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Messages - Titandrake

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Rules Questions / Re: using a trader on beggar
« on: October 16, 2020, 03:23:48 pm »
This is correct, when you use Trader it's a different gain, and Trader doesn't know where the gained card was "supposed" to go, so it defaults to discard. The location is only attached to the initial gain event.

Dominion Articles / Re: Dominion Cap Management (Unfinished)
« on: October 12, 2020, 08:03:40 pm »
Looking back on this, it was ambitious but just really not a good idea. I think now I'd argue to think of Dominion in terms of immediate next turn primarily and an emphasis on gain and play, and all of that is just much simpler to track, both for players and AI.

I'd agree with this, but I wouldn't describe it as "immediate next turn". The long term impact of your choices is definitely still important. However, the newer expansions are making it easier to turn one good turn into lots of better future turns, and a general rise in player skill is adding to this. The one-time resources like Villagers and Horses are adding to this - there are boards on the extreme end where you can do something unsustainable with, say, Lackeys villagers, and its fine because the game ends before the unsustainability kills you.

Gain-and-play is really just the most extreme case of the argument for engines, i.e. more reshuffles = the time between gaining a card and playing it gets shorter. Gain-and-play is mostly just saying that if you can you should bring that time to essentially 0.

Dominion Articles / The Church/Church opening
« on: September 24, 2020, 05:04:07 pm »
This is an opening that's getting popular, which I like, but people haven't really talked about it yet.

The idea: Open Church/Church. Hope you draw a Church turn 3. Set aside a bunch of Coppers on turn 3, buying nothing, then buy a $5 cost on turn 4. If you draw a Church turn 3, you are almost 100% guaranteed to have 5 Coppers on turn 4, and will usually be able to trash an Estate as well.

It's good when: there is a $5 cost you'd really like in your deck by the end of the 2nd shuffle.

It's less good when: there is some other $3 or $4 cost you also really want early. Your expectation should be that you spend your 2nd shuffle trashing 1 Estate and buying a $5 cost. If there's an alternative card that will do more than 1 Estate trash while giving you good $5 cost odds, it'll be better.

The deceptively powerful parts: If you draw a Church turn 4, you can set aside any extra cards you don't need and they'll miss the shuffle, letting you draw and play your $5 cost faster.

Let's show a few scenarios to show how this thinner shuffle can be good.

If you draw one Church turn 3 and one Church turn 4, it's not too rare to trash an Estate, then set aside 2 cards on your turn 4 (Estate + Copper). That gives a 9 card shuffle (1 Church, the $5 cost, 1 Estate, 6 Copper, with 1 Estate trashed, and Church + Estate + Copper all set aside). If you then draw the $5 cost in your first hand of the 9 card shuffle, it'll get reshuffled at the end of that turn, you get small chances of high-rolling redrawing the $5 cost.

If you draw both Churches turn 3, you set aside your entire hand, then get 2 trashes and a $5 cost.

If you draw both Churches turn 4, you will likely miss $5. However, you can set aside your entire turn 4 hand, and your shuffle will be 6 cards (your turn 3 hand + turn 3 buy, with 2 Churches and your entire turn 4 hand set aside). You then will almost 100% hit $5 on turn 5, and that $5 cost will get shuffled in right away thanks to how thin your deck is.

In short: the open is best if you draw a Church turn 3, which is pretty common given you opened 2 Churches. If you don't do that, but draw a Church turn 4, it isn't that bad of a fail case. And if you don't draw any Churches on turn 3 or turn 4, then you sombrero-ed, which is very uncommon, and can't be played around anyways.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: RNN generated cards
« on: September 18, 2020, 02:25:33 pm »
One thing I heard about the MTG cards is that some of the models got too good, they would just output exact copies of existing cards due to memorization, or the new cards they generated wouldn't come up with new mechanics because those mechanics didn't appear on real cards. The entire point is that the model is trained to mimic the existing text - if it mimics it too well then you're stuck. There's a sweet spot where the model's output is coherent, but also still gets things wrong in a funny way. Training the model for longer may not give you want you want.

The state of the art language models are based on Transformer models, not RNN / LSTM. There have been past efforts at taking the GPT models from OpenAI and trying to get them to generate Dominion cards.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Weekly Design Contest Thread
« on: August 21, 2020, 03:23:45 pm »
Heirloom for Counting House

Cost $2: Treasure - Heirloom
You may trash this, to gain 3 Coppers to your hand.

