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Slay The Spire is a Roguelike RPG with Card Battle Game style Fight Like a Card Player mechanics, made by an indie game developer known as Mega Crit. It follows the story of several mysterious outcasts as they attempt to climb the eponymous Spire, all in the hopes of reaching its heart and destroying its evil influence. This won't be easy, as the Spire is full of cultists, monsters, hostile constructs, and even stranger terrors, all looking to bring your quest to a premature end.
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The game received its full Steam release on January 23, 2019 with three fully-playable characters and a daily run mode. On June 6, 2019, the game released for the Nintendo Switch.

This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Bomb: The aptly named Exploder, which does two attacks and then explodes for 30 damage on its third turn.
  • After the End: Several relic descriptions mention a "Spireblight" that seems to have wiped out most of the edible plant life in the world. The relics in question are various pieces of fruit, which are treated as precious artifacts of a time long past.
  • Asteroids Monster: Large Slimes will swap their current action to Split once they reach half health, splitting into two smaller Slimes that each have the amount of HP the Large Slime had remaining when it split. The Slime Boss takes it further by splitting into two Large Slimes that can split further.
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  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Outside of the Silent (whose skin tone is normal for African ancestry) no other humanoid character has a human skintone, with most varying from blue to green to gray. Of course nothing says that they're human.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Depending on your deck, a lot of seemingly amazing cards can just wind up being dead weight if you don't have the right cards to fully take advantage of their abilities. Many cards only shine with other cards or even relics to provide synergy. Likewise, some relics are almost useless without cards, particularly those involving mechanics such as Poison and Exhaust.
    • Catalyst, a Silent card, doubles the amount of poison damage an enemy has stacked on them (or triples it when Catalyst is upgraded). However, if you don't have other cards that help apply poison (like Noxious Fumes or Envenom), it won't do a damn thing.
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    • The Silent's Grand Finale deals 40 damage to all enemies (50 when upgraded). The catch? It can only be used once your draw pile is completely empty, and setting up this situation requires perfect control over all your cards that enable draw.
    • On the Ironclad side of things, Searing Blow's special ability is that it can be upgraded an infinite number of times (as opposed to every other card where it's a one-and-done affair), and the bonus damage the card receives increases with every upgrade. Unfortunately, this means that you have to focus upgrading only Searing Blow since it requires a few upgrades before it becomes viable, which in turn means cards with more utility are left in the dust and you're foregoing opportunities to heal. One slight upside is other cards such as Armaments and Apotheosis allow you to do this for the current combat.
    • 3-cost cards in general, as unless you have a way to make them cost less or just have more resources to use, they frequently aren't worth spending your entire turn to use. The relic Snecko Eye is a common suggestion to alleviating cost problems, as it applies confusion to you at the start of each combat, so card costs become randomized and (potentially) less of a problem.
      • Another relic that works well is Mummified Hand which reduces the cost of a random card to zero when you play a Power card. Since some decent Powers cost 0 to play, the chance that a 3 cost card is reduced to 0 cost is greater.
    • Barricade has the same issues as any 3-cost card (unless upgraded, which lowers its cost to a more manageable 2), but has the unique ability of allowing you to retain any block you still had at the end of your enemy's turn. In theory this can allow you to build up a truly impenetrable wall of block and never fear taking damage for the rest of the battle. In practice however it requires you to also have at least a few exceptionally high block cards and/or Entrench (which doubles your block every time it's used), or else it's very likely that your enemies will break down most or all of your block each turn, never allowing you to build up any significant amounts. That being said, with the right accompanying cards + Body Slam (which deals damage based on how much block you have) it can become a truly devastating tactic.
    • Bludgeon, an Ironclad card which deals a massive 32 damage, is a particularly blatant example as it has difficulty scaling later in the game; the Ironclad has many other attack options that get bigger boosts from Strength buffs or have additional effects, and they cost a lot less. Without ways to lower the cost or assistance from Double Tap, it's a dead draw in many cases.
