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Messages - aku_chi

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Re why is Tracker so low: topdecking cards is quite strong. Having to buy a terminal Copper + random Boon to do so isn't that strong. Part of the problem with Tracker is that it comes with Pouch, so you have a +Buy card for free, which pushes you towards an engine, which would often rather spend its terminal space on something other than Tracker.

I think Tracker is a lot better in an engine than a moneyish strategy, so Pouch and Tracker both nudge in the same direction.  In a moneyish strategy that doesn't increase handsize, a terminal that might only provide $1 makes it harder to hit $8.  In an engine with draw, topdecking your newly gained draw is great for consistency.  Tracker is probably at its strongest in draw engines that would be unreliable if not for Tracker's topdecking.  Also, the Pouch enables opening with Tracker + other card + card sometimes.

*All stats are from those collected by markus

Major deviations (6+) from my personal list
21: Fool's Gold (29) - Fool's Gold hasn't aged well.  You're almost always better off opening with a trasher or more reliable economy to gain the trasher.  And while Fool's Gold is theoretically good payload, it usually gets outclassed unless you're short on +actions and heavy on +buy.  Then there are the rare games where it's correct to go in for Fool's Gold immediately.  Fool's Gold is only gained by the winner in 46% of games and is seemingly overgained (the loser gains it more often).  Fool's Gold is only opened (gained before turn 3) by the winner a measly 14% of the time.
20: Squire (13) - People might not be super excited about Squire, but they gain it.  A LOT.  The winner gains Squire in 82% of games and Squire piles in 26% of games it appears in.  Sometimes, it's the only/best source of +actions, sometimes +buy, and sometimes the on-trash is part of the best way to build.  It's pretty rare for Squire to be completely irrelevant in a kingdom.
16: Travelling Fair (10) - You all know this event is good.  I think it's better.  The stats for this one are actually shocking.  It's bought by the winner in 81% of games, and in games where only one player buys it, they win a whopping 70% of the time!  I have some doubt about the causation direction on that stat, because Travelling Fair might occasionally be something you only buy on the turn you win, but I don't think that can explain the full effect.  Stats aside, +buy on demand is great, and topdecking is great.  Buy this often.
14: Borrow (20) - This event is hard to rate.  It's bought in almost every game, but how much is it really doing?  I suppose I'm not as fond of it as some of you, but I might have some bias.
5: Monastery (16) - For two years in a row now, this card has been pretty significantly overrated.  Monastery has a fantastic best case, but, in practice, it spends the most important early turns trashing one card.  And sometimes you get the dreaded Monastery, 2 Estates, 2 Copper hand and buy a sad second Monastery.  Monastery is gained by the winner in only 69% of games (compared with 80% for Ratcatcher).  In games when only one player gains Monastery, they win only 43% of the time.  Trashing is good, but there are frequently better ways to trash than Monastery.  It isn't as innocuous to pick up as Ratcatcher or Raze, because it is a stop card.

*All stats are from those collected by markus

Major deviations (6+) from my personal list
47: Tax (41) - This event is tricky to rate, but... worse than Beggar, Embargo, and Herbalist?  No way.  The winner buys Tax at least once in 59% of games - and an average of 1.4 times across all games.  Some of these buys aren't impactful, but I can attest that some certainly are.
37: Tracker (31) - I don't know why this card lost ranks; it's solid.  Topdecking gains and buys is a powerful effect.  If you can spare the terminal space, you should get one.  It's gained by the winner in 51% of games.
31: Advance (21) - This is the biggest mistake of the list, IMO.  In addition to the Shelter and Ruins cases that alibby1152 mentioned, Advance is going to be part of the best build whenever plentiful +buy and cheap action cards are available.  This card can give you a completely different way to build your deck.  Advance is bought by the winner in 66% of games with an average quantity of 1.9 buys - both significantly higher than the loser.  This is a high-skill card that speeds up games; don't sleep on it!
28: Guardian (22) - If the opponent has an attack more significant than Scrying Pool, it almost always pays to have Guardian defense.  It's gained by the winner in only 56% of games and seems to be overgained, so I can believe that I ranked it a little too high.
26: Patrician (33) - I like Patrician a lot.  But, I guess there are more $2 cards I like more?  It's hard to compare it with the non-cantrips, my only deviation from the community consensus on that front is Haven > Patrician, but they're close.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Renaissance Cards: Scepter
« on: February 11, 2019, 09:50:56 pm »
I don't have a full bead on Scepter, but I know for sure that it's weaker than Royal Carriage.  One of the best things about Throne Room variants is that they can help you draw your deck and amplify your payload.  In most cases, Scepter only does one of those things.  Even though it's slightly better at amplifying payload, that doesn't make up for it's (usual) inability to help you draw your deck.