This guarantees you can open Counting House if you want to. You can also treat it as a one-time +$3 bonus in the late game, or a way to open an expensive card if you're very desperate (Forge? Less debt on Donate?)

I considered having it gain 4 Copper to take you directly to 10 Copper for Fountain, but decided that wasn't necessary, might be a bit too much money.

Dominion Articles / Mandarin-Scepter Loops
« on: August 21, 2020, 05:37:34 am »
To forestall any questions: no, this will never come up in a real game of Dominion. It's fun to think about though.

Mandarin is a bad card. Scepter is an okay card, but is limited due to its only letting you replay Actions during your Buy phase. By their powers combined, you can do some funny pileouts.

The core pieces you need in the kingdom are:
  • Mandarin
  • Scepter
  • An Action that will gain a $5 cost Action on-play, while staying in play. Without cost reduction, this basically means Artisan or Altar, although Altar requires having things to trash.
  • An Action that draws cards.

The idea is that you play your turn as normally, getting a +Cards and the gainer into play. After drawing N Scepters, you play N-2 of them as Actions, play the N-1th one as the gainer to gain Mandarin (topdecking all your Scepters), then play the Nth one as +Cards to redraw your Scepters. This brings you to the same start state, with 1 fewer Mandarin and 1 Scepter in play. You can repeat this loop until the Mandarin pile runs out, and hopefully your action plays are giving you net +$ or net +buy. At minimum you are piling down the Mandarin pile.

An example with Inventor and Smithy, assuming you start your buy phase with 3 Scepters in hand.

1. Play Inventor and Smithy (now $5 costs are gainable from Inventor)
2. Play Scepter as anything
3. Play Scepter as Inventor, gain Mandarin, topdeck 2 Scepter
4. Play Scepter as Smithy, draw 2 Scepter + Y
5. Play Scepter as Inventor, gain Mandarin, topdeck 2 Scepter
6. Play Scepter as Smithy, draw 2 Scepter + Z
7. Repeat steps 5-6 forever.

In this example, you draw 1 card deeper and get one more cost reduction from Inventor each turn, but you aren't netting Scepter plays. However, once you draw into a 4th Scepter, you get to loop as

(start: 1 Scepter in hand, 3 on top of deck)
1. Scepter as Smithy
2. Scepter as X
3. Scepter gaining Mandarin, topdeck 3 Scepter, back to loop start.

That lets you get in other action plays, until you run out of Mandarins to gain. If you spend X on an action that gains Scepter, you can do increasingly more each loop, assuming you draw into the extra Scepters. Here is an Artisan example, where it's easy thanks to topdecking.

(start: Artisan and Smithy in play, 1 Scepter in play, N Scepters in hand)
1. Scepter as Artisan, gaining and topdecking Scepter.
2. Repeat step 1 until you have 1 Scepter in hand.
3. Scepter as Smithy, draw your topdecked Scepters
4. Go back to 1) and repeat until N = 2
5. When N=2,
   5.1 Scepter as Artisan, gain Mandarin, topdeck all Scepters
   5.2 Scepter as Smithy, draw Scepeters.
   5.3 Repeat Smithy until you redraw all topdecked Scepters, then go to step 1 with a larger N than last time.

Dominion Articles / Re: Castles
« on: August 17, 2020, 04:39:03 pm »
It's tricky to convey how bad Estates are to have in your deck. They're pretty bad.

There's this whole meme where Awaclus says "trashing Estate is like gaining a Lab", but it's sort of right. Imagine that instead of trashing an Estate, you gained a Lab, that was always drawn right before you draw the Estate. It you draw Copper-Copper-Copper-Copper-Lab, and play that Lab, your 1st draw is the Estate, and the 2nd draw is the card after it.

Now, if you had instead trashed that Estate, you would have drawn Copper-Copper-Copper-Copper-X, where X is that 2nd card your Lab drew.

Connecting to the Crossroads example, if you have Crossroads-Estate-X-Y-Z where X,Y,Z are not victory cards, and you play Crossroads, then you draw 1 card deeper. But if you had trashed that Estate, you would have already drawn that extra card in your starting hand. You only go net up on cards on the 2nd Crossroads you play. Crossroads is somewhere between a Cellar variant and draw engine and I think it's easier to treat it as a Cellar variant first - keeping around an Estate for your Cellar is not getting you more than about-a-Lab's worth of value.

