Ironclad Strategy Guide

Important Based on the Panacea guide at
All credit to the author. My efforts purely based on making it easier for myself to use on a mobile, especially with the image quality.
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Rare Tier List

Options if Neow allows card draft

Likely Skip

Rare Colorless Tier List

Colorless Cards

EZ Mode

Uncommon Colorless Tier List

Colorless Cards


Floor 1 Path Selection

Path Selection Notes


In act 1 you want to accumulate as much resources as possible while minimizing risk of death. Different nodes (elite, hallway fight, ?, shop, campfire) provide resources with different costs. I think in act 1 it is a good idea to try to view the costs as hp. You start out with 68 hp and your goal is to try to spend this hp to improve your deck as much as possible, while minimizing the chance of ever running out of hp. You have your neow blessing + 15 floors of the act to do so, after which you will face the act 1 boss, and then recover your hp.


Elite combats provide the most resources for 1 floor. You receive a relic, a slightly improved card reward, and 30 gold (average). However elite combats can cost a fairly significant amount of hp depending on the strength of your deck. For this reason, elite fights should be a super high priority at the end of the act, when your deck will likely be strong enough to get the good rewards almost for free. When selecting a path, you will almost certainly want to allow for as much elite fighting as safely possible. If a path contains only a single elite combat, it will likely be fairly easy, and you may end up with a lot of hp to spare by the end of the act.


Campfires allow you to choose from either upgrading a card or getting more hp back. Upgrading a card is a fairly significant benefit, and on average I value it more than the rewards of a regular combat or ? node. Getting more hp (resting) is also often quite strong if the path ahead of you allows you to spend it for more resources, or if the path ahead of you risks death.

Hallway Fights

These reward us with a card reward, 15 gold (average), chance of potion drop, 6hp (starter relic). The first 3 of these that we encounter are significantly easier fights than all subsequent hallway fights. I view the first 3 hallways as almost being free. Getting free rewards is of course very good, and I recommend getting these free rewards before fighting your first elite. Subsequent hallway fights (advanced hallways) give the same rewards but cost a varying amount of hp based on RNG (looking at you pink slaver + acid slime), and the strength of your deck. Thus these hallway fights are also a bit better toward the end of the act when our deck is stronger.


These nodes allow you to spend gold to improve your deck and buy potions. How good they are is almost entirely a function of how much gold you have, so early shops are often quite bad and late shops are often pretty good. Specifically, I would not visit a shop with less than 170 gold, which is the price of a common/shop relic.


There are many different possibilities for events. Some are very nice (living wall is basically a better campfire), and some are usually bad (serpent). Many events give you an option to spend your hp for resources, often gold. Some events give you the option of resources for a curse. For this reason, events are significantly stronger when there is a shop ahead, where you can either spend the gold and remove a potential curse. If the shop ahead is not forced, keep in mind that receiving a curse from an event and then pathing to the shop to remove it is costing you two floors of potential resources to get the benefit. When pathing, a common decision that comes up is choosing event nodes vs advanced hallways. Players' opinions on this will vary, I generally recommend choosing an event node. Reasons to choose an event node include 1) your deck is weak and advanced hallways will cost a lot of hp, 2) your deck does not foresee being able to spend its hp in other ways, so the possible hp cost of an event would not matter. Reasons to choose an advanced hallway include 1) You have a pretty high chance for a potion drop (see potions) and are about to face an elite/boss, 2) You benefit specifically from combats (feed, meat on the bone, etc).

Step by Step

Step 1 - Identify the paths with the most elites. Break ties by prioritizing a campfire and 3 hallways before the first elite. Further take note if there is a shop towards the end of the path. This is your ideal path if things are going well.

Step 2 - Think about the Neow bonuses and consider whether that path seems doable. A 3 elite path with no fire until after the 3rd elite is not going to be doable too often. Be extra wary if the first elite is the spicy elite (emerald key). If the path is questionable, are we able to deviate to a different path that is still pretty good? Are we able to rest at a campfire before we die if things are going poorly?

Step 3 - If the answer to both the previous questions is no, the path is too risky. Try to evaluate paths using my discussion of each type of node above. If all 3 elite paths seem too risky, consider taking a path that could deviate to become a 3 elite path if things are going very well. Sometimes you will receive an immolate very early and a path that was previously risky is now safe. If all 3 elite paths seem too risky, consider taking on the spicy elite, prioritizing ? nodes that are before an optional shop, or at least visiting a shop toward the end of the act.

