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Slay the Spire: Watcher Best Builds Guide

In the classic roguelike deckbuilder Slay the Spire, there are four different classes to choose from on your quest. The Ironclad, the Silent, the Defect, and the Watcher all have their own unique styles of play, though the Watcher’s stances can make her particularly tricky. Never fear, though — with the right understanding (and the right deck), she’s actually fairly easy to play. To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide to the Watcher in Slay the Spire, covering her mechanics and various decks and strategies you can use.

Let’s get to it!

Slay the Spire Watcher Overview

We’ll start our Slay the Spire Watcher guide with a quick overview of her character and mechanics. This includes a breakdown of her stances, as well as her starting relic and cards.

Starting Relic: Pure Water

Slay the Spire Watcher Starting Relic
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

The Watcher starts with the relic Pure Water. This relic adds a Miracle to your hand at the start of each fight. Miracle is a 0-cost card with Retain and Exhaust, and grants you one extra energy for the turn when played (two energy when upgraded). This can definitely be helpful, but Pure Water is still one of the weakest starting relics in the game.

Luckily, there’s a workaround. Every time you start a new run in Slay the Spire, the whale allows you to select a bonus from a list. These options get better the further you got in your previous run. For the Watcher, your best option is to trade out your starting relic for a random boss relic. This can be a bit of a risk, but many boss relics grant you an extra energy every turn in exchange for a drawback of some sort (the inability to earn gold or see enemy intents, for example). This is usually a huge upgrade to Pure Water, so keep an eye out for this option.

Stances

Slay the Spire Watcher Stances
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

The primary mechanic at the core of the Watcher’s gameplay are her three stances: Calm, Wrath, and Divinity. The Watcher has various cards, potions, and relics you can use to enter one of these three stances.

Calm

While in your Calm stance, you don’t gain any special mechanical benefit. However, when you exit the Calm stance, you gain two energy for the turn. This can lead to some powerful combos if you play your cards right (literally). Calm also has other benefits as it relates to other cards and abilities in the game.

Wrath

Wrath is what makes the Watcher potentially tricky to play. While in the Wrath stance, all your attacks deal double damage, but you also take double damage from opponents. Anyone familiar with Slay the Spire knows that health is a very precious resource. Healing is somewhat rare, and it’s hard to just tank hits. This makes the Wrath stance quite risky.

Divinity

Divinity is by far the best stance, but also the hardest to enter. There are very few cards/abilities that simply let you enter the Divinity stance — instead, you earn Mantra from playing certain cards. Once you have 10 Mantra, you can expend it to enter the Divinity stance until the start of your next turn. You gain three energy immediately upon entering this stance, and will deal triple damage for the duration. You can see how strong this is and why you have to jump through so many hoops.

Watcher Starting Deck

Slay the Spire Watcher Starting Deck
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

When you play the Watcher, you get a starting deck of ten cards (assuming you don’t pick a starting bonus that modifies your deck). As is often the case in Slay the Spire, the starting deck can hint toward some basic strategies for the class. The starting deck includes:

  • (4) Strike: A 1-cost attack that deals 6 damage
  • (4) Defend: A 1-cost skill that gains you 5 Block
  • (1) Eruption: A 2-cost attack that deals 9 damage and lets you enter Wrath
  • (1) Vigilance: A 2-cost skill that gains you 8 Block and lets you enter Calm

Basic Watcher Strategy

Slay the Spire Watcher Strategy
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

The key to playing Watcher is to properly manage your stances. As we mentioned above, Wrath doubles the damage you deal, but also the damage you take. Ideally, you’ll enter Wrath when your opponent(s) aren’t planning to attack, or when you have a card that allows you to enter Calm before your turn is over. If you begin your turn in Calm, entering Wrath can give you more energy to attack and return back to a less damaging stance.

You can also help yourself out with the starting bonuses. If you don’t swap out Pure Water for a boss relic, you can also take advantage of extra starting gold (helpful for refining your deck at the Merchants) or reducing your opponents’ health to 1HP for your first three fights. If you plan your route carefully, you might be able to fight your first elite at only one health! That’s obviously huge, especially if you’re trying to defeat the Heart.

Best Deck Builds for the Watcher

Now that we’ve covered the basics for the Watcher in Slay the Spire, let’s get into more specific deck builds. These can help you refine your strategy as you make your way through the Spire. Remember, however, that most of the cards you add to your deck are based on RNG. As we mentioned in our Beginner’s Guide, don’t get so married to one strategy that you ignore good cards coming your way!

Stance Change Deck

Flurry of Blows Card
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

The first deck we’ll cover is an expansion of the Watcher’s basic strategy. This deck maximizes the value you get out of changing between your Wrath and Calm stances.

Key Cards

The lynchpin of this deck is Flurry of Blows. You’ll want multiple copies of this card, and you want to upgrade all of them if you can. Flurry of Blows is a 0-cost attack that deals 4 damage (6 when upgraded). If you change stances, you return Flurry of Blows from your discard pile to your hand.

Since this deck is all about changing stances 2–3 times in a single turn, a single upgraded Flurry of Blows allows you to deal up to 24 damage even without factoring in your Wrath bonus! If you have multiple copies in your hand at the start of your turn, this damage increases exponentially.

