revitalized my interest and breathed new life into the game" to "I'm clearly only playing this now to distract from problems in my life rather than for enjoyment of the game."

I beat Ascension 6 on Silent this morning, so now I've got Ascension 7 for both characters. The game gets really hard at those levels.

So yeah, I need a break. But it's really good! Everyone should play it.

Some other thoughts:

Best Boss Relic: Sozu

Best Regular Relic: Ice Cream

Best Ironclad Card: Limit Break

Best Silent Card: Adrenaline

Easiest First Floor Boss: Guardian

Easiest Second Floor Boss: Collector

Easiest Third Floor Boss: Time Keeper

Last edited by Karzac; 03-29-2018 at 07:43 PM.
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  #28  
Old 03-29-2018, 07:36 PM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
Yes, let's feast!
 
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Today's daily: Ironclad with Heirloom (start with a rare relic), Cursed Run (lose your normal starting relic in exchange for three relics with curse synergy, gain a curse when you beat a boss), and Binary (when you gain a card, you have two choices instead of three).

The Heirloom relic is Shovel, which allows you to dig for a relic at campsites instead of resting or upgrading. Shovel is really good, aside from the whole "you have no upgraded cards because you took relics instead" thing.

All of this just barely compensated for the abysmal card selection. I've never seen such an awful selection of cards. I passed on at least half of them, and it's not because my deck was any good.

I took Pandora's Box as my relic after the first boss (all your starting Strike/Defend cards are randomly transformed) and Snecko's Eye after the second (draw +2 every turn, but your card costs are randomized). Both were decidedly mixed bags, but all in all, it wasn't a terribly difficult run. It was fortunate that I had plenty of high-cost cards in my deck. The Eye was, on the whole, very beneficial, and though my defenses left something to be desired, I was putting out damage at a considerable rate.

The boss was once again Time Eater, which was just fine. Snecko Eye rarely gives you the privilege of playing a full hand of cards anyway, and Time Eater doesn't have huge damage.

Ultimately, I think I lucked into a setup that worked really well for this challenge.
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  #29  
Old 03-29-2018, 07:49 PM
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JBear JBear is online now
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I came this close to buying this tonight but then got distracted by real life socializing and have since come to my senses. Phew. Disaster averted!
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  #30  
Old 03-30-2018, 06:48 AM
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Dark Medusa Dark Medusa is offline
Bob
 
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I thiiiiiiiiink I got a different relic upon starting, not the Shovel. Besides that, I got too many curse cards and just couldn't pull the cards I wanted in the third act to live. Had the Blue Candle and everything, too.
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