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1
Forum Games / Mafia.gg
« on: March 16, 2019, 01:14:07 am »
https://mafia.gg/

I found a good site where you can play Mafia in real time with friends. I'm interested in trying it out some time, if there's interest.

2
Dominion Articles / Hermit
« on: February 25, 2019, 07:40:19 pm »


This is a draft, and more or less completed in terms of content. Any questions, areas of clarification, subtractions or additions are helpful. Things that are not helpful are complete reworkings or new structures.

Introduction

Hermit (and by extension Madman) seems to continue being undervalued. Every month brings a new tale of the exploits of Madmen taking opposing decks from seemingly behind to rapidly ahead. This is because Hermit is seen primarily as a trasher and gainer, but not as a deck accelerator. Itís time to change that outlook.

Madman

The single strongest thing about Hermit is the ability to get Madmen. Doubling handsize (after playing Madman of course) with a +Action is one of the strongest effects in the entire game, on par with Donate, City Quarter and Kingís Court. Itís no wonder that Madman is a one shot. The strength of the effect largely depends on the amount of cards in hand. If a hand gets discard attacked to three cards, Madman will only be as good as an Encampment. If a Laboratory is played, the Madman will draw 5 cards. Madman play typically starts with at least a single Hermit open, although Double Hermit isnít uncommon either.

Play continues and once the Hermit is found, it often is the time to gain a Hermit, buy nothing and gain a Madman. Buying a Silver or even a shiny Action card isn't usually worth the deck acceleration Madman provides, which might feel counter-intuitive. The trick is, Madman does a number of things well all at once. Firstly, Madman allows for a multitude of options and ideas with the sheer amount of draw it provides, especially when there are multiple Madmen played. Secondly, it gets the deck closer to the shuffle, allowing for quicker access to those same powerful cards gained on the previous turn. In short, Madman accelerates the deck.

The single greatest gift with Madman is gain and play abuse, and Madman already comes prepackaged with a gainer in Hermit. Abusing gain and play is exactly why combos such as Hermit/Market Square work so well, which will be discussed shortly. Any time Madman is on the board, always look for opportunities to gain and play cards. Even in the absence of gain and play, having things to do on the Madman turn is crucial. Maybe there's some trashing or remodeling to do. Maybe a second buy could be thrown in there. Always have a reason to get Madman.

In addition, the cost to get Madman isnít even that high. Skipping a buy is already what Tactician does. Just be sure to draw Madman at the top of the shuffle. If the Madman bottomdecks and the opposing player draws it at the top of his shuffle, heís way ahead, just because he got to blow up sooner. That is a real risk with Madman, but the alternative is instantly losing. However, there are some ways to mitigate this.

With Watchtower in hand, or buying Traveling Fair, topdecking Madman becomes viable, and a player wonít risk simply losing to Bottomdeck Syndrome. In addition, gainers such as Horn of Plenty and Alms allow for a Madman gain while getting cards like normal. Both of these specific situations quickly lead to some pretty fast game states, and it is often losing to ignore. Scheme works in an interesting way, to where if Scheme topdecks a Hermit after not buying anything, a Madman is gained without losing the Hermit. Events and Projects also combo well with Hermit and Madman gaining, due to Landscapes not being cards.

The next question is a much trickier one, and that is how often is Madman gained? Usually the safe answer is just one, but that isn't always the case. I've built decks with Monastery and Banquet (Monastery killing the Coppers gained in play), getting multiple Madmen and drawing deck where it wasn't ordinarily possible every turn as a result. I didn't keep going until the Hermits were empty. At a certain point, I made the call that buying cards normally was worth more than the one shot of Madman without the flexibility of buys. That call was made way later, but that is the call that has to be made every time a new Madman is considered. Maybe there's a megaturn, or maybe there's just that much stuff to do, or maybe the cost opportunity is low to keep Madmen around. But always have a reason to get Madman. A useless Madman is an expensive one, and inefficiencies lose games.

Hermit/Market Square

The classic combo with Madman is Market Square, and it is very deadly when executed correctly. Playing it well requires precise play, deck tracking knowledge and a good memory. The open is Hermit/Hermit, and the goal is to try to both win the Hermit split and get an odd number of Hermits in the deck. Nine Hermits is the dream, and also impossible to realistically ever pull off in todayís meta. Seven Hermits is a good goal, but also not likely realistic. After all, the opponent is going to try for the same ideas. Also, do not trash every single junk card in the deck. Those are needed for later.

After the Hermit pile is empty or someone has nine/seven Hermits, go for gaining Madmen (sometimes youíll start on this even sooner) and Market Squares. The goal is to get exactly three more Madmen than Hermits, so the dream combination (as an example for 7 Hermits) is five Madmen and two Hermits. After a bunch of Market Squares are gained and the Madman count is where it should be, pull the trigger on the Madmen. It needs to be timed to where you know you will draw deck when you blow the Madman up. The safest way to do this is to not blow up unless there are two in hand, but with deck tracking itís possible to know whatís coming up.

Once the deck is drawn, blow up the junk card with Hermit (and depending on the deck, either gain more junk to blow up with the next hermit or gain something that helps toward winning), react all of the Market Squares, draw back up with a Madman, and repeat over and over until itís not possible to. Usually even if Provinces canít be piled thereís a three pile available, which is something to watch for with the 5/5 Hermit split. Quite often it's Estates, simple enough with two Hermit gains and 6 buys.

All in all, the combo requires a lot of finesse and has a lot of moving parts. It is recommended to practice it multiple times solo before ever trying it in a real scenario. This is also without more complicated aspects, such as dealing with junkers, other $3 trashing cards, and other strange scenarios. As always, if you find something good, look for something even better.

Hermit

Of course, there are still things Hermit does well enough on its own. After all, it does trash and gain. Paired with a treasure trasher, Hermit does plenty of work killing Estates and replacing them with Hermits, Silvers or whatever $3 cost is desired. Hermit helps with pile control. In the rare instance where it matters, Hermit works really well with cost reduction.

At the end of the day though, the main strength of Hermit lies in Madman, and mastery of that aspect of Hermit will go a long way towards winning games. Always remember: Hermit is primarily a deck accelerator, and the trash/gain effect is secondary.



3
The Best Cards: Part 2

Part two in the best Dominion List this year.

#32 ▼2 Warehouse (Seaside) Weighted Average: 48.44% / Unweighted Average: 48.11% (32) / Median:52.38% / Standard Deviation: 19.53%

The most famous cycler besides maybe Cellar, Warehouse is a decent utility card that helps a deck find cards. Warehouse is somewhat similar to Oasis in that itís a fine opener but usually itís not a good idea to have tons of them in a deck.
#31 Cargo Ship (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 53.7% / Unweighted Average: 54.25% (30) / Median:47.92% / Standard Deviation: 20.13%
 
One of the new cards, Cargo Ship is a fantastic card that should be opened often. If Cargo Ship is drawn on Turn 3 and $5 is hit, the opponent is straight up already in a massive hole. In a lot of ways Cargo Ship is like Gear in that it rewards deck tracking. Need a village next turn? Cargo Ship has you covered. Need to hit Inheritance? No problem. Cargo Ship is a versatile card that will have utility in most decks, especially at the start.
#30 ▲2 Market Square (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 53.99% / Unweighted Average: 55.43% (29) / Median:58.73% / Standard Deviation: 20.32%

A good source of cheap buy, Market Square lends itself well to pile control. In addition, the Gold reaction is a versatile ability, working well with the bountiful amounts of buy. Sometimes itís so convenient to get Golds that itís easy to forget that it might be too soon for the deck. While it looks like Market Square rose a bit, it has to be remembered that a bunch of new cards were introduced below.
#29 ▼1 Watchtower (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 54.57% / Unweighted Average: 55.88% (27) / Median:50.79% / Standard Deviation: 20.9%

Another solid utility card, Watchtower does a lot of things well enough, from being temporary draw, to topdecking cards, to junk protection. It plays well with a lot of cards (most notably Villa) and itís almost never bad to add to a deck. It is the versatility of Watchtower which makes it such a solid option.
#28 ▲3 Doctor (Guilds) Weighted Average: 55.7% / Unweighted Average: 50.11% (31) / Median:53.97% / Standard Deviation: 19.86%

An effective but swingy trasher with a reputation of being annoying to line up, Doctor is oddly enough one of my favorite cards, and I couldnít really explain why. It rose a bit too, which is nice to see. The overpay is really cool, and sometimes the thing to do is overpay by a billion midgame to kill everything in sight. The cool thing about Doctor is that it starts out quite good and fast, but it quickly gets bogged down the later the game progresses. This forces players to play smart and deck track what is on top. The best advice probably would be to start out with Doctor, and if possible pivot to a better trasher to clean up later on, if needed. Doctor can also perform some mediocre deck inspection, which has saved more than one of my turns before.
#27 ▼4 Enchantress (Empires) Weighted Average: 57.75% / Unweighted Average: 55.73% (28) / Median:57.14% / Standard Deviation: 20.71%

Enchantress saw a bit of a drop this year, which is probably disappointing. Quite often itís a good opener just for the odds of messing up the opponentís opening buys as well as the duration cycling. Enchantress also ends up being a nice counter to Enchantressís attack, so often an odd number of them are picked up. Another counter to Enchantress are cards that do passive effects, such as Highway or Haggler. The duration draw is also quite nice and helps make turns more consistent.
#26 =0 Chariot Race (Empires) Weighted Average: 57.82% / Unweighted Average: 56.79% (25) / Median:58.73% / Standard Deviation: 15.25%

Jshís favorite card, Chariot Race is a swingy card that becomes crucial in maybe about half of the Kingdoms its in, and merely solid to mediocre in the rest. The danger lies is buying too many Races too often, because Races wonít do much against well-developed or trashed decks. In fact, one of the best counters to a pure Race deck is buying lots of Golds and Provinces as price counters, hilariously bringing Dominion all the way back to its roots. That being said, often enough a game will be significantly harder to win because someone topdecks a Copper at the wrong time. Nothing to be done but cry and move on.
#25 ▼1 Ghost Town (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 58.22% / Unweighted Average: 56.22% (26) / Median:57.14% / Standard Deviation: 17.21%

Ghost Town is a good Village variant that has a number of tactical uses. Firstly, it can be timed to help spike price points with the extra draw, and is quite good to set up turns where it is known draw is coming up. Of course, this means Ghost Town rewards good deck tracking, instantly making it a higher skill card. Secondly, it is non-terminal, meaning Ghost Town is flexible. A less cool thing about Ghost Town is that it takes up space before it is played. The downsides to this are overplayed, but it is still real enough.
#24 Experiment (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 58.76% / Unweighted Average: 59.36% (23) / Median:53.97% / Standard Deviation: 17.49%

In a lot of ways, Experiment can be thought of as an Expedition variant. In fact, it is much better than Expedition. The flexibility that Experiment provides means that a player can choose not to burn one, saving it for another turn. This requires the player knowing exactly what she wants to purchase or do each turn. The constant threat of instantly piling Experiment is also something to always keep an eye on. With so many good things to say, the real danger of Experiment is relying on them too much to draw. There are a couple of notable exceptions such as Ironworks, but generally Experiment should be thought of as supplemental draw. Oh, did I mention how good it is as an opener? Another tip: Itís okay to remodel Experiments into stuff. Turn the temporary card into something permanent.
#23 ▲3 Scheme (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 60.58% / Unweighted Average: 62.46% (21) / Median:60.32% / Standard Deviation: 17.59%

Scheme is a consistency machine. Topdecking villages and draw is of course a solid and effective option, but there are always other tactical plays to be made. Annoying Sea Hag or Young Witch game? Pair them with Scheme and the player gets more plays without buying a second one. Need protection? Topdeck a Reaction. Want to trash more? You know what to do. By the way, did you know that if you buy nothing and topdeck the Hermit, you get a Madman and also get to keep the Hermit. Weird, huh?
#22 ▼2 Lookout (Seaside) Weighted Average: 62.06% / Unweighted Average: 57.5% (24) / Median:61.9% / Standard Deviation: 19.96%

Itís almost become a showoff game in the community as to who figured out Lookout was good the soonest. It was generally considered to be an annoying and mediocre card at the start because of the worst case scenarios, but it had a renaissance (heh) in the last couple of years, and now it has fallen a bit again. Lookout cycles, it trashes and it scouts. The scary stuff about Lookout can be mitigated with a bit of deck tracking, but sometimes, bad things happen to good people. Itís in the name, sometimes you just have to look out.
#21 =0 Catapult (Empires) Weighted Average: 64.11% / Unweighted Average: 62.56% (20) / Median:65.08% / Standard Deviation: 18.92%

