Banners of Ruin: 100% Guide & Tips

Consistently defeat the Prince and complete the game. Tips, advice, etc. on optimal strategy.

** Disclaimer: As with other guides I have written, I am always weak with names. The way my brain recalls things is by what they do, not what they are called. So, while I try to take notes for naming things (such as cards, abilities, etc.), very often I’ll just list what it does. Sorry in advance.

Basic Theory


The goal is to equip you with what I have studied about the game and eventually landing on what I believe is generally optimal strategy. There are many (mostly obvious) reasons why I cannot simply just tell you what to do. In large part, that’s because the game is randomly generated (card draws, what heroes are available to you, encounter card draws, and so on…).

So, better to just equip you with basic rules to follow. Follow them, and you end up with excellent results.

I have so far completed the game multiple times using this strategy and am now down to just randomly assigning difficulty penalties to myself to see just how far I can stretch this concept befor eit breaks. So, it does generally work. I’m going to say 4/5 runs end in success.

Deck Building Basics

First, the basics of how to build your deck. You just want to generally follow these rules. They are generally in order of priority, meaning if you have to decide between say an ability to Draw and removing a Card from your deck, go with Draw, etc.

Draw

Due to game mechanics, drawing is the most powerful tool at your disposal. The game works by granting your heroes with Stamina as spenders. You will always end up with way more Heroes (read stamina batteries) than you have cards to use their Stamina for if you don’t focus on draw.

By draw, I mean literally drawing more cards in a round so you can keep playing them.

The simple paradigm is this. More cards played in a single turn = More win.

To play more cards, you need to draw more cards and have the Stamina to pay for them. Simple as that.

The Rule: Obsessively pick up anything that allows you to draw more card. This includes cards, character abilities, perks, whatever. If it draws more cards, it is a good choice to add to your deck.

Examples

Strength of Will – (Wolf Ability) – God like card. Costs 1, Draws 3 cards. Even has a bonus where you can discard for some attack power up if you want, but not required. This card is, OP, no two ways to cut it.

Concentration – Very bad version of Strength of Will. Still, it draws, so it’s strong.

Anything that give Preparation (Preparation is the stat effect that draws more card at start of turn) – e.g. Calculated Strike

Any card that allows draw and is not an in-line replacement. Seriously, anything. What is an in-line replacement?

** In-line Replacement – A card that allows you to draw 1 more card. These are a trap, almost always in card games unless a secondary ability of that card is very strong. You don’t want a card that just draws another card unless it draws 2 or more, more cards.

Perks, abilities exist which allow more draw. Some racial traits allow draw on usage of racial abilities. Some allow you to discard at start of round and draw 2 more. Etc. etc. etc.

Listen, if it says “draw more cards” you want it. Unless it is an inline replacement. This is the golden rule. 95% of the time, the correct choice.


Remove from Deck

Just like every other deck builder almost ever, the optimal strategy is around the smallest possible deck, only full of the best possible cards for your strategy. You combine this with Rule #1 (a.k.a the Golden Rule… DRAW)… you get a winning scenario. You constantly draw, and what you draw is only the cards you need. And you keep drawing… and drawing… and hammering the enemy… and profit?

The Rule – Obsessively take every event your can get your hands on that allows you to remove cards from your deck UNTIL you have removed all the sub-optimal cards.

What is a “sub-optimal” card? Well strikes for one thing. Cost 1, 5 damage. Not even based off weapon. It’s trash. Up next? Actually the card you start with which allows you to swap positions (more on why you don’t need this mechanic later). Kicking the enemy to the back? More mechanics you don’t need to win. Actually, a lot of folks say get rid of basic defend cards, but they are MORE useful than those other cards. Also, your start multi-attack (Cost 1 – 1 x 3 attacks)… meh.

You get rid of those out of your starting deck, and only pick good cards from here on out, you are good. If you follow this rule, by about mid-way through the “third act” on the street, you’ll have a very clean deck ready for killing the prince. You’ll only now be at the mercy of whatever race cards you had available to pickup.


