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Author Topic: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card  (Read 3454 times)

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blueblimp

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Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« on: August 30, 2014, 12:40:33 am »
0

Tracking
$3 - Action

+1 Action
Look at the top 3 cards of your deck. Put one into your hand. Discard the other cards.


It sounds like a more fun version of Sage to me.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 12:48:52 am by blueblimp »
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2014, 12:43:19 am »
+1

It needs the +1 action though, otherwise it's hardly any better than Ruined Library.
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2014, 12:47:45 am »
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Er, yes, I meant to put that in. Fixed.
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ycz6

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2014, 12:54:57 am »
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It needs the +1 action though, otherwise it's hardly any better than Ruined Library.
Well, you could get rid of the Action and leave it at its original cost of 1. Could actually be a pretty interesting card.
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2014, 01:02:22 am »
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It needs the +1 action though, otherwise it's hardly any better than Ruined Library.
Well, you could get rid of the Action and leave it at its original cost of 1. Could actually be a pretty interesting card.
But almost completely useless. I guess if it's a hopeless board where pure big money really is the best strategy and you are unfortunate enough to get a $2 hand, you might buy it, and perhaps sometimes it might not hurt your deck too much to gain them from Upgrades and Remakes, but other than that, I don't really see much use for this card.
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ycz6

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2014, 01:24:29 am »
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It could be a good pickup with an extra buy in slogs, it interacts with Upgrade-likes, and it's amazing with Tunnel. Probably not bad in games with Fishing Village or City, either. I admit it is not the most inspiring card idea.
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2014, 01:35:32 am »
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Well, every card in Hearthstone effectively has +1 action, since actions there are unlimited. So I think it makes sense to retain that.

Since Hearthstone costs are incurred when played, not when they're added to your deck (as in Dominion), to simulate that you'd need a mechanic where you lose something when playing a card. Actions are sort of like that, except the number of Actions needed to play a card is the same for all cards (unlike mana costs where it scales roughly with the card power).
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Grujah

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2014, 04:39:34 pm »
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Instant, look at top three, discard two, draw 1, for 1 blue mana, would quite playable in MTG.
It might be more like it if it said "trash the other two". It's very similar to lookout i guess.
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2014, 04:50:25 pm »
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Instant, look at top three, discard two, draw 1, for 1 blue mana, would quite playable in MTG.
I'm guessing it wouldn't be quite playable for a very long time though, because it's too good and would get banned in most formats pretty soon. I mean, this is massively better than Brainstorm, which is a lot better than Ponder, which is slightly better than Preordain, which is still banned in Modern.
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Titandrake

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2014, 04:53:58 pm »
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I think this is more like Warehouse than Sage, since it basically says "+3 Cards, then discard 2 of the cards you just drew".
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2014, 06:00:13 pm »
+1

I think this is more like Warehouse than Sage, since it basically says "+3 Cards, then discard 2 of the cards you just drew".
Well, here's my reasoning. There are two kinds of non-terminal sifters in Dominion:
  • Those that maintain your handsize: Apothecary, Sage, Cartographer, etc.
  • Those that don't: Warehouse, Cellar, and I don't remember if there are others.
The ones that maintain your handsize tend to have a stronger effect, because adding additional ones to your deck almost never makes your deck worse. That's not true of sifters that decrease your handsize. For example, 10 Apothecaries is fine in a deck, but 10 Warehouses is typically awful. Of course, there are many edge cases where the discarding is good: Tunnel, Menagerie, Library, and so on. But I believe that they are in the minority.

That's one half of my argument: why I think Tracking and Warehouse would play entirely differently. The other half is why I think it's similar to Sage. Abstractly, what Sage's effect does is: dig through your deck until you find a card that's "good" (as measured by costing $3+), put it in your hand, and discard the other cards you dug through. Tracking's effect is quite similar from that bird's-eye view. (Note: Farming Village's effect is also similar, although that's a village, and notably doesn't skip coppers.)