Itís Militia, but better. Catapult makes games degenerate quickly and often. However, it isnít as simple as killing Copper every time. Sometimes Estates have to die. Sometimes the play is to go for the Silver (or Rocks) cursing, delay it a bit and get to the finish line of deck consistency, and kick the opponent while heís still on the ground, over and over. Sometimes cursing is more trouble than it is worth and Catapult is just discarding, except for that time when the player wants a points lead at the end so blows up a Silver to make it harder to lose. Catapult always makes a player think, from tactical plays to discard choices.
#20 ▲4 Plan (Adventures) Weighted Average: 64.43% / Unweighted Average: 61.77% (22) / Median:65.08% / Standard Deviation: 18.77%

Plan is a tricky Event, and depending on who is asked, itís Great or Not-So-Great. It looks like the Greats are winning this year, as Plan jumped up a couple of spots. It cannot be denied that thinning a card and adding an Action card all at once is a good play, but the tricky bit is placing Plan on the right card. Too expensive, and thereís never anything to trash. If the card sucks, the double whammy punch becomes more of a single whammy slap. Nonetheless, Plan does in fact make players plan. Just donít get caught with the sad 4/3 opening when it counts.
#19 ▼1 Village (Base) Weighted Average: 65.74% / Unweighted Average: 63.86% (19) / Median:68.25% / Standard Deviation: 20.82%

Perhaps the most important and influential card in all of Dominion, Village is the concept card that makes the game as satisfying as it is. Without a card like Village, building fun decks becomes significantly harder. Thereís really not much else to say. Itís cheap. Itís a Village. Youíll get Village.
#18 ▼1 Dungeon (Adventures) Weighted Average: 69.17% / Unweighted Average: 64.6% (18) / Median:68.25% / Standard Deviation: 20.89%

A great opener, Dungeon is straight up a better version of Warehouse. The first turn cycles a bit less, but the second turn is a wonderful game of ďchoose your starting hand.Ē More choices are always good. Dungeon is a consistency machine as well, saving turns for players worldwide. The best thing to do with a pair of Dungeons is try to space them, playing one a turn. Sometimes this canít be done, so donít hold too hard to that rule.
#17 Sewers (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 70.89% / Unweighted Average: 70.72% (15) / Median:73.02% / Standard Deviation: 20.57%

Sewers is a wonky but efficient trasher, doubling the effectiveness of anything that trashes. Pair it with a Steward, and the deck never has to worry about Steward collision. In addition, Sewers works wonders with unconventional cards like Pixie, which blow up to trigger the effect.
#16 ▲2 Hermit (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 74.02% / Unweighted Average: 69.56% (17) / Median:75.81% / Standard Deviation: 23.16%

It just so happens that I am writing a Hermit article now, how about that. Hermit is a really nifty card that trashes, gains and accelerates. In fact, easily the strongest thing about Hermit is the ability to gain Madmen and if it did nothing else, it would still be quite fantastic. Itís fine to sacrifice one mediocre turn for a super turn, as Tactician taught long ago. Hermit also provides gain and play options with the Madman plays if deck is drawn, how neat is that. If thereís anything to take away though, itís that Hermit should be thought of primarily as a deck accelerator, and not a gainer/trasher.
#15 ▼5 Gear (Adventures) Weighted Average: 75.4% / Unweighted Average: 71.19% (14) / Median:76.19% / Standard Deviation: 19.98%

One of the greatest draw cards in Dominion, Gear provides immense flexibility and consistency like few cards do. Gear may set aside to spike a price point, to smooth economy, or even to reduce the shuffle size. It has long been a theme that Gear is good in Money decks. It is also the case that Gear shines even harder in engines. So itís weird that Gear dropped a bunch this year, like really weird.
#14 ▼1 Forager (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 75.49% / Unweighted Average: 74.84% (12) / Median:76.19% / Standard Deviation: 18.06%

A fine trasher and a fine source of buy, Forager is a solid nonterminal option to thin decks with. The strength of Forager comes in that it becomes stronger the more types of treasures are trashed. Ignore Forager, and the opponent gets all the goodies with trashing. Canít have that, so everybody has to get Forager. The single most annoying thing about Forager which makes it a high skill card is that if there are no gains on the board, it almost becomes a ďfake buyĒ. To gain an extra card, a card has to die. At the start this is easy, but at the end it gets really tricky. Knowing when to kill cards in these sorts of situations will make all of the difference in winning or losing.
#13 ▼1 Bonfire (Adventures) Weighted Average: 76.77% / Unweighted Average: 74.47% (13) / Median:77.78% / Standard Deviation: 14.74%

The greatest strength of Bonfire is in the opening, where the deck gets to thin Coppers (and in rare cases Necropolis) before even shuffling. Bonfire is a very fast trasher because of this, especially when paired with trashers that can kill Estates. There are also great combos like with Jack of All Trades, which both supplies Silvers and kills Estates.
#12 ▲3 Menagerie (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 76.93% / Unweighted Average: 76.21% (11) / Median:77.78% / Standard Deviation: 15.7%

Menagerie has a bit of a exponential effect, in that the first couple donít do much. However, as more Menageries are added, they start drawing consistently and often. Menagerie also loves deck diversity, something crucial to modern Engine building. Menagerie also loves thinning, something crucial to modern Engine building. I donít know that itís this high on the list, but many times players get burned for not pursuing Menagerie hard enough. Iíve seen top players do it recently, man. It always feels bad at the start, but pays off in the end.
#11 Star Chart (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 78.14% / Unweighted Average: 69.74% (16) / Median:80.95% / Standard Deviation: 28.7%

Criminally underrated in the first outing, Star Chart is clearly in the contending for the best $3 cost card, and one of the very best cards in Dominion hands down. Being able to control deck shuffle contents in any capacity is a very strong power, and the only thing that will straight up beat Star Chart is literal perfect shuffle luck paired with trashers like Chapel or Donate.
#10 ▼3 Swindler (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 78.89% / Unweighted Average: 76.95% (10) / Median:80.95% / Standard Deviation: 16.85%

The most unanimously enjoyed card, Swindler always creates fun and enjoyable gameplay, while still being incredibly skill-based.  No other card creates nearly as many decision points as something like Swindling your opponentís Laboratory.  Do you give them a Duchy?  Do you say ĎOof, sorryí and then give them a Duchy?  Or do you just resign and blacklist your opponent as soon as they buy one? (written by GreyEK)
#9 ▼3 Fishing Village (Seaside) Weighted Average: 79.06% / Unweighted Average: 77.71% (8) / Median:82.54% / Standard Deviation: 18.63%

Having the rare distinction of being an openable Village, Fishing Village brings a whole host of strengths to a deck. It is a legitimate contender to Silver, and it provides Actions over the course of two turns. Getting an Action at the start of a turn is stronger than simply being forced to play a village midturn, due to the randomness of the average starting hand. Instead of relying on finding a village and a draw card, now the deck only needs to find a draw card.
#8 ▲5 Black Market (Promo) Weighted Average: 80.16% / Unweighted Average: 78.02% (7) / Median:82.54% / Standard Deviation: 15.7%

Black Market has changed throughout the years, due to reasons outside of the metagame involving client decisions as to what it does. As such, itís harder to measure what the community thought of Black Market throughout the years. If Stef decided tomorrow that Black Market would only have 20 cards, Black Market drops very hard. As it stands, Black Market has 60 cards, has the most useless cards removed from the deck, and as such Black Market nearly dominates every game it is in. Even on boards with no villages and no hope for building an engine, somehow Black Market can pull out an undeserved win out of thin air. And donít even get me started on Fairgrounds and Museum, or the combos with Draw-to-X, Tactician, Quarry, and other stuff. Black Market is perhaps the most versatile card in Dominion.
#7 ▲1 Amulet (Adventures) Weighted Average: 80.87% / Unweighted Average: 78.75% (6) / Median:85.48% / Standard Deviation: 17.62%

Amulet is never really bad for a deck. The variety of choices (silver gain, trash, coin) let it become flexible in a similar manner to Steward. Also like Steward, the simplicity of Amulet can be deceptive in evaluating its power level. I think itís a bit overranked here, but it is hard to deny just how useful Amulet is in nearly every deck.
#6 ▲4 Ferry (Adventures) Weighted Average: 83.41% / Unweighted Average: 82.16% (5) / Median:87.5% / Standard Deviation: 15.61%

Ferry saw a sharp rise this year. Itís nearly unskippable and the effect is powerful. The tricky stuff comes into play with questions of efficiency. Move around the Ferry token too much, and buys are being wasted. Buy too few cards with Ferry on the card, and Ferry wasnít very efficient. As with most of the top cards, the complexity of decision making with Ferry is what makes good players so much better with it.
#5 =0 Urchin (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 85% / Unweighted Average: 82.49% (4) / Median:90.48% / Standard Deviation: 21.64%

The dreaded double Urchin open commands respect and is often correct. Connect both Urchins before the second shuffle, and the deck position is looking good. Fail to connect, and already the deck is working from behind. Of course, connecting Urchins is how to get Mercenary, a powerfully efficient card that trashes, generates economy, draws cards, and attacks the opponent all at once. With such centralizing power in Mercenary, itís no surprise that Urchin is so high on the list.
#4 Cathedral (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 85.94% / Unweighted Average: 77.39% (9) / Median:95.24% / Standard Deviation: 29.67%

Now we are onto the top four. Cathedral went from ďscary to buyĒ to ďliterally DonateĒ in the span of couple of months. Right now the community is finetuning when to not get Cathedral. Some great reasons include discard attacks, Donate, and a money board. As such, Cathedral isnít as automatic as Donate is. Knowing the rare cases of Cathedral skipping will win many a game.
#3 =0 Steward (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 90.01% / Unweighted Average: 84.89% (3) / Median:92.06% / Standard Deviation: 19%

Steward is an incredibly versatile card that continues to shine despite each expansion growing progressively stronger in power level. It is a workhorse that is simple but effective: thin cards, draw cards, or generate economy. This flexibility lends Steward to be highly efficient in almost any type of deck. It might be a tiny bit high for my tastes here, but itís really not by much. A lot of these top cards are similar in power level.
#2 =0 Masquerade (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 94.95% / Unweighted Average: 92.65% (1) / Median:98.41% / Standard Deviation: 17.04%

The card I would pick for top $3, Masquerade has lived in the shadow of Ambassador for years and years. The cataclysmic nature of losing an Ambassador war is forever burned into any Dominion veteranís mind, and will perhaps forever paint the narrative. Masquerade draws, thins cards, and puts pressure on the opponent all at once. Let me tell you a story. There was a contest last year between a person who bought Masquerade and ignored Donate, and someone else who bought only Donate and ignored Masquerade, just for fun. Obviously Donate won, but Masquerade at times demanded precise play from the Donate player and sometimes made the game scarily close. Masquerade is that good.
#1 =0 Ambassador (Seaside) Weighted Average: 95.65% / Unweighted Average: 90.91% (2) / Median:98.41% / Standard Deviation: 20.4%

Rated the top card for the $3 costs for the umpteenth time, Ambassador is a safe pick, albeit this time it is not so clear whether it should actually be the best with Cathedral, Star Chart and Masquerade as primary contenders. Nevertheless, Ambassador is an incredibly strong card and if it is not first, it is certainly within the top four.

That's it. You can all go home now.

4
The Best Cards

Last year's most important list was the Boons and Hexes. This year, it's all about the $3 costs, baby.

