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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Why is teacher a reserve?
« on: December 04, 2020, 06:31:01 pm »
The most obvious thing is that you can leave him on the mat indefinitely with Reserve.

Once you have learned all Teacher's tricks you really have minimal use for having him in your deck and he becomes just another dead, high value card (e.g. like say Pooka or Altar when they are no longer useful trashers). A duration version would be inferior because you would have to draw it every turn.

And you often do not want to waste time getting all 4 tokens out. Champion makes +action pretty useless outside of edge cases like Snowy village or Diadem. +Buys are normally not worth a lot with Kc/Squire in the mix or something like Festival/Margrave. Even +card and +coin can be worthless (e.g. Festival/Lib and mass Hwy's respectively) rarely. Far more often you are getting close to game end and the odds of Teacher being the last stop card in your hand are not worth the highly marginal utility of one or more tokens. Sometimes, you can build a whole deck off just a couple of cards (e.g. Minion/Peasant/Soldier/trashing) and have no logical place to stick the other tokens.

Relatedly, one of the nice things about callable reserves is that you can bank them for later for cards that care. Most obviously this happens with Hop. Say I setup some sort of engine, leaving the Teacher on the mat gives me an 8th distinct card that I can call back only when needed to spike my "in-play" numbers. A few other, far less useful, cases are out there (e.g. maybe getting the count right for a Leprechaun or retriggering a Magic lamp with Treasurer).

 Lastly, there is the tactical case. Suppose you 3 Smithies and 3 Margraves in deck with Academy completed. If you draw none of either the first time after playing Teacher, you benefit by waiting another turn to make sure that you put +cards on whichever you draw the subsequent turn. Shuffle dynamics can get hairy, but in general, it makes no difference when in a shuffle you call a Teacher unless it is the turn you will shuffle. In some cases it can be worth it to wait to see what you draw because adding a +card to Village or Walled village does not matter if you have equal numbers of both in your deck and equal numbers left in the piles.

There are 220 matches for the word "count" in this thread, but not a single Count interaction. Time to change that!

Count/Crossroads or Count/Shepherd

Count is amazing for those strategies where you build your drawing engine from green cards:
- efficiently trash away your starting Coppers
- gain Duchies to fuel your engine and maintain a lead
- kickstart your next turn by putting a Crossroads/Shepherd on top of your deck!

Count is actually not that great at trashing away your starting coppers. An average hand is CCEXCount where X is one of your openers or your other T3/4 buy. Assuming you want to keep both E and X that means that Count kills 2 coppers per play as a terminal. Which is on par with all the other 2 copper trashers ... but is a terminal $5. Worse, you will quickly have fewer turns where you can safely trash 2 coppers and eventually you will have several coppers that Count simply cannot eliminate. When you have other copper trashing you normally want it for a Green/Count engine.

Don't get me wrong, Count is a trasher of coppers, but when you actively want the estates his trashing is even slower than normal. It is something like four shuffles to get down to 2 coppers which is about what you can manage with Moneylender.

That being said, even inefficiently trashing coppers is enough to enable things like Shepherd or Xroads, particularly as Count can smooth out early cash flow, top deck whiffs, and then gain duchies.

For Count combos I have always loved Tomb. Pretty much any engine setup can turn Count into an unbounded golden engine with Tomb. Count/Beggar/Village/Tomb? Well that's 12 VP/turn. Lost arts/Count/Silk Merchant? Not too hard to hit 7 VP/turn. Even something simple like Tr/Count can churn 3VP/turn or more and still let you buy cards.

probably known but rats / way of the horse is pretty fun

I prefer it with Magpie. In a no treasure deck, it makes every Magpie into +1.5 cards for the rest of the game.

For Rats I think the bigger combo is with Butterfly. You likely are not going to keep mass gaining/returning Rats, but being able to turn a copper into a $5 once a shuffle is pretty huge.

Black Cat/Way of the Frog.

Top deck the black cats.

They don't give out Curses unless you play them as themselves. You can set them up to be in your hand for the next turn but your hand size will take a hit until you activate them.

Depends on the engine. If my village is Recruiter (say I am running Cats/Recruiter/Explorer) I really should be putting any extra Cats back even it costs a Villager most of the time. Similarly, having a +action token on them makes it even better as they can give you a village effect on the Frog turn. Or you might have ways to start with bonus actions (e.g. Prince, Mastermind). Then of course you have the million and one ways to creating a reliable draw deck (e.g. Scheme, Count, Travelling fair) that utterly does not care about 3 of your 5 starting cards.