    • The Defect card Meteor Strike is probably the most absurd example. At five base Energy cost (and it doesn't go down), other cards (Conserve Energy, TURBO) or effects (Snecko Eye or multiple Energy gain relics) must already be in play to even use this card. But if you use it, not only do you deal massive damage (24 base, 30 upgraded), you channel three Plasma, which rapidly cycles orb slots to trigger evoke effects while the Plasma itself passively gives one Energy or can be invoked for two Energy. One use of Meteor Strike will let you use it (and pretty much every other card you have) for the rest of the battle, but only specific builds can really maximize on that.
  • Battle Trophy: The strange animal skull that the Silent wears on her head is, according to one event, from a creature that she had to slay for the right to challenge the Spire.
  • The Berserker: The Ironclad, who prefers to go with all-out damage compared to the other characters. He even has a card named Berserker, as well as cards like Anger and Rampage.
  • BFS: The Ironclad's sword is relatively minor variant of this trope, although it certainly applies when using the Heavy Blade Attack.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Each character starts with a single Relic that has an unimpressive but valuable effect: health regeneration for The Ironclad, extra card draw for The Silent, and a free lightning orb for The Defect. You can trade them in for a powerful Boss Relic, but depending on what you get, it might be a significant downgrade.
    • Vajra, Oddly Smooth Stone, and Data Disc, which give you a point in Strength, Dexterity, and Focus at the start of each fight, respectively. Hardly spectacular, but their benefits add substantial numbers to your damage, block, and orb efficacy.
    • One event in the game allows you to either remove a card from your deck, or upgrade all of your basic Strikes and Defends. Either effect (depending on the sort of deck being made) greatly improves your deck strength.
    • The ability to remove cards from your deck in general. Adding new cards is surely more exciting, but getting rid of your generally subpar starting set of Strikes and Defends helps streamline your deck and allow you to draw more useful cards more often in battle. Most strategies work perfectly fine with only a handful of specific cards, so any additional ones are more or less just dead weight.
    • Cheap multi-hit abilities scale very well with Strength-adding effects since the strength applies per hit. Other than being multiple weaker hits, these abilities are very vanilla. The same applies to any free low-damage spell, such as Shiv.
    • Flash of Steel is a zero-cost, three-damage card that also allows you to draw one card. This makes it one of the few cards that synergizes well with almost every deck, as it's never a dead draw and can even add significant damage to "machine gun"-type decks.
    • There's quite a few common cards that are pseudo-free (they cost one or two energy, but fulfilling a relatively easy condition like using it on a Weakened enemy results in gaining this energy back and/or drawing another card) that also do damage.
    • Neutralize, one of the Silent's unique starting cards. It doesn't do much (deal three damage and apply one stack of Weak), but thanks to being a zero-cost card and Weak being a very useful status effect, you're pretty much always glad to draw it.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Elite fights are marked on the map and pit you against one of three special encounters depending on the Act (for example, Act I's possible Elite enemies are Lagavulin, Gremlin Nob, and three Sentries), with strength far above the normal fights around them. Beating an Elite is guaranteed to reward a relic, while powered-up Elites (found in a single room in each Act) hold one of the keys needed to fight the True Final Boss on that run.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Necronomicurse, gained by obtaining the Necronomicon. It cannot be removed from your deck, and exhausting it causes it to be immediately put back into your hand. Other than that, it acts like a standard curse. Downplayed with the Parasite curse, which reduces your max HP when removed from your deck.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: It's not entirely clear what the Spire is, but whatever it is, it's powerful, malevolent, and utterly alien. And attempting to destroy its heart kills you, resulting in you being resurrected at the bottom by Neow. It requires three deaths at least to even get a weapon that could possibly destroy it.
  • Creepy Good: Cleric, the obnoxious goblin-like man who you can occasionally encounter, who will heal you or remove cards from your deck (in exchange for some gold). He genuinely seems to mean well, however.
