Intro / What does it do?
In line with your typical Ironclad damage builds, Carnage is one of those powerful Attack cards that can hit monsters like a truck with very limited downside.
This article will explore how good Carnage is in Slay the Spire, and whether it is a good card to include in your deck.
Before we continue, it is good to keep in mind that no build is perfect and you cannot get your desired build each run in Slay the Spire. Card mastery and familiarity will be the key ingredients as you Ascend.
A high-value damage card that requires it to be played or it gets Exhausted in your hand, you have to be bullish on Carnage or risk losing it from your deck.
Despite being Ethereal, it is rock solid as a 2-cost Uncommon Attack card with its base damage at 20 to 28 upgraded. This card unreasonably sounds like a steal to use, but it may also give you move limitations with the energy cost to retain it on your turns.
How good is Carnage?
It is exceptional for earlier runs, a recommendation is to pick this up early if you can. The high amount of damage really is significant in taking out even the toughest of monsters.
While Ethereal is not much of a drawback, having this at 2-cost is more of a balance than a handicap.
Having a huge amount of energy defintely helps Carnage’s cause. A vast energy pool can help you cast as often and not lose this card to Exhaust.
Which cards does it work well with?
With the value coming from its huge raw damage, it is best to maximize Carnage’s value with some of these cards:
- Double Tap (This turn, your next Attack is played twice.)
Being twice as nice, you can easily take out 40 to 56 HP monsters if you get to pull this off.
- Madness (Reduce the cost of a random card in your hand to 0 this combat. Exhaust.)
Despite the RNG effect, getting a zero-cost Carnage not only saves it from Exhaust, it gives you remaining ammo to capitalize on the damage dealt.
- Armaments (Gain 5 Block. Upgrade a card in your hand for the rest of combat.)
Getting to upgrade an already awesome damage card will pay off in the long run as long as you don’t get to Exhaust it.
When not to pick Carnage?
Carnage is one of those cards that are actually hard to pass on, especially with the value it gives on the damage. However, this is not a card without flaws.
The fact that you need to keep on using it in order for it not to Exhaust in hand, gives you that pressure to play it or lose a valuable card.
With that being said, do not pick Carnage if you have a setup for your win conditions: Strike builds or Block builds are good examples. Prioritizing Carnage use might set you back a few turns even with the nice damage that it deals.
Since energy cost is one of this card’s issues, do not pick it up if you are energy starved with your current build already.
When to Use Carnage?
It will always function as a big starting or ending blow for enemy monsters. You can also set Carnage up to Exhaust for triggering effects relics or other cards that you may possess.
If you plan to redraw this card for the duration of your battles, make sure you have ample energy to keep using it.
Which relics does it work well with?
Relics that enhance attack and those with beneficial Exhaust triggers greatly help.
Here are examples of some of the best relics for Carnage:
- Charon’s Ashes (Whenever you Exhaust a card, deal 3 damage to ALL enemies)
- Dead Branch (Whenever you Exhaust a card, add a random card to your hand.)
- Pen Nib (Every 10th Attack you play deals double damage.)
Which relics does it work poorly with?
These are not the best relics to have with Carnage:
- Kunai (Every time you play 3 Attacks in a single turn, gain 1 Dexterity.)
Dexterity has its value in certain cases, not just for Carnage.
- Unceasing Top (Whenever you have no cards in hand during your turn, draw a card.)
Unless you have a pool of energy from cards and relics to keep playing your hand, there is a good chance you will not get this relic triggered with Carnage.
Conclusion: Is Carnage a good card?
As stated above, Carnage is a valuable card with high damage, along with not much of a drawback on Ethereal.
It really can hold its own and even more at earlier runs while it slowly slides of to a more supplementary role as you get to higher tiers, due to its inconsistency.
Given the cost, It is hard to put it above Immolate (Deal 21 damage to ALL enemies. Add a Burn into your discard pile.), Uppercut (Deal 13 damage. Apply 1 Weak. Apply 1 Vulnerable.), and even Clothesline (Deal 12 damage. Apply 2 Weak.) for their reliability.
In relation, having good damage to dish out to monsters is important in Ascending. However, the thought of just dealing linear damage is not the only way to end fights. There are a multitude of ways to get the upper hand in climbing the Spire.
All in all, Carnage is a good card and pick up. It may not be the dynamite it was during the beginning, but it will always be a good option and source of damage moving forward.