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Messages - DrFlux

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Game Reports / Re: Noble Brigand + Luck = GG
« on: January 17, 2013, 01:14:10 pm »
I'm starting to dislike NB for this reason. If P1 buys a silver, and P2 has 4, NB has a 1/3 shot of basically just ending the game. As you said, you are already down on economy, and if silver is the only economy at 3/4, well, you have a good shot at it getting stolen again.

It might be worth playing around, but sometimes you just need the silver...

I agree with this post. But I think the fact that it ALREADY requires a functioning engine, and preferably another attack, and is something you get somewhat late makes urchin not a very good card. There are TONS of bad cards that can be incorporated into a functioning engine to gain an advantage. Heck, I've had games where the difference between winning/losing was the ability to leverage spy and/or thief in an engine. That doesn't make spy and thief good cards. Urchin is a little bit flashier, but roughly the same argument applies.

From my playing with urchin, I've found it a great pick up if you get a mid game 3 (or upgrade and estate or something).  Many engines without trashing choke/fall flat after the first province or 2.  A Mercenary in a functional engine ensures it will keep going and also that you'll be playing a militia every turn.

That being said, it requires another attack.  (fantastic with sea hag or young witch battles)  But it is rarely worth opening urchin.  The opportunity cost is just too high.

Its true, urchin's aren't dead, but if you are depending on mercinary to get an edge over a money player, the probabilities of colliding them are only a little better.

You wouldn't usually buy a village first two turns, why would you buy an urchin first two turns?

Okay, so then there are not 2 urchins/other attacks in your deck till after the second reshuffle. So say around turn 5 or 6. Then you have to collide them, while still having an extra action. So really its more like turn 7 or 8 on average when you mange to collide them (without other enablers). That's awful.

I agree Minion is not a bad example of a case you would want them. After you've bought a minion or two you don't want more silvers anyways. Even then it doesn't do much unless you have a village on the board too, as the attack doesn't do much in this context, and you ideally want to be able to grab another 4 cards with minion after trashing. Also, you wouldn't want to buy more than one urchin, as it kind of hurts your minion attack.

Mercenary is a beast in games with no trashing.

Black market is probably overrated a little bit and do not forget that swindler is a lot weaker with dark ages (shelters, cultist, fortress, rats, etc).

I disagree that mercenary is a beast in games with no other trashing. Ideally you want to get it with another attack, so there needs to be another decent attack on the board. Otherwise, its a little like waiting for two treasure maps to collide. Even still it could easily turn 5 be or later until you gain your trasher. Starting to trash this late is WAY sub-optimal. At least with treasure maps, you get to buy a province immediately.

Sure, urchin/mercenary can be strong in games where engine possibilities are stronger than money possibilities and there are no other trashing options and you have some way to get your urchin upgraded early.

But, that's a lot of ifs. Give me lookout any day, I love that card, especially with draw-to-X, like minion/library/jack.

I love forager. Still, I can't imagine too many situations where I would want forager over steward, especially as an opener. Most involve some draw to X engine. Trashing two is just really strong, especially with the added flexibility steward brings.

Also, lookout is way better than people give it credit for, way better than loan in my opinion. Sure, it kicks you in the ass occasionally. However: it is non-terminal, it trashes a card that isn't even in your hand, and it gives you some degree of filtering, as your top card is the best of three cards. The non-terminal nature of it combos great with draw engines, or many other cards such as minion. Finally, if you pay attention to your cards, you can just NOT play lookout when it is really likely to screw you. Loan stinks on a lot of boards, as its really tough to get effective trashing out of it except on boards where you don't have to buy treasure.

Also, forager is AWESOME with draw to $X cards. Village + forager + watchtower gets to draw you 4 cards after you get the benefit of trashing. Even better if the village was squire or hamlet or fishing village.

In my experience you buy only buy 1 Forager. You won't buy 2 Loans too, right?
It gives +buy which is very strong and is very similar to Spice Merchant which is either non-terminal or gives money. Forager has both, but hasn't the possibility to increase hand size.
Loan is strong, but the possibilty to skip over you power cards makes is to risky. You can compare it with Lookout too. Lookout doesn't give money and buy but leaves you with one card more in hand.

If you want Lookout, Forager or Loan is of course board-dependant, but I would rank Forager highest of these 3 cards.