The real clutch, though, is top decking them near game end. I have dropped 5 on deck top because my opponent could score no more than 6 VP a turn and that was not enough to win (you can actually end up in a degenerate state for Frogging Cats like this with a stalemated game).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Library a sifter?
« on: October 01, 2020, 02:37:09 pm »
Ehh I have used the sifting quite often. First there are the obvious combos: Bustling village, Swashbuckler (if this or Lib came out of the BM deck), Mountain village and the like.

Then there is the utility of balancing your draw. Mv is an extreme example of this, but in general, you want to draw villages before terminal payload. With Mv you can use all of your draw slots to hit Mv and then pull payload out of the trash. Two Libs can draw 14 cards which lets you hit say 6 terminal payloads (e.g. Gladiator, Animal Fair, Count, Goons) and this is much more likely if you don't have to waste say 2 of your first 4 draw slots on payload you might be able to use. I will routinely skip my terminals to hit my villages on the first run through and then draw all of them on the second. For some setups this is just crazy more efficient (e.g. Native village is much more valuable if you can play 6 in a row than having to use 1/2 to take something off the mat or risk stranding one of your villages for the turn). And of course there are things like Golem/non-terminal (e.g. Golem/Candlestick maker) where you pretty much always want to dump non-Golems to play more Golems. And sometimes your "village" needs a specific combo (e.g. Horse + Procession) and you benefit from fishing for one component over the other.

Then there are combos were order matters. Skipping your Masquerade to draw & play the Militia first is often a far superior move. As are things like getting down Priests before other trashers (e.g. Priest/Fortress/Junk dealer), Liveries before gainers (e.g. Iw/Livery), or attacks before Soldiers.

Then there is the whole defense against useless actions. Ruins for instance. But also actions not worth playing any more (e.g. Chapel) or too dangerous to play (e.g. Hermit with piles approaching).

This is all sifting in some fashion. And I do something from this list most every game (the most common being flipping a terminal in hopes of hitting a village I need to play the terminals already in hand).

If you really want the value of the sifting to be clear, think of a Village/Goons/Donate/Advance setup, you will have no non-actions, treasure is pretty much useless for bootstrapping, and you want lots of efficient draw: would you take Scholar or Lib for your draw? The sifting makes this no contest for me.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Hinterlands Cards: Develop
« on: September 28, 2020, 06:57:34 pm »
One fun game I had a while ago I managed to hit KcDev$5$4Gold (I think I had Watchman or something to set it up). This allowed me to go Kc-> Dev (gain a Kc/$5, G/$4, Dev/D), leaving the Duchy on bottom.  We had either Tower or Tomb out so I was rolling a decent number of points in a golden deck.

And this is the real crazy strength of Dev. You can double the total value of cards in your deck in a single turn while having exquisite opportunities to down piles or hit points. The only Remodel-esque card that comes even close to the potential value gain is Displace. Yeah not every board is setup for Dev, lacking a $4 or a $7 makes it a lot harder to get great value out. Yeah the value gain is finicky, but provided you can draw deck and run two Devs, you can often gain huge amounts of options in the late game (e.g. threaten to gain Devs to snap up 8 cards to pile out, churn a $4 to two $3s & a Gold which can later become a Duchy).

The real question I typically face is the second Dev. Do you get one on T3 so you can pop a second estate on T4? Do you wait until you can draw through?

Absent stronger trashing and more powerful gaining, Dev is a very rarely a bad opening or late addition to an engine.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Help me understand missing the shuffle
« on: September 15, 2020, 01:35:31 am »
Missing the shuffle may also mean that your cards collide (e.g. two terminals) or are useless in hand (e.g. Moneylender with no coppers in hand). You buy cards to have some effect and the vast majority of the time you want that effect as frequently as possible. Openers typically hit abut once every other hand for something simple like Silver/Militia, if you miss the shuffle they hit once every four turns.

Cards missing the shuffle also depends on how long before you shuffle again. For instance a T4 Witch misses the shuffle (she draws your 11th card and then shuffles for the next card to draw). However instead of seeing her once every 4 turns, you will see her ~2/5 because the shuffle is short (only 5 cards on deck top if you bought on T3).

If you are trashing down or otherwise drawing deck, missing the shuffle becomes less important. If you have 6 cards, missing the shuffle drops you from 5/6 to something like 2/3 (or 4/5).

