|#16 Smithy (Base) Weighted Average: 16.63 / Median: 16.5 / Mode: 22 / Standard Deviation: 6.6|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #7 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #24 (1x), #29 (1x), #31 (1x)
After a 1.7 point gap, we're reaching the top third. It was 5 times in the Top 10, but has still many ranks in the Twenties (it was #22 5 times). Nevertheless the deviation is pretty low.
This is maybe the simplest card when you're learning Dominion. It has so few text, but is yet very powerful. It introduced us to the card drawing mechanism, the key card for Big Money engines. In the base set Double-Smithy was still good, but the value dropped down. BM-Smithy is still the way to go on many boards, and if you need a card drawer for a good working engine, Smithy is still a good pick.
|#15 Gardens (Base) Weighted Average: 15.83 / Median: 16.5 / Mode: 18 / Standard Deviation: 9.2|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (2x), #4 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #34 (1x), #35 (1x)
Again, an alternative victory card has a high deviation. It has some really high ranks, being second twice and 11 times in the Top 10. But other players seem to rank it way lower. It's very difficult.
Gardens is another card from the base set, introduced us to alternative victory cards. The Gardens rush is still a very good strategy on many boards and in Hinterlands there are more supporting cards for it, so it gained a little more power recently. Gardens is with non-trashing boards easily worth a Duchy and can be worth even more with good supporters like Workshop or Ironworks. It gets even better in cursing games where 3-piling gets faster and is harder to get to $8.
|#14 Horse Traders (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 15.57 / Median: 15 / Mode: 16 / Standard Deviation: 8.7|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #2 (1x), #3 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #29 (1x), #32 (1x), #33 (1x)
Here we have the second card which got a first rank. But this time it's no real outlier, there are several second and third places following and it ranks 8 times in the Top 10. With the unweighted average Horse Traders would even be #12, maybe it's overrated by newer players.
Horse Traders is (beside of Watchtower) the only Reaction card that is useful on many boards. Yes, it is still situational, but the situations occur very often. It's geat against discarding attacks, restoring the hand size - especially against Minion for a hand of 6 cards. Especially with weak attacks this card is good, because Horse Traders hurts more than the benefit of playing a weak attack. But, the action part is very useful too. It's useful in decks full of green cards and curses, so it's a good supporting card for Gardens or Silk Road rushes. And it's a good addition to Hunting Party, a good starter for getting $5 early or early Grand Markets and so on... many possibilities. As there are still situations, this card is skippable, it don't climb the rank ladder higher and may have led many players to rank it way lower.
|#13 Bridge (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 15.26 / Median: 13 / Mode: 17 / Standard Deviation: 7.6|
Highest Rank(s): #4 (1x), #5 (1x), #6 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #27 (1x), #29 (1x), #34 (1x)
Bridge hasn't such high rankings as Horse Traders, but is more often in the Top 10: 11 times. It is also only 7 times #20 or lower.
Bridge is a very nice card. If you buy only one card, it's not more than a terminal Silver. If you use both buys, it's a terminal Gold, but still not so exciting. But its power rises the more you can play in one turn. With 2 Bridges and you use all 3 buys, they are worth $8, so $4 per Bridge. Its value increases quadratically. With n Bridges you have nČ+2n coins if you use every buy. So if you manage to play 7 Bridges and an additional copper, you can buy all 8 Provinces in one turn. The problem is still how to do that. You need enough actions and/or enough drawing power. You definitely need supporters. With a 5-card hand of 2 King's Courts and 3 Bridges, you can accomplish this easily. But also other cards like Tactician and Native Village are great supporters. If there aren't good supporters for 3-piling or mega-turning, Bridge is a trap card for being a terminal Gold in best case.
|#12 Envoy (Promo) Weighted Average: 14.44 / Median: 11.5 / Mode: 6 / Standard Deviation: 10.6|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (2x), #2 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #41 (1x), #42 (1x)
This is the card with the highest deviation. It's the first card ranking first twice, but also got 2 big outliers (third and second last). With such a wide range, it's difficult to find a good mode, it got #6 4 times. The unweighted average lists Envoy as #10, newer players seem to overrate it.
