I did this achievement when I had essentially every card unlocked, so it will be written from that standpoint. The only encounter chains I hadn't finished were the Warlord's itself and the Dragon Relics.
This achievement is the only time I really tried to build my own deck instead of using the recommended. The recommended deck actually puts some really terrible cards in sometimes.
First we'll look at encounters.
Since you'll need to win the fight against the dealer (and all 12 Face cards), you'll need to be fairly good at combat. As such, the cards I chose for the deck mainly came in three forms.
1. Cards that are solely a benefit.
2. Cards that you can ignore (walk right over), essentially a free space.
- Soul Gem - By default can only raise your max health. Can pay 5 food to remove a random curse. Can apparently heal too, might have to be at a certain threshold.
- The Maiden - Food, supplies, or max health. Can give blessing but you'd need to get rid of the curse you start with.
- Metal Ore - Used for other encounters.
- Holy Forge - Uses the Metal Ore to make a weapon. Also kind of ignore spaces.
- The Elder Lizard - Also uses the ore. NOTE - I don't think either space actually 'uses up' the ore. I've used the ore for both spaces at least 2 times.
- Food Wagon - Gives a food card if you call out.
- Helpful Priest - Can sell potion or food if low on either.
- Merchant's Favor - Might lead you out of the way but can also be ignored.
- Hero's Remains - Same as Merchant's Favor
- Local Peasant - Pay to reveal squares. 5 food gives equipment. Can be ignored.
Free Spaces - Most have an 'ignore' option unless otherwise stated. Most also provide a benefit at a risk.
- Ghost of the Sea - Normally a benefit but won't help Warlords.
- Shop - I only put it here because you MIGHT have to fight people if you actually go in the shop.
- Help the Locals
- Cursed Treasure
- Sunken Treasure
- Twisted Canyon
- Soldiers on Leave
- Maze of Traps
- Treasure Chest
- Secret Society
- Trading Post
- Desert of the Damned
- Noble Trader
- The Apprentice
- Devil's Wager
- Mister Lionel
- Battle Practice - From the Apprentice unlocks. You get to choose what suit you fight and it's just one card from that suit.
- Goblins - Usually Goblins plus one other card. Need to kill or they take your stuff.
- Tavern Wager - If you ignore the bet you fight one card.
- Cave Rescue - Worst case is combat. Can negotiate. Two Human cards (Dust or Mage)
- Cave Shelter - Announcing yourself is two monsters for three gain. Worst case for hiding is two monsters for one gain.
- Kraken Unleashed - This one might seem weird but the mask is so good I felt it's worth it. You attack so fast on Warlord you can really screw over the Jack and King of Scales that spawn before they're even out of the ground.
- The Lizard Dome - Draw two monster, choose one.
- Dead King's Hall - Worst case is two monsters and one pain card.
- Deadman's Gorge - One or two monsters for three gain.
- A Wife's Fury - Jack/King of Dust + one other human.
- A Winding Trail - One or two monsters.
Now, you could have less combat cards, but most other cards are more luck based and I would frankly rather try my hand at the combat. There is still a bit of luck involved based on what monsters you draw.
For equipment, it's more personal preference. By the time I had won, I had a huge safety net.
- Ring of Justice - Fully heal on weapon ability. Breaks ring.
- Berserker Ring - 30 Health for every six kills in a single combat.
- Ring of Survival - 20 Health for every third combat.
- Emergency Ring - If you would die, you eat all your food and heal instead.
- King's Ring - If you would die, uses 10% gold instead. Not sure how this stacks with emergency ring.
I feel the best shield is the Skeleton King's since it can stun most enemies and can insta-kill non-boss skeletons.
Favorite weapon is the Skeleton King's Sword since keeping a high combo can heal. Can also keep running away and healing using the ability.
Armor preference - Mithril.
All the rest is really personal preference. This achievement does take quite a bit of luck no matter what happens. While the Warlord doesn't list it in it's description (it might be based on how far you are), the Dealer also adds 5 other curses to the deck, two terrible fortunes, and you start with the Cursed Luck curse. This makes the shuffling happen faster. Not sure if it actually adds more fails.
Please comment any questions/concerns/changes. Please comment if you downvote.