Slay The Spire: The Best Builds, Ranked (2024)

Slay the Spire combines the fun elements of a roguelike with the strategy of a deck-building game, encouraging you to experiment with new decks to beat the game's various Acts. With four characters to play, each with their own unique quirks and playstyles, it's easy to lose hundreds of hours in Slay the Spire.


Slay The Spire: Best Builds And Relics To Use With Defect

While Slay The Spire's Defect is not the easiest playable character, these builds and relics will bring out the best in them.

It's also fairly easy to get overwhelmed as a newer player. Finding out which decks are powerful is tough in a game that ultimately boils down to chance. To help you conquer each Act, we'll be covering eight builds (two for each character) that will get you familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each class. Builds listed are ordered by class, not power.

Updated on May 9, 2023 by Cameron Miller: There’s no shortage of wicked builds for you to try out in Slay The Spire. Despite the meager selection of characters, the potential builds you can try out really do add a layer of replayability to each and every class you can play. It’s never a bad time to hop back into the game and try out these great character builds.

13 Ironclad: Bunker

Slay The Spire: The Best Builds, Ranked (2)



Body Slam

Deal damage equal to your block.


Block is not removed at the start of your turn.


Double your Block.

As the character's name implies, Ironclad can fortify his health with a copious amount of Block to become a tank. Thanks to a few unique cards, you can turn your Block rating into damage, allowing you to tackle some of the toughest foes in the game from safety.

Body Slam, Barricade, and Entrench allow you to build a massive Block value, which can then be used to damage any enemy that stands in your way. Keep an eye out for Block cards and Relics like Calipers and Anchor.

12 Ironclad: Strength

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Demon Form

At the start of your turn, gain 2 Strength.

Spot Weakness

If the enemy intends to attack, gain 3 Strength.

Limit Breaker

Double your Strength. Exhaust.

As far as damage scaling goes, the Ironclad's Strength cards allow him to deal an absurd amount of damage with every attack. Instead of scaling your Block value to deal damage, you'll be scaling a buff called Strength that grants bonus damage equal to your Strength stacks.

These cards allow you to gain a massive amount of Strength in a short time span, causing your attacks to deal substantially more damage. Strength cards should be supplemented with multi-attack cards like Sword Boomerang and Whirlwind. If you can obtain Artifact from a Relic or card, keep an eye out for the Flex card and Mutagenic Strength Relic, as Artifact prevents these temporary Strength buffs from purging at the end of your turn.

11 Silent: Shivs

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Blade Dance

Add 3 Shivs into your hand.

Cloak and Dagger

Gain 6 Block. Add 1 Shiv into your hand.

After Image

Whenever you play a card, gain 1 Block.

Death by a thousand cuts is the best way to describe this build. While reliant on specific cards and Relics to come online, a good Shiv deck can annihilate most enemies and bosses through an onslaught of zero-cost attacks. It'll struggle against Time Eater and bloated decks, but those who play their cards right can create one of the most fun hooded-assassin-like builds in the game.


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Some other fantastic cards include Infinite Blades, Finisher, and Backflip. As for Relics, you have quite a few options. Keep your eyes out for Wrist Blade, Shuriken, and Kunai, as these help your Shivs scale into the endgame. The goal is to throw as many Shivs at the enemy as possible while maintaining a high Block value in case you can't kill them.

10 Silent: Discard And Draw

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Calculated Gamble

Discard your hand then draw that many cards.


Draw 3 cards, discard 1 card.

Tools Of The Trade

At the start of your turn, draw 1 card and discard 1 card.

Admittedly, this build can be a bit tougher to use to its full potential, so this is more suggested for those who are pros with Slay The Spire. The entire goal of this build is to use drawing and discarding cards to get exactly what you need.

This build lets you quickly gain access to the strongest cards in your arsenal, something that becomes even easier if you keep your deck small and powerful. Upgraded cards are key here both for attacking and card manipulation.

9 Silent: Momentum

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After Image

Whenever you play a card, gain 1 block.


Deal 6 damage.

A Thousand Cuts

Whenever you play a card, deal 1 damage to all enemies.

This can be another tricky build to use as it relies heavily on the Unceasing Top relic. Essentially, this build revolves around playing as many cards as possible to have incredible damage output against your enemies.

A tricky aspect is making sure that you have strong enough cards to pull the build off, while also making sure that those powerful cards are of a low cost. If done right, you can burn through the game with little resistance, although a few boss fights can still be tough.

8 Silent: Poison

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Bouncing Flask

Apply 3 Poison to a random enemy 3 times.


Doubles the enemy's Poison. Exhaust.


Deal 7 damage. If the enemy has Poison, deal 7 damage again.

Noxious Fumes

At the start of your turn, apply 2 Poison to ALL enemies.

Arguably the strongest mechanic tied to the Silent is Poison, a debuff that causes enemies to take damage equal to their current Poison stacks. Silent has quite a few cards that apply and multiple Poison, allowing you to consistently deal large amounts of damage across each of your turns.

There are quite a few poison cards in Silent's card pool, so you should be able to create a poison deck on your runs with relative consistency. If you get The Specimen Relic during your run, your Poison becomes substantially stronger for clearing enemies. Try to keep your deck somewhat small so you can rotate between your strong Poison abilities like Catalyst as often as possible.

7 Defect: Frost Tank

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Gain 2 Orb slots.


Gain 7 Block. Channel 2 Frost.


Deal damage equal to 2 times the number of Frost Channeled this combat to ALL enemies.

