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AdamH

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Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (FINISHED!)
« on: March 27, 2014, 12:16:47 pm »
+21

STATUS: this article is ready to publish. Comments and feedback are still welcome in all forms but I think it's ready to throw onto the Wiki and anywhere else people want to put it.


Jack of All Trades, Advanced


The original article can be found on the wiki and was written by theory in late 2011, right after Hinterlands was just released. The original article reflected the mentality of that time, which was that Jack was really strong for money, was overpowered to the point where it could only be beaten by the strongest engines, didn't really synergize with all that much, and wasn't interactive so it made games boring (sound familiar? I really hope this article can be written about Rebuild some day).

That article, while it can be enlightening to a beginning player, really needs to be updated. There are several things in the article that are misleading or just flat-out wrong. The original article says that Jack just doesn't work in engines. The wiki has a small blurb after quoting the original article that says "oh yeah some engines can get use out of Jack." There are things in the antisynergies section that I flat-out disagree with, and to not mention Spice Merchant as like the number one synergy with Jack (let alone not mention it at all) seems like a travesty to me. Jack is so much more. I mean it's SO much more. I mean seriously, Jack is amazing and I want to tell you all about it.

For Dominion in general, one can view strategies on a sort of scale with "money" at one end and "engine" on the other. Granted, there's a lot more to it than that, but I think that's a helpful model for understanding parts of Jack that are less-often considered. This article will be formatted along those lines with nods to other deck types along the way where they make sense. We'll start with Big Money.


BM + Jack, aka "DoubleJack"
We're probably very familiar with this strategy, because it's quite good. In a one-card kingdom with just Jack in it, you open Jack/Silver, get your second Jack ASAP and buy nothing but treasure cards until you green. For the longest time it was thought that this was too powerful and non-interactive and made Dominion more boring. Well that's just not true because if it was this article would end here, and as you can see, there's a lot more text for you to get through. Yes, DoubleJack is strong, but is it always going to be the strongest thing available? Of course not. Is it ever going to be the strongest thing available? Probably not.

Of course I should mention that Jack gets a lot worse in Colony games where Silver isn't the best card ever; only on the weakest Colony boards imaginable would I consider playing Jack+money with nothing else.


...But there's Jack
Jack does four things for you, each of which counters a certain type of attack. This is true, I'm not going to deny it, but let's take a step back here: Jack doesn't super-mega-ultra-hyper counter every attack ever made, it just counters the attacks (and in the case of Copper-junkers like Ambassador and sort-of-Mountebank, Jack is mostly ineffective). Assuming your opponent is going to go for Jack is not a reason to not go for those attacks. I mean, if you're both playing Big Money and one person goes for the attack and one doesn't it might be a close call, but don't decline to build an engine where it's important to attack your opponent every turn just because they can play Jack with money. They won't have a Jack in hand every turn, and even if they do it's not the worst thing ever if it marginally helps them every once in a while. Engines are better than Big Money, and Jack doesn't break that rule.


Enablers for Jack in a money deck

Let's talk for a moment about things that synergize with Jack:

Cantrips: Well Jack is dead draw, so putting cantrips in your Jack deck is a little like putting Peddlers in a Smithy deck (you don't draw as much as Smithy so it's actually better) -- you'd rather just have Silver. It's not the worst thing ever but I certainly wouldn't call it a synergy.

Kingdom Treasures: Just about any money deck can benefit from the list of Kingdom Treasure cards that we're all used do, and Jack is no exception. Venture, Hoard, Stash, and the like are the usual suspects here.

"Disappearing Cards": a really nice example is Oasis - you play Oasis and when you're done you have four cards in hand. Now when you play your Jack you'll draw right back up to five like before only you have this extra dollar! Wow! Dollars rule! This is great! We've found two cards that together are greater than the sum of their parts, so non-terminal stuff that decreases your handsize really synergizes with the draw part of Jack. Oasis, Minion-for-money, Candlestick Maker and the like are all cards that fit this bill, but let's go a step further:

Disappearing Villages like Festival, Fishing Village, and Squire are even better because now you aren't dead-drawing. Sifters like Hamlet and Warehouse are really nice because once the Estates are gone, they help you get past all those pesky Coppers and Provinces so you can continue to have nice hands when you draw back up to 5 cards.

