“What got you here won’t get you there.”
I am getting better at Slay the Spire. I can now consistently get to the final boss. But I am pretty consistently losing there, and I am wondering whether my approach is at a local maximum. To borrow a metaphor, ladders only go so far up, and if you want to climb higher, you need to climb down and start over on a new ladder.
It may be that I am genuinely getting better and just need a bit more optimization to cross that line to consistently winning. It is also possible that I am consistently getting to the end by avoiding both good and bad risks, and therefore consistently arriving at the end underpowered. That approach will consistently get you to the end, and then you lose.
The goal is to take the good risks and avoid the bad ones. You need some good risks, assuming there are commensurate rewards. This is part of playing efficiently, learning which trade-offs look scary but are ultimately to your benefit. You need to push hard to find what the real limits are.
That is the goal for winning consistently. If you just want to win at all, dive after any risk you like. If a conservative strategy consistently gets close but does not win, a reckless strategy will occasionally win (and probably lose quickly so you can try again). What I was saying about inconsistent strategies amounts to a local maximum: you can probably win more often than I am by committing early to a strategy that depends on a few cards that may not come up, but you cannot build up a win streak that way. There are people winning consistently with long win streaks; the top of a foothill is not the peak of the mountain.
I just need to figure out how high this ladder goes. I think I have most of the deckbuilding aspect (lots of experience there) and just need to work on the roguelike aspect of picking my path (less experience there). But I could be wrong and heading down a dead end.