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Dominion Articles / Re: Contraband
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:46:26 pm »
I think alternative VP deserves a special mention.  If you invest in a Contraband, you need to have a greening strategy that your opponent cannot fully disrupt.  I think I've only seen Contraband pay off with non-Province VP: Colonies have been mentioned, Fairgrounds sometimes make Contraband worthwhile, Dominate, Triumph, and Conquest make Contraband a lot better.

Bishop + Bonfire

There's a pretty fast golden deck here (faster and more reliable than the Chapel + Bishop golden deck).  So, if there aren't any disruptive attacks, you might want to go for it.

Turn 1-2: Buy Bishop + Bonfire
Turn 3-4: Trash 1 Estate and exactly 3 additional cards.  Usually, this comes about with one Bishop trash and two Bonfire purchases, trashing only one Copper on the second purchase.  You can also get there with two Bishop trashes and one Bonfire purchase.  Sometimes, this doesn't work out and you are delayed one turn.

Deck: Bishop, 2 Estates, 2 Coppers

Turn 5: Trash Estate, Buy Silver
Turn 6: Trash Estate, Buy Silver
Turn 7: Trash Copper, Buy Gold
Turn 8: Trash Copper, Buy Province
Turn 9+: Trash Province, Buy Province

Your VP after turn 8 is 14-15, then you get 5 VP per turn and end the game on turn 15 with 49-50 VP.  Add 1 turn to these totals if you aren't fortunate enough to trash to a 5-card hand by turn 5.

Help! / Re: Base game kingdom with no trashing
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:43:57 pm »
If the gaining were not there, it seems an engine would be worse because assembling the components would take much longer. Is this intuition correct, and would we prefer CR-BM in that case?

Skull wins without needing to do gardens tricks. If gardens were not there and you had to rely on provinces, would the engine still be fast enough most of the time?

Interesting questions.  I think if you remove Gardens from the board, I'd still prefer the engine.  One factor is that Artisan can gain Duchies efficiently, so losing the Province split 5-3 isn't a big deal.  If you remove Artisan... I'm not sure.  Artisan is the big reward for overdrawing on this board.  I'd want to see it played out.  I think the money player would have a decent shot.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Favorite Expansions in 2018
« on: May 16, 2018, 07:34:38 am »
Then there is still Counting House, Trade Route etc..

That's a super weak card and a super strong card that do completely different things, I'm having a hard time knowing what the "etc" is supposed to be.

This is tiresome.  A card is not “super strong” if it’s correct to gain it in fewer than 20% of the kingdoms it appears in.

Plan + Changeling

Put Plan on a + card you can buy on turn 2 that you want at least one copy of.  Then, later in the game, you can buy that card to get the trash - but exchange it for a Changeling.

Help! / Re: I will try to post a game here every day.
« on: April 09, 2018, 01:23:21 pm »
Ferry + Governor is such a strong synergy; I wouldn't bother with Black Market on that board.  However, if Black Market reveals a handsize attack it could definitely pay off, so it isn't unreasonable.  I would probably open with Salvager + Ferry on Governor.  I want to get the trashing started quickly; the fewer starting cards in my deck, the fewer Governors need to be used for draw.  I also like Salvager to help pick up Peddlers in the midgame, and to trash Peddlers in the lategame.  But, mostly, I'll be gaining as many Governors as I can.  Workshop probably won't pay off, but I'm not sure; Villa makes it more attractive.  Peddlers aren't really a counter to Governor, because you shouldn't be using Governor for Remodel in the early game here; it's already too risky because it might let your opponent turn an Estate into a Governor (with Ferry).  My early plays with Governor would be draw (to see Salvager), and Gold gain.  Once Governors run out, it's reasonable to turn a Silver or two (from your opponent's Governors) into Archives, I think.