Armor and Weapons

To get to an optimal place, you want to find the optimal weapons and armor. As you will see below, this strategy is just “stick to the basics man” which looks like most damage output with enough to survive the hits.

The Rule: – Take any event which gives a shot at Armor/Weapons and by the mid of “act 1”, even fight the Elite Combat to get at it.

What are you looking for?

Armor

Superior Heavy Armor – Gold Standard. Take it and put it on everyone. Yes, it lowers your stamina. More on this in a moment.

Heavy Armor – Just like above.

Why? Because it has enough depth at round start to survive the prince for a round and regens its own armor without dedicating cards to more armor.

2nd Rate Choices: – Armor which gives regen and bolster.

3rd Rate Choice – Armor which gives +8 per round but you start with zero.

See a pattern here? Armor Regen is king.

Everything else is basically to be ignored/trash on the armor front. Too situational!

Weapons

Two basic choices, which gives you enough options to make sure you can optimally kit everyone out.

The 2 Hander Option – Take the biggest 2 hander base damage you can find. Great Axe is the best. Halberd is next. Big bow, big sword, whatever. Highest you can find. Give it to someone, anyone.

The Dual Wield Option – Highest damage you can find in main hand. Ideally, Falchion. Axe is next. Off hand doesn’t matter. I prefer daggers which cause bleed. We’ll take anything. Just remember, big damage in the main hand!

Shield = No go for this. Use your armor to regen. Don’t need shield.

Between having some characters use 2 handers, and some using Dual Wield, you can optimize highest possible damage weapons across your whole party throughout the game.

Stamina

Stamina is what you use to play cards. You want as much of at is you can because as you combine this with Rule #1 (the Golden rule), you’ll have Stamina to play all those cards you are drawing.

The Rule – 95% of the time, take Stamina on level up. Take abilities which give stamina (if they don’t give draw as an option). You don’t need Will, and the only time otherwise is if you happen to pick up a super good card (of which there are only about 3 examples I know of) which have a will cost and only then on the specific character who got those cards as a racial card. E.g. The Wolf gets one that helps you get rid of bleed. The Rabbit and Wolf (at least) also get some that give Draw on Will spends.

The Strategy


Building for the Prince

This guide is about consistently beating the Prince and completing the game. Thus, everything here is optimized for defeat the prince.

The Point – If your party can defeat the Prince, you can win every other fight in the game, with extreme ease. So, you just build to fight the prince.

What about the Prince?

Worth noting what this means:
– In the Prince battle, both ranks attack ALWAYS. This negates any strategy around positioning the enemy as “optimal”. There’s no escaping their hits, so why bother?
– The Prince Guard have huge armor values. And they do huge damage if you let them. So, DoT’s are not going to work optimally. You can’t wait that long to start taking down the enemy.
– You can’t “out tank” the Prince fight. They do too much damage. You MUST kill down the enemy to lower their total damage output.
– You will receive a debuff for “Basically the whole fight” which causes all card costs to go up by 1! This HURTS! Hence, the only party that is going to survive is one which has huge stamina so they can pay the increased costs.

Thus… we arrive at what is, in my opinion, optimal game strategy. Whatever optimally kills the Prince works well on literally everything else in game. Mostly, laughably so in some cases. (My latest run, I killed the Spymaster in exactly 1 turn… the Warden barely rated as an “elite battle”, etc.)

The Strategy

This guide is about consistently doing well, which essentially requires min-maxing your way into a consistent game despite the randomness to win.

THERE ARE MANY GOOD CARDS AND COMBOS AND IDEAS. I’m not poo-poo’ing someone’s cool idea. Just keep that in mind. This is ONE idea. It works consistently. Use it if you like, and I hope you get as much success out of it as I have.

In the Spirit of Min-Maxing

Focus entirely on Draw and heavy single damage output. That’s it. You will draw a lot of cards, have a lot of stamina, and just use simple beat down cards to smack away opponents. No frills. No gimmicks. Very, very simple.