I don't know, depends on the board whether I want 0, 1 or 2. Loan has the problem that with 2 loans, the loan will sometime hit the other loan. Forager doesn't have this problem. I might open with two on a peddler board, for instance. Or if all three types(or more) of treasure had been trashed, I might buy a couple more late game with a spare $3.


I think both of your reactions are a result of confirmation bias, where you're noticing the few, low-probability occasions when Black Market has high utility, and not taking into account enough all of the higher-probability, low-utility occasions. Sure, Black Market might win you a game every once in a while, but it's also quite possible that on average, playing Black Market on that board is worse than not playing it.

I think that you miss that you can usually tell roughly how much utility BM will have on average. If you can spare the actions, in a long engine game, BM will be a HUGE asset. Having the only tournament or ghost ship or KC can be easily game winning even if you get it late, and in a slow game, its less of a question that this will happen. I agree, in faster games (no alt vp, etc) the comparison with woodcutter is more valid, with a bit of an occasional "look I win" factor thrown in.

BTW, what do you guys think about that none of the new Dark Ages cards appeared so far?

I'm surprised foarager has not appeared, I think it's pretty similar to loan. And market square isn't so hot either.

Are you trolling? Market square is fantastic. And forager has lots of applications too, as non-terminal +buy and trashing are fairly rare. I'd say it finds a frequent home in engines. And if there are alternate treasures, and/or incentives to trash treasure (remodel, counterfeit), look out, it just gets silly.

Dominion Articles / Re: Hermit/Madman
« on: January 09, 2013, 10:35:13 am »
I think an important point to add to the article is that Hermit combos VERY well with other draw. So if you play two labs, all the sudden hermit is drawing you 6 cards. If you have any other draw at this point, you will probably draw your whole deck.

Game Reports / Re: We don't need no STEEENKING tournaments!
« on: January 08, 2013, 04:18:34 pm »
Hmmm... this is interesting. I wonder if this is more because your opponent built up too little though... I mean, I understand that buying provinces means not buying KC's, but KC+prizes seem like they have a lot of potential. I mean KC-followers is a 6 point swing by itself. Like you said diadem could give a heck of a lot of money too. I guess though that KC/Wharf is a HUGE game, and you want to hit it as often and early as possible.

How sure are you that skipping tourney first turn was the right move?

Game Reports / Re: Beating Margrave/Crossroads Opening
« on: January 08, 2013, 03:23:20 pm »
Maybe I should have not bought a spice merchant at all, until I hit margrave? It would have given me a larger chance to get two silver in hand.

Game Reports / Beating Margrave/Crossroads Opening
« on: January 08, 2013, 03:21:11 pm »
This game illustrates 2 things:
A. Facing a margrave/crossroads opening is a tremendous beating. I wasn't able to get to 5 until turn 8, all while making a concerted effort to do so.
B. You must attack your opponent every way possible.

The important cards were margrave, crossroads, masq and spice merchant.

I was mostly proud of myself for not giving up while taking a beating. I kept buying silver, and trashing things with masq and spice merchant. I was able to win because my opponent did not realize how strong margrave+masq is, as it effectively brings you down to only 2 useful cards in hand. As soon as I bought a margrave, I was doing this every turn. Had he bought a masq when he bought a spice merchant, there is probably no way I could have won.

I think perhaps he thought there was no way I could come back, and so started buying provinces  early.

Maybe nothing so surprising to this game, but it felt good to fight it out.

Game Reports / Re: Noble Brigand sniping
« on: January 08, 2013, 11:51:39 am »
I'd actually love to see a NB game log where winning the split was important. Haven't played that many.

Game Reports / Re: Noble Brigand sniping
« on: January 08, 2013, 11:44:46 am »
I remember looking at this. In simulation, spamming Noble Brigand does not beat Wharf-BM or DoubleJack, but it does beat Masq-BM - but that's only in simulation. In practice, the simulators are probably extra-vulnerable to attacks because they do not respond properly.

In a big money game with Masq and NB, you probably want both.

I don't know about Wharf. Wharf is just so good, you probably want to skip NB to get silver to get wharves and play more wharves.

Interesting question: In a Wharf/NB game, if your open buys a silver T1, and you have 4 on YOUR T1, do you buy NB then? My intuition would be yes, because 1/3 games you will just win by stealing their silver. Even if you don't, the NB will still be useful, and you will still make them miss their reshuffle for their $4 card.

I agree that barring this circumstance Wharf > NB to the point you want to skip NB (if its a money board).

