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AdamH

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A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« on: April 14, 2014, 08:51:46 am »
+4

You know who they are -- the big names, the celebrities of the Dominion world.

I've been really focusing on my play this year and I've noticed significant improvement. I've climbed up to around Isotropish Level 40 and hover around Rank 50, and for the first time in my life, I finally feel like I deserve the title of "one of the top players in the world." But I'm not one of those people.

How do I know? Because every time I play one of them I know I'm probably going to lose before the game even starts. If I lose a game with one of them I can usually tell after shuffling three times (and they've shuffled like 7 times), but if I win a game, it's a battle that came down the very last turn of the game, and up until the final moment where I've ended it on a win (by one point) it could have gone either way. I feel like I've never actually outplayed any of them -- the best I've done is "something similar that worked out for me in the end, probably due to luck."

If I'm ranked #50 in the world, I still feel like I have miles of improvement to make before I can really compete with them. So how do you make that improvement? Well of course you play more Dominion, but also maybe this thread.

So maybe this can be a place where they post the secrets to how they are so amazing? I have one topic to get the discussion started:

High-variance vs. low-variance strategies

Do you prefer to play more aggressively, where you over-terminal yourself and it's amazing when everything lines up just right, but terrible if it doesn't? Or do you prefer to play a more consistent strategy that will do fairly well most of the time? Yes, this is a very complicated question that depends on a lot of things: what factors into this decision for you? Play Style? Percent chance of winning the game overall? Other stuff?

Terrible example: BM+Smithy vs. BM+Envoy. BM+Envoy can be really really good when you get good draws. Like you can take down 4 Provinces in 11 turns or something ridiculous. Other times you can't even get there by T17 if your Envoys miss all your shuffles and other terrible things happen. BM+Smithy is much more consistent. It can't do T11, really, but you'll never be sitting there on T17 without 4 Provinces in your deck, like ever. Which do you play? What if the simulators couldn't tell you the percentages, then what would you play?
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Davio

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 09:17:15 am »
+3

Isotropish ranks me at #33 and Goko ranks me at #16, but I don't consider myself one of the top players in the world, well, I'm not ever going to give myself that title anyway, that's for peers to decide, but I feel there's still so much to learn, even as I'm getting better.

The main thing which has helped me the last couple of weeks, which may seem silly, is to not panic and have faith in my strategy. If my opponent races to two Provinces before I get one, good for him, but if I feel my strategy is still able to beat him, I'm not going to switch it up. Maybe earlier in my "career" I might have gone for Duchies or something to just try and close the gap, but that is such a sad and bad move. Now I just wait for him to inevitably stall and hope to make a comeback just in time. Without crucial accelerators like the Remodelers/Apprentices etc. you have a bit more room to manoeuvre.


I think I play neither high-variance nor low variance, I just try and judge every situation as it comes up. If I feel I'm lagging behind, yeah, I may go for a hail-mary pass, but not from the get-go. I just try and play whatever strategy seems right to me.

It's no rocket science either, there are no secrets, it's just a skill you hone with every game you play. I don't think any of the players above me do some super secret stuff I've never heard about, they probably do the same stuff, just executing it better.
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shark_bait

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 09:17:33 am »
+5

This post is asking quite a bit.  Just look at the article section, the wiki and the game report section to see the breadth of knowledge that is present for this game.  Distilling your play is really a difficult thing to do.  But here is my attempt.  I hereby define a new term, yes, a new term for dominion.

This term is called Domintuition.

It encompasses one's innate knowledge of the game.  Sample questions that are covered by Domintuition are as follows:

In a BM game, with $6 in hand do I want a Gold or a Duchy?  Relevant factors include players scores, VP remaining in supply and position of next reshuffle.

In an engine game, do I need more draw or more villages?  You've got to be able to recognize what your deck needs to function smoothly. 

At the start of the game, how fast is a given engine?  Knowledge of speed is incredibly important in gauging play.

During the mid-game, by what mechanism will the game end?  Is this a 3-pile where you just need a single Estate?  Are you going for half the VP?  Is there alt-VP that you can afford to build more?  Is TfB available such that the Province pile can be depleted exceptionally rapidly?

Domintuition is not a simple concept.  In its essence, it can not be taught.  There is not a formula that is right for each situation.  Domintuition requires an intimate knowledge of what questions to ask and how to answer them.
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SCSN

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 09:39:39 am »
+14

If you keep experimenting, keep practicing and keep learning, one year from now you can be better than any player is today.
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Titandrake

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 09:09:15 pm »
+4

I'm not a top player by any means (around Isotropish level 38), but I'm going to claim that endgame control and tactics are topics that this board doesn't talk about enough.