#64 ▼1 Fortune Teller (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 5.5% / Unweighted Average: 8.75% (64) / Median:3.17% / Standard Deviation: 18.32%

A poor terminal Silver, Fortune Teller doesnít hurt the opponent too much with the exception of skipping his opening buys. There are a couple of cute tricks like pairing Fortune Teller with a Legionary attack or Governor draw, but by and large it is an incredibly mediocre card and likely deserves the last spot.
#63 ▼1 Banquet (Empires) Weighted Average: 8.2% / Unweighted Average: 10.24% (63) / Median:3.17% / Standard Deviation: 15.61%

Banquet is a weak (but dynamic) Event, and it lends itself best to sloggy games. Whether there is an Ill-Gotten Gains rush, Mountebank or an Idol rush, Banquet is there for you. There are also combinations that work well with Banquet, such as fuel for Pooka and Spice Merchant. However, the sad truth of the matter is that such games are rare, and Banquet rarely gets bought as a result. My personal take is that thereís some legroom for Banquet play to grow, and it could see a rise in the years to come.
#62 ▲2 Masterpiece (Guilds) Weighted Average: 9.03% / Unweighted Average: 14.4% (62) / Median:4.76% / Standard Deviation: 22.67%

If Fortune Teller wasnít on the bottom, Iíd put Masterpiece there for sure. Outside of money, some Guildhall strategies, Feodum and Tower rushes, Masterpiece is often completely ignorable.
#61 ▼3 Harbinger (Base) Weighted Average: 13.18% / Unweighted Average: 19.15% (61) / Median:11.11% / Standard Deviation: 19.38%

Harbinger almost never hurts a deck, but it also almost never helps it. If the deck can draw itself already, Harbinger does little to nothing. If the deck is a sloppy mess, why is Harbinger being bought over Silver or some other equivalent? The sad truth is that Harbinger often gets bought more because itís not Silver than for what it does. Still, it can save turns, albeit inconsistently.
#60 ▲1 Fool (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 13.85% / Unweighted Average: 19.8% (59) / Median:9.52% / Standard Deviation: 24.01%

Playing Fool to take Lost In The Woods gives an adrenaline rush, but afterward becomes a total dud. If the opponent wants to get in on the action, Fool becomes a much better card. If not, the player gets access to a mediocre State ability which trades a card for a Boon, which may or may not be worth it depending on the deck.
#59 ▲1 Sage (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 16.1% / Unweighted Average: 19.61% (60) / Median:11.11% / Standard Deviation: 20.22%

Sage is not a very good card, but it fills a niche role as a cycler. If there is a crucial card that needs to be played early on, such as a Traveller Line, Sage does its best work. Otherwise, Sage becomes harder to justify. At the end of the day, Sage is still just a fancy cantrip.
#58 ▲1 Tunnel (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 18.6% / Unweighted Average: 27.17% (56) / Median:15.87% / Standard Deviation: 23.72%

There was always the dream to print Golds with Tunnel. Until Renaissance, most of the options were mediocre. Now with Crop Rotation, Tunnel has a serious legitimate combo card that can rack up VP in the upper 40s in about 14-15 turns. However, one great option is not enough alone to save Tunnel from the lower half of the list.
#57 =0 Caravan Guard (Adventures) Weighted Average: 22.15% / Unweighted Average: 22.32% (58) / Median:20.63% / Standard Deviation: 14.23%

Caravan Guard is at worst a delayed Peddler, and at best a Peddler. The reaction effect is surprisingly decent, and even the delayed coin can work well at spiking price points. However, it is the lack of attacks which brings Caravan Guard to its knees in effectiveness, as the delayed coin effect is hard to space properly. Still, Caravan Guard will be picked up, it is cheap and it does its job well enough.
#56 =0 Trade Route (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 22.55% / Unweighted Average: 28.72% (53) / Median:20.63% / Standard Deviation: 26.94%

Trade Route is a slow and mediocre trasher that doesnít help hit $5. The coin generation it provides isnít very good until the late game, when it is almost too late. In addition, if Trade Route is the only gain on the board, one could think of it as a ďfake buyĒ, because one has to trash to get the extra gain.
#55 =0 Secret Cave (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 22.79% / Unweighted Average: 24.7% (57) / Median:23.81% / Standard Deviation: 16.74%

Secret Cave is a strange card that is best suited to popping the Lamp it automatically comes with. Discarding three cards for $3 on the next turn is a steep cost, but it does stay in play the next turn. Time it right, and the Lamp gets popped. There are times discarding is actively great to do (such as spiking price points or draw-to-X), but more often than not Secret Cave is a cantrip with upside.
#54 ▼1 Storeroom (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 23.2% / Unweighted Average: 27.27% (55) / Median:19.05% / Standard Deviation: 20.14%

A decent cycler in the opening, a coin generator for dead cards and a source of buy, Storeroom fulfils a solid support role. There are tons of tricks as well, such as setting up Doctor/Sentry trashes and Draw-to-X.
#53 ▼3 Farmers' Market (Empires) Weighted Average: 26.4% / Unweighted Average: 31.62% (50) / Median:26.98% / Standard Deviation: 18.65%

Farmersí Market is an odd card that works well because it inherently encourages more to be picked up. The first purchase is weak, and it takes more than one play to get anything decent out of it. However the opponent will see the purchase and will often take one of his own to get the better rewards. Timing the Farmersí Market buy is usually key in playing with it effectively. Just remember that itís a payload card. It shines best when it can be played consistently and often. (And yes I think itís underrated on this list)
#52 ▼1 Oasis (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 27.19% / Unweighted Average: 28.56% (54) / Median:22.22% / Standard Deviation: 18.93%

Oasis is a decent peddler if there is something junky to discard. Usually the card is just mediocre but is occasionally a good opener. They get bad quickly though, so often itís bad to put too many into a deck.
#51 ▼2 Leprechaun (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 28.06% / Unweighted Average: 32.25% (48) / Median:23.81% / Standard Deviation: 22.64%

Taking a Gold for a Hex is not a terrible trade for $3, and the potential promise of a Wish only sweetens the pot of gold. However, Leprechaun suffers from what is quickly becoming a trend with the lower rated cards, in that it has a lack of consistency. Sometimes the deck just wonít find a Leprechaun in time, or sometimes a decision has to be made with ending the turn to take a Wish.
#50 ▼8 Night Watchman (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 29.27% / Unweighted Average: 33.42% (47) / Median:33.33% / Standard Deviation: 19.76%

Look at that SHARP drop. Wow. Night Watchman has some cool combos with Counting House. If you open Night Watchman with Silver, you can guarantee drawing $5 and shuffle by turn 3. If the entire deck is drawn, any cards gained afterwards can be topdecked. And yet for all of that, Night Watchman remains a niche card that doesnít do much besides momentum building.
#49 ▲5 Vassal (Base) Weighted Average: 30.03% / Unweighted Average: 35.77% (46) / Median:28.57% / Standard Deviation: 23.81%

The feeling I have is that Vassal is still better than how much it has risen (and I am thankful for the rise), but it is hard to deny that Vassal is a scary prospect without deck scouting. The nightmare scenario is whiffing the play and then the turn is done, and that does happen. However, Vassal shines even with just competent deck thinning, and most decks donít mind at least a couple of Vassals.
#48 ▼1 Develop (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 30.23% / Unweighted Average: 29.59% (52) / Median:26.98% / Standard Deviation: 22.07%

Develop has always been underrated, and that trend continues this year. It seriously dropped a spot. The strength of Develop does not come from trashing, but rather from pile control and gaining. The topdecking effect lends itself well to controlled decks, and the best players can milk magic out of Develop in ways that continue to surprise. That being said, there are many boards where Develop just does not do much.
#47 ▲5 Gladiator (Empires) Weighted Average: 31.03% / Unweighted Average: 31.78% (49) / Median:30.16% / Standard Deviation: 17.91%

The interesting thing about Gladiator is that it is quite decent just at being a terminal $3, but it is nearly impossible to land at the beginning with the starting cards. Between this and the fact that it quickly gets made obsolete by better terminal options as the game progresses, it is not too surprising that Gladiator falls this low, despite the rise this year. However, do not underestimate the tempo power of choosing when to reveal Fortune with Gladiator.
#46 ▲2 Oracle (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 32.46% / Unweighted Average: 31.09% (51) / Median:28.57% / Standard Deviation: 17.23%

Oracle is a deeper card than at first glance. The attack is underrated, and the cycle option is quite good, rewarding deck tracking. It is a fairly decent open, albeit outshined a lot of the time by more powerful cards. However, get the lucky hit and skip the opponentís Chapel, and that Oracle suddenly looks like a good decision.
#45 City Gate (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 32.71% / Unweighted Average: 36.78% (43) / Median:30.16% / Standard Deviation: 21.89%
 
So this is where City Gate places on the first rating. Newer cards tend to be underranked, and because of this alone City Gate should rise as the years go by. However, opening City Gate is quite good, and guarantees the other opening card doesnít miss the shuffle. City Gate also helps with deck smoothing or spiking early on. Even while it gets weaker late game, City Gate has the potential to save a turn.
#44 =0 Merchant (Base) Weighted Average: 36.55% / Unweighted Average: 36.5% (44) / Median:36.51% / Standard Deviation: 15.19%

A cheap peddler is quite good, but it does have a condition, and if Silver is not in play at the end of the turn, then Merchant does nothing. Merchant becomes a solid option as the game progresses, but does not do much in the opening.
#43 =0 Guide (Adventures) Weighted Average: 37.17% / Unweighted Average: 39.44% (40) / Median:34.92% / Standard Deviation: 19.16%

Itís almost never a bad idea to pick up a Guide at some point, because Guide is both a turn saver and a cycler. However, Guide does not do much else, and the less Guides are called, the less efficient they become.
#42 ▲3 Workshop (Base) Weighted Average: 37.86% / Unweighted Average: 38.67% (41) / Median:31.75% / Standard Deviation: 17.41%

Workshop is an investment. Over time, Workshop will do more gaining than simply buying cards. However, between the rise in explosive fast decks and the fact that it is terminal, Workshop has often been looked over in favor of better options. It has seen a slight rise this year however.
#41 ▼7 Changeling (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 37.95% / Unweighted Average: 37.58% (42) / Median:34.92% / Standard Deviation: 20.48%

Changeling saw a huge drop from last year. Changeling is still a relatively new card, and finding the proper slot will take some time. Changeling is nice for a multitude of tricks, from getting a delayed high cost card, helping get to a pileout, or even something as crazy as converting the Province from Dominate to maintain consistency. Despite the deep drop, Changeling is still a formidable card, and mastery over it will win a lot of games.
#40 =0 Shanty Town (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 38.17% / Unweighted Average: 39.83% (39) / Median:38.1% / Standard Deviation: 17.71%

While a decent opener, Shanty Town gets worse and worse the more action cards are added. Still, a Village is a Village, even if it is a Necropolis. Thereís really not much else to say. Itís a Village. Youíll get a Village.
#39 ▼1 Expedition (Adventures) Weighted Average: 41.65% / Unweighted Average: 43.91% (36) / Median:42.86% / Standard Deviation: 15.25%

Good in both the opening and in general for spiking price points, Expedition is best used as supplementary draw. In addition, it can provide more consistency the next turn. Despite all of this, Expedition has never been that inspiring and I could see it drop lower than it currently has, honestly.
#38 ▼1 Loan (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 42.35% / Unweighted Average: 41.79% (38) / Median:36.51% / Standard Deviation: 22.11%

The ultimate feelsbad trasher, Loan has the distinction of skipping over all of your good cards and revealing a Gold. It doesnít help hit $5 and itís slow. This feeling is only increasing with more and more examples of powerful trashers as the number of expansions increase. While bad luck certainly does happen with Loan, it is worth the cycling and non-terminality that it provides. Sometimes, you just need a Loan.
#37 ▲2 Wishing Well (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 42.61% / Unweighted Average: 36% (45) / Median:33.33% / Standard Deviation: 18.66%

Stefís favorite card comes up next on the list. The ultimate example of the power of deck tracking and skill, Wishing Well continues to reward good players and punish bad ones. While it certainly gets worse the longer a game goes on, Wishing Well is still a solid card to put into any deck. Always remember: If there are multiple Wells in hand and a certain card is needed, name the cards that make the deck dud first.
#36 ▲6 Smugglers (Seaside) Weighted Average: 42.77% / Unweighted Average: 43.86% (37) / Median:41.27% / Standard Deviation: 19.88%

Smugglers is a very swingy card that has been building up a strong reputation again lately. Look how high this thing went up! Taking a card that the opponent took last turn is quite fantastic for only $3, and it helps close the Duchy race as well. It has gotten to the point where people attempt to track where the Smugglers is in the opponentís deck, so they can gain the least useful cards to make the Smugglers less effective. If a card is strong enough to make people do that, maybe it should be higher.
#35 Improve (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 42.95% / Unweighted Average: 44.14% (35) / Median:41.27% / Standard Deviation: 26.29%
 
Being both a new and complex card, it makes sense that Improve has been placed where it is. The strengths of Improve are numerous, and it is tactically useful throughout the entirety of the game. A lot of the strength of Improve depends on the strength of the $4 and $5 costs. Improve is already a Silver, and can be blown up at any time into a $4 while buying a $5, giving an incredible amount of tempo. Just remember that when an Action card is blown up into a higher cost, it can be any type of card. Forges can be turned into Provinces.
#34 Acting Troupe (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 43.75% / Unweighted Average: 45.7% (34) / Median:42.86% / Standard Deviation: 18.4%

Next up is a wonky Village that so far seems best suited to consistency rather than being the primary Village. I have yet to see a board where hoarding all of these is the key to victory, but Iím sure someone else has, somewhere.
#33 Pageant (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 45.68% / Unweighted Average: 45.87% (33) / Median:49.21% / Standard Deviation: 23.22%

A nifty Project, Pageant converts any extra coin into coffers. The powerful thing about coffers is that the closer the game is to ending, the more pressure they put on the opponent. So from flexibility to game pressure, Pageant provides a convenient way to store up coffers.