Now, in a Castles game in particular, Crossroads is better because you're going to be spending more time greening, and Crossroads starts to shine when you have higher density of Victory cards. But that doesn't mean you should never trash your Estates if Crossroads are in the Kingdom. If you're trying to win you'll be buying VP cards eventually, and I think normally you get more value out of trashing Estates now and gaining Crossroads around the time you're first gaining Castles or Provinces. Since by that point, you're taking those Victory cards for points, you have to keep them in your deck if you want to keep those points, and Crossroads is helping mitigate how badly that hurts you.

Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 09, 2020, 09:02:00 pm »
I have recently played a Colony game with Oracle. Colony, as in Platinum is fairly dominating. Yet Oracle was absolutely essential to win.
So I find the notion that cards that net draw only 1 card are somehow bad or wrong for engine play quite dubious.

When did I ever say that?

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

I'm not sure if you think this, but we don't disagree that you can build an engine out of +2 Cards. Nor do we disagree that doing so can be the right play. Nor have I ever claimed that playing with a +2 Cards action is bad or wrong for engine play. I'm saying

1. That it isn't where you want to be, but sometimes you have to if the board has nothing else.
2. It isn't very common that the board has nothing else.
3. Therefore it isn't that common that you have to use Otter for draw.

And based on how you're arguing, I think you misunderstood my position.

Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 08, 2020, 07:13:09 pm »
To clarify, by "I have never played with this" for Mule, I mean I've never had a game with it, not that it's bad. I think it's pretty good as a backup option.

I think it's rare that you have a kingdom with no draw these days - it's been a while since I played a Village-Moat engine and that is basically what Otter boards are. Similarly I think that boards where Monkey are the only +Buy are not that common, if it's the only +buy then of course it's more important to thin kabout.

Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 07, 2020, 04:58:21 pm »
The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.

Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 06, 2020, 05:16:52 am »
Continuing the hot takes, with the Events. These takes are probably worse because I've seen each Event less often.

Delay: Turning a terminal +Cards into duration draw is sick. The problem is that it costs a buy to do so, and usually buys are really valuable. That being said, the fact you can set up a stronger, more reliable next turn means I tend to like using Delay.

Desperation: Hey, remember how annoying Cursed Gold is? Well, if you want to, you can now play with Cursed Gold all the time! Uh, like the name suggests, you really don't want to do that. Save it for the late game, the Curse hurts a lot.

Gamble: Really neat event, rewards decktracking a lot. I find that in many of my Gamble games, I mostly use it to discard junk cards off the top of my deck to get closer to a reshuffle, and any Action hits I happen to get are for furthering that goal. That ends up being good enough.

Pursue: Looks like Scouting Party but it's way better than Scouting Party. Lets you be much more risky with triggering bad reshuffles since you can just Pursue the junk cards away with the extra money you got from triggering that bad shuffle.

Ride: Simple but generally unimpressive. $2 is about the right cost for a Horse, but you usually want your buys to do more than that.

Toil: It looks cool but it's very easy to get in the trap of Toiling everything and not actually getting anywhere. Yes, you can Toil a terminal silver and get its effect for net +$0. You could also buy a +Actions card and get net +$2, and to win a Dominion game you eventually need to make money. I've yet to see a game where Toil was central to someone's deck. It's more like a bailout if you didn't draw the +Actions you wanted. I'm sure you can construct a kingdom where Toil is the MVP though.

Enhance: I get why it says "non-Victory", but man, that does limit its power a lot. You'll know when it's good.

March: There are definitely things you can do with this, but it's not as busted as I thought it would be. It has the Swashbuckler problem, if you're triggering shuffles often then it can be hard to have a discard pile with an Action you want to March. It is, however, a bit easier to set up, because you're getting it in Buy phase, so you can buy an Action then March it. I generally haven't found that to be worth the extra $3 buy, but it comes up.

Transport: Just a great event in general. It effectively makes your 2nd copy and up of a card cost $3, but then you can even stack Transports across turns if you want. The simplest use (which still comes up a lot) is to Transport both turns 1 and 2 to effectively open a $5 cost that you always get to draw turn 3.