Game Reports / Re: kc + bridge + igg
« on: January 06, 2013, 07:07:12 pm »
Hmm... I'm not sure. Opening Bridge gives you a higher chance of getting a lucky early 7 for a KC. Also Jack CAN dilute your deck a little on turns you miss trashing an estate. And Jack is kind of a dead card once you have more than 5 cards from laboratories. My guess is that its somewhat of a wash.

Just played some test games, I think jack is just a little worse than bridge. I hit more than half the points on the board in 12 turns most games opening bridge, 13 or 14 on bad games. With Jack, its more like 13 or 14 typically, with an occasional lucky 12. But yes, the IGG definitely turns the tides in its favor.

I do think the IGG you bought was a distraction. Golem definitely was a distraction, as potion would keep you from KC WAY too often for my taste.

interesting! i definitely agree with paragraph two. as for paragraph one, do you think you'd buy the jack on this board, even playing it solitaire? that is against my intuition, but it's hard to argue with your reasoning (and maybe it took me 15 turns because i was wasting a critical second shuffle buy on an IGG, not because of jack)

Game Reports / Re: kc + bridge + igg
« on: January 06, 2013, 01:31:54 pm »
Well I happen to know the answer, but I'll leave others to guess first:

You need a Jack for 2 reasons: to deal with estates/curses, and to get economy up to what you need for KC, which allows you to use your $5's to buy laboratories instead of building up your economy.

and it brings up an interesting strategic point:

One Jack does not substantially dilute one's deck. Often people are afraid to use jack in an engine. However, if you are trashing an estate or a curse when you play it, it is not diluting your deck at all, rather it is just replacing a bad card with a better card.


Yeah, I wouldn't put it any lower than it is. And you could probably argue it up to #10 or #9 maybe based on what you say, but the number of situations where it shines are limited enough that it's not going to be better than that. It's very good when you have low/no trashing draw engines and that's about it. It's about useless in big money or with good trashing. It's also pretty good with draw up to engines since the reduced handsize doesn't hurt you. But considering the other cards in the top 10, it's hard to justify displacing any of those.

I'd put cellar over poorhouse and *maybe* embargo.

Poorhouse in my experience is great when its great, but that just comes up too rarely. You need a lot: buys, trashing, lots of extra actions, and ideally some draw. It's maybe better than cellar when its good, but I find cellar is good more often.

Embargo similarly has shining moments, but so often is just bad. Even at $2, I don't always buy it if I have a few other terminals. I love embargo, as it allows some brilliant tactics at times. But its also useless a lot of the time. There is also how do you definite power: if embargo keeps both players from ever buying a potion card, but neither player ever buys an embargo, was it powerful or not?

It's good when you have big handsizes, but the real issue there is, you have to be careful with your deck size, because it's easy to discard a bunch of poor cards and then trigger a reshuffle, leaving a bunch of dead cards on deck. So that hugely limits it's effectiveness. That's definitely a situation where Cellar is at it's best though.

You just have to be careful, sometimes you have to play cellar for less, or not play your draw card. I kind of like having to ask: are a few dead cards on top of my deck worth an extra +$X? That comes up with lots of cards. I think that makes cellar a tricky card sometimes, but not a worse card.

Game Reports / Re: Noble Brigand sniping
« on: January 04, 2013, 12:00:53 pm »
How often is it right to open NB?

I feel like "often" is the right answer when both of these are true:

A. You have a shot at hitting silver
B. You will force a reshuffle

Of course if they have turn 1 silver, and you open turn 1 NB, you only have a 1/3 chance of hitting the silver immediately, but if you do, that's pretty devastating, and even if you don't, their 4 cost thing will still miss the reshuffle.

I was also discussing NB vs familiar with someone, as you could often make their silver or potion miss the first reshuffle. Although I feel like if there was ANY engine support at all, familiar would probably beat out a NB money strategy. Thoughts?

Help! / Re: Swindler Double Tactician?
« on: January 04, 2013, 11:48:05 am »

I have read Donald X. in at least two places say that a common beginner mistake is to swindle someone's 3-cost, be too scared to give them a swindler, and so give them a silver instead. This surprises me a lot that this is a mistake because I would really rather my opponent have one swindler and a silver than have two swindlers - they might collide, but they might not! And agh! Two swindlers! But I mean, it's Donald X. Maybe I am overrating swindler? Is swindler/swindler or swindler/silver the stronger opening?

