|#11 Lookout (Seaside) Weighted Average: 11.61 / Median: 11 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 4.5|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #6 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #19 (1x), #20 (1x), #22 (1x)
Now we're making a big jump of 2.5 points and reaching the 11 above-average cards. 4 times it got #8, but the range from #2 to #22 and the high deviation shows the disagreement with this card? Why?
The positive part is: It's a non-terminal trasher which is of course very powerful. It can trash a card which is even not in your hand. It also counters top-deck-attacks, especially Sea Hag (Sea Hag / Lookout is currently the #31 best opening), very well. And with the support of "spying" cards you are guaranteed trashing a bad card. All this is similar to Loan. But Loan can only trash the first card. With Lookout you can even choose between three cards. But: In the late game, it's a dead card in your hand, because it becomes dangerous. Who doesn't fear drawing 3 Provinces or even Colonies and having to trash one? Maybe that fear caused many players to rank it that low. And maybe other players ignored that totally when ranking it that high. The fear isn't justified mostly, but you have to keep that in mind. Especially if you have only 2 or even 1 card in your drawing deck.
|#10 Scheme (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 10.99 / Median: 11 / Mode: 11 / Standard Deviation: 5.1|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #3 (1x), #5 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #20 (2x), #23 (1x)
We're reaching the Top 10 and the card with the second highest deviation. It's the first card which got #1, 5 times it got #11, but it even got #23. What a big range!
Scheme is a cantrip and mostly don't hurt in your deck as long as you don't draw it dead. But how big is the benefit? If you're building an engine around a key card (like Hunting Party), Scheme is very handy as you can be sure to have that card in hand nearly every turn. With +Buy you could even buy more Schemes to add to your engine. Even with a simpler strategy, but a strong attack, Scheme is very nice, as is basically replaces the second copy of that strong attack card. Be aware of Minion, as Minion could completely destroy your top-decking. On the other hand, in big money games or with very thin decks, Scheme is not worth a buy and you better buy a Silver. Are here the votings again: BM players vs. Engine builders?
|#9 Tunnel (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 10.32 / Median: 9 / Mode: 11 / Standard Deviation: 4.4|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #4 (1x), #5 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #17 (1x), #18 (1x), #20 (1x)
One of the closest battles of all cards was the one between #8 and #9. Tunnel loses very close and is #9. Here we have another Victory card, but this time it ranks really high. 4 times it was #11, but the deviation is still not very low.
That may result from the problem all Victory cards have in common: How do you rank them? It's clear that Tunnel is a good card, especially in Province games, but how high do I want it to sit in the ranking? Its 2VP for only $3 is already very good. You have to pay $2 more for getting one point more. And the Reaction part is really strong. Mostly there is at least one card on the board which can trigger it. It combos great with Vault, Cellar, Inn, Embassy and such. Young Witch / Tunnel is currently the 20th best opening. So Tunnel is one of the rare scenarios when buying a victory card as an opening buy can be really good (beside Island). It's also a great defense card against Discarding Attacks like Militia, Goons or Margrave or even Minion. On boards with many discarding synergies, you mostly can observe a rush for Tunnels. And then not only the Tunnel can deplete, the Gold pile can too.
|#8 Watchtower (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 10.32 (10.318) / Median: 10 / Mode: 10 / Standard Deviation: 4.2|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #5 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #18 (1x), #19 (2x)
Watchtower managed to beat Tunnel with a 0.02 lead. Its median is worse, so it may be even worse. With more lists these two positions may have become clearer. The consensus is higher and 4 times it got #10.
The two Reaction cards fought and Watchtower won. Watchtower is very versatile what makes it a great card. At first it can draw up to 6 cards what makes it a worse Library and is great in Hamlet, Festival or other decks where the non-terminals draw equal or less cards than you discard. Then it is even an Smithy equivalent. Even if two Watchtowers collide you can use the Reaction part for the other card too. You can put your new card on top of your deck and have it in your hand in the next turn. But Watchtower is even a better defense card. The strongest attacks are Cursing and Discarding Attacks. You can trash the gained Curses immediately and can draw to a more than full hand after discarding. And, with one of the discarding attacks it combos too: Goons / Watchtower is great as you can buy additional Coppers or Curses for VPs and can trash them immediately without clogging up.
|#7 Swindler (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 7.29 / Median: 7 / Mode: 9 / Standard Deviation: 4.6|
Highest Rank(s): #4 (5x) / Lowest Rank(s): #12 (3x), #19 (1x), #25 (1x)
Now we make an even bigger jump of 3 points and are now in the Top 7, the 7 good $3 cards. Swindler got #9 six times and has only 5 outliers of ranks below #9, from mostly beginners, therefore the high deviation. But still, no-one ranked it higher than #4, so it's definitely not owerpowered.
Swindler is the third $3 Attack and this time it is a good one. It's a great opening buy and can turn the Coppers of the opponents into Curses. Later in the game it can turn the new good $5 cards into Duchies. With special cards on the board, the punishing can even be worse, like swindling the only Potion into a Treasure Map or Coppersmith or vice versa, turning the Sea Hag into a Potion. Maybe the outliers are punishing it too, for its high luck-dependant attack. Both players may open Swindler and one can turn the other Swindler into a Chancellor. Or you hit 3 Coppers and turn them into Curses and your opponent hit 3 Estates and turn them into ... Estates. Bad luck! Of course you can decrease bad luck by adding a Spy-like attack, but most of the time it's not worth it. Beware with Peddler on board. Trashing a Province and turning into a Peddler, great. Hitting a Peddler when the Peddlers are out, bad! And beware in the end game. Hitting a Curse when the Curses are out is suboptimal, but hitting a Province and giving your opponent the last Province, can win or lose you the game.
|#6 Warehouse (Seaside) Weighted Average: 6.22 / Median: 6 / Mode: 4 / Standard Deviation: 2.6|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #3 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #10 (2x), #11 (1x), #13 (1x)
Now we are in the Top 6, the region with high concensus again. No big surprises from now on. Warehouse got #4 6 times, but still has enough lower ranks, so it's still only #6.
