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"Combat automaton which became self-aware. Ancient technology allows manipulation of Orbs."


The Defect is one of four playable characters in Slay the Spire. Once was among the like of Orb Walkers and Bronze Automaton as one of many ancient automatons, it has since gained sentience and seeks its way out of the Spire. It attacks foes with a high-tech arsenal, array of Powers, and elemental evocations. The Defect has a unique mechanic, the Orbs. Using cards and Relics, The Defect Channels these elemental spheres into a set of Orb slots, activating their passive effects each turn or Evoking them for a one-time burst. The Defect starts with three Orb slots, though cards and relics can add or consume them. It starts with 75 hp.

The Defect's starting Relic is CrackedCore.png Cracked Core, which Channels 1 Lightning at the start of each combat.

It was added to the beta build in Weekly Patch 22: Testing the Third Character during the early access. It is released to the public, along with the game and other two characters on January 23rd, 2019.


Starting Deck[]

BlueEnergy.png Defect Cards BlueEnergy.png



Main article: Orbs

The Defect begins with three Orb slots and considers the rightmost Orb to be the 'next' Orb to Evoke. Channelling an Orb inserts it into the rightmost empty slot. If every slot is full, each Orb will be shifted one slot to the right, popping the right-most Orb out of its slot and Evoking it. If The Defect loses every Orb slot, it can't channel Orbs at all!

Lightning.png Lightning, Frost.png Frost and Dark.png Dark orbs have a passive effect that activates at the end of the Defect's turn, from right to left, or oldest to newest. The passive effect of Plasma.png Plasma activates at the start of the Defect's turn. While these effects are initially weak, The Defect can increase Icon Focus.png Focus and channel additional copies to sharply increase their potency.


Main article: Icon Focus.png Focus

Icon Focus.png Focus is a stat unique to The Defect that affects Orbs the same way Icon Strength.png Strength affects Attacks and Icon Dexterity.png Dexterity affects Icon Block.png Block. Increasing Icon Focus.png Focus increases the magnitude of both the passive and Evoke effects of each Orb (except for Plasma.png Plasma). It is possible to reduce Orb effects to 0 by decreasing Icon Focus.png Focus.


The Defect has fewer class-specific relics than the other classes, having only one class-specific rare relic rather than three (like the Ironclad and Silent) or two (like the Watcher). The Watcher has equally few overall, but instead of being short two Rare relics is short one Rare and one Boss relic.

Starting Relic: CrackedCore.png Cracked Core

Common Relic: DataDisk.png Data Disk

Uncommon Relics: Cables.png Gold-Plated Cables, SymbioticVirus.png Symbiotic Virus

Rare Relics: EmotionChip.png Emotion Chip

Boss Relics: FrozenCore.png Frozen Core (replaces CrackedCore.png Cracked Core), Inserter.png Inserter, NuclearBattery.png Nuclear Battery

Shop Relic: RunicCapacitor.png Runic Capacitor


The Defect's game plan almost always involves implementing a long-term plan each battle. By developing Orbs, Powers, and cards with escalating effects, the Defect sets up an insurmountable late-game position and then destroys its enemies. This is a radically different style from the Silent and the Ironclad, who tend to apply bursts of damage to take enemies out opportunistically.

As a consequence, the Defect struggles to win with a deck full of "good stuff". While it does have access to some individually strong cards, they don't present the sheer power that The Ironclad and The Silent enjoy.

The Defect also has a higher number chance-based RNG effects, like Hello World, Chaos, and Creative AI.

The Defect's strongly synergistic cards encourage some powerful and well-supported archetypes. Identifying and focusing on one is a key aspect of the Defect strategy.

General Build Archetypes[]

These are the standard types of decks that may give you an idea of direction for your deck, or what you want to go for. Keep in mind that none of these builds are mutually exclusive. Many of them are more of a general strategy, which can be adapted or combined into multiple builds in a single deck. This is especially true for the many archetypes of Defect, and often having 2 or more dedicated strategies rolled into one (like Dark+Frost Turtle or 0-cost+Negative Focus) will allow your deck to perform more smoothly.

Zero Cost

The Defect has a high number of strong 0-cost cards, as well as unique supporting cards like Scrape and All for One and efficient card-draw Skills. Drown an enemy under FTLs, Claws, and Beam Cells. It's sort of like The Silent's Shiv builds, but way more back-loaded and visually impressive.

Damage comes from 0-cost cards that do damage:

The Deck then also needs a lot of recycle/card-draw effects to get as many of the 0-cost cards in play per turn. The Defect has a lot of great support cards for this type of deck:

  • All for One - the best one for this deck as it allows you to re-play all of your 0-cost cards you've played in your deck up until that point
  • Rebound - allows you to double-play cards like Streamline and Claw to more quickly ramp up their effects.
  • Hologram - reuse All for One, double-play Streamline, or replay a 0-cost card.
  • Scrape - good card draw that let's you immediately play any 0-cost cards it finds.
  • White Noise+ - when upgraded it becomes a free power.
  • Reboot - very good if you already have the core engine of your deck in place.
  • Seek - great for finding Claw, or even better, All for One.

