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Topics - Chris is me

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1
Puzzles and Challenges / Most Potions in 1 turn?
« on: October 08, 2018, 03:08:51 pm »
What's the highest number of Potions you can have in one turn? Not cards named Potion, but Potion as in the unit of coin. E.g. when you Crown a Potion, you would have PP, or two Potions...

2
Dominion Articles / Article / Outline Submission Form For DS Blog
« on: April 13, 2018, 05:21:11 pm »
Are you interested in writing articles for the Dominion Strategy blog? Cool! Here is a new way you can accomplish that.

While you are free to continue to submit articles onto this forum (as always), where they will be read and critiqued by all, not everyone loves this environment for posting articles, particularly for articles that are incomplete or just in the outline stage. Because of this, we've set up a Google form where you can submit your article or outline, along with some contact info so we can add you to the blog's Discord server for editing and collaboration.

The form can be found here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfjiBJo4Ax43-AaS2qWjivRV-UYDIbocX16mdVKKFHwXweP1w/viewform

One thing we'd like to emphasize is that you do not need to submit complete, ready to publish articles. In fact, we would encourage you to submit outlines of your article about the general points you'd like to make first. Pre-writing in the form of an outline helps keep articles concise and organized, and by submitting articles in the outline stage we can collaborate to figure out which parts need more - or less - emphasis. We will still as always be accepting fully written articles, but the hope is that allowing submission of outlines or partial articles, we can get the collaborative editing process started sooner.

3
Dominion Articles / Monastery
« on: February 11, 2018, 04:28:30 pm »
I've been meaning to write more short and simple articles in order to try and jump start content creation here and hopefully get more good stuff onto the blog (or wiki). Here's an article about Monastery, a trasher that new players seem to underestimate. If you've been itching to write stuff and want to contribute to the online resources, give something like this a try.

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Monastery is a far more powerful trasher than it may appear to be at first glance. An obvious point of comparison is to how Forager plays in the early game. Like Forager, Monastery does not take an Action, trashes Estates for no (other) benefit, and trashes Coppers without hurting your economy for that turn. Where Monastery shines is that it allows you to trash without sacrificing momentum at all - you don’t give up economy, you don’t have to worry about drawing it dead, and it even trashes faster when used in tandem with gainers or +Buy.

Monastery’s properties allow for more aggressive openings than one would typically do with a trasher. Consider an opening of Smithy / trasher. Normally this is a bit risky - the Smithy could dead draw the other trasher, wasting a shuffle’s worth of trashing, but with Monastery, there is no such risk as it is played after the Buy phase. In addition, you get all of the benefits of Smithy’s extra cycling and economy, leading to more frequent trashing and faster gains. This can quickly snowball into a very potent deck that trashes seemingly without effort.

The synergy with gainers such as Ironworks or Engineer are obvious - gain a card, ideally buy another card, use Monastery to trash twice as much as you normally could. But this synergy often enables even weaker cards such as Silver gainers which you may not otherwise consider. Squire is an interesting example, where it can gain Silvers early to give Monastery an extra trash, provide multiple Buys later for a similar purpose, and can even be upgraded into an Attack card if need be.

The main takeaway from this is that you should adjust how you pace your deck when using Monastery instead of other trashers. In games where you need to get very thin very quickly, opening two trashers is often wise, but that is usually incorrect with Monastery as the collision case risks you being unable to gain a desirable card and you sacrifice some momentum. You do often want two Monastery, but you generally want to pair each Monastery with more aggressive enablers such as draw or gainers to keep things moving.

4
The Best - Cards (Part 2/2, Top Half)
#22 ▼11 Fool’s Gold (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 48.5% ▼21pp / Unweighted Average: 54.3% / Median: 54.6% ▼23.6pp / Standard Deviation: 22.32%

Fool’s Gold has been steadily tumbling down the rankings from a peak at #2, but this is the biggest drop of the year, falling 11 (!) ranks and 21pp. It is 2 ranks higher in the unweighted list. It has the 4th highest standard deviation on this list.
Fool’s Gold is still riding on its reputation as a rush card of sorts, but as decks have trended toward engine play and have gotten generally faster and stronger, the classic Fool’s Gold rush is simply not a great strategy. It still has plenty of appeal as cheap but explosive payload, but it struggles to stand out as plenty of different cards provide Coin payload and economy.

#21 ▼2 Candlestick Maker (Guilds) Weighted Average: 50.6% ▼8pp / Unweighted Average: 53.4% / Median: 50.0% ▼13.2pp / Standard Deviation: 16.0%

Candlestick Maker has been tumbling down for years, but it fell just two ranks this year, starting to stabilize. Its standard deviation isn’t super high, and the unweighted ranking is the same as the weighted rank. While being a stop card ultimately limits its utility, it is one of the better cheap nonterminal sources of +Buy, and its hard to find a deck that wouldn’t mind one or two in moderation.

#20 ▲1 Crossroads (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 53.0% ▼3.1pp / Unweighted Average: 54.7% / Median: 54.6% ▼4.8pp / Standard Deviation: 20.1%

After plummeting 5 ranks last year, Crossroads actually gained a rank this year. It is one rank higher in the unweighted ranking. The standard deviation is somewhat high, indicating some disagreement. The dual utility as a unique draw card and a one-off double Village makes it a unique card with two distinct niches, and while it’s not the best card in either role, it can still serve a purpose.
Notably, this is the first time it has been the highest ranked card from Hinterlands, surpassing Fool’s Gold.

#19 ▲2 Delve (Empires) Weighted Average: 53.1% ▼2pp / Unweighted Average: 53.4% / Median: 53.9% ▲1.3pp / Standard Deviation: 20.4%

Delve edges out Crossroads by less than a tenth of a percentage point. It gained two positions in the ranked list. Some guy voted it first, I guess, and the deviation indicates plenty of disagreement. While sometimes it doesn’t change the game very much, it can be a novel source of extra gains or a way to supercharge Big Money style decks, which gives it more utility than one might expect at first glance.