The thing I find a bit unfun about Sage's effect is that costing $3+ is not a very good approximation of a card being useful. It'll pick up Silvers, which you may not want immediately, and more annoyingly Provinces and Duchies, which you almost never want in hand. Tracking seems more fun because you can pick a card you actually want.

I assume Sage is the way it is for two reasons. My guess as to why it uses $3+ as the selection criterion vs say card type is so that it can skip Ruins, appropriate for a card in Dark Ages. My guess as to why it doesn't give you any choice about what you pick up (in contrast to the initial version) is to reduce analysis paralysis.

Donald X's Dominion card designs over time went on a trend of reducing analysis paralysis. I believe he said at some point that Rabble's effect is basically a fixed version of Spy's effect, since Spy induces an annoying amount of analysis paralysis, whereas with Rabble you don't need to make a choice at all. I think though that Tracking wouldn't be so bad: there's only a single choice to make with three options, and most of the time it's pretty obvious which one to pick. That's the same as Advisor, for example, whose presence in Guilds probably indicates that playtesting didn't find it to be too heavy on AP. Compare to problem cards like Pawn (6 options) or Spy (one choice per player in the game).
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Grujah

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2014, 06:29:32 pm »
+1

Instant, look at top three, discard two, draw 1, for 1 blue mana, would quite playable in MTG.
I'm guessing it wouldn't be quite playable for a very long time though, because it's too good and would get banned in most formats pretty soon. I mean, this is massively better than Brainstorm, which is a lot better than Ponder, which is slightly better than Preordain, which is still banned in Modern.

I wouldn't say its massively better than brainstorm, nor even better. It is card-netural (you end up with same amount of cards), you dig for the same amount, but it doesn't let you do various brainstorm tricks like virtually drawing 3 with some fetch shuffle effects.
OTOH, It fills the graveyard that matters a lot now with reign of Snapcaster. But it doesn't let you keep good stuff.

It is comparable to Ponder. Also digs for 3 and draws one, but doesn't allow you to discard bad cards. This doesn't let you keep potential good ones. It gives you no info about the top of your deck which is important with like Delver, Bob, Sensei's, Counterbalance, Miracle.
The fact that you can put other two in gy is both good and bad, depending on what you care more about. Currently blue deck do care about graveyard, (Snapcaster is love) but a bit more about the of their decks. (that is my opinion only though, but I only play Modern and Standard (and Cube)). So it has ups and downs, but does seem quite powerful.
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2014, 06:38:04 pm »
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I wouldn't say its massively better than brainstorm, nor even better. It is card-netural (you end up with same amount of cards), you dig for the same amount, but it doesn't let you do various brainstorm tricks like virtually drawing 3 with some fetch shuffle effects.
Yeah, you don't even need a fetch land to virtually draw 3 with this card.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2014, 07:01:18 pm »
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It might be more like it if it said "trash the other two". It's very similar to lookout i guess.

It is a bit more like this, since you feel pretty bad if you find 2 important cards (e.g. Buzzard + UTH).
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2014, 07:26:23 pm »
+3

It might be more like it if it said "trash the other two". It's very similar to lookout i guess.

It is a bit more like this, since you feel pretty bad if you find 2 important cards (e.g. Buzzard + UTH).
This is more a psychological effect though than actually a gameplay effect. Unless you go to fatigue, which isn't very common since Hunter decks are typically not control decks, then discarding the cards is effectively the same as putting them on the bottom of your deck.

I haven't gone through the math but I'm pretty sure it can be proven that, if you don't reach fatigue during the game, then Tracking's discard penalty is precisely offset by the benefit of digging two cards deeper into your deck over the course of the game.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 07:31:08 pm by blueblimp »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2014, 05:07:04 pm »
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It might be more like it if it said "trash the other two". It's very similar to lookout i guess.