  • Cult: A frequent presence throughout enemy encounters and events are members of a bird-themed cult. Their practices come to a head in Act III, where one of the possible bosses is the Awakened One, the birdlike being that they worship.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Literally in the case of the Du-Vu Doll, which grants one Strength for any curse in your deck at the start of battle.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: A lot of the most powerful combos require a bunch of luck to even be possible and careful decision making to bring together. If you can assemble the needed combination of relics and cards you can do all sorts of wild things like having 999 block (and never losing it), poisoning targets for hundreds of damage each turn, or literally dealing infinite damage.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In the backstory, the Ironclad obtained his supernatural powers by selling his soul to demonic forces. A fantastic number of his abilities and cards are implied to be the result of this (Corruption, Combust, Offering, Demon Form, Hemokinesis, and more).
    • There are also a number of "devils"— some literal, some not— who offer extremely nice-sounding deals... for a price. Usually, it takes the form of HP damage, losing some of your maximum HP, or having to take a negative Status.
    • One particularly noteworthy event involves getting turned into a vampire, which makes you lose a whopping 30% of your max HP but replaces all of your Strikes with Bites, which do the same amount of damage but also heal you. Considering how rare healing effects are, especially for the Silent, some players consider it a massively useful effect. If you have the Blood Vial relic, you can trade it instead of your max HP. The Blood Vial heals 2 HP at the start of combat, a pathetic amount of healing compared to the what the Bites will give you in the long run, so it is almost always worth it.
    • There's also the event with the three creepy face-thingies, who offer to let you trade in a massive 50% of your max HP in exchange for 5 Apparition cards. While the price is incredibly steep, the reward is also incredibly powerful: Each Apparition can be played once per battle and gives you the Intangible status effect for one turn, which reduces all instances of incoming damage to 1, making you nearly invulnerable for that turn. With a bit of luck with the draw these cards might just end up saving you from taking any damage in the first place, rendering the loss of 50% max HP less of an issue, but it's nonetheless a huge risk to take.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Referenced with the A Thousand Cuts Power, which deals one point of damage to every enemy whenever a card is played. This is a Power for the Silent and synergizes well with one of her possible deck style, involving playing a lot of low-damage, zero-cost Shivs.
    • One of the playstyles available to the Defect— they can easily run a "0-cost" deck with cards like All For One, Scrape, Claw, Beam Cell, FTL, and Go For The Eyes, using the same few low-damage cards repeatedly and rapidly. Claw, notably, starts off as Scratch Damage and scales gradually (or quickly, if your deck is well set up to take advantage of it).
  • Disc-One Nuke: If you get it early enough (usually by finding it in a shop) and upgrade it, the Apotheosis card certainly counts, as it upgrades every card in your deck for the rest of the current battle.
  • Discard and Draw:
    • A thematic story example: as you progress through the game, you unlock new cards as you construct new decks every run. As it turns out, the permadeath roguelike mechanics aren't just for show— Neow is reviving your character as they climb the Spire, getting new powers (cards) and losing existing ones (your reset deck).
    • The Silent relies heavily on effects that trade cards, drawing some while discarding others, such as with the common Acrobatics and Dagger Throw cards.
    • Mechanically, the Ironclad has their own set of cards that remove cards from the deck, but they're based on Exhausting (removing them from play entirely) rather than simply discarding them. Special mention goes to the Sentinel card, which is a basic Defend card that gives bonus energy if you manage to Exhaust it.
    • Several effects, such as the Astrolabe, allow you to permanently transform cards in your deck, replacing them with something different at random.
  • Expy:
    • The Ironclad is only a colour swap away from becoming Hakumen.
    • The Giant Head elite in Act III has more than a passing resemblance to Saitama. It also happens to start hitting really, really hard once you're hung around long enough for it to decide to actually fight.
  • Downer Ending: On a normal run, no matter how hard you try, once you meet the Corrupt Heart of the Spire, your character will die and be resurrected by Neow to start the climb back up again.