Part 2 coming tomorrow. Stay tuned.

5
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Coaching Series
« on: January 15, 2019, 10:11:40 pm »
Hey, I'm going to be working on a Dominion Coaching Series on the Dominion League YouTube channel. I would like both some volunteers, and suggestions as to what you would like to see in such a show. I might record a pilot episode soon with someone, and then edit it, and then from there see what is working and what isn't.

6
Dominion Articles / Donate Money
« on: November 15, 2018, 02:11:34 pm »
original link: https://dominionstrategy.com/2018/11/15/donate-money/

This was posted here in addition to the blog because additional eyes visit this page, and also for further discussion.



Introduction

Donate is hard, precisely because it offers the world. The normal limitations of Dominion are erased, and games become much faster. With all of the engine possibilities, it may escape players to envision Donate as a Money enabler. It is true that Donate is first and foremost an Engine card. It is also true that Donate gets rid of Money’s biggest weakness: time.

Donate Money?

Money strategies can be thought of as a rush of sorts, where you are “betting” that you can get most of the Provinces before the engine can catch up and the game ends. The main problem with Money strategies most of the time is that they are bad at ending the game quickly enough. Donate provides this very speed and consistency to make it happen.

It is important to note that Money strategies are still usually bad. However, with Donate they will appear more often than normal. Because of this, it is absolutely worth investing into how Donate Money plays, both as a resource and as a baseline for knowing how much time you realistically have.

The Vanilla Donate Money Baseline

Usually, the Donate Money race culminates into the first to 5 Provinces, with importance on consistency of economy for sustainable Duchy scoring afterwards. A pure Donate Money strategy ends up with 4-5 Provinces in about 11-12 turns, but struggles to score consistently afterwards. What is this strategy, you may ask? According to xnor’s calculations: (assume any standard opening besides 2/5)

    Turn 1: Buy Silver
    Turn 2: Donate down to Silver + 4 Coppers
    Turn 3: Pay off debt
    Turn 4: Buy Gold
    Turn 5: Buy Gold
    Turn 6: Donate down to Gold, Gold, Silver, paying off debt
    Turn 7: Buy Province (or a 1/7 chance of missing Province due to last turn’s Donate not hitting $8, in which case buy Gold)
    Turn 8: Buy Province
    Turn 9: Buy Province
    Turn 10+: Buy Province or Gold or Silver forever, pivot to Duchies later

Estimated First Province: Turn 7
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 10-11


Memorize this. This baseline is actually incredibly powerful, and will be as strong as some other Donate Money variants. It is important to note that this baseline is somewhat terrible at scoring Duchies while maintaining Province pressure, and will potentially falter against more consistent Donate Money strategies, despite sometimes being just as fast initially. Thusly, Vanilla Donate Money will struggle to put a nail into the coffin of games versus other Donate Money variants, and while it might sometimes come out with a win, it probably won’t.

Another thing to consider is the time spent before the first Province. Vanilla Donate Money is at a snail’s pace when it comes to first scoring on Turn 7. If a particular Money strategy is already at 2 Provinces on Turn 7, it won’t matter too much if both strategies get to the same end goal of 4 Provinces by Turn 10. The tempo pressure will be on the Vanilla strategy to buy Duchies in order to not risk simply losing, which has already been established to be a terrible weakness for Vanilla Money.

Of course, all of this is contextual. There still is a lot of discovering to do with all of the various types of money plays and lines, but here are some of the more powerful variants, in no particular order.

Amulet + Donate Money

    Turn 1: Amulet
    Turn 2: Amulet
    Turn 3: Play Amulet to gain Silver, Donate to 0 Coppers
        (If you don’t have Amulet in play, Donate anyways but you will be a turn slower.)
    Turn 4+: Always gain Silver with Amulet unless you have $7 in hand, otherwise Amulet should gain a +$1.
        (After your first Province, if you miss $8 you may buy Duchies.)

Estimated First Province: Turn 6
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 11 + Duchy


As it turns out, Double Amulet is pretty okay! Double Amulet not only straight up beats Pure Donate in scoring the first Province, but also in getting more points!

Explorer + Donate Money

    Turn 1: Donate to 5 Coppers
    Turn 2: Pay off remaining debt
    Turn 3: Buy Explorer
    Turn 4: Gain Silver, buy Gold
    Turn 5+: Buy Province, Donate the next turn down, trash everything but Explorer, Province, Golds, and you may keep a single Silver.

Estimated First Province: Turn 5-6
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 9-10


Don’t be afraid to Province incredibly early, then Donate to finish clean-up the next turn. With the constant influx of Gold, one Silver won’t kill to have around ($8 vs $9, no difference). However, More than one Silver risks 2 Silver/1 Gold hands ($7) which are incredibly sad.

For 5/2, you open Explorer and then Donate down to 2 Coppers. On Turn 4, you buy a Silver, Turn 5 is a guaranteed Province, and then you can Donate everything immediately afterwards.

On 2/5, you cry, buy nothing/Explorer, hope to draw Explorer T3 and Donate.

Windfall + Donate Money

    Turn 1: Donate to 5 Coppers
    Turn 2: Pay off debt
    Turn 3: Windfall
    Turn 4: Donate to 3 Golds
    Turn 5-7: Buy two Provinces and Windfall again in any order, the timing is the same either way.
    Turn 8+: Buy Provinces or Duchies forever

Estimated First Province: Turn 5-6
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 9


This strategy can hold Duchies well due to the density of Golds, and is highly consistent!

Market Square + Donate Money

    Turn 1: Market Square
    Turn 2: Market Square
    Turn 3: Play Market Square, buy Market Square + Donate, keep two Coppers and react all of your Market Squares.
        (If you don’t find Market Square, Donate anyways but cry that you will be a turn slower.)
    Turn 4: Buy as many Market Squares as you can while still being able to Donate and having 7 or less Debt. Kill the remaining two Coppers, reacting your Market Squares for Golds. As long as you have 7 or less Debt, you have a guaranteed Province the next turn. (5 Gold hand of $15 minus 7 Debt is exactly $8.)
    Turn 5+: Buy Province+

Estimated First Province: Turn 5
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 8


This strategy is wicked fast and is one of the best if not the best two card combo in Dominion.

Another fantastic thing about this line is how quickly you can pivot into engine play, due to the massive amounts of instant payload and buy. You are not hitting more than $15 a turn without draw support, so use the board to improve on this baseline! Also keep in mind that you can buy an extra Copper at any point to not lose a Gold when triggering additional Donates, if you want to continue gaining Golds.

Fool’s Gold + Donate Money


    Turn 1: Fool’s Gold
    Turn 2: Fool’s Gold
    Turn 3: Fool’s Gold (or if you have $5+ on this hand, you may Donate immediately to 2 Fool’s Gold, still get the third Fool’s Gold
    but save a turn in speed.)
    Turn 4: Donate to 3 Fool’s Gold
    Turn 5: Pay off debt, buy Fool’s Gold (here you can pivot to the Kingdom itself and play something even better than the baseline.)
    Turn 6+: Province


Estimated First Province: Turn 6
Estimated Fourth Province: Turn 10


Another strong baseline that while playing similar to Vanilla Donate Money, is just simply faster and stronger.

When To Not Pursue Donate Money

All of these strategies are certainly very fast, and often very predetermined to boot! Are there ways to stop these strategies? What is the best way to trip money up, than the classic attacking method? Good Attacks stop money hard as per the usual. Even with access to Donate, junkers like Witch and Mountebank absolutely gum up most of these money strats, giving alternate strategies time to catch up. Discard attacks can work wonders sometimes, although beware of Gold or Fool’s Gold centric money strategies which only need 3 card hands to work! Of course, for the action centric money strategies like Amulet, Enchantress absolutely tears holes into any plans.

Of course, these Donate strategies are still in a lot of ways worse than Donate engines. It’ll be close, but Engines in a lot of cases can end games by Turn 12-13, and should more than catch up by the end. A fast Donate strategy can catch the unprepared slow build engine by surprise, but don’t forget that there are also wicked fast engines. Another disincentive for money is abundance of Alt-VP, which gives the engine player more time to build. Just keep in mind that you are on the clock!

Closing Thoughts

Donate money is an incredibly fast variant of Money, and one that poses interesting questions to the player in any given Donate game. However, in many cases these highlighted strategies (among others) only serve as a baseline, as either a way to kick off the engine even faster or to combo with even more cards in the Kingdom, and you may find yourself only implementing the beginning steps of some of these lines. As with any Donate game, always keep your eyes open for better and more efficient ways to do things!

7
Dominion General Discussion / Why Peasant Will Be On My Ban List
« on: November 08, 2018, 04:18:06 pm »
Let's talk about Peasant, why it is my number one candidate for most hated card in Dominion, and why it will be my first official selection for the Banlist once ShuffleIT implements it.

1. Centralizing

We all know you can't often play a Peasant board without buying one. In fact, it's often a cause for celebration when you don't have to! Peasant offers the same song and dance every time, and there's nothing you can do about it but play it the way you always do. Now this is not reason enough to ban a card, as there are plenty of cards that do in fact do this.

2. Incredibly Swingy

Oh, what's that? You bottomdecked your traveller and now you're toast. Oh, what's that? You took a calculated gamble drawing 2 cards dead with a 15 card shuffle and you drew your Traveller. Oh, what's that? You drew Disciple without any actions? Oh, what's that? You drew Teacher on the very bottom of the shuffle, and despite your opponent getting Teacher much later than you, he drew it on his first turn and activated before you. Oh, what's that? You lost to a mediocre player for no reason other than how your shuffles went. My heart races with fear every time I roll Peasant on a board. Will I likely lose for no reason at all other than a random arrangement of cards?

3. Ease of Play

But you might remark, "but you can outplay a bad build! You can outplay a mediocre player." And indeed, you certainly can. But real talk, how hard is it to play Peasant, really? You buy Peasant more than once, mass up a ton of a single kind of card, and then slap on +Card and +Action, and if you at any point falter due to a bad shuffle, you're probably just straight up toast. There's no such thing as a bad Peasant build if you play with common sense (please don't make Treasure Map jokes, you know exactly what I mean). There's only more efficient builds, and less efficient ones.

4. Super Long Turns

All of the previous points are claims you can make about Rebuild, or Money strategies. Here's one you can't make: Length of time. Seriously, for all of the annoyances Rebuild and Money games provide, at least they end quick. You're waiting for a century when your opponent calls his teacher, places his token on a card, and then proceeds to play out his turn, optimizing all of the way (either in ways that are actually optimization or ways that are not, which only annoys you further) and eeking out extra plays, while he's up by a trillion and you still didn't play your first Teacher yet. Like why continue at that point?

5. False Hope

Always play out the games. Always play to your outs. Don't give up. You might just win. Yeah, that'll never happen. Peasant gives you false hope that you might be able to crawl back. "WOW, he put that token THERE???" And yet it doesn't matter. He's drawing his deck, and you're not. You can optimize all you like, but the man is up 4 Provinces and will never dud again.

6. A Realization

With all of this in mind, you roll a Peasant board and win easily. And then you have a chilling thought. Did you win because you outplayed your opponent, or because your opponent missed a shuffle with his traveller? Boy, that blows. You won a game for no other reason than RNGesus decreed it.

Closing

Is Peasant the worst, most unfair, most unbalanced card in Dominion? No. But when you get whacked by it, you'll scramble for answers. You'll look at everything you did. You'll agonize for weeks on that loss, that one loss that could have been. And as it turns out, you did nothing wrong. You just didn't shuffle right.

8
Dominion General Discussion / SepRanks for Top Player Rating
« on: August 01, 2018, 10:07:57 pm »
Closed

Introduction

Why should anybody create these lists? Well, the obvious answer is that it's a fun activity, akin to ranking College teams. However, there are also two practical reasons to conduct these lists.

Firstly, the Leaderboard is not entirely accurate. Great players might not play all that often, and their positions might very well be completely wrong. The Leaderboard is biased towards people who play ranked, not all Dominion. For example, Dominion League is almost never played ranked, but nobody will see higher quality Dominion being played than in the A and B tiers. In addition, players game the system all of the time to artificially raise their numbers, further watering down the results. I am not saying the Leaderboard is a useless metric, but some discernment must be used when consulting it.

Secondly, increasing our understanding of who the best players are will help new players and old alike. For the new players, it will give them role models to emulate. For the old players, perhaps they will see some players they never considered before, from simply underrated players to the vibrant and active Japanese community we barely communicate with. This will evolve the metagame in the long run, further increasing our understanding for the game.