One of the bigger takeaways from streams that I've taken is the amount of decision making that goes into deciding what cards to buy when the game is going to end in a few turns. In a big money game, it's more straightforward, but in an engine game it's ridiculously hard to make the right call. You have to consider whether your buys can make ending the game easier for your opponent, which means you have to decide between VP and going for one last turn of building. You have to understand your deck, whether it's limited by buys or money for obtaining VP, the limits of your opponent's deck to figure out if they can put in a situation where if you buy any VP, they can end the game, and you have to plan things out so much further in advance.

As for tactics, that's more about deciding what order to play actions and how to play them. Doing this correctly is underrated, since playing your deck correctly usually involves reshuffle management, tracking your deck to know what cards are left in it, using the current pace of the game to inform your actions, etc.

The problem, is that both of these are very hard to describe, and you have to learn it through play. There are too many different scenarios for both to write a decent article on it, besides that you should think through your options very carefully each turn.
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Polk5440

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2014, 11:01:39 pm »
+2

I'm going to claim that endgame control and tactics are topics that this board doesn't talk about enough.

Hear, hear!
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AdamH

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 11:59:17 am »
+3

Here's something I've been struggling with recently.

One of the most difficult concepts in the game has to do with junking attacks. It's usually so strong that you have to go for it in conjunction with whatever else you're planning to do.

Except when it's not.

And this is the really hard part. Junking attacks usually have a high cost to the person playing them. It's a spectrum where Sea Hag is all the way on one end and Ambassador is all the way on the other -- Sea Hag does nothing for you, and Ambassador thins which is not only amazing by itself, but especially amazing/important in games with junking attacks. Witch is a great card, but $5 for just +2 Cards is pretty bad.

It would be interesting (to me, at least. If someone can't convince me why I shouldn't do it I might...) to put together such a list of all of the junking cards and try to order them factoring in the overall cost to your deck, and maybe the strength of the junking. Wow, that sentence was terrible. Did that make any sense at all?

Sometimes it's the right move to ignore cursing completely. I was recently crushed by WW because I went for Familiar and he correctly ignored it. I also fondly remember a game I played with Stef (game log) with Familiar and Apothecary -- he hit $3P on his first shuffle and bought an Apothecary, I said to him "Oh god, this is why I lose, isn't it?" and it totally was. I hit $3P on the first shuffle too and got a Familiar and got destroyed because it should have been an Apothecary.

It can be so difficult to judge what the right thing to do is because it depends on so much on the strength of what's out there to deal with curses and so many things. Sometimes I'm right on in my judging and other times I'm way off.

My favorite junking attacks to ignore are Sea Hag and IGG -- for me it's really easy to gauge the high cost of these attacks vs. the other things you can do with halfway decent trashing, but when it comes to other attacks, particularly Familiar, I have difficulty knowing what the right priority is to put on them, and I've been burned by going for a default in these cases (usually priority #1 or completely ignoring them are the defaults).

This is a really difficult question to ask, but I want to ask it anyways just in case someone out there has some knowledge they'd like to impart. What goes through your mind when you're considering the priority you put on a junking attack? If you ignore it, why? If you don't go for it right away, why?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 01:10:47 pm by AdamH »
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KingZog3

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 12:49:08 pm »
0

You mention Familiar, but that's a special case because of the cost. It's very slow and if there is any decent trasher you can usually outrace someone going for Familiars. Witch is different because it's much easier to hit $5 on your second shuffle than $3P and you can even open with a 5/2 start.
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SCSN

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 01:05:08 pm »
+3

Even if I could compile such a list, which I can't, it would be little more than a passport permitting you to travel from one area of ignorance to another. Expertise just can't be spoon-fed. Commit to not getting a junker during the first 8 turns of your next 50 games that include one, and try to make the very best of each of them anyway. I'm positive that afterwards everything that now confuses you will be very clear.
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AdamH

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 01:10:33 pm »
0

Every junker has a cost. What I want is to understand those costs better so I can gauge power levels. Yeah that's a hard thing to do but after playing a game where I lose due to this I don't usually feel any closer to understanding how to do this, I just know that's why I lost that particular game.

Maybe I just need to play a lot more games like this like SCSN suggests? That's certainly not something I'm opposed to doing, and I realize I'm asking a difficult question here.
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SCSN

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 01:42:46 pm »
+4

Yeah that's a hard thing to do but after playing a game where I lose due to this I don't usually feel any closer to understanding how to do this, I just know that's why I lost that particular game.

Would it surprise you that watching every now and then a video of Bruce Lee throwing a perfect punch doesn't make your own punches any better? If you really want to improve you have to get your hands dirty and deliberately practice, i.e. you have to be the one ignoring the Curser, and not just the one losing to someone doing it. And not just once, but over and over again. Ignore it particularly in those situations where your naive expectation says that you won't be able to get away with it, and over time your expectations will become less naive and more attuned to the true nature of the game.