There are some cards which work better for this than others. Fair. I will talk about some of them. But overall, in your mind, discard all thoughts about:

  • Changing positions or enemy positoins
  • Mass Damage over Time
  • Ruin Decks
  • Multi Attack Decks
  • <insert gimmick build here>

Just forget about it. The problem with all of these, in my opinion, is that although they “can” work, they don’t consistently complete the game due to randomness. Fun builds? Yes! Consistency? Not so much!

Tank and Spank. That’s it. Works like a charm.

How does this play out with deck building?

If you follow the rules outlined, then you need only draw cards which do what I am suggesting. Every other card is sub-optimal and skip it. Clean and simple. DO NOT PICK A CARD IF IT DOESN’T FIT THIS PARADIGM. Follow Rule #2! Keep your Deck as small as possible!

What are you looking for?

Cards which do “Weapon Damage”. Hence why you are loaded down with High Damage Weapons. Bonus points if the card does “other stuff too” like add Bleed, or hit a full Lane, etc.

e.g. Sharpened Steel (that you start with) is a great example. Weapon Damage + bleed. Solid. Overbearing Strike is another good example.

Cards which otherwise do tons of damage in any way they do them. Whirlwind is hilarious and good for example. Oathkeeper on the Wolf is god like if you get it early enough in the game!

Further, YOU DON’T NEED TONS OF COPIES OF THE SAME CARD. If your deck is small enough, and your draw high enough, you’ll draw that card anyways!

The only exception to that rule is cards which grant more draw. Get duplicates of those! One other exception is three God Like Cards to be on the look out for:

The Red Mist o’ Doom – God like card. Costs 1. Hits a whole rank for 5 damage. Applies 3 stacks of +25% damage taken which stack and go away at end of turn. Basically for a measly 1 cost, you just doubled the damage of all your cards for that turn. Best of all, if you can get duplicates, you can double, even triple stack this card. QUAD DAMAGE is hilarious . Just remember, you need to DRAW this card. So small decks + draw = win.

Oathkeeper – Use an abuse. Wolf Ability. Gets +2 Damage permanent, each time you use it. You get this sucker early, I’ve had Oathkeepers doing flat 60+ damage by the Prince. Combine that with Red Mist of Doom, and one shots can and do happen!

Strength of Will – Another Wolf Ability. Costs 1. Draw 3 Cards. God like.

The Impact of Weapons

For better or worse, your deck gets clogged with all the Weapon Cards of the weapons your party has. You can’t fix this, even if the Weapon Cards are sub-optimal to other cards you would rather have in your deck.

So, to solve. Follow the Weapon Rules. This way, your weapons end up with High Damage weapons and fits the paradigm.

The Impact of Racial Cards

For better or worse, as you level up your characters, they unlock cards which you have to choose from at Random. With this min-max guide, you don’t always get the best choices, and sometimes you get stuck with utter garbage.

You can find events which allow you to re-roll Trait Cards or remove them entirely. Use those when you have utter garbage on Traits.

That being said, some Trait Cards (like the 2 god like wolf cards above) are just amazing. Remember, DRAW -> STAMINA -> HIGH DAMAGE. That’s what you are looking for.

Other Ways to Draw

This is a special section dedicated to “Draw moar cards!1!”

NOTICE: You can only draw so many cards at the start of your turn till you max out. Thus, having a ton of preparation doesn’t help past a certain point.

But how do I get the “Play 20 cards in a single turn Achievement”, turn after turn, you ask? Which is what this deck is seeking to do???

You need to leverage these other mechanics:

  • Character Perks which allow you to discard one card at start of turn to draw 2 more.
  • Character Perks that allow you to draw up to 3 more cards if your hand is empty if everyone in the rank has stamina.
  • Character perks that allow drawing of cards on usage of racial ability.
  • Character perks that allow drawing of cards based on other card type draws or plays.

Here’s a practical kind of example of how this goes:

Assumption #1: You followed the rules and have a deck full of draw abilities, and characters loaded down with as much Stamina as possible.

Start the turn. Hopefully you have the perk about discard a card to draw 2 more. You have 6 cards.

Look at them. Do any allow for drawing more cards straight up? Play those. Does playing any going to cause a perk to trigger to draw more cards? Play those. Empty your hand! Took that perk that gives more when you hand is empty! Nice job!

