Saturday Morning Gaming: Returning to the Spire
A deck-building combat game that had the three archetypical characters of Warrior, Assassin/Thief, and Mage. Well, they’ve introduced another character: The Watcher. This is the Ninja/Monk archetype. This character introduces two different new mechanics to the game: Retain and Stances.
Retain is easy enough to grasp. Up to this point, all of of the leftover cards in your hand were tossed into your discard deck when you ended your turn. Now, some cards have “Retain” on them and they are kept in your hand at the end of the turn to be available on your next turn. (Your hand size remains the same so the retained card means that instead of drawing 5 new cards (or how many you should draw) you’ll only be drawing 4 because the retained card is already in your hand.)
This allows you to eliminate some small amount of risk when it comes to what your next hand is going to be. You know that you’ve got this particular card that you can play. (Now, sometimes, it can be a pain because you’ll want a certain card and you won’t be able to draw as many cards as you’d like… but hey. That’s part of the game.)
The second mechanic the game introduces is the Stance. There are 4. The neutral stance is the default. Stanceless, I guess. The next two are the ones that are interesting: Calm and Rage. When you are in Calm, you don’t get any real bonus other than that leaving Calm will give you two additional energy next turn. When you enter Rage, you do double damage… but the downside is that you take double damage. So a good setup would be a card that puts you in Calm as your last card of round 1, and then a card that puts you in rage for your first card of round 2… now you have 2 extra energy and do double damage. (Better kill everything, though… or have a card that will put you back into Calm OR have you go back to a stanceless stance.)
The fourth stance is Divinity. You do TRIPLE damage in this stance… but it’s a difficult stance to get into (potions can do it, there are cards that help nudge you toward it) but, once in it, you do mega damage. (Best hope that you enter into it when you also get a good draw for damage.)
So far, I’ve encountered no fewer than three fun builds with the Watcher. A build where you jump back and forth between stances, a build where you pretty much stay out of Rage and just have a lot of defense and a lot of “Pressure Point” cards (similar to poison… you apply 8 “marks” and then every creature with a “mark” will take one point of damage for each one… I’m sure that you can see how this can be fun when you have multiple such cards and multiple enemies to fight), and a build where you are regularly jumping into Divinity. I die a lot but, dang, each one of these is FUN.
If you haven’t played Slay the Spire in a while, play it again. You’re going to be delighted by and frustrated with The Watcher.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is Slay the Spire opening screen. Screenshot taken by the author.)