Understanding isn't some parrotable platitude handed to you by a supposedly superior player, it's an emergent phenomenon of a skillset having become second-nature, something that can only be attained through practice.
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AdamH

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 01:48:33 pm »
+2

I didn't create this thread hoping for gems that would instantly improve my game, I'd really like to think that I'm good enough where I can't have any of those anymore. The kind of abstract advice you've given in this thread is like the best thing I can hope for and I really do appreciate it. I need to find some more of your posts to +1.

And I need to play more Dominion.
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SCSN

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 01:54:38 pm »
+3

I'm happy to play a bunch of Curser games sometime soon (not today though). Replaying each you remember losing would be a good start, and then perhaps altering the kingdoms in such ways that the Curser gradually becomes less ignorable, letting you get a feel for the tipping point.
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AdamH

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 01:58:58 pm »
0

I'm happy to play a bunch of Curser games sometime soon (not today though). Replaying each you remember losing would be a good start, and then perhaps altering the kingdoms in such ways that the Curser gradually becomes less ignorable, letting you get a feel for the tipping point.

Yeah I totally would be up for this. This weekend I plan to play a lot so hopefully there will be some time that works for this.

Now onto the second page of your most recent posts for more +1s
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2014, 03:13:29 am »
+1

Oh, yeah, I'm very interested in this. Would you please stream these games and (more important for me) upload them on youtube?

I really feel like you can ignore junking attacks much more often than people think. :)
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Davio

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2014, 04:04:12 am »
+4

Being able to play only 1 or 2 games per day protects me from playing on auto-pilot.

On Isotropic, where pairings and games were faster, I played so many games in so little time it dulled my Dominion senses. I started just going through the motions instead of trying really hard to figure out a good strategy and executing it near flawlessly.

With Goko being so slow in comparison, it does give me more time to weigh my options and play my best.
I don't think my underlying knowledge has improved drastically, I just don't make as many mistakes as I did.

So in order to get better, just playing more games isn't the definitive answer. Those games are only worth something if you approach them with the right mindset and are able and willing to learn from them. Watching videos can be helpful, but the game's varied nature in offering different kingdoms and shuffling hinders your ability to copy what you see. What you can get from those videos is very generic advice you would have found out yourself anyway.

Just go ahead and play, but play right.
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AdamH

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2014, 09:54:11 am »
0

Oh, yeah, I'm very interested in this. Would you please stream these games and (more important for me) upload them on youtube?

I really feel like you can ignore junking attacks much more often than people think. :)

Managed to get one game of this in. I think we both could have played it a lot better but my takeaway from this is that going for Familiars has an enormous cost to any deck you want to build here. It's so big that I'd rather have 10 Curses because I can more easily trash those by just building a good deck.

I wish these things were obvious to me like they seem to be to Nick and WW and everybody else. I guess I just need to play more. Perhaps Familiar is *still* just a weak card for me, even though I've been poking at this for a long time.
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Mic Qsenoch

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 10:39:21 am »
0

Managed to get one game of this in. I think we both could have played it a lot better but my takeaway from this is that going for Familiars has an enormous cost to any deck you want to build here. It's so big that I'd rather have 10 Curses because I can more easily trash those by just building a good deck.

Your opponent makes three mistakes on turns 7, 8, 9 which basically ensure he can't win this game. His buys should be Remake, Silver, Silver instead of Familiar, Tunnel, Tunnel. So I wouldn't read too much into ignoring the curses here, he just kills his deck. You aren't dealing with the curses in a speedy manner at all, if he develops his deck into a Minion stack he can get out ahead of you easily here.
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lespeutere

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2014, 08:11:35 am »
0

Speaking of which, the whole tunnel idea is very awkard on this board.
On t16, you should know there's remake still left in your deck and you don't discard for the last 4 cards, but instead make remake miss the shuffle.
t17: get more minions.
t18: more minions.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 08:16:38 am by lespeutere »
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DG

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2014, 10:43:10 am »
0

I was going to post this in a different thread but I realized I should post it here instead. One thing I've noticed from the video commentaries is that the good players, who are not quite top players, are not doing enough mid-game and end-game planning at the start of the game. You clearly can't plan everything but some choices, such as buying venture or highway, can be foreseen. Having an end game plan can also help you make better decisions when balancing what you need, what you have, the pace of the game, and what your opponent is doing.
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Davio

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2014, 04:01:24 pm »
+7

It seems like a lot of you believe the top players do way more than regular players. I can only speak for myself, a top 10 Goko and top 20 Isotropish  player, but this is simply not true. I don't do much differently from other players, I don't plan 20 steps ahead, I don't have super secret combos and I don't even keep precise track of VPs if the tracker is off.