Out of cards now? Use racial abilities and trigger perk to draw just one more card. Did you get lucky and draw a card which allows you to draw more cards? You are back in business! Draw, play, draw, play. Draw, draw. Play. Hit enemies in between. Win game. No frills, just kills. That’s it.

Other General Tips

Do you have enough armor?

in some runs, you won’t find enough Heavy Armor. Just is what it is. Note that your odds of finding Heavy Armor or even “useful armor” for that matter goes down once you hit Floor 3. At that point, make a choice. Do you not have enough armor?

Remember that Prince will use a lot of abilities which shift your party around. So, you can’t rely on front row tanking, pretty much ever. So, if your back-row guys don’t have the armor they need,…

Sprinkle in just a few defense cards. Maybe 2-3. Prefer ones that do things like grant +8 armor to everyone in rank. Hilarious on the Prince is the card which mirrors opponent Armor. (Prince Guard start with over 100 armor!)

You don’t need a lot, and you don’t want to clog up your deck! Just a couple to keep you up and running.

Focus the Enemy Down

Get used to the idea of not relying on DoT’s to do hilarious overtime death. You can’t do that against the Prince so don’t get used to doing it for an other fight. Why can’t you? Because their full party fights, does crazy damage, and you HAVE TO REDUCE THEIR DAMAGE OUTPUT TO SURVIVE. You can’t make it through round after round, CONSISTENTLY. (Some builds can, but it’s not consistent.)

Thus, focus all your damage on one guy at a time till he’s dead. The only exception to this rule is once you have stacked up enough Bleed/Poison that he will die on his next turn, then you can switch targets.

Prince Fight

Use the above idea to its utmost. You need to KILL minions, not spread damage around and DoTs.
If they are dead, they can’t hit back thus the total Damage Per Turn of the Prince’s Party goes down with each death. Start with the Assassin Rats. They are weak, no armor, drop quick. Then move to the Prince Guard who is effectively their “magic user dude”. Then the guards. Then the Prince (whom you will totally wreck at that point because the debuff for +1 stamina cost is gone.)

Don’t Load Up On Duplicates Just “Because”

You don’t need 5 copies of Sharpened Steel or Overbearing Strike or anything really. This is a mistake. DO NOT GET DUPLICATES IF YOU DON’T NEED THEM.

Why? Because they clog your deck and get in the way of drawing that card which allows you to draw more cards! That’s why! You don’t need duplicates if you keep drawing more cards. You’ll quickly redraw that card in the first place.

I only duplicate God Like Cards.

Your deck will get enough clogging just from Racial Traits and Weapon Cards.

Don’t Pick up New Cards

95% of the time (seriously 1:20), I am not taking a card when offered cards. Event which you buy cards are worthless too for the same reason. You only need certain, useable cards. Keep the deck small.

Fight, Fight, Fight

If you can, always choose a Fight if no other avenues are more pertinent such as the required story line, armor/weapons, or card removal. Why? EXP!

Grind levels, unlock more perks, traits, and always, more Stamina!

Higher the level the better. More Stamina. You want huge stamina (7+ on all characters) if you can by end of game.

Party Members

Taking on more party members 5-6, is generally good, but not always. Typically, you take them just to have even more Stamina.

But don’t just take them “because why not?” Examine what Racial Trait Cards you are about to get saddled with. Are they all trash? If so, better to not have that deck clogging grub in your group.

Do they have card drawing perks? Yes please!

Does he have heavy armor already? That’s a big plus! Does he have a good weapon already? Another plus!

In a typical run, I’ve picked up 1 guy by end of Act 1. By end of Act 2, I typically hire 2 guys, unless I can’t because they are trash. I do this because I never spend gold. Why? Because I never take Events which just give you more worthless card draws, that’s why! I fight for my cards.

Card Removal Order to Clean Your Deck

Remove Cards in this order till all removed.

– Withdraw
– Kick
– Strikes
– Momentum
– Rush
– Solid Footing
– Guard
– Vanguard

In that order. It is unlikely during the course of a game you get to get rid of them all.

