Exactly 30 lists were sent in. Thanks for all your contribution.
You were waiting for the results, so let's get started. Feel free to comment.
I'm sorry for mistakes with the English language as I'm no native speaker.
And please let me know if you like my comments and the current format.
|#16 Duchess (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 15.05 / Median: 16 / Mode: 16 / Standard Deviation: 1.5|
Highest Rank(s): #11 (2x), #12 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #16 (17x)
Duchess is the worst $2 card. It was close, but more than a half of all players ranked it last, so it deserved its spot. Why is it so bad?
It's a terminal silver with a spy-effect that has even a benefit for your opponents. Yeah, it's even so bad that it needs a clause to get it for free when you buy a Duchy.
And mostly that are the only cases you want a Duchess. Rarely you want to spend $2 to buy one. Once in a while you want it for free, especially when you are trying to make a "green card rush" with Duke or Gardens and want to maintain the buying power and emptying the third pile as fast as possible.
|#15 Secret Chamber (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 14.59 / Median: 14.5 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 1.4|
Highest Rank(s): #11 (1x), #12 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #16 (6x)
The consensus was even higher with Secret Chamber. Only 3 other cards have a lower standard deviation.
Also no-one has put it higher than #11, but it got not as many last places as Duchess. Why is it so bad?
The action part seems not so bad. You can discard cards for money and in decks with many victory cards or curses it's guaranteed $4. But first: What do you want to buy with $4? As a opener it's bad, because mostly you want to get to $5 and later in the game you need $5 too to get at least a Duchy. So, basically it's a very bad Vault and you better buy a Silver. But there are rare cases, especially you can use it when you need virtual money like in Tactician turns or when you want to buy Grand Markets. It's reaction part is really bad. It has nearly no effect against the best attacks: Cursers and Handsize-Reducers, but you can use it against cards that mess up the top of your deck or trash cards from your deck, like Thief or Pirate Ship.
But Thief is already bad. Why buy a reaction card against Thief?
|#14 Pearl Diver (Seaside) Weighted Average: 13.66 / Median: 14 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 1.5|
Highest Rank(s): #10 (1x), #11 (1x), #12 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #16 (3x)
No surprise here. Everyone agrees here too. Pearl Diver has a sure spot on #14 with enough space to #15 and #13. It's the first card which reached #10, but most players put it on #14 or #15. Why is it so bad?
Pearl Diver mostly don't hurt in your deck as it is a cantrip. So, if you got $2 early and you don't want to buy an Estate, you can buy a Pearl Diver. Buying too much Duchesses or Secret Chambers hurts much more than too many Pearl Divers. But the benefit of Pearl Diver is lower than those cards. It's only use is to minimize draw luck a little bit and to let cards shine which interact with the top card of your deck (Native Village comes into my mind). OK, I admit, since Cornucopia it got a little boost as it can add more diversity into your deck and cards like Menagerie, Fairgrounds, Horn of Plenty can profit from it. But I think you all agree when I say it's weaker than Duchess and Secret Chamber per se, but it hurts less.
|#13 Herbalist (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 12.71 / Median: 13 / Mode: 13 / Standard Deviation: 1.1|
Highest Rank(s): #11 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #14 (8x), #15 (1x)
Even less surprise here. It's the card with the third least deviation. High consensus here, as no-one ranked it higher than #11 (even Pearl Diver managed that), but no-one put it in the last place too. If I know correctly it's a card that's widely hated, especially because it's the only non-potion-related card in the Alchemy set (Apprentice references Potion at least) and its bad too. Many liked to see it replaced with another potion-cost card. But I think it's bad reputation is only half-justified. Yeah, it's a terminal copper. How bad is that! So, mostly it hurts. Bad "scheming" your treasures is really nice. In the beginning you can use your newly buyed Gold twice if you have the luck to draw it with Herbalist. And even putting back a Silver is not so bad in the beginning. But especially if you're going for Potion (because of that it's in Alchemy) you can use it twice early on. The most important combo might be Alchemist+Herbalist. And - mostly forgotten - it's one of three $2 cards that gives the important +Buy and it's the only one which gives the +Buy without taking a disadvantage (either discarding one card or forfeiting an option). But if you have no +Actions this card is mostly not worth buying.
|#12 Moat (Base) Weighted Average: 12.24 / Median: 12 / Mode: 12 / Standard Deviation: 2.1|
Highest Rank(s): #8 (1x), #9 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #15 (2x), #16 (2x)
So, now the first card with higher deviation. The first time we have a card which reaches a single-digit rank, but at the same time reaches the last place two times. What could be the reason?
