The Ironclad is the warrior archetype, and he is more consistent. The three build paths are strength, block, and exhaust. The first two are both gradual accumulation approaches, via a few powers and skills. The last is the higher risk path, burning through resources for bigger impact. The Ironclad’s best approaches involve growth, concluding with explosive impact. For example, you might use Demon Form or Limit Break to build up strength, then hit hard with Heavy Blade (which has a strength multiplier), or you might use Barricade to build up block, then hit hard with Body Slam (which does damage based on block).
The Silent is the rogue archetype, and she is more combo-based. The three build paths are shivs, poison, and discard. Discard effects tend to be weaker than exhaust, but they are reusable. The Silent is more explosive, and to my mind more fun, but depends more strongly on having combos come together. The final bosses tend to punish the Silent’s approaches more than the Ironclad’s, partly because of needing the combo to come together, and the bosses punish using lots of powers or lots of cards. The Silent’s best approaches involve quick, overwhelming bursts. For example, you might use Accuracy and one of several shiv-generating cards to make lots of quick, cheap attacks that are not so weak after the buffs, or you might use the many poison cards then shoot that up to hundreds of damage per round with Catalyst and either Burst or Nightmare. You do not need much starting poison to kill anything when you can multiply it by 81.
I enjoy the Silent more because I am a great lover of combos and synergy. When it works, it works. I would normally be more about the Ironclad’s gradual accumulation of overwhelming power, but that resets each fight, and you will get a better return on a flurry of shivs than on waiting for strength to build up for a one-shot attack. But the Silent’s inconsistency means that some games it never comes together (you lose) or it might fail to gel on a big fight (you lose), so you get fun moments with a higher risk of disappointment. Playing lots of cards is fun, and the Silent gets to do that more often. That is also why I have come to love the Dead Branch on either character, because an exhaust deck that keeps serving up new options each round is a hoot, especially on the Silent where you can turn that into a cycle with Storm of Steel.
I find myself wanting to combine the fun of explosive synergy with the needed consistency for success. Maybe I need to be more militant about keeping the Silent’s deck small, but then I am gambling on ever finding the cards I need instead of hedging bets with a deck that carries more options.