A Note on Party Composition

This guide works, doesn’t matter what your party race composition is. Don’t like bears? Fine. Like wolves a lot? Sure!

Are there “optimal” race combinations ,for best possible luck at getting optimal Trait cards? Yes. Do you need that? No. It’s just win more.

But if you really want to get into the specifics of race stuff, I’d break it down like this (and reiterate, it doesn’t really matter… a party full of Moles is going to win the game same if you follow this basic strategy):

S Tier:
Wolf – Only because he has access, when fully unlocked to two possible God Cards. Oathkeeper and Strength of Will. In addition, because his Racial ability allows you to use Weapon Cards of other characters, you can use Wolves to play other Wolf Cards when that Wolf is otherwise out of Stamina. THis allows you to really max out Stamina to just keep playing cards.

A Tier:
Bear – Racial ability is awesome. Get rid of status effects and get armor. Keeps you from getting bleed drained over multiple fights. Has access to Fortress or other similar which are god like armor regen to offset horrific armor draws. Good high damage cards.

Weasel – Biggest benefit here is ability to generate MOAR cards with Racial. Which is just even more cards to play during a round. Combos well with Wolfy if Wolfy gets a perk to allow for draw on playing a weapon card, haha.

Mouse – Racial ability is meh. Does get some access to some draw cards though and some powerful hitters. Just not consistent!

B Tier:

Rabbit – Racial ability sucks (traps are not useful here). Has some access to Stamina boosting cards, though, and potential at some draw. Just not as good as others.

F Tier:
Mole – Racial ability is mostly not good for this strategy. Useless on Prince. Gets saddled with Traits that up those Barricades, which are already useless, thus clogging your deck. Does still have some good cards. They all do. Just less odds here of getting what you want.

Good Cards for this Concept

As I continue playing the game, i will swing by here and collect names of cards which work well for this build:

GOD LIKE and EXCELLENT tier are worth having duplicates.

OathKeeper
GOD LIKE. Take it early. Use it often.

Strength of Will
GOD LIKE. Take as many as you can get.

Flurry
EXCELLENT: Weapon Damage + Overwhelm. Even better for your Dual Wielders. Overwhelm stacking is fastest way to drop single targets, which is what you do here. One dude at a time.

Sharpened Steel
BASIC: Weapon Damage + Bleed. Bread and butter.

Akimbo
BASIC: Weapon damage and high damage output with your Dual Wielders.

Invigorating Blow
BASIC: Does 8 damage which is meh, but if you can get it to do 13, you get a nice heal from it. This is useful since we stack Overwhelm from Flurry and Red Cloud O’ Death lol.

Brace
BASIC: Decent defensive card.

Trait Decisions I Have Had to Make Since Started Recording:

Here’s some decisions I have made while playing to pick from Traits where none of them are particular good.

1. Rabbit – Fight As One, Toxic Cascade, Hamstring – Choice Toxic Cascade because it Banishes on use which means it stops clogging my deck. Fight As One is good but not for 3 cost.

2. Mole – Haymaker, Clout, Blockade – Took Haymaker. Clout is good but way to situational. Causes you to hit at targets you aren’t focused on.

3. Rabbit – Fight As One, Warrior’s Defense, Sadist – Sadist for stamina.

4. Mole – Focus Fire, Bloackade, Craftsmen – This is why moles are F tier. Crappy draws for barricades. Took FOcus Fire as only thing approaching useful and it’s banish on play so get it out of my deck.

In-Line Draw Cards to Avoid

Natural Selection
Play this card to draw another card… why is it in my deck in the first place?

Second Wind
Pay 1 to draw 1. And get a refund for what you pay. This card is basically worthless unfortunately.

Useful Events for this Build
Here’s a list of Events where it’s no obvious what you can get but can be useful!

Wishing Well
Allows you to throw a card away for a token! Nice!

Kilderkin
Is a buy cards which I normally avoid, but this one guarantees a Red Cloud O’ Doom!

Sage
Remove a Card or a Talent! Awesome!

Vagrant
Discard a card and re-roll a talent! Nice!

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