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Author Topic: Montebank Article Request  (Read 2505 times)

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DrFlux

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Montebank Article Request
« on: February 08, 2014, 04:52:09 pm »
+2

Montebank is a card so awesome everyone thinks its obvious: buy one asap, probably several. However, if you look at the wiki site, there is obvious evidence that people DO NOT understand Montebank as well as they think:

"The fact that the attack can be blocked by discarding a Curse leads Mountebank to be more of a self-limiting card than other straight-up cursers like Witch, Sea Hag, or Familiar. It also, however, makes it more of a swingy card. This has several interesting effects and interactions. A 5/2 opening is not quite as an overwhelming advantage with Mountebank as with Witch, although it still provides an advantage--this is because a lead in cursing is more likely to equalize after both players get Mountebanks and play them slightly. It is also not as advantageous to buy multiple Mountebanks as it is to buy multiple copies of other cursers."

This paragraph is utterly false. Three things about mountebank games:
- Two pieces of junk is devastating - so first person to mountebank often wins, and 5/2 is nigh unbeatable.
- In most cases it is even MORE important than with witch to play mountebank often.
- The games are SO slow because of so much junk, and you aren't guaranteed for curses to run out.

With witch, if you buy two witches and your opponent buys three, they might only beat you 6/4 on the split at best. But with mountebank, the game crawls forward after each person gets hit about twice. But at this point there are still 12+ pieces of junk to hand out! Even if you only hit every other time, or every third time, its STILL worth it to play it often. If you can play mountebank multiple times a turn, its even better. But even without villages, I rarely want less than three Mountebanks, unless I have some way to play them more often, like with HP.

You really need to play for the long game with Mountebank because the game is so slow.

I also think that people don't realize that Mountebank is SO powerful, it often makes sense to play into defenses: ambassador, lighthouse, etc. Not all of the time of course, but way more than other cursers, because when it hits, its so devastating.

So I don't have time for full article, but I'd be interested in if anyone has any other thoughts .

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Awaclus

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 05:00:27 pm »
+1

Yeah. A single Mountebank will hand out one Curse at worst, two Mountebanks need to collide without a splitter every time for that to happen.

EDIT: In other words: Buying a second Witch makes your opponent gain 2 curses per shuffle instead of 1 unless they collide, buying a second Mountebank makes your opponent gain either 2 curses instead of 1 or 1 curse instead of 0 unless they collide. The second option is obviously better, especially since Mountebanks are less likely to collide.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 05:03:31 pm by Awaclus »
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DG

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 05:31:05 pm »
+1

Mountebank is also a card that looks as if will play the same in multiplayer but it doesn't. Cleaning up your deck can become almost impossible unless you have a very helpful kingdom.
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dondon151

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 06:01:37 pm »
+2

Montebank is a card so awesome everyone thinks its obvious: buy one asap, probably several. However, if you look at the wiki site, there is obvious evidence that people DO NOT understand Montebank as well as they think:

"The fact that the attack can be blocked by discarding a Curse leads Mountebank to be more of a self-limiting card than other straight-up cursers like Witch, Sea Hag, or Familiar. It also, however, makes it more of a swingy card. This has several interesting effects and interactions. A 5/2 opening is not quite as an overwhelming advantage with Mountebank as with Witch, although it still provides an advantage--this is because a lead in cursing is more likely to equalize after both players get Mountebanks and play them slightly. It is also not as advantageous to buy multiple Mountebanks as it is to buy multiple copies of other cursers."

This paragraph is utterly false.

You are definitely wrong about this. Someone who gets Mountebank one shuffle earlier than his opponent is less guaranteed to get a more favorable Curse split than someone who gets a different cursing attack one shuffle earlier. The only part of that paragraph that I would disagree with is the final sentence, since once you commit to Mountebank, there needs to be a good reason to pick up something else at $5.

With witch, if you buy two witches and your opponent buys three, they might only beat you 6/4 on the split at best. But with mountebank, the game crawls forward after each person gets hit about twice. But at this point there are still 12+ pieces of junk to hand out! Even if you only hit every other time, or every third time, its STILL worth it to play it often. If you can play mountebank multiple times a turn, its even better. But even without villages, I rarely want less than three Mountebanks, unless I have some way to play them more often, like with HP.

The problem is that once there are about 4 Curses left in the supply for a 2-player game, the impact of future Mountebank plays is far less than the impact of other cursing attack plays. In the case of other cursing attacks, the Curse pile will deplete around the middle of the game, so winning the Curse split will yield a better deck quality and thus a better endgame. For Mountebank, the last few Curses in the supply will be trickling into players' decks at the end of the game (if the Curse pile empties at all), and at that point, the change in deck quality doesn't matter beyond a couple of VPs.

