Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (2024)

One of the greatest roguelikes and deck-building games of all time, Slay the Spire challenges players with navigating a treacherous path, destroying every enemy in their way, and climbing to the top of the tower to defeat the final boss. It requires a combination of skill, strategy, and luck to survive and even more to triumph.

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At the beginning of Slay the Spire, Neow the whale offers the player a choice of starting bonuses. These range from simple offerings of gold or health buffs to risky gifts of powerful but random relics. Though it is but a single choice at the beginning of the game, the choice of starting bonus can easily make the difference between victory and defeat and can alter the course of one's entire strategy. Here are the best starting bonuses in Slay the Spire.

8 Replace Starter Relic With A Random Boss Relic

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (1)

Each class begins the game with a unique starter relic, and this bonus gives the player the option to replace that relic with a boss relic. Boss relics are grant incredibly potent effects, but choosing this bonus is risky. Some boss relics bring terrible drawbacks.

The Busted Crown allows the player to choose from two fewer cards on the Rewards Screen. Sozu prevents the player from gaining potions. Runic Dome prevents the player from seeing enemy intents. Yes, there's a chance the player might get the Snecko Eye or another ultra-powerful relic instead, but the high chance of sabotaging the run from the start makes this starting bonus risky.

7 Transform 2 Cards

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (2)

Transform permanently turns a card into a different random card. Like many things in Slay the Spire, there's a high amount of RNG that determines the usefulness of this starting bonus. Choosing it doesn't guarantee that the chosen cards will actually transform into something the player wants.

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That said, Transform 2 Cards can be a great starting bonus overall, jump-starting the player's deck by turning some early dead weight into powerful resources or even the beginning of combos that will dominate the rest of the run. How comfortable the player is with adapting their strategy to the RNG of the cards they receive will determine how much they like this starting bonus. If nothing else, it's one of the fastest ways to switch up the deck in Act 1.

6 Obtain A Random Common Relic

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (3)

Relics can provide a huge variety of bonuses, and it's common for entire runs to be shaped by a handful of relics or even just one, transforming the player's strategy and chances of success in an instant.

It's always better to choose a reward than to receive a random one, since choosing lets the player craft everything to their chosen playstyle, but receiving a common relic (even at random) can be game-changing, especially since it occurs at the beginning of Act 1 when the player has very little else in their favor and the entirety of the game still ahead of them. There's good reason to choose this if the player can't stomach the drawback of other options.

5 Choose A Rare Colorless Card

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (4)

Colorless cards don't belong to any particular character's set and instead belong to a general pool. There are upsides and downsides to this fact. Cards in a given character's set are designed to synergize with one another, so colorless cards often don't feed into the character's strategy the way their own cards would.

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That said, colorless cards can be used to set up potent and unexpected combos that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Receiving a rare colorless card early on can push the player towards strategies they wouldn't otherwise pursue, particularly if their route through the map leads to some unexpected rewards early on that synergize well with the rare card. It can be hard to squeeze the most value out of these cards, but when it's done right, this starting bonus proves itself to be worthwhile.

4 Obtain A Random Rare Relic

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (5)

Everything that is said about obtaining a random common relic holds true for obtaining a random rare relic, but the effects of these relics are much more significant. Yes, the player is losing a measure of control over their run by deciding to let RNG fundamentally change the operation of their deck, but the effects of rare relics are often worth it.

From the card-drawing power of the Dead Branch to the protective powers of the Incense Burner to deck-boosting Prayer Wheel, random relics are easily some of the best items in the game. An experienced player knows how to make the most of whatever they receive, making this one of the best starting bonuses overall.

3 Enemies In The First Three Combats Have 1HP

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How good this starting bonus is depends on what the first few stops on each path look like. It's not worth taking this bonus just to coast through three regular battles, so the player will almost always have better options if the initial battles are with basic enemies only.

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If, however, there is an Elite enemy within the first three combats, this becomes one of the best starting bonuses. Being able to kill an Elite in one hit, gain a powerful reward from it, and possibly even use the battle to heal any HP that may have been sacrificed during events is an incredible combination. It is only because the effectiveness of this starting bonus depends solely on map composition that it doesn't rise higher in the rankings.

2 Gain 250 Gold

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (7)

A starting bonus that is as powerful as it is simple: receiving 250 gold is a strong and reliable reward that's most effective if there is a Merchant near the starting area. With this extra gold, the player can pick up a powerful relic or two, and unlike the random relic offerings that come with most starting bonuses, the player will be able to choose what they receive and therefore shape their strategy around it.

Even if the player can't reach a Merchant right away, this starting bonus is still useful, though its value is most obvious when relics or cards can immediately be purchased. In a game where so much is uncertain, this starting bonus gives the player a measure of control, which at the start of a run means everything.

1 Choose A Rare Card

Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (8)

A single card can make the difference between dying in Act 1 and beating the game. Players can get lucky and receive just what they need when they need it as a random reward, but far stronger is the ability to choose one's own card. Choosing a rare card before the player even enters their first battle in Act 1 makes that act, and the rest of the run, far simpler.

The character can use Immolate to party-wipe the weak enemies in Act 1, Feed to raise Max HP to provide a damage buffer against the lethal foes of later acts, or another powerful card to solve many of the challenges they would otherwise face. The choice of a rare card isn't enough to make up for carelessness or lack of strategy, but for players that know how to use it well, this starting bonus can be game-winning.

Slay the Spire is available now on Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.

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Slay The Spire: The Best Starting Bonuses, Ranked (2024)

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