Banish: Again, you'll know when it's good. You can treat it like Mint where you try to build up a big hand before buying it, but you don't have to do that. I think there are boards where it's totally reasonable to spend a turn Banishing an Estate.

Bargain: I still don't have a good feel for when Bargain is correct, but my heuristic so far is to Bargain for the first $5s you want, then try to hit $5 naturally after you've done so. If Lost City has taught anything, it's that sometimes you just have to help your opponent out to get the right deck.

Invest: Speaking of helping the opponent out....despite the meaty +2 Cards effect, I've found that Invest is better when you take your Investment off early. You should view it less as an Embargo, and more as a baby-Transport. Similarly to Embargo, don't be too scared of giving them +2 Cards for their Invested action. You just gotta do it sometimes.

Seize the Day: By default, you try to save this for pileouts, but sometimes you can use to try to win a key pile split. I think this is one of the more complex Events to play with and I doubt we understand how to use it right now.

Commerce: Not too exciting. It's hard to gain a lot of uniques in one turn - if you can, you're probably building the kind of engine that wants to Commerce just once, or maybe twice.

Demand: A nice event, I get Demand pretty often. One approximation is that it's kind of like Summon, without the implicit +Action, because if you play the Horse, the end result is a 6 card hand where one of those cards is the card you Demanded.

Stampede: ALL THE HORSES. It's good if you have a turn that qualifies for it. It's kind of like Tactician - lose $5 this turn to get 10 cards for your next turn's starting hand. Combos well with the standard "wants a big hand" cards, like Count.

Reap: It's, well it's there. If you were going to buy Gold then go for Reap. I don't find myself buying Gold very often and the play-next-turn effect is not enough to entice me to buy it more often.

Enclave: I think you usually take Enclave instead of your first Province, then you go into Provinces after, but I'm not sure. Another event that's just there.

Alliance: Excellent late game greening card, 10 points for $10 is more efficient than Colony. Pretty messy to buy it anytime before you're greening though, unless you're playing a money deck.

Populate: This was definitely more broken in extra Menagerie, since card quality in Menagerie is pretty high, and Ways gave a way to use Action cards you didn't want to gain. It's still good, and if there are even 2-3 action cards I want, I'm willing to take Populate, since a lot of Actions you wouldn't normally buy are actually fine if you're gaining them for free. This is an effect where you are looking for reasons not to buy it. Better if there's trash for benefit.

Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 05, 2020, 05:16:38 am »
The problem I have with Cardinal is that it is best in the late game when cards can get Exiled forever, but when you get to that point you're limited in the damage that Cardinal can do. You need to 1) have a pile that you know will empty early, and 2) know that you'll have time to play your Cardinal enough to hit cards from that pile, and until that point Cardinal isn't doing that much for you.

I don't usually find myself exiling Actions with Bounty Hunter unless I desperately desperately need the +$3. Giving up the action play is a lot. If you buy it back, it basically changes that exiled Action into a Gold for that turn. I guess that could be okay in some situations.

I also don't get what you have against Exile. I think it's neat, albeit very mechanical in its execution. In a flavor sense, why does gaining a copy of card bring back other cards from Exile? Who knows, but people don't play Dominion for the flavor.

Dominion Articles / Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 04, 2020, 05:00:36 pm »
(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

In general, "Gain X Horses" can be treated as "+X cards" for power level. It's different in several ways. You only get the draw 1 shuffle after you play the card, you can save Horses, but you don't always draw all your Horses. But very generally, it's basically +X cards.

Black Cat has an insane reaction that is held back by the terminal +2 Cards. You can definitely skip it, but if your deck can support Black Cat, it puts a lot of pressure on end-game VP.

Sleigh is similarly weak, where 2 Horses is just not great for a $2 cost (remember, it's roughly +2 Cards). The reaction can be nice but I haven't been impressed with buying Sleigh for just its reaction. If you're in the market for both the top and bottom of Sleigh, then you could try it.

Supplies is quite good. Some people say you should usually buy it over Silver. I'm not too far off from that. Topdecking a Horse is pretty nice and if you can draw deck then it's basically a $2 cost Peddler, except you get to frontload the draw to the start of your turn, which is good for reliability.

