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Author Topic: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?  (Read 13654 times)

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ftl

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Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« on: January 12, 2012, 02:01:41 am »
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Okay, so recently I had a game where I saw scout and great hall on the board and used them to put together a nice draw engine that would let me cycle my deck, play my witch pretty often, and buy a bunch of provinces without slowing down. I thought I was pretty clever, and I'd done it before too. (Both were IRL games, I haven't played at all on iso lately.)

Since I hadn't read anything on these forums or the blog about when something like that is worthwhile, I tried to play around with simulators or figure it out - how fast is it, when it's wortwhile, or something. I knew that it wasn't good very often, and that the best way to play Scout is usually "don't", but I suspected that going for a Scout/Great Hall drawing engine would be worthwhile if:
1) There's a powerful attack around, like Witch, worth building a cycling engine for
2) There's a way of gaining Great Halls quickly so you don't spend too many buys on them (ironworks, upgrade, remake, maybe workshop or remodel or bridge)
3) Trashing, so coppers don't get much in the way.

But even using those things, simulator kept telling me that BM+ was better. But the simulator don't play Scout that well. But maybe it's good enough. So I figured I'd make this post.

Are there situations where it's worth getting a bunch of great halls and some scouts for a drawing engine? Does it require two dual-type victory cards in the Kingdom? What sorts of Kingdoms are there where Scout+Great Hall is clearly better than BM+? Did I just get lucky the times I went for Scout+Great Hall and thought it turned out well?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 02:10:37 am by ftl »
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jonts26

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 02:18:59 am »
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I'd say if witch is on the board, don't even try something like scout/great hall. Those curses will get in the way. And in generally really, I'd also say dont do it. Maybe if you had an ironworks to gain great halls easily it might be viable but if you are wasting buys on scouts/great halls, congrats you're going to essentially play a few labs and have no income whatsoever. I might consider doing it if there were more dual type victory cards. Yeah you're going to start out slow, but hopefully the extra points will be enough to let you catch back up.
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ecq

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 10:27:54 am »
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Alone, it's a bad idea.  The Scout needs to pick up 1 Great Hall to break even, 2 to make it worthwhile.  It's difficult to attain and keep that kind of density and still win.  Ironworks is about the only way.

I think it may be decent Crossroads support.  Use Scout to pull Great Halls into your hand.  Use Crossroads to draw even more cards, the top few of which are not victory cards.  Use Great Halls to draw something useful.  I can't make up my mind, though.  Would it be better to just buy an additional Crossroads?

Even in that situation, it seems like you need some other support to make it work.  It's a lot of cards to buy.
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 10:37:59 am »
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You need HALF of the cards in your deck to be green for a Scout to even add up to a Laboratory (and even then it's inferior to Lab because multiple Scouts don't scale with each other).  It doesn't matter whether these greens are Great Halls or vanilla VP cards, the Scout has the same drawing power either way.  Great Halls make it less painful to achieve that half-density, but it still really, really doesn't feel worth it to me.. Scout is just a very weak card.

If Crossroads was on the board I would still ignore Scout.  I would just have a gigglefrenzy with Great Hall + Crossroadses.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 11:03:58 am by Kahryl »
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chogg

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 11:49:53 am »
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You need HALF of the cards in your deck to be green for a Scout to even add up to a Laboratory (and even then it's inferior to Lab because multiple Scouts don't scale with each other).  It doesn't matter whether these greens are Great Halls or vanilla VP cards, the Scout has the same drawing power either way.  Great Halls make it less painful to achieve that half-density, but it still really, really doesn't feel worth it to me.. Scout is just a very weak card.

If Crossroads was on the board I would still ignore Scout.  I would just have a gigglefrenzy with Great Hall + Crossroadses.

Ramping up to Nobles is fun with that combo too.  Play 'em for actions as needed, and use all your Crossroads for mega-draw.
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toaster

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 12:42:52 pm »
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This is why I ranked Scout at last below Thief...it's a major trap card that lots of newer players fall into.  Scout/Great Hall in particular is a trap that is rarely, if ever, worth pursuing.
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DG

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 01:48:32 pm »
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I looked back at my old games did find a few where it had worked, but none where it worked well enough for me to recommend it. A few of the games involved a forge, not an immediately obvious partner but if you look a bit deeper it starts to make sense. Anyway I'd suggest never using it as headline combo. Look for times when you would want to introduce great halls to your deck, or you can get them cheaply with no effort (quarry, ironworks, upgrade maybe), then see if the scout will be of genuine benefit, and then check that all those cards will actually draw something useful that will get you victory points.

