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Qvist

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The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« on: October 10, 2014, 02:51:35 pm »
+11

119 votes on this list

The Best Potion Cost Cards
#10 =0 Transmute (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 3.8% ▲2.1pp / Unweighted Average: 4.6% / Median: 0% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 12.8%

Transmute is still clearly the worst Potion cost card in this list with 93 votes on the last place, but it's a little bit better placed with two outliers at around 80%. It has the lowest deviation in this list.

Why is that card so bad? You need trashers early in the game. For Transmute you need to open Potion. Then you buy a Transmute in turn 3/4 at best and have your Transmute somewhere between turn 5 and 8! That is really slow. And what's the benefit? You can trash Estates to get Gold, ok that's really nice, but only for the 3 starting Estates and you have to draw them together. If you trash Copper you get another Transmute! Why does anyone want that unless you go for Vineyards? And trash actions to get Duchies could only be nice in the end game, but are rarely a big difference. You can also trash a Curse, but you won't get anything for that. For a pure trasher it's too slow, for a trash-for-benefit card it's too weak. When do you really want to buy one? Yes, it's better with dual-type cards like Great Hall (for Duchy and Gold) and you can heavily trash for Gold->Transmute->Duchy and try to three-pile, but that's just too slow in the most cases. I think the only reason when you want to buy it, if you want that Potion anyway and you desperately need a trasher anyway like on Familiar boards. It can be also nice to trash Ruins into Duchies.
#9 =0 Philosopher's Stone (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 14.1% ▼0.3pp / Unweighted Average: 16.2% / Median: 11.1% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 13.0%

Philosopher's Stone is still second last and was voted 14 times on the last rank. It has 3 outliers above 50% and the second lowest deviation in this list.

With Philosopher's Stone on the board and it is the only Potion cost card, it's often ignorable. And it anti-synergizes with all other Potion cards except for Familiar (with University you get a lot of cards, but mostly to build an engine). With a relative cost of ~5.5$ it's in direct comparism to Gold. This means you need 20 cards and no drawing power. With no +Buy you need 10 turns to achieve this. This is often way too late. This card gets better and better the longer the game lasts. But you want high value treasures early in the game. The only reason going for it, may be in Curse-heavy games where it's obvious you get big decks. Also it has this nice synergy with Herbalist and also Storeroom.
#8 =0 Possession (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 38.3% ▲6.1pp / Unweighted Average: 40.6% / Median: 33.3% ▲11.1pp / Standard Deviation: 23.5%

We're making a big jump of over 24pp and Possession stays were it was, but has significantly more points. It was voted last twice, but also on the first rank 4 times. It has the third highest deviation in this list.

Possession seems so powerful, but in reality it isn't. There's much to say about Possession, but I keep it short. First you have to realize, that it's really the most expensive kingdom card in the game as it costs ~8.5$. So, if you want it and it is the only Potion cost card on the board, don't open Potion. And the cost also means it's in direct competition with Province. When you've bought a Possession you mostly could have bought a Province instead. Its high cost makes it stronger in Colony games and Apothecary also helps getting it early. When does it shine? Especially in 2-player games when your opponent opens with strong cards like Ambassador or Masquerade, you may look after an opportunity to send good cards (of course especially Provinces and Colonies) to you. With King's Court Possession is just madness. With Council Room or especially Governor you can boost the turn you get from your opponent and may even boost your own turn afterwards if he has them too. When your opponent has strong trash-for-benefit cards like Apprentice, you can even trash Provinces or Colonies to get the benefit. And if he has cards with choices like Envoy you either get stronger benefit or can mess his deck up. And if he has duration cards you can also profit from them. It may seem now that there are many situations where Possession is good. That's true, but still often ignorable because of its slowness, because at the time you play your first Possession your opponent may already have a couple of Provinces.
#7 ▼2 Golem (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 43.8% ▼7.7pp / Unweighted Average: 47.8% / Median: 44.4% ▼11.1pp / Standard Deviation: 23.0%

Golem is the first card with a change, it lost 2 ranks and also quite a bit in points. It wasn't voted on the last rank, instead it was voted 4 times on the first rank.