Warehouse is the better Cellar (ok, it's the last time with this innuendo). But it is a very useful deck sifter. You can draw 3 cards and discard the most useless ones. It's also a card that works fine with Tunnel and of course with any Attack as it is non-terminal and can draw your terminals more often. And you can even play it if your hand is good and discard the useless cards on top of your deck (which are coincidental there or from any Attack like Rabble). Not much to say here, it's a useful addition to any deck, especially in decks with important key cards which you want to play as often as you can.
|#5 Menagerie (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 5.68 / Median: 5 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 2.8|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (2x), #3 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (2x), #10 (1x), #14 (1x)
Menagerie managed it to get first 2 times, but still has some outliers in the lower ranks, so it's still #5. The majority voted it exactly there, it got #5 7 times.
Menagerie can be very strong, a double-Laboratory, or only a cantrip. Ok, it never hurts, but it sill needs enablers like cards that can discard (best: non-terminal like Warehouse or Hamlet) or heavy-trashing to use its full strength. Its best use may be to counter Discarding attacks. After a Militia or Goons attacks, just play Menagerie and you have a 5-card-hand again. Of course it's also good if there are many good cards on the board you want to have, or you buy many good cards out of the Black Market deck, so you can maximize the possibilty to have different cards in the deck. In comparism to Warehouse its not always a good addition to your deck, but when it is, it's so good.
|#4 Steward (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 5.56 / Median: 6 / Mode: 7 / Standard Deviation: 2.8|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #2 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (1x), #11 (1x), #13 (1x)
Again, it was very close, but Steward has beaten Menagerie, even if it has a lower Median and Mode. I got #7 6 times, but at the same time was rarely lower than #7.
Steward's strength is its flexibility. It's one of the rare trashers that are good openers and still good later in the game, in this case for $2 or 2 cards. It leads to very difficult decisions (Steward and 4 Coppers: Trashing or Gold?) but either decision is strong. And it is also rare for a non-attack card that is terminal to say about: "It is usually a good buy" (even though it's the opening buy) Tournament / Steward is currently the best Steward opening at #49.
|#3 Fishing Village (Seaside) Weighted Average: 2.99 / Median: 3 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 1.5|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #5 (4x), #6 (1x), #7 (1x)
Next big step and we're in the Top 3. No doubt on this card. It has the lower deviation shared with another card, and got #2 10 times.
What makes Fishing Village a good village, yes, one of the best in the game? It hasn't 2 of the biggest problems in combination with villages. 1.) A Smithy-Village chain still may lack the money. FV gives money instead of a card. 2.) You draw 2 terminals with no village in hand. FV gives also an additional action in the following turn and therefore a total of 3 actions, minimizing the chances of not being able to play colliding terminals. So, if you're definitely going to build an unstoppable engine, buy as many FVs as you can. FV / Wharf is so much superior than Smithy / Village and FV / Torturer can hurt so much. You only don't want to buy it if you're going BM, because then you have basically a Lighthouse if you don't use the +Actions.
|#2 Masquerade (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 2.43 / Median: 2 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 1.5|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (8x) / Lowest Rank(s): #5 (1x), #6 (2x)
It was fun to observe the battle for #1. Masquerade lost by very small margin. 8 times #1 wasn't enough to get the top position. But at least it's the other card that got the lowest deviation.
At first it seems so harmless (at least to me). Even though it is no attack by definition, most of the times it feels like it is one. I cannot desribe the power of Masquerade better than theory did: "By drawing 2 cards, Masquerade combines solid buying power with its deck-thinning, thus allowing you to improve your deck along two axes at once." It's a hard counter to cursing attacks, so you may even choose not to go for the cursing attack with Masquerade on the board. And if you have a discarding attack and play Masquerade afterwards it's even a harder attack, allowing the (in)famous Masquerade pin. I still have problems to pass the cards in the right order if I play multiple Masquerades per turn but that doesn't decrease its power. It dominates nearly all games. And Tournament / Masquerade is #8 in the best openings list. Double Masquerade is #105 and the second best double opening.
|#1 Ambassador (Seaside) Weighted Average: 2.20 / Median: 2 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 1.9|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (14x) / Lowest Rank(s): #5 (2x), #10 (1x)
Ambassador is the best $3 card, it has only one outlier and was voted #1 by nearly the half of all players. I think it deserves the #1 spot.
Let's start Ambassador war! In some games the ping-pong of Estates of Coppers is so important that you rather risk open Double-Ambassador and colliding two Ambassadors instead of losing the Ambassador war. Some say it's undercosted and the best attack relative to its cost. You can even buy a curse and turn Ambassador into a Curser. If you lose Ambassador war badly, there's no good chance to recover and building a good engine. But beware: Don't forget building up your own economy. Your opponent is flooded with Coppers and Estates. But he can buy good cards too, so don't forget that. But the power is undeniable. Tournament / Ambassador is #3, Caravan / Ambassador is #7 and Ambassador / Fool's Gold #17 in the openings list with many other good Ambassador openings to come (Double-Ambassador is #44 and the best double opening).