It's not a trap. It's a solution to problems that very rarely arise.
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Tahtweasel

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 02:02:30 pm »
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Scout is rarely or never a linchpin of a strategy. It is a card you maybe pick up when you're stalling a little bit because of green, and you don't want a silver.
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Copernicus

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 02:10:25 pm »
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Scout/Great Hall just doesn't work.  I've also have had poor results with Geat Hall/Crossroads.  Great Hall by itself is too weak and with other cards it doesn't enable them enough.

I've had minor success with a late Scout after Harem-spam.  But it's not something anyone wants early in the game.

I've had occasional success with Great Hall/Ironworks -- usually I only go for that with another reason to use one or the other.

The best use I ever had for Scout was in a Scrying Pool deck with no trashing.  It was mostly useful for rearranging the top of the deck instead of the VP fetching.
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chwhite

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 02:28:33 pm »
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This is why I ranked Scout at last below Thief...it's a major trap card that lots of newer players fall into.  Scout/Great Hall in particular is a trap that is rarely, if ever, worth pursuing.

I dunno about that.  I think even most newbies realize Scout is mostly a waste of a buy; I sure did. 

I think in practice I tend to use Scout mostly as a worse Spy, something to add to your cantrip engine while greening, to hopefully prevent stalling out, or maybe as a non-terminal way to pump up HoPs and Fairgrounds.  I appear to have bought it over a quarter of the time and I'm really not sure how that happened; it's certainly made a difference far less than that.
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DG

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 02:52:58 pm »
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Quote
I dunno about that.  I think even most newbies realize Scout is mostly a waste of a buy; I sure did. 

Doesn't the first recommended set in the intrigue rules have scouts, great halls, harems, and nobles in the kingdom?
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toaster

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 02:55:01 pm »
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Well, although Scout's "win rate with" isn't as bad as Thief's, it is purchased far more often.  They're both pretty terrible cards, but the evidence seems to support people falling for Scout much more often.
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Ferrouswheel

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 02:59:15 pm »
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I've had minor success with a late Scout after Harem-spam.  But it's not something anyone wants early in the game.
I actually had a fairly good game with a harems mint scout combo useing the mint to trash all of my none harem treasure and the scout let me province every turn.
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chwhite

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 03:06:25 pm »
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Well, although Scout's "win rate with" isn't as bad as Thief's, it is purchased far more often.  They're both pretty terrible cards, but the evidence seems to support people falling for Scout much more often.

Well, its win rate isn't as bad, and people buy it more often.  I think that's pretty unambiguous evidence that Scout isn't as bad as Thief.  If people are falling for Scout more often, that's probably because it's worth a buy more often (even if it's barely worth that buy).
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RisingJaguar

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 03:16:32 pm »
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This is why I ranked Scout at last below Thief...it's a major trap card that lots of newer players fall into.  Scout/Great Hall in particular is a trap that is rarely, if ever, worth pursuing.

I dunno about that.  I think even most newbies realize Scout is mostly a waste of a buy; I sure did. 
Well I dunno about that, I have bought it 65% of the time (with horrible results btw)... surely not everyone knows how bad it is... yet

As for this combo, there are a few things that help.
1. Getting cheap quantity is a plus, so +buys (ie. market/worker's village/hamlet) and ironworks especially works wonderfully. 
2. The usual other VP cards with benefits works a lot here as well, but that's obvious enough
3. There needs to be a use for drawing out your hand (ie. bank? coppersmith?).  If you are drawing out your hand and going BM, might as well just go big money. 
4.  Curse attacks ruins this plan hard. Also trashing is not as good as you think.  Since scout relies on VP cards, trashing those estates isn't as big a positive for this type of deck as your opponent.  The trashing doesn't help you as much as the other person is the big take away.
5. Smaller details, Wishing Well is a nice pairing, as it gets upgraded to a lab with the playing of scout. 
6. I cannot stress the importance of the first and third point. If you cannot get the parts together quickly, early $5-6 will be wasted.  Also, if there's no point to the engine for massive benefits, its not worth it. 
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chwhite

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2012, 03:23:40 pm »
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5. Smaller details, Wishing Well is a nice pairing, as it gets upgraded to a lab with the playing of scout. 

If you play a Scout and draw no Victory cards, then play Wishing Well to draw two, you still have five cards in hand, so no card advantage.  I love Apothecary/Wishing Well, since Apothecary draws a card for sure and the Coppers are often better than inert Victory cards, but Scout/Wishing Well just isn't good enough to bother with most of the time.
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RisingJaguar

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2012, 03:25:24 pm »
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5. Smaller details, Wishing Well is a nice pairing, as it gets upgraded to a lab with the playing of scout. 

If you play a Scout and draw no Victory cards, then play Wishing Well to draw two, you still have five cards in hand, so no card advantage.  I love Apothecary/Wishing Well, since Apothecary draws a card for sure and the Coppers are often better than inert Victory cards, but Scout/Wishing Well just isn't good enough to bother with most of the time.
Of course, I agree. Those two are NOT a combo worth going for...