I do the same as everyone else, but maybe a bit better than the players below me, or I'm just luckier. Finetuning is both the hardest and most rewarding part of Dominion, but it takes a lot of practice and ability to get there.

And even if you don't that's not the end of the world. The game is even more rewarding when you start enjoying your losses as well as your wins.

The key to reaching top tier for me was to be very focused for every game, while staying casual and relaxed. If you try too hard, you get cramped, lose confidence and stop trying new things. I just try out whatever looks possibly interesting and run with it with full confidence. If it doesn't pan out, at least I've discovered something instead of just following the consensus like a blind zombie.

What I'm trying to say is: be bold, play focused and have fun!!!
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2014, 02:40:02 pm »
0

Speaking of which, the whole tunnel idea is very awkard on this board.
On t16, you should know there's remake still left in your deck and you don't discard for the last 4 cards, but instead make remake miss the shuffle.
t17: get more minions.
t18: more minions.

I'm not really convinved. If my opponent goes for Minions and I go for Tunnels, then my Tunnels should be discarded fairly often and I should get a gold flood. Against a Minion deck, which (on this board) can not buy more than one card each turn such a deck seems to be a really good idea. I would try something like Tunnel/Navigator, then one more Tunnel and two Oracles. In the beginning discard anything that contains Tunnels and anything that doesn't give you a Province. Buy a Province whenever possible. Once you have these 5 cards, you should be able to hit more than $5 reliably. Maybe you don't even need the Silvers and can jhust buy Duchies on $5. I'm not sure whether or not to get Gold on $6. I would bet, that plain Minion will not take a win against this.

Knowing this, the Engine player might just skip Minion and transition into Border Village/Council Room. He will be able to support Tournament later on and thus probably win the match. You could add Spice Merchant for the +buy, but I'm not sure how you are goig to hit more then $12 with a money deck and collide it with said Spice Merchant - even with a 6- or 7-card hand.

Mentioning Spice Merchant: You seem to prefer him over Remake which is in my opinion straight nonsense. Spice Merchant thins down your deck, but it also cripples your economy. If Remake trashes 2 Estates into Silvers, your economy is still the same if you trash 4 Coppers - and your money density increased a lot.

Familiar can be played only from your third shuffle on. By the time the curse enters your draw pile, you could have played Remake two times and thinned down by 2-4 cards gaining 0-2 Silvers. A second Remake will push this even further. Later on, you can simply remake one Remake into Minion or Council Room, maybe even Tournament. So don't be afraid to get a second one. But by the time the cursing starts to get nasty (4th shuffle), your deck is basically already good.

I'd like to see other examples like this. :)
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2014, 02:58:04 pm »
0

Speaking of which, the whole tunnel idea is very awkard on this board.
On t16, you should know there's remake still left in your deck and you don't discard for the last 4 cards, but instead make remake miss the shuffle.
t17: get more minions.
t18: more minions.

I'm not really convinved. If my opponent goes for Minions and I go for Tunnels, then my Tunnels should be discarded fairly often and I should get a gold flood. Against a Minion deck, which (on this board) can not buy more than one card each turn such a deck seems to be a really good idea. I would try something like Tunnel/Navigator, then one more Tunnel and two Oracles. In the beginning discard anything that contains Tunnels and anything that doesn't give you a Province. Buy a Province whenever possible. Once you have these 5 cards, you should be able to hit more than $5 reliably. Maybe you don't even need the Silvers and can jhust buy Duchies on $5. I'm not sure whether or not to get Gold on $6. I would bet, that plain Minion will not take a win against this.

Knowing this, the Engine player might just skip Minion and transition into Border Village/Council Room. He will be able to support Tournament later on and thus probably win the match. You could add Spice Merchant for the +buy, but I'm not sure how you are goig to hit more then $12 with a money deck and collide it with said Spice Merchant - even with a 6- or 7-card hand.

Mentioning Spice Merchant: You seem to prefer him over Remake which is in my opinion straight nonsense. Spice Merchant thins down your deck, but it also cripples your economy. If Remake trashes 2 Estates into Silvers, your economy is still the same if you trash 4 Coppers - and your money density increased a lot.

Familiar can be played only from your third shuffle on. By the time the curse enters your draw pile, you could have played Remake two times and thinned down by 2-4 cards gaining 0-2 Silvers. A second Remake will push this even further. Later on, you can simply remake one Remake into Minion or Council Room, maybe even Tournament. So don't be afraid to get a second one. But by the time the cursing starts to get nasty (4th shuffle), your deck is basically already good.

I'd like to see other examples like this. :)
Tunnel isn't great against Minion, since almost half the time you'll draw them in your 4-card hand and that sucks.