Defect relies heavily on its Orb mechanic to survive, using them to either reinforce its defenses or dish out an obscene amount of damage. This build leans towards the former, spawning as many Frost Orbs as possible to gain a massive Block rating. Since the Frost Orbs grant Block on their own, you're free to use damage and utility cards on your turn once the Orbs are set up.

Once you have enough Frost Orbs deployed, you can either focus on enhancing your Orbs or utilizing other cards to output damage. This will boil down to what cards you're offered on a given run. Try to focus on buffing your Orbs if possible, utilizing cards like Recursion and Loop to squeeze as much use out of your Orbs as possible.

6 Defect: Lightning Spam

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Lightning hits all enemies and channel 2 lightning.


Whenever you play a power card, channel 1 lightning.


Gain 2 focus, lose 1 orb slot.

If you want to be as in-your-face as possible with enemies and spam a ton of lightning, this build is for you. There are a ton of ways to use this build, but minimizing your orb slots while repeatedly firing off lightning is the key.

If you’re able to perfect this build, you’ll be melting enemy health bars like it’s nobody’s business. While this is a highly damaging build, don’t forget to include some contingency plans involving block for when things don’t exactly go your way.

5 Defect: Claw Assault

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Deal 3 damage. Increase the damage of ALL Claw cards by 2 this combat.


Deal 5 damage. If you have played less than 3 cards this turn, draw 1 card.


Gain 3 Block. Put a card from your discard pile into your hand. Exhaust.

All for One

Deal 10 damage. Put all cost 0 cards from your discard pile into your hand.

Defect's Claw build focuses on scaling a single card to deal as much damage as possible. It is similar to the Silent's Shiv build, although this deck is much more focused on deck control. Supplementing this card with other zero-cost cards will allow you to get a surprising amount of mileage out of each turn.


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Quite a few of Defect's cards cost zero Energy or give you deck control, both of which are fantastic here. With that said, try not to put too many cards in your deck, as you want to be using Claw as often as possible to ramp up its damage. Just like Silent's Shiv build, multi-attack Relics like Kunai and Ornamental Fan are fantastic for this deck.

4 Watcher: Retain

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Whenever a card is retained, reduce its cost by 1 this combat.

Windmill Strike

Retain. Deal 7 damage. When retained, increase its damage by 4 this combat.

Sands Of Time

Retain. Deal 20 damage. When retained, lowers its cost by cost by 1 this combat.

If you’re interested in trying out a build that allows you to play in a much more defensive manner, then you might want to experiment with the Retain build. This build uses skills to create the conditions to wipe the enemy field in a single turn.

This build is rather complex and requires a number of key cards to even pull it off, so it’s worth looking into the best way to create the build for maximum effectiveness. If you can pull it off, you’ll be able to counter almost any enemy in the game with ease.

3 Watcher: Creation

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Master Reality

Whenever a card is created during combat, upgrade it.

Conjure Blade

Gain 6 block. Shuffle and Insight into your draw pile.


Shuffle an Expunger into your draw pile. Exhaust.

If you enjoy the idea of creating things, this powerful Creation build will be for you. The goal of this build is to create cards and make them as powerful as possible in order to unleash brutal force on your foes.

When done right, each card you create will be immediately upgraded, allowing you to continuously create cards that can make the game quite easy, especially early on. There are a few different ways to pull off the build, so it can be a ton of fun to experiment with.

2 Watcher: Stance Master

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Deal 9 damage. Enter Wrath.


Put a card from your discard pile into your hand and Retain it. Enter Calm. End your turn.

Talk to the Hand

Deal 5 damage. Whenever you attack this enemy, gain 2 Block. Exhaust.

Flurry of Blows

Deal 4 damage. Whenever you change Stances, return this from the discard pile to your Hand.

The Watcher is one of Slay the Spire's most powerful characters, provided you learn how to master her kit. This stance build will get you familiar with her mechanics and card pool. If played correctly, you'll be able to dynamically switch between stances to output a massive amount of damage to enemies without posing additional risk to yourself.

You'll want to apply Talk to the Hand onto an enemy you're about to attack, switch to Wrath Stance, use your Flurry of Blows and any other attacks you can afford, swap to Calm Stance, then either end your turn or repeat the process. Be sure to end your turn in Calm or Neutral Stance. Otherwise, Wrath Stance will cause you to take double damage. The Talk to the Hands will allow you to repeatedly attack while gaining a massive Block shield. Any multi-attack Relics like Shuriken and Ornamental Fan are great for this deck.

1 Watcher: Scry

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Cut Through Fate

Deal 7 damage. Scry 2. Draw 1 card.

Just Lucky

Scry 1. Gain 2 Block. Deal 3 damage.

Third Eye

Gain 7 Bloc. Scry 3.


Whenever you Scry, gain 4 Block.


Deal 4 damage. Whenever you Scry, return this from the discard pile to your Hand.

Beyond Stances, the Watcher also has a powerful mechanic called Scry, wherein you're allowed to peek at the top cards of your deck and discard any you desire. This gives you an absurd amount of control over your deck, allowing you to set up combos with relative ease.

Unlike most decks, you have so much control over your deck rotation that you can play a rather large deck and do fine, so long as you have enough Scrying cards. This can allow you to equip more high-damage cards, utility effects, or even Stances. If you want to mitigate the RNG of each combat encounter as much as possible, this deck is a great choice. Virtually every Relic is beneficial for this build, including multi-attack Relics and those that bolster your Energy economy.

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Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is a roguelike game from Mega Crit Games that features cards and deckbuilding as a primary mechanic. In it, you must battle up a tower, gaining new cards and overcoming procedurally generated levels in order to reach the top.

January 23, 2019

Mega Crit Games
Slay The Spire: The Best Builds, Ranked (2024)


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