Floor 1 Neow Blessings


A nice heuristic for choosing a blessing is trying to compare the rewards of the blessing to an extra floor before the map. For example upgrading a card is equivalent to adding an extra campfire before the start of your path.

Blessings that require a shop

Some blessings are best when combined with an early shop (think 100 gold). Blessings that require a shop can be viewed as upgrading a future floor (shop) instead of adding a floor. When comparing an upgraded shop to say a free card remove, you also need to keep in mind that the free card remove option will effectively get 1 extra floor. Instead of shopping it gets to do something else. It is also important to consider how much visiting an early shop hurts your path. This could be very little if you were considering going to a shop anyways, or quite a lot.

High variance blessings

The options obtain a random rare relic, transform 2, choose a rare colorless card, and obtain a random rare card are particularly high variance. When selecting these options it is good to have 2 paths in mind, one being a good high roll path, and one being a good low roll path. If there is not a good low roll path, the option may be significantly worse. Here are my rankings from best to worst. Of course these rankings are only approximate. Lots of context can affect the value of the blessings. For example, even a low variance option like remove a strike is slightly better vs guardian and slightly worse in a path with many elites or vs slime boss. Neow’s lament and Boss swapping are not included in the ranking.

Enemies in your next 3 combats have 1 hp (Neow's lament) discussion

If this just affects your first 3 hallway fights, it basically does nothing, since the first 3 hallway fights are drawn from the easy pool. If this hits an elite, it does quite a lot, potentially gaining you 50 hp if your deck is weak. Unfortunately, going for this "snipe" almost always has a chance of failure, since ? nodes can be hallway fights. However if you have a path such as a single hallway fight, into 4 ? node, into elite combat, then the chance of reducing the elite combat is more than 80%, and you can freely take all the damage in the world at the ? nodes because burning blood is guaranteed to heal you 18 hp before the 3 fights run out. For this reason, if the path is hard enough and snipe is likely enough, I think Neow's lament can sometimes be better than any of the above options. The less likely the snipe is, and the easier the path is afterward, makes this option get worse very quickly. Visiting shops to guarantee the snipe is not usually a good idea though, since you are effectively wasting floors.

Remove strikes or defends?

In almost all of my games I remove all of my strikes before I remove any defends. The main reason for this is that defend can be exhausted late game with corruption, second wind, or sever soul. Many ironclad decks benefit from exhaust synergy, so defend is an acceptable card. If you find yourself with a very aggressive deck that scales with strength, or if you are blocking exclusively with relics / apparitions, or if you have multiple perfected strikes, removing defend can make sense. But from Neow, if I remove 2 or transform 2, it will usually be 2 strikes.

Boss swap discussion

With the view of act 1 that I have given, the ironclad starter relic gives around 50hp over the course of act 1. The boss relic that you receive may also save you a lot of that damage, but sometimes it will not. I only consider boss swapping if I am against hexaghost, because having more hp does not matter nearly as much as the potential power a boss relic could give. I also only consider boss swapping if the best path does not have a lot of elite combats, so the hp will not be as important, and we will not be receiving as many relics for the hexaghost fight.


Potion chance after your first fight is 40%. If you receive a potion the chance will go down by 10% for the next fight, if you do not receive a potion it will go up by 10% for the next fight. Potions allow you to gain hp in fights, often according to the difficulty of the fight. A fire potion in the gremlin nob fight can easily gain 24 hp. When you receive a potion, you should try to think about the fight it can gain you the most hp in, and consider saving it for that fight. If you do not have more potion slots, it can make sense to use a potion for suboptimal value in case you get a new one. If things are going very well you can consider trying to save potions for act 2. Adapting your path based on potions is important. Receiving garbage potions means that you are less likely to receive good potions, and extreme caution should be taken when continuing on a hard path. If your potion chance is high, visiting a hallway fight over a ? node before an elite can be very good.

Floor 1 Card Tier List

Card selection for Floor 1 only

Very Nice
Situational / Borderline

Floor 1 Boss Card Tier List

Card selection from Floor 1 Boss

Hope to See
Situationally Strong

Floor 1 Boss Relic Tier List

Relic selection from Floor 1 Boss

Sad Energy
Sus Energy

Floor 2 Card Tier List

Card selection from Floor 2+

Click click click
Act 1 + 2 Click
Act 1 Click
Act 3 Click
Situation Click
No Click

Shop Exclusive Relic Tier List

Exclusive Relic selection from Shops (right-most)

We're Rich

Shop Relic Tier List

Relic selection from Shops

Good Buy
Buy Early
Decent Buy
Rare Buy
Never Buy