  • Early-Bird Boss: All Act I bosses to an extent, but especially The Guardian. While the Act III bosses all have abilities to pose problems for a certain kind of powerful late-game deck, the Act I bosses have no defenses against these decks. The Guardian in particular can be defeated just by having consistent attacking and blocking. These bosses depend on your deck not being fully built yet. There's even an event in Act III that lets you fight an Act I boss, allowing you to see just how much less of a threat they are.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you can unlock Act IV and defeat the Corrupt Heart, you will finally Slay the Spire, freeing the world from the Spire's influence and granting Neow her revenge.
    • In the Ironclad's victory, he not only cuts the Heart in two, but he ascends to the top of the Spire and sets it ablaze, causing it to erupt in black demonic fire. All the pain and suffering, all of the sacrifice has been worth it to save the world and avenge his brethren.
    • In the Silent's victory, her combination of blades and poison finally fells the Heart, allowing her to climb out of the Spire and return to her tribe, having proved herself worthy of the honor they bestowed upon her.
    • In the Defect's victory, he blasts a hole through the Heart with his laser, and is able to climb out of the Spire for the first time, to look upon the beauty of the moon in the clear night sky.
  • Elemental Powers: The Defect's orbs follow an elemental theme. His basic attack orbs are Lightning, his defense orbs are Frost, he gets an energy boost from Plasma, and he gets a "bomb" in the form of his Dark orb.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three playable characters fit broadly into these roles, though each of them can be built in a number of ways:
    • The Ironclad is the Fighter, with a focus on increasing his strength and both dealing and tanking large amounts of damage.
    • The Silent is the Thief, with an overall Fragile Speedster setup focused on playing large numbers of cards or using dexterity to dodge attacks; she also specializes in poison and throwing huge amounts of shivs.
    • The Defect is the Mage, with a focus on setting up long-term buffs and on manipulating Elemental Powers through their orbs.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Silent has less health than the Ironclad, and far less direct damage output, but a lot more in terms of indirect damage (particularly with poison). She also tends to cycle through her deck way faster than the Ironclad, thanks to a large number of Discard and Draw effects.
  • Gathering Steam: All over the place!
    • The Kunai and Shuriken build Dexterity and Strength respectively every time you play three attacks in a turn.
    • Cultists' signature power is raising their Strength by three each turn.
    • Many Elites and bosses have souped-up versions of the Cultist's ability, include the Gremlin Boss and Gremlin Nob, as well as Donu and Deca (technically just Donu, but it boosts both its own and Deca's Strength every second turn). Ironically, the Awakened One, the creature the cultists worship, does not possess this ability. It does, however, gain Strength every time you play a Power card (until it changes to its second form).
    • The Ironclad has Demon Form and Rupture, which give the Ironclad additional Strength every turn they activate.
    • The Silent has the various poison abilities, which all stack with each other, eventually allowing you to deal truly absurd damage every turn.
    • The Ironclad can do something similar with Block by using Barricade to keep Block between turns, Entrench to double Block, and Body Slam to deal extreme damage once Block is high enough. You better hope the enemies don't deal enough damage to cancel out that initial block before you can get it going, however.
    • The reigning champ is the Defect however. Proper use of the orbs system can give you an absurd amount of damage or block every turn, but they take time to put into place. Likewise, White Noise and Creative AI provide powers for free, which can result in truly absurd power combos when your opponents let you live that long.
  • Genius Loci: The Spire is alive, and it is not happy that you're here to kill it.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • One event involves your character getting lost in a hall of Alien Geometries, where strange voices try to whisper to you to tell you how to get out. If you listen to the voices, this trope takes effect, giving you two copies of the Madness card at the cost of some health.
    • Another event involves reading a Tome of Eldritch Lore. You need to keep choosing to read it and take increasing amounts of damage before you can actually take it as an artifact.
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • The Mercury Hourglass (deals three damage to all enemies each round) allows any character to play this no matter their deck, though it's very slow compared to other methods.
    • The Silent can do this with her poison and defensive cards, shutting down enemies with low health and high armour while the poison damage piles up.