Some cards are much more important for missing the shuffle. For instance villages. If you have no draw deck, you want to think very hard about playing a village for just +1 card. Odds are you get a copper and the difference between $3 and $4 is not worth all that much, but stranding a village in the discard means your terminals are more likely to collide and you are less likely to kick off an engine. On the flip side, some cards are great to miss shuffles. Secret passage, for instance, can bottom deck green so instead of seeing it once every four turns, you see it once every eight. Even something like Iw can benefit from missing the shuffle (e.g. the villages are empty but Fisherman is out so getting Fisherman in half your shuffles is better than getting nothing or Silver in all your shuffles).


You are gonna lose those spoils anyways, so why not double them?
Plus the spoils return before they can be trashed.
I actually find Pillage to be one of the worst Spoils targets for Counterfeits. If you play the combo every turn, you generate a whopping $4 using up an action, a buy and four draw slots. That is literally less than could get from just carrying 3 coppers and trashing/replacing 1 each turn. You could get a second Cfeit and then try to stack 5 draw into your engine, but that comes at the explicit cost of forgoing a Pillage buy/play.

Now Pillage comes with an attack that is very nice, but that attack makes it exceedingly unreliable to line up Cfeit with Spoils. First if I hit your Pillage, you may have no Spoils in deck for the shuffle afterwards. Second I can also disrupt the combo by hitting your Cfeit and forcing you to play your Spoils once. Regardless, Pillage is strongest against engines that have few clutch components where discards hurt the most (e.g. Golem, Kc); Cfeit, in contrast, thins and tends to help you buy double components (e.g. village & Smithy) where you will have a lot of redundant turns.

Bandit camp, for instance, needs only a net of 2 cards of draw to double play Spoils. That is a far stronger combo with Cfeit. Frankly, I would generally prefer something like Capital/Cfeit over Pillage/Cfeit for payload (the former generates $7 and +2 buys on net). Even with Marauder, you still have a nice shot for thinning your deck down for an engine, and eventually the ability to generate $7 in perpetuity at the price of 1 action and 3 draw slots.

Cfeit is, in general, a very good card and Pillage is situational but not too bad. It is nice to get them and line things up, but it seems like a very poor target as primary payload for an engine and not terrible reliable in a slog (particularly if you can do something else that is less finicky about lining things up, maybe like Horse traders/Duke or B-crat/alt-green).

It might be something nice to get, but I suspect than half of boards there will be a stronger combo there.

Zombie Horses

Just another Way of the Horse Combo, but I like the thematic nature of it.

Like the rest of things that play cards without actually putting them "in play" Necromancer is great for generating a Lab effect with Way of the Horse (e.g. similar to the Bom, Overlord, and Capt). Any non-duration actions in the trash, including the starting zombies, turns a Necromancer in a $4 lab. If you end up with too many Necromancers you can Zapprentince or Zmason one to increase the number of "Labs" you can play though normally I would suggest doing that to other, cheaper actions (e.g. Ruins are worth it to buy, Zapprentice, and then turn it into a 4th or whatever Zombie Destrier).

I have not tried it yet, but I presume that you can also use Necromantic Butterflies to gain $4s (and other values if you seed the trash).

You typically would not need full protection then. How many Covens was your opponent averaging per turn? 1? 1.5? Blocking say every third or fourth turn will stretch out how long it takes for you to get all 10 in your draw deck.

Obviously, there are some boards where it is hard to get enough VP before your deck chokes on 10 curses and that can mean playing Coven is the best option. But in general, relatively few Dominion games take longer than 15 turns. And it is a pretty rare board that lets you play more than one Coven per turn on average but not also block them all with just two or three Guardians.

I have certainly won any number of games by getting a victory condition (empty provinces, 3-piles, >1/2 of VP) before the shuffle after the 11th play of Coven. Which I suppose is another thing to consider, if your deck is getting kinda sloggy (e.g lots of treasure), after the 11th play you may well have 4 or 5 more turns before your expected cash tanks.

A non-mirror Coven bout turns the game into a race. But that is often a winnable race, and very much so with something like Guardian where you can buy whole shuffles off a single well-timed buy (e.g. they have no draw deck and 2 Covens in hand, you buy a $6 Guardian, and they need a full extra shuffle for just that block).

Guardian is surprisingly not good against Coven.