Like Throne Room, Golem's strength heavily depends from the action cards on the board, what makes it hard to rate. But it hasn't the drawback of Throne Room or King's Court to have at least one action card in hand. You can use Golem either in action-heavy decks and may be able to play more of them in your turns even with Curses or Victory cards in your deck. It acts also as a pseudo-village. Just beware of Golem+Trasher because you have to play the drawn action card and you don't want to risk trashing a Province. Or you use it to play your only 1-2 action cards in your deck every time you play Golem. Counting House+X Golems guarantees to draw all Coppers in hand. Golem+Scheme+strong attack is also very nice because you can play your attack every turn.  Even with those cards on board Golem is very expensive with a cost of ~6.5$. So don't open Potion with Golem being the only Potion card on the board. With Looters from Dark Ages Golem is much weaker as you will draw Ruins into your hand with your Golem, so keep that in mind.
#6 ▲1 University (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 50.2% ▲3.6pp / Unweighted Average: 51.2% / Median: 55.6% ▲11.1pp / Standard Deviation: 20.3%

University is one rank better and has also crossed the 50% mark. It was voted last once and 5 times first. It would be one rank higher in the unweighted list.

The effect of University is by far not bad. Unlike Workshop you don't need to spend an action to gain a card and you don't get weak $4 cards, you get strong $5 ones. And you are able to play all of them because of the +2 Actions. But, it has the same problem as all Potion cards have. It's very slow. If you go for University and open Potion/X you lose at least one reshuffle to get the critical $5 cards (and you need to get a Potion only to get strong non-Potion cards, what?). You have to be sure to have enough time to catch up and this really depends if the cards on the board are really so strong that you want as many as you can get. So, it's very board dependant and is really nice with University/Watchtower, Library, Wharf, City, Torturer, Knights and any money producing cantrip and is especially good in Colony games where you often have enough time to catch up. It has only few combination potential with other Potion cards. University/Scrying Pool looks nice but is even slower. Only University/Vineyard is really strong. Beware of 3-piling with University.
#5 ▼1 Apothecary (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 53.2% ▼2.8pp / Unweighted Average: 49.5% / Median: 55.6% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 24.0%

Apothecary is one rank lower than last year and would be even one rank lower in the unweighted ranking. It was voted 4 times last and first twice. It has the second highest deviation in this list.

Apothecary seems very weak at first glance because of its profit of Copper. But unlike many other Potion cards it's very strong at the start at getting very strong cards very early in the game. Buy a early Forge and with your next big hand you can get rid of all your Coppers; or get an early King's Court or Goons. Later in the game it's almost never a bad card, because it's at least a cantrip and even if it draws no cards you can set the order of your next cards (basically a Cartographer without the ability to discard) and comboes nice with Wishing Well or Mystic for example. It's also strong if you build your strategy around Copper. Apothecary/Coppersmith can easily net you Provinces. The problem still is, it leaves the junk on top of the deck. With Native Village you can use this as an advantage. With 8 Coppers, a few Apothecaries and at least one Native Village you are able to buy a Province each turn.
#4 ▲2 Alchemist (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 54.5% ▲6.3pp / Unweighted Average: 56.0% / Median: 55.6% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 22.3%

Alchemist is back to a high rank. It's 2 ranks better than last time although it was very close. It was voted last twice and first 5 times.

Alchemist is strictly superior to Laboratory and if you have a lot of Alchemists to draw most of your deck, you're almost unstoppable. But how do you get there? First you have to buy Potion and then you have to spend the next turns to buy Alchemists. That's really slow and with no source of +Buy, you aren't able to build up your economy at the same time. Alchemists are therefore more powerful in Colony games, but often weak in Province games unless you have any supporting card. That's the reason Herbalist was added in Alchemy. With Herbalist you're able to put your Potion back and get the needed +Buy. Cards that profit from big hand sizes like Bank (if you have the +Buys) are great. Outpost also synergizes perfectly. So, it's often a big question if the unstoppable Alchemist stack can be setup fast enough to be worth it going for it. Also: Beware of opponents playing with Minions or Masquerade.
#3 =0 Vineyard (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 71.3% ▲1.7pp / Unweighted Average: 65.0% / Median: 77.8% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 28.4%

Here is the next big jump of over 16pp. Vineyard stayed were it was and has now crossed the 70% mark. It was voted last 3 times and first 15 times. It has therefore the highest deviation in this list.