My advice with these enablers is that since you're getting Silvers from your Jack anyways, you should really focus on buying lots of these enablers to get the most out of them, particularly the villages. On the other hand, if you're going to be playing Big Money and you aren't going to get a halfway decent amount of synergy out of your support, you may be better off just focusing on your Jack deck with treasures.

Copper trashing
You may notice I've left out an entire class of Jack enablers, which is Copper trashers. Of course Jack can't get rid of the Coppers for you, so with some way to trash all of your starting cards you seriously want to consider going for an engine. Usually with the presence of Jack and Copper trashing the most important thing for me is the presence of a village.

If there's no village, I focus on money because the number of terminals in my deck is limited, but going for Copper trashing is still worth it. Non-terminal Copper trashers like Forager, Spice Merchant, and Lookout are the best, obviously, because you can load up on them and still get your two Jacks, then Jack-trash the Copper trashers in the endgame if you want without losing too much pace. Even terminal Copper trashers like Moneylender have their use, but without a village I'd probably just skip it and get more Jacks. The exception here is Loan because with incoming Silvers from Jack you will have trouble lining it up with Coppers.

If there's a village on the board, though, you aren't limited in the number of terminals you can reasonably put in your deck, which leads us to....


Jack+Enablers, with an engine feel
What exactly am I talking about here? Well each of us probably has our own particular definition of what an "engine" is; since this is my article I'm going to use (the relevant parts of) my own definition.

An engine deck is one that focuses on playing actions and drawing cards. An engine deck has some kind of payload that usually focuses on playing cards together that can be greater than the sum of their parts.

So Jack does a lot of these things really well: Jack draws cards, is an action card that you can play, and has a lot of these types of synergies (draw-up-to-X cards do this) so naturally there are decks you can build that Jack can really shine in, and you can get much more value out of Jack (and your other cards) in these decks.

Take the simplest example I can think of: Jack, Forager, Festival. This is a pretty good deck and most people would build their deck around this synergy: Open Jack/Forager, thin Coppers and Estates while building economy with Jack, get a ton of Festivals, maybe trash some Silvers with Forager (which is a good thing!) and if you're thin enough it starts to feel a lot like Festival/Library (with strong trashing) only much faster to build and a slightly less explosive payload. Throw in a few Warehouses and you've got something really good.

Thanks for MarkowKette for help with this portion of the article
On the other hand, strong engines with Jack as your only draw are very rare. The reason for this is you need a lot of components to ensure good reliability. The "conventional wisdom" of Jack-in-an-engine actually does apply here, since the draw is pretty weak and Silvers are very bad for this type of engine; plus these engines stall very badly. So in order to make your engine reliable you need good sifting. If you want to make this engine you need: Jacks, Sifters, Silver trashers, payload cards, Villages and +buy. That's a lot of stuff, and getting all these in the right numbers usually takes too much time. Plus, most of these enablers are already great enablers for Jack in other ways and lead to strong Jack-with-money decks that are tough to compete with.

Here's an example that showcases the fact that Jack is pretty weak when it's your only source of draw (game log)

Let's be honest, this isn't really the greatest thing in the world. I mean, if you're looking at nothing other than getting full value out of all of your cards, then you're doing great! But if you're looking at potential in an engine it really isn't the best thing because you've built an engine that revolves around a card that really fits well into money decks. There, I said it: Jack is a Big Money card; so when people are thinking about building Jack-in-an-Engine, they tend to dismiss Jack as a money card if it isn't front-and-center, the star of the show dressed in sequins and with a big musical number.

If there's one thing I want you to take away from this article it goes like this.
Jack does not have to be the star of the show in order to play an important role in your engine.

OK, with most cards in Dominion, you have to be of the mentality that if the card doesn't fit in your engine just right, you have to really stop and think about including it at all, because it might just get in the way. But Jack is so amazing that you can break this rule. Jack does four things for you: FOUR THINGS! That's SO MANY THINGS! Don't dismiss it because you can only use three out of the four. Don't dismiss it because you can only use two! I mean, the spy-effect will be useful in every deck, and if you are using just one of the other things (draw, Estate-trashing, Silver-gaining) then Jack should be a part of your deck.

I've tried for quite some time to think of an engine deck that Jack doesn't make better, and out of 204 other cards there's only one (Remake) that can ever "outclass" Jack in an engine, and even then you still might want to add Jack. My point is, Jack is good enough that you don't have to be afraid of what you think of as "antisynergies," put Jack in your engine and just see how much better it is. Like with many strong trashers, it's possible for them to become dead cards in the late game: this is OK. Sometimes you have to stop playing Jack, and don't worry, he's not offended. He's just happy that you had what you had when you had it.