It is a bit more like this, since you feel pretty bad if you find 2 important cards (e.g. Buzzard + UTH).
This is more a psychological effect though than actually a gameplay effect. Unless you go to fatigue, which isn't very common since Hunter decks are typically not control decks, then discarding the cards is effectively the same as putting them on the bottom of your deck.

I haven't gone through the math but I'm pretty sure it can be proven that, if you don't reach fatigue during the game, then Tracking's discard penalty is precisely offset by the benefit of digging two cards deeper into your deck over the course of the game.

I don't know what you mean by "precisely offset". Clearly the benefit of drawing deeper is worth losing cards out of your deck almost all of the time, and Tracking is a great card.

The only exception would be if your only win condition relied solely on a set of cards that you'll no longer be able to get, and you lose in fatigue due to lack of threats. And you would not want Tracking in that kind of deck.

Simialary, it's also the case that Lookout is good despite the forced trash, since it usually doesn't end up mattering, but still people hate on Lookout.
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2014, 05:51:12 pm »
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By "precisely offset", I mean that although Tracking is often considered a card with a benefit of selecting a good card out of 3 with a "downside" of discarding 2 other cards from your deck, the "downside" actually is non-existent unless the game goes to fatigue. I agree that there could exist decks where there are a certain 2 cards you require to win and you intend to go to fatigue to find them, but I can't think of any such decks in the game currently, because they'd be far too unreliable. Miracle Rogue is the closest I can think of but it's really only Leeroy that's a critical win condition in that deck--everything else you can stand to lose 1 of and be fine. (Though even there it is possible to win without Leeroy.) I guess you'd be sad to turn up Leeroy-Shadowstep-Shadowstep from Tracking.

I 100% disagree that it's analogous to Lookout. The Dominion equivalent of going to fatigue in Hearthstone is shuffling, which happens all the time, so the fact that Lookout trashes a card instead of discarding it is a huge difference. I agree with you though that Lookout is underrated because people have a negative emotional reaction to trashing cards from their deck. (Even the fact that it's good to trash Estates and Coppers is a learned behaviour. I think most people don't instinctively want to use Chapel to do that.)
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2014, 06:07:06 pm »
+1

Hearthstone doesn't have the equivalent of reshuffling, and reshuffling is what makes trashing different from discarding in Dominion. This is why I think it should be discarding, not trashing, if you want to keep the card as close to the original as possible.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2014, 06:49:02 pm »
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By "precisely offset", I mean that although Tracking is often considered a card with a benefit of selecting a good card out of 3 with a "downside" of discarding 2 other cards from your deck, the "downside" actually is non-existent unless the game goes to fatigue. I agree that there could exist decks where there are a certain 2 cards you require to win and you intend to go to fatigue to find them, but I can't think of any such decks in the game currently, because they'd be far too unreliable. Miracle Rogue is the closest I can think of but it's really only Leeroy that's a critical win condition in that deck--everything else you can stand to lose 1 of and be fine. (Though even there it is possible to win without Leeroy.) I guess you'd be sad to turn up Leeroy-Shadowstep-Shadowstep from Tracking.

I 100% disagree that it's analogous to Lookout. The Dominion equivalent of going to fatigue in Hearthstone is shuffling, which happens all the time, so the fact that Lookout trashes a card instead of discarding it is a huge difference. I agree with you though that Lookout is underrated because people have a negative emotional reaction to trashing cards from their deck. (Even the fact that it's good to trash Estates and Coppers is a learned behaviour. I think most people don't instinctively want to use Chapel to do that.)