Moat is very situational. It highly depends on the cards on the board and - more important - on the number of players. If there's Mountebank in the supply and you're playing a 4-player-game, Moat might be a good buy. It can prevent getting 3 coppers and 3 curses in one turn. But if you're playing a 2-player game, buying Moat is mostly superfluous. Buying a trasher more against Cursers or Library/Watchtower/Menagerie agains hand-size-reducing is mostly the better alternative. Even worse, if there's no attack card on the board, +2 cards with no other benefit is so weak, because that means a raw benefit of +1 card . Maybe only if your going for Big Money with bad other cards and you're getting unlucky and hit $2 early, this might be worth considering.
|#11 Embargo (Seaside) Weighted Average: 10.23 / Median: 10 / Mode: 11 / Standard Deviation: 2.2|
Highest Rank(s): #7 (2x), #8 (5x) / Lowest Rank(s): #14 (2x), #16 (1x)
We now make a big step of 2 points in the weighted average and are getting to the first middle-ranked $2 card. The middle-ranked cards are hard to rank, maybe because of that the deviation is higher. Every middle-ranked card has advantages and disadvantages. What thoughts might let you put that card into the 11th place?
First, it's a terminal silver. Basically that's bad. But it's a one-shot. So if you get unlucky and hit $2 early you can buy it without much thinking as it only interferes once. But Embargo can be a game-changer, especially if you and your opponent(s) are taking different strategies. And it really shines if your opponent buys a Potion and you decide not to go for Potion. Just embargo the Potion-cost card and you are turns ahead. So, it's nearly never bad, but only shines situation-wise. And it might be the first card in the list that's worth to play with King's Court.
|#10 Cellar (Base) Weighted Average: 9.31 / Median: 9.5 / Mode: 11 / Standard Deviation: 2.7|
Highest Rank(s): #4 (2x), #5 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #13 (3x)
Now we get to the card with the second highest deviation. It started already heavy discussion in the worst $2 card thread. There seem to be Cellar Lovers (like me ) and haters (and those who just compare it to Warehouse ) It mostly ranked on #11 (7x) but got higher rankings more often than lower rankings. Why so different opinions?
There are many cards that take profit from bad cards like Estate or Curses. Secret Chamber fails - as mentioned earlier - by just getting $1 per card. Cellar let you discard them and get you get your good cards in hand. Of course Warehouse is better in most cases as it let you draw your cards before discarding. If you want compare Cellar with another $2 card, Crossroads comes into your mind. Crossroads also lets you draw more cards for useless cards. But it is limited to green cards, so you get no benefit for Curses and Coppers. But you don't have to discard them and it gives you +3 Actions the first time. So it highly depends which card is better. In cursing games Cellar's great. And of course with Tunnel.
|#9 Native Village (Seaside) Weighted Average: 8.32 / Median: 8 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 2.4|
Highest Rank(s): #5 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #12 (3x), #13 (2x)
Native Village is also a mediocre $2 card with relative high deviation. It's the worst $2 village (with Hamlet and Crossroads to come). Why?
The problem with NV is that you get no immediate benefit beside the +2 Actions. If you use it as a cheap village you only draw 1/2 card per play. But you can use it either as a pseudo-trasher by putting bad cards on the mat. But it fails that you cannot choose the card to put there. You need assistence with cards like Spy, Pearl Diver, Wishing Well or Lookout. The best use may be to use it for mega-turn with a lot of buys. NV+Bridge is the most effective combo.
|#8 Pawn (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 7.62 / Median: 8 / Mode: 9 / Standard Deviation: 1.7|
Highest Rank(s): #5 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #10 (5x)
No big surprise here. Pawn is THE mediocre card in my opinion. Thus the middle rank with little deviation. Pawn is the first card of 4 cards which are very close together and it lost the race for #5.
Pawn is bad if you don't know how to play it and simply use it as a cantrip. But it can be very useful as a cheap source of +Buy and in the beginning it's mostly a cheap Silver if you use it for card + money. It's flexibility makes it good. But it's not great. It can win your game because you picked it up for +Buy but normally it's no game-changer. And if you use it for card + action it at least doesn't hurt. But nothing is more frustrating if you use if for card + money and you draw a Pawn dead.
|#7 Crossroads (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 7.36 / Median: 7 / Mode: 7 / Standard Deviation: 2.4|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (2x), #4 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #11 (3x), #12 (1x)
Crossroads is the third card of four cards in the race for #5. It's also the first card which managed to get in the Top 3. But there seem many Crossroads haters too. So, it's high deviation was the problem not getting in the Top 5.
Crossroads is the only card with +3 Actions which can be very useful. The problem is the luck factor you need with that card. If you buy it early and get a hand with 4 coppers, you wish it were a Silver or one of the above $2 cards. Later you draw it with 3 Estates and you draw now your Vault and you can buy a Province for sure. It combos well with cards that take advantage of big hands. So Crossroads + Vault is very good and of course it's great with your good $5 attacks, especially setting up a Torturer chain. IMO Crossroads is never a reason to go green earlier, but it helps a lot in the end game and can assure you won't lose your buying power. As mentioned above another problem is that it only synergizes with victory cards not with curses what makes it a worse alternative to Cellar in cursing games.
|#6 Haven (Seaside) Weighted Average: 6.78 / Median: 6 / Mode: 6 / Standard Deviation: 2.2|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #4 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #10 (2x), #13 (1x)
Haven lost the battle for #5 very close. 7 times it was ranked #5 and another 7 times #6, so it was clear it was a close call between those two ranks. What makes it above-average?