Envoy is maybe THE Big Money card. In a deck full of silver and an Envoy in hand, you're almost guaranteed a Province. In a Envoy Big Money deck you don't necessarily need Gold, as it will get discarded from your opponent either way. Smithy is #16 and draws 3 cards, of course this is stronger in BM games for drawing 4 cards. In engine games this is usually worse, as your opponent will discard your key card. But if you have a deck with a density of high quality, Envoy can be a very good addition too as you may draw the discarded card later again if you can draw your whole deck. I can understand a high deviation, as engine builders seem to rank against BM players, but it seems too, that personal preference played a role in ranking this card rather than real strength, otherwise I cannot explain a range from best to second worst (and still being #12 in the end).
|#11 Salvager (Seaside) Weighted Average: 13.76 / Median: 12 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 9.4|
Highest Rank(s): #4 (2x), #5 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #33 (1x), #38 (1x)
Salvager is another card with high deviation and even a higher mode. The Median is lower than Envoy's and the unweighted average lists Salvager at #13. It got lower than #20 7 times.
Salvager is one of the best trash-for-benefit cards. It's not that a great starter, but still a good card to pick up early. Later in the game you generally want to trash your best card, so you can trash a Gold for an easy Province, maybe even for a double Province. Then you have a significant lead and can salvage your Province for another one, accelerating the game, so that your opponent can't come back. So Salvager is one of the first cards in this list, that is useful on most boards. Personally I don't understand the high deviation, but it seems that newer players underrate its power, perhaps not knowing how to play it correctly. Even as a mediocre opener Salvager / Ambassador is in the Top 100 of all openings on #96.
|#10 Monument (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 13.00 / Median: 12.5 / Mode: 12 / Standard Deviation: 7.7|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #5 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #26 (2x), #28 (1x), #33 (1x)
Now we're in the Top 10 and the deviation slowly normalizes. Monument's stats are very consistent, but there are still some very low ranks inbetween. It got also 7 times lower than #20.
You want to pick up Monument early in the game, because the more you play it, the more it's worth it. It's good in quick games without good additional buys, where it can help you to force your opponent to a 5/3 Province split to win the game. And it's good in decks where you can guarantee to play your Monument regularly. Monument is the #21 best opening. So one Monument is a great addition to a Hunting Party deck. Monument is also the only infinite VP generating card in the game. With a 5 card hand of 2 King's Courts and 3 Monument you are guaranteed 9 VP per turn. But as it is terminal and when there are very good attacks on the board, then you have to ignore it.
|#9 Moneylender (Base) Weighted Average: 12.89 / Median: 12.5 / Mode: 14 / Standard Deviation: 6.8|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #4 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #22 (1x), #29 (2x)
Moneylender is another card that got at least #1 once, so there are only 25 #1 remaining. With only 0.11 point better than Monument, it was a close call. The deviation still decreases. Being only 4 times below #20 proves that.
Moneylender is another card that falls into the category "Great opener, bad afterwards". But you all still agree with relatively high consensus that is a very important card to look at. It's like a Silver but with the trash ability at the same time. Like said earlier, the comparism to Spice Merchant is obvious. Moneylender is a much better opener with the deficit of not being so flexible later in the game. You mostly only want one of it (maybe only on Mountebank boards you would maybe buy a second), but this one can really fasten the game. Moneylender / Ambassador is the #102 best opening.
|#8 Militia (Base) Weighted Average: 10.73 / Median: 10 / Mode: 10 / Standard Deviation: 5.8|
Highest Rank(s): #4 (1x), #5 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #23 (1x), #24 (2x)
Basically we don't have to talk about a Top 10, instead let's talk about a Top 8 after this big 2.2 point gap. Militia now really has a low deviation. It never was in the Top 3, but there are only 13 lists ranking it lower than #10 with only 5 outliers ranking it lower than #15.
