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Author Topic: When to buy Explorer  (Read 3346 times)

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GendoIkari

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When to buy Explorer
« on: December 13, 2011, 12:25:22 pm »
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Looking for answers other than "never." I don't remember every buying this card, though Council Room says I did 3 times. I don't know if I trust that, because it also says I bought each of the prizes 2.08 times... and you can't ever buy prizes.

So, under what circumstance is this card worth it? Gardens possibly?
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kn1tt3r

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 12:31:23 pm »
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- in boring BM Decks without good draw
- in messy curse games where you need the money
- as an opening with Chapel when there's nothing better around => buy Provinces soon and Explore them for Golds
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chwhite

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 12:41:13 pm »
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Almost never, which is way more often than I used to think. :P

It's sometimes good in sloppy, low-action games with lots of Curses or Duke/Gardens, such that gaining Silver is really important: here's a Sea Hag game where WanderingWinder's Explorer makes the difference: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110830-095031-044c96a1.html (okay, there were lots of actions here but there wasn't draw)

I've used it effectively myself almost never, but I am quite proud of this game, where I figured it might give me the best shot at a quick Grand Market: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111102-115634-0fccca8e.html

You will note that I also bought a Chancellor!  And it was (sorta) useful!  Probably wouldn't have gone Explorer if we didn't get the 5/2 split, but I figured with GMs out it could be more useful than Royal Seal, the only other $5.

Explorer's Gold-gaining potential is virtually zero; the money just comes in too late and it's too hard to line up.  So Explorer's really only worth a buy if you're okay with it just giving you Silver.  $5 for Silver gain is not that great even when you want Silver- I'd prefer Bureaucrat in most situations because it's cheaper and the attack is sometimes important. So basically Explorer is only good if you have a setup where you really want the Silver, and the $5s really suck otherwise (possible exception which I haven't tried yet: Stables).  But it can very occasionally help you win.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 12:49:29 pm by chwhite »
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Voltgloss

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 01:20:51 pm »
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Might Explorer synergize with Tournament?  Given that, with Tournament around, you're probably aiming to get one or more Province(s) significantly earlier than you would otherwise?  Or would you, in the absence of better $5's, simply downbuy a Tournament instead?

I am aware that if you draw Tournament, Explorer, and Province, you're going to discard your Province to get a Prize and therefore your Explorer isn't going to get you a Gold (assuming you play Explorer at all that turn).  I'm not suggesting that Tournament and Explorer actually combo (well, I guess they could if you also had some type of Village, but without mega draw that's not likely to happen).  By "synergize" I mean that (1) Explorer's Silver-in-hand gain ability may help bootstrap your economy to Province levels sooner/more consistently, to feed your Tournaments; and (2) Explorer helps mitigate the sting of drawing said Provinces without a Tournament in hand - if you've got Explorer in hand instead, hey, free Gold.
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ehunt

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 01:41:36 pm »
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1. The explorer is a fantastic defense to possession.

2. She's also pretty good on bad boards where engines aren't a possibility. The idea is to buy duchies over golds much earlier than you normally would.

3. Hybrid gardens/province, when there aren't good ways to rush gardens.
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DG

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 02:22:40 pm »
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It's not a difficult card really. If I was to say there were two uses then I would probably be overcomplicating it

1) Fill your deck with treasure and buy lots of green cards. 
2) Trash down the deck and expand with quality. The explorer expands your deck with treasure even as you buy green cards.
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tlloyd

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 02:50:04 pm »
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Almost never, which is way more often than I used to think. :P

It's sometimes good in sloppy, low-action games with lots of Curses or Duke/Gardens, such that gaining Silver is really important: here's a Sea Hag game where WanderingWinder's Explorer makes the difference: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110830-095031-044c96a1.html (okay, there were lots of actions here but there wasn't draw)

I've used it effectively myself almost never, but I am quite proud of this game, where I figured it might give me the best shot at a quick Grand Market: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111102-115634-0fccca8e.html

You will note that I also bought a Chancellor!  And it was (sorta) useful!  Probably wouldn't have gone Explorer if we didn't get the 5/2 split, but I figured with GMs out it could be more useful than Royal Seal, the only other $5.

