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Quick Look: Slay the Spire (Nintendo Switch)

Brad and Jan meet a mystical whale in the sewers and if you play your cards right you can too!

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

Jun. 5 2019

Cast: Brad, Jan

Posted by: Jan

In This Episode:

Slay the Spire

55 Comments

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GenericGirlName

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Edited By GenericGirlName

I was immediately sold by this quick look, then discovered its not purchasable in the nintendo shop until TOMORROW. Betrayed.

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ripelivejam

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Damn me without my Switch.

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deactivated-5e851fc84effd

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I've been inordinately excited for this to come to switch! Glad it's so soon.

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AzureGale

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Wooo, good to see this game finally get a proper Quick Look! (I know Ben played this on a video previously)

The Switch is a great fit for this game, but it's pretty dang good no matter where you play it. I'm a sucker for card-game-esque mechanics, haha.

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mozzle

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This game is so good!!!

Have well over 100 hours in it.

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CristianARG

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this game is great

little pro tip: the fewer cards you have the better, you dont want a deck that has more than 8/10 cards

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MunnyShh

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Brad: "Fungi Beast...ok"

Jan: "Not look too fun to me"

Jan, you slay me! Ha

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keneposan

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@cristianarg: To be fair, that totally depends on your build!

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keneposan

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I clocked in 216 hours before completing the 20th ascension level with The Silent in January. This game (and similarly Into the Breach) is an absolute masterpiece.

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CristianARG

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@keneposan: yeah some builds work better with a big deck, but for beginners its easier to beat a couple of runs with a small very consistent deck

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keneposan

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@cristianarg: Definitely as a rule of thumb it's better to prune your deck then add to it (card removal is worth it at almost any cost) until you get a card you can build around.

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asmo917

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I'm 20 minutes in and screaming for Brad to lean into Poison. It's such a good mechanic once you get stacks going...

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SchrodngrsFalco

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Edited By SchrodngrsFalco

For anybody worried about having to unlock new cards, the total set of cards unlock VERY fast. It's not like you're grinding. It's more to keep the card pool decreased for new players so they can ease into the full variety.

Also, you can increase battle speed in settings so that animations are much quicker. EDIT: looks like they mention it but don't show it.. even though Brad says he wants to see it.. huh.

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buzzcola1

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The switch is now my steam library 2.0. I'm so broke please stop.

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KnockingNick

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Edited By KnockingNick

I think this is my first time seeing a combination of card battling and roguelike/lite gameplay. Have other games done this before?

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deactivated-5e851fc84effd

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I think this is my first time seeing a combination of card battling and roguelike/lite gameplay. Have other games done this before?

Nope.

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Erlog

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Please play a game for more than 20 minutes before doing a Quick Look -or- don't bother attempting to try to explain stuff because you will just get it wrong. Jan seems to not really know how the basic mechanics work despite him saying this was his favorite game of last year. I bought it after he played it during a Breakfast 'n Ben and have put 500 hours into it since.

This is a fantastic game and if you like roguelikes or card games you should definitely buy it, but do understand it's entirely draft. It's not a "deckbuilder" like Hearthstone or Magic. You sometimes get great relics and great cards. Sometimes you don't. Learning how to account for the variance is why the game is fun and always interesting.

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bakoomerang

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Edited By bakoomerang

This game is awesome, but beware - it will lull you in, lift you up, make you feel unbeatable... and then it will break your damn heart!

I'm not super great at it, but I played quite a bit on PC (around 70-ish hours). It normally doesn't bother me watching the guys play games in their own way (as everyone should!), but something about this game and watching Brad make certain decisions as a new player was driving me nuts!

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keneposan

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@erlog: Flipside: Do you need to watch a quick look of a game that you have 500 hours in?

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personandstuff

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It's his first time but damn is it hard to resist the urge to reach through the screen and shake Brad.

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faridmon

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Edited By faridmon

I keep reading that people have 100+ hours in this game. Do I need that much hours to get the most out of it? Can the game be beaten less than that?

I was about to get it for the Switch, now I am not sure. Don't want to invest that much into another game (League of Legends already takes so much time out of me)

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SwissLion

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So I know y'all don't read comments very often, for good reason(!), but there were a few things that will be useful for Brad (and anyone else reading this!) to know if they want to get deeper into this game (And I recommend it! It rules!!)

1) Power cards Apply for the entire rest of the battle. This is a huge difference between them and normal cards which it seemed brad was missing. So, "You retain a card at the end of your turn" means every turn. "You apply 2 poison at the start of your turn" Means every turn. It is something that becomes true about you for that battle. These can get really involved and there are whole builds around them, especially for the third character.

2) Unless you are retaining cards (a rare occurrence), there is almost never a reason not to play 0 cost cards. I think this may have been a habit Brad picked up from Steamworld Quest where there was a Hard three card limit, and you retained cards by default (Understandable! I cant imagine HAVING to switch between so many games so often. I get mixed up just going from Dragon's Dogma to Hitman). You lose all your cards at the end of the turn, and unless it's an exhaust card, it will come around again when your deck gets reshuffled. So there was no opportunity to "Save" that Flex card in the first run. Nor the Neutralise card in the last fight. Smoke em if you've got em.