#18 ▼1 Squire (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 58.9% ▼2.7pp / Unweighted Average: 61.4% / Median: 59.1% ▼6.7pp / Standard Deviation: 18.2%

Another card that has been tumbling down the rankings for years, Squire is also starting to stabilize, falling slightly but not nearly as much as last year. A classic $2 utility card, the choice of actions, buys, or silver gaining offers a modest boost for any deck type, as long as the drawbacks of the card are kept in mind. It is three ranks higher in the unweighted list, indicating less experienced players have a stronger preference for Squire. This makes sense, as it seems to be at its best in a “good stuff” deck, one popular with new players. Some other person voted it first.

#17 ▼1 Lighthouse (Seaside) Weighted Average: 59.1% ▼4.1pp / Unweighted Average: 59.2% / Median: 61.4% ▼1.8pp / Standard Deviation: 19.7%

Continuing the trend of cards tumbling in the rankings for years, Lighthouse lost another rank this year. Some amount of uncertainty there, with a much higher median than others around it in the list, but Lighthouse remains a valuable way to consistently block attacks in certain decks, and the economy is a nice touch. On the other hand, it’s still a Copper and a stop card, so you generally need to compensate with extra draw.

#16 ▲2 Borrow (Adventures) Weighted Average: 59.3% ▼0.5p / Unweighted Average: 54.3% / Median: 56.8% ▲4.2pp / Standard Deviation: 26.4%

Borrow continues climbing upward in the rankings, as its strengths in smoothing out early Buys and helping hit tricky price points are revealed to be more important than once thought. It gained two ranks over last year. It has the highest standard deviation of all of the cards on this list, though, so significant disagreement remains. Borrow is three ranks lower on the unweighted rankings.

#15 ▲8 Travelling Fair (Adventures) Weighted Average: 60.4% ▲10.6pp / Unweighted Average: 59.7% / Median: 59.1% ▲9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 18.3%

Travelling Fair is one of the biggest winners on this list, rising 8 ranks and over 10pp. The standard deviation decreased as well, indicating a growing consensus of the strength of Travelling Fair as a topdecker and +Buy source. The highly tactical play Travelling Fair enables along with the strong synergies with certain cards such as Fool’s Gold and Counting House have raised its stature.

#14 ▼4 Courtyard (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 69.9% ▼0.2pp / Unweighted Average: 68.8% / Median: 65.9% ▼7.8pp / Standard Deviation: 18.4%

Courtyard plummeted four ranks this year. Its strength as a draw card for money strategies remains, but the greater prevalence of engine decks hurts it to some extent, as in an engine it takes special circumstances for it to draw significantly better than Moat (although the extra search space is more help than you’d expect). It was voted first once, and is one rank higher in the unweighted ranking.

#13 ▲1 Ratcatcher (Adventures) Weighted Average: 70.6% ▲6.9pp / Unweighted Average: 69.4% / Median: 70.5% ▲4.7pp / Standard Deviation: 15.4%

Ratcatcher rebounded significantly from its slump last year, gaining a rank and nearly 7pp. It is one rank higher in the unweighted ranking, and has a fairly low deviation for this point of the list. Seems like everyone loves this simple, cheap nonterminal trasher. While a little slow, it’s nice that it stays out of the way once you’re done with it, making it an extremely low opportunity cost card.

#12 =0 Save (Adventures) Weighted Average: 72.5% ▲3.3pp / Unweighted Average: 67.7% / Median: 79.6% ▲5.9pp / Standard Deviation: 24.7%

Save stayed the same rank, but gained 3 percentage points on last year. The standard deviation is the highest of the entire top 15, indicating strong disagreement, and it is two ranks lower on the unweighted list. It takes awhile for players to catch on to the many tricks Save can pull off, and it is an extremely useful utility card valued by higher level players.

#11 Lurker (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 73.7% / Unweighted Average: 70.4% / Median: 77.3% / Standard Deviation: 20.2%

Lurker is the second highest new card on the list, and the only card from the Second Edition on the list. It received 1 first place vote. A game warping nonterminal gainer and trasher, it presents powerful opportunities for near-unrestricted gaining and pile control, making it a powerhouse in certain engines. There’s a fair amount of disagreement on its strength, and I suspect that is due to how it’s power level wildly varies depending on the board - but when it is good it is absolutely essential.

#10  ▼4 Hamlet (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 74.6% ▲0.6pp / Unweighted Average: 72.5% / Median: 77.3% ▲1pp / Standard Deviation: 15.5%

Hamlet is the biggest loser in the top 10, shooting down four ranks despite slightly gaining in weighted average. It is no longer the highest or even the second-highest rated village on the list. The versatility of the discard-for-Village and discard-for-Buy effects still give it strong value, but there is a lot more competing with it in this list, and more niche and powerful cards have overshadowed it.

#9 ▼2 Coin of the Realm (Adventures) Weighted Average: 75.9% ▲3.1pp / Unweighted Average: 75.3% / Median: 77.3% ▲3.6pp / Standard Deviation: 12.2%

After a large surge last year, Coin has dipped slightly, which I think mostly due to the higher regard other cards are held in rather than changing attitudes about Coin. Despite the rank drop, it gained 3 percentage points and enjoys the fourth lowest deviation on this list, indicating relative consensus on this enabler.

#8 ▲4 Alms (Adventures) Weighted Average: 76.3% ▲9.6p / Unweighted Average: 74.2% / Median: 79.6% ▲14p / Standard Deviation: 15.6%

Alms continues its strong ascent from last year, rising 4 ranks and another 10pp. At first it may have seemed like a relatively low impact card. But the increased consistency across the first turns, fun tricks you can do with cards like Villa, and preserving the ability to gain cards during trashing turns are important strengths of Alms that have raised its stature.

#7 ▼2 Stonemason (Guilds) Weighted Average: 76.9% ▼2.7pp / Unweighted Average: 75.4% / Median: 81.8% ▼2.4pp / Standard Deviation: 19.5%

Stonemason took a bit of a fall this year, dropping two ranks but staying within the top 10. Much like Coin, it seems other cards have rocketed above it in stature rather than it getting much weaker in the current Dominion environment. For a top 10 card its standard deviation is unusually high, but not more than some of the lower cards on the list.

#6 ▲2 Raze (Adventures) Weighted Average: 79.4% ▲8pp / Unweighted Average: 76.7% / Median: 81.8% ▲5.5pp / Standard Deviation: 16.6%

Raze continues to… rise… in the rankings, up another 2 ranks from 2016 and a whole 10 from its debut in 2015. There’s quite a lot of utility of a cheap, nonterminal trasher that also cycles and gets rid of itself. However, it’s only the third best trasher on this list now...