As usual "it depends on the kingdom".

I think that usually swindler swindler is the stronger open. Especially if there are useless cards at 3 and/or 4, or if your opponent opens with a 5 or 2 cost card. If you can swindle silvers into loans or moneylenders into potions, swindler just becomes crushing. Also, the chance of your opponent hitting your only swindler with his swindler does come up, and that's a bad place to be in if you don't have another.

On the other hand, if its a money board where vault+BM is the best thing going (other than swindler), I'd probably only open one. Hitting their vaults is helpful, but in this case hitting their coppers is worse than normal, and they will have a number of gold which are also useless to hit.

I think its rare I would swindle my opponent's silver and give them a swindler. But it could happen, say if they already have two, and there are no villages. Of course there also has to be no better option, as chancellor would be more fun.

Cycling is GREAT. Especially when you have slow trashing, like remodel, or anything else that leads to a large differential of the cards in your deck. Are you really arguing that warehouse is bad? All it does is cycle.

Now, cellar is worse than warehouse by a fair bit, because of the order. That said, for me, a cellar is a welcome addition any time I am increasing my handsize, (usually an engine), and especially good when I just want to put together a combo. Cellar in double tac is AMAZING. So yeah, I don't know if its underrated, but its definitely not overrated.

What can I say, I overvalue deck-cycling. I ranked a lot of similar cards high (probably should have ranked Chancellor higher that I did now that I think about it).

Am I crazy? Probably.

Well, if you recognise you're overvaluing it, then maybe you recognise why it probably isn't that hot. One major issue is you can't cycle much when you're near the bottom of your deck - because throwing a bunch of bad cards back into your discard pile to get shuffled straight back in isn't really helpful. Another is, how valuable is cycling, really? Early on it's pretty hot, you only have a few good cards and you want to play them repeatedly. Late game, it's detrimental, and midgame, it's considerably less useful in general. Then we look at how much Cellar actually helps your current hand. With junkers, it can be great, getting rid of a bunch of bad cards at once, except, well, you probably still draw some bad cards, although you're likely net up by a fair bit. Without them, even in good scenarios it's averaging less than a silver's worth in money type decks (and early/late, slightly less probably), so not great there. In Engines it can be good for lining your components up, or sifting lots of the junk you've started drawing (something like Village, KC-Smithy then Cellar is awesome for getting you a hand with good cards).

Overall Cellar really doesn't shine often, and rarely is it worth a lot in your deck. The cycling in particular isn't that valuable.

Dominion Articles / Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:57:31 am »
Yes, good points here too.  I have to admit that I have fallen into the camp of thinking that Yw is bad just because it usually is.  But if the bane is completely undesirable, then it definitely gets stronger.

YW can sometimes be good even if the bane is good, if there's no trashing. There's a bit of a runaway effect in that if you manage to give out a few curses, it becomes easier to miss the bane.

Dominion Articles / Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:07:26 am »
If there are no better reasons for buying a potion, just find a way around your opponents familiar strategy.  It will be faster.

Yeah, this is only true sometimes. If there is a strong trasher on the board like remake, sure, don't open potion, but even then in many cases I might pick up the potion later (especially with remake, as I can later turn it into a $5). Familiar is hated because it is swingy, but also because it is strong, so you often can't ignore it.

There are exceptions, and you should definitely look for them. Trader is pretty good at combating familiar. Jack is too fast for familiar, at least without some very strong support. But don't assume that you can always "find your way around" familiar either.

One final thing to remember is that familiar is a much better engine card than a money card, because it is a cantrip. Because it doesn't give you any money, BM+familiar is fairly weak. So if you are thinking of "finding your way around" familiar, check if its more of a money board or an engine board. The worse the engine on the board, or the stronger the money cards on the board, the more likely you are to be able to skip familiar.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Common strategic misconceptions
« on: December 18, 2012, 04:48:26 pm »
Wait, there's not an engine here?  Granted, you said "strong engine," but if I can get my hands on enough Festivals and Warehouses, I'm double Provincing on you.

Good point, really I was thinking of each of those cards individually: on a jack board with ONE of those and no other engine, I'd suppliment jack with those cards. But with both, it probably goes to my second point, that you can build an engine WITH jack. Certainly in that case I would buy warehouse on 3, and festival on 5, and probably I'd even skip gold, and I'd aim for roughly even numbers of jack and festival. I haven't tested this though, like I've tested hamlet+jack.

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