If you're going to have the best strategy on the board, and there's an engine present, and Jack is available, then odds are the best strategy is Jack-in-an-engine. I have to get really specific to think of cases where Jack can't be used at all, so let's just talk about a few things that have helped guide my thought process when building an engine with Jack in it.

All four of the things that Jack does are really good for Big Money, and every game your deck starts out as a Big Money deck, so the best time to get Jack is in the opening. You're essentially turning your Estates into Silvers while not losing very much pace with your buying power. I admit, this doesn't sound like the coolest thing ever, but let me tell you a secret.

It is.

Seriously, in two shuffles all of your Estates will be gone, you'll have a good economy, and you will have had like 4 or 5 buys, hopefully 3 or 4 of which were $5 buys, to buy good cards to put into your deck. Those other cards, in so many cases, will still have their positive impact on your deck: buy a Spice Merchant? Now you're thinning Coppers without losing pace. Buy a Warehouse? Now you're cycling past all of your coppers and you've sped up your building. Buy a Chapel? Your Coppers are still gone lightning fast and you don't have to worry about juggling your economy while getting components because you can literally gain and draw a Silver and trash your Chapel all in one turn. I mean, with certain draws Remake can do slightly better, but Jack is basically the coolest thing ever in this situation. I would say you need a very compelling reason to not open Jack.

Now let's talk about something else: drawing cards. Jack draws cards, which is a good thing for engines. It has long been thought that Jack doesn't synergize with other sources of draw. Well let me tell you another secret.

It does.

Yeah yeah yeah I realize that if you have already increased your hand size, Jack won't draw you as many cards as it otherwise would have and maybe that's what you're thinking of, but why do you have to focus so much on the negatives, man? I mean, Jack already helped you buy those three Catacombs or Margraves you already have, have you already forgotten? And really, if you already have eight cards in your hand, "Gain a Silver that you'll draw later this turn, but not early so you can't still line up your engine components, and also smooth out your draws a bit" is pretty darn good (lots of other draw helps you draw all those lovely Silvers your Jack is giving you!) And even in those dark times after your opponent's discard attack when you can't seem to find any of your other draw cards, in those early stages of your turn where it's the most crucial to just get cards into your hand so you can kick off? Jack will be there for you. Jack will always be there for you when you need him the most.

Don't be afraid of putting Jack in your deck with other sources of draw. Jack synergizes with other draw cards because other draw cards help to draw all the Silvers you gain from repeated plays of your Jack.

Jack is great with Wharves. Jack is great with Conspirators. Jack is even great with kids and he leaves the toilet seat down when he's done, just open up your heart. I mean, it's probably easier to talk about the engines that really can't get much use out of Jack, and I think it's really limited to super-tight megaturn engines, or maybe boards with no villages where you do all your cool stuff non-terminally and you want your one terminal per turn for something else. Anything else, you want a Jack and you want it soon.

Something I want to emphasize here again is that the presence of villages really really helps Jack. Like most amazing cards in Dominion, Jack is terminal, but it's not the kind of terminal that you can be happy making "the" terminal of your deck. You want villages and you want a lot of them.


Jack-with-money synergies:
Starting with the strongest first

- Villages that decrease hand size; such as Fishing Village, Squire, Festival, Hamlet, Plaza, Inn.
   - The strong synergy is that if these are drawn with a Jack in hand, you get the benefits from the village without sacrificing the card slot in your hand because of increased draw from Jack.
   - Not as much Native Village, because there isn't a huge benefit that you get from reducing your hand size with NV
   - Typically you want to spam these cards since your Jacks will be gaining you Silvers to boost your economy, and with a high concentration of these enablers the risk of dead drawing them with Jack is minimal.

- Non-terminal trashers; such as Lookout, Forager, Spice Merchant, Counterfeit, even Rats!
   - Copper trashing can be valuable in Jack games because of the Silver gaining.
   - Most of these trashers will reduce hand size, allowing for increased draw with Jack.
   - Most of these trashers provide a +Buy to take advantage of the increased economy you'll get from the Copper trashing they provide, even in a Big Money setting.
   - You don't want too many of these, probably just two or so, though as some of them become a liability in the late game, you can usually Jack-trash them without really losing that much pace.