I have yet to get Camel Train to work for me. You're supposed to view it as a Duplicate, but one big benefit of Duplicate is that it sticks on your Tavern mat outside of your deck until you want to call it, and you can Duplicate Duchies. Camel Train just sits in your deck forever. I might be missing something but I find that it feels bad to play it before I have deck control, and by the time I have deck control I want to be spending my actions on other things.

Goatherd's fine. Sometimes skippable if there's no other trashing, +1 Action trash a card for no benefit isn't always good enough. But otherwise it's worth buying. Just remember the Goatherd draw isn't going to last forever.

Scrap's great, of the early Estate trashers it's one of my favorites. Unless you really need the +1 card now I think you should take the Horse over the card. I generally like turning my first Estate into Silver + Horse early, then the future Estates into card + action or horse + action. If you really need to, you can Scrap Silver --> Silver + action + buy to get a janky non-terminal +buy into your deck.

Sheepdog is another card that lives off its reaction, except you can actually trigger the reaction yourself. Can be inconsistent but the deck is powerful if when it triggers.

Snowy Village's +4 Actions effect is strong enough that I feel you normally buy one, even if you have other villages. If you have lots of cantrips, you think twice about it. Don't get more than 1, unless it's the only +Actions source, in which case you maybe get 2, but even then you want to get away with just 1.

Stockpile is insane, especially in 2 player. I'm still not sure how to play it, all I know is that if you play against someone who skips it you tend to win. My suspicion is that early on, you want to get all your Stockpiles off the mat before your reshuffle, but after you get a few, you only want some in the reshuffle.

Bounty Hunter is a nice thinner. (Or exiler? IDK what the terminology is). Makes it very easy to hit $5 and even $6 the first few times you play it. Usually buy 1, buying 2 can be reasonable, 3rd and up is a waste.

Cardinal is either great or awful and I feel it tends towards the "awful" side more often than not. It's not too rare to have a game where, say, your Village gets Exiled, but you just get it back immediately because you're looking to buy more Villages anyways. But when the attack is good, it's really annoying.

Cavalry's top portion is kinda eh. Its bottom portion is insane. Quite nice with trash-for-benefit.

Groom is great with Alt-VP rushes, and even outside Alt-VP rushes, Horse gains on your actions is good, and double Silver gains for money decks isn't bad either. In engine games it's already worth opening Workshop to gain $4 cost actions, Groom is the same thing except you get Horses along the way.

Hostelry would be fine even without the bottom text, the bottom text makes it interesting. It's basically "overpay for Horses". I will still take key $5s over Hostelry + Horses early, but later on I'm happy with overpaying for some Horses.

Village Green doesn't really need its reaction to be good, but if you have discard synergies, then yeah, go for it.

Barge should usually be played for your current turn, but if it's your last action and you have a decent buy in your current hand, playing for next turn is nice. And turns out a +3 cards +1 buy card is always welcome at $5.

Coven is weird. You can definitely outrace it, but if you get it wrong then you just lose. If you're trying to outrace Coven, skip Coven entirely, you don't want to help them get the Curses into your deck. If you're going for Coven, you want 2-3 as well as whatever other cycling you can get your hands on.

Displace is the standard Remodel tricks, except you also get to do Province --> Gold, Gold --> Province loops. Those loops are quite nice, because even if you don't fully loop the gains, turning a Province-in-deck into a Gold-in-deck (or another Displace) is already a good effect. You usually buy this card, there's something worth doing with it.

Falconer is conditionally good, you need good $2/$3/$4 costs to want it. Unlike Black Cat / Sheepdog, its base effect is good enough that you don't need to exploit the reaction a bunch to get your money's worth. But of course, if you can use the reaction, then you do so.

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

Hunting Lodge is the nuts. Like, dang, this card is great. You don't have to go full draw-to-X either, you just have to lean into the draw-to-X a little bit and otherwise just use the reaction when you draw it with a bad hand.

Kiln compares less favorably to Haggler IMO, but Haggler is a great card so that isn't saying much. I find that what happens is that you want to Kiln an Action card, but to do so, you need to go Village-Kiln-Village, or Village-Village-Kiln-DrawCard. It takes a while to get your deck to the point where you can Kiln Action cards, since your starting hand needs to have lots of +Actions in it. So you normally just Kiln Treasure cards...which is fine, free Gold gains are nice! But it's not quite what I hoped for out of the card. This is payload that you use after your deck is built to get more money into your deck, not a deck building accelerant to improve your draw.