I meant it more like if you scout/great hall/wishing well, then it could tip the scales to go for it. Sorry for the miscommunication.
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toaster

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2012, 03:27:42 pm »
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Well, its win rate isn't as bad, and people buy it more often.  I think that's pretty unambiguous evidence that Scout isn't as bad as Thief.

That's true in some sense, but consider the following cards: card A gets bought 1% of the time and gives players a 10% win rate in 2 player games, card B gets bought in 60% of games and give players a 40% chance of winning. 

on one level, card A is clearly the worse card in an absolute sense....players do quite badly whenever they use it.  On the other hand, that fact that it's so bad in some sense makes it less troublesome, because players are unlikely to purchase it when it should be ignored.  It's in that sense that I chose to rank Scout lower than Thief.  Really though, they're both quite poor cards, so I can easily accept the other ordering.
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tlloyd

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2012, 03:28:03 pm »
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It doesn't matter whether these greens are Great Halls or vanilla VP cards, the Scout has the same drawing power either way.

That may be technically true, but it ignores the obvious fact that great halls will then get played to draw useful cards into your hand, so that in the end you're not left with a hand full of green. Scout + Great Hall is not that good, but it is significantly better than Scout + Estates.
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chwhite

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2012, 03:29:19 pm »
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5. Smaller details, Wishing Well is a nice pairing, as it gets upgraded to a lab with the playing of scout. 

If you play a Scout and draw no Victory cards, then play Wishing Well to draw two, you still have five cards in hand, so no card advantage.  I love Apothecary/Wishing Well, since Apothecary draws a card for sure and the Coppers are often better than inert Victory cards, but Scout/Wishing Well just isn't good enough to bother with most of the time.
Of course, I agree. Those two are NOT a combo worth going for...

I meant it more like if you scout/great hall/wishing well, then it could tip the scales to go for it. Sorry for the miscommunication.

Oh, sure, I agree with that.  If you're already loading up on Victory cards for whatever reason (hello Ironworks) then it can be worthwhile.
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2012, 03:44:05 pm »
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It doesn't matter whether these greens are Great Halls or vanilla VP cards, the Scout has the same drawing power either way.

That may be technically true, but it ignores the obvious fact that great halls will then get played to draw useful cards into your hand, so that in the end you're not left with a hand full of green. Scout + Great Hall is not that good, but it is significantly better than Scout + Estates.

No it isn't.  I'm eventually going to draw both the great halls and estates anyway; scout doesn't help me "more" if it draws the great halls instead of the estates.  In either case, it's getting me thru my deck x cards faster.

Is a Laboratory "worse" when it draws two Estates instead of two silvers?  No.  I'm going to get to those silvers or Estates anyway.  The Lab gives me an equal benefit either way.  The "worse" part is that I had Estates instead of silvers in my deck to begin with.

Estates are worse than Great Halls, just as Estates are worse than Harems.  But a Scout is no better with Great Halls than Estates, just as it's no better with Harems than Estates.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 03:49:25 pm by Kahryl »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2012, 03:56:31 pm »
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^It is actually slightly better, because you can rearrange the cards for your great halls to draw.
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2012, 03:59:08 pm »
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^It is actually slightly better, because you can rearrange the cards for your great halls to draw.

Good point. That IS a legit synergy between Scout and GH.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2012, 04:00:14 pm »
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^It is actually slightly better, because you can rearrange the cards for your great halls to draw.

I'd say it's more than slightly better. That's a pretty big benefit if used carefully.

EDIT: On a related note, I'll say one thing about a Scout engine: if you can build an effective one, it maintains momentum pretty darn well as you green your deck.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 04:29:15 pm by LastFootnote »
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Octo

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2012, 04:27:41 pm »
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I think you're really stretching to notion of synergies etc. here to point of meaninglessness.

Let me get this straight: Scout's quality is not affected by the cards it's drawing. Also, the quality of the cards you're drawing is not affected by Scout either. So neither card is more effective as a result of each other.

If that is the case, then why on earth would pick some cards over others? If every card has an immutable value that is the same no matter what, why would it matter what you buy? Isn't the contextual value of each card being dependant on what other cards are available most of the point of Dominion?

Harems are ok. Scout is crap. But Harems + Scout....well, now you're talking, greater than the sum of the parts I'd say. If 2 + 2 = 5, where's the extra one coming from?