At first Haven is a cantrip and never hurts. And it's ability to minimize draw luck is great. You have $11, just set a Gold aside. You have $7, just set a Copper aside. Two terminal actions in hand, no problem. You get your maximum out of your money and your actions. It's a very good card, but no game-changer what may be the reason why it didn't get into the Top 5. It supports every strategy but isn't a strategy on its own.
|#5 Fool's Gold (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 6.52 / Median: 5.5 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 3.2|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #10 (3x), #11 (1x), #16 (1x)
Welcome in the Top 5. It was very close, but FG managed to beat Haven. Also, welcome to the first card that got #2, and that even 3 times. But it also got last one time. So it's the card with the by far highest deviation. What may be the reason?
Going for Fool's Gold is its on strategy what Haven isn't. If you buy just one or two, it mostly isn't worth it, because who wants a Copper what gets into Gold in the late game when you can't catch up anymore? You want FG in masses, in high density. With a card with money and +Buy and/or a card drawer it's really great and you have to go for it. Goal: Get as many FGs as you can. Margrave + FG or Nomad Camp + FG are good combos, but you can get even higher density with Mint. Mint + FG is the second best opening on Councilroom. That may reason enough that FG deserves to be in the Top 5. You really have to analyze when to buy it. On some boards it's the worst card on other boards the best card. Your rankings proved that.
|#4 Lighthouse (Seaside) Weighted Average: 4.48 / Median: 4 / Mode: 4 / Standard Deviation: 2.0|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #8 (1x), #9 (1x), #10 (1x)
Let's make a huge step and let's get to the 4 good $2 cards. Lighthouse has the same high rankings as Fool's Gold, but is consistent. Its low ranks are rare and it got #4 11 times.
With Lighthouse on the board, you really need to evualate if it's worth buying a attacking engine. It may the best Reaction that isn't even blue. Why? Most important: It's non-terminal. Unlike Moat, it cannot collide with other terminal actions or another copy. Second: It gives you money. It may look like a Copper, but after you play it, you are safe and get even another $1 the next turn. So on boards with heavy attacks, it's superior to Silver. You only have to make sure you play one Lighthouse each turn.
|#3 Courtyard (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 3.46 / Median: 3 / Mode: 3 / Standard Deviation: 2.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #2 (8x) / Lowest Rank(s): #8 (2x), #10 (1x)
Courtyard is the first card which reached the top spot. 10 times it got ranked on #3, so no surprise that it ranked here.
Courtyard is really great with Big Money. Like Haven it minimizes shuffle luck by putting a card on top of the deck, so if you have too much money or a second Courtyard in hand, that's no problem. But you don't get a 6 card hand like with Haven. But the card draw makes it really nice with Big Money and very strong for a $2 card. It's not much worse than Smithy which costs $4. And Smithy itself is by far not the worst $4 card. Its concept is simple but very effective. Don't underestimate the power of Courtyard.
|#2 Hamlet (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 2.52 / Median: 2 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 0.9|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #2 (16x) / Lowest Rank(s): #4 (5x), #5 (1x)
No surprises in the top 2 spots. Hamlet has the second lowest deviation and deserves the #2 spot without doubt. It even got #1 once. What makes it so great?
It's one of the best villages around. Yes, you have to discard one card as "payment" for the second action, but if you really need the +2 Actions there's no problem for you to discard that Copper. And most important: Most engines lack +Buy. Hamlet may provide that for another card as payment. Even if you don't need the +2 Actions for your strategy, a non-terminal card with +Buy is always worth to buy. So, if you use both options, you have a Worker's Village for $2, but you have to "pay" for that options. And when you got your first Hamlet you can easily buy more Hamlets with that additional +Buy.
|#1 Chapel (Base) Weighted Average: 1.18 / Median: 1 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 0.5|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (28x) / Lowest Rank(s): #3 (2x)
Really, that's no surprise. A nearly perfect score. Only two times it didn't get first. Is it really that great?
So, what's up with that uber-card? Even Donald X. admitted that Chapel is a little bit overpowered and he won't release another card so strong like Chapel in future expansions. Trashing is important in the beginning, and the cost of Chapel enables everyone to open with Chapel. As Councilroom shows it's veeery strong, but only if you open with it. You even want to start Chapel/Silver with 3/4. It's not every time a must-buy but in most occasions it is. It's so strong that you already can say you lost if your opponent opened Witch/Chapel and you have a 4/3 start. Mountebank/Chapel is the best opening on Councilroom and Govenor/Chapel, Tournament/Chapel and Witch/Chapel are currently on 4-6. So its power is undeniable.
As a side note: Cards that are strong openers and bad in late game seem very difficult to rank for all of you. Those cards - as you will see - mostly have high deviation. But Chapel is such a game-changer that it is #1 without doubt.