Slay the Spire is one of the best deck-building roguelite games around. It’s become so popular that it’s defined the card-battling genre with its easy-to-learn and hard-to-master mechanics. But once you’ve powered through the Spire, beaten Ascension 20, and destroyed The Heart countless times, what is there left to do?
If you’re hungry for similar experiences to Slay the Spire, then here’s a list of the best card building games like it.
Want to keep things handheld? Then check out our list of the best Nintendo Switch games still to come this year.
The Best Deck Building Games
Slay the Spire is a curious genre mashup, so while we’re going to feature plenty of games that straddle both deck-building and roguelikes, we’ll also branch out to other games that have a similar flow to Slay the Spire while not necessarily being deck-builders.
1. Tainted Grail: Conquest
If Slay the Spire is a little too cheery for you, then Tainted Grail takes things in an altogether darker direction.
Tainted Grail still retains Slay‘s fusion of deck-building and roguelike mechanics but players will chop their way through an oppressively bleak world. The atmosphere created by the Wyrdness – a reality-warping mist that surrounds your village – is both desolate and nihilistic. As a result, we’re treated to an apocalyptic, hyper-dark fantasy world that’s delightful to play.
Uniquely, the game sees you manually traversing the maps rather than clicking between missions in the overworld. It’s more story-heavy than Slay the Spire, with the narrative unfolding elegantly across your inevitable multiple deaths.
The use of a 3D map and clearly distinct play styles for each class elevates Tainted Grail above your average deck builder game. The basics are the same – mob fights, gaining passive abilities or new cards, leveling up, and running into random situations that offer choice-based solutions – but the whole is richer for it.
2. Into the Breach
If you don’t mind stepping away from deck building and embracing more puzzle-solving, then try Into the Breach. It requires a meticulous planning for every move as the stakes get higher and higher the deeper into a run you are. The escalating intensity and demanding tactical decision making are what make this a fun alternative to Slay the Spire.
Into the Breach is a mechs-vs-monsters turn-based game from the developers behind FTL: Faster Than Light. Using a squad of mechs, you’ll battle against giant monsters on semi-randomized boards, bashing units into each other, shoving them around, and chipping away at their HP in the most efficient way possible.
It’s well-designed mechanics feel more like Chess in its board style and precise planning. But let’s face it, mechs and monsters are much more fun than a couple of fusty armies of pawns, knights and towers.
If you love Magic: The Gathering and Slay the Spire-like games, then give Roguebook a try. Created by the team behind Faeria working alongside Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Roguebook takes the foundation laid by Slay and provides its own spin to it.
Instead of one character, players have to juggle the demands of two different characters and two different sets of cards in their deck. Enemies will always attack the front space, so the strategic placement of your characters becomes an important mechanic to plan around.
Unlike Slay the Spire, artifacts are also split between your characters. This leads to different builds based on which character you want in the front and which ones you want to be dealing damage. Since these artifacts also affect those characters’ individual set of cards, it leads to more interesting draft decisions when you’re building your deck.
4. Monster Train
Heaven has successfully destroyed hell. Fortunately for you and your demon buddies, you have a way to relight the infernal fires through crystals known as Pyres. Each run in Monster Train has you escort a train with a single pyre on it into hell. Between you and your goal is a host of heroes and angels who are determined to stop you in your tracks.
Just like Slay, Monster Train is a deckbuilder with similar combats and overworld navigation. However, Monster Train feels more like a tower defense game with an amazing card system at play.
Enemies will invade your train and try to attack the Pyre on the top floor. Each foe starts at the bottom floor and, at the end of each turn, ascend one of your train’s three floors until they reach the pyre. At your disposal is an army of demons you can summon and a host of deadly spells to help you repel the invaders.
5. Black Book
Fans of the Witcher will feel right at home in the Slavic-inspired world of Black Book.
Black Book is a deck builder RPG that puts you in the shoes of Vasilisa after the untimely death of her husband. In order to reclaim what she’s lost, Vasilisa trains to become a sorceress so she can journey into hell itself and save her husband’s soul. Yes, this story is about a young woman training to become the Doom Slayer by becoming a magical girl first.
