The mechanical Defect has an interesting deck of cards that make it one of the more intriguing classes to play as in Slay The Spire. It differs dramatically from the Ironclad and Silent in that it plays the long game; building strength and power over time to shred enemies in the later stages of combat rather than fight opportunistically.
This often means ignoring cheap shots and sticking to a carefully laid out plan no matter what, but for those who can embrace this style and remain patient they can become masterful fighters in the late game. If you’re looking to develop a long term strategy for your Defect build, here are the strongest cards you should consider using.
Glacier is a skill card that gives you nine block and channels two frost orbs. The nine block is handy for negating solid damage in an upcoming attack and the channeling effect allows you to load two frost orbs to give yourself improved defensive capabilities.
Frost orbs struggle in the beginning, but if the player can hold out they create an impenetrable wall of defense that make combat a matter of attrition. It’s a strong card, but you definitely need the right setup to take advantage of the frost orb channeling.
This attack card is the epitome of the Defect’s overall strategy. Initially it costs two energy to deal 15 damage and enters the discard pile, but every time it’s used afterward, be it through reshuffling or drawing from the discard, it’s cost goes down by one until it hits zero for the remainder of combat.
This means after a total of three uses you’ll have an attack card that does 15 damage and costs zero energy. This is unbelievably helpful as it allows you to allocate that energy to other cards while still doing hefty damage.
The Hologram card is an example of why cards like Streamline are so useful. Hologram gives you a nice three block and then allows you to take a card from your discard pile and put it in your hand. With the low energy cost of one you can easily use many other cards in the deck after playing this card.
Granted it does exhaust after a single use, but it potentially lets you reuse very powerful cards to hit the enemy twice in one turn or ratchet your block up to incredible hits prior to a major attack.
7 Static Discharge
This passive power card is helpful for whittling down opponents while you’re busy building up your character’s overall abilities. Every time Defect takes damage with this card in play it will channel one lightning.
Lightning are orbs meant for damage dealt over time with each turn. Having the ability to channel Lightning every time you take damage can quickly build up your lightning abilities and whittle down opponents.
6 Machine Learning
This power is much more straightforward and arguable more useful for both short term combat and long-term power up. Every turn after you draw your five cards you draw an additional sixth card. Considering how many zero cost cards there are in a Defect deck, odds are you’ll be able to use whatever you draw without worrying about your energy bank.
This power gives you yet another chance to deal damage, set your orbs, or build your block reserves. Six cards in a zero cost deck can go a long, long way.
5 Boot Sequence
Boot Sequence is a skill card that gives you 10 block and then is exhausted. It may not seem like much, but what makes this card so useful is that it’s Innate. Innate cards are guaranteed to be in your hand at the start of combat which means you are guaranteed to have this right out of the gate.
Even better is the fact that it has zero energy cost so you get a free 10 block at the beginning of combat without using any energy. This gives you some solid defense and the ability to use three energy worth of cards still.
4 Self Repair
This is an incredibly useful card for long-term survivability and keeping you alive while you get setup. Self-Repair is a power card that will heal your character by seven health points at the end of combat.
Any kind of passive heal in this game is rare and having seven health returned to you is nothing to scoff about. It may not be a demonic based attack like Ironclad or a flashy Corpse Explosion like the one used by Silent, but passive health regeneration is arguably far more powerful then either in this game.
This zero cost energy skill card allows you to chose one card from your draw pile and place it in your hand. It essentially allows you to replace it with something powerful from your discard.
It does exhaust afterward so it’s a one-time use, but it guarantees you access to a powerful card you can use twice in the same round or recover from earlier in the game and get it’s effects again.
This card is very similar to Seek but is arguably more useful, albeit with some RNG involved. Reboot allows you to place all of the cards in your hand back into the deck, shuffle the entire thing, and then redraw five cards.
Admittedly this has a small chance of you receiving some of the same cards you were trying to get rid of, but if your hand is absolutely lousy you can get a do over and potentially have a much stronger hand. It does exhaust, but it’s such a powerful card you’ll probably only ever need it once.
1 Echo Form
Without a doubt the most powerful card for Defect is the Echo Form. It’s a power card that takes the first card you play each turn and plays it twice. This means if your first card was a Boot Sequence instead of getting 10 block you get 20.
This gets really absurd when you think about all the cards above this one on the list. Seek would let you take 2 cards, Streamline would deal 30 damage instead of 15 and so on. By carefully considering which card you play first each turn you can get a tremendous boost out of this power. One thing to keep in mind is that this card is Ethereal so if you don’t play it that turn you will lose it.