    • The Defect can do this with lightning-focused decks, chipping the opponent to death with lightning passives while using its shielding and buffer cards to reduce attacks.
    • The Defect can do this with Claw, a zero-cost card that deals a pitiful 3 damage... at first. Every time you use it, every Claw in your deck increases its damage by 2 for that battle, which can eventually result in you firing off an entire hand full of zero-cost cards that do dozens of damage each.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Inverted. Time keeps moving on, but you keep repeating the same day. Every time your character dies, they collapse and reawaken at the Exordium, to begin the ascent up the Spire once more. Other characters will recognize you at the start of events, because they've met you from previous runs and some rare events allude to previous runs; one has a spot where you can take a card and leave one behind, letting different color cards cross runs. Also happens even if you manage to beat the boss at the end of Act II and attack the Corrupt Heart. One event involving reading a tome that damages you more and more as you read it reveals the loop is a result of the giant whale at the start, Neow, reviving you without your memories every time you die as a way to try and get revenge on the Spire.
  • HP to 1: One of Neow's possible gifts at the start of a run is Neow's Lament, a relic that reduces all enemies to one hit-point for three battles. This makes the first fights of Act I risk-free and may lead to a ridiculously easy Elite fight.
  • Jackass Genie:
    • The Tesseract reveals that the Ironclad asked a demon to make him the strongest of his clan. The demon did this... by killing everybody else and pointing out that since he's the only member of his clan alive, he's strongest by default.
    • Mostly averted with Neow, the Space Whale that you find any time you start a new game. She gives you a choice of potential gifts, and does so without actively trying to screw you over. Neow is also the reason the character keeps getting revived, although this revival is without memory of your previous run (hence, a new deck every run).
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: In deck-archetype, the Defect is an in-between compared to the Mighty Glacier Ironclad and the Fragile Speedster Silent. Results may vary during deck creation, but the Defect can distinctly build as a Mighty Glacier with Frost as an orb type, or build fast cycling decks with Skim, FTL, and Streamline.
  • Knife Nut: The Silent's primary weapon of choice is daggers, complemented by many, many shivs. Much more so if you're building your deck around the A Thousand Cuts Power. How many Shivs does the Silent have? One of her powers is called Infinite Blades.
  • Last of His Kind: The Ironclad was once one of many of his order. Now, thanks to being tricked in a Deal with the Devil, he is the only one left to carry on their name.
  • Look Behind You: Implied by the Distraction card's artwork. The Silent pointing her finger is enough to make the enemy look away.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The game does everything in its power to make this an Averted Trope, working around the Roguelike genre's more frustrating quirks. Enemy actions are shown outright with all buffs/debuffs factored in, enabling much more precise offense vs. defense strategy. Events tell you outright what each choice will do, with no random "gotcha!" options. The starting decks generally don't contain anything that will turn into a dead draw until you've got enough to a build to work with it, and so on.
    • One obvious case where luck is a factor is Confusion, a status effect that randomizes the cost of some of your cards every turn. Depending on how favorable the game is feeling, either your expensive strong cards will become extremely cheap or your simple low-cost cards will require a lot of energy. The balancing factor is that there are only a few sources of Confusion in the game, such as the Snecko enemy (who only appears in Act II and gives you a freebie turn before it inflicts the status) and the Snecko Eye relic (a Boss relic that gives perma-Confusion if a player desires it for certain builds).
  • Magical Accessory: A large number of relics take the form of jewelry or worn items.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The Defect card Genetic Algorithm starts out with a lackluster one block for one energy that exhausts itself. However, each combat you use it in permanently raises the block it gives in future combats by two, or three if upgraded. A similar example is the event-obtainable card Ritual Dagger, which starts at 15 damage for pne energy and exhausts, but deals more damage each time you kill an enemy with it.
    • The Ironclad card Searing Blow starts off with mediocre damage. However, it can be upgraded an infinite number of times, growing in damage exponentially with each upgrade.