So 2 things I'm saying that I think are maybe getting lost/confused:
1. "precisely offset" to me sounds like there some sort of equivalence of some sort. I think it's way more than offset by the positive aspects, and I think you agree; I just don't understand the terminology.
2. I don't think Tracking is like Lookout, I think the psychological effect is similar. It's doing something really good, but for some strange reason people are scared of it because there's a rare case when it does something bad.
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2014, 08:07:53 pm »
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Isn't discarding the two bad cards the point of Tracking, though (in addition to virtually decreasing your deck size)? It's not a downside, it's the upside. The downside is that it costs mana.
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DG

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2014, 09:02:56 pm »
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Hearthstone has a finite deck and you lose life if you can't draw. Tracking removes three cards (itself and two others) to draw one more so the downside of emptying your deck is real. Tracking is also useless if played with an almost empty deck.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 09:04:19 pm by DG »
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2014, 10:03:18 pm »
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By "precisely offset", I mean that although Tracking is often considered a card with a benefit of selecting a good card out of 3 with a "downside" of discarding 2 other cards from your deck, the "downside" actually is non-existent unless the game goes to fatigue. I agree that there could exist decks where there are a certain 2 cards you require to win and you intend to go to fatigue to find them, but I can't think of any such decks in the game currently, because they'd be far too unreliable. Miracle Rogue is the closest I can think of but it's really only Leeroy that's a critical win condition in that deck--everything else you can stand to lose 1 of and be fine. (Though even there it is possible to win without Leeroy.) I guess you'd be sad to turn up Leeroy-Shadowstep-Shadowstep from Tracking.

I 100% disagree that it's analogous to Lookout. The Dominion equivalent of going to fatigue in Hearthstone is shuffling, which happens all the time, so the fact that Lookout trashes a card instead of discarding it is a huge difference. I agree with you though that Lookout is underrated because people have a negative emotional reaction to trashing cards from their deck. (Even the fact that it's good to trash Estates and Coppers is a learned behaviour. I think most people don't instinctively want to use Chapel to do that.)

So 2 things I'm saying that I think are maybe getting lost/confused:
1. "precisely offset" to me sounds like there some sort of equivalence of some sort. I think it's way more than offset by the positive aspects, and I think you agree; I just don't understand the terminology.
2. I don't think Tracking is like Lookout, I think the psychological effect is similar. It's doing something really good, but for some strange reason people are scared of it because there's a rare case when it does something bad.
1. Carefully defining "precisely offset" is what I meant by "I haven't gone through the math". :)

First we need to think about what matters about your draw deck in Hearthstone. You can't influence its order and you can't learn anything about its order, so every ordering is equally likely until you draw from it. But there are certain cards where the contents of your draw deck matter outside of normal drawing (Mad Scientist, Thoughsteal, etc.). I'm going to ignore those cards, although there's a reasonable argument that running Mad Scientist makes it pretty bad to discard traps with Tracking. With that assumption, we only care about the normal draw step at the beginning of your turn.

Imagine a card X with effect "draw 1, discard 2 from the top of your deck". Because every ordering of your draw deck is equally likely, that effect is exactly the same as "draw 1, discard 2 from the bottom of your deck". So, if you don't fatigue, it's clear that card X's discard effect has no effect on your probability of winning the game. That's what I meant by "precisely offset": the downside of discarding 2 off the top is offset by the upside of digging 2 deeper over the course of the game. I think it's more useful to simply not think of the discarding/digging as a downside/upside at all.

The tricky thing is how to adapt the analysis to Tracking. Obviously its effect is strictly better than card X's, because you get the best card out of the three instead of a random card. But then the discarding isn't precisely offset by the digging anymore, because you're discarding 2 of 3 vs digging for 2. Still, that's where my intuition is coming from.

2. Your point is good, but the balance of the randomness is different with Lookout. Lookout falls in the general Dominion randomness theme of "usually something mildly good happens, but occasionally something quite bad". Usually you get to trash a junk card (mildly good), and occasionally you must trash an engine component (quite bad). Granted, in a zero-sum 2-player game, mathematically any randomness like this is flipped when viewed from your opponent's perspective, but it's more visible when it happens "to you". For example, when your opening buys miss the shuffle (occasional, quite bad), you notice, but only eagle-eyed players notice when their opponent's opening buys miss the shuffle.