Perhaps you could argue your case on a technicality (as you say, scout still draws the same amount etc.) but as I said at the beginning, this reduces the meaning and argument into silliness. It seems a rather pointless point to make to me.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 04:30:10 pm by Octo »
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LastFootnote

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2012, 04:29:24 pm »
+1

Actually, upon closer scrutiny, the entire claim that Scount/Great Hall isn't better than Scout/Estate is completely ridiculous, even if you disregard Scout's ability to rearrange your deck. Here's the claim:

I'm eventually going to draw both the great halls and estates anyway; scout doesn't help me "more" if it draws the great halls instead of the estates.  In either case, it's getting me thru my deck x cards faster.

Is a Laboratory "worse" when it draws two Estates instead of two silvers?  No.  I'm going to get to those silvers or Estates anyway.  The Lab gives me an equal benefit either way.  The "worse" part is that I had Estates instead of silvers in my deck to begin with.

Estates are worse than Great Halls, just as Estates are worse than Harems.  But a Scout is no better with Great Halls than Estates, just as it's no better with Harems than Estates.

Let's say that there are four decks. Deck 1 consists entirely of Coppers, Estates, and Scouts. Deck 2 consists entirely of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts. Deck 3 consists entirely of Coppers and Estates, and Deck 4 consists entirely of Coppers and Great Halls.  Deck 1 is to Deck 2 as Deck 3 is to Deck 4.

Let's say that Deck 2 draws a hand of 4 Coppers and a Scout. I play the Scout, revealing 2 Great Halls and 2 Coppers. The Great Halls go into my hand and I use them to draw the 2 Coppers from my deck. I now have 6 Coppers in my hand and can buy a Gold. Decks 1, 3, and 4 all top out at $5 in a single turn, no matter how I rearrange the cards.

Hence, the statement that Scout does not have more synergy with Great Halls than it does with Estates is false.
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2012, 04:41:03 pm »
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Actually, upon closer scrutiny, the entire claim that Scount/Great Hall isn't better than Scout/Estate is completely ridiculous, even if you disregard Scout's ability to rearrange your deck. Here's the claim:

I'm eventually going to draw both the great halls and estates anyway; scout doesn't help me "more" if it draws the great halls instead of the estates.  In either case, it's getting me thru my deck x cards faster.

Is a Laboratory "worse" when it draws two Estates instead of two silvers?  No.  I'm going to get to those silvers or Estates anyway.  The Lab gives me an equal benefit either way.  The "worse" part is that I had Estates instead of silvers in my deck to begin with.

Estates are worse than Great Halls, just as Estates are worse than Harems.  But a Scout is no better with Great Halls than Estates, just as it's no better with Harems than Estates.

Let's say that there are four decks. Deck 1 consists entirely of Coppers, Estates, and Scouts. Deck 2 consists entirely of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts. Deck 3 consists entirely of Coppers and Estates, and Deck 4 consists entirely of Coppers and Great Halls.  Deck 1 is to Deck 2 as Deck 3 is to Deck 4.

Let's say that Deck 2 draws a hand of 4 Coppers and a Scout. I play the Scout, revealing 2 Great Halls and 2 Coppers. The Great Halls go into my hand and I use them to draw the 2 Coppers from my deck. I now have 6 Coppers in my hand and can buy a Gold. Decks 1, 3, and 4 all top out at $5 in a single turn, no matter how I rearrange the cards.

Hence, the statement that Scout does not have more synergy with Great Halls than it does with Estates is false.

Deck 3 gets an average of $2.5 per turn.
Deck 4 gets an average of $5 per turn.
So replacing Estates with Great halls gives you 100% more money.

Deck 1 The average non-scout card is worth $0.5.  A SINGLE scout in the deck (so he doesn't clash with others) is going to draw 2 estate on average, increasing your overall income by 2 cards or $1. 

Deck 2 All non scout cards are worth $1, since Great hall chains will always eventually become coppers.  A SINGLE scout in the deck is going to draw 2 great halls on average, increasing your income on this turn by $2..  100% more money than Deck 1.  He's simply riding the benefit of Estates -> Great Halls you'd have anyway.

So as you said, Deck 3:Deck 4 as Deck 1:Deck 2

Quote
I now have 6 Coppers in my hand and can buy a Gold. Decks 1, 3, and 4 all top out at $5 in a single turn, no matter how I rearrange the cards.

As you've shown, deck 2 is the best of the lot.  But this was not your thesis.  Your thesis was that Deck 2 is more of an improvement over deck 1 than deck 4 is over 3.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 04:44:42 pm by Kahryl »
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tlloyd

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2012, 04:54:22 pm »
+2

Actually, upon closer scrutiny, the entire claim that Scount/Great Hall isn't better than Scout/Estate is completely ridiculous, even if you disregard Scout's ability to rearrange your deck. Here's the claim:

I'm eventually going to draw both the great halls and estates anyway; scout doesn't help me "more" if it draws the great halls instead of the estates.  In either case, it's getting me thru my deck x cards faster.