Crescendo and Tranquility are the next cards to focus on. Crescendo is a 1-cost skill with Retain and Exhaust. When played, Crescendo enters you into Wrath. Tranquility is the exact same card, except it enters you into Calm instead. These cards are both very good for this deck for two reasons. Since they have Retain, you can hold them in your hand and for the right time to play them. They also turn into 0-cost cards if you upgrade them, which are always strong in Slay the Spire.

Mental Fortress is another instant pick. This is a 1-cost power card that gives you 4 Block each time you change stances (6 Block when upgraded). Powers are always nice in most decks, and it’s obvious why this one is so strong.

Finally, Rushdown is a 1-cost power that draws two cards whenever you enter Wrath. This card is a nice combo enabler. If you start your turn in Calm and switch to Wrath, Rushdown will also give you two extra cards to go along with the two extra energy, giving you more options to switch stances and play Flurry of Blows. Like Crescendo and Tranquility, it also becomes a 0-cost card when upgraded.

Key Relics

Relics are another mostly-RNG pickup, but there are a few with the power to significantly boost this deck. The first is the uncommon relic Bottled Flame. Upon pickup, this lets you pick an attack card from your deck that will always be included in your starting hand. Obviously, we choose Flurry of Blows.

Other helpful uncommon relics include Teardrop Locket, Kunai, and Shuriken. Teardrop Locket enters you into Calm stance at the start of each battle, which helps our strategy a lot. Kunai gives you one Dexterity for every three attacks you play in a single turn, and Shuriken does the same with Strength. Since we plan to play a bunch of Flurry of Blows, these cards will be a huge boost.

There are plenty of other relics in the game that are generically good, such as Lizard’s Tail (one of my personal favorites), a single-use revive that brings you back at 50% health when you die. However, as far as relics that specifically help the deck, I recommend keeping an eye out for Strength-boosting relics like Vajra. Seeing as this deck relies on playing a lot of attacks, any extra Strength is welcome.

Divinity Deck

Blasphemy Card
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

This is a rather straightforward deck that is all about entering the Divinity stance. The strategy is simple — enter Divinity, play a couple strong attacks, and win.

Key Cards

The best way to achieve this goal is to keep our deck as small as possible, and run several copies of the Worship card. Worship is a 2-cost skill that gives you 5 Mantra. If upgraded, Worship gains Retain, making it a more flexible card. If you can keep your deck small and run a few copies of Worship, you can guarantee entering Divinity every other turn, if not every turn. From there, you just need a powerful damage card to play while in Divinity, and you’re set.

The best option for an attack in the Divinity deck is the rare card Brilliance. Brilliance is a 1-cost attack that deals 12 damage (16 when upgraded), plus an amount of damage equal to the Mantra you’ve gained this combat.

Signature Move is another potential option, as it’s a 2-cost attack that deals 30 damage (40 when upgraded). It can only be played if you have no other attack cards in hand, but the ideal Worship deck should have no other attack cards. Sands of Time is a good third choice, as it deals 20 damage (26 when upgraded) and has Retain. It’s a 4-cost attack to begin with, but its energy cost is reduced by one at the start of your turn if it’s in your hand.

Key Relics

Specific relics are less important for this deck, but there are three that stand out. The first is the boss relic Empty Cage. When you pick up Empty Cage, you can remove two cards from your deck. We want this deck as small as possible so that it is as consistent as possible. The rare relic Peace Pipe is another good option for this, as it lets you remove cards from your deck at rest sites. To make the most of this deck, we recommend getting rid of your low-damage Strikes.

Finally, there’s the common relic Akebeko. This relic adds 8 extra damage to your first attack in a fight. If you can enter Divinity first, that’s 24 extra damage — pretty good from a common relic!

Pressure Points Deck

Pressure Points Card
Image: Mega Crit via HGG / Joel Stadler

Last but not least is our Pressure Points deck. This is one of the more difficult decks to assemble, but also the most straightforward deck in the game. All you need to do is keep your deck small and run 3–4 Pressure Points.

The key is making sure you add almost no non-Pressure Points cards to your deck while trying remove cards at every opportunity. You can probably only reasonably make this deck work if you get at least one Pressure Points early on. But when you do, it is quite strong, and in my humble opinion, quite fun.

Key Cards

Pressure Points is a common, 1-cost skill that inflicts a status effect of 8 Pressure Points on the enemy (11 if upgraded). Your opponent will then lose health equal to the amount of Pressure Points stacked on them. This sticks around the whole fight and stacks higher and higher each time you play the card.

Pressure Points deals a lot of damage, but what makes it so strong is that it isn’t technically damage. Much like the Silent’s poison, it gets around Block and doesn’t trigger effects that certain enemies get upon taking attack damage. That said, this means it also doesn’t help against certain mechanics like Plated Armor, which reduces upon taking damage. Pressure Point stacks are also negated by Artifact, which is a main weakness of this deck.

Key Relics

For this deck, you’ll want the same two relics mentioned in our Worship deck. Empty Cage and Peace Pipe both let you remove cards from your deck, which can help streamline your hand for those Pressure Points.

Join the High Ground!

That’s it for our guide to the Watcher in Slay the Spire — thanks for reading! This class can be tricky, but it has a lot of fun potential and builds. Let us know your favorite setup in the comments, and stay tuned for more Slay the Spire guides!

Happy gaming!

 

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