3) Unless a Power Card or Relic (such as the Coffee Dripper) says "Gain Energy at the Start of your turn" (again, meaning every turn) it will only give you that excess energy when it says. So tactician gives you 1 energy, now, when it's discarded, meaning you get a refund on whatever you used to discard it (Or an energy profit if the card you used was free, as several Silent cards are) Similar for Sneaky strike, you get two energy (The same as was used to cast it) this turn. Flying knee gets you energy next turn. etc. etc. These are great effect, and whole builds can rest on them, but there is a reason that the Coffee Dripper has such a harsh trade-off. Extra Energy every turn is incredibly powerful.

4) The "Cost" of resting at a fire is an opportunity cost, in that you don't get to upgrade a card. Which can be very powerful. Many builds are specifically built around upgrading just one or two specific cards. This means that one's priority for most fights should be to absolutely minimise the amount of damage you take. Unless an enemy is gaining power, it doesn't matter how long you take to beat them, so turtling is generally the go. This is less true with the Ironclad with their built in heal. For them, so long as you're averaging less than 6 hp lost per fight, you will stay near full and be able to safely upgrade more cards.

5) And actually, probably most importantly, because it's maybe the least intuitive part of any deck-building game, Removing cards from your deck is one of the most valuable things in the game. And not just for Curses. Almost every card you add to your deck, moving towards a specific build or just value cards, will be just strictly better than your basic cards, especially basic strikes. What you want is to see your good cards more often, and your mediocre ones less. A deck full of great cards that synergise with each other doesn't matter much if half your deck is still mediocre basic cards. This is why you will often see top-tier players skipping card rewards when there isn't an option that fits into the build. If a card is not making your deck better, it is making it worse.

Anyway! Hope that wasn't too backseat preachy and was more on the helpful side. I'm excited to see lots of people interested by this port. It is a great game for short pops on a commute, or marathon sessions on trips or at home. And it's a great introduction to deckbuilders in general.

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SwissLion

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@faridmon said:

I keep reading that people have 100+ hours in this game. Do I need that much hours to get the most out of it? Can the game be beaten less than that?

I was about to get it for the Switch, now I am not sure. Don't want to invest that much into another game (League of Legends already takes so much time out of me)

It can be that for people who want it. There are streamers who play it basically full-time, with it's NG+ equivalents.

But I only have 40ish hours in it, and that's after I dived back in again recently. That's plenty of time to unlock all the characters, all their unlockable cards, and get reasonably deep into end-game stuff.

It can easily just be something you jump in for a run of every once in a while, and will be great for that, too.

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Ten19

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@brad! Remember the Power cards are permanent once you play them, and will occur every turn.

Love this damn game.

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keneposan

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@faridmon:There are three characters, each with its own unique deck, and 20 "ascension" levels. Each character has a multitude of strategies, deck building varies every run, and each ascension level adds a modifier making the game more difficult. That's why this game is an hour sink and also like most strategy games, it usually sits idly in the background between runs.

I can only speak to my experience, but at a certain point I was playing for mastery versus completion. I feel really good about my time with the game without having beat the 20th ascension level with all three characters. At its core, it's just a really fun game to experiment with. You also get a complete experience (no card packs, expansions, DLC, etc.) which is a problem with most card games on the market, both physical and digital.

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CrashTanuki

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This is great on the PS4. The only issue I have is that the cards can cover the enemy's bar/icons/shield/etc at times, so I'd have to move up to see what effects I need to be aware of.

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For anybody worried about having to unlock new cards, the total set of cards unlock VERY fast. It's not like you're grinding. It's more to keep the card pool decreased for new players so they can ease into the full variety.

Also, you can increase battle speed in settings so that animations are much quicker. EDIT: looks like they mention it but don't show it.. even though Brad says he wants to see it.. huh.

I took it as he just wanted to see it, as in look at others streaming it with those settings active.

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Delias

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Ahhh. I don't usually get frustrated watching people play games "non optimally" like an asshole. This game is an exception to that, apparently.

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SethMode

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@delias: For me, it's apparently this and Spelunky. Yet, I would watch content for both (irrationally angrily).

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GamerChiCcK

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@swisslion: Thanks for the tips! :D I'm picking this game up as soon as it comes out on switch tomorrow and I can't wait to dive into it.

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echasketchers

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yeah this game owns. I have about 25 hours in it but want to keep going, there's a lot to learn and I feel like I'm only scratching the surface.

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Edited By steveurkel

32 life left

Enemy attacking for 16

"Yeah this will be ok"

Next turn, enemy attacking for 20 has 17 life left... uses pick a random card and gets ... more damage instead of block.

Damn, I was impressed for a first run. This game is a bastard.

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spiketail

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Edited By spiketail

Ah, mathematics, things clearly explained/paying attention and reading comprehension. Young Bradley's Arch-Nemeses.