I just lost a game where I won the curse split 81. I was protecting myself from my opponent's Covens with Guardians, while she was basically unprotected and just taking the curses. But because of my Guardians, the Curse pile depleted really slowly, so my opponent's curses never actually made it into her deck at all. So the upshot was, she lost some points but not in a way that impacted her deck efficiency, while I had a bunch of duration-coppers slowing my deck down, and I lost the Provinces 26.

Your experience is not about Guardian being weak, it actually is quite strong, you are more describing the weakness of Coven, and particularly with how I presume you played it.

For the price of $4, a single draw slot, and two gains you can protect your deck the entire game. Guardian is even better because you can wait through a few curses before buying them or have a few curses slip through before you trash down (e.g. using Spice merchant) without bloating your deck. You need never worry about drawing them dead (like Lighthouse) nor having them out of hand (like Moat). With very few exceptions (e.g. a Lib deck), you just plan on dumping two Guardians into your deck and maybe picking up a third or fourth late game to prevent ten bloat cards from being dumped into the deck.

The problem is Coven. Losing 10 curses means you just need to win the Prov split 5:3, which should not be hard to do when your opponent has kindly bought a couple of $5 silvers. Absent trashing and buying two Covens on T3&4 you are looking at something like T 14-T15 to get the curses shuffled into the deck. Absent something else, you have lost the provinces badly before then.

Where Coven works is where you can play two per turn or more (making it around T10 - 12 to shuffle in the curses) per turn. Coven also works well when the game will last longer (e.g. Colonies, other attacks, alt-VP). As is, slowing down the cursing game just a tiny bit (e.g. in this case you could not draw deck with the Guardians), normally lets you coast to an easy victory. In many ways it is like Mountain Pass, losing a couple turns to paying down debt or to playing $5 silvers is just not worth it for <12 VP.

The Bank Gamble

Draw your deck. Have 9 treasures in play, $9 to spend, and as many +buys as you can manage. Buy a Bank. Gamble. Play the Bank. It generates $10 and Gamble gives a buy. Repeat until the stack is gone.

Starting with a full Bank pile this will generate $55 and leave you with $64 which is enough to pile out the provinces if you can generate enough +buys. Even if not, you can crush a pile for no cash cost or just quickly and dramatically increase you cash generating potential or get high value feedstock for scaling TfB.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Highest possible score?
« on: May 19, 2020, 07:03:44 pm »
Hm of course...  :-\

You can even generate infinite VP off Ambassador/Grand castle/Champion. Return the Grand castle every turn (it stays in the pile due to Champion) and then buy it back for more VP. Similarly Graverobber/Cost reduction/trashing makes this work as many times as the game lasts.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Harvest the New Scout?
« on: May 11, 2020, 09:22:12 am »
I would call Harvest the weakest card in the game, its biggest virtue is that it generates cash, which is always on the board. Mute, at least, has the virtue of being a trasher (e.g. can be used as the only option in a Familiar game to get rid of curses) and a VP gainer which are things that, rarely, can be worth spending a turn to buy if there is no other option on the board and also gets a lot less bad when you are already buying a pot for something like Familiar. Pstone is another very weak card, but it at least can be strong on 3 or 4 player games with lots of junking (e.g. Mountebank, Ambassador) and actually quite good with colonies on those boards.

Where Harvest actually gets useful is where it does something better than two silvers. Notably, it can be the only +$ option for a Lib, Owl, or other limited draw engine. These can be exceptionally powerful with strong attacks or alt-VP (e.g. Temple) allowing you to build for a long time. The discarding can also be helpful in its own right, for instance rare niches can include using it as a B-crat/Fortune teller/Rabble counter or activating Tunnels; in both cases it is normally too weak to bother but can get a lot a stronger with favorable setups (e.g. having a Squire/Lib engine against Rabble, using it with a Remodel/Courtyard/Village engine for enabling Tunnels).

I do think it might have a legitimate synergy with Village green. Search space is the same size as anything that discards from hand at start (e.g. Count), can discard multiples per play, and generates a respectable cash load while discarding. I have definitely used it as the only discarder in the game to good effect.

Ultimately though, a best case scenario for Harvest is discarding 4 cards for $4. This costs you one draw slot and one action for using up a single $5 gain. You can get the same $4 for no action, two draw slots and two $3 gains. On most boards actions are more valuable than draw slots and a single $5 gain is much more valuable than two $3s. Unless there is nothing else at $5 or I really need some specific function like discussed above, Harvest will only be a viable shot when +actions are not limiting and where I need the unreliable cash now more than whatever else is on sale at $5.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Fleet vs Seize the Day
« on: March 25, 2020, 06:06:42 pm »
I am still getting a feel for Carpe diem, but there are a lot of cases where I want Fleet over it.

