The Watcher was released later than the other 3 characters and generated a lot of hype. I remember being so excited when she was first released in 2020, as I was already a big fan of Slay the Spire.
Although The Ironclad is probably my favorite, I love all the characters and appreciate what they bring to the table. The Watcher is no different, and she has many wonderful abilities that bring me joy.
She’s a little complicated to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, she can be a real powerhouse. She has the best overall victory stats of any of the characters in Slay the Spire when you look at experienced players. In fact, most serious gamers unanimously agree that she’s the best, even though it’s technically subjective.
If you want to experience everything that Slay the Spire has to offer, then you can’t overlook The Watcher. She’s got so many unique abilities which showcase the genius of this game.
She also makes it easier to beat The Heart, especially when playing at higher ascension levels. But to make the most of her, you need to understand what makes her so special, and that’s where this Slay The Spire The Watcher guide comes in!
Getting to Know The Watcher
- Starting HP – 72
- Starting Deck – 4 x Strike, 4 x Defend, 1x Eruption, 1 x Vigilance
- Specialty Decks – Stance Dancing, Divinity, Pressure Points
- Unique Form Card – Deva Form
- Card Border Color – Purple
- How to Unlock – Complete a successful run whilst having The Defect unlocked (you don’t have to use The Defect for that run)
Who is The Watcher?
The Watcher is described as a ‘blind ascetic who has come to evaluate the Spire’. ‘Ascetic’ is essentially a fancy term for a monk, and it means she denies herself worldly pleasures in the pursuit of higher meaning.
What exactly she’s evaluating the Spire for is uncertain. But what is certain is that she’ll stop at nothing on her mission to slay The Heart. She is capable of spiritual peace, but also of mighty rage.
Her design has an intriguing contrast to the visuals of the other characters. Both The Ironclad and The Silent are intimidating with their captivating masks. The Defect stands bold and clunky.
But The Watcher has a subtle elegance to her that hides the power that she’s capable of. From looking at her, you wouldn’t guess that she holds such capability for damage. She appears demure and fragile with her thin physique, but in reality, she’s anything but.
She wears a purple cloak with gold lines on the cuffs and seams. It’s wrapped neatly around her and seems to be secured with a billowing ribbon at the back. Her eyes are tightly shut, but the lower half of her face is obscured by a red mask, so you can’t see the expression on her lips.
Her dark hair is neatly secured with gold hair sticks. In her hands, she wields a thing, sharp golden staff. At the top of the staff is a floating element whose shape is somewhere between an egg and a lemon.
What are the Specialties of The Watcher?
The Watcher has several specialties, but there are some main ones that we’ll investigate in this section. These are mechanics that may be relevant to certain deck strategies. They’re also just worth considering so you’re aware of the kind of cards you’ll discover on a run.
Her main specialty is the ability to change Stances. These affect her energy, damage dealt, and damage taken. Below are the different Stances she can take:
- Calm – You always want to end the turn in Calm, ideally. You don’t gain any benefit whilst in it, but you do gain two extra energy every time you switch out of it.
- Wrath – A double-edged sword. You deal twice as much damage whilst in wrath, but you take double damage, too. Only switch into Wrath if you’re confident you can switch back to Calm by the end of the turn.
- Divinity – If you switch into Divinity, your ability to kill enemies improves exponentially. It only lasts for one turn, but you’ll deal triple damage whilst in it. This can make for some incredible combats. However, you do need to accumulate 10 Mantra to enter Divinity. Mantra can be gained through certain cards and Relics.
Scrying is another interesting ability unique to The Watcher. This allows her to look at a certain number of cards from the top of her deck, and then either put them back or discard them. You can’t change the order you put them back in, though. The leftmost card is the one which will be on top of the deck.
This ability allows you to make excellent use of the cards in your deck, and to finetune your turns. It also helps your chances of going infinite (you generate enough energy and drawing power to keep the turn going until the enemies are defeated).