#5 ▲8 Encampment (Empires) Weighted Average: 80.6% ▲14.3pp / Unweighted Average: 78.9% / Median: 84.1% ▲21.1pp / Standard Deviation: 16.6%

Encampment rocketed from outside the top 10 all the way into the top 5, with one of the biggest gains on this list, over 14 percentage points. Draw and Actions on the same cheap card, even with the hoop to jump through of pairing it with Gold or Plunder, is just a powerful, dominating effect, and the uneven split often decides games. It also has enough utility that you don’t mind using it as a one-shot early in the game. It was voted first once.

#4 Monastery (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 81.2% / Unweighted Average: 79.4% / Median: 86.4% / Standard Deviation: 16.7%

Despite only having been around for a couple of months, there’s been a near consensus on the power and strength of Monastery, clearly the strongest $2 cost in Nocturne. The ability to trash potentially several cards with Monastery, including Copper you may have used to buy things, presents the rare opportunity to trash without immediately losing momentum. This unique quality powers it to very near the top of the rankings. Despite the power, there was a consensus that Monastery is not the best $2 in Dominion, receiving no #1 votes.

#3 ▼1 Page (Adventures) Weighted Average: 94.2% ▲2pp / Unweighted Average: 92.5% / Median: 95.5% ▲0.8pp / Standard Deviation: 12.5%

There’s quite a gap in average between the top 3 and the rest of the list, with Page averaging 13 points above Monastery, but there’s plenty of debate as to the order of these top 3 cards. This year, Page has fallen one rank to #3, below Peasant. While Page is still obviously an immensely powerful Village (Champion) and strong set of Travellers, the strength of the Warrior attack is more limited than once thought due to the opponent having access to Champion. More boards than you would expect find themselves hitting a bit of a wall despite the presence of Champion, as you still need some draw or +Buy for an engine to take flight. Despite this, Page is still quite clearly one of the most powerful cards for its cost, and actually gained 2pp in average. It received 3 first place votes.

#2 ▲1 Peasant (Adventures) Weighted Average: 96.3% ▲5.1pp / Unweighted Average: 92.7% / Median: 97.7% ▲3pp / Standard Deviation: 12.6%

Peasant moved up one rank, but nearly 5 percentage points, as people have warmed up to this powerful, game warping card. Featuring two excellent Travellers in Teacher and Disciple, along with respectable payload in Soldier, Peasant gives you almost everything you need to attempt the engine, as long as you carefully pick your Teacher targets. This versatility and the ability to “patch” the board you’re playing with whatever resource you may be missing is what gives Peasant the strength to surpass Page in the rankings. It received 8 first place votes, which, while impressive, is still just over a quarter of the first place votes that the #1 ranked card received.

#1 =0 Chapel (Base) Weighted Average: 97.8% ▲0.1pp / Unweighted Average: 97.2% / Median: 100% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 6.0%

Chapel continues to hold its vice grip on the top of this list, somehow even slightly increasing its average, and carrying by far the lowest standard deviation of the list. Despite stiff competition from a variety of powerful trashers, Chapel’s speed in getting decks razor-thin is almost unmatched in Dominion. It received over half of the first place votes (28).

5
Dominion Articles / Cursed Village / Storeroom
« on: November 24, 2017, 11:35:13 am »
So this is a little article about a fairly strong synergy / weak combo between Cursed Village and Storeroom. It's not something so dominant that you ignore everything else on the board every time it's out, but it's a powerful 2 card engine that really churns through junk / most attacks and produces several big turns in a row when played correctly. It's not especially fast, but it's resilient, and probably worth considering on boards where you really don't want to mirror the opponent, or as a part of a larger strategy. This article is a very rough draft, but I just wanted to get thoughts on the synergy. I do ask that you actually try it a few times before dismissing it though.



How does it work?
Essentially, Cursed Village and Storeroom are a complete engine in themselves - Cursed Village provides the actions and the draw, and Storeroom sifts and provides payload in the form of +Buy and economy. You start with a Cursed Village to get a 6 card hand with +2 Actions, then play Storeroom. Discard to draw cards to ensure you have at least a Cursed Village in hand, then discard everything except one Cursed Village (and sometimes also a Storeroom) to get some Coin. Then you can play Cursed Village to draw 5-6 new cards, repeating the cycle until you've got a ton of Buys and money.

On a board with no support, you open Silver / Storeroom, grab CV whenever you can, and then otherwise grab Storeroom, perhaps adding a second Silver if you're having trouble getting CVs into play. With absolutely no support, it does take awhile to set up, though, so don't consider an unsupported strategy against a well supported fast engine like Governor. You basically start greening whenever the game state calls for it, rather than at a specific time (though if you pile the CVs you should probably fire if you haven't already). This strategy is fairly tolerant to extended greening and should do fairly well if your opponent tries to pull a fast one on you by greening earlier than you expect - let them choke while you churn and crawl your way back buying multiple Victory cards a turn!

There are a bunch of small upsides to this combo that make it work reasonably well. First, you don't need to be particularly thin, though modest thinning certainly helps with reliability. Cursed Village followed by Storeroom for full draw can cycle up to 11 cards, making it quite easy to find your next pieces. Discarding your excess CVs and Storerooms for Coin is also not a huge problem because of this - you'll basically shuffle your deck every cycle or two, so discarding those for benefit also helps put them into your next cycle's hand! Another advantage to this strategy is that it is resilient to most attacks. Discard attacks help it out as CV draws more on the first play. Trashing attacks are cushioned by the relatively thick deck of junk. Junking attacks can hurt after awhile, but the deck isn't immediately crippled by a Curse or two. One more small plus is that the Hexes which Cursed Village makes you take are very rarely a big problem - most of them don't really affect you negatively except Deluded, Bad Omens, or War - and these won't totally ruin your game necessarily either.

What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
As emphasized before, this strategy is not the fastest, so you need to make sure you have time to set it up and keep it going. If something else on the board is better supported, particularly fast strategies, you're just not going to have the time to get off the ground. The combo unsupported is just okay, not world-breaking or anything.