Is a Laboratory "worse" when it draws two Estates instead of two silvers?  No.  I'm going to get to those silvers or Estates anyway.  The Lab gives me an equal benefit either way.  The "worse" part is that I had Estates instead of silvers in my deck to begin with.

Estates are worse than Great Halls, just as Estates are worse than Harems.  But a Scout is no better with Great Halls than Estates, just as it's no better with Harems than Estates.

Let's say that there are four decks. Deck 1 consists entirely of Coppers, Estates, and Scouts. Deck 2 consists entirely of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts. Deck 3 consists entirely of Coppers and Estates, and Deck 4 consists entirely of Coppers and Great Halls.  Deck 1 is to Deck 2 as Deck 3 is to Deck 4.

Let's say that Deck 2 draws a hand of 4 Coppers and a Scout. I play the Scout, revealing 2 Great Halls and 2 Coppers. The Great Halls go into my hand and I use them to draw the 2 Coppers from my deck. I now have 6 Coppers in my hand and can buy a Gold. Decks 1, 3, and 4 all top out at $5 in a single turn, no matter how I rearrange the cards.

Hence, the statement that Scout does not have more synergy with Great Halls than it does with Estates is false.

Deck 3 gets an average of $2.5 per turn.
Deck 4 gets an average of $5 per turn.
So replacing Estates with Great halls gives you 100% more money.

Deck 1 The average non-scout card is worth $0.5.  A SINGLE scout in the deck (so he doesn't clash with others) is going to draw 2 estate on average, increasing your overall income by 2 cards or $1. 

Deck 2 All non scout cards are worth $1, since Great hall chains will always eventually become coppers.  A SINGLE scout in the deck is going to draw 2 great halls on average, increasing your income on this turn by $2..  100% more money than Deck 1.  He's simply riding the benefit of Estates -> Great Halls you'd have anyway.

So as you said, Deck 3:Deck 4 as Deck 1:Deck 2

Quote
I now have 6 Coppers in my hand and can buy a Gold. Decks 1, 3, and 4 all top out at $5 in a single turn, no matter how I rearrange the cards.

As you've shown, deck 2 is the best of the lot.  But this was not your thesis.  Your thesis was that Deck 2 is more of an improvement over deck 1 than deck 4 is over 3.

No, YOUR thesis was that given a deck with a Scout in it, there is no difference between adding Great Halls and adding "vanilla VP cards."
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Kore

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2012, 05:00:35 pm »
0

The problem with the Scout/Great hall combo is not with the scout. The problem is that great halls are not a good card to base a combo around They're good filler in general but they're not going to get you enough money or cards to buy them over other stronger options. Scout/Harem or Scout/Nobles doesn't suffer from the same problems though it takes longer to fill your deck with nobles or harems.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2012, 05:03:37 pm »
0

As you've shown, deck 2 is the best of the lot.  But this was not your thesis.  Your thesis was that Deck 2 is more of an improvement over deck 1 than deck 4 is over 3.

That was not my thesis, but I could prove that as well, if you'd like. First, however, a few points:

1. You assumed that there were an equal number of Coppers and Estates/Great Halls in each deck. I made no such claim. Furthermore, that doesn't matter, given that I was talking about maximum output, not average output.

2. With your 2.5 vs. 5 arguments, you seem to assume that Dominion's cost scale is linear. It is not. 5 is more than twice as good as 2.5

However, let's go with your assumption that we have a deck that starts with an equal number of each type of card (at least 5 copies of each).

A deck with only Coppers and Estates averages $2.5 per turn, and can range from $0 to $5.

A deck with only Coppers and Great Halls will always generate $5 per turn.

A deck with equal numbers of Coppers, Estates, and Scouts averages less than $2.5 each turn, and can range from $0 to $5.

A deck with equal numbers of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts is likely to draw the entire deck on some turns, generating as many coins as there are Coppers in the deck.

Hopefully we can agree that $∞ is a greater improvement over < $2.5 than $5 is over $2.5.

EDIT: I retract my claim that the Scout/Great Hall deck is in any way likely to draw itself entirely. That's not at all likely unless about half of your deck is Great Halls.

That being said, you're still fairly likely to reach $8.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 05:36:19 pm by LastFootnote »
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tlloyd

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2012, 05:17:54 pm »
+2

It doesn't matter whether these greens are Great Halls or vanilla VP cards, the Scout has the same drawing power either way.

Estates are worse than Great Halls, just as Estates are worse than Harems.  But a Scout is no better with Great Halls than Estates, just as it's no better with Harems than Estates.