By now everyone's praised Livery a bunch. When there's +Buy, Livery can really just turn into a Horse printer. Even without the crazy turns, you only need to gain 2 qualifying cards for Livery to become approximately +2 Cards +$3, which is a great deal for a $5 cost.

Mastermind takes a while to set up, but its effect is so good that you should get it early, it'll be worth it. Generally how Mastermind games play out is that you avoid putting Masterminds under Mastermind, until your last few turns, at which point you try to set up Mastermind-Mastermind-X-Y-Z chains and end the game.

Paddock is interesting. The base effect is close to the mythical +2 Cards +$2 for $5, a card that's very good in a money deck. In an engine deck, you still want Paddock, but you want to get an empty Supply pile fairly early to make it non-terminal. Once it's non-terminal, Paddock is insane.

The biggest difference between Sanctuary and its compatriots Junk Dealer / Upgrade, is that you can maintain a clean deck while greening by Exiling Provinces. Oh and the +Buy. Non-terminal +buy is always a win. I think Sanctuary is right around the same power level as Junk Dealer / Upgrade, they're all great cards and it's hard to go wrong with buying them as your first $5.

Fisherman is unexciting at $5 and you don't always have a good opportunity to buy it at $2, but you'll pick it up in both cases.

Destrier is better than Lab, which is a bit weird since Lab is already a really good card. If you can get +buy and draw then you get into situations where you're buying Destrier for $4 or $3, which is just absurd. You want to make deliberate moves towards getting cheap Destriers, because they snowball very rapidly - more Destriers = easier time drawing your gains or +buys = even more cheap Destrier.

Similarly, Wayfarer is insane - it's arguably the strongest in the set. (Or at least, if you argue it is, you won't be laughed out of the room.) It's just very easy to have some way of making the card cost less than $6, and if there isn't one, then you can pay $6 for your first Wayfarer and use the Silver gain to make your next ones cheaper. In Wayfarer games, focus more on draw. It's very easy to fill your payload space with free Silver gains off Wayfarer, so your aim is to make your payload space big (by getting lots of Wayfarers, wow this card does everything you want, wtf.)

And then there's Animal Fair, which, it's okay. Sure, it's a funny open with Necropolis. Otherwise, it's just kind of there. I'm not looking to go out of my way to get an Animal Fair, but I will pick one up if the opportunity shows up.

Dominion Articles / Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« on: June 23, 2020, 05:17:00 pm »
Drawing and sifting are always partial substitutes for trashing, i.e. the presence and strength of drawers and sifters in a Kingdom decreases the relative strength of trashers.

Eh, it's true that trashers are relatively weaker in that example, but Dominion is about finding the best thing in each Kingdom. If trashers are still the best thing to do, then you should do it, even if the alternatives are almost as good.

Dominion Articles / Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« on: June 22, 2020, 03:51:41 pm »
Trashing is good, thinning is winning, so on and so forth. But why is thinning winning?

Well, thinning is winning because it lets you get rid of bad cards, and it makes you more likely to collide Action cards together to draw your deck. Usually, that makes up the tempo loss you get from trashing cards early. Thinning, by itself, is not intrinsically valuable - it is a means towards the end of drawing your deck, gaining lots of cards, and producing lots of money.

Let's suppose we waved a magic wand, and could guarantee that we draw our deck every turn. Then what is trashing doing for us? Pretty much nothing. In fact, it's actually bad, because you don't get the money from the Coppers you trashed. Of course, most games are not like this - you need the trashing to get to the "draw your deck" phase in the first place, or you get to "draw your deck" faster by trashing.

But, there are the rare games (think Wharf engines) where the draw is so potent that you can start drawing your deck without trashing very heavily in the early game. In those cases, it can be better to trash less aggressively early. That way, you have the money to buy the draw cards like Wharf. Once you have the draw set up, you can catch up on trashing later - if you draw your deck then you can play your trasher every turn and your deck should clean up pretty quickly from there.

Trashing almost always comes with a short-term tempo loss (except for Masquerade, because Masquerade's busted). It's just that usually the tempo loss is small enough that it makes up for itself super fast and you don't care. Sometimes, you do.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combos/Counters Article list
« on: June 09, 2020, 02:54:45 pm »
you need to buy 3 HG to really slow the rush down.