The easiest play error to make is to force awful shuffles. Remember that you should expect to shuffle about once every 1-2 cycles. This means discarding components for benefit in order to make sure they are in the next shuffle. Near the end of your big turns, you need to keep CAREFUL count of how many cards are left in the deck and decide when to "bail out" and just wipe the rest of your hand for Coin, in lieu of drawing a couple more cards and leaving yourself with a 5+ card deck full of junk. It's pretty easy to either "bail out" too early, or to go too far and end up with a junky deck for a turn or two. This can be mitigated with some basic deck tracking - remember how many CVs and Storerooms you have to work with, and adjust your decisions as you reach the end of your supply of those cards. All of that said, keep in mind if you're still buying CVs, a few of those Hexes mess with the top of your deck, so don't be afraid to keep a card or two there, particularly if you haven't seen those Hexes yet and the Hex stack is getting low.

How do you support this strategy?
You absolutely do want to support this strategy with the other parts of the kingdom, it is certainly not a monolithic strategy and gets much better with certain kinds of support. Here are a few examples - these aren't meant to be an exhaustive list or even the most important synergies, just something to get you thinking:
Light Trashing, especially nonterminal - Lookout, Loan, Forager, Raze, Ratcatcher... all of these things help. You don't need to get that thin for this to work, so you buy fewer than you normally would, but having fewer opportunities to whiff and a smaller handsize for a CV play are both nice. Even terminal TFB like Butcher or Replace can help.
Summon - Summoning a Storeroom guarantees a $5 hand at least, and if you manage to find a CV in that 10 card search space, you can start off your turn with $4, a Buy, and a CV ready to fire.
Artificer - An early Artificer lets you topdeck a CV (from a six card hand) or Storeroom and then immediately draw it with CV, ensuring you get another cycle.
Tunnel - Get just one on the opening, and you won't have trouble hitting $5 for CVs after a few shuffles. Don't get too many Golds.
Other sources of virtual Coin - Cursed Village works great with other virtual Coin sources, particularly if they also do something better than what a Storeroom cycle would do. Maybe a Swindler or a Mountebank for example.
Other Villages - These can be hard to incorporate as they usually compete at cost with Storeroom or CV, but splashing a Village in or two can help you incorporate other payload, making your engine more well-rounded.


6
Variants and Fan Cards / Chris's Minor Dominion Tweaks
« on: September 09, 2017, 02:14:26 pm »
I'm going through all the Dominion cards and making minor balance changes, simiplifications, and card tweaks for smoother play. Most of these are to deal with small edge cases, simplify text, slightly balance out cards, or just to try something new. All of these are works in progress and open to suggestion.

The idea here is that I'm printing these out onto shitty paper and sticking them into the sleeves of the real cards to provide a more playable alternate version. Unlike Donald X, I'm freeing myself of a few constraints that he had on his revision process (allowing mechanics to be borrowed across expansions, functional changes to cards, etc) and just sort of seeing how it goes.

Here's the first few for some examples.



This change greatly simplifies Bureaucrat and gives you at least some reason to use it on some boards. The silver gaining onto the deck thing is more annoying than anything else when playing an engine, so I got rid of that altogether. The attack always hits, once, and can't pin anybody anymore.



Sentry's big problem is that it's something you really need to open with, but not everyone can access it. I spent a lot of time thinking about making this cost $4, but I decided to try $3/2D out for a bit first. It should probably just cost $4 and be done with it. Now anyone can open exactly 1 Sentry, or two in a Baker game.



I stole this from LastFootnote. I think I even stole the new name of the card from LastFootnote. It was a good idea! Anyhow, Manor costs $5 instead of Harem's $6, that's the big thing, but also it's less gross.

I'll pop more of these out throughout today as I print them out, feel free to Share Your Thoughts

7
Dominion Articles / Bonfire Synergies and Tactics
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:28:36 pm »


What does Bonfire do?
Bonfire trashes two cards from play. Usually these are Coppers, but it can be anything you play but don't want anymore - a trashing Action that has reached the limit of its usefulness, or perhaps a Potion, maybe some Ruins somebody gave you.
 
What makes it a unique and powerful trasher?
Bonfire makes your deck thin faster than almost any other trasher in Dominion. Instantly removing two cards from your deck before the end of the first shuffle is a very rare skill, and Bonfire does it easily. It's easy to underestimate how powerful this effect is, and to think Bonfire compares unfavorably to other trashers just because it can't nab Estates. Despite that, it's important to realize that Bonfire instantly improves the tempo of your deck, rather than waiting for the next shuffle to do so. And the faster you thin, the more quickly and more often you get to use the good cards you're filling your deck with. Nothing in the game (except Donate) trashes faster than Bonfire.
 
Another strength of Bonfire is its low opportunity cost. It only costs $3 and a Buy to play - and in most cases, you're paying for $2 of that $3 with the Coppers you intend to trash. Not competing for terminal space with early Actions is a huge plus, and basically only costing a Buy and $1 is also a bonus. How often do you gain cards anyway on turns you trash 2 Coppers with Stewart or Remake?
 
Finally, Bonfire can trash multiple times per shuffle, potentially. Usually you get thin so quickly that this doesn't matter, but other trashers are usually played every other turn until you get really thin. Bonfire can be bought on multiple consecutive turns, getting your Coppers cleaned out in 3-4 turns.

What are Bonfire's limitations?
The most obvious drawback of Bonfire is that you cannot trash any Estates with it (unless you Inherit them, but at that point you want to keep them anyway). This poses a limit on how thin you can get, and having three stop cards that don't even generate economy can be quite the bummer. Additionally, when using Bonfire as the only trashing mechanism, you have to buy it 4 times to get rid of all your Coppers. When you buy trashing Actions (or Donate), you only need to spend 1 Buy to trash down, though you'll usually spend multiple Actions on it.

Bonfire can certainly be used as the only trasher on the board, but it is best paired with another trasher as a way to speed up the process of thinning. Additionally, it helps to have some way to make up for the lost economy, such as a gainer.
 
How to use Bonfire: Synergies and Examples
You want to pair Bonfire with a good Action in most cases, that really enjoys being played early and frequently, in order to get the game off to a good start. Cards that trash Estates, gain useful cards, or provide early economy are perfect companions for Bonfire. Below are a few quick examples and case studies. The intent here isn't to produce an exhaustive list but to give you an idea of the kind of synergy you can seek out while experimenting with Bonfire.
 