The simplest benefit that comes from Scout is improving your next turn by removing VP from your deck (it is an obvious counter to bureaucrat). But in doing so Scout also increases the size of your current hand. Generally that is not much of a benefit for your immediate turn, since the increase is in the form of victory cards, which are generally unproductive.

But if the Scout also drew Silvers into your hand, that would be useful! And if that was the case, you would have to admit that your deck would benefit more from silvers than estates. Well Harem is a silver that Scout can retrieve, so Scout is stronger in a deck full of Harems than in a deck full of estates.

And even if Scout only added estates to your hand, wouldn't you like to use a Cellar to convert your larger hand into a larger and better hand? Well Great Halls are just estates with free Cellars built in. (That isn't true architecturally, but we're talking cards. ;))
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 05:32:04 pm by tlloyd »
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2012, 05:38:18 pm »
+1

As you've shown, deck 2 is the best of the lot.  But this was not your thesis.  Your thesis was that Deck 2 is more of an improvement over deck 1 than deck 4 is over 3.

That was not my thesis, but I could prove that as well, if you'd like. First, however, a few points:

1. You assumed that there were an equal number of Coppers and Estates/Great Halls in each deck. I made no such claim. Furthermore, that doesn't matter, given that I was talking about maximum output, not average output.

2. With your 2.5 vs. 5 arguments, you seem to assume that Dominion's cost scale is linear. It is not. 5 is more than twice as good as 2.5

However, let's go with your assumption that we have a deck that starts with an equal number of each type of card (at least 5 copies of each).

A deck with only Coppers and Estates averages $2.5 per turn, and can range from $0 to $5.

A deck with only Coppers and Great Halls will always generate $5 per turn.

A deck with equal numbers of Coppers, Estates, and Scouts averages less than $2.5 each turn, and can range from $0 to $5.

A deck with equal numbers of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts is likely to draw the entire deck on most turns, generating as many coins as there are Coppers in the deck.

Hopefully we can agree that $∞ is a greater improvement over < $2.5 than $5 is over $2.5.

Okay.  So my deck with 100 gold in it is inferior to your deck with equal numbers of villages/smithies/coppers/estates, since I cap out at $15 and you cap out at $∞.  You're right that the value of money is nonlinear, but it's a much smaller inaccuracy to call it linear than to judge the value of a deck by its perfect hand.  Since draws vary so much, you're almost always better off taking a deck with higher average $s.  When you have a deck with exponential potential (like Highway/Laboratory/Village/Bridge) you have to take into account your inevitable "megaturn" instead of just the average, but none of these decks have multiplying benefits.

Furthermore this is not true:

Quote
A deck with equal numbers of Coppers, Great Halls, and Scouts is fairly likely to reach $8

Let's say the deck goes CSGCSG for sanity's sake.  This also helps you start with a scout that will draw two great halls, and you're less likely to get your engine screwed up by lumpy draws.  What would you pay to get your villages and smithies not to cluster up!?

Draw your hand.
Hand: CSGCS
Deck: GCSGC...
Play a Scout.
Hand: CGCSGG
Deck: CSCSG...
Play 3 great halls.
Hand: CCCSSC
Deck: SGCSG...
Play a scout.
Hand: CCCSCG
Deck: SCSGC...
Play your great hall.
Hand: CCCSCS
Deck: CSGCS...
Play a scout.
Hand: CCCCSG
Deck: CSCSG...
Play your great hall.
Hand: CCCCSC
Deck: SCSGC...
Play your scout:
Hand: CCCCCG
Deck: SCSCS...
Play your great hall.
Hand: CCCCCS
Deck: CSCSG...
Play your scout for no effect.  Now you have $5... in a perfectly smooth deck.  Your next turn will also be $5. Average in a real deck will be less than $5.  Scout HURTS your GreatHall-Copper deck because the FIRST scout draws only an average of 4/3 cards, making it barely better than a cantrip, and subsequent scouts will be worse.  Even with helpful circumstances your scouts averaged only a cantrip.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 07:04:53 pm by Kahryl »
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LastFootnote

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2012, 06:00:35 pm »
0

Furthermore this is not true:

Yeah, if you look above, I already edited my post with the same conclusion. You'd have to have more Great Halls in your deck to really make it work.

Still, the fact remains that you can get more from Great Halls and Scouts together than you could get from either individually.
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Octo

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2012, 06:14:00 pm »
0

Indeed, with lots of harems, I would certainly say that it would be worthwhile to get a Scout or two. The same is not true of Estates. Sure, this is because Harems are good. But if the value of Scout had not changed it would not all of a sudden be worth considering.

The potential value to you of the cards that Scout might draw has increased. Thus, the value to you of Scout has increased. As a consequence, you consider buying it.