With Tracking, on the other hand, discarding good cards with it happens just about as often as finding good cards by digging deeper that you otherwise wouldn't have, it's just that the discard is more visible. People are less likely to notice a critical topdeck that they wouldn't have reached without having played a Tracking several turns earlier in the game.

Hearthstone has a finite deck and you lose life if you can't draw. Tracking removes three cards (itself and two others) to draw one more so the downside of emptying your deck is real. Tracking is also useless if played with an almost empty deck.
These statements are true, yet in practice Hunter simply doesn't fatigue often enough for it to be relevant. Admittedly I've never seriously mained Hunter, but I've played it a bit, watched it a bit, and played against it, and in my experience even midrange Hunter typically only fatigues if it got off a couple mega Buzzard-UTH combos, in which case it's probably winning by enough to not care that you ran out of cards.

I'm fairly sure that an all-out control Hunter would not want to run Tracking for the reasons that you point out, but that's not an archetype that anybody is seriously playing at the moment.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2014, 11:22:06 pm »
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Removing 2 from the top of your deck and digging 2 deeper don't "offset". They're the same thing, as Awaclus said. And this is a good thing, assuming that making your deck thinner is something that you want to do, and usually you do, at least in typical Hunter decks. So there's no real tradeoff here.

But say you're in a control matchup where you're both going to full draw, then losing cards out of the deck is a big deal because that's 2 less threats your opponent has to deal with and 2 more draws into fatigue you have to worry about. Now the tradeoff is between digging faster and losing threats and life. And there's no way you can make this tradeoff "precise".

And Mid Hunters sometimes refuse to play their second Tracking if they fear they're running out of cards against an all-answers deck like a control Priest.
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blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2014, 12:07:53 am »
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They're not the same thing, and I can't find where Awaclus said that they were. Digging 2 deeper means you'll find cards two deeper in your deck than you otherwise would. Discarding 2 from the top of your deck means you WON'T find the top 2 cards of your deck (because they're gone forever). I'm using "offset" in the sense of "counteract (something) by having an opposing force or effect", which is exactly what these effects do. The natural human reaction though is to think "I don't want to discard something good", which doesn't make any sense because playing the example card X does not mean you any less likely to find the cards you want over the course of the game, if the game does not go to fatigue.

I agree that sometimes midrange Hunters may be concerned about running out of cards, but it's unusual. Normally it's not a problem.
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Awaclus

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2014, 03:18:33 am »
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They're not the same thing, and I can't find where Awaclus said that they were.
I guess I didn't say it, but I was definitely thinking it.
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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2019, 11:38:09 am »
+1

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popsofctown

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2019, 03:27:11 pm »
+1

"Tracking" is currently an evergreen card effect in MtG.  It's blue and costs 2 mana and it's called "Anticipate".  The other two cards go to the bottom of your deck, not your discard pile, but the bottom of your deck in MtG is very similar to discard in Hearthstone because in Hearthstone you can't interact with the unused cards in any way, and in MtG no one ever decks out, so you won't be interacting with those two cards in any way. 

In PTCG this effect would probably cost zero, you'd complain that seems too good, and the design team would shrug and say why don't all you guys run the maximum number of copies, then.  The deck manipulation PTCG allows is crazy and makes it pretty fun. 
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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2019, 03:28:56 pm »
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Oh wait, the PTCG card is called Acro Bike.

It only looks at 2, not three, keep one, discard the other.
Some people didn't run the maximum number of copies just because other PTCG cards are even more busted.  But some people did, I did  (decking yourself is pretty real, that's a valid concern). 
I think it's not in their standard format anymore.
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Also you probably are an expert if you buy two bureaucrats early.

blueblimp

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Re: Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2019, 11:51:35 pm »
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<Border Guard>
Thanks for posting, since I haven't played recent Dominion expansions. The secret history says that the initial design had no artifacts, so it might've originally been a pure draw 1 of 3, like Tracking.
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