Jack of All Trades
The synergy between Jack and Bonfire was one of the earliest discoveries revealing Bonfire's strength, and it is a powerful combo that makes for a strong money variant or a smooth transition into a more complex engine. The execution is simple - open Jack / Bonfire, then Bonfire until you're out of Coppers, playing Jack to trash Estates and gain Silvers. By Turn 5 or 6, you have a deck that's trashed down to Jack, 3-4 Silvers, and maybe a stray Copper - a good place to pivot toward a more traditional engine! Consider how even with Chapel, you would be lucky to have your deck cleaned out by turn 5 or 6, and you can see how this is lightning fast. Once you're done, you can get rid of the Jack and last Copper if you want (in the engine case), or you can just play a money strategy that can quickly green and win the Province split in a couple of turns.
 
Jack is basically an ideal partner for Bonfire, since it provides gaining / economy, trashes Estates, and even draws up to ensure you always have $3 and that you cycle the Jack very quickly. Other trashers and silver gainers like Remake and Amulet can work in a very similar fashion, albeit without the benefit of Jack's drawing.
 
Transmute
Transmute is one of the worst cards in Dominion, but with just the addition of Bonfire it can actually do something. It's not particularly effective, but it's cute. Similar to Jack, it trashes Estates effectively but isn't very good at trashing other cards. Howveer, it gains Golds instead of Silvers when trashing Estates, making it a bigger economy boost in fewer stop cards than Jack. Bonfire minimizes the downsides of Transmute - it thins out Coppers so it can line up with Estates, it gets rid of that Potion that is probably useless to you after buying Transmute, and it can even dump the Transmute when you're done! The process is simple - buy one Potion and Bonfire whenever you can, buying the Transmute as soon as possible (unless you hit 3P, then Bonfire). It's not quite as fast as Jack since it doesn't draw and you have to grab a Potion first, but you end up with 3 Golds instead of 3-4 Silvers, which is really cool considering how bad Transmute normally is. You can then either play a money variant or pivot to engine.
 
Hermit
Hermit at first glance looks like it behaves similarly to Jack, but Hermit Bonfire strategies take full advantage of its unrestricted $3-gaining and Bonfire's status as a thing you can buy that isn't a card in order to enable megaturn strategies. When you buy Bonfire, you probably didn't buy a card, so you get to trash Hermit for a Madman. When you play Hermit on a turn you would lose it, gain another Hermit instead of a Silver, and then Bonfire. You trash 2 Coppers and ideally an Estate, with the net gain of +1 Madman to your deck, ideal for enabling a megaturn later. If you want to gain a Silver instead, buy a component instead of Bonfire in order to keep the Hermit (though, try to avoid doing this until you're already mostly thin). You end up with less easy economy than the Jack strategy, but the Madmen tend to make up for it if you're going for something like a Bridge based strategy.
 
Other Trashers
Bonfire is neat with almost any other "heavy trasher" because it can ensure that you get to play that trasher by Turn 4! This is a huge deal, as anyone who's had their Chapel miss the second shuffle will tell you. Additionally, you can get your Turn 3 buy on Turn 5, which is just super fast. Later, you can use Bonfire to trash the Trasher itself. Even without specific synergy between the trasher and Bonfire, you'll probably end up buying Bonfire once or twice to accelerate. It's like rocket fuel for thinning! Special mention goes to things like Apprentice, Salvager, etc. that don't really like trashing Coppers anyway.
 
Baron
Not the strongest synergy, but fairly simple and effective. Baron loves Estates, Bonfire thins out all those Coppers so you're quickly spiking $5+ and multiple Buys. A Baron / Bonfire opening can be a powerful way to really quickly buy expensive engine components.
 
Ironworks, Engineer, etc.
Gainers are another strong synergy. Freeing yourself of the requirements of early economy to gain cards, you can use your Buys on Bonfire and still develop your deck quickly. If you run out of stuff to gain with the gainer, just trash it with Bonfire and be done with it. This allows you to get gainers even if their shelf life ends up being pretty short.

Conclusion
Bonfire is fast, like all Events. You get the benefit immediately. The lack of Estate trashing means Bonfire can't do everything, but even getting rid of seven junk cards can do wonders for a deck. Paired with any number of enablers to ensure you can get off the ground while you're trashing your Copper, Bonfire can give you momentum extremely quickly, which smart Dominion players will use to their advantage.

8
PPE: Interactions between landscapes and/or cards are also allowed

So uh, there's this other thread, right? Where people post when they find a card interaction that seems novel. 90% of the posts in that thread are people who wish to share what they found immediately after playing a game online. Tons of things in that thread are useful, but often they involve more than two cards, so we're subjected to completely endless and infuriating debate every single time someone wants to share a card interaction about whether or not it is "common enough" to be "potentially useful". It's funny, because that thread was made to avoid discussions about "combos" since that word itself has a loaded definition which was endlessly debated. But I digress.

So here is the criteria for posting in this thread:
1. Post interactions between multiple cards here which result in novel, interesting, and/or particularly effective synergy.
2. Post interactions between cards that you have observed, in an actual game of Dominion at least once. If it happened at least once, that's cool. If it's a purely theoretical 8 card combo, maybe not?

As long as those criteria are met, it can be posted. I mean really, I'm not going to breathe down anyone's neck rigorously checking this, but at some point in the future someone is going to cite this post as a reason something shouldn't get posted, so I'm going out of my way to be inclusive here.

Maybe, finally, with this almost identical thread with a very slightly different topic, we won't have pages and pages of people derailing with their tired arguments about how common or rare something is, as if we all always play full random games and as if we all only use that thread for practical advice and not just discussion. Or if you think this whole thing is silly and doesn't deserve a splinter topic, we can stop derailing the existing thread? You can't have it both ways. Either the content doesn't belong in the other thread, so we need a new one for that content; or it does belong in the other thread and we should stop tolerating constant derailment.

9
Tournaments and Events / Mono-Set Tournament #2
« on: January 06, 2017, 01:40:25 pm »
This is the second Mono-Set Tournament, a Dominion double elimination tournament where each Kingdom in a set is played using cards from a single expansion. This tournament will run similarly to the first tournament, with some rule changes to reflect the new client and to fix some problems. I'll try and italicize things that are significantly different.