Take Smithy. You have a deck full of terminals. Smithy is worthless to you. You have a deck full of cash. Smithy is worth lots to you. In both situations you draw three cards. In one that's helpful, in one it's not.

Take Laboratory. You have 8 Copper. A Lab purchase here is could be good, perhaps. You have 8 Gold. A lab purchase would  be a waste.

Take Woodcutter. With one Woodcutter and all coppers in your deck, Woodcutter is ok. With one Woodcutter and all gold in your deck, Woodcutter becomes much more important (the extra buy of course).

Perhaps swapping the word "value" for "relevance" would placate people.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 06:21:37 pm by Octo »
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2012, 06:16:33 pm »
0

Furthermore this is not true:

Yeah, if you look above, I already edited my post with the same conclusion. You'd have to have more Great Halls in your deck to really make it work.

Still, the fact remains that you can get more from Great Halls and Scouts together than you could get from either individually.

Taking it to the extreme in my simulations, I see you're right.  This is because AFTER you play a first scout, the great halls' drawing power "refreshes" the chances of subsequent scouts to get greens in the "next four" cards.  But any drawer could do that.  MULTIPLE scouts synergize (weakly) with other drawing cards like Laboratory, and any scouts synergize with green cards like Estate.  So a card (Great Hall) that is both a drawer, and green, can synergize with scouts. I stand corrected.  But it's still way, way worse than people think.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 06:30:19 pm by Kahryl »
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2012, 06:22:49 pm »
0

Indeed, with lots of harems, I would certainly say that it would be worthwhile to get a Scout or two. The same is not true of Estates. Sure, this is because Harems are good. But if the value of Scout had not changed it would not all of a sudden be worth considering.

It's been mentioned that a Scout is a Laboratory on average if your deck is 50% green (as long as multiple scouts don't go off in a single turn).  It's reasonable to get to this with harems and provinces.  I would consider getting a scout after getting enough harems (and if I somehow draw less than $6..)

If your deck is half estates and half coppers, a Scout is still worth a Laboratory, but Silver is probably a better buy.  Labs scale with the power of your existing deck.  Since your power is very low, so will the power of a Scout relative to "static" cards like Silver.  If you want to say that Scouts and Labs "synergize" with good cards, that would work.  But that also means a Scout synergizes with a deck that's half Platinum and half Colonies.  It'll get 2 Colonies out of the way each play, increasing income by $5 for just a $4 nonterminal!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 06:27:51 pm by Kahryl »
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Kahryl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2012, 06:35:59 pm »
0

No, YOUR thesis was that given a deck with a Scout in it, there is no difference between adding Great Halls and adding "vanilla VP cards."

That's ridiculous.  Great Halls give you more buying power than vanilla VP cards, regardless of whether you have scouts.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2012, 07:22:55 pm »
+2

I think Scout suffers in Isotropic from a similar thing to Golem. Both were tested in a 2-box environment in which you're much more likely to be getting more cards from the same box. Scout is clearly designed to be an Intrigue card - Intrigue of course having three of the four dual-type VP cards - and playing with half Intrigue cards, you're going to be getting two or more of Great Hall, Harem and Nobles quite regularly.
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Tahtweasel

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2012, 07:40:55 pm »
+1

I agree. Tribute suffers, similarly. Scout and Tribute are designed to thrive on Nobles, Great Hall, and Harem. People online are beginning to think of these as bad cards - because in the Isotropic environment, they genuinely are. But if you've ever seen a Tribute flip a Nobles and a Province, it becomes the equivalent of two Laboratories and a Trusty Steed, all in a single card. That is beyond-dominant.
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Volkmar

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2012, 08:01:29 pm »
0

Just played a game on an example of a pretty decent Scout board:
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201201/12/game-20120112-162858-cf5fd38b.html

Harem, Nobles and Great Hall are all there. I added 2 Scouts to make sure my deck would keep going after I started picking up Provinces, but in the end the game ended in a 3-pile and I think Nobles/Festival would've been enough to get me to that point. Still though, with all the dual cards, my Scouts picked up 2 or 3 cards most of the time. On the other hand my opponent was a bit new and against a better player I'm not sure the Scouts would've been a good buy, even on a board like this, with all the dual cards and +buy. Maybe if Masquerade wasn't there. I think pure Scout/Great Hall is never worth it as a basis for a deck, but with the more expensive dual cards Scout can be good on a board with few other options.
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tlloyd

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2012, 02:45:59 pm »
0

No, YOUR thesis was that given a deck with a Scout in it, there is no difference between adding Great Halls and adding "vanilla VP cards."

That's ridiculous.  Great Halls give you more buying power than vanilla VP cards, regardless of whether you have scouts.

