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8 Griftlands Tips to Win More Runs

Griftlands is the latest game from Klei and is now available on Steam. It seems that everything Klei touches turns to gold and Griftlands is no different. Klei has put their own spin on the roguelike deck-building genre and the result is superb. As with roguelikes in general, the learning curve is quite steep and death is always just around the corner. In this Griftlands tips guide we list some things we found essential to winning runs in the game. We won’t be covering the basic mechanics of the game, but our list of Griftlands tips is sure to help you move up the prestige ranks.

Griftlands is a game with a lot of depth and therefore we can list hundreds of tips to help you on the road to victory. But instead of listing everything we could think of, we present to you 8 Griftlands tips that we found to be the most useful.

1. Level up your cards

Having a focused deck full of upgraded cards is what you want before you face the final boss of a run. Griftlands does an excellent job of explaining most of the mechanics in the game, but it isn’t immediately clear in which way you upgrade your cards. Your cards have two key parts, a picture and text describing what the card does. But if you look carefully, you will find a progress bar right between the picture and the text which is used to show the amount of experience your card has. The progress bar is made up of sections that light up as the card gains experience. Different cards have different amounts of experience needed for an upgrade, so it’s difficult to say what the average number of experience sections are.

Griftlands tips upgrade your cards

Each time you use a card in either a battle or a negotiation, one of these sections lights up. Once all of them are lit, you can upgrade the card to a better version. The more upgraded cards you have, the better your chance of making it to the end of a run. Therefore, it is important that you focus on getting your cards upgraded.

If you are dominating a battle or negotiation and there is little chance of you taking damage, try to stretch out the encounter and use as many of your upgradable cards as possible. Eventually you will gain a debuff where your cards can’t gain any more experience, but try to reach this cap as often as you can to maximise your deck’s potential.

2. Focus your deck

With so many outstanding cards to choose from, it is easy to bloat your deck. While there are a bunch of cards that are strong in their own right, the power and success of a deck lies in its synergies. Therefore, it is always better to add cards that support the strategy of your deck instead of adding individually powerful cards.

For Sal’s negotiation deck, you are likely better off just going for either the red (domination) or green (influence) cards and building a deck around that. For her battle deck choose a strategy (bleed, discard, etc) and try to build a deck around that strategy. The same is true for Rook, choose either of the negotiation options and pick a strategy for his battle deck.

While it’s fun to have an enormous deck full of exciting cards, a focused deck will help you win more runs.

3. Replenish your resolve and health

Don’t be thrifty. Trying to save money in Griftlands is not advised. In the story mode you will fight some kind of boss at the end of every day. Don’t go into these fights with low resolve or health, you will risk having to start from scratch if you lose. If you have some money on you go to the inn, and either drink with a few buddies to restore your resolve or eat some nasty food on offer to restore your health. Getting rid of the cards you gain from these activities is easier than having to start a fresh run.

I have also found that it is rarely worth upgrading your resolve or health capacity if you have a decent deck. Rather use those opportunities to restore some lost resources.

4. Recruit companions and pets

Closely related to the previous tip, don’t be scared to spend your money on pets and companions. As you progress through a run, the battles can become tough depending on the choices you made. If you fight these battles alone, the chances are high that you will die.

Try to buy a pet as soon as they become available, they are lifesavers and any pet will do. They have different benefits in battle, but all of them tank a few hits so you can survive the encounter. Also keep an eye out for their upgrade missions, they are way more useful if they are upgraded and trained.

During the story mode you will sometimes have a red or dangerous mission available. I always recruit a companion to help with these missions as the combat encounters are usually tough. The rewards far outweigh the cost of a companion, so if you have the cash available, you need not think twice.

5. Negotiate and fight

There are some guides out there suggesting that you should negotiate whenever you can as it is safer than going the combat route. While this is true, you want to balance your encounters so you can upgrade and gain new cards in both your decks.

I usually try to alternate between the two decks with every encounter and by doing this I ensure that my negotiation and battle decks can perform well. The effects of having one weak and one strong deck is not clear in the early part of a run, but having two strong decks is crucial toward the latter parts of a run.

Sometimes negotiation saves you from battles you can’t hope to win and other times your negotiations fail and you have to put up a good fight.

6. Make lots of friends and fewer enemies

In Griftlands you can spare or kill enemies at the end of a combat encounter. All the NPCs in the game are connected in some way, so by killing someone you might cause someone else to hate you. When someone hates you, you gain some nasty debuffs which can make combat even tougher in the future.

All is not doom and gloom though as you also gain access to unique cards if you go on a killing spree. Some of these cards are useful, but rarely make up for the debuffs the hate has brought you.

Allies are always a wonderful idea. The easiest way to make friends is by getting them drunk and then paying them to like you, no jokes. Go to your nearest bar, buy someone a drink and if you like what they offer as a friend, pay them.

Allies can provide powerful buffs, which are well worth your shills.

7. Get Grafts early

In Griftlands, Grafts are your passive abilities or the equivalent of relics in Slay the Spire. Through incremental bonuses, they enhance the potency of your decks.

Like your cards, Grafts also have upgrades and provide even stronger bonuses when upgraded. Therefore, get the ones you like and that supports your deck as soon as possible. If you play the story mode, visit the market as soon as you have some cash and buy the Grafts you like. This will ensure that they are upgraded by the time the difficulty ramps up.

8. Prepare for the final boss fight

We dedicate the last of our Griftlands tips on our list to the final boss of either a story or brawl-type playthrough. Beware these encounters as they are tough, one could even say a difficulty spike. In all the final boss encounters you will have to fight, so if you only relied on negotiation you are probably on your way to a loss.

These fights are tough so you need to prepare for them. Even with a very strong deck you can easily lose. I would suggest that you keep your eyes open for one use cards that have a powerful effect or summons allies. These cards are invaluable in the final encounters and can be the difference between a wipe and a win.

If you can get your hands on some stun cards for the final encounter, they are lifesavers.

Start winning more runs

That’s it for our Griftlands tips and while there is much more we can say, these tips are sure to get you to the end of a run. If you found our Griftlands tips helpful, please leave us a comment and let us know how you made it to the end of your run.