Official Rules:

- 16 (or 32?) players will be admitted into the tournament, in a double elimination bracket seeded by Isotropic rank from Salvager. If Iso rating is unavailable, Chris will just guess your seed. All players will be seeded somewhere; no seeding will be random if possible.

- Alternates may sign up; they will be substituted into the tournament only during the first round of either the winner's or loser's brackets. Alternate seeding is entirely determined by the seed of the player being replaced.

- Matches will consist of four to seven games until at least one player scores 3.5 wins. Special rules apply for game 7 as outlined below.

- The person who chooses the set for each game will go second in that game. Starting player will alternate for every game (excluding game 7), with the lowest seeded player starting the first game in a match. Therefore the highest seeded player will pick the first set in a match.

- In the event of a seventh game, the lower seeded player will choose if they wish to go first or second. The player who goes second will pick the set for game 7. In the event of a tie in the seventh game by the official Dominion rules, the player who went second in that match will win the round.

- Spectator chat must be set so that it is NOT visible to the players of the match. Don't mess this up.

- There will be no vetoes of sets in this tournament. Players will choose from the following sets for their rounds:
-- Base Set v2
-- Intrigue v2
-- Seaside
-- Prosperity (Platinum/Colony must be on)
-- Hinterlands
-- Dark Ages (Shelters must be on)
-- Adventures (Use Exactly 2 Events)
-- Cornucopia + Guilds
-- Empires (Use Exactly 2 Events / Landmarks)
(The omission of Alchemy from this list is intentional)

- We will aim not to have formal deadlines for round completion. In order to do this, this relies on everyone being as prompt as possible with their matches. If you have not contacted your opponent within a week of the matchup being posted, you will be subbed out or eliminated. If you are asked for a status update and you do not provide one / post within 3 days, you will be subbed out or eliminated. Try and be cool.

- When posting results, please post the sets played and who won which set. This is both for research purposes and for the competitive use of future players in the tournament.

10
I tried writing an FAQ / guide for the new Dominion Online. Let me know what you think or if I should add anything; I'm going to try and keep it up to date.

http://forum.shuffleit.nl/index.php?topic=1100.0

11
Dominion Articles / Giant
« on: December 26, 2016, 04:30:23 pm »
I'm bored in an airport. Here's a terrible article on Giant. Lemme know if it's salvagable.

What does Giant do?

Giant is an attack card which uses the Journey token to restrict most of its effect to (in most cases) every other play. The attack is a hybrid of a trashing attack and a Curser, and it is among the largest sources of virtual coin in Dominion on the strong play. On the weak play, it produces just $1. In non-engine decks, this results in a terminal that is very good at spiking large values occasionally. In an engine deck, the card is best played in pairs, producing $6 + 1 attack at the cost of 2 actions and 2 non-drawing cards in hand. While Giant is not an overwhelmingly strong card, it has some utility in various decks.

Giant as a spiking attack

Giant's spikiness makes it useful in certain scenarios even with a Big Money like strategy. It is reasonably easy to hit $8 with Giant on the strong play, so it isn't the worst way to get expensive cards early. Province (for Tournament), Inheritance, Pathfinding, King's Court, Forge, etc. are all cards which can give you a big momentum advantage if spiked somewhat early, and sometimes Giant is the way to do that. It is not always the fastest way to consistently hit $7 or $8 though, since it needs two plays to accomplish this, but if you can grab two Giants early, or one Giant + thinning, it's not too bad.

The attack gives Giant some purpose beyond the early game. If the spike allows you to transition to an engine, the two Giants you collected will make for acceptable payload. Giant can also best other (weak) BM variants with the Cursing plus the large swings in coin.

A special case for Giant is in certain Rebuild games. If Rebuild isn't well supported, a Giant BM strategy can compete against Rebuild favorably. The basic idea is to get 2-3 Giants, then buy Duchy or Province whenever possible. Giant's swinginess allows the Giant BM player to deny Duchy and spike Province. This combined with the Curses can give an edge to the Giant player over the Rebuilder.

Giant as engine payload

Giant makes for decent engine payload when played in pairs. In exchange for 2 actions and having to draw 2 dead terminals, you get $6 + a fairly strong attack every turn. This is pretty good on a fair number of boards, and can be what pushes an engine strategy over a Big Money strategy.

The biggest difficulty is in finding the terminal space for Giant. Most +Actions / +Cards engines will struggle to find the space for it - you often need multiple Village piles and some way to easily gain them in order to sustain both terminal draw plus two additional terminals for payload, on top of whatever other terminal space you may need for gainers / +Buy / etc. The best engine decks for Giant are those that at least partially take advantage of nonterminal draw - Hunting Party, Storyteller, Alchemist, Scrying Pool, etc. are good examples. Giant actually can help with the construction of nonterminal draw decks, as you can use Giant spikes to guarantee buys of your $5 cost draw card.

Once you find a way to incorporate your Giants, it's just a matter of consistently drawing and playing them. If possible, try and time the Journey token so that the first Giant play is the strong play - this helps later on if your deck chokes and you need to spike a high value to stay in the game.

Regardless of the type of engine, thinning and +Buy (especially nonterminal) are very helpful to dampen the opportunity cost and maximize the benefit of Giant. Special note is given to Throne variants, particularly Royal Carriage, in making Giant viable. These reduce the terminal space needed for Giant, plus the Throne variant can be used on other cards if need be.

12
Tournaments and Events / Mono-Set Tournament
« on: November 18, 2016, 02:55:24 pm »
Hey look here is a simple tournament aiming to explore a part of the Dominion metagame that's often left untouched: single expansion kingdoms.

Basicaly, the premise of this tournament is that you will play one game using one set (or the mini sets) from each of 6 sets. Before playing, each player will veto a set, leaving six sets. The six sets remaining are each played with in 1 game each by the two players. This will test your knowledge of sets in isolation as well as your ability to recognize synergy within a set that isn't necessarily highlighted otherwise.