There are also some extremely useful neutral cards that either help get 0-cost cards, or are 0-cost cards themselves (or both):

  • Madness - can be difficult to get, but if you are able to acquire it, it will greatly speed up your deck by turning your strongest cards into 0-cost cards.
    • 2 Madness+ with All for One and Hologram+ is an infinite. Use both madness to reduce All for One and Hologram+ to 0-cost, and use each one to put the other back into your hand.
    • Seek+ makes this easier to pull off. Double Seek+ is even easier, as it allows for 3 of the 4 cards to be put into your hand immediately.
    • BottledLightning.png Bottled Lightning also makes this easier to pull off.
  • Swift Strike
  • Secret Technique+/Secret Weapon+ - both of these when upgraded will allow you to get your key cards faster.
  • Panache - as you will almost certainly be playing more than 5 cards every turn, this will be a guaranteed 10 damage to all enemies every turn.
  • Thinking Ahead - upgrade this ASAP so that you can reuse it.
  • Violence
  • Metamorphosis
  • Purity - can get rid of Strikes/Defends during combat, which, depending on the state of your deck, may allow you to go infinite.
  • J.A.X. - a rare card as it only comes from the Augmenter event, but any source of strength is a huge benefit for a deck that aims to play many 0-cost attacks every turn. As an added bonus, the card itself costs 0 and so, if you have the health for it, can quickly ramp up your damage to high levels in this deck.
Lightning Damage Over Time

The Lightning Orb damage-over-time build tries to channel many Lightning Orbs, boost Focus, and hold the fort with block-granting skills, while the Lightning Orbs' passive wears down the opponents.

Lightning Evoke

This build tries to Evoke as many Lightning Orbs as possible, beating enemies down eight damage at a time. Unlike other Orb builds, smaller is better - one Orb slot is optimal to facilitate Evoking.

  • Electrodynamics greatly helps you when encountering multiple enemies. It also Channel multiple Lightning Orbs in a single use. It becomes specially powerful with BottledTornado.png Bottled Tornado.
  • Zap+ Channels a Lightning Orb for free.
  • Ball Lightning is an attack that Channels a Lightning Orb. With fewer orb Slot and multiple copies of this card, it can rapidly Evokes multiple Lightning orb for a large amount of damage.
  • Thunder Strike, Tempest, and Bullseye are this deck's premier finishers, dumping huge volumes of damage onto the enemy.
  • Static Discharge can also be effective against enemy with multiple hits.
  • Use Consume to reduce the number of Orb slot and boost Focus.
Frost Turtle

The Frost deck Channels as many of the eponymous Orbs as possible to into an unbreakable wall of free Block. Once the shields are up, The Defect can devote every Energy to damage.

  • This archetype is supported by Blizzard and Glacier, and relies heavily on Focus and Orb slot buffs.
    • Barrage excels in this slot-oriented deck.
  • Capacitor generates Orb slots. 2 copies should suffice, but you can take more if you want.
  • Take as many Defragment as possible, and upgrade as many of it as you can. Focus is even more crucial for this deck as 1 Focus means 1 additional Icon Block.png Block per channeled Frost orb.
    • Since Capacitor and Defragment are not expensive, has even greater chance to allow multiple free cards play.
  • RunicCapacitor.png Runic Capacitor grants 3 additional Orb slots.
  • If you have the FrozenCore.png Frozen Core relic, it would fill your orb slots with Frost orbs. This would help you quicken the weak early game.
  • Inserter.png Inserter rapidly generates Orb slots for free.
    • If you have Inserter.png Inserter, consider taking Consume to help boost Focus, as it can be repeatedly used and generate a rather large Focus per use. Once you have an adequate Focus, you can forego using it or Recycle it away.

The Defect can make the most of the tricky Dark Orb by defending for a few turns while it charges, then using Multi-Cast, Dualcast, or Recursion to Evoke it multiple times. This archetype isn't as well-supported as the others, but the satisfaction of Evoking a 54-damage Dark Orb three times (or more!) makes it worthwhile. Keep in mind that the Dark orb will target the lowest health enemy.

  • This deck works well with Frost Turtle, as Frost Orbs help generate Icon Block.png Block and allow you to stall the fight until you are ready to Evoke a Dark Orb.
Energy Greed
The Defect has better access to Energy sources than other classes, and there's no better way to leverage them than a Meteor Strike, Aggregate and TURBO, and stockpile with Charge Battery. Dump your Energy into expensive bombs like Meteor Strike, Sunder and Tempest, draw cards with Skim and fling them at enemies, or make a good old-fashioned UnceasingTop.png Unceasing Top wombo-combo. When you have 7 Energy, anything is possible.
Powers Matter

The Ironclad likes Attacks, The Silent loves Skills, and The Defect completes the cycle with its affinity for Powers. Grab some Force Fields, drop an Amplify or Echo Form, stack up some powerful effects, and bury the opposition under your cumulative advantage. The BirdFacedUrn.png Bird-Faced Urn is the perfect Relic to recover HP lost while setting up.