In my document I have som phrases like this:

The Action you play has to be differently named from any cards you have in play.

This is clear and unambiguous.  Using "all" instead of "any" would probably cause me to double-take.  Alternative wording that might be clearer: "The Action you play must have a different name than any card you have in play."

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dominion Log Statistics
« on: February 01, 2019, 08:46:21 am »
markus is still collecting stats and presenting them better than ever!  I recently made a video where I talk about how to find the stats, interpret them, and why I find them valuable.  Hopefully this interests some people.

The buff for Poor House really isn't that significant. It's just coin at the end of the day. A little cheaper, but unimpressive.

I'm no expert, but I would think a treasure that costs and produces would be super strong. Copper and 2 Poor Houses is a Province, no matter what else is in your hand.

It would be super strong in the opening, but you don't (usually) have Capitalism in the opening.  If you're getting Capitalism just for Poor House, now you've spent a $5 and two $1 buys for $7 of payload over two stop cards.  I agree with jsh; Poor House is fine with Capitalism, but it's not a can't-miss synergy.  Pirate Ship and Minion are much stronger synergies.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition
« on: January 23, 2019, 08:39:04 am »
Thanks, theory, for pinning this.

Reminder: There is only one week left to submit your lists!

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Thunderdominion Card List Results
« on: January 15, 2019, 11:51:40 am »
This data is only 2P, I presume?

Correct.  2P rated games where at least one player has mu 1.9 or higher (maybe the threshold is 1.8 now).  I wouldn't expect Rebuild to be substantially better or worse in 3P games, but I'm sure it would be better in 4P games, due to having fewer Provinces to compete over.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Thunderdominion Card List Results
« on: January 15, 2019, 11:29:35 am »
That's not the point really. When Rebuild is good, then it is centralisingly good. A player who is not allowed to gain Rebuild would straight up lose those games where it is correct to gain it. The same isn't true for Catacombs or Procession most of the time.

There's an element of truth to that: Rebuild is more centralizing when it's worth gaining than other cards.  This is most true when comparing it with low-opportunity cost cards like cheap cantrips.  But Catacombs and Procession are not low-opportunity cards; most often when they're gained, they are important - if not centralizing.

Also, Rebuild may be less centralizing than you think.  We can look at recent data from two top players to see how differently they play with the card.  RTT gained Rebuild in 28/85 games where it appeared in the kingdom - and won 58/85 (slightly below expectation).  Wandering Winder gained Rebuild in 15/21 games where it appeared - and won 17/21 games (above expectation).  These are smallish sample sizes, but suggest that in as many as ~40% of kingdoms, Rebuild is competitive but not dominant (leaving ~30% where it's dominant and ~30% where it's bad).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Thunderdominion Card List Results
« on: January 15, 2019, 11:04:26 am »
Rebuild shouldn't have been voted beneath Graverobber or Armory (and perhaps not Marauder), but it's in the ballpark.  Data from top level play suggests that Rebuild is correct to gain in fewer than 50% of kingdoms.  The only cards in the top half of the Dark Ages list that are gained by the winner in fewer than 50% of games are Catacombs (47%) and Procession (48%) - both of which are seemingly undergained (the loser gains them even less often).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition
« on: January 07, 2019, 11:48:40 pm »
Can someone pin this thread?  It's slipped off the top page.

Dominion Articles / Re: Guildhall Money
« on: December 22, 2018, 11:36:16 pm »
Nice article.  I think Guildhall + Banquet is more notable than Guildhall + Trader.  The Banquet for Silver baseline isnít too exciting, but should be 11 turns to 4 Provinces pretty reliably.  And thereís usually something better to gain than Silver, like +buy for some lucrative double Banquet turns.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Why is Possession hated so much?
« on: December 22, 2018, 11:03:40 am »
Is Possession really so strong? In Qvist's last card ranking, it was only #5 out of 10 potion cards, behind Alchemist. So there should be many boards on which Possession can be ignored, or where you at least have to carefully decide whether to go for it.

