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Author Topic: Scout/Great Hall - what makes it worthwhile?  (Read 13308 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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