Vineyard is another card that heavily depends from the action cards on the board. You definitely want +Buy or at least gainers to get enough action cards to make it worthwhile. +Buy is also better in getting Vineyards, because you don't waant to "waste" $6P for a Vineyard. Beside +Buy and gainers, you definitely need Villages or many catrips to be able to play all of your actions, cheap cantrips like Hamlet or Pawn are very good. Like all alternative VP strategies, you can totally ignore Provinces what gives you more time getting more action cards. Unlike all other Potion cards you can delay buying the Potion until mid-game when you already have a good running engine and even buy more Potions to buy Vineyards. It has nearly no practical limit in the max VP you can get from one Vineyard what can make it really strong and often a clearly superior strategy over Provinces. Also if your opponent goes for Cultist or Marauder they only make your Vineyards worth 3VP more and you can also use Death Cart to get a lot of Action cards at once or Rats to get even more Actions cards really fast.
#2 ▼1 Familiar (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 85.3% ▼7.6pp / Unweighted Average: 85.3% / Median: 88.9% ▼11.1pp / Standard Deviation: 17.5%

Familiar is now only second and has also lost quite a bit in points. It was voted 6 times below 50% and exactly 50 times on the first rank. Familiar would still be on #1 in the unweighted list.

Cursing attacks are the strongest cards in the game. A cantrip curser is just ridiculous strong. If you haven't a plan for defense to get no curses at all or easily deal with them (which is very rare), you can't skip over Familiar. What makes Familiar one of the most hated cards is its cost. If one player doesn't get $3P while the other hits it in turn 3/4, the player who hasn't gained the Familiar is in a clear disadvantage.
#1 ▲1 Scrying Pool (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 85.7% ▼1.1pp / Unweighted Average: 83.4% / Median: 88.9% =0pp / Standard Deviation: 17.4%

It was really close, but this year Scrying Pool is first although it lost a bit in points. It's still second in the unweighted list. It was voted 6 times below 50% and 34 times first.

Attacks that mess up the top of your deck are often weak. Scrying Pool is different because of its drawing power. It may draw your whole deck! But you mustn't have a lot of treasure cards in your deck. Its power is therefore dependant of trashers on the board and action cards that net you money. Secret Chamber/Vault is especially nice, just discard all action cards and keep one Scrying Pool in hand to get a lot of money and draw them again with your Scrying Pool. Attacks that tend to be swingy because of the top card of your opponent, like Jester or Swindler, are gaining value with Scrying Pools, because you can choose which card to keep on top. If there is no engine potential, Scrying Pool is just a Spy (which draws sometimes an additional card) and not worth the Potion. Scrying Pool really doesn't mind Ruins that much and can use Rats to convert non-Action cards into Action cards really fast.

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 04:43:13 am »
+4

Alchemist is not stronger than Apothecary. Other than that, the list looks fine.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 05:01:14 am »
+1

I want to say XX is too low about a lot of cards here, but some cards have to be low. Transmute is #10. the stone is #9. But after that, all cards are pretty good.

i think it's a about like so

Scrying Pool > Vineyard/Familiar > Apothecary > University/Golem/Alchemist/Possession > Stone > Transmute

So, mostly Alchemist needs to be lower than Apothecary, as Awaclus said. The rest is okay. the fourth set is really tight,  could almost accept any order there. So, Possession could be 3 ranks higher and I'd say it's fine. But as is, it's fine too.