  • Master Poisoner: If she's not shivving her enemies to death, the Silent is likely poisoning them instead. Or doing both at once with the Envenom Power.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The Defect's orb system makes them play a lot differently than the Ironclad or the Silent, since they need to build around channeling and evoking the right orbs and they have an extra stat (Focus) related to them. It's possible to build the Defect as a straight attacking/blocking character like the others, but even those decks still make use of orbs.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • The Ironclad tends towards this archetype, thanks to his higher health and starting with a relic that grants regeneration. He also has a large number of Strength-boosting cards (in particular his Demon Form) and his Barricade Power, if used properly, can be used to accrue a preposterous amount of Block. On top of that, he has access to Body Slam, which deals your current block as damage.
    • This becomes doubly true if you can obtain the Juggernaut Power, which deals damage to a random enemy every time you increase your Block. It's actually possible to kill bosses without ever attacking, simply by constantly boosting your Block.
    • Possible for a Defect specialized in Frost, as they can generate tons of Block per turn passively. Notably, one Frost-generating card is called Glacier.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Implied with the Ironclad, whose starting card Bash depicts him using a mace, while Bludgeon depicts a hammer. He also possesses the Dual Wield skill to duplicate Attacks or Powers.
  • No Fair Cheating: Normally, Neow offers the player one of four different starting benefits before a run starts proper, some of which give a random result like trading the character's starting relic for a boss relic. In order to discourage players from reset-scumming to get a good result (or an overall lucky first floor), Neow will only offer one of two low-risk benefits if the boss of the Exordium wasn't beaten in the previous attempt.
  • Not the Intended Use: Many cards require you to exhaust cards in your hand to power them. You can use them to exhaust the debuff cards enemies force on you, gaining their benefits without the usual tradeoff. Arguably having this option is exactly what is intended, as exhausting the weaker cards in your deck so that you get to use the more powerful ones more often is a key element of cards that work this way.
  • Orichalcum: You can get an ingot of it as a relic. It provides six Block at the end of your turn if you end it with zero Block.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: A clan of vampires apparently have some connection to the Spire, living in the City of Act II. They offer to let you become one of them (swapping out all Strike cards in your deck with Bites, which are stronger and have Life Drain) in exchange for a third of your maximum HP. Unless you carry a Blood Vial with you, in which case you can trade that for the benefits. Also, the Defect can somehow become a vampire despite being a robot, and can still use those bite cards just fine despite not having a mouth.
  • Phantasy Spelling: It's almost a running joke applied to names of various animals. Among critters encountered or mentioned are byrds, phrogs, kranes and sneckos. The last one may be the only justified example, as the creature seems to be a cross between a snake and a gecko.
  • Playing with Fire: Several of the Ironclad's abilities are fire-themed, in particular his Flame Barrier Skill and his Fire Breathing Power.
  • Power at a Price: All the relics that provide guaranteed Energy each turn have some downside, from not being able to play more than six cards, to not being able to rest, to not being able to see what enemies are about to do.
  • Random Drop: Every time you win a fight, you get a small amount of gold, a selection from one of three cards to add to your deck, and occasionally a potion. Elite enemies and bosses also drop relics.
  • Religious Robot: While not stated as following any specific religion, there are hints that The Defect is at the least a seeker of spiritual enlightenment. The art for the card White Noise depicts them kneeling in a prayer-like posture contemplating a glowing orb, while the cloak they wear resembles vestments worn by numerous priesthoods.
  • Reviving Enemy: One possible encounter in Act III is a group of three Darklings, which each have a innate Life Link status; if any other enemies are alive two turns after they die, they'll revive with half of their health restored. Having all three Darklings be dead at the same time will end the battle.
  • Secret Test of Character: You can encounter an old beggar, dying of disease. If you give him the money he asks for, he will reveal himself to be Cleric, who will reward you for passing his test. note 
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few, including (but not limited to):
    • All-Out Attack card— a cartoony cloud with fists popping out of it, similar to those caused by the moves of the same name in the later Shin Megami Tensei: Persona games.