You seem to be suggesting that Mountebank kills all engines and therefore you have to unequivocally slog with as many of them as possible. This is bad advice. Engines are still possible with Mountebank around, and the opportunity cost of getting your second or third Mountebank is pretty high if there are good competing $5s because those extra Mountebanks are much less likely to successfully hit your opponent. Your goal should be to play Mountebank as often as possible, which doesn't necessarily mean to buy as many as possible.
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DrFlux

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 06:39:05 pm »
0

Fair enough about there being other ways to play more mountebanks. I agree, if there's strong trashing, you can still play an engine. However, this is my main thesis:

If you ARE in a slog/BM situation with Mountebank, in many cases you need more Mountebanks precisely because the curse pile will be emptying so slowly, and the game is going to go so long. In a witch slog, you can often say two and done. Not so with Mountebank, typically, in my experience.
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DG

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 08:25:55 pm »
+1

Quote
The only part of that paragraph that I would disagree with is the final sentence, since once you commit to Mountebank, there needs to be a good reason to pick up something else at $5.

Not necessarily. As soon as you enter a slog a big income card like harvest, count, or merchant ship can be worth more than a mountebank if it's only going to be played once or twice.
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DrFlux

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 07:53:44 am »
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So if 5/2 isn't as overwhelming with mountebank, why is it consistently a higher ranked opening than witch?

The first play of mountebank, you are guarenteed to give two pieces of junk. The second play of mountebank, your opponent has at least 15 cards, so there's at least 2/3 chance your going to hit them with that too. Seems to me there's pretty bad odds for you to "catch up" if your opponent gets 5/2 and you don't. I mean curse giving will slow down at some point, but I think that that feeling of "catching up" is somewhat of an illusion with two somewhat equally matched opponents. Even if you get your first mountebank after the first reshuffle, you are going to be playing it less because of two pieces of junk in your deck, and you are going to have less economy to buy more mountebanks and other good cards.

I just think that "2 pieces of junk" > "sometimes misses".

Montebank is a card so awesome everyone thinks its obvious: buy one asap, probably several. However, if you look at the wiki site, there is obvious evidence that people DO NOT understand Montebank as well as they think:

"The fact that the attack can be blocked by discarding a Curse leads Mountebank to be more of a self-limiting card than other straight-up cursers like Witch, Sea Hag, or Familiar. It also, however, makes it more of a swingy card. This has several interesting effects and interactions. A 5/2 opening is not quite as an overwhelming advantage with Mountebank as with Witch, although it still provides an advantage--this is because a lead in cursing is more likely to equalize after both players get Mountebanks and play them slightly. It is also not as advantageous to buy multiple Mountebanks as it is to buy multiple copies of other cursers."

This paragraph is utterly false.

You are definitely wrong about this. Someone who gets Mountebank one shuffle earlier than his opponent is less guaranteed to get a more favorable Curse split than someone who gets a different cursing attack one shuffle earlier. The only part of that paragraph that I would disagree with is the final sentence, since once you commit to Mountebank, there needs to be a good reason to pick up something else at $5.

With witch, if you buy two witches and your opponent buys three, they might only beat you 6/4 on the split at best. But with mountebank, the game crawls forward after each person gets hit about twice. But at this point there are still 12+ pieces of junk to hand out! Even if you only hit every other time, or every third time, its STILL worth it to play it often. If you can play mountebank multiple times a turn, its even better. But even without villages, I rarely want less than three Mountebanks, unless I have some way to play them more often, like with HP.

The problem is that once there are about 4 Curses left in the supply for a 2-player game, the impact of future Mountebank plays is far less than the impact of other cursing attack plays. In the case of other cursing attacks, the Curse pile will deplete around the middle of the game, so winning the Curse split will yield a better deck quality and thus a better endgame. For Mountebank, the last few Curses in the supply will be trickling into players' decks at the end of the game (if the Curse pile empties at all), and at that point, the change in deck quality doesn't matter beyond a couple of VPs.

You seem to be suggesting that Mountebank kills all engines and therefore you have to unequivocally slog with as many of them as possible. This is bad advice. Engines are still possible with Mountebank around, and the opportunity cost of getting your second or third Mountebank is pretty high if there are good competing $5s because those extra Mountebanks are much less likely to successfully hit your opponent. Your goal should be to play Mountebank as often as possible, which doesn't necessarily mean to buy as many as possible.
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dondon151

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 07:45:32 pm »
0

So if 5/2 isn't as overwhelming with mountebank, why is it consistently a higher ranked opening than witch?
...
I just think that "2 pieces of junk" > "sometimes misses".

There are many possible reasons, none of which can be easily extrapolated from the opening stats. Note that the claim over which we are disagreeing is not that Mountebank is better than or worse then Witch.
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Davio

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Re: Montebank Article Request
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 06:21:31 am »
+1

I think people underestimate the harm the extra Copper does.

If you get hit 2 times, you already have 4 junk cards.

Also, the $2 it provides is nothing to sneeze at! Witch gives +2 Cards which in the beginning gives less than $2 of expected value (Coppers mixed with Estates and no Silver yet). Of course, Witch also cycles, but I think Mountebank is a better opener while Witch may be a better card later on.

Mountebank also tends to turn the game into a slog more than Witch because of the faster early junking, so in that slog, Mountebank with its $2 is often better than Witch.
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