Yes, the lists will not be accurate at first. That is okay. Course correction will happen.

Polling

Polling will commence about every 6 months, and be open for two weeks. Users will visit the link below, enter their username, and present their list of the top 20 Dominion Players.

This link will lead to the current poll. Before taking the poll, there are some important things to note.

1. I would advise all users consult both the ShuffleIT Leaderboard and the Dominion League standings before finishing their rankings. It's not required, but it may help in accuracy.
2. Keep in mind that fame does not always mean the player is better.
3. As a corollary to the last note, remember that there are other players who do not visit the forums. There are for example, plenty of strong Japanese players out there, among other players. This area is where the Leaderboard is most helpful.

Polling Results

These results are sorted by the most recent.

August 2018

Disclaimers

If you aggressively do not care about the polls, then you do not have to participate. Your displeasure does not mean this poll shouldn't exist.
Who voted for whom will not be made public, and this will solve any potential issues. Please be careful when discussing votes. My asking for usernames on the poll is only to ensure that voting is unique and fair.

9
   

Cursed Village + Pathfinding

I am going to start a new series on Dominion Combos. Previously, when writing about combos was tried, articles like these were written. Or this. Yikes. It was not optimal, to say the least. And so, I will try my best in this modern age of Dominion to write a comprehensive list of fantastic combos that Dan Brooks could only dream of.


So, this is a fantastic combo. Of course, Pathfinding goes great with a lot of cards. But it pairs with Cursed Village even better than normal. Cursed Village has this problem, that as soon as you draw up to 6, it doesn't draw any more if you play your Smithy, and each $5 you spent into your villages goes into a Necro. That is so sad. Nobles at least gives VP and has the option to draw, for only a coin more in the price point. But Pathfinding fixes that. Now, your Cursed Villages become normal villages when you play them. This effect cannot be understated. When was the last time you played a village, and it drew your draw card you were looking for? Exactly.

And that's not all. The plus card token on Cursed Village also counters a very strong attack: Relic. That's right, you can sacrifice your +card token, and you're still drawing to 6. Relic's $5 opportunity cost will look like a foolish purchasing option versus putting Pathfinding, an amazing event, onto an amazing card, Cursed Village. So be on the lookout for this card combo. (Don't get confused with the card Lookout. Man, that card is bad, it will trash all your provinces and action cards and it's so scary)

I'll maybe write more combos if I feel like it, but I think I had to spread the word about this very strong interaction. Let me know what you guys would like to see next!

10
Tournaments and Events / Cage Match Tournament #2: Empires
« on: July 01, 2018, 04:51:21 am »
Tracer has unfortunately been unable to do the second Cage Match Tournament at this time. I was originally going to try something else, but why mess with a good thing?

For those who do not know what a Cage Match is, it is a series of games where both players play with a certain card, with the rest of the set random. Each match in this tournament will feature a unique card.

The tournament will run from July 9th to August 6th.

Tournament Structure

The structure will be the same as last tournament. Sixteen players with a single elimination bracket. The seeding will be done by ShuffleIT mu rating on the 8th of July.

Each match should be completed in about a week.

Round of 16: July 9th - July 16th
Quarterfinals: July 16th - July 23rd
Semifinals: July 23rd - July 30th
Finals: July 30th - August 6th


Some overlap between weeks is okay, although not preferable.

Match Structure

The structure here will also be mostly same as the last tournament, with a few differences in tiebreaking.

Each match will be determined by the first player to three points. Starting player alternates, with the first player in the first game being randomly generated. Each game win is worth a point, and each tie is worth 0.5 points. If there is a tie, the next game is set to full Empires random, plus the cage match card. Starting player is random, with the second player having the tie advantage. This means if the game ties, the second player wins the game.

For each match, the cards assigned for that match should be fixed into all games with the remaining cards fully random. This can be done by going to 'Select Kingdom Cards’ and typing the card name into the text box in the lower left hand corner.

Card Selection

Due to the addition of Landmarks, Card selection will be a bit different. In addition to an Empires card (including events), a unique Landmark will be also applied to each match.

Each card will be selected from the results of a poll, which happens to be due on July 8th. People who aren't playing can still fill this in. Please only fill in this poll once.

The poll results are located here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DJzGnvhKCCisdgEgd-Ib8ZWBjjt6_slwV6GlCf4sNaQ/edit?usp=sharing

The top voted card will be assigned to the final, the second to the 1-seed semifinal matchup, the third to the 2-seed semifinal matchup, the fourth to the 1-seed quarterfinal matchup, the fifth to the 2-seed quarterfinal matchup, etc. Tiebreakers in polling will be decided by me, but I will not be voting.

Spectator Friendliness
  • "Players can see Spectator Chat" must be disabled
  • Spectators must be allowed to see the hands of both players
  • All matches should be announced at least an hour in advance on the Dominion Discord, or on the Match Calendar at least twelve hours in advance. Preferably both. Include the assigned card in your description.

Signups

The first sixteen players will be admitted, hopefully by July 9th. The signup list, scheduling, brackets and results will be in the next post.

Match Reporting

Please report your matches in this thread. Include both the score of the match, how many games the assigned card for that match was gained, as well as by how many players. If only one player gained the card, did that player win or lose? For Landmarks, mention how crucial it seemed to be in determining the winner.

Have fun!

11
Dominion Articles / Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« on: May 02, 2018, 12:52:09 am »
Donate is a complex card. There is so much to cover, and thus to make it easier to digest, there is going to be a multi-part series about Donate. I won't be writing every part, and I welcome others to join the Dominion Blog Discord to help with our writing process!

Also, this is a draft. Please feel free to critique or suggest additions.


Introduction

Donate is the most powerful card in Dominion, and ignoring it is a surefire way to lose games. Precise plays are rewarded and even tiny mistakes are magnified. In addition, such a game warping card is hard to talk about, because there are so many different questions to ask every time it is on the board. What to put into the deck before triggering Donate? When to trigger Donate? Do you buy Donate more than once? Whatís the fastest build path?

This article wonít be able to give you absolute solutions. After all, as the famous saying goes, ďIt depends on the board.Ē However, there are trends and general information available to help you make the right decisions. These trends may not always help you play the most efficiently on the battlefield, but it is a starting point!

General Concepts

Everything that is true in competitive Dominion play becomes even more crucial on Donate boards. Having an incomplete understanding of the gameís meta is easier to get away with on normal boards, but with Donate this becomes much harder to do!

As an addendum, first player advantage is absolutely a real thing normally, but it is even stronger to go first on Donate boards! I donít want you to think the game is already over if you are the second player. The second player is happy to tie if it comes down to it, but there are usually winning chances! Play the outs given and donít give up.

It is hard to have any Donate discussion without starting on deck control, a concept that allows you to play your good cards and to gain things more often. Deck control comes in many forms (such as topdecking), but the most prominent example is trashing. The power of trashing is one of the first things new players learn when entering the competitive scene, but the power of Donateís trashing is shocking, almost liberating even. Any deck imaginable can be built from the ground up, and because the decks are so much thinner, the deck control increases drastically.

Second concept, tempo. With the rapid increase of deck control, the clock shortens. The games may feel longer due to all of the overall thinking time, but the actual turns taken shorten drastically. Because time is of the essence, precision is key. Small mistakes such as building out of order can squander overall deck potential and in the worst cases, waste an entire turn! You have less turns to do what you want to do and the windows are tighter.

Tracking the deck and having an overall plan is the third concept. Donate is very deterministic, and planning entire turns ahead is an absolute requirement. However, any competitive player worth his salt should be doing this anyways on all boards. Sometimes a good player can skate by on intuition and experience. Not so with Donate! In addition to tracking comes the concept of knowing the Kingdomís limits. What are the build paths to victory? How big can the build go? Remember, there is less time available, and the timing on when to green may change as a result! Donít be afraid to build big, but keep an eye out for Kingdom limits.

Conclusion

Overall, I would recommend newer players looking to get good at competitive Dominion play exclusively Donate games for long periods of time, since Donate demands good competitive knowledge and practices to win effectively. Concepts of tempo, deck tracking and having a plan are paramount to victory on any board, but even more so with Donate.

12
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Drinking Game
« on: February 22, 2018, 11:25:15 pm »
Dominion getting boring? Time to get creative! Let's come up with the perfect Dominion Drinking Game.

For example: Take a shot every time you dud. Take a shot every time jsh complains about Chariot Race.
take a shot every time someone makes a useless new thread

13
Dominion Articles / Underrated Cards in 2018
« on: January 23, 2018, 11:50:34 am »
Here is a short list of what I think have been underrated cards based on the 2017 Qvist rankings. Some of them are Nocturnes, others are old past favorites. Feel free to add or dispute anything on this list.

Knights

This pile has seen a continuous rise over the years, but it still isn't high enough. Knights are devastating when uncontested, and the person who loses the Knight split is racing against the clock. With Lurker, Graverobber, Necromancer and Rogue, games with Knights are more centralizing and degenerate than ever. Don't forget Throne Room variants either.

Tracker

I know, I know looks crazy. Just start buying it. You are going to be surprised how useful and consistent it is. The topdeck ability alone is great, much cheaper opportunity cost than a Royal Seal, and Boons are very useful.

Fool's Gold

Yeah, mass FG is bad. But you know what isn't bad? Great payload at the cheap. This is one people are coming around to as well, and I almost didn't put it on the list.

Borrow

Events in general are still underrated. There is a famous maxim, "wherever you rated the Events, put them 10 spots higher." It's a ludicrous statement at its core, but it shows a truth. Events absolutely dominate games and Borrow is no exception. Think of a game where Borrow is on the board and you never used it. Exactly.

Traveling Fair

Why in the hell is this dropping in rank? It should be going up if anything! Topdecking cards and extra buys for only $2 is insane power. Consistency is the best friend of engines with the exception of the very lucky Tournament deck. If you are not using this Event, you are going to lose every time to someone who does.

Druid

This one is understandable, because Druid by itself sucks. Just more of a PSA that Wisps are the most broken thing ever, and that you should basically open Druid any time there is Swamp's Gift set aside. Yes, even forgo trashing if Flames is included. Other reasons to maybe get Druid: Earth's Gift, Flame's Gift, Field's Gift, +buy.

Doctor

People have gotten too annoyed at Doctor's bullshit to realize just how fast of a trasher Doctor is. I have won games getting Doctor over say, Steward. Not joking. (Speaking of which, if there's an Overrated list ever, throw Steward on there, please.) Just pay attention to your deck contents at all times, swallow the pill, and play with Doctor more. It's really not that bad.

Expedition

Continuing the theme of misaligned Events. Draw is good, handsize increase at start of turn is good, Den of Sin and Wharf demonstrate this, why is this dropping? Consistency is good for engines, and Expedition provides it. It isn't the most powerful Event ever but with the right Kingdom you can play with Expedition support handily in your deck.

Fool

Yeah it's bad, but not basically at the very bottom of the list bad! Fool provides an alternate path to building in the opening over Silver. Most of the Boons Fool provides give economy (Mountain, Field, Forest, Sky), cycling (Sea, River, Wind), or enginey stuff (Swamp, Flame, Earth). The mostly garbage Boons in this sense are Moon, Sun and sometimes Sky. It could go bad but statistically it should be fine. Of course, you get a dead card in Fool if uncontested. If contested, Fool gets a lot better. Time will tell but it doesn't seem to be that close to the very bottom of the $3s.

Marauder

This is a must open on so many boards, and it gives you payload too. People see this and think Sea Hag. Marauder is so much better than the Hag.

Exorcist

Placed horribly currenty, yeah it's Nocturne but it should see an incredible rise. Estate trashing into Wisps is an incredible tempo booster, Silvers become great draw in Imps and if you need it, more expensive engine parts become Ghosts. And it's a trasher you cannot draw dead. Uh sign me up.

Advisor

It's actually really good draw on the cheap. Just start buying them en mass. I know I know you lose your best card but soon you stop caring because you're drawing everything.

Engineer

This has not risen nearly fast enough. Being able to trash your hand and pick up an Engineer is such a HUGE boost to tempo. There are so many cool things you can do with Engineer.

Bishop

And this has continued to drop because.. why exactly? There also seems to be this pretend rule that you are not allowed to open Bishop. Bullshit, you absolutely can sometimes. Yeah your opponent gets thinner, so what? So do you! And you get VP with it, he doesn't. There are boards where the VP doesn't matter and the trashers are great, but with a dearth of both consider yourself a Bishop opening. Look into the terminal space, the kind of deck needed to be built, etc.