Also, in a Minion deck, actually getting rid of stop cards is better than replacing stop cards with slightly less bad stop cards. I'm not sure if Remake or Spice Merchant is better for that; Remake lets you trash two Coppers per play, but on the other hand, Spice Merchant trashes one and still lets you buy something that turn.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2014, 05:39:23 pm »
+1

Oh, yeah, I'm very interested in this. Would you please stream these games and (more important for me) upload them on youtube?

I really feel like you can ignore junking attacks much more often than people think. :)

Managed to get one game of this in. I think we both could have played it a lot better but my takeaway from this is that going for Familiars has an enormous cost to any deck you want to build here. It's so big that I'd rather have 10 Curses because I can more easily trash those by just building a good deck.

I wish these things were obvious to me like they seem to be to Nick and WW and everybody else. I guess I just need to play more. Perhaps Familiar is *still* just a weak card for me, even though I've been poking at this for a long time.


...

Familiar can be played only from your third shuffle on. By the time the curse enters your draw pile, you could have played Remake two times and thinned down by 2-4 cards gaining 0-2 Silvers. A second Remake will push this even further. Later on, you can simply remake one Remake into Minion or Council Room, maybe even Tournament. So don't be afraid to get a second one. But by the time the cursing starts to get nasty (4th shuffle), your deck is basically already good.

I'd like to see other examples like this. :)
I refrained from posting in this thread for awhile because I don't consider myself a top-tier player, but seeing these posts makes me want to post an old game I remember playing that relates pretty strongly with all this:
http://gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?20130808/log.5080bad60cf2ab2c11d065ce.1376014853862.txt

Here, I used Remake and the combined power of Hinterlands cards to power through my opponent's Familiars. Stables allowed me to cycle through my deck quickly enough to connect my Remake with the curses I was receiving. I was amazed how, by turn 15, I had trashed all 5 curses I had received from Familiars. It became apparent to me that it wasn't important to draw lots of cards, but rather to draw the right cards (in this case, Fool's Gold). This made Oracle a good substitute for Margrave.

Choosing not to go for Familiar means you don't have to worry about not hitting $3P before the second reshuffle.
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lespeutere

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2014, 06:57:28 am »
0

Speaking of which, the whole tunnel idea is very awkard on this board.
On t16, you should know there's remake still left in your deck and you don't discard for the last 4 cards, but instead make remake miss the shuffle.
t17: get more minions.
t18: more minions.

I'm not really convinved. If my opponent goes for Minions and I go for Tunnels, then my Tunnels should be discarded fairly often and I should get a gold flood. Against a Minion deck, which (on this board) can not buy more than one card each turn such a deck seems to be a really good idea.[...]

How can the minion player not buy more than one card? Just add BV/council room to your deck or a princess and there you go. If I am the only player cycling (in a controlled manner and with actions available afterwards), how likely is it, my opponent collides tournament/province before I do?

Technically, remake lets you gain cards, too, so remaking silvers into tournaments is an option as well - which, admittedly, is not buying, as you stated.
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2014, 08:41:22 am »
+1

When will you buy the BV/CR instead of Minion or BV/Minion?
You need to buy at least 6 Minions to make this work. Then you need a Remake and another buy on BV/CR. These are at least 7 buys with more than $4 each. I might be wrong, but you do need more than 10 turns to make this happen here. And with only 6 Minions, you cannot have more than $10 from your Minions because at least one Minion must be used to discard. So I think, you would start to buy Provinces by turn 12 if all works out well - resulting in at least two double Province turns.
But then, the two Tunnels are worth 4VP, the 3 Estates are worth 3VP.
The BM player could start buying Points (not all Provinces, though) at about turn 7. He will get more Golds by discarding Tunnels. He might even buy Tunnel over Duchy for more Golds. Reaching 4 Provinces before turn 13 seems to be possible, even if you have only 4-card hands from turn 10 on. Among these 4 cards might be two golds and a terminal. It doesn't have to be each turn. Just every other turn would suffice. I'm really tempted to doing this.

Anyways, the Familiar would totally kill this Strategy.

Tunnel isn't great against Minion, since almost half the time you'll draw them in your 4-card hand and that sucks.
It doesn't suck if your three other cards are 2 Golds and a terminal. ;)
You shouldn't buy too many Tunnels, though. One or two are just fine as far as I have tried these kind of "counters".

Also, in a Minion deck, actually getting rid of stop cards is better than replacing stop cards with slightly less bad stop cards. I'm not sure if Remake or Spice Merchant is better for that; Remake lets you trash two Coppers per play, but on the other hand, Spice Merchant trashes one and still lets you buy something that turn.
In the beginning, a Spice Merchant who thins down a Copper to gain 2 cards nets you only $0.6 = 2*$0.8 - $1. If you trash it for the $2 you get $1. Either way I wouldn't expect you to hit $5 unless you are lucky or you have bought 3 Silvers. So I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be able to buy Minions consistantly before turn 5, maybe even later. Like in most setups, I would prefer trashing Estates first, and gaining Silvers for Estates is really good for your economy. Even on a "not so lucky draw" with 1 Estate and 3 Coppers you can thin down one Copper and exchange an Estate for a Silver.