    • Bullet Time card— Neo stopping bullets in The Matrix.
    • Happy Flower relic— Sunflower in Plants vs. Zombies.
    • Centennial Puzzle relic— the Millennium Puzzle in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
    • Unceasing Top relic— Cobb's spinning top in Inception. The custom mode that has you start with it is even called "Inception".
    • Enchiridion relic— has a picture of a sword on the cover and belonged to an ancient lich, just like the one in Adventure Time.
    • Smiling Mask relic — the Happy Mask Salesman from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
      • The Fairy in a Jar potion only gets used if you die and restores a bit of life when you do, just like having a bottled fairy in The Legend of Zelda.
    • Runic Cube relic— the Puzzle Box from Hellraiser.
    • The playtester art for the Boot Sequence card depicts the Defect hanging out in Kuribo's Shoe from Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Boot relic is the boot in question.
    • Inserter relic— a standard inserter from Factorio
    • The "Die Die Die" card— a reference to Reaper's voiceline when using his ultimate ability in Overwatch. The card's effect (heavily damaging all enemies) is also similar, and it's a Silent card, who has similar fashion sense to Reaper.
    • One of the merchant's quotes is "Stay a while and listen!"
    • The Limit Break card lifts its name directly from Final Fantasy, and the radiating aura depicted on the image greatly resembles the visual effect of Limit Break activation in Final Fantasy VIII.
    • The relic Chemical X could just be a reference to any bit of mad science, but when you look at the description in the in game archive, it includes a warning not to combine with sugar, spice, and everything nice.
    • Choosing to settle down and read the book you find in a library will reveal it to be about a girl with insect powers who wants to be a superhero, involving complex issues and perspectives.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Some uncommon or rare cards (blue or gold border respectively) have simple effects that are universally useful.
    • Offering for the Ironclad and Adrenaline for the Silent, both notably Rare cards as opposed to common ones that may be found under Boring, but Practical. Adrenaline is a zero-cost card that gains one energy (two upon upgrading it), draws two cards, and then exhausts itself. Offering is a stronger version with a (potential) drawback — sacrifice six HP (which may synergize with other Ironclad cards) for two energy and three (five when upgraded) draw.
    • Madness is an uncommon colorless card. Un-upgraded it costs one energy, but makes a random card in your hand cost zero energy for the rest of combat. Upgraded, it costs zero energy. In longer fights you can save amazing amounts of energy, especially by using Madness on a card that costs 5 or more.
    • Decks which fall into a Gradual Grinder archetype of using a bunch of zero cost attacks such as Shivs (for the Silent) and Anger (for the Ironclad) are generally pretty easy to build up in any given run, can be easily boosted by Strength stacking or in the case of Shivs, have an host of cards which play into that archetype. The only thing that makes them inconsistent is that there are several Boss and Elite enemies in Acts II and III designed to punish Gradual Grinder style decks, but an experienced player can sometimes work around it.
  • Space Whale: It's not clear where she's actually from, but the many-eyed whale-like creature called Neow that greets you every time you resurrect at the Exordium seems to fit this trope. Neow is actually the one who resurrects you, as one event reveals.
  • Spam Attack:
    • The Silent can do this with a shiv-focused deck. Shivs deal only 4 damagenote  but are free and generated by certain Silent cards. There is an achievement for generating ten or more shivs in a single round.
    • The Defect can adopt a Claw-based deck, which focuses mostly on the common Claw card (which begins with 3 damage and increases the damage of all Claw cards by 2 per use) and scaling it up in damage while supporting it with cards to increase how often Claw shows up in the hand, like with All For One and Scrape.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Defect, to an extent. He was much more squishy when first introduced, but has slowly gotten better defensive options over time; even so, his defenses tend to be more situational or limited than the other two characters, or take more time to set up.