Groundskeeper

With enough Groundskeepers, you don't need to buy Provinces. You can buy Estates or Duchies, sometimes for even more points! You can prolong the game as long as you like. Engines love this card. At the worst Groundskeeper ends up being a cantrip Duchy or better. It's a heck of a steal.

Den of Sin

New Card Syndrome applies to Den of Sin as it is from Nocturne, but man what a card. While worse than Wharf, Den of Sin can never be played dead, and on buy you get to use it immediately, leading to such an increase in tempo. It is a very strong draw card.

Triumph

Man, have engines somehow gotten worse in 2018? Why is this dropping? Jsh wrote an article and everything!

Forum

I think this one will be forever underrated honestly. I know, it looks like it sucks. Just start picking it up on $5 if you have nothing immediately better to do. You will start winning tons of games like you couldn't believe. It is a consistency machine. Nothing like Warehouse. It's basically draw.

Legionary

It's a terminal Gold that has one of the most brutal attacks in the game. It's dropping for some dumb reason. I see people skipping it on boards they shouldn't, so maybe that is why.

Council Room

It's just a slightly worse Margrave. Please, start buying this thing...

Jester

Overrated for so long, the worm has turned and now it is finally underrated. Basically don't ever fall behind, because Jester favors the player who is ahead. If you are behind, don't pick it up and keep building, although you're probably sunk in the long term.

And that is all that came immediately to my mind. Let's stir this controversy pot and see what we get.

14
Dominion General Discussion / The Dominion Cards 2017 Edition: Boons
« on: January 22, 2018, 08:26:41 am »
It's the list you've all been waiting for. Boons. The thing you get when you play Fate cards, or as I like to call them, Boonies. This list wasn't too surprising, and a lot of the Boons can be moved around without too much complaint.

My current list for the Boons, in order from best to worst: Swamp, Flame, Earth, Forest, River, Mountain, Sun, Wind, Field, Sea, Sky, Moon.


The Boons

#1 Flame's Gift Weighted Average: 94.75% / Unweighted Average: 89.39% / Median: 90.91% / Standard Deviation: 17.93%

Widely considered to be the overall top Boon by the community, Flameís Gift gives a free trash upon reveal. The inconsistency and randomness of the trashing effect leads me to conclude that it is overrated, although not by much. Flameís Gift will probably retain itís status as the top Boon in the future due to the communityís love for trashing, and frankly there isnít much wrong with that.

#2 Swampís Gift Weighted Average: 83.92% / Unweighted Average: 80.68% / Median: 81.82% / Standard Deviation: 18.43%

My personal pick for best Boon, Swampís Gift gives out a Will-O-Wisp, which is a slightly worse Magpie (only because you cannot spam gain it usually). Also like Magpie, if you get a ton of them into your deck (hint: Druid) you will quickly be put into a great position to win. Wisps draw themselves, and the more you have the better. Without Druid, Wisp is more of an early game Lab which accelerates the deck and is a harmless cantrip with a scouting effect in the late game.

#3 Earthís Gift Weighted Average: 73.87% / Unweighted Average: 72.73% / Median: 81.82% / Standard Deviation: 26.11%

While this Boon only has one guaranteed good target in Blessed Village and one great enabler in Pixie, there is usually some good gaining to do in the Kingdom. At the virtual cost of $1 it is a very potent Boon. It is less consistent than Flameís Gift, so #3 is the probable perfect spot. From here on out, the Boon strength drops off considerably.

#4 Riverís Gift Weighted Average: 68.3% / Unweighted Average: 67.8% / Median: 72.73% / Standard Deviation: 15.96%

Riverís Gift is a guaranteed non-dead draw, albeit delayed until the start of the next turn. Riverís Gift is nice consistency and is virtually never bad to get. Itís not spectacular, but it gets the job done. I am happy to see it with every Boonie, a good sign.

#5 Forestís Gift Weighted Average: 62.5% / Unweighted Average: 60.98% / Median: 63.64% / Standard Deviation: 17.7%

Even with a no +buy board, it is hard to line up Forestís Gift in an engine without the astute help of many Pixies. (The moral of the story seems to be get Pixies whenever you are able, they are very good and flexible) That being said, landing this Boon at the right time just adds a nice potential advantage. Come on, itís +Buy. You fought for Ruined Markets, youíll fight for these too.

#6 Fieldís Gift Weighted Average: 57.91% / Unweighted Average: 57.58% / Median: 54.55% / Standard Deviation: 18.86%

Starting to notice a trend? Generally the further down this list, the more situational the Boon. Fieldís Gift is probably over ranked at #6. Itís only very nice with Druid and Pixie. The randomness lends itself to somewhat suck with the rest of the Boonies due to lack of control. Sometimes a Pixie can be popped for a village effect and sometimes it lets you play a second terminal, but usually it never does more than give a free +coin. Sometimes that is all you really want.

#7 Sunís Gift Weighted Average: 44.01% / Unweighted Average: 45.83% / Median: 45.45% / Standard Deviation: 20.74%

Sunís Gift is a solid Boon to get, increasing consistency with the top of the deck manipulation. I am never really sad to see it (unless it triggers a bad shuffle), but usually doesnít do a whole lot either. You probably wouldnít pop a Pixie for this without a very good reason, but otherwise itís mostly fine.

#8 Seaís Gift Weighted Average: 33.58% / Unweighted Average: 35.23% / Median: 36.36% / Standard Deviation: 22.01%

Could be ranked lower. Seaís Gift is just a second Riverís Gift with Blessed Village, a potential 2 Labs with Pixie, and meh with everything else besides Idol. Sea's Gift is not a bad Boon, but within the context of the Boonies it is really not that good at all. Seaís Gift is mostly mediocre for the same reason that Ruined Library is mediocre, only youíre usually spending your Action on a terminal Boonie instead.

#9 Windís Gift Weighted Average: 32.91% / Unweighted Average: 35.23% / Median: 36.36% / Standard Deviation: 21.53%

Could be a little higher. Ignore all the times you played a Boonie at the end of a shuffle and landed this. It can happen. Itís usually a bit awkward in the same manner that Seaís Gift is, but it also lets you see more cards so itís just better overall.

#10 Skyís Gift Weighted Average: 24.05% / Unweighted Average: 25.76% / Median: 18.18% / Standard Deviation: 19.58%

Probably the second worst Boon, and third worst isnít much better for Skyís Gift. Discarding three cards for a singular Gold is a giant ask, and the sporadic uncontrollable nature of Boons makes it even harder to land at the right time. And the reward is.. a Gold. At least Mountainís Gift just outright gives you a Silver. Skyís Gift is usually and rightly ignored.

#11 Mountainís Gift Weighted Average: 12.81% / Unweighted Average: 12.5% / Median: 9.09% / Standard Deviation: 12.81%

Probably the most criminal under ranking on this list, Mountainís Gift is actually one of the better Boons in the game (I have it at #6). I will fight you on this. Silver hate has gotten out of control. New rule: Buying Silver is bad, but getting free ones is usually fine. It generally gets worse the later the game goes on, but arenít all of the Boons situational? And early game extra economy for free? Yes please. Stop with the Silver hate. Silver isnít Curse+. Mountainís Gift is not the second worst Boon, and I expect itís position to rise in the coming year.

(pssst, popping a Pixie on Mountain's Gift is actually really good, give it a try)

#12 Moonís Gift Weighted Average: 16.29% / Unweighted Average: 12.06% / Median: 9.09% / Standard Deviation: 23.17%

While there is a nice combo with Moonís Gift and Blessed Village, otherwise you are usually sad to reveal this Boon. Remember how inconsequential Harbinger is the majority of the time it is played? Donít expect anything better from Moonís Gift. Dream about all of the times youíll top deck a Goons in a thick deck, Boons just donít work like that with their sporadic nature.

15
Dominion General Discussion / The Dominion Cards 2017 Edition: Hexes
« on: January 22, 2018, 07:43:32 am »
Here it is, the thing everyone has been waiting for. Hexes. Those bad things your opponent gets when you play Hexers. There were some legitimate surprises on this list, although I now mostly agree with them.

This is my current list for the Hexes, from best to worst: Delusion, Locusts, War, Envy, Poverty, Plague, Misery, Greed, Haunting, Bad Omens, Fear, Famine.


The Hexes

#1 Delusion Weighted Average: 84.56% / Unweighted Average: 81.82% / Median: 100% / Standard Deviation: 22.27%

In a not very close contest, Delusion nabs first place with the vast majority of first place votes. Delusion is a nasty Hex, forcing your opponent to not be able to buy Actions for an entire turn. This can put the opponent into a hole he cannot dig himself out of, and at the right time is absolutely devastating to get hit by.

#2 Locusts Weighted Average: 78.94% / Unweighted Average: 79.22% / Median: 81.82% / Standard Deviation: 16.15%

I had Locusts much lower than this (but seemingly nobody else, I gave it the lowest ranking out of everyone). However, after a discussion Locusts does indeed belong around this spot. Locusts fiddles with your deck in very annoying ways, either trashing a useful card like a Village or giving out a Curse in much the same way as Swindler, but better. Sometimes it can hit Province, and then the tears really start to flow. Locusts is a very swingy hex, so is Swindler or Saboteur.

#3 War Weighted Average: 69.62% / Unweighted Average: 63.64% / Median: 63.64% / Standard Deviation: 23.97%

Another counter-intuitive pick (I had it very low), I find it to be a very situational Hex. Sometimes it will hit a Village and that is very hard to come back from, but then sometimes it will just bounce off a Silver, and that is quite friendly! Overall though, this is a very swingy Hex that can land on the wrong side for one guy, and then it's a tough pitch.

#4 Plague Weighted Average: 66.45% / Unweighted Average: 66.23% / Median: 63.64% / Standard Deviation: 20.45%

Plague is simple. Curse the opponent. Nothing terribly fancy. Sometimes the in hand stuff hurts and sometimes it helps if anything, but overall itís just a Curser in Hex format. Quite good, although maybe not as good as Envy. Probably a bit overranked. Nothing left to say.

#5 Envy Weighted Average: 66.2% / Unweighted Average: 69.7% / Median: 81.82% / Standard Deviation: 28.1%

Envy is a more situational version of Delusion. Either it is quite strong or barely noticeable, and it entirely depends on the choice of payload. With Golds and Silvers, Envy can block an entire turn out and that hurts with the Gains Race most engines are. With Conspirators and other kinds of virtual coin or payload, not so much. Heck, alt Treasures or Platinum are not touched by Envy. Also, if a theoretical card existed where upon playing it Copper gave an extra $1, that would also work. Speaking of that theoretical card, it must feel pretty envious of the cards that still exist.

#6 Poverty Weighted Average: 65.69% / Unweighted Average: 69.26% / Median: 72.73% / Standard Deviation: 14.44%

Poverty is the Militia attack, and the Militia attack is hard to deal with. I am almost always happy to give this attack out to someone. Probably a bit underranked, but people still seem to underestimate just how good of an attack Militia is so it's not terribly surprising. You could also justify this position since it is only played once every twelve times.

#7 Haunting Weighted Average: 42.8% / Unweighted Average: 44.16% / Median: 36.36% / Standard Deviation: 24.98%

Haunting is not very good and is pretty overranked here at #7. Without an Urchin or Fear being played first, this attack is mostly ignorable except in money games, but in breaking news everyone knows to not just play money when attacks are on the board.

#8 Greed Weighted Average: 37.48% / Unweighted Average: 37.23% / Median: 36.36% / Standard Deviation: 19.42%

Probably slightly underranked, Greed is a weak junker attack. Greed doesnít really stop turns from happening unless the turn was pretty much a dud already, and the attack is slow enough that itís not much of a problem to deal with. Plague is miles better because it simply hands out a Curse.

#9 Misery Weighted Average: 35.6% / Unweighted Average: 38.53% / Median: 36.36% / Standard Deviation: 22.95%

Misery is an interesting Hex, albeit mostly on the weaker side. What ends up happening is either Misery means very little to the state of the game unless you get hit twice, or it is absolutely crucial in a single Province game and then you sob. But mostly it is okay to be hit with and isnít nearly as game changing as getting slammed by a Delusion. Despite this, it is still pretty underranked, I would still rather be hit by Haunting or Greed before Misery.

#10 Bad Omens Weighted Average: 26.68% / Unweighted Average: 23.38% / Median: 18.18% / Standard Deviation: 16.5%

Bad Omens is mostly bad. Itís a cute attack in theory but in execution I never really seem to end up caring, again unless my turn was going to be a dud anyways. And if it was, I really donít mind drawing two Coppers with my Smithy instead of some dead Actions, and the Coppers even skip the shuffle if it's not a Moat variant draw card. Fears about triggering bad shuffles are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be.