OK, your thesis was that a Scout is just as strong (weak) in a deck with lots of Great Halls or Harems as it would be in a deck with lots of estates. But I take it you've now seen the light?
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Voltgloss

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2012, 03:56:00 pm »
0

I think Scout suffers in Isotropic from a similar thing to Golem. Both were tested in a 2-box environment in which you're much more likely to be getting more cards from the same box.

What's the source for this?  I.e., that Dominion cards are playtested in an environment that draws cards from only 2 sets at once?  My understanding has always been that Donald X. devised and playtested cards all together (from all expansions) and only grouped them into expansions after the fact, arranging them by theme and/or synergy. 

In other words:  Scout was grouped in a box with several hybrid Victory cards because they synergize.  But Scout wasn't written the way it is specifically because it was intended for a box with several hybrid Victory cards in it.  Subtle distinction maybe, but a distinction nevertheless.
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Donald X.

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2012, 04:12:53 pm »
+3

I think Scout suffers in Isotropic from a similar thing to Golem. Both were tested in a 2-box environment in which you're much more likely to be getting more cards from the same box.

What's the source for this?  I.e., that Dominion cards are playtested in an environment that draws cards from only 2 sets at once?  My understanding has always been that Donald X. devised and playtested cards all together (from all expansions) and only grouped them into expansions after the fact, arranging them by theme and/or synergy. 

In other words:  Scout was grouped in a box with several hybrid Victory cards because they synergize.  But Scout wasn't written the way it is specifically because it was intended for a box with several hybrid Victory cards in it.  Subtle distinction maybe, but a distinction nevertheless.
The early main set, Intrigue, and Seaside/Hinterlands were all just some cards, mixed together and played together, which I then divided up into a main set and two expansions.

From that point on, I tended to play expansions in pairs irl, or all mixed together online (I had my own online program we used before isotropic). When you are hauling boxes to a game night, it's easier just to bring two plus the base cards.

Scout however is one of the five cards I added to Intrigue when it turned out they wanted 25-card expansions rather than 20-card ones. It did not previously exist; I made it specifically to go with the victory cards in Intrigue.

Scout tends to be weak outside of all-Intrigue games and well you get better at these things as you go along. Crossroads is not weak outside of all-Hinterlands games; there you go.
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Voltgloss

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2012, 05:07:49 pm »
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Well, I couldn't ask for a more authoritative source than that!  Thanks, Donald X.!
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Anon79

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2012, 10:27:53 pm »
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Yeah the Secret History mentions that Scout was added when moving Intrigue from 20 to 25 cards, but not the sentiment that Scout is weak outside of Intrigue ;)
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ftl

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2012, 11:14:32 pm »
0

Thanks for the comments everyone! :)

So basically, the consensus seems to be that there's no enablers that synergise  well enough to make Scout+GH viable as a primary strategy over BM. Other dual victory cards (Harem, Nobles) may make scout worthwhile, though probably late-game and not early.
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jomini

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Re: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2012, 12:27:42 am »
+1

Ehh, I wouldn't go so far as to say that nothing makes scout/great hall good enough to beat BM, just that most of the cards which are good enough to make the combo work don't need GH.

For instance, scout/vault/GH is a pretty solid play (especially with some +buy from something like pawn, contraband, or hamlet). Cycling back to the vault faster is often a much better buy than gaining a silver , not to mention it doesn't take too much to get heavy use out of scout. At the start of the game, a scout contributes about 1.2 coin or so to a vault. Adding a single GH brings it up to around 1.8, with very minimal loss of potential buying power to a dead draw. Because the deck is green friendly, you can load it up with duchies/GH and pile out pretty quick as well.

Now will that be the strongest option on the board? Likely not. On really crappy boards even scout/GH/secret chamber can be a viable run, but more often this is a helper role.

E.g. Let's say you are looking to chain some highways or bridges up for a mega buying turn. It is not uncommon to have a turn or 2 that reduces prices to 0-1 coin per GH or scout. In those cases, if you have the +buy (like say from bridges) they are both combo enablers and help out massively. Unlike many other 3 or 4 cost cards they decrease the mean time to happen for a megaturn (in a way things like smithy rarely manage), and make your deck better after the megaturn comes (in those cases where you are unable to fully end the game in one turn due to fear of losing).

Likewise, cards like develop or forge often are searching around for something to turn useless junk (like 2 estates, a now useless nomad camp, etc.) into that actually helps.

Even in one of the most powerful scout/GH strategies, I find scout/GH to be more of a situational thing. Scout/GH/Ironworks/highway is fairly strong. You only need one or two highways and you can ironworks a lot of GH and scouts. Once you hit HW/IW, you can load up on cheap highways and spiral quickly to cheap provinces ... or you can go for duchies and just pile out. Timing is everything, and scout/GH lets you better time when to go big or when to pile.
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