Let me also order them by design/fun level:

Apothecary/University > Vineyard > Golem > Alchemist > Stone > Transmute/Familiar > Scrying Pool >>>>>>>>> Possession
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 10:11:38 am »
+1

I think vineyards are better than familiar. Cursing just isn't as good as it used to be these days. Getting ALL the actions and free points while you're at it... is better than ever these days. I mean, that's why scrying pool is #1, except drawing them all instead of points.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2014, 10:20:17 am »
+1

My list these days would be Pool > Vine > Apo > Familiar > Possession > Golem > Alchemist > Uni > Pstone > Transmute
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2014, 10:22:13 am »
0

I ranked Vineyards first. I think that Vineyards and SP are cards that both can't be ignored 90ish percent of the time. Personally, I would still rank Vineyards first, but it is close for me. And, yah, Apothecary is better than Alchemist, although, I would not say it is better than Familiar.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2014, 10:27:25 am »
+1

I do love apothecary.  I go for it on like 95% of boards.  sometimes to my own detriment.  Thankfully, it is such a good card that this is rarely the case and it is actually the right call.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2014, 05:07:18 pm »
0

Alchemist over Apothecary and Possession at #8 seem like serious mistakes, but at least Scrying Pool got some love.  ;)
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 11:16:10 am »
0

apothecary way too low (below alchemist??? srsly?) and fam too high.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2014, 11:23:16 am »
0

Thanks for these lists. They are helping me a bunch.

The biggest surprise to me is apothecary. I've never even bought it I don't think as my goal is to usually trash those coppers. I would of never considered it as a importent buy as everyone here seems to.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 11:44:25 am »
0

Okay, yeah, Apothecary people.  It's absurdly strong at $2P with almost no opportunity costs.

University is too high on this list.  Yeah gaining $5 actions is nice but it is so slow to get going.

Thanks for these lists. They are helping me a bunch.

The biggest surprise to me is apothecary. I've never even bought it I don't think as my goal is to usually trash those coppers. I would of never considered it as a importent buy as everyone here seems to.

It provides massive early game cycling in addition to great buying power.  Instead of needing to sacrifice turns to get rid of your Coppers you can just pick up your Copper in hand and buy an engine component or two.  With the deck top deck control you can reliably chain them and other cantrips in addition to setting up the next turn.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 11:44:55 am »
0

Thanks for these lists. They are helping me a bunch.

The biggest surprise to me is apothecary. I've never even bought it I don't think as my goal is to usually trash those coppers. I would of never considered it as a importent buy as everyone here seems to.

It is still good even if you trash copper, but bear in mind that in some games trashing copper is not a simple task.  Don't think of it as drawing copper, think of it as cycling the deck, showing you what's on top, and increasing your hand size if it finds copper.  All of those effects are useful in some way.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 11:55:45 am »
+1

Thanks for these lists. They are helping me a bunch.

The biggest surprise to me is apothecary. I've never even bought it I don't think as my goal is to usually trash those coppers. I would of never considered it as a importent buy as everyone here seems to.

It is still good even if you trash copper, but bear in mind that in some games trashing copper is not a simple task.  Don't think of it as drawing copper, think of it as cycling the deck, showing you what's on top, and increasing your hand size if it finds copper.  All of those effects are useful in some way.
And getting rid of the Coppers in your draw pile. It doesn't matter if you're not drawing Coppers with your Smithy because you trashed them with Chapel two turns ago or because you already drew them with Apothecary this turn, either way the Coppers aren't in the way of your engine. Except with Apothecary, they still give you dollars.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 12:00:25 pm by Awaclus »
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2014, 11:56:36 am »
0

so would you get more then 1 then? I'm guessing you stop after 2-3 as you don't want your whole deck to be apothecaries.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2014, 12:01:46 pm »
0

so would you get more then 1 then? I'm guessing you stop after 2-3 as you don't want your whole deck to be apothecaries.

Like any Cantrip they don't inherently hurt your deck so amassing them is not a real problem.  With Apothecary I usually want to pick 1 up whenever I can.  It is best when there is a +Buy available that allows you to pick up both Apothecary and a different important engine piece. 
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2014 Edition: Potion cost cards
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2014, 12:14:05 pm »
0

so would you get more then 1 then? I'm guessing you stop after 2-3 as you don't want your whole deck to be apothecaries.
Actually you do want your whole deck to be Apothecaries, pretty much. It's a Potion cost card so you'll have turns when you can't buy it in the early game, and in the late game you should have +buy, so a pretty good rule of thumb is buying one Apothecary whenever you can. Of course sometimes you might want a KC or a Goons or a Possession or another important card instead of an Apothecary if you have to choose between them, though.
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