The Lurker/HG player can also pivot to 3-pile on Estates/Lurker/HG instead of Duchy/Lurker/HG if they recognize they're going to run out of time, so it only slows down when the 3 pile happens. You still need to score enough in time as well.

There was a Lurker/Fortress/Advance/Hunting Grounds board I watched once, with engine vs pure Lurker/HG rush, and the Lurker/Fortress/HG engine got the win, but was only about 1 turn ahead. I am not optimistic about many combos outdoing what you could do there.

Dominion Articles / Re: Better engine option?
« on: June 02, 2020, 09:05:19 pm »
Adendum: remaining 3 cards were moat, gardens and burocrat or something equally unimpressive.
Moat would actually be pretty relevant because it defends against Council Room/Militia.

Even if Moat could defend against Council Room, you wouldn't want it to. And I doubt you would want to get it just to defend against Militia; your best 3 cards should be enough to kick off a bunch of draw often anyway, and having another bad terminal in your deck is basically doing half a Militia on yourself whenever you draw it anyway. And that's assuming you actually have it in hand when Militia is played.

If they are playing Council Rooms, you have decent odds of drawing into the Moat.

Moat draw isn't great, but it's definitely not a dead card here. Almost all your Actions are cantrips, and you'll likely be Throne-ing Merchant for money, so you shouldn't be too action constrained. Your Moat is also preventing the discard of 3-4 cards, rather than just 2, so it's better than normal here - if they have Militia the upside is better, if they don't the downside is the same.

Also, it only costs $2. I'm looking to pick up 1 or 2 Moats when the opportunity presents itself.

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Can you win this turn?
« on: May 27, 2020, 01:59:22 pm »
There's an old thread for these sorts of endgame puzzles that hasn't been used in a while.

People also post these to the #puzzles channel on the Dominion Discord. If you have a subscription for Dominion Online and you see the situation in a real game, you can share the game ID and people can reload the old game to try their solution for real, which can be helpful.

I think a few lines work here but the simplest one I see is TR-TR-TR-Artisan (Vassal + Vassal, topdeck 2 Artisan)-Vassal (+$4, play Artisan topdecking Duchy and 2nd Vassal play hits nothing)-Vassal (+$4, 1st play hits the 2nd Artisan for a 2nd Duchy), buy Province.

Proof of concepting a turn 3 Province empty. It's pretty tight at the start, it's possible that you can get there without Stockpile + Gamble + Destrier, but it makes it harder to get enough actions to play the terminals you want.

Stockpile, Cavalry, Hostelry, Scrap, Coven, Hunting Lodge, Livery, Destrier, Wayfarer, Animal Fair
Stampede, Populate, Way of the Chameleon, Gamble

Turn 1: Stampede
Turn 2: Play 1 Horse drawing 2 Copper, play rest as Chameleon, buy Populate. Draw 2 Estate off Cavalry, now you have 1 Estate left in your draw.
Turn 3: Draw Estate, Hostelry, Hunting Lodge, Livery, Wayfarer
Play everything as draw -> draws 8 cards and you have 1 action left.
Draw: 3x Estate 4x Copper Coven
Coven as draw -> Copper + Destrier
Destrier as draw -> Cavalry + Scrap
Scrap Cavalry for +1 card +1 action +$1 +buy -> Copper.

Your hand is: 3x Estate 6x Copper
Your draw is: Animal Fair, Copper

Play everything, you have $7 and 2 buys
Stockpile -> $4, 1 buy
Gamble 2x -> $5, 1 buy, at end of shuffle
Gamble plays Stockpile -> $6, 2 buys, draw and discard empty

Stockpile -> $3, 1 buy
Gamble 2x playing 2 Stockpile -> $5, 3 buys

Stockpile -> $2, 2 buys
Gamble 3x playing 3 Stockpile -> $5, 5 buys

(Now you have Stockpile-Gamble set up, empty out Stockpiles, then empty Destriers + Gamble them to get actions, then Populate. You have a Livery out so the Horses should be enough draw to get you to loop.)

I got a turn 4 Province empty in game #45234451, which I've having trouble reloading for some reason.