First is when I just want insurance against a 3-pile next turn. Say my opponent can gain more cheap cards than me. Maybe I can gain 7 cards off Procession/Gainer/Buy and he can gain 9. Next turn he can pile out and win with a single estate buy. I buy Fleet. Now I have insurance for the rest of the game. Maybe my deck can buy more VP (e.g. He has an extra Workshop while I have two more golds so I can hit two provinces to his one) so this is a win for me. If I try to deal with the 3 pile threat by Seizing, then I need to green and maybe start wrecking my engine. Much better to grab Fleet and leave the engine to live another day.

Likewise, I may have a shuffle where I have leftover cash and a not-so-hot next turn lined up. Seizing could well mean that I just buy a duchy and miss out on the chance to use the bonus turn for something with a lot more points (e.g. three duchies). This is particularly true if we are running around with cards like Margrave, Minion, Gov, etc. that could help me have a non-busted turn by letting my opponent go first. A less common option would be if I have a bunch of reactions that I would rather play (e.g. set up a top deck of Black cats, Sheep dogs, and Falconers); you playing first can let me spike a lot of reactions which are particularly strong in this expansion.

And, lest we forget, Fleet lets us do things shift like cards out of VP to end the game and then back next turn to win it. Say I Stonemason two provinces. Burning 12 VP is harsh, but I can gain, say, the last 4 Kc's and end the game. I can then flip two of those Kc's into 4 duchies for a net point wash. Siezing has to keep your VP intact and leave the game in an un-ended state at the end of your first turn, while also leaving you $4 that turn to trigger a game ending turn.

Which is perhaps the biggest difference between the two. Fleet takes any spare $5 most of the time so it is relatively easy to work it into your buys. Seizing becomes a bind. Wait too long and you just get a duchy. Do it too early and you open a lot game-ending threats to the other guy that you have to honor (e.g. he can three-pile with twice as many cards left in deck as you). I suspect that there are a lot of end games where seizing would be the wrong call at $5. As your engine tanks during game end you need to seize sometime, but when is a very different buy calculus than Fleet.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Not enough village in Menagerie?
« on: March 23, 2020, 09:53:20 am »
The other thing to remember is that we have a number of action cards that can now be played without actions. I built a highly effective engine in one game with Displace/Sheep dog/Falconer. I got to use Way of horse, find my Displace to gain either a Sheep dog or a Falconer.

In spite of having exactly one action, I nonetheless, was building a full engine.

Likewise, you can build a surprisingly effective engine off Gamble with the right cards (e.g. I powered up Animal fair, bought plats, and then piled out). It would be even an even stronger option with Delay out as well. Certainly something like ultrathin Goons/Treasure/Gamble would easily crush BM-Goons going for provinces.

Delay also merits special notice. If buys and draw are cheap enough, you can easily set up an engine of something like Council room/Terminal where you begin each turn with 15 cards, play a single terminal and then delay your other 2 Cr to do it again the next turn. Obviously, if you have non-terminals, this gets even easier.

I could be wrong, but I think Menage is going to be more engine friendly than most of the original block of expansions.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: bounty hunter is really good, right?
« on: March 20, 2020, 09:04:53 pm »
it cleans up provinces, it gives huge money spikes when you most need it, even when it doesnt give money spikes it's non-terminal, you can sacrifice a middling action card for money in the end game, you can even get that action card back if you like, etc.

If you can set it up in time, it also support an awesome golden deck - bounty hunter + 2 golds + silver can get you a province every turn.  You start each turn with those four cards plus the Province you bought the previous turn.  Exile that Province, buy a new Province, and start your next hand with the new Province + those four cards!  And in a colony game, you can do this with 2 golds + platinum gaining a Colony each turn!  Bounty Hunter lets you clear out your deck to get there quickly (in fact, you can buy several BH's initially, and then Exile the surplus)

Seems awfully slow. Say you open with 2 via Alms. By T4 you get a gold, exile 2 estates and get a third BH. By T6 you exile another 3 cards and get second Gold. You now have 2 golds, 5 coppers, and 3 Bh. Okay by T8 you exile 3 Coppers. T9 you exile 2 coppers. T10 you exile a Bh and buy a Plat. T11 Exile the other Bh and buy a Colony.