HERE IS THE BRACKET: http://challonge.com/dominion_monoset

Current Pending Games (Bolded game means someone is waiting on you to continue):

Awaclus vs. The Do-Operator



Code: (Official Rules) [Select]
Official Rules:
- 16 players, double elimination

- 3 starts each; play random starts until someone hits 3, then resign until the other player starts blah blah you've all done this before

- Players will be seeded by Iso rank, in a bracket that starts with 1v16, 2v15... etc.

- Before starting the match, each player, starting with the low seed, will veto a set, leaving six sets. Each of the six games will feature Kingdoms and rule modifiers exclusive to one of the six sets remaining.

- If there are any disputes as to the order of the sets played, the first set played shall be decided randomly, and after each game, the loser of the previous game will pick the next set.

- The sets that players will play from / veto are below.
-- Base Set
-- Intrigue
-- Seaside
-- Prosperity (Platinum / Colony on)
-- Hinterlands
-- Dark Ages (Shelters on)
-- Adventures
-- Cornucopia / Guilds (treat as one set)
(note that Alchemy is not on this list at all - will explain elsewhere)

- In the event of a 3-3 tie, a seventh game will be played, with random start, where the set used is the set the HIGHER seed vetoed.

- If the seventh game ends in a tie according to the Dominion rules, the player who went second advances.

- I'm hoping we don't need strict formal deadlines and can just advance between rounds when ready, but if you don't contact your opponent within a week of your matchup being available you'll be subbed out (early rounds) or forefeit (later rounds). If you are holding the tournament up we'll talk. Don't be a dick. We want this done before ShIT is out.

- When posting results, please also include the sets vetoed, just for curiosity's sake.

You're still welcome to sign up as alternates if you want.

Code: (Player List) [Select]
Players:
1. Chris is me
2. jsh357
3. IDontPlayThisGame
4. LaLight
5. singletee
6. drsteelhammer
7. Rabid
8. vsiewnar
9. amoffett11
10. The Do-Operator
11. Micha1980
12. markus
13. 4est
14. Awaclus
15. tufftaeh
16. diedre91

13
Variants and Fan Cards / Ready to edit card templates?
« on: November 16, 2016, 01:43:06 pm »
I assume 99% of people here when making cards download a blank card image, stick it in Photoshop, and place / manipulate text in that as needed. I'm wondering if anyone has gone as far as to make a template file for any piece of software (Photoshop, Word / Excel Mail Merge, etc) that makes this process easier? Ideally I would just be able to type words, bold some things, maybe change font sizes and I would get a playable, okay result for testing purposes that doesn't look as ugly as some tables thrown together in Microsoft Word.

14
Help! / Possession, Peasant, Peddler, Travelling Fair, Scrying Pool
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:04:29 am »


Code: [Select]
Travelling Fair, Lighthouse, Peasant, Scrying Pool, Trade Route, Cutpurse, Nomad Camp, Baker, Wharf, Possession, Peddler
http://gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?http://dominion-game-logs.s3.amazonaws.com/game_logs/20161110/log.0.1478739781025.txt

Just wondering if there's anything I could have done differently here? I probably missed a Peddler megaturn at some point, but other than that, I feel like most of my early game decisions were reasonable, and yet I ended up with way worse Scrying Pool draws and generally far behind. Thoughts?

15
Variants and Fan Cards / Chris's half-assed card concepts thread
« on: October 22, 2016, 01:36:56 pm »
Yeah I keep just tossing around card ideas and eventually want to compile a mini-set, so I thought I'd just post them here as I thought of them and get some feedback. Expect random posts spaced out over a period of time.

(EDITS: Italic is added, strikethrough is removed

Quote
Recombobulate / Action, $4

Trash 2 cards from your hand. You may gain a card with cost exactly equal up to the combined total cost in coins of the trashed cards.

I've been trying to make a Remodel / Remake variant for awhile that trashes two cards and gains 1 card that somehow combines the cost of the two cards. I'm not sure if the gain should be required, if the gain should be "up to" the combined cost or "exactly", etc. Thinking gain optional / exactly is the right combination of restrictive and powerful; I don't want it to be too open ended and broad but I don't want it to suck with double Copper or Copper / Estate either. Making the gain optional avoids making it almost universally worse than Remake as well - this gets you potentially thinner. Maybe "up to 2" cards, but eh.

Edited: Going with "up to" instead of "exactly", and now I removed the "in coins" bit so you can gain debt and potion cards if you really wanted.

Quote
Vendor / Action - Attack, $4

$2
+1 Buy

--- horizontal line ---

While this is in play, when you buy a card, each player with 4 or more cards in hand discards a card.


This is a card pulled from a shitty set I tried to start making like a year ago. This seemed like it was simple and had some potential. Basically it's Miltia if you actually use the extra Buy it gives you, and it's not if you don't. I'm concerned about the trigger though - if you have five out, do they all trigger at once, or sequentially? Is this solvable without unique wording? Anyway, Dominion could use extra buys and conditional attacks that don't get strong until later.

Quote
Investigate / Action, $5

+1 Card
+1 Action


If this is the first time you've played Investigate this turn If you have no other Investigate(s) in play, +2 Cards.

I was briefly working with a theme of Actions that only work well the first time you play them in a turn, perhaps as part of a variety pile or deck, but maybe as a full pile. Don't know yet. How's the power level for this one? I'm thinking it could bump down to a $4, or bump up a + card, but both seem absurdly powerful early then. Maybe make it a Peddler variant and the only bonus is a first play extra single card.

Edited: Minor buff for Procession tricks, a really cool boost with Inheritance, etc. Considering the self-trash buff Accatitippi suggested, also weighing the idea of incorporating other trash-from-play cards into my set for some synergy.

16
Rules Questions / Inheritance and on-buy / overpay
« on: October 22, 2016, 12:14:50 pm »
Say you inherit Herald. Can you overpay for Estate?

17
I want to get an idea what percentage of boards are engines, based on actual math and data. What are the different ways we could approximate this?

I thought of two, both of which have their flaws, and would need to be drilled out.

1. Analyze a bunch of game logs, flag those whose gameplay matches some criteria?

2. Calculate the odds that a board has draw, payload, gainer, village in some combination?

I'm far too tired / loopy to start thinking about this, but just thought i'd start the discussion.