Retaining cards is a mechanic that other characters have access to, but is especially prominent in The Watcher’s card catalog.
Cards with the word ‘Retain’ will stay in your hand even after you end a turn and everything else is discarded. You’ll still draw 5 new cards at the start of the next turn, so you don’t need to worry about Retain messing up your hand size.
An important note here is to be aware of the 10-card maximum hand size. You should play your retained cards at some point or you won’t draw the other cards you need. An excellent card to have in your deck is Establishment which has synergy with Retain cards. It reduces their cost by 1 for the entirety of that combat.
The Watcher’s starting Relic is Pure Water, which means she starts each combat with 1 Miracle in her hand. Miracle is a card that’s Retained (stays in your hand until it’s played) and grants you one free energy.
This starting Relic can later be replaced with a Boss Relic called Holy Water which is like an even better version of Pure Water. It grants you 3 Miracles in your hand at the start of every combat.
There’s a large pool of Relics that are available to every character, but they also all have a few unique ones. The Watcher has fewer unique Relics than most of the other characters. However, the ones she does have are pretty interesting, take a look:
- Violet Lotus (Boss Relic) – This one grants 1 additional energy every time you exit Calm, which should be relatively frequent in most builds. This is especially useful if you’re using a Stance Dancing deck.
- Melange (Shop Relic) – When you’re playing Slay the Spire it’s important to think carefully about which cards you put in your deck. However, even the best decks work best when you get certain combos. Melange lets you Scry 3 every time you shuffle your draw pile, ensuring you have the best opportunity for a new hand.
- Cloak Clasp (Rare Relic) – Interestingly, this was initially available for all characters before being changed to only The Watcher. Particularly useful in a Retain deck, this one provides you with extra Block. You get 1 Block for each card in your hand at the end of the turn. Considering that you’re unlikely to play everything you have, this should be a consistent 2-3 additional Block each turn, and even more if you have a deck with extra drawing power.
- Golden Eye (Rare Relic) – You can get some really exciting combos going with this Relic. It lets you Scry an additional 2 cards every time you use Scry. If you’ve built a deck around this mechanic, Golden Eye could very easily become a path to going infinite.
- Duality (Uncommon Relic) – Duality isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not likely to be as useful as many other Relics. It grants you temporary Dexterity every time you play an Attack, which means any subsequent Block cards used that turn become more efficient. The problem is, even if you’re using energy effectively, you probably won’t see much benefit from Duality. The Dexterity is temporary so you can’t stack it over turns. There are some players who’d disagree with me, but given the usual deck strategies, Duality is rarely game-changing.
- Teardrop Locket (Uncommon Relic) – I really like this one. It’s simple, yet it can be convenient to get an edge on that very first turn. It allows you to start every combat in Calm, which means as long as you have a means of entering Wrath, you can get two additional energy right from the off. Having an excellent first turn might mean you defeat an enemy straight away if there are multiple enemies, and can save you from taking damage from an attack.
- Damaru (Common Relic) – Depending on your deck strategy, this is going to be pretty useless a lot of the time. It gives you 1 Mantra at the start of your turn. However, as most combats are unlikely to last 10 turns, you probably won’t gather enough Mantra from Damaru alone to enter Divinity. Damaru is brilliant if you have a deck built around Divinity as it can help you get there quicker, but it doesn’t serve much purpose otherwise.
Best Deck Builds
There are several viable deck strategies for The Watcher and I’d encourage you to play around with her and figure out your favourites. However, below are some of the most common tactics for winning decks. Take a look and see if any of them appeal to you.
This deck strategy utilizes The Watcher’s unique ability to change stances. You’ll want cards like Miracle to provide extra energy, and you’ll want a range of cards to put you into either Calm or Wrath.
Some cards eliminate your current Stance without putting you in a new one and these can be useful depending on their other effects.
The trick here is to start each turn in Calm, move to Wrath to deal damage, and then move back to Calm at the end of the turn.