That puts you at turn 14 to get 4 colonies. With some of the best possible shuffle luck with one of the best possible board setups.

More importantly, this is not a lot faster for provinces. Getting 4 provinces in 14 turns loses to most BM-X setups. Absent Alms or some other option to open double Bh, this seems like it would be far too slow on its own.

It depends on the board.

More importantly it depends on the state of your deck and when you can get the token.

For instance, Teacher often has moments were you want to dump it on whatever will let your draw deck that turn and get Teacher shuffle back in sooner. Say Teacher bottom decks and you draw 2 Rats. Putting +cards on Rats can let you play Rats more safely and shuffle through the deck that turn rather than just dropping +cards on your village and forgetting it. Drawing your deck 3 turns in a row rather than having a busted deck that takes three turns to draw is easily a win. More marginal cases are, of course, harder to pin down; but like with Prince Teacher may merit moving the token. And, of course, it goes without saying if the game is ending soon you should just be dumping that sucker on whatever keeps you afloat until next turn (e.g. 1st Teaching is +action on some terminal draw, 2nd is facing a pileout threat from either mass Soldiers or a few Disciples).

Pathfinding can, likewise, have some situational cases. The most obvious is with Villa. Dumping $8 to draw your purchases and play them immediately can be just insanely powerful. I have never done it, but it is not beyond reasonable outcomes to buy Pathfinding twice in a turn allow for a card explosion from Villa drawing into a stocked discard (e.g. something like Processing a bunch of cards, not having more draw cards to get into the discard, buying Pathfinding and Villa to get to the discard and continue the the turn, then Pathfinding something like Scheme for next turn).

I have seen far too many people add +1 card to whatever makes most since in the long term and ignoring the fact that they might not get a long term. Likewise I seen fewer people add +1 card to whatever is drawn on Teacher's first turn and regretting it.

After all, if you lose a card split 7:3, that maybe should not be your Path target even if Village is better than Smithy in general.

Likewise, maybe Oasis is not that hot, but you have Mine/Capitalism out and can turn it into a a very powerful sifter that you can mass gain quickly.

Ignoring all that, the next question is what do I gain out of +1 card. Yeah it increases your search space, but I would argue that going from 7 to 8 (Avanto) is nowhere near as good as 4 to 5 (i.e. my preferred candidate - Tr), particularly as Avanto rarely has trouble with trashing so both raw draw and draw density are not that important in Avanto decks (I can think of a lot of times when I would skip Pathfinding in an Avanto deck). In general, live draw is better than dead (Village over Smithy), and reliable benefit is worth a hefty premium (e.g. Scheme over most anything else). Effects you cannot get otherwise (e.g. any cantrip on a board with no other net positive draw) can be exceedingly powerful (e.g. Path Pearl diver so you can gain a bunch and then play a copper, silver, and gold along with a Necropolis and two Terminals). Some cards get a lot stronger with more deck knowledge - Band of misfits or Overlord work much better when you can pick your action knowing if the 5th card is going to need a village or can be a more useful cantrip.

Ultimately, you want reliability and just to get the +1 card benefit a lot. Sometimes this makes for weird choices (e.g. Fortress is massively strong on a Prssn board, even if you lose the Fort split). Other times it is trivially easy (e.g. your deck has only one action).

Remember, at the end of the day, getting the +1 card token tends not to happen quickly so be sure to account for how many you have of stuff, how many are playable immediately after you get the token down, how many you will add how quickly to your deck in the coming turns, and how many you may lose from your deck (e.g. Swindler) or your opponent gain (e.g. Jester).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Changeling's on-gain ability
« on: January 26, 2020, 02:58:48 pm »
My favorite Changeling shenanigan was playing Tr/Steed and gaining a whopping 16 cards for a quick pile out.

I find a lot of people seriously underestimate the rate at which Changeling can be gained mid-turn and then exchanged after being drawn with a power engine. Changeling can double your gains when going for piles and that is a lot of flexibility for ending the game.

entirely on accident but did two Highways into a Knight and trashed a Province. that felt pretty good.

Fleet, Kc/Swindler.

It is a crap shoot, but you can burn a huge number of provinces with 1.5 turns to burn provinces with every hit. You can sometimes even get by without the Kc, particularly if you can do something like Pool/Swindler and just hunt for Provinces.