I went for:

Stockpile, Cavalry, Hostelry, Village Green, Coven, Hunting Lodge, Livery, Destrier, Wayfarer, Animal Fair
Stampede, Populate, Way of the Chameleon, Gamble

It's poorly maxed, but the idea is that you get Stampede turn 1, you spend turn 2 and 3 trying to setup for Stockpile-Gamble, then on turn 4 you go for it. With some luck, I got Stockpile-Gamble set up, emptied Stockpiles to get to about $30 with 30 buys, emptied Destrier and Wayfarers for free, then started Gambling those, always playing as Chameleon. Destrier gives +$2 and Wayfarer gives +$3, so Gambling to the end nets you money and also gets you to start with 10 Actions, thanks to Gamble netting +Action when you Gamble a cantrip.

You can then do Populate junk, and with Livery out Populate is a loop because extra Horses turn into +$2 each, making it pretty trivial to draw your deck. I did Populate twice, got to $70, and decided to stop, but I'm pretty sure you can empty the supply if you wanted to.

My setup was a bit janky and I wouldn't be surprised if turn 3 were possible, but you might need crazy luck for that to work.

Edit: Game #45236725 is a better maxed run where I empty all supply piles except Gold on turn 4. I got that pile down to 18 Golds left. I think you might be able to empty Golds if you play it a bit tighter, but it's already a lot of clicks. From a VP perspective, that game ends by giving all 10 Curses to the bot through Coven, while buying all VP cards, and since there are no VP tokens in Menagerie, that's the largest VP differential you can give out.

Dominion Online at Shuffle iT / Re: Logs
« on: May 15, 2020, 06:58:38 pm »
All logs from the Goko and MakingFun era were hosted on Amazon S3. As far as I know, no one did a bulk download of those games when the site shut down, so those logs are gone forever.

Shuffle IT has game logs, but doesn't save them in raw text, they're saved in a different format (my understanding is that this is part of how the replay system is implemented).

I really wish Shuffle IT exported the raw text logs somewhere, but I'm guessing it's pretty low on priority.

Some projects have direct access to the Shuffle IT database. DomBot on the Dominion Discord is one of those projects. However, I think there's a special agreement between Stef and Cave-o-Sapien for how that works. You could try but I'm not sure how up to date it is, might have broken with Menagerie's release.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Logic behind "special things"
« on: May 15, 2020, 02:09:32 pm »
If you can't think of a reason, it's probably because it makes the card a bit more interesting, or because the below-the-line text was the point of the card and it had to be attached somewhere. The Secret Histories will often explain this.

Quote from: Donald X. link=topic=17955.msg734732#msg734732
Changeling: For a while this was just the top, a sleek simple classic card. We liked it but Matt's group not so much. I tried putting the gained card on your deck, but I like to go light on that as it's easy to forget and a more complex concept. Then I thought of the bottom as a way to hit the flavor harder; your Skulk is swapped at birth for a Changeling.

Quote from: Donald X. link=topic=15660.msg609291#msg609291
Forum: This started at $2 with +2 Cards instead of +3. There were several possible ways to do "when buy +buy" to try to not empty piles too quickly; the solution here was, a more powerful card costing $5.

Spamming Forum is fine, if you get enough of them you can sculpt the 5-card starting hand you want, while almost always getting to the end of the shuffle.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Price this event
« on: May 07, 2020, 08:53:28 pm »
My first instinct says $5. I know IGG costs $5, but IGG comes with a treasure you don't really want. This comes with nothing.

Rules Questions / Re: Considering Trader errata
« on: May 06, 2020, 01:02:55 pm »
This fixes a lot of silly rules junk and dumb infinite's.

Trader + Forum + cost reduction still lets you empty the Silver pile, but doesn't keep going past that since Exchange requires at least 1 Silver to be in the supply.

You do get an infinite with Cavalry now. If you can reduce Cavalry's cost to $2, then you can gain Cavalry, exchange for Silver, get +2 Cards +1 Buy to draw the Silver, then repeat. Reducing to $1 gives you net money that should let you pile Cavalry + Estates afterwards.

I don't think that's a problem though.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: Animal Fair & Way Of The Butterfly
« on: May 04, 2020, 06:13:54 pm »
4 Provinces in 11 turns is pretty fast, but still beatable on some boards. I think trying to play this as a pure Animal Fair rush is a mistake. Instead you should play the board about as normal, partway through you convert actions to Animal Fairs, then start cashing in Butterflies. That should speed it up.

It's good enough that I assume you do Animal Fair + Butterfly in some capacity whenever those two cards show up.

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