- Non-terminal non-trashers; such as Oasis, Candlestick Maker, Minion, Mystic, Warehouse.
   - With the exception of Minion (in which case you aren't really playing with a money focus, are you?), you generally don't want to go too crazy with these because of the risk of dead draw; grab a few early and just hope they collide, but focus a touch more on money.
   - Be careful with your Mystic wishes if you plan to play a Jack later in the turn; don't wish for Provinces or other bad cards because you'd prefer to leave them on top of your deck so your Jack can discard them!

- Junking Attacks
   - Yes, Jack can trash the junk cards they give you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't add them in. Jack+Mountebank beats either of the two on their own, so don't be afraid!

- Other sources of draw (Thanks to HiveMindEmulator and markusin for help with this)
   - Yeah it's true that Jack is terminal draw, and the conventional wisdom is that you don't want too many terminal draw cards in a money deck. On the other hand, though, think of it this way: if you haven't trashed your Coppers, then you're going to have a high concentration of treasures in your deck. Adding in other sources of draw can really help improve your economy in this case. It might be helpful to think of Jacks as non-drawing terminals you throw in your Big Money + draw deck.

- Cantrips (speculative)
   - This was talked about earlier: I wouldn't go so far as to say there is a synergy there, it's just a thing you can do.


Jack-in-an-Engine synergies:
Starting with the strongest first

- Fishing Village, Warehouse, Spice Merchant, Forager
   - The cream of the crop; these cards plus Jack will help you build up so quickly, and most of them are possible to open with on a 4/3 along with your Jack.

- Scheme, Villages, Copper trashing, big draw
   - Scheme can be very helpful for reliability in a deck with Silvers as its payload; you can top-deck your engine components and not worry about having a dud hand.
   - Villages are sort of necessary to form and engine with Jack in the mix, since you don't want your "one terminal per turn" to be just a Jack. Similar things can be said for Copper trashing, it's hard to call something and engine with so many treasure cards around.
   - If you want to continue playing your Jack past the first few shuffles, you'll want to have some way to draw all those Silvers; strong draw can really increase the payload of your engine so you can focus your buys on engine components and not worry about economy.

- Strong trashing, such as Chapel, Steward
   - Jack is great for building up given the deck we all start with, but a 1-card deck with just a Jack is quite strong as well. You can trash very heavily, and as long as you have a Jack you can build up much more quickly by gaining Silvers and drawing them on the same turn.
   - Remake, Ambassador, Mint, Forager, and Count can make their way onto this list as well, but only in limited circumstances.

- Attacks
   - Any deck that can play a lot of attacks every turn is going to do better than a deck that doesn't, even if that other deck has Jack.
   - Having Jacks yourself will certainly be useful a nonzero amount of the time when these attacks are played on you.

- Something to do with Silvers
   - I don't really want to go too much in-depth about this, since many people see this as a prerequisite for putting Jack in their engine, as opposed to a nice-to-have, so I'll just say this much and move on...
   - Spending Silvers is great, but if you can Remodel them into something else that's pretty cool too.

- Gainers (speculative)
   - Jack itself is a gainer, and the allure is that you hopefully never have to buy any treasures because Jack takes care of your economy. If this isn't enough, you *can* add gainers to your deck, but most of them are terminal and/or don't gain you $5-cost cards, so Jack doesn't exactly synergize with those things.
   - University and Ironworks deserve a mention as exceptions to this, though they still come with their caveats
      - With University you're struggling between opening Potion OR Jack. Sure, you can Uni-gain a Jack later but the soonest you could possibly play that Jack is after shuffling your deck three times, which is FOREVER on an engine board. Also, Jack doesn't fully mitigate the weakness of using Uni as your main source of Village-ness (doesn't draw a card) in practice nearly as much as it might seem in theory, so be very careful; you want other villages.
      - Ironworks can decrease your hand size, and can be useful for gaining Villages in mass; it can also gain you a Jack so it's a little easier to open with but still not the best thing ever.


Example Jack-in-an-Engine games
Game 1 video     Game 1 log
Game 2 video     Game 2 log
Game 3 video     Game 3 log
Game 4 video     Game 4 log
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:00:32 am by AdamH »
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jsh357

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 12:35:03 pm »
+1

It's a good outline to start with.  Would suggest removing the self-shaming intro--nobody reading the article for info wants to start off hearing that, and if you are capable of making solid reasoning about JoaT, you shouldn't have to make such a statement.  If your advice is wrong, you should rest assured people will reply and tell you as much.

