"The remaining soldier of the Ironclads. Sold his soul to harness demonic energies."
The Ironclad is one of four playable characters in Slay the Spire. He wields an arsenal of powerful strikes, boasts formidable defensive options, and draws fiendish strength from his demonic benefactors to empower himself in various ways. He starts with 80 hp, highest of the playable characters, and can manipulate Exhaust.
The Ironclad's starting Relic is Burning Blood, which heals 6 HP after combat.
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.
Though not an intuitive choice, Second Wind can can be used to thin out extraneous Block cards once enough Block is built up, letting the player more reliably draw attacks and rely on Entrench to maintain their Block.
If Limit Break is upgraded, you can cast it multiple times for exponential strength gain. Headbutt and a small deck size help you cast it more often. Relics and potions that grant some initial strength are very helpful in case you draw Limit Break within the first few turns.
Corruption makes all Skills cost 0 in exchange for exhausting them upon use, but Dead Branch would generate a replacement for used skill. If Dead Branch generates another Skill, then you can use another Skill again for free.
Most of Ironclad Skills grant high Block, allow you to easily tank damage once you use multiple of them. If possible, use Barricade beforehand to allow Block you've gained not to be wasted between turns.
Some of Ironclad Skills grant Energy. Special notes goes to Seeing Red which normally cost 1 un-upgraded. With Corruption, it becomes a free 2 Energy generation. Spend Energy gained on other crucial cards on your hand, such as Power card or Attacks.
Fiend Fire can generate a lot of random cards with Dead Branch, which gives more chance to generate random 0-cost Skills cards
Unlike the normal exhaustion and defense strategies above (which focus on building up power over time), your goal here is to try and make your deck almost entirely out of skills, get out Corruption and Dark Embrace together, then burn through your entire deck in one turn to raise your defense, with doubling effects from Entrench played last, finally followed by one or more Body Slams to kill the enemy in one hit.
It's also important to have cards that let you dig for your combo, such as Shrug It Off, Burning Pact, and Offering. Beyond just letting you dig for your combo, these let you draw past attack cards when comboing off.
Hitting your hand maximum is a serious problem, especially if you obtain multiple copies of Dark Embrace or large numbers of card-drawing skill cards.Bloodletting can help you play other cards to get them out of your hand and can provide the energy you need to play Corruption and Dark Embrace as soon as possible. Burning Pact allows you to get unwanted cards out of your hands while drawing a large amount. Once the combo is deployed, Sentinel will both provide additional Block and a large amount of free energy to play out the rest of your hand. True Grit can be used to avoid cards getting clogged in your hand, but it's extremely important to upgrade it to avoid the risk of having it hit your combo pieces. Offering both draws you cards and gives you energy to play your non-skills.
Powers that provide persistent benefits to your defense or exhaustion intended to help you over multiple turns or which give you minor benefits for exhausts and blocks are somewhat less useful to you, since your goal is to combo off in a single turn for overwhelming damage rather than slowly accumulating benefits; but they're still worth collecting, since they give you a backup strategy in case you can't get all your combo pieces or something else goes wrong.Barricade is particularly useful because it allows you to, if necessary, split your combo over multiple turns, or to accumulate Block slowly before you finally get everything you need to go off.
True Grit and Evolve are your high-priority targets for upgrades, as True Grit+ lets you decide which card to Exhaust, and Evolve+ increases your draws instead of replacing them, greatly speeding up your deck.
Top it off with Fire Breathing for a nice passive AoE damage. A normal draw full of Status can easily turns into 30-50 damage to ALL enemies. With multiple copies this can easily be your main source of damage.
Only run multiple copies of Fire Breathing if you're quickly and consistently getting out Evolve, or you'll only slow your deck down.
This build mitigates the power of most Status inflicting enemies, and synergizes well with many other deck types.
Medical Kit greatly improves your ability to manage your Status cards, improving your performance in long-term fights. It also negates the self-damage from Immolate.
TheBlue Candle allows you to hurt yourself by exhausting curse cards.
Reaper benefits from the Strength gain and provides some much needed healing.
J.A.X. is a chance encounter, but grants you both health loss to trigger Rupture while also grants you Strength on its own.
Any cards that benefit from gain are good here.
Draw to get your combo together is very helpful. Make sure to get some defense to keep outside damage taken low.
Blood for Blood does significant damage and will quickly become cheap or free with Brutality or Combust. Having a solid 0-cost attack lets you take advantage of the extra cards drawn from Brutality, and can tide you over if you don't find Rupture early on (or draw it early in the fight).
Get Dropkick and remove as many other cards as possible. Once you have 2 Dropkicks or 1 Dropkick + Dual Wield, you can play Bash + lnfinite Dropkick. Upgraded Offering is very useful in this build because it can draw 5 cards, which means that you can infinite kicks with a 10 card deck.
This is an easy to assemble but strong build. It can be done with restarting short games to get Dropkick early.
Keep the deck small with cards to support your Rampage, preferably upgraded one, and use it repeatedly.
A balance between draw power like Battle Trance, Warcry, etc. and defense is good as Rampage can scale up quickly as main damage source with appropriate support cards, Shrug It Off is a great card as it provide both.