#11 Fear Weighted Average: 22.89% / Unweighted Average: 23.38% / Median: 18.18% / Standard Deviation: 16.01%

If it wasnít for good olí #12, Fear would easily be the worst Hex. It so rarely hurts to be forced to discard a Copper. The only time this attack really seems to hurt is when it is played before (but not even after, 5 card minimum) Haunting, (which is thematic) or if all you have in hand are Action and Victory cards (afraid of these parentheticals yet?). Well even then youíre mostly not going to care, there is probably still a ton of drawing to be done with the four cards left in hand.

#12 Famine Weighted Average: 3.09% / Unweighted Average: 3.46% / Median: 0% / Standard Deviation: 5.23%

In a not even close contest, Famine is almost universally considered to be the worst Hex, earning the vast majority of 0 ratings. Not only does it barely hurt, it is even kind enough to shuffle the rest of your deck afterwards! Famine is just a much much much worse Rabble.

16
Dominion Articles / The Ten Lessons Of Villa
« on: November 20, 2017, 09:32:26 pm »
I was originally going to write an incredibly long article on Villa, covering tons of card interactions. And then I discovered the Dan Brooks method of article writing, which is covering specific combos or boards as the article itself. However, there is still room for abstract articles on powerful cards. The goal of this article is to provide a quick reference for less experienced players on what to think about when playing with Villa. So without further ado, here is the Ten Lessons of Villa!

The Ten Lessons of Villa

1. Donít gain Villas without a reason.

Don't just buy Villa because it happens to be a village. Abuse the on-gain! Get it when you need it at that particular moment.

2. Never play fast.

At any point in time, stop and think about what can be done when gaining a Villa, especially with mid-turn gainers.

3. End of Action Phase is a choice.

Itís not natural to think about artificially ending the Action phase with actions left to play, but Villa makes this a possible choice. For example, at the end of a shuffle, purposefully end the Action phase, buy a card and a Villa, and then draw the card to use.

4. Donít be afraid to overterminal.

Villa is always there with the on-gain ability. No need to waste time getting Villages when players could be buying other useful cards. The only thing to be sure of is being able to hit $4 when terminal collisions happen.

5. Get Draw.

Speaking of overterminaling, the very best action cards to pick up tend to be draw cards. Villa supplies +actions and +buy already, it only needs draw. The stronger the draw the better. Without good draw, Villa becomes much weaker.

6. ďThe Turn.Ē

When you draw your entire deck on a Villa board, I like to call that "The Turn." In this state, Villa gains become immensely more powerful and decks grow at exponential rates due to things like gaining cards, buying Villa, and redrawing it all. This is usually the ideal scenario for Villa to be in, and why Villa is weaker without drawing power. Weaker draw and trashing also works well.

7. Rickety, Sustain and Quantum

There are three general types of ways decks can go after the Villas pile, if they do. Knowing how they will go can be helpful, and I have given them cute names instead of names like "Rush" so there's no potential confusion. These are not strategies, they're just trends on how Villa games can go depending on the Kingdom.

Rickety decks dry up and suck once the Villas pile. Usually this is because there is tons of junking or a lack of trashing. Villa hurts the decks a bit more than a traditional village after gaining because it doesnít draw any cards. "The Turn" may or may not happen, and it possibly won't so don't always get your hopes up. Pretty much unreliable.

Sustain decks continue to be good after the Villas pile. Theyíre more consistent, smoother, and usually trashing is involved to prevent them from being Rickety. "The Turn" is more likely to be happening. Pretty much more reliable.

Quantum decks just donít care because the game is over around when the Villas pile. These games have lightning fast acceleration and usually involve power trashing like Donate or Monastery and/or specific card combos such as Procession or cost reduction. Quantum decks can either end up Rickety or Sustain (more often Rickety) if you somehow mess up and don't pile, so obviously try to pile out.

8. Villa Denial

Whoever kicks off "The Turn" first will be in an immense advantage and should cement this lead whenever possible. One way to do this is to consider piling the Villas to choke out anybody else from having The Turn. Having a couple of extra stop cards in the deck is a small price to pay for ensuring the opponent never gets a chance to accelerate.

9. Pileouts

Villa supplies buy and encourages crazy combos, so it logically follows that pile control with Villa is an important consideration. Looking for pileouts is a good habit to have, but a crucial skill to ever succeed with Villa. It can be harder to envision what an opponent can do with his deck since Villa does crazy stuff, but it should be attempted to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.

10. $4 or $3?

A quick note to help with piling and purchasing calculations: Villa secretly costs $3 if you play it after you buy it. The minimum requirement needed is $4 but as long as there is $4 when buying the last Villa itís all good. Suppose thereís 8 Villas and you have $25. Can you pile? 8 Villas by $3 equals $24, and thereís a coin left over for the last Villa buy. You can then play that last Villa and have $2 left in hand.

Closing

Villa is not an easy card to play with. The secret is practice. Open a table against a friend (or Lord Rat will do just fine), require Villa and get a feel for playing with it. Watch top Dominion Players use Villa in their videos. In fact, I made a sloppy video where I made tons of mistakes just to highlight some Villa tactics! See if you can catch some of the plays I missed in-game as an exercise!



An update for this video is coming soon, where I play it as optimally as I possibly can.

17
Dominion: Nocturne Previews / Nocturne Initial Impressions
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:41:30 am »
Okay. Now all of the cards are out. What stands out? What seems bad? Any sleepers? Any duds?

edit: I have given my full Initial Impressions here.

18
Variants and Fan Cards / Weird Dominion Variants
« on: November 14, 2017, 04:18:26 pm »
Okay, so you all may have heard of Mic Qsenoch's Golf Variant. If not...



Let's come up with some new variants!

1. Warring Warriors

The goal of the game is to be the only player with Warriors left when a Warrior gets trashed. You can buy any cards, but you are not allowed to upgrade into Hero or Champion. And if you have all 5 Warriors in deck, that is another win condition.

2. Knights & Lurkers

The goal of the game is to thin down your deck to only one card. The only cards you are allowed to buy are Knights and Lurkers. This makes Dame Anna really powerful!

I'll post more weird variants when I think of them, and I might try playing some of these later on for fun in a stream or something.

19
Dominion General Discussion / Seprix's Tier Lists For Every Dominion Set
« on: November 13, 2017, 11:58:38 pm »
Want to complain about useless rankings that have no real basis in actual gameplay? This is the place for you. The cards are roughly tiered in their subcatagories where I would imagine they would be. If Witch being ranked below Artisan is just crazy, well maybe it is. They're pretty similar in dominance, so there. It's a rough estimate. And you can always convince me to move a card up or down.

A special note about Villages: You're always going to get one. You can make an argument about putting them all on A, or even freaking S. You can't build engines without Villages, period. So in order to not make this list completely stupid, I have implemented a special rule with Villages: With any given village on the board, compare it to any sort of other alternate Village on the Kingdom. If you find yourself picking it up less, then it goes lower than A. If you find yourself picking it up more than that random Village, it could very well stay where it is, or go straight to S. That's the standard I am implementing.

Finally, if you're going to complain about rankings being useless, just press Alt-Back arrow. This is a discussion about the tier lists, not on whether tier lists are good or whether ranking systems are even useful. Plenty of threads for that convo. But anyways, on to the lists.

Base Set


Someone complained about Curse being on the same section as Mine, so just think of that more as me being too lazy to make another tier, because that's exactly what happened. Besides, with the advent of Empires I have found myself buying Curse more than Mine at least.

Chapel and Sentry are pretty much some of the top trashers in the game. Some people are more down on Sentry because sometimes it whiffs, but really, try ignoring Sentry and you straight up lose. Witch for some reason has people rating it lower, just because it's not a shiny new card. Cursing is still good in 2017.

Throne Room isn't S because well, it's the spice card of Dominion. If the Kingdom is good, it will be good. If there's absolutely nothing salvagable about the Kingdom, then well Throne Room is terrible. Kingdoms trend heavily towards being strong for Throne Room. Really, you could convince me to make it S.

Oh, you probably just noticed I put Copper, Silver, Estate, and the works on this list. Well they were introduced in the Base, so there you have it. I'll try to do that with all of the Set lists, with the major exception of the Boons/Hexes and maybe the Ruins. Who needs to know those, Qvist will suit you just fine, there's not enough of those to warrant any sort of tier list.

There was some griping about Laboratory, so let me explain that one. It's a nonterminal Moat. It's not exciting, it's probably one of the worst draw cards in the game. But it still draws. It just never feels good straight up buying one. Almost like there's some efficiency lost. Maybe it's just me. It totally could be.

Intrigue


Masquerade is the best overall card in Dominion besides maybe Donate. If you're not opening it, you're probably playing the Kingdom wrong. I have it rated higher than everything besides the very strongest cards, such as Donate and King's Court. It's an "ignore and lose" card. It cycles, it trashes, and it puts psychological pressure on the opponent. It's a potent weapon.

Bridge is busted. An Awaclism: "When Bridge is on the board, build the engine or lose." I can't argue with that. Steward's strength is in its flexibility. It can trash, draw, give economy, all of that. I also really really really wanted to put Swindler into S. It warps games absolutely. But in the end, I was talked off of the cliff.

Lurker was hard to place. It could be in A, really. It's a tough one. I put it in B because people overbuy it, but that's all really. Harem also makes the worst art and the worst rank. What a shock.



I think this will mostly be uncontroversial minus Vineyards being S maybe. Not too much to say. Maybe Golem is a bit low.



Double Lookout opening is very strong. I'm saying it now. People are going to go ballistic that I put it in S. And heck, maybe it belongs in A. But surely it's close to the top of A if so. The fact that Lookout gets a bit awkward later, that's a small price to pay for the amazing combo of trashing and cycling.

(more coming soon...)

20
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Nocturne: Night Cards PSA
« on: October 25, 2017, 12:50:39 am »
Attention, f.dsers. Night cards are not Action cards. There are a surprising amount of Dominion cards that deal specifically with Actions and thus do not deal with Night cards. This will lead to a lot of poor decision making and the sooner we get this list going the sooner people will remember and not mess up and lose for it.

The List

Vassal: Only affects Action cards. Night cards will simply be discarded!

Throne Room, King's Court, Procession, Crown, Disciple: Maybe there will be a Throne Room for Night cards, but these are certainly not them.

Library: Night cards are not skippable.

Lurker: Can't gain non-Actions!

Shanty Town: A rare buff! Shanty Town is 100% compatable with Nocturne.

Magpie: Hitting a Night card with the scouting portion of Magpie does nothing.

Ironworks: No benefits upon gaining Night cards.

Replace: You will not hand out Curses or topdeck with a pure Night card.

Tribute: Thought you'd never see this card mentioned again, huh? Anyways, even though it's retconned it still wouldn't be any good with Night cards.

Transmute: And yet another reason to hate Transmute.

Vineyard: Night cards are not Actions!

Scrying Pool: This is another biggie, I forget this all the time.

University: For such idle hands, you can't gain a Devil's Workshop.

Golem: Geez, Alchemy is a big offender. You'd think with Potions and stuff they'd love ghosts.

Quarry: This won't be hard to miss with the online implementation.

Rabble: Another weird interaction. Sometimes you're happy to have Night cards on top, sometimes not. Either way surely they're better to have on top than green cards on average!

Peddler: This will never come into play as far as I know because Night phase is after but there ya go. You don't get a cost decrease for playing a Night card. Also, Night Phase is past the Buy Phase, so you won't be able to gain one with Devil's Workshop.

Farming Village: It will skip every single pure Night card you have.

Inn: Only Actions can be inserted into deck on-gain.

Death Cart: The Black Plague can't touch Night cards. How thematic.

Ironmonger: Ouch, what a nerf.

Wandering Minstrel: Your Night cards might as well be Treasures.

Band of Misfits, Overlord: No, you can't play them as Ghost Town.

Graverobber: You can gain Night cards from the trash, but you cannot trash for benefit them.

Herald: Man, Night cards do not work well with some engine cards.

Ferry: Looks like Raider is going to stay at $6.

Plan: You can make deals with the Devil, but you certainly can't Plan things with him.

Seaway: Not sure why you'd ever want to Seaway a Night card given the Night Phase coming after the Buy phase, but yeah. You can't do it.

Lost Arts, Training, Inheritance, Pathfinding, Teacher and Tokens, etc: You probably guessed this was the case with Plan.

City Quarter: Night cards are dead cards when it comes to drawing.

Emporium: Night cards do not count towards that sweet sweet VP.

Enchantress: Magic doesn't touch Night cards! Huh, maybe the anti-synergy with Alchemy makes sense then...

Sacrifice: No benefit is gained.

Advance: Okay, surely you're getting the point by now.

Arena: Yeah, you get it.