For the record, I do agree with you that people limit their perspective on Jack (or at least, they did in the past).  To me, the only real weakness of the card is that it can't trash Copper, but if it could it would be bar none the best card in the game.  Jack is totally useful in engines, especially if other trashing is available.
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KingZog3

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 12:40:36 pm »
0

I agree that it can be a very good engine card. Of course it's best if you can somehow put all the silver to a really good use, but it's strong in a BM/engine hybrid type deck.
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 12:50:53 pm »
0

Would suggest removing the self-shaming intro--nobody reading the article for info wants to start off hearing that, and if you are capable of making solid reasoning about JoaT, you shouldn't have to make such a statement.

Everything above the title in the OP (as it stands right now) I plan to remove eventually. If my ideas are good then yeah for sure I'll take that out  ;)
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DG

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 12:58:43 pm »
0

1 - Prioritizing jack vs attacks.
2 - Multiplayer (see 1).
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 01:32:30 pm »
0

1 - Prioritizing jack vs attacks.
2 - Multiplayer (see 1).

I wanna play some Jack games with you, then :)
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 01:58:20 pm »
+1

Quote
I've found myself winning a lot more games with Jack by taking approaches with Jack that even the best players in the world are just ignoring.
man, if that's true, i wouldn't share it.

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 02:01:38 pm »
0

I'm looking forward to seeing how this article will unfold.

I've heard and seen glimpses of Jack-of-all-Trades being more than just a Big-Money card. I've noticed that even Double-Jack can make use of other cards such as Apprentice, Oasis, Warehouse and maybe even Necropolis. Jack in (or into) an engine is something I want to investigate but haven't tried in the game with Jack in it yet.
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 02:28:24 pm »
+1

I think TfB synergy, especially Salvager and Bishop (for their disappearyness), is something to include in Jack-in-an-engine. Also, Rats+Jack has everything (a bit of TfB, a bit of "disappearing" non-terminal trasher).
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 03:39:12 pm »
+8

man, if that's true, i wouldn't share it.
We are aware that if there is something you know, you won't share it. No need to bring it up every now and then.
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 03:43:42 pm »
+1

There's this that I wrote a couple years ago, if that's of any use. Mostly that was in response to people complaining that Jack ruined the game by being so boring, so it doesn't offer much detail about how to play it, but I don't know, maybe there's something useful in there...
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 03:47:21 pm »
+1

There's this that I wrote a couple years ago, if that's of any use. Mostly that was in response to people complaining that Jack ruined the game by being so boring, so it doesn't offer much detail about how to play it, but I don't know, maybe there's something useful in there...

Ah, this is awesome, I'll read this in more depth when I get a chance.

Just reading your statements about True/False, I agree with all of them except for one. You say that Jack is usually not the best opening for engines and I think it is almost all of the time. That will be a good discussion to have :-)
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JacquesTheBard

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 11:53:44 pm »
0

What about Counterfeit and Jack? Like Spice Merchant, it clears coppers very well, but unlike Spice Merchant, it can be drawn "dead" with Jack and still do its job. Not to mention that when Spice Merchant cleans up excess silver, it treats them just like coppers, but Counterfeit gets extra mileage out of them.
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 12:13:32 am »
+3

I wouldn't say that Jack is, like, awesome for engines. It's something you often want to open with as sort of like a Masq/Upgrade hybrid, just for the purpose of converting Estates into Silvers and cycling a little faster. A lot of engines don't want to be flooded with more than the 3 Silvers obtained from trashing Estates, and the ones that do want Silvers want to hold off until drawing power reaches a critical mass.
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 08:00:49 am »
0

I think DA and Guilds boosted Jack's utility. Plaza, Candlestick Maker, Feodum, Knights, etc.

Jack is a great defense against Knights for the same reason Masterpiece is. They give you Silver "decoys" for the Knights to trash protecting your good cards. In fact, your opponent's knights can be good for you, if they are not careful. If Knights trash a silver every shuffle, then playing Jack just replaces it. You don't run into "silver bloat" nearly as quickly, so you get the other benefits of Jack for much longer, if not the whole game. Here's an example of that.