It gets really brutal if you both have ultra-thin decks (e.g. trashing/Hop megaturn) where each play of Swindler can be worth an average of 4 VP.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Renaissance Projects: Fleet
« on: October 10, 2019, 12:02:06 am »
A few times I buy Fleet at different times than strictly as a duchy replacement:
1. Extend my 3-pile options. For instance, I Stonemasoned two provinces into Border villages/draw, bought Fleet & cleared out 3 Smasons for the third pile, and then turned the Bv into 4 duchies during the Fleet turn and bought a Province. Fleet can let you bank the value of green cards as something game ending (e.g. remodel a Colony into a Plat) and use it again in the Fleet turn it back into VP after triggering 3 piles (Remodel Plat back to colony).

2. Build out for a long shot green destruction megaturn. The most obvious here is mass play of Swindler. If I am down 4 Prov, but have Kc/Swindler, I can get a lot of mileage out of emptying the prov pile and then trashing provs into nothing. Similar options can occur with Knights or Giants and if it is a last ditch option, it often is worth skipping a province to be sure to have another turn to trash green. Playing 9 Swindlers with an empty province pile is just brutal and easily worth multiple colonies to get a clean turn at green killing.

3. Be sure to spike something in the deck for a bunch of points without having to carry it in the deck. The obvious case here is Fairgrounds, being able to leave Curse/Estate in the supply while gunning for 8 VP Fairgrounds is worth a lot more than a duchy and hence I often buy it at any point I am unable to buy a Fairground. Likewise, mass gaining Caches for a few Triumph finds Fleet to be worth more than a province often. Bishop likewise can often spike a lot of VP on the Fleet turn and make securing Fleet competitive with buying Provs or Colonies. Likewise, being able to overdraw and use a bunch of newly gained Transmutes can power up Vineyards while destroying the deck. If you can score huge points by sacrificing your deck, Fleet can easily be worth more than a colony.

On the flip side, I have a had a few games where Duchy is better than Fleet. Shepherd/Xroads was pretty obvious, but I have gone for duchy first with Crop Rotation and a few other green enabled options.

I figure you will go right about 85% of the time in two player with the "buy Fleet before your first duchy" option, but there is a nice minority of games where you either want Fleet a lot more than that or where by the time you see Fleet there are no duchies left (Tournament, for instance, makes Fleet often turn into a booby prize that is lucky to generate 2 VP).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The bad luck thread
« on: September 14, 2019, 10:34:08 am »
The game I just played had the dominant synergy of IGG + Guildhall. I opened 3/4 and my opponent opened 4/3.

4/3 vs 3/4 made all the difference. There was also Baker, so my opponent could buy Guildhall on turn 1 and then get get a Coffer for his turn 2 Silver, whereas I had to get the Silver on turn 1 and Guildhall on turn 2 and got no Coffers. The extra Coffer let him buy 2 IGGs on the next shuffle, whereas I could only buy 1. His advantage snowballed from there, letting him win the IGG split 6-4 and making it almost mathematically impossible for me to win.

Still not as bad as when I had an opponent get 5/2 with Guild hall/Beggar. He now can buy plats for $2. T3 Prov, T4 Beggar. Burnt the entire province pile in something like 12 turns (I had a very outside chance with Colonies).

I have found Guildhall to be underwhelming, but when it hits, it gives huge advantages to the person who gets it running first.

markus has some stats.  If I remember correctly, it wasn't until there was 8 VP on the pile that taking it first is correlated with winning on average.

Sure, but part of that is undoubtedly something I have faced where I just get a crappy shuffle and I have nothing better to buy. For instance not too long ago I had a Bandit fort/Mountebank game. Silver was the only thing to buy at $5. Buying a 5 or so VP curse was the least bad option I had after missing $5 and drawing a T4 $3. Likewise, on board with trashing and no good $5s you may be facing something like a T4 "$0 Distant lands". Your opponent has instead bought a Village/Smithy.

There are many times where the Cursed VP competes against literally buying nothing and those are more often if you get the short end of the shuffle. In those circumstances you may be moving your odds from a 20-80 against to a 30-70 shot. Still correlated with losing, but only because it is confounded with having a crappy early shuffle somewhere.

Sometimes you have to make the best of bad situation and often that means doing something you otherwise wouldn't (e.g. bidding weird on Mountain Pass). Weird things are normally correlated with losing on their own so I can quite easily say that you buying cursed VP is both the move that most increases your odds of winning on some hands, but is also the move that is most correlated with losing.