  • Status Effect: Takes two forms in game. The first are what you might expect, taking place only in combat and doing things like boosting/reducing damage, increasing or decreasing the effectiveness of attacks and defenses, and so on. The second are status cards, which are forced into your deck by enemies (or occasionally your own cards) that are similar to Curse cards (unplayable cards that give your deck dead draws and sometimes have a negative effect if they're in your hand at the end of turn), but go away at the end of the battle. Unless you got them put into your deck by an event, which has them stuck there until removed.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The game doesn't offer much plot up front, aside from "you're an adventurer, ascend the Spire and slay it". Bits of information about the world, the characters' backstories and the nature of your quest can be found scattered around various random events and some relic descriptions.
  • Stylistic Suck: Beating Act IV with a character will let you replace the artwork on their cards with its equivalent from the beta version of the game. Except not every card has such artwork, so to fill in the gaps, those cards use fan-submitted artwork instead, most of which is deliberately, hilariously terrible and includes some Visual Pun (i.e. Reckless Charge depicts a stickman buying a lot of things at once with a credit card).
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The Ironclad's Demon Form, which allows him to quickly accumulate Strength, qualifies, as do the Silent's Wraith Form, which makes her intangible, and the Defect's Echo Form, which causes the first card played every turn to be played twice. Subverted because it doesn't actually seem to make your characters any more evil.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The narration for the Golden Idol event (where you see a Golden Idol on a pedestal and have the option to take it in exchange for triggering a trap) says "you sure don't see any traps around here."
  • The Strategist: The Silent. With cards such as Well-Laid Plans, Escape Plan, Prepared, and Concentrate, it would seem the Silent relies quite a bit on advance planning. The Silent in general has a lot of cards which can manipulate Energy and the hand, be it trading power now for power later, Discard and Draw, or even retaining cards between turns instead of discarding at the end of the turn.
  • Sword and Fist: A great deal of the Ironclad's attack cards involve decking the opponent, either implied through the card art (Anger) or the name of the card outright (Uppercut, Clothesline).
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Each of the Act III bosses are designed to punish one particular deck type via specific Strength gain: The Time Master counters Spam Attack decks (it counts the amount of cards played over time, ending the player's turn and gaining Strength for every twelfth card played), The Awakened One counters Power-based decks (it gains one Strength for every Power played before its second form), and Deca and Donu counter Gradual Grinder and Gathering Steam decks (Donu's Strength buffs can stack up very fast if it isn't killed early into the fight). Since your deck should be taking shape by Act III, this can mean matching the "wrong" boss will make for a really troublesome final fight.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: One particular event can give you one of three Tomes (one of which is the Necronomicon itself). It'll cost you quite a bit of HP to read the whole thing, but you'll be rewarded (or cursed) with both a Tome and a lot about the game's lore.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Every time you play the Ironclad's Anger card, you get another copy of it. So basically, the longer the Ironclad keeps fighting, the angrier he gets.
  • True Final Boss: The Corrupt Heart at the top of the Spire can be challenged in the hidden Act IV, if you complete all the necessary requirements (including first beating the game with all three characters). It's hard, as is appropriate for this trope, and will challenge even some of the most powerful builds.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: The Silent's Corpse Explosion card debuffs an enemy so that on dying it will explode, doing its maximum HP as damage to any other enemies. The debuff can also be stacked, making the explosion more powerful.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Several of the Ironclad's cards involve him uppercutting, clotheslining, body slamming, or even dropkicking his enemies. Even The Silent gets in on it with flying knees, leg sweeps, or heel hooks (which somehow still manage to work on monsters without legs).
  • Very Punchable Man: One of the events you can encounter in any Act is a special shop with a very obnoxious shopkeeper, whom your character instantly desires to punch in the face. Giving in to said urge is not recommended, since it deals some Scratch Damage to you for no benefit and the shop provides useful services.
  • Zonk: One event gives you the chance to sacrifice a card to the spirits in exchange for a reward. If you "sacrifice" a curse (a card that does nothing but hurt you), your "reward"— aside from getting the curse out of your deck— is the Spirit Poop, a relic which has no effect beyond giving you a negligible -1 to your final score.

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