Explorer's Gold-gaining potential is virtually zero; the money just comes in too late and it's too hard to line up.  So Explorer's really only worth a buy if you're okay with it just giving you Silver.  $5 for Silver gain is not that great even when you want Silver- I'd prefer Bureaucrat in most situations because it's cheaper and the attack is sometimes important. So basically Explorer is only good if you have a setup where you really want the Silver, and the $5s really suck otherwise (possible exception which I haven't tried yet: Stables).  But it can very occasionally help you win.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Royal Seal might be better than gold for racing to Grand Markets. Not one time in that game did either of you buy a GM with a gold that you couldn't have bought if that gold had been RS. And the ability to top-deck GMs is huge in getting more GMs. So despite your win (congrats!) I like Theory's opening.

(Edit: I think your Chancellor buy confirms this)
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dondon151

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 02:57:04 pm »
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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Royal Seal might be better than gold for racing to Grand Markets.

I can't help but to agree with this logic to a certain extent; unless there are non-Copper +$1 cards in the kingdom (there are quite a few, like Market, Bazaar, Lighthouse, FV, Quarry, Talisman), then Gold doesn't really help you get to GMs because you'd have to line it up with Silver or +$2 actions. So you might as well get the Royal Seal.
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quasi

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 03:12:26 pm »
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I could see it being of decent use in an apprentice-based engine.  Something like: trash gold with apprentice, and then replenish with explorer with your big hand that has explorer/province.
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mischiefmaker

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 03:17:24 pm »
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Might Explorer synergize with Tournament?  Given that, with Tournament around, you're probably aiming to get one or more Province(s) significantly earlier than you would otherwise?  Or would you, in the absence of better $5's, simply downbuy a Tournament instead?
I'm pretty sure there's no synergy there. As you point out, if you draw Tournament-Explorer-Province, the Explorer is basically a Silver. And while it increases your treasure density overall, it also increases your deck size, which has the effect of a) making it harder to draw Tournament-Province and b) makes drawing Province more rare, for purposes of blocking your opponent's Tournaments.

I could see it being of decent use in an apprentice-based engine.  Something like: trash gold with apprentice, and then replenish with explorer with your big hand that has explorer/province.
I had that thought myself, so I tried playing around with an Explorer-Apprentice engine. It beats BM 58-38, which is ok, I guess, but probably won't be competitive on most boards. And the buy rules matter A LOT -- tweaking it a little bit can make a big difference, up to losing to BM and losing badly -- which implies to me that it's easy to play that deck badly.
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chwhite

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 04:56:14 pm »
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Almost never, which is way more often than I used to think. :P

It's sometimes good in sloppy, low-action games with lots of Curses or Duke/Gardens, such that gaining Silver is really important: here's a Sea Hag game where WanderingWinder's Explorer makes the difference: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110830-095031-044c96a1.html (okay, there were lots of actions here but there wasn't draw)

I've used it effectively myself almost never, but I am quite proud of this game, where I figured it might give me the best shot at a quick Grand Market: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111102-115634-0fccca8e.html

You will note that I also bought a Chancellor!  And it was (sorta) useful!  Probably wouldn't have gone Explorer if we didn't get the 5/2 split, but I figured with GMs out it could be more useful than Royal Seal, the only other $5.

Explorer's Gold-gaining potential is virtually zero; the money just comes in too late and it's too hard to line up.  So Explorer's really only worth a buy if you're okay with it just giving you Silver.  $5 for Silver gain is not that great even when you want Silver- I'd prefer Bureaucrat in most situations because it's cheaper and the attack is sometimes important. So basically Explorer is only good if you have a setup where you really want the Silver, and the $5s really suck otherwise (possible exception which I haven't tried yet: Stables).  But it can very occasionally help you win.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Royal Seal might be better than gold for racing to Grand Markets. Not one time in that game did either of you buy a GM with a gold that you couldn't have bought if that gold had been RS. And the ability to top-deck GMs is huge in getting more GMs. So despite your win (congrats!) I like Theory's opening.