The Dominion Discord community recently ranked Possession as the second strongest card in Alchemy, behind Scrying Pool (ahead of Familiar and Apprentice).  Almost any time you can reliably play more than one Possession per turn, it dominates the game.  This is possible pretty often.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: My new Dominion YouTubing Series
« on: December 17, 2018, 06:09:30 pm »
Gold, when not gained, is a shiny curse and something you want to avoid buying when building any form of engine.

This is hyperbole and should not be taken literally.

Why would it be hyperbole? If your goal is to build an engine every stop card is an obstacle you need to come around in some way. Of course you need some economy but if you are dependent on Gold to get that maybe that is a sign that engine is not the right call after all. On this board there was plenty of options that was better than Gold for the deck OP tried to build. Early Golds, as with Skulk or Wedding, is another story but buying Gold on an early is so rarely the right call for the engine that I wouldn't say my statement is hyperbole at all. Rather I'm wrong, but how in that case?

You made a very strong statement, such that a single counterexample can rebut it; but, I'll provide several.
  • You're trying to buy a key $7 card to kickstart your engine.  Silvers are less reliable to hit $7 early and can get in the way. Sometimes you can get an early Gold. Inheritance, Forge, and Expand (as only Estate trashing) are all potential motivations to want an early Gold.  Check out this game Dan Brooks played where an early Gold was a key part of the build to get an early Forge.
  • Spiking $8 in the middle game.  Gold is also better at spiking $8, which is occasionally valuable to do before you get full control of your deck.  Pathfinding and Province (in a Tournament game) provide motivation for Gold in the middle turns.
  • +buy on demand.  Travelling Fair, Villa, and Forum ameliorate having too much economy on a single turn.  Sometimes (rarely) it's correct to pick up Gold on an early $6 to use it later to get multiple engine components more efficiently.
  • Before heavy trashing.  This is most common (and still uncommon) with Donate, where you might have an opportunity to pick up a Gold on turn 3 before Donating.
  • Card defense.  Gold is especially valuable against certain cards from the opponent, notably Swindler and Chariot Race.  It can pay off to buy an earlyish Gold in games where these cards are dominant.
  • Gold has special significance.  Sometimes (not always) games with Encampment sufficiently reward an early Gold.  This is really easy to see with Encampment + Gear.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: My new Dominion YouTubing Series
« on: December 17, 2018, 10:32:51 am »
Gold, when not gained, is a shiny curse and something you want to avoid buying when building any form of engine.

This is hyperbole and should not be taken literally.

During the Renaissance previews, I thought that Star Chart + Envoy / Catacombs / Patrol / Journeyman might be fast money strategies.  Having tested them out: I was wrong.  Star Chart + Embassy is okay, but inconsistent.  Star Chart + Scavenger can also be good (start each turn with a Scavenger + Gold), but is inconsistent.  The best monolithic Star Chart strategy I've found is:

Star Chart + Masquerade

The idea here is to open Star Chart + Masquerade, keep an 11 card deck and topdeck Masquerade every turn.  Replace your Estates and then Copper with Silvers and then Golds.  Starting on turn 7 or 8, you can start buying Provinces.  Around turn 9-10 (after you've trashed 3-4 Copper), you should consider not trashing any more Copper (especially if doing so would drop you below $8).  Once you have more than 11 cards in your deck, don't mindlessly topdeck Masquerade.  Track your remaining deck and try to distribute your money to maximize Provinces over the following two turns.

4 Provinces: Turn 10-11
6 Provinces: Turn 13-15
8 Provinces: Turn 16-19

You can also do something similar with Goat.  Open Star Chart + Pixie and maintain a 9 card deck.  This is about as fast to 4-6 Provinces, but chokes harder to get all 8.  Also, it's less noteworthy, because Goat makes everything faster.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Spices > Gold
« on: November 11, 2018, 11:19:08 pm »
ehunt is underselling how good Spices is for money decks.  Wandering Winder pointed out how strong monolithic Spices + money is on Discord; it's about as strong as Gear + money.  The idea is to buy Spices to stockpile a bunch of Coffers to smooth out Province buys.

Open with whatever makes it most likely to hit $5 on turn 3.
Buy Spices with your first $5+ hand.
Before turn 7, buy Spices on all $3+ hands.
Turn 7+, buy Province or Spices.  Buy Province on all $7+ hands, probably.  Buy Spices on most $4-5 hands.  On $6 hands (and sometimes others), use your judgement based on your Coffers reserve and how close the game is to ending.
Perhaps this could be refined with some simulation.