Here is a game which I think is a good example of the "one Jack engine." Usually you are not trying to draw your deck, and Silver is an ok card to draw.
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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (outline)
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 01:29:52 pm »
+1

I just played this:
http://gokologs.drunkensailor.org/static/logprettifier.html?20140328/log.5160dac4e4b05d3fb42496d8.1396027510044.txt

It has all the Jack friends for engine: TfB, discard for benefit, amassable +actions and good terminals, Ironworks. Hamlet is of course the star as far as Jack is concerned, but Bishop (yours and the opponent's) also shines and in this game I think the key is just play terminals and then Jack.
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2014, 11:14:18 pm »
0

The article has graduated from being an outline to being a draft. The OP has undergone many changes, so I encourage you all to re-read it if you were interested.

Almost all of what I want to say is in there, and feedback on what I have to say is appreciated, so please, let's hear it!
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2.71828.....

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2014, 12:00:38 am »
0


While reading this article [draft] I kept thinking how awesome it would be for you to be narrating it on your twitch channel.  Especially parts like this: "Jack is even great with kids and he leaves the toilet seat down when he's done, just open up your heart."

As far as Jack itself goes, I would be careful about how much you discuss engine capabilities.  When Jack is used, I have found that it is usually going to be mostly BM, or some sort of partial engine.  Basically I agree with what dondon151 said
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eHalcyon

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2014, 03:13:20 am »
+1

As far as Jack itself goes, I would be careful about how much you discuss engine capabilities.  When Jack is used, I have found that it is usually going to be mostly BM, or some sort of partial engine.  Basically I agree with what dondon151 said

My impression from the outline (haven't read the new draft yet) is that Adam recognizes this particular mentality regarding Jack.  The purpose of the article is to give a more pro-engine perspective on Jack that is currently not widely known.  Adam's contention is that Jack's engine capabilities are vastly underestimated by players right now, and the article is meant to elucidate us.  It remains to be seen whether he is correct, but turning away from that claim would defeat the purpose.
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2014, 08:12:56 am »
0

As far as Jack itself goes, I would be careful about how much you discuss engine capabilities.  When Jack is used, I have found that it is usually going to be mostly BM, or some sort of partial engine.  Basically I agree with what dondon151 said

My impression from the outline (haven't read the new draft yet) is that Adam recognizes this particular mentality regarding Jack.  The purpose of the article is to give a more pro-engine perspective on Jack that is currently not widely known.  Adam's contention is that Jack's engine capabilities are vastly underestimated by players right now, and the article is meant to elucidate us.  It remains to be seen whether he is correct, but turning away from that claim would defeat the purpose.

This is largely what I was going to say. I mean, the presence of Jack really implies that the payload of your engine will be, at least in part, treasures (namely Silver). If this means "partial engine" to you then we agree and we're just saying the same thing in different ways.

It could be worth mentioning that this is another reason Jack actually synergizes with draw, because you need some way to get those treasures into your hand.
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Polk5440

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2014, 09:12:17 am »
+2

In the disappearing villages section, you have to list Plaza. Plaza and Squire are two of the best Jack enablers because they each do something that Jack wants even when they are not drawn with Jack. Squire gains Silvers and Plaza banks coin tokens. 

In the engine section, I was hoping you would talk about when Jack's Silver gaining is less of a problem, because Silver-bloat is a big why people shy away from Jack in engines. I can think of two main reasons: 
1) As a defense against deck trashing attacks (Knights, Sab)
2) Trash for benefit (Butcher, Forager, Salvager, Apprentice, etc.)

If you only have one Jack, then after you achieve critical mass of silvers, that doesn't mean silver gaining is bad if you can remove them from your deck (or they are removed for you) as fast as they enter for some kind of benefit or defense. With one Jack, that means if you can get rid of one Silver a shuffle, then Silver gaining doesn't have to be detrimental to your deck. That's a pretty low threshold. We're not talking about the Coppers from Beggar, after all.
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2014, 09:19:55 am »
0

In the disappearing villages section, you have to list Plaza. Plaza and Squire are two of the best Jack enablers because they each do something that Jack wants even when they are not drawn with Jack. Squire gains Silvers and Plaza banks coin tokens. 

In the engine section, I was hoping you would talk about when Jack's Silver gaining is less of a problem, because Silver-bloat is a big why people shy away from Jack in engines. I can think of two main reasons: 
1) As a defense against deck trashing attacks (Knights, Sab)
2) Trash for benefit (Butcher, Forager, Salvager, Apprentice, etc.)