-----

edit: I've tested this against the Bots. I was able to win all games except two. One game I lost due to rotten draw luck and misplaying it on top. The other game was a draw.

You don't get as many Provinces as I expected. nevertheless you can deny Border Villages and thus 3-pile before the Minion player is ready. It is risky, because you have to get at least one gold early on to be safe. On the other hand I won a game where I got the first Gold on turn 9. If your luck is bad, you can at least pile the Tunnels, sneak a Duchy or a Province every now and then and end the game quickly on a 3-pile. If you're doing well, you'll get so many points, your opponent cannot catch up any more.
This strategy worked out even if the Bot baught a Familiar. Yet, it was more diffcult, if he did.

I think opening Navigator/Tunnel would not be smart as this would signal what you're going to do. Opening Remake/Oracle on the other hand might work. Remake your Estates into Tunnels and catch the Navigator later on. If your opponent goes for Familiar, you can do some more enginy stuff where Remake was enough to ignore Familiar as we have seen.

Border Village actually helped me more than the Bot as I can use it to 3-pile while getting Duchies. Most games I won with only 1 or 2 Provinces. If your opponent goes for the Minions, you can safely load up on Tunnels as they provide three benefits: they can be discarded for Golds, they provide points and they are a pile. You will have enough Golds to pile the Duchies, maybe even the Border Villages and the Duchies.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 11:45:30 am by c4master »
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lespeutere

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2014, 04:21:07 pm »
+2

Testing against bots seems rather pointless, as they are so weak.

1. I don't think you need at least 6 minions, though. How do you get to this number?
2. You can first get a province, try to get princess and go back to buy more minions.
3. Getting 1 or 2 tunnels only does not seem consistent with the idea to get your deck 'flooded' with golds and have enough to have 8$ in a 4 card hand.
4. With princess and council room, it is no problem to arrive at double province turns, the lack of +buy is the limit here, i.e. with 1 CR and princess, you're 'limited' to triple provinces (I was - against banker bot, though, which is pointless).
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2014, 04:34:35 pm »
+4

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2014, 06:16:57 pm »
0

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.
I think the Tunnels can work well against Minion if you were going for Tunnels anyway, maybe as part of a Gardens slog or Silk Road Slog.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2014, 06:24:56 pm »
0

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.
I think the Tunnels can work well against Minion if you were going for Tunnels anyway, maybe as part of a Gardens slog or Silk Road Slog.
Tunnels can work as a part of a Gardens or a Silk Road slog, and that can work well against Minion, but I'm still not convinced that your opponent's Minions make your Tunnels better than usual.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2014, 06:53:28 pm »
0

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.
I think the Tunnels can work well against Minion if you were going for Tunnels anyway, maybe as part of a Gardens slog or Silk Road Slog.
Tunnels can work as a part of a Gardens or a Silk Road slog, and that can work well against Minion, but I'm still not convinced that your opponent's Minions make your Tunnels better than usual.
It's more that the 4-card hand from Minion doesn't hurt so much when you're going for alt-vp. You shouldn't rely on your opponent's for Tunnel Gold, but it's yet another source of Gold in case your tunnel finds itself in a did hand.

I haven't watched the game in question, but based on what I know from the board the Tunnel player shouldn't be able to get far with 4-card hands. That's assuming the other player doesn't just transition to Border Village/Council Room. And Tunnel most likely sets back your Province gains on this Tournament board.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2014, 01:41:46 am »
0

Testing against bots seems rather pointless, as they are so weak.

1. I don't think you need at least 6 minions, though. How do you get to this number?
2. You can first get a province, try to get princess and go back to buy more minions.
3. Getting 1 or 2 tunnels only does not seem consistent with the idea to get your deck 'flooded' with golds and have enough to have 8$ in a 4 card hand.
4. With princess and council room, it is no problem to arrive at double province turns, the lack of +buy is the limit here, i.e. with 1 CR and princess, you're 'limited' to triple provinces (I was - against banker bot, though, which is pointless).

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.

Take home message: don't give reasons, make blunt statements. ;)
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2014, 02:22:44 am »
0

Testing against bots seems rather pointless, as they are so weak.

1. I don't think you need at least 6 minions, though. How do you get to this number?
2. You can first get a province, try to get princess and go back to buy more minions.
3. Getting 1 or 2 tunnels only does not seem consistent with the idea to get your deck 'flooded' with golds and have enough to have 8$ in a 4 card hand.
4. With princess and council room, it is no problem to arrive at double province turns, the lack of +buy is the limit here, i.e. with 1 CR and princess, you're 'limited' to triple provinces (I was - against banker bot, though, which is pointless).