I can’t express enough how important it is to ensure that you move back to Calm (unless the enemy isn’t attacking you). If you end the turn in Wrath, the enemy deals double damage. Considering that The Watcher has a relatively low starting Max HP, that can be a disaster.
The benefit here is that you’re using The Watcher’s best ability to your advantage. If you plan it correctly, you can deal so much more damage using the Wrath Stance without having any negatives to contend with.
When putting this deck together, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of Attack cards, enough Skill cards to gain adequate Block, and a few Power cards to make use of the Stance switching.
Cards/ Relics to Look Out For
Obviously, you can’t control which cards/ Relics you’ll find on your run. However, if you spot these ones early on, it might be worth considering a Stance Dancing deck.
- Flurry of Blows – This card is perfect in a Stance Dancing deck as it essentially gives you free damage every turn. This one returns to your hand from your discard pile every time you switch Stances. Seeing as you should be switching once or twice every turn, that means the potential for high damage.
- Rushdown – I love making good use of Power cards, and this is a great one. You draw 2 extra cards whenever you enter Wrath, which should happen on most turns. Extra drawing power is nearly always beneficial.
- Miracle – Extra energy is always welcome, and you never know just when you’ll need it. Miracle is a card which is Retained, so you can save it to play it when you really need the energy. Technically, Miracle itself isn’t the card you’re looking out for. Instead, you’re looking for cards like Collect or Deus Ex Machina which put Miracle into your hand. Cards/ Relics that do this will mention ‘Miracle’ in their description, so look out for that.
- Consecrate – This one isn’t particularly special, but can be a great way to make use of the Wrath stance, especially since it costs 0 energy. It deals a small amount of damage to all enemies, which isn’t to be sniffed at when the damage is doubled. It’s not really worth picking up past Act 1, and certainly not worth getting in Act 3 as by then you should have found better cards. But if you find this early in a run, it could help you smash those first few combats.
- Wallop – The wording on this one is what makes it particularly useful in a Stance Dancing deck. It costs 2 energy and only deals 9 damage (or 12 when upgraded), BUT it also gives you Block equal to unblocked damage. So if you use it when in Wrath, suddenly you’re getting a really high amount of Block and it becomes super energy-efficient.
- Tantrum – This card is excellent for entering Wrath. It only costs 1 energy, and you deal damage first. You deal damage multiple times, which means if you have higher Strength, it’ll scale up quicker. It also shuffles back into your deck rather than going to the discard pile, so it’s a consistent method of changing Stances, particularly in smaller decks.
- Meditate – This is an excellent way to enter Calm, but needs to be played at the end of your turn as you can’t play anything after this. As well as putting you in Calm, it allows you to choose any card from your discard pile and put it into your hand. That card is Retained, so you can keep it until you need it. Meditate can even Retain Ethereal cards (Ethereal usually Exhausts cards at the end of your turn).
- Violet Lotus – This is a Boss Relic, so look out for it at the end of each Act. This gives you 1 extra energy whenever you exit Calm. In a Stance Dancing deck, that’s basically free energy every turn.
- Fear No Evil – This is just a better Strike in that it deals 8 base damage. The reason it’s so good for a Stance Dancing deck is that it puts you in Calm if the enemy intends to attack (which most of the time, they do). That means you can play it whilst in Wrath for the double damage, and then not have to worry about taking double damage in return as you move to Calm afterwards.
- Mental Fortress – This Power card is excellent for providing consistent Block. You’ll get 4 Block every time you change Stance, so it can really make a difference over a few turns. This doesn’t synergize very well with Orichalcum, though.
This is another Stance that The Watcher can switch into, but it’s powerful enough that it constitutes a deck strategy all on its own. With Divinity, you deal a whopping triple damage every time you attack the enemy.
You also get 3 extra energy to play with as soon as you enter Divinity, allowing you to really make use of any strong Attack cards in your deck.