18
Game Reports / Champion is the best Library enabler
« on: September 25, 2016, 11:53:22 am »
Sometimes I play to fuck around and see what engine I can come up with instead of strictly optimal play. Sometimes I even win those games.



Code: [Select]
Ball, Trade, Poor House, Page, Ratcatcher, Stonemason, Horse Traders, Messenger, Militia, Library, Royal Carriage, Vault
Ugly Log (How do you make a prettified URL without using log search?): https://dominion-game-logs.s3.amazonaws.com/game_logs/20160925/log.0.1474818499128.txt

But basically, my game plan was, trash down with Ratcatcher, get to Champion fast, Stonemason for Library / Vault pairs any time I could, and then go for a big mega turn whenever I could using Horse Traders, Library, Vault, etc. Normally these aren't the best Library enablers, especially Horse Traders since you need so much Village support to make it all work, but Champion doesn't give a fuck. Even Stonemason came in handy!

Ended up with one of those barely won by 1 point games which are always fun.

19
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Mini-Set for Travel
« on: September 02, 2016, 08:01:07 am »
So here's the deal. I've got like six or seven hours to come up with a subset of my Dominion collection to travel with. I might just bring my entire box of cards again, but where's the fun in that. Anyhow, I could use some suggestions as I try to throw a set of ~30-50 Kingdom cards together.

Basic constraints:
Similar ratio of cards to full random (not too few Villages, Attacks, +Buy)
Heavy focus on Empires and Adventures (if I need to I suppose I could exclusively bring these two)
No shitty cards that no one ever buys
Minimize extra components to an extent (tokens are probably OK; let's avoid Ruins, Potions, etc)
Nothing TOO broken or pointless

If no one contributes, I'll post what I come up with so this isn't a waste of a thread either way.

20
Game Reports / Distant Lands Golden Deck
« on: June 28, 2016, 08:09:11 am »


Code: [Select]
Chapel, Caravan Guard, Steward, Island, Trader, Cartographer, Council Room, Count, Distant Lands, Upgrade
Pretty Log For Pretty People

Played this game in my League match last night. A great kingdom ruined by a lack of Villages. So what's there to do here? I decided that Distant Lands, Chapel, and to a much lesser extent Island enabled a sort of golden deck, where I eventually just buy and play Distant Lands every turn. Without Villages, a deck greening on Provinces would eventually choke, I figured, so I could get a point lead early, build up a bit, and scrape together the last few Provinces with a really thin deck. That's pretty much how it worked out.

Caravan Guard I bought because it was a cantrip, and hey, why not? But it ended up helping me hit $6 to get a Gold and to get to a state where I could buy Provinces a turn faster than otherwise. So that was cool I guess. I just bought Provinces as soon as my deck had $8 and Islands whenever I missed $8 and it all just worked out. I'm sure it wasn't optimal, but maybe it was interesting.

21
Game Reports / Monument vs Provinces
« on: June 23, 2016, 12:33:27 pm »


Code: [Select]
Ferry, Ball, Masquerade, Monument, Spy, Bazaar, Embassy, Ill-Gotten Gains, Mandarin, Storyteller, Trading Post, Hireling
Pretty Log: http://gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?http://dominion-game-logs.s3.amazonaws.com/game_logs/20160622/log.0.1466560345212.txt

The basic idea here, is that since Ball and Ferry are the only ways to get two gains a turn, but all of the other components for an engine are present, I should build a Monument stack while my opponent chokes on 7 Provinces unable to finish the game. My plan just barely worked, and I did make a bunch of mistakes throughout. I should have bought Storyteller over Embassy basically every time I bought Embassy, I think. Should have had more Masquerades from the beginning and not later on. I probably didn't need to open Ferry. But other than that, I thought it was kind of a cool novel plan, and a way to make an engine work with zero +Buy.

Thoughts? I think I got lucky.

22
Game Reports / Groundskeeper engine
« on: June 19, 2016, 11:02:14 am »
So I don't normally write game reports for a few reasons, partly because I'm self-conscious about posting bad play in the forums, but mostly because I forget to. This kingdom is kind of neat though, and I played it in real life so there is no log, so ha.





Isn't this board interesting-ish? You use Trade to trash, maybe even Market Square while you're trashing to get some Golds, all so you can use Storyteller to draw to get all of your Groundskeepers in play. Charm is really important, for picking up Storytellers and Groundskeepers at the same time - important enough that you might maybe even consider picking up Thief! (Spoiler: Thief is still not great, but I guess you might land on $4 at some point and want more early VP). The Villages don't really do much, but I guess if you're buying Estates or Duchies to capitalize on Groundskeeper points you might want to dodge them Victory cards or something. Maybe this isn't that interesting, but it's not every day you see a Silver flood as an engine strategy.

23
So I'm curious where people are buying Empires, and when these games will ship. So if you've pre ordered it from somewhere, can you post where you pre ordered it from, and post when you get your shipping notice? Or if you bought it from a FLGS or whatever, post when the games arrived in store? Some of us (heh) are still trying to figure out where and when to buy the game, and want to get it sooner rather than later. I figured by crowdsourcing this information and by maintaining a thread where people can post links to stores as soon as copies become available, we'll all be able to get Empires as fast as possible.

Maybe this is a bad idea; I've had them before...

24
So I'm introducing a new friend to Dominion again and I'm also bored at work, so I'm trying to figure out good Kingdoms for the first few games or so. I'm really quite sick of the First Game kingdom, and would be interested in some alternatives, either tweaking that kingdom or a new one entirely. Cards from multiple expansions are okay.

Themes I'm hoping to capture in 2-3 games:
- Trashing good
- Engines are cool, but a really bad engine is worse than BM
- Player interaction through both attacks and Supply pile management
- this game is v good

So far searching hasn't yielded too much but this Wero post is nice: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=12939.msg481719#msg481719

25
Goko Dominion Online / Dominion mod that bans cards?
« on: March 01, 2016, 07:19:32 am »
I was playing a game this morning and a strange message popped up from my opponent. It seems like his Dominion Online client had been modified to allow him to ban cards and propose bans of cards.



Obviously without both users having this mod it's unenforceable, and the mod is problematic anyway (banning cards in Dominion doesn't really help anyway, and you can't have card bans that only start on Turn 3), but I'm just wondering if anyone else had heard of it? I have never seen this before.

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