Minion engine should win and it's not close. Tunnel is an awful defense against Minion.

Take home message: don't give reasons, make blunt statements. ;)
;)

1. You should collide Minions to make efective use of them. This seems to be impossible with only 3 Minions - even more sonce you need at least $5 to buy another Minion. Maybe expecting a "Minion Engine" is not the correct thing here. With Tournament and Familiar you could adept very well to whatever your opponent does. So, yes, 6 was just an arbitrary number because this seems to be enough to activate at least 3 Minions for money each turn and still attack.
2. I'm not sure which price is the best here. Probably Followers because of the cursing. Princess is useless in a hand without a Village. On the other hand - if you manage to get this going then double Province seems really easy. Around which turn do you see this happening? It might well be around turn 8 or 9, right? Then, this strategy would be superior. If you're not contested on the Minions, you're going to have lots of time. Otherwise, getting a Province first will probably make you lose the Minions split.
3. One early Tunnel can be discarded 3 times to produce 3 golds. It's risky, but in such a setup each Tunnel bought before turn 7 will do this at the very least. Getting too many Tunnels early on is a risk. You're likely to get green hands and $12 hands without +buy. So pumping your economy carefully seems to fit better. After testing a few games I soon went into something like BM-Slog because I mainly bought Duchies and Tunnels and only occasionally a Province.
I'm also pretty sure, Oracle will do me better later on, because two cards can be worth a lot - if I can chose them.
4. I totally agree on that. Your limit is the +buy and the right situation to pick it up. I didn't think it could be worth picking it up before turn 10 or 11. This may well be wrong.

I didn't claim that Tunnel-Navigator-BM (or slog) would beat any Engine. I just said, it would beat Minions which is correct - unless the Minion player adepts to this. I suggest opening Remake/Oracle remaking one Estate into a Silver and the other two Estates into Tunnels. Buy a Navigator ASAP and get more Oracles. If you see your opponent go for Council Room, you need to adapt, though.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2014, 02:49:23 am »
+3

.I just said, it would beat Minions which is correct - unless the Minion player adepts to this.

I will easily beat Magnus Carlsen - unless he adepts to where I move my pieces.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2014, 03:14:53 am »
0

Probably I'm just too dull to play this Minion deck correctly. I cannot see where it wins easily, but I would be honored to get crushed on this. Honestly, I'm really not a good player, but I would like to perform against anyone who builds this engine.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2014, 04:26:09 am »
0

My small addition to the thread:

Sometimes, the best call is the straightforward call. The big money strategy may be fast enough; buying that Gold or Province instead of those fancy actions may be correct. As cool as it may be when your engine finally works, when you go for the engine 100% of the time you lose track of the games where the engine actually can't catch up and a steady drive through the Provinces beats the jet-pack you're trying to build.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2014, 11:31:36 am »
0

Probably I'm just too dull to play this Minion deck correctly. I cannot see where it wins easily, but I would be honored to get crushed on this. Honestly, I'm really not a good player, but I would like to perform against anyone who builds this engine.

Is 74 points in 16 turns enough to convince you?
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2014, 12:51:14 pm »
0

Probably I'm just too dull to play this Minion deck correctly. I cannot see where it wins easily, but I would be honored to get crushed on this. Honestly, I'm really not a good player, but I would like to perform against anyone who builds this engine.

Is 74 points in 16 turns enough to convince you?

Didn't you have an opponent here who competes on Border Villages? And maybe one who disenables all your Tournaments? It looks impressive but doubleJack BM gets all the Provinces in 18 turns, too. If you're not contested, I wouldn't say it's more convincing than my Bot games.

It's not that I think the Minion deck is bad. It's more like I feel it's not quick enough.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 12:52:42 pm by c4master »
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2014, 01:39:30 pm »
+1

I think you're focusing on the wrong things entirely.

I'd be happy to play this board with you later tonight when I get back home. What about 3 hours from now in Outpost?
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2014, 02:56:24 pm »
0

Who won? My play money is on SCSN  :)
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2014, 03:02:05 pm »
0

Nothing happened, I guess he hasn't read the offer yet.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2014, 03:59:53 pm »
+1

If you have no plan to trigger your tunnels yourself, buying tunnel as defense against discard attacks will not work.  Minion is a good case in point.  If you have enough tunnels for your opponent's minions to trigger them often, then your 4-card hands are going to be pretty bad even with 8 golds in your deck. 