As you can imagine, such a powerful Stance doesn’t come cheap. To be able to move into Divinity, you’ll have to gather 10 Mantra. This is a separate stat that is tracked for The Watcher alongside other buffs such as Strength and Dexterity.
When you hit 10 Mantra, you will immediately consume it and enter Divinity. You exit Divinity at the start of your next turn, but you don’t take any extra damage whilst in it as you do with Wrath.
Divinity is so strong that you will often end fights in the same turn, or at least do serious damage so that the enemy can be taken down after a couple more turns. With this deck, you’re likely to have shorter encounters, so you want to make each card count.
As well as having consistent and reliable means of gaining Mantra, you’ll also want to gather strong Attack cards which will benefit from the triple damage.
Cards/ Relics to Look Out For
Although Divinity is a powerful deck strategy, it’s not always easy to obtain. Only a few cards/ Relics grant you Mantra, and you may struggle to find enough to build a deck around. Here are the ones to look out for when running a Divinity deck.
- Brilliance – A decent Attack card, in that it deals 12 damage for only one energy. You then deal additional damage for each Mantra you gained that combat, so realistically you can easily be looking at 15-20 damage relatively early in combat, and even more against tougher enemies like Elites and Bosses.
- Blasphemy – Widely regarded to be the best card in The Watcher’s arsenal, be sure you know what you’re doing when you play it. This allows you to enter Divinity immediately upon playing it, without needing any Mantra. However, you will die at the start of your next turn. That means that before playing Blasphemy, you need to be absolutely certain that you can kill the enemy in the same turn. That way, the combat will end before your next turn, and you won’t die. It’s worth upgrading this when you get the chance, as that allows you to Retain it.
- Worship – It’s a little expensive at 2 energy, but for that, you get an instant 5 Mantra. That means you only need to play it twice to move into Divinity.
- Devotion – I’m a huge fan of Power cards, and this one is perfect for a Divinity deck. It only costs 1 energy to play it, and then you gain 2 Mantra at the start of every turn. I’d recommend upgrading this one as you’ll then gain 3 Mantra every turn. This is a quick supplementary path to Divinity.
- Ragnarok – This costs 3, but when played in Divinity it’s often game-ending. You deal 5 damage 5 times, or 6 damage 6 times if it’s upgraded. This is dealt to a random enemy, so it can be wonderful if you’re against multiple enemies. The upgraded version will deal a total of 108 damage if you’re in Divinity, which is more than enough to take down a few regular enemies, and even most Elites.
- Swivel – This pairs incredibly well with Ragnarok, but is pretty useful even on its own. If you’re building a Divinity deck, you want to have several strong Attack cards, and they’re likely to cost more energy. Swivel is a Skill card that allows you to gain Block, but also makes your next Attack cost 0 energy.
- Damaru – Pretty pointless if you already have Worship in your deck, but can be useful alongside other means of gaining Mantra like Devotion. You gain 1 extra Mantra each turn, and this can add up over longer combats.
Okay, calling this one a ‘common way of winning’ might be a bit of a stretch. Experienced players tend to hate this message, but I personally have a soft spot for it.
It’s also a good strategy for beginners as it doesn’t rely on particularly complicated mechanics. In fact, you don’t need to think much at all, you just need to hope for the right cards.
Pressure Points is a specific card that The Watcher has access to. It applies a debuff called Mark which stacks onto the specific enemy. You’ll then deal damage to all enemies equal to their Mark.
If you’re playing a Pressure Points deck you should upgrade all copies of it, so we’ll use the upgraded version for the example. Say you play it once, you’d deal 11 Mark to the enemy then they’d take 11 damage.
Then you’d play a second copy to add 11 more Mark, and they’d take 22 damage as they’d now have 22 Mark. This would repeatedly get higher the more Mark they had.
There are a few downsides to this strategy. Firstly, you don’t know which cards you’ll come across in each run. Pressure Points only works when you have several copies in your deck, and you may grab one early on and never find another.