(Edit: I think your Chancellor buy confirms this)

The funny thing is I only actually bought one Grand Market, which I used twice, and Theory played his lone Grand Market only once, despite top-decking it.  Even with GMs out it was basically just a Big Money game, and for that purpose I think Explorer's silvers are probably more useful than the Royal Seal's top-decking (though I did pick up a Seal with my second $5, of course).

In other words, the Explorer was absolutely the right move.  But not for the reason I initially expected.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 05:00:03 pm by chwhite »
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Davio

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 05:04:17 pm »
+1

I like to pick up an Explorer in trimmed down Chapel decks. Those decks have a tendency to stall once the first Provinces come in, so Explorer is a big help in this case.
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jomini

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 05:12:51 pm »
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Explorer/remodel/any village is pretty strong with good trashing. If you can trash down enough, you can get some strong turns of explore a gold, remodel a gold into a province & buy a province (or duchy). Getting two high value cards per turn can be strong without +buy.

In general, trash for benefit works well with explorer. Gain 3 or 6 value & getting to use it same game is pretty good if you are looking for forge bait in an engine deck.

Still it pretty much needs to be a weak set of 5s (e.g. no attacks, no cartographer, etc.) that would make explorer good.

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LastFootnote

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 05:26:10 pm »
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I think Explorer's silvers are probably more useful than the Royal Seal's top-decking (though I did pick up a Seal with my second $5, of course).

Why "of course"? It seems to me that if you want one Explorer in a deck, you'll probably want two or three. With the number of Silvers you'll be gaining, they're not likely to collide.
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lolrob

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2011, 07:45:31 am »
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I recently played a real life, four player game, where explorer made the difference. It was a game where the other three were abassadoring heavily, so I had like 15 estates in the end, and so the explorer helped a lot, giving me silver and letting me use that money that turn, to hopefully get a duchy every time I played it. Ended up winning so there you go
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kn1tt3r

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2011, 08:26:43 am »
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I've checked some CR data and found that my win rate is quite high with Explorer (#9, 1.56), so the card can be good (not often though), but you have to know when this is the case.

Here are some games I've won with Explorer (though not all of them are good examples):
- Chapel/Explorer opening: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110918-034835-df77b38a.html
- Heavy Sea-Hagging: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111028-083755-1e77ffc5.html
- Explorer/Warehouse in Ambassador game: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111203-021335-708905a9.html
- BM game: Explorer vs. Milita: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111208-091534-19d356b4.html
- Explorer vs. Possession: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111208-124057-1199bdbe.html (probably a bad example given the incredible bad luck of my opponent's Possession turns; usually I would have lost this)

In the end all comes down to:
- being able to draw it together with Provinces (dense decks, filters)
- needing a money source in curse heavy games
- having no better alternative as a BM support
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DStu

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2011, 08:50:30 am »
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- BM game: Explorer vs. Milita: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111208-091534-19d356b4.html

I don't believe in Explorer vs. Militia, and the simulator also doesn't.
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kn1tt3r

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2011, 08:56:41 am »
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- BM game: Explorer vs. Milita: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111208-091534-19d356b4.html

I don't believe in Explorer vs. Militia, and the simulator also doesn't.
Well, it really could be that it was just luck, but I think Steward changed things a bit. Explorer benefits from some sort of trashing once you have Provinces.
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DStu

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Re: When to buy Explorer
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2011, 08:58:43 am »
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Well, it really could be that it was just luck, but I think Steward changed things a bit. Explorer benefits from some sort of trashing once you have Provinces.

Yeah, I think that's more important. Heavy trashing BM usually tend to stall quite fast, because you fastly come to your $8 to buy Provinces, but than you can't get your money in one hand because of all these Provinces. An additional Gold (or even Silver) helps a lot there. Like also in the Chapel/Explorer-case.
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