4 Provinces: 11-13 turns
6 Provinces: 14-16 turns

Tournaments and Events / Re: Renaissance: The Tournament
« on: November 11, 2018, 07:37:20 pm »
aku chi 3 - 0 GreyEK

I decided to try my hand at optimizing some Guildhall combos.

Beggar + Guildhall
This can be insanely fast, but it's very inconsistent; if your Beggars clump together, you lose a lot of turns.  My strategy was to always get three Beggars and Guildhall in the first 4 turns.  Buy Provinces when possible.  Buy additional Beggars on turns 5-7 if you miss Province.  After that, buy Silvers instead.
   Turn 8-12: 4 Provinces, ~27 VP
   Turn 10-14: 6 Provinces, ~39 VP
   Turn 13-17: 8 Provinces, ~51 VP

Delve + Guildhall
This combo is pretty comparable with Masterpiece, but with slightly higher highs and lower lows.  My strategy is to buy Guildhall ASAP (a 2/5 or 5/2 is great).  Pre-Guildhall, just Delve as much as possible.  Post-Guildhall, use a Coffers if you have an odd amount of money, buy as many Delves as you can, plus a Copper.  Green starting on turn 6 if you have an amazing start, turn 7 usually, and turn 8 if you have a weaker start (often caused by Guildhall on turn 4+).  If you get $9 or $10 naturally, you can Delve + Province.
   Turn 9-11: 4 Provinces, ~27 VP
   Turn 12-13: 6 Provinces, ~39 VP
   Turn 15-16: 8 Provinces, ~51 VP

Masterpiece + Guildhall
This strategy is the most reliable to 8 Provinces, but the slowest to 4 Provinces.  I just buy Silvers pre-Guildhall.  Post-Guildhall, use all your Coffers and get the biggest Masterpiece overpay you can!  Green starting on turn 7 if you have ~15+ Silvers.  Green starting on turn 8 otherwise.
   Turn 10-11: 4 Provinces, ~27 VP
   Turn 12-13: 6 Provinces, ~39 VP
   Turn 14-15: 8 Provinces, ~51 VP

So, these are all really strong!  Monolithic Guildhall strategies are also worth looking out for with Banquet and Cache (and maybe other cards I'm not thinking of).

Edit: Banquet + Guildhall is also very strong.  The baseline Banquet for Silver isn't as strong as the above, but it isn't hard to find something on the board that helps.  A better treasure (or treasure gainer) helps, as does +buy.  I got 8 Provinces in 13 turns with Banquet + Spices + Guildhall.  Counterfeit and Charm were strong.  I expect Treasure Trove is also great.

Tournaments and Events / Re: Renaissance: The Tournament
« on: November 10, 2018, 04:16:48 pm »
aku chi 3 - 0 ospond

Inventor + Alms

Alms is already pretty great with Bridge, but its even better with Inventor.  You can open double Inventor.  When you play a single Inventor, you can gain a $4 (which could be another Inventor) and a $5.  If there's a village that costs $5 or less, you can easily chain Inventors for more spectacular results.  Building this way is so fast, it could be reasonable to skip or defer weak trashing.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Homage to the Best Card
« on: November 05, 2018, 10:48:30 am »

Dominion Articles / Re: Island
« on: October 05, 2018, 09:33:42 am »
So X years later, the consensus seems to be that this is a very situational finesse card that you most likely buy at specific times depending on the board and your shuffle luck?

One problem with this card as an alternative to Duchy is that the action doesn't help you until two shuffles later.  Sometimes, that's too late, and you threw away 1 VP for nothing.  So in this case, it can still function as $4 consolation prize.  You don't always want to spend $4 on 2VP three or more shuffles before the game ends...

According to the stats markus has been collecting, Island is gained pretty often:

Island is gained substantially more than Duchy, Gardens, and Silk Road - and just as often by the winner, unlike those three cards (which are gained more often by the loser).  Island is even gained more often than Distant Lands; I think there's a case that Island has been underrated in recent years.  Temple is also an interesting comparison point, and I think Island comes out looking better.

Counting House + Night Watchman

This is beyond neat and certainly more than potentially useful!

This is can't seem to get to work at all.  I imagine it is that I am playing the night watchmen wrong.  Care to unpack how you are playing the night watchmen here.  I try and discard all coppers and try not to trigger reshuffles, but I am getting bogged down a lot, so i magine i'm doing something wrong.

I wrote a slightly more detailed description for the blog.

You can watch RTT play the combo here (though he ought to have opened with Silver, IMO):

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