I'm not sure what the best greening strategy is; probably a hybrid of Provinces and Colonies.  Governor is much more efficient at gaining Provinces than Colonies, but Salvaging Peddlers should provide the coin to spike some Colonies.  I think this game could easily end on three piles: Governor, Peddler, and Villa.  With Ferry on Villa, they only cost 1 net coin, so it's easy to pile them if you find yourself in the lead with two piles empty.  Speaking of Villas, it's probably correct to get 1-2 in the midgame (when it doesn't cost you a Governor gain) so you can buy more Peddlers on future turns.  So, maybe the Workshop pays off?  But it's hard to fit it into the build.  Oasis and Scheme don't seem valuable on this board.  You might pick up a Hamlet or two with a spare $2, and you can use it to get an additional Peddler.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Nocturne Cards: Conclave
« on: April 03, 2018, 04:16:32 pm »
Overlord makes Conclave a lot better; you can always play an Overlord with Conclave.  If there's also a draw-to-X card in the kingdom, all the better!

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Nocturne Cards: Tragic Hero
« on: March 29, 2018, 08:58:49 am »
- With the mandatory trashing if you have 8 or more cards, is it more of a BM card than an engine card?

The amusing thing is that you usually can't activate the trash condition in a non-engine even if you would want to.

- When is the drawback actually a boon?
(- If the answer is 'almost never', is it strictly worse than Margrave?)

Whenever there is supplemental draw and treasures are good.

Dominion Articles / Re: Castles
« on: March 28, 2018, 09:07:51 am »
Great article, Titandrake!  The most important takeaway is to treat Castles as another pile of Provinces, except you should pick them up slightly before you would pick up Provinces (when compared with a kingdom with an extra pile of Provinces) - because the early Castles don't hurt your deck as much as completely dead green cards.  My biggest disagreement is: Haunted Castle is often the strongest Castle, so don't worry about revealing Opulent Castle (which is strong on a smaller subset of boards).

As for the strategic decision for when to pursue Castles, my current heuristic is: Castles are good in games where you would (otherwise) buy Provinces before the last turn of the game.

So, Castles are not good in games that are going to explosively end on piles.  Castles are not good in the face of a full Province megaturn.  Castles are not going to be good if Alt VP completely outstrips Provinces (e.g. Goons).  If the best payload involves remodeling into Provinces, Castles might not be competitive.  In most other situations, a greening strategy that involves Castles will be superior to a greening strategy that does not.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: When are Travellers ignorable?
« on: March 24, 2018, 10:45:41 am »
In practice, it's very rare for the Warrior attack to be a significant factor. In order to get Warriors, you need to play Treasure Hunters, and that makes it more difficult to play multiple Warriors on the same turn. If your opponent does go for an early Champion to build the Warrior type of deck and you need to answer it somehow, you can even buy a Page later on to upgrade into a Champion, that way you don't lose as much tempo as your opponent does but you still get the immunity against the attack almost in time (which makes it a bad idea for your opponent to attempt the Warrior thing in the first place).

If I saw my opponent ignoring Page and it was a board where the Warrior attack would hurt a lot, I'd look to advance three Pages up the chain: one to Champion and two to Warrior.  If extra Silvers were really debilitating, I'd settle for one Warrior.  Then I'd grab extra Pages whenever the opportunity cost was low.  With 3 Pages and 2 Warriors, Warrior can trash up to 9 cards per turn.  It only takes a couple turns for that to be crippling if the opponent is relying on a $3 or $4 card.  The Warrior attack can be even more brutal with cost reduction, of course.  This usually doesn't happen, because the opportunity cost of advancing one Page up the line to Champion is so low.

I also want to point out that even in games when Champion is ignorable (which are pretty rare), it still might be worthwhile to get Page.  Sometimes, you want the treasures from Treasure Hunter and (especially) Hero - like with Governor.  Sometimes you just want a bunch of cantrips (like in the Scrying Pool game I posted).  So, the cases where you should never gain a single Page are exceptionally rare.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: When are Travellers ignorable?
« on: March 22, 2018, 10:40:07 am »
Pure terminal boards are not a death knell for Peasant, even without killer cards. Peasant itself is a non-terminal pile. Disciple on a new non-terminal makes for the ability to stack in new terminals; Teacher can then add other tokens to give you even more yields. Generally these are boards where you want something like every 3rd gain to be a Peasant so you can stack disciples. This works particularly well with good trashing like Steward (which also makes a nice Lab). Sure these boards are less Peasant friendly, but Peasant is just so flexible - he attacks, he sifts, he villages, he gains, and he increases payload.