Secondly, it’s not particularly effective against multiple enemies, as you’d have to individually apply Mark to all of them. It’s unlikely you’ll have a run which only contains combats with single enemies.
Then, even if you do fight single enemies, they may have Artifact (this allows them to negate a debuff). As all the Mark is applied simultaneously, they simply would take no Mark at all rather than just one less.
Another downside is that you’re pretty screwed if you come up against Gremlin Nob. He’s an Act 1 Elite (but can occasionally appear in Act 2 if you get The Colosseum as an event) who gains Strength every time you use a Skill.
Cards/ Relics to Look Out For
Obviously, Pressure Points is one you always want to pick up when you find it, but here are some other cards that work well here.
It’s worth noting that you don’t really need any cards that put you in Wrath, as Pressure Points is a Skill, not an Attack card. You also want to keep your deck small to increase the chance of drawing Pressure Points.
- Melange – This Relic lets you Scry 3 whenever you shuffle your deck. This should be relatively frequent as Pressure Points decks tend to be kept fairly small.
- Deceive Reality – As you’ll be playing a lot of Pressure Points, you want access to consistent Block whilst the Mark stacks up. Deceive Reality doesn’t give much Block on its own, but it creates a much stronger Block card called Safety which is then Retained. In its upgraded version, it’s actually better than a Defend even on its own, but your priority should still be upgrading your copies of Pressure Points.
- Sanctity – The interesting thing about Pressure Points is that although it does damage to the enemy, it’s a Skill card, not an Attack card. So it’s highly likely that most turns will consist primarily of Skills. Sanctity gives you Block, but also allows you to draw 2 cards if the last card you played was a Skill. It only costs 1 energy, so can be a fantastic source of block and drawing power.
- Foresight – I know I’m leaning pretty heavily on the Scry, but it’s just so useful in a Pressure Points deck! Foresight is a Power card that only costs 1 energy and allows you to Scry 3 at the start of every turn. It’s worth upgrading if you get the chance, as then you can Scry 4.
- Red Mask – As Pressure Points decks can take a couple of turns to really get going, having all enemies be weakened on the first turn can be really useful to prevent you from taking too much damage whilst you stack up Mark.
- Third Eye – With a Pressure Points build, you really just want to play them as much as possible. To do so, you’re gonna want to Scry a lot. Third Eye not only allows you to Scry, but you also gain Block. I’d advise upgrading this early on, as it will prove very useful to you.
Question: When was The Watcher added to Slay the Spire?
Answer: Although the game was released on 14th November 2017, The Watcher wasn’t one of the original characters. She was added to the game on January 14th 2020.
Question: Is The Watcher the best character in Slay the Spire?
Answer: This is such a subjective question, and ultimately, you should find the character that gels most with your playing style. However… Yeah. If you’re going by your likeliness of winning, The Watcher is the best character in Slay the Spire.
Question: What is Divinity Slay the Spire?
Answer: Divinity is an exclusive mechanic for The Watcher and it’s one of the Stances she can switch into. Divinity allows her to do triple damage with all her attacks, meaning that even a basic Strike can one-shot a weak enemy.
The Watcher was an incredible addition to Slay the Spire and has inspired so many players. Despite being late to the game, she’s truly cemented her worth.
Naturally, I could never teach you everything there is to know about her as Slay the Spire is such a complex game. There are always new combos to discover and new strategies to try out.
However, this guide should have given you an excellent starting point. You now know how The Watcher at. at. You can use this knowledge to become skilled at using her and develop your own strategies.
Just because a card is regarded as wonderful by the player base, doesn’t mean you have to like it. You can find your own favorites as you play more runs with The Watcher.
I hope you feel more confident playing as her now. The Watcher has so much to offer and it would be a shame for you to miss out. I understand she can be quite daunting at first, but once you’re confident with her, she may well become your favorite. Have fun!