I think a better comparison for Captain is Prince. We side step the whole issue about how much is it worth to interact with $5s and up (which is obviously the biggest value with Kc compared to Cap), they both give you benefit of playing the card at the turn start (e.g. can draw before Silos), and they both allow you to gain "unique" abilities on boards (e.g. generating >5 card hands with no net draw).

Prince requires you to buy and collide the $4. Prince is turn delayed from when you play it; and worse is a always a dead terminal when you play it. Prince cannot use durations as durations (e.g. Prince of Churches or Gears can work, but has to give up a lot of their utility). Prince is locked into what you put on the mat (e.g. once a village, always a village). Prince costs $8.

What can, and usually does, make Prince better? Prince never gets destroyed by piles emptying. Prince gets the amped version of the card twice as often. Prince never bottom decks once in play. Prince can play multiple terminal on its own.

Cap can introduce a huge weakness into your deck. If using him with cantrips is your only +action, the other guy may be able to tank your deck just by piling the cantrips, which are often cards you want to build up to $6. It is worse if you are using him for your draw. A functional engine vs a tanked one is something like 8V per turn; avoiding that will often be worth double.

Okay, but say you have a board where there are plenty of good Cap/Prince targets, how much is Prince better here? Well for $12 with Cap I get one "normal" version of the card and one free +1 action/+1 card effect. With a $12 Prince setup I get one $4 and one free +1 a/+ 1 card effect. Double Cap is then basically gaining the advantage of having one more $4 in deck. Of course this also means you need to draw your "$4". Of course getting two Caps will often completely offset Princes of penalty of coming online a turn later. Advantage to Cap, but not by all that much. Going to $7, though would likely make me prefer Prince on most boards; after all on most engine boards the majority of my non-VP gains are going to come on >=$8 coin hands or <$6 hands; not to mention that it is vastly easier to sneak in some sort of "gain a $4" than "gain a $6". $14 vs $12 (or $11) is starting to delay my engine by a turn and that is costly.

Bottom decking is utterly huge. Prince of Smithies is an 8 card hand for the rest of the game. Cap of Smithies needs 12.5% of your deck to be Caps. For larger decks, that starts becoming hard to ensure (e.g. needing 3 for 20 cards) and if you clump at deck bottom you may have a lot of really subpar hands in this shuffle and the next. Like Wharf or Fishing village, Cap is going to be more reliable when your deck starts to green than regular villages and draw but when it tanks it tanks hard. At high skill play, you should expect at least a few turns with busted shuffles so paying more for Cap than Prince becomes challenging.

Cap, at best, can manage two terminals without support. This is not enough for a Hop deck. It also means you have trouble managing combos. For instance Bish/Terminal gainer can allow you load up on Silvers and then build out to a very high VP/turn Golden deck (in theory 15 VP/turn but easily 7 VP/turn). On such a pure terminal board these are incredibly strong (e.g. Militia/Masq).

Cap at $6 makes double Cap pretty close to Prince of whatever at "$12". Yeah I will buy Cap often instead of Prince on a lot of boards. More often I will buy Cap and then drop a Prince of whatever might run out and cruise. But fundamentally they are around the same functionality and around the same price.

After all, what are the major effect of increasing price from $6 to $7? Yeah it can make early gain more swingy. But more often it delays the gain a shuffle. It also makes it far harder to build out in the standard $16 engine. Getting to $9 - where you can now buy a Cap and a silver, means drawing the Silvers and a buy. Getting to $10 is likely a full gain later (call it half a turn). Getting to $12 is two golds and three silvers. Getting to $14 means gaining another gold and at least half a turn later. In the late game going to $7 means that you will much more rarely have to choose between a duchy and another Cap. Going to $6 means there are a lot more turns where you are nearing the end of the shuffle and being able to increase your odds of a big turn are worth more than locking in 3 VP this turn.

I would need a very good argument to say that Cap should be $7 when Prince/$4 parallels so nicely with double Cap. I cannot say that double Cap or Prince is generally better, but I would be surprised if I didn't buy a lot fewer Caps/more Princes if Cap went to $7.

Capitalism + Horse Traders
Play all your other Treasures, then play Horse Traders, discarding nothing.

Lot of work for a Gold and a buy, particularly as once you green you will almost always have two greens to discard regardless. Buying two silvers is most cost effective if the buy doesn't matter.

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