  • Creative AI is probably the best card for this deck. It scales amazing with itself and with all of the other power-synergy cards that The Defect can get.
  • Amplify - doubling any of your powers can be a huge spike depending on what the power is. Good targets for Amplify are cards like Defragment and Capacitor
  • Refine the deck by using Powers to fill the roles of Attacks and Skills. Consider Static Discharge and Storm your damage-dealers, Buffer and Self Repair your Blockers. The Powers deck's win condition depends on the particular Powers you acquire. Most builds will stack up Orbs, but some use Attacks and others simply lean on Creative AI and let the Powers do the work. The MummifiedHand.png Mummified Hand can become really useful with a power deck.
Chaos randomly Channels an orb for one cost, including Plasma, normally a two cost. Upgrade Chaos and pair it with Defragment and draw cards and hope to Evoke enough Plasma and Frost orbs to survive the next round.
This aggressive archetype deploys efficient cards with debilitating drawbacks, and attempts to end the battle before the consequences arrive. TURBO and Steam Barrier provide cheap resources, and Hyperbeam or Biased Cognition bring big damage, and each incurs a significant long-term cost. If the Defect can slam the door before the Statuses overwhelm it, the player enjoys a quick, decisive victory that doesn't give enemies much time to deal damage.

This deck centres around the three major cards: Barrage, Capacitor, and Defragment. If you want to get more value off of your orbs. The point of this deck is to acquire as many orbs as possible using cards such as Glacier and Chaos and then unloading a ton of damage using Barrage.

Snecko Eye
This build makes use of SneckoEye.png Snecko Eye, paired with the defect's high impact cards.
  • The defect has several extremely powerful but expensive cards like Fusion, Echo Form, Sunder and Meteor Strike. By taking SneckoEye.png Snecko Eye early enough, you can focus on these cards for absurdly high-value turns. Many of these effects will generate more energy than they spend.
  • All for One and Hologram can fetch cards which had their cost set to 0 the last time you saw them, even if they would normally be quite expensive.
  • Most of the Defect's 0-cost cards are dead weight in this archetype, so it is important to home in on it as early as possible. If you don't get SneckoEye.png Snecko Eye from Neow or the first boss, pick a different strategy.
10 Card Infinite
With this build, the defect is capable of going infinite against most opponents.
  • Getting the deck down to 10 cards allows for setting up 4 card infinite cycles with Skim and negative cost cards.
  • Fusion, Meteor Strike, TURBO (with Recycle), Recursion, Dualcast can combine in various ways to get negative cost.
  • Hologram or a second Skim can be used to restart the cycle.
  • Example set: Skim+, Hologram+, Fusion+, Dualcast+. Skim draws Hologram, Fusion and Dual Cast, Fusion and Dual Cast make 4 energy, Hologram retrieves Skim. Nets 1 energy and 5 block, can substitute any attacks in for Fusion and Dual Cast after energy is built up.
  • 2 Coolheaded+ and Fusion+ can make infinite block, and channel an arbitrary number of Frost orbs for Blizzard.
  • It is important to only take cards that are either Powers, Exhaust, or are directly part of the combo while building the deck, since the goal is to get the total number of cards down under 10. Recycle can handle junk put in the deck and help thin it out if its not quite down to 10 cards.
  • Boot Sequence is very helpful as a free method of preventing damage during the first turn while the infinite combo is being set up while exhausting itself out of the deck to help enable the combo.
Negative Focus
A deck that repeatedly plays Reprogram to rapidly scale up your Strength and Dexterity, ignoring Orbs entirely. All you need to start the deck is a copy of Reprogram, preferably early in Act 1.
  • Upgrade Reprogram as soon as possible, and you'll gain +2 Strength and +2 Dexterity every time you cycle through your deck. You only really need the one copy, but cards like Seek or Skim can help you get to it faster.
  • Hyperbeam deals massive AoE damage, and you can ignore its only downside.
  • Steam Barrier also effectively loses its downside, since you'll be gaining Dexterity faster than Steam Barrier loses Block.
  • A few copies of Hologram+ let you reuse Reprogram, repeatedly play Steam Barrier in an emergency, or recover copies of each other, scaling up your Block as needed. Your high Dexterity will easily make up for Hologram's low Block.
  • All for One strategies fit well with this deck, since spammable 0-costs like Claw and Beam Cell scale well with high Strength. It can also recover your Steam Barrier.
  • NuclearBattery.png Nuclear Battery is a good option, since Plasma Orbs don't scale with Focus.
  • If you're willing to commit to this at the beginning of your run, taking Neow's offer to swap your starting relic for a boss relic could be benificial.


The Defect itself is unlocked by completing a run with The Silent.

Unlock Number Prizes Unlocked
1st Rebound, Equilibrium, Echo Form
2nd TURBO, Sunder, Meteor Strike
3rd Hyperbeam, Recycle, Core Surge
4th Cables.png Gold-Plated Cables, Turnip.png Turnip, RunicCapacitor.png Runic Capacitor
5th DataDisk.png Data Disk, SymbioticVirus.png Symbiotic Virus, EmotionChip.png Emotion Chip