I'm aware that in the long run, you can make an engine out of a Peasant + terminal actions board.  But, in the long run, the Provinces are gone.  So, it's only worth pursuing Peasant if there is sufficient alternative VP and/or a brutal attack waiting at the end of the tunnel.  I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.  Show me such a board, and I'll let you know how fast I can get half the VP!

Well, the biggest drawback of Page is that whereas the Peasant line cards give you benefits for the current turn that range from acceptable to great, the Page line forcibly gains you a bunch of stuff of questionable utility instead. Butcher turns the stuff into something more useful so it makes Treasure Hunter and Hero a lot less bad.

Hero is a good card.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: When are Travellers ignorable?
« on: March 22, 2018, 09:26:22 am »
You should be very skeptical of the Peasant line's value on a board with zero non-terminal actions.  Even with terminal draw, you need to stock up on that card, then manage to get and call a Teacher for +action before your deck does anything decent.  And even then, it will be a very limited engine.  If the terminal draw is Torturer or Wild Hunt, it's probably still worth it, but not so much otherwise.  These games are rare, but I've encountered a couple of them and ignoring Peasant seemed like the right thing to do.

Page is less ignorable, but it's not uncommon for Champion to be a non-factor.  If the game is fast enough, there won't be time for Champion to pay off.  Also, if the key cards are non-terminal and not in the $3-$4 price range (take the opponent's action-phase cost reduction into account!), you might not need a Champion even if the game goes longer.  Governor satisfies all of these conditions, and Page is definitely optional most of the time it's in the kingdom with Governor.  But, sometimes the treasure from the Page line helps a Governor deck out, so you pick one up anyway.

Here's an example of a game that's too fast for Champion (thanks, Stonemason!).  I mistakenly played it like a longer game, but Rabid correctly identified the game's speed.  Skip to 38:10 for the game:

Scheduling / Re: Season 26 - A
« on: March 17, 2018, 01:44:47 pm »
I shall return.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Nocturne Cards: Cobbler
« on: March 14, 2018, 03:20:35 pm »
I'm not going to pretend I had high confidence with my Cobbler buys (or non-buys), but Cobbler seemed pretty good in some of the games.  Game 5 was my favorite board of the bunch, and Mic's two Cobblers were far superior to my one.
Could you give me a timecode? Are you talking about the aqueduct/bandit fort game?
I only see four games in that file.

Masquerade, Port, Enchantress, and more!

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Nocturne Cards: Cobbler
« on: March 14, 2018, 01:55:12 pm »
Cobbler Cage Match between me and Mic:

I'm not going to pretend I had high confidence with my Cobbler buys (or non-buys), but Cobbler seemed pretty good in some of the games.  Game 5 was my favorite board of the bunch, and Mic's two Cobblers were far superior to my one.

Dominion League / Re: Season 26 - Game Reports & Discussion
« on: March 03, 2018, 01:48:50 pm »
My match against Rabid.  Content warning: long games with some big misplays; commentary seasoned with salt.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Favorite Expansions in 2018
« on: February 23, 2018, 11:07:07 am »
There are some cards more useless than Transmute (hello Bureaucrat) but Transmute is still the worst card because of the price.

I'm still not convinced Bureaucrat is so bad. It's useless in engines, but it's a semi-decent BM card and a strong slog card.

It's an awful BM card and slogs aren't ever the best strategy on the board.

I'm not sure what you mean by "slogs aren't ever the best strategy on the board".  I expect that in a two-card kingdom with Bureaucrat and Duke, the optimal strategy involves buying 1-3 Bureaucrats.  I agree that Bureaucrat is an awful card in strategies that buy Provinces.

Dominion Videos and Streams / Re: RTT on Youtube / twitch
« on: February 22, 2018, 11:51:07 am »
That is also great. Video 2 was more about Donate (and gaining Gold) then Market Square in That case :). Though Donate + TMap would have fit well into it. I just forgot doing that one too and its arguably the weakest of the 3.

Unarguably the weakest.  It needs additional support to be reliably better than other Donate openings.