If you do have some way to trigger it, then opponent's discard attacks can help you sometimes, so discard might even be a reason to go for tunnels.  I suspect that this is probably going to happen about 30% of the time (30% of boards with tunnel, tunnel help, and a discard attack); I suspect that most decent engines will be able to force discard every turn and that will flatten you.  If your trigger doesn't increase your handsize (vault, embassy), then you're going to be very hard pressed to hit $8 by playing your inn/whatever after getting hit with a discard attack. 
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c4master

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2014, 11:23:46 am »
0

Nothing happened, I guess he hasn't read the offer yet.

Sorry, didn't read this. I really hope to play this soon - and I won't mind being totally wronged.

Who won? My play money is on SCSN  :)

Just for the record: My own money would be on SCSN, too. ;)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 11:27:49 am by c4master »
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Honkeyfresh

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2018, 11:44:19 pm »
0

so who won?

wow is this board dead.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #44 on: April 24, 2018, 05:41:38 pm »
+8

so who won?

I would hate to spoil the results of Monster Engine vs. Tunnel Nonsense, but you can watch the match-up here.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2018, 04:58:02 am »
+1

I think this thread has been derailed to the point that I might chime in despite my obvious lack of qualification which is asked for in the title.

Every junker has a cost. What I want is to understand those costs better so I can gauge power levels.

Depends on the junk, doesn't it? Ambassador is bad at ridding you of Ruins.

Also, what happens after the curses have run out? Mountebank is a bit worse than Tormentor drawing a Greed, Sea Hag is a Confusion, Familiar at least doesn't hurt (UNLESS he gives your opponents to activate Caravan Guards, Diplomats, Horse Traders etc), Torturer remains a Smithy (if you can bear the thought of your victim laughing at you because you don't find your pliers), Marauder is a terminal Bandit Camp.

Torturer chains are a way of building your engine which would nearly be viable if the Torturer wouldn't attack. During the early phase, the Torturer chain you build actually does something for your economy, more at least than two Ambdassadors.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2018, 03:06:02 am »
0

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2018, 04:32:53 am »
+1

Marauder is a terminal Bandit Camp.

That's like saying Abandoned Mine is a terminal Bazaar.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2018, 06:37:18 am »
0

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?
no.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2018, 07:51:12 am »
+2

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?

Time doesn't exist. It takes time to understand.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2018, 12:39:54 am »
0

Since this thread was needlessly bumped, might as well update things a bit for 2018:

1. Traditional Big Money is garbage unless it's Gear, Modern Money tends to use less draw and more treasure gaining like Treasure Trove and Amulet

2. Engines are just silly good, even more than people first assumed, and this includes pre-Dark Ages; new sets just made the conclusion more obvious

3. Moat and Mine/Mint are both contenders for worst meme in all of f.ds

4. Sandwiches are just entire meals contained within a hand, and are thus superior to meals on a plate

5. Bumping old threads is sorta in, both for nostalgia and to laugh obnoxiously at bad opinions from years ago

That's about all the top-tier advice I can give for one day.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2018, 03:40:55 am »
+3

3. Moat and Mine/Mint are both contenders for worst meme in all of f.ds

This is bad advice.
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2018, 11:24:06 pm »
0

so who won?

I would hate to spoil the results of Monster Engine vs. Tunnel Nonsense, but you can watch the match-up here.

holy blast from the past batman.  Nice to see the OG Dominion interface...   8)
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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2018, 11:26:48 pm »
+2

so who won?

I would hate to spoil the results of Monster Engine vs. Tunnel Nonsense, but you can watch the match-up here.

holy blast from the past batman.  Nice to see the OG Dominion interface...   8)

#iwb
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Honkeyfresh

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2018, 11:29:26 pm »
0

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?

That was kinda my point.  This thread hadn't been posted in in 4 years... and it's still on page 7 on the forum.  That's a pretty sad rate of activity when you think about it.
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Honkeyfresh

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2018, 11:30:46 pm »
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you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?

Time doesn't exist. It takes time to understand.

This is the kind of paradoxical logic that causes computers to self destruct.
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Awaclus

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2018, 01:56:06 am »
+1

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?

That was kinda my point.  This thread hadn't been posted in in 4 years... and it's still on page 7 on the forum.  That's a pretty sad rate of activity when you think about it.

7 pages means 350 threads. That's not a sad rate of activity when you think about it.
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Bomb, Cannon, and many of the Gunpowder cards can strongly effect gameplay, particularly in a destructive way

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Seprix

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Re: A place for the wisdom of top-tier players
« Reply #57 on: April 29, 2018, 06:00:50 pm »
0

you realise that was a question asked 4 years ago?

That was kinda my point.  This thread hadn't been posted in in 4 years... and it's still on page 7 on the forum.  That's a pretty sad rate of activity when you think about it.

Yeah but there's plenty of other threads where Top-Tier wisdom posts are. I mean, why look at one outlier as evidence for sad rates of activity?
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