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splodge

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This is one of those games, having played it from early access, that I desperately want an expansion for. A couple new characters and decks would be fantabrilliantastic.

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ilikepopcans

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Also as a fan of this game, this QL is unwatchable. I glad you seem to be enjoying Brad.

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capnrobert

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there was a point brad where you said am I missing something and yes you were, removing strikes or defends is valuable keeping the number of cards in your deck low will keep it more consistent and improve how much you win, all of my full 4 floor clear runs have been decks with 20 cards or less.

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frustratedlnc

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This was not the run

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forteexe21

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A classic Brad quick look.

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PortableDan

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@frustratedlnc: It was a practice run. Not meant to be recorded but might as well throw it up prior to the run.

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sekou

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Brad: please, for the love of goodness....please stop forgetting to explain the game to your audience BEFORE just jumping in! 8/10 times it seems like your streaming partner had to be the one to remind you. It was 4 minutes into this quick look before Jan was kind enough to walk it back and explain it for the rest of us. Thanks in advance.

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Edited By steveurkel

Am I missing something? In a game where you discard and constantly renew your deck why would you ever not use the 0 cost damage cards.

I mean when no one is blocking already.

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Edited By alexkazam

@erlog: Just a note, "deck builder" is a term generally used in tabletop gaming to define games where you build a deck over the course of a game, which perfectly defines this game, and follows much of the same strategies you see in tabletop deck builds (like removing weak cards over time to keep a consistent deck). MTG And Hearthstone are often considered Trading Card Games or Constructed format games, where you play with a pre-constructed deck. Drafting is an okay way to describe this, but has some other meanings in in various games with relation to how deck building occurs.

This game is excellent though, and like others have said, watching this quicklook is difficult if you know what you are doing, I wanted to yell through my screen to Brad not to discard his hand without spending all his energy or playing all is 0 energy cards.

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beefmotron

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@steveurkel there are a few edge cases where you wouldn't want to play a 0 cost attack (like the gremlin that gains strength when attacked), but generally yeah you want to do as much damage as you can and play all of your attacks if there's no tradeoff.

Brad did a lot of misplays, but hey that's part of learning.

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Deathpooky

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@faridmon said:

I keep reading that people have 100+ hours in this game. Do I need that much hours to get the most out of it? Can the game be beaten less than that?

I was about to get it for the Switch, now I am not sure. Don't want to invest that much into another game (League of Legends already takes so much time out of me)

You can likely "beat" the game with each character in 5-10 hours depending on your skill level, unlock the cards in another 10 hours or so. If you just want to see an ending, see every boss/card, then it's a reasonable amount of time.

The real 100+ hour comes from the escalating difficulty of ascensions, the high variability in terms of your runs leading to fairly different experiences in each run, and the very high skill ceiling letting you always feel like you're getting more out of the game. Every time you beat the game, you unlock a higher tier difficulty level with that character which creates compounding difficulty modifiers, so the game will very quickly scale to get more difficult as you get better at it.

And beating the ascension 15+ is no joke, even the best players in the world lose more than they win at A20. I've only beaten A20 with one of the three classes after 200 hours.

I compare it more to something like Binding of Isaac than or Spelunky than a traditional card game. It's built in such a way that you can a ton of different runs and challenges out of it, and can basically play it endlessly since you'll almost always have to bring in a new strategy depending on what the run gives you.

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Genji-Gloves

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This game is great, good fit for the switch.

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The_Nubster

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Keep meaning to dive into this game but I dislike the art style something strong. There's something missing, some kind of shading or depth. I think it looks really ugly, even though it's full of really cool designs.

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Erlog

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@faridmon: It's kind of like Isaac in that it unlocks new stuff as you beat it (although, not quite the same insane amount of stuff). You don't need to play for hundreds of hours to get the most out of it. It's very fun from the start, and it doesn't take long to unlock all the cards/characters.

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Erlog

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@alexkazam said:

@erlog: Just a note, "deck builder" is a term generally used in tabletop gaming to define games where you build a deck over the course of a game, which perfectly defines this game, and follows much of the same strategies you see in tabletop deck builds (like removing weak cards over time to keep a consistent deck). MTG And Hearthstone are often considered Trading Card Games or Constructed format games, where you play with a pre-constructed deck. Drafting is an okay way to describe this, but has some other meanings in in various games with relation to how deck building occurs.

This game is excellent though, and like others have said, watching this quicklook is difficult if you know what you are doing, I wanted to yell through my screen to Brad not to discard his hand without spending all his energy or playing all is 0 energy cards.

I play tabletop games, know this, and don't care. The fact remains that what video game players call "deckbuilders" and what tabletop people call "deckbuilders" is different, and that's why I put the term in quotes and gave examples of what I meant.

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Gazoinks

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Grabbed this yesterday and was immediately blown away. Great, great game. Combining deckbuilding with roguelike is such a smart combo, I'm surprised it wasn't done sooner. I hope the game was successful enough for an expansion. It seems like it'd be pretty easy to add more characters and cards with how the game's structured.