If you only have one Jack, then after you achieve critical mass of silvers, that doesn't mean silver gaining is bad if you can remove them from your deck (or they are removed for you) as fast as they enter for some kind of benefit or defense. With one Jack, that means if you can get rid of one Silver a shuffle, then Silver gaining doesn't have to be detrimental to your deck. That's a pretty low threshold. We're not talking about the Coppers from Beggar, after all.

These can be good reasons for why you don't mind extra Silvers, but I think a more important reason (or at least a reason that applies more often) is that Silver is a good card for most engines. I think I mentioned trashing Silvers once (with Forager) in passing and the reason for this is because I wanted to try and get people over their fear of including Silvers in their engine.

If someone is thinking they *need* to have a way to trash a Silver *every turn* in order to even think about using Jack in their engine, they're going to shy away from it.

I mean, sometimes you're better off trashing them with Butcher or something, I suppose I can add something to that effect, but I'm really inclined to understate it; what do you think of that?
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theright555J

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2014, 09:34:02 am »
0

The major question as I see it boils down to some form of "Is the gain of an additional treasure card (read: "stop card") enough of a deterrent to avoid using JoAT in an engine?"

It really depends on:
1.  The amount of village/draw there is on the board
2.  The rate at which you can get rid of or otherwise use the silvers (ie. trash for benefit, trashing defense)
3.  Presence of adequate other payload
4.  Ability to transition into Feodum bloat, etc.
5.  Probably more

This is a complementary discussion to that in the "engine payloads" thread...basically expressed concern that if one draws the whole deck without adequate payload that is tantamount to Village Idiot syndrome.  Drawing and using a bunch of silver can be a fine payload as long as there's enough draw and buy.  Or if the engine doesn't require drawing the whole deck every turn and is resistant to greening?  As my own engine building slowly improves and I'm dragged kicking and screaming into the "engine era" I can envision a well-built engine without JoAT being significantly faster than one with JoAT unless the silvers can be well dealt with and the attack counters are very important for that particular board.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 09:35:12 am by theright555J »
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AdamH

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2014, 10:21:13 am »
0

The major question as I see it boils down to some form of "Is the gain of an additional treasure card (read: "stop card") enough of a deterrent to avoid using JoAT in an engine?"

It really depends on:
1.  The amount of village/draw there is on the board
2.  The rate at which you can get rid of or otherwise use the silvers (ie. trash for benefit, trashing defense)
3.  Presence of adequate other payload
4.  Ability to transition into Feodum bloat, etc.
5.  Probably more

This is a complementary discussion to that in the "engine payloads" thread...basically expressed concern that if one draws the whole deck without adequate payload that is tantamount to Village Idiot syndrome.  Drawing and using a bunch of silver can be a fine payload as long as there's enough draw and buy.  Or if the engine doesn't require drawing the whole deck every turn and is resistant to greening?  As my own engine building slowly improves and I'm dragged kicking and screaming into the "engine era" I can envision a well-built engine without JoAT being significantly faster than one with JoAT unless the silvers can be well dealt with and the attack counters are very important for that particular board.

If your deck is so fragile that every stop card matters and a Silver hurts you more than it helps you, then you probably had some strong trashing card to begin with that is mostly dead in your hand now (Chapel is the easiest example, or maybe Remake or something). If you have a Jack in your deck already, just Jack-trash the other trasher and now you're no worse off than without the Jack, except now you have the option of playing this amazing card that does awesome things for you instead of just a completely dead card. Unless your deck is a megaturn deck, I'm sure you'll want to use this option at least once, and I'm also sure that Jack helped you build up to this point anyways.

I think people vastly overestimate the number of situations where Silver is a bad card for your deck. I also think that people are less inclined to use Silvers as an additional payload for their engine when there is another viable payload available -- why not both?

And your fourth point about transitioning into a Silver-flood, yeah that's really good. I mean, Silver is a really good card and it helps a lot in the endgame when decks are starting to bloat.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Article: Jack of All Trades, Advanced (draft)
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2014, 10:32:18 am »
+4

I find:

STOP DOING THAT!!!

on it's own kind of confusing, because it's hard for me to figure out what "that" is.  Based on your previous sentence, it sounds like "that" is trying to use Jacks in engines.  Based on the subsequent paragraph, it sounds like "that" is thinking of Jack as a big-money only card.

That could just be me not reading carefully enough, but you're talking about two opposing things and giving some reasons that both of them have validity, so I think it makes the antecedent of "that" a little ambiguous.
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