Orchard, Colonnade, Triumphal Arch: Yep, makes sense. You get it. Of course you'll still forget and you know it.

Defiled Shrine: At least you'll have a visual indicator with the Online implementation. Heh, IMPlementation.

Summon: Yep. Still can't do anything with Night cards.

Prince: You can't bring him back from the dead.

Haunted Woods: If you ever want to play your Night cards, you'd better not buy anything with Haunted Woods in play.

And this isn't even including the new stuff like Haunted Mirror, which with the discard only works with Action cards. Anyways hope this helps people!

21
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Terms: What Should We Call Things?
« on: October 10, 2017, 01:06:53 pm »
This is something that has spawned much debate as of late, and I don't think it's a topic that deserves to be in an article. I think it's a "everyone says their piece" sort of deal, and whatever sticks will stick. So there's a bunch of things that need to be decided. I am for the record perfectly happy with the squinty fuzzy sorta get it right with the vague word, but a lot of people are not and I want to see if we can agree to call things the same things somewhat consistently.

1. What to call a Village that isn't a traditional Village? You know, when you Summon a cantrip or play two Throne Rooms to play multiple actions. Do we need a meta term to encompass all cards that allow you to play multiple actions? Awaclus has proposed "splitter" which I think is highly confusing but some people like it.

2. What do you call the 2017 Money decks? Some people call them "Good Stuff" decks. Others call them Province Rushes. Moneyish decks. Money Engines. There are so many names for this type of deck. What is it? Let me try to define it.

It's a deck where you play money with a bunch of good cards in your deck. You get a trasher or junker in the opener, play with Trade, Conquest, Borrow, etc. Usually there isn't as much emphasis on draw cards, although those can exist.

I am a fan of calling these decks Province Rushes. But what if there is one and you're competing with Castles? Maybe Province Rush variant?

3. Different types of engines. We all know this one. How many different types of engines are there? How should they be catagorized? A lot of people lean on the WanderingWinder 4 deck types but I do not like those anymore. They're not very useful. Can there be a better system? I think so.

(a note: none of this will help people play better Dominion as much as it will help clarify what people mean whenever they say X or Y.)

I may have missed some things. It's really an open topic. As always be civil, I'm half afraid this will be locked in 3 weeks.

22
Dominion General Discussion / The Outpost Podcast Viewer Questions
« on: September 19, 2017, 12:53:23 pm »
Hello everyone! Beyond Awesome, a special guest, and myself are all looking to answer some Dominion viewer questions on the all new Podcast! You can ask anything Dominion related at all right here, and we'll try to answer 2-3 good questions a week and make it a regular occurrence. It can be anything from "What are crazy times you open Lurker" to "When is the ideal scenario for Pirate Ship to be good" to "Would you rather give Scout a hug or give Chancellor a couple of tissues". The Podcast is up every Friday but we record it earlier so the sooner the questions are asked the better! It's not a one time deal either, we hope to keep this up every week. Don't be afraid to ask!

23
Forum Games / Bracket Wars 4: The Four Bracketeers
« on: September 09, 2017, 03:08:16 am »
Sixteen people. Randomized seeding. Interesting items. And everything nice.

These were the four ingredients chosen to create the perfect bracket. But Seprix accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: A dead meme.

Thus, after a long hiatus, Bracket Wars 4 was born!

1. Silverspawn
2. e
3. Sudgy
4. Roadrunner
5. LaLight
6. Dylan
7. Awaclus
8. Sudgy
9. scott_pilgrim
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

Sign up in this thread. Send me an object to pair up into a bracket in PMs. No telling who did what. Once all of the items are randomly seeded, then the voting begins. What will live? What will die?

Once more, the brackets will rule the galaxy. Let the Bracket Wars begin.

24
Tournaments and Events / World Cup 2018 Interest Thread & Discussion
« on: September 06, 2017, 03:23:28 am »
Hi. This is an announcement I suppose. Amoffett and I (and maybe Breppert) are going to organize a World Cup sometime in early 2018. The date isn't set in stone yet. For now, I am trying to generate interest/come up with ways to potentially improve the WC. For now the rules will be the same as last time around, but that could change. For example, How would teams be grouped? Should there be a second US team/Japan team? Should it be mandatory for each player to own all expansions? Should there be a refugee team for countries that cannot fill a roster? How are team captains decided? There are all sorts of avenues to explore and I think it's worthwhile to generate some civil discussion about it all.

25
Dominion Articles / On Lurker
« on: September 03, 2017, 10:59:40 am »

Introduction

Lurker is a combo card, and the thing about them is that they tend to depend on the other nine kingdom cards. It is interesting to note that while Lurker does have many amazing combos with nearly all of Dark Ages, by itself the card is usually underwhelming. The primary problem with Lurker is not the ability, which is a fantastic one, but rather the actual card in your deck. The other nine Kingdom cards may or may not offset this disadvantage. Before anything else, let's talk about a common mistake with Lurker: the opening.

Oftentimes, players from across the experience spectrum open with a Lurker, and more often than not it is the wrong play. Here is a likely familiar example to those who have played a couple of Lurker games.

A Common Hypothetical

Turn 1: Player 1 buys X

Turn 1: Player 2 buys X
T2: P1 buys Lurker
T2: Ö


It is Player 2 to move. Does Player 2 buy Lurker or not?

Usually Player 2 feels obligated to pick one up, just to deny Player 1 from getting his hands on a potential free card. From there, the game devolves into a Lurker game of chicken, where neither player plays the Lurker. Both players feel like they have to justify the Lurker buy, so they pick up other Lurkers. It is understandable that someone would want two Lurkers early on in the game. Two Lurkers go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. But it is also potentially the wrong play. Usually, there is something better to do on the board.

There is a better solution out there that people donít contemplate when playing in this scenario, and that is to delay the Lurker buy. Instead of Lurker on Turn 2, buy a better card. Player 2 can gain the Lurker on the second shuffle, and Player 1 still has to keep in mind the Lurker game of chicken. He may go for it, in which case perhaps he gets a second Lurker to increase his chances of landing it upon the next shuffle. This may or may not work, and Player 2ís deck should be slightly the better for it either way. Player 1ís deck will still have at least one glorified Ruined Village inside no matter what the outcome.

The Main Point

If you are not going to use the Lurker you gained, there had best be a good reason. Think about delaying the Lurker buy. Lurkers in hand make it harder to hit price points early game, and thereís no incentive to play a single Lurker if you do not benefit. A good maxim to remember: Decks that use Lurker are good, but decks that have Lurkers are bad. Picking up a Lurker without a serious plan can be serious trouble. With that being said...

Opening or Pursuing Lurkers Early

There are many times where getting Lurkers early or even opening them is a strong play. Knowing these scenarios will elevate your play. Here are some of the power cards to look for.

Donate/Chapel/Bonfire:
The main issue with Lurker early on is connecting two of them. What better way to connect them than to trash down your deck? Donate enables a potential double Lurker opening right out of the gate, and cards like Bonfire and Chapel are some of the fastest trashers in the game. This list is not exhaustive, and other fast trashers like Remake may also be enablers.

King's Court: Lurker with King's Court. Is there really anything else to say?

Hunting Grounds: Any time you see Hunting Grounds with Lurker on the same board, sound the alarm bells. This is a very potent rush. Uncontested, the rush ends the game on a three pile in 11-12 turns with approximately 33 points. Nothing to sneeze at! Open double Lurker, trash Hunting Grounds for a Duchy (or Estates if Duchy pile is empty) and always buy Lurker. When the Duchy and Hunting Grounds pile is out, simply trash with Lurker every time to empty the Lurker pile.

Possession: Possession alone demands a double Lurker opening. Games with Possession and Lurker are bizarre and oppressive. The best general advice is never buy economy, look to buy points right out of the gate and drive piles with Lurker as fast as you can with the points lead.

Cultist/Fortress/Squire: Cultist and Lurker is usually quite bonkers. There are games that end in 7 turns when both of those cards are on the same board! Trashing Fortress into hand builds your deck while also making your Lurker a cantrip for a play, not to mention the massive engine potential. With Squire hitting the trash can comes a free attack card. Just be careful with gaining the Squire back! Both Lurker and Squire do not draw cards.

Tomb: Tomb is a mega Lurker enabler. Each trash by Lurker is a point into your pocket. Trash useless cards when your Lurkers don't connect! Consider aggressive pileouts!

Other Lurker Strengths

Lurker works well with sifters and cyclers, especially top tier ones in Forum and Dungeon. Secret Passage can help connect two Lurkers for maximum benefit. Minion can help enable Lurker gains. Artificer can topdeck a Lurker to connect two on the next turn for a low fee of -2 Cards.

A quick trick for virtually unbounded draw: play Procession on a Hireling, and Lurker the Hireling back. Not only do you get +2 Cards for the rest of the game, but the Procession doesn't even get set aside, letting you perform the same action again next turn!

Trash for benefit loves Lurker. The big stand outs (besides all of them) are Apprentice and Knights. With Apprentice, trash a high cost card to connect Lurkers and then go to town. With Knights, the battles will never end. Lurkers will never die. Other cool tricks: Bishop a Nobles and get it back. Butcher a Nobles and get it back. Process a Nobles and get it back. Graverob a Nobles and get it back. Replace a Nobles and get it back. You get the idea. On the other hand, Lurker can defend against Rogue by trashing multiple Harvests or other terrible cards.

Speaking of trashing terrible cards, sometimes your opponent will take those Pirate Ships if you're feeling generous with superfluous Lurker trashing. Just make sure that your silly pile driving won't give your opponent a potential win in the future! There has already been documentation of a throwaway Lurkered Transmute winning a game later on when regained.

Speaking of Potion cards, Lurker also loves those, if not for potentially skipping a Potion buy. Besides Possession, Scrying Pool worships Lurker. The more Lurkers there are the better. Scrying Pool can draw them all up and Lurker can increasingly gain more actions to draw. Golem likes Lurker as well, albeit perhaps not when the Golem hits two Lurkers.

As the game progresses, Lurker can become less of a gainer and more of a threat for a three pile ending. Always be aware of potential three piles and how many cards your opponent can drain. In particular, Throned or Kinged Lurkers can make games end incredibly quickly, and Kingís Court is one of the potential triggers for aggressive early Lurker openings!

Game Examples

Of course, talking about hypotheticals is fine, but what about actual games? Here are four different boards. Your goal is to analyze the board and assess the use of Lurker (if any).


Example 1:



Playing against multiple Torturers a turn will be a slight nuisance despite Masquerade and Lurker doesnít seem to be doing that many special things here. Thereís nothing to invest in. There are cute tricks with trashing Mining Village and Lurker but Conspirator already provides the money. The game looks primed to end on a three pile with Vineyards being prime VP. Lurker seems to be best here as a cheap action and to threaten piles towards the end of the game.


Example 2:



This game looks to go on much longer. This is a prime Lurker game. There is an amazing sifter in Forum and good cards to gain in Scrying Pool/Baker/Mill. The engine will be double Province a turn in the ideal world and Mills will help provide points and economy. Lurkers will add cards to make Scrying Pool even better. The game will possibly end on some sort of three pile before the engine can be fully realized, mostly due to Lurker.


Example 3:



This is a highly complex board with three different strategies, listed in order of effectiveness:
1. Nobles/Council Room/Lurker/Bishop Engine
2. Lurker/Talisman/Vineyard rush
3. Council Room/Platinum BM
This isn't exactly a board where it is immediately obvious what to do, and that's okay. The rush seems like the most intuitive thing to do on this board, and it's nearly the best thing. Bishoping Nobles and getting them back via Lurkers seems like a good way to score infinite points.


Example 4:



Enchantress is easily the most important card here, as it is the only draw, and a good Courtier target as a fancy bonus. Certainly this is not a board where you will get a Lurker on a buy, but rather a wonky turn where you can only get one from trashing an Estate and Coppers with Forge. Lurkers are not terribly important here, although they are nice to get a University which gets Enchantresses and a Courtier. While Forges and Expands are high cost cards and that is a prerequisite for Lurker investing, Baron/Silver or Baron/Enchantress are fine openings to potentially spike $7 already. The draw/sifting is also subpar, although Wandering Minstrel might help to connect two Lurkers. The endgame here seems to be Expanding/Forging things into Colonies.

Conclusion

Lurker is an incredibly high skill card, and thus correct or incorrect useage will impact your chances more than usual. A suggestion: Play with each of the Lurker combos listed for awhile. Then, queue up random games with Lurker in it, and try to implement it into your strategy every time. Every time it fails, assess why it did. Was the build order wrong? Was the Lurker gained too early, or perhaps too late? The best way to get good with cards is to practice using them, and Lurker is well worth investing in.

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