Dominion Videos and Streams / Re: RTT on Youtube / twitch
« on: February 22, 2018, 09:12:10 am »
Great idea for a series, RTT!

This topic might provide some ideas for 2-card combinations to showcase.  I strongly recommend showing Royal Carriage + Bridge (I have some tips for best practices on this one) and Hermit + Market Square, because they are strong and non-trivial.  Scavenger + Stash is also a good one, but it unfortunately can't be shown in the online client.  Fast combos not mentioned in this article include Lurker + Hunting Grounds, Capital + Mandarin, and strong Donate synergies.  Ferry + Rebuild is strong, but plays itself.  Masterpiece + Feodum is on the obvious side, but maybe it's worth including in a Silver emptying video with Delve and any other strong Silver gainers, plus Tower as another source of points.  Dungeon + Tunnel is also fast, but on the simple side; maybe a Tunnel video will be worth it at some point.  Villa + Jack of all Trades is an interesting synergy, but I don't think it's notable as a monolithic strategy under realistic conditions (competition over the Villa pile).  Maybe there's enough interesting content for a Villa synergy article (featuring Alms, Quarry and draw-to-X at the very least), but I'm afraid it might be all over the place.  There are a bunch of interesting synergies that don't really amount to a super strong monolithic strategy; I don't know if you're interested in showing any of these.

I ultimately prefer to open Workshop + Chapel.  But Poacher and Vassal are also reasonable openings.  Here's a video where I talk through building the engine on this board:

There is draw and +actions: Moat and Throne Room, respectively!  Truly, Moat is weak draw, but it can work with strong trashing and Throne Room, which this kingdom provides.  There is also a strong synergy here with Sentry and Vassal.  This is not an easy engine to build, but it's pretty strong.  I'll play around with it in a few hours to work out a good build.  Initial thoughts:

I'd probably open with Chapel + Vassal or Poacher.  I'd look to get a Sentry on my first $5 and a Workshop as soon as I knew I could get a Sentry (I think the Sentry is important for Vassal reliability).  With the Workshop, I'd gain lots of Throne Rooms, along with some Vassals and Moats.  My second $5 buy would be either a Witch (if the opponent looks susceptible to being junked) or a Market.  I expect almost all of my economy would come from Vassals and 1-2 Markets (powered by Throne Rooms).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Quick Questions and Answers
« on: February 20, 2018, 02:28:54 pm »
I'd say that in general BM is the main thing competing with an engine. So if there's a terrible engine, but a strong BM enabler (Wharf, Embassy, Margrave, Council Room, Hunting Grounds, maybe Catacombs and Pooka) you should probably go for that instead.

Hunting Grounds and Pooka are not good cards in moneyish strategies, incidentally.

Dominion Articles / Re: Shepherd
« on: February 20, 2018, 08:56:47 am »
In addition to duration draw, which markus mentions, I would point out the strongest Shepherd enablers are cards that can guarantee that you have a Shepherd or two in your opening hand: Gear, Save, Haven, Cobbler, Scheme, Count, etc...  When these cards are present, it's also more realistic to play Shepherd in an engine (you still need more green than in most engines, of course).

Shepherd is the strongest card in Nocturne.
I recommend amending this to "one of the strongest".  Some people are going to discount the rest of this article because there's some other Nocturne card they think is better.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: If you could only have 1 opening
« on: February 14, 2018, 06:49:45 pm »
What are some good opening $5s from the last three sets + 2e?


Replace is not a particularly strong opener.  Sentry and Vampire certainly are.  Den of Sin is very nice on a $5/$2 (not so much on a $2/$5).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: If you could only have 1 opening
« on: February 14, 2018, 05:16:13 pm »
For example, Temple is only #33, but there have been boards where I have had to suck it up and open Temple/nothing on 5/2 (probably in the presence of other cards that were higher up in the rankings).

Incidentally, I think Temple is not a good opening.  I don't have a good theory for why this is, but I have observed that non-mirrored Temple openings (whether by me or my opponent) tend to lose games.

Edit: But your general point stands.  Trading Post, Count, and Sentry are atypically good openings on a 5/2.  Whereas, some of the top $5s like Governor, Torturer, and Rebuild aren't particularly exciting to open with.

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