Black Book’s gameplay echoes Slay’s in that enemies will show their intents, and you respond to them with a range of attack, block, and special effect cards. Unlike Slay, this game eschews roguelite mechanics for a world steeped in Russian folklore and a phenomenal story. Players will have to learn Slavic traditions and mythology if they hope to help Vasilisa achieve her goals.
Speaking of story-heavy games, Inscryption is another deckbuilding game that starts out as a roguelite and then morphs into one of the wackiest story-driven games on the market.
Initially, Inscryption mimics Slay’s overworld mechanics. Players choose which path they want to take, with different bosses waiting at the end of each level. In combat, you choose where to place adorable woodland critters that will attack your opponents. These mechanics feel like they were inspired by Magic: The Gathering since attacks are directed at the opponent and creatures can block those attacks.
But the charm of Inscryption lies in its willingness to flip its game mechanics and storytelling devices on their heads. Without spoiling anything, Inscryption explores the limits of how much it can change itself while still remaining as a deckbuilder. The result of these changes creates an engaging story that never fails to surprise its players.
Update: The creators of Inscryption recently released a free DLC mode called “Kaycee’s mod.” It’s an endless roguelite mode of the first section of Inscryption‘s story. Completing a run in this mode unlocks more cards and harder difficulties, making it the perfect past time for any roguelite deckbuilding fan.
7. Night of the Full Moon
Featuring a strong fairy-tale theme, Night of the Full Moon is a roguelite deck builder that steals the show with its simple design and fun card interactions.
Played from a first person perspective, players have eight classes to choose from. These classes will have little overlap between them and offer a plethora of unique cards and mechanics. Unlike Slay, these classes will play a more active role in defeating enemies through special abilities that will be on cooldown between battles.
What makes Night of the Full Moon an addictive game is when players figure out how to turn each class into a terrifying monster blender. Ending bosses with infinite combos, outrageously powerful artifacts, and absurd card chains makes each run a unique journey to your card slinging apotheosis. After tasting that much power, starting a new run with humble beginnings becomes a compelling habit.
8. One Step From Eden
Fans of Megaman Battle Network will love this grid-based, deck-building, action roguelite. If you don’t mind switching away from the turn-based combat of Slay the Spire, then One Step From Eden is an amazing game for you to play.
Compared to Slay, One Step from Eden’s gameplay will be far more hands-on. Players can move their characters up and down on a 3×3 grid, and will have a basic attack they can use to whittle down enemies. Cards will still cost energy to play and you will draw a new card whenever you play a card.
Despite its differences, One Step from Eden keeps many of the roguelite mechanics of Slay the Spire. The overworld has players choose which path they want to go down, while artifacts function similarly to Slay’s relics. The end result feels like a real-time version of Slay the Spire’s combat.
Griftlands is a story-heavy, sci-fi roguelite deckbuilder from Klei Entertainment, the same company that created Don’t Starve. This deckbuilder marries the gameplay of Slay with RPG elements that feel reminiscent of Mass Effect‘s choose-your-own-adventure storytelling.
While combat is almost exactly like Slay, what’s intriguing about Griftlands is how there are two different decks players can use – a combat deck and a negotiation deck. Your combat deck is used for physical fights while the negotiation deck is for nonviolent persuasion. Social engagements play just as big of a role as combat and can solve a majority of problematic situations. As a result, players will have to figure out how to build two good decks instead of just one.
Griftland’s runs are also quite a bit longer than other roguelite games. Add to this the ability to play an ‘endless mode’ along with daily challenges, and you’ll find Griftlands packs a surprising amount of content. The result is a far richer world-building experience than other RPG deck building games.
10. Card Quest
At first glance, Card Quest doesn’t look impressive. Its graphics and sounds seem like they came from the early 90’s, and even the UI looks horribly dated. But gleaming just beneath the 8-bit surface is one of the most creative roguelite card-based battlers on the market. Fans of Slay who want to stretch their puzzle-solving muscles should play Card Quest.
Unlike the other entries in the list, Card Quest isn’t a deckbuilder. Your deck is created before each run by selecting different sets of cards to combine together. During a run, this deck will rarely change and your hand is retained between turns, allowing the player to plan ahead far more than other deckbuilding games.
In effect, these mechanics, along with Card Quest‘s innovative card design and predictable enemies, creates encounters that are similar to Slay‘s, but with a heavier emphasis on each fight being a logical problem to be solved as efficiently as possible.