Militia is another card from the base set and it's the second best. Discarding attacks are really annoying and can really hurt some decks. It's great against decks with trashers as the opponent mostly has to choose between buying a good card and discarding the trasher or trash 1-2 cards and buy nothing. Militia is also a good opener as it is also a terminal silver and stops your opponent getting to $5 or $6 early. And if you can play it each turn, this is great. So Militia / Chapel is the #56 best opening. You can combo this with Council Room / Governor and your opponent doesn't get the benefit of the additional card, or play Militia and Masquerade afterwards what could really hurt. But there situations when Militia isn't that strong, especially if there are cursers on the board, or if there are effective counters like Watchtower, Horse Traders, Library, Jack of All Trades or Menagerie on the board.
|#7 Caravan (Seaside) Weighted Average: 10.29 / Median: 9 / Mode: 9 / Standard Deviation: 5.5|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #3 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #19 (2x), #22 (1x), #25 (1x)
Caravan has even a lower deviation than Militia, so it got only below #15 4 times and 13 times below #10 too.
Caravan is the worse Laboratory, because it has a delayed benefit and can miss the reshuffle and therefore you cannot play it that often. But still a bigger hand size from a nonterminal card is great. Only Big Money decks don't necessarily profit from it, so almost all decks can need a Caravan. Getting all Caravans is still not key to win the game, but if you get them quick (e.g. from Talisman or Ironworks), this can really make a huge difference. So this is almost a must-buy for all good engines. Caravan / Ambassador is the #7 best opening and Caravan / Masquerade on #64.
|#6 Bishop (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 10.21 / Median: 10 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 5.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #4 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #17 (1x), #23 (1x), #25 (1x)
Bishop has has the lowest deviation spot in the top ranks for now. It was close, only 0.08 points seperate Bishop from Caravan. It has at least one first place and it got 4 times below #15 and 14 times below #10.
Bishop is a good opener too, as it can trash your cards for the benefit of early VPs. So a trashed Estate nets you already 1 point more without having it in your deck. You can also buy Duchies and trash them for the same VP or Provinces for one point less, but they aren't in your deck anymore which is great. In other scenarios you can trash a Gold late for additional 4VP. There is also a strategy called "Golden Deck" where you trash down to 4 cards (Bishop and 3 Treasures which give at least $7), buy a Province and trash it in the next turn, buying the next province, etc. what gives you 5 VP per turn guaranteed. But take into account the benefit your opponent gets. Often it makes more sense to skip Bishop if your opponent opened Bishop. Then you can trash for free and build a better engine than your opponent. As said above, discarding attacks like Militia really hurt Bishop too. Bishop / Ambassador is #93 in the opening list.
|#5 Young Witch (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 9.18 / Median: 5 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 10.1|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (2x), #3 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #34 (1x), #37 (1x)
Here is now inbetween another card with really high deviation, especially for a high ranked card. There is no vote between #10 and #19, so this either got really high ranks or really low ones. Young Witch is only #7 in the unweighted ranking.
Wow, that high deviation was really a surprise for me. Young Witch is a curser which generally is very strong and only costs $4, so this has to be huge! But you are guaranteed that there's a Moat-like bane card in the setup. If you would have bought this card either way, YW is mostly not worth it and skippable, especially if the bane is Lighthouse (it defends now in hand and in play) or Scheme (just return it again and again). In all other cases YW is very strong as a curser and has still the draw-and-discard filter advantage. This leads to one of the most-fun synergies: Young Witch and Tunnel. Giving out curses and getting Gold at the same time is great. Young Witch / Tunnel is #18 on the opening list.
|#4 Remake (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 7.82 / Median: 6 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 9.4|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (6x) / Lowest Rank(s): #23 (2x), #34 (1x), #37 (1x)
Another one from Cornucopia, and another one with high deviation. The most voted place is also the top position. It failed 6 times to get first. It got 6 times below #15 with 2 really big outliers.
With Moneylender the consensus on a "good opener, but bad afterwards" was really high. Here it comes back to normal. If you compare Remake to Chapel, it can only trash 2 cards at a time but at the same time let you get 3 Silvers in your deck. And if there are good $2 cards on the board, you can buy a good card for the last two Copper in your hand too. Remake is maybe after Chapel the fastest opening trasher in the game. You can get high quality decks really fast. Later it gets nearly as useless as Chapel, but at that time this doesn't bother you too much.
|#3 Tournament (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 6.48 / Median: 4.5 / Mode: 4 / Standard Deviation: 5.8|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (2x), #2 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #15 (5x), #16 (1x), #22 (1x)
The third one from Cornucopia in a row. But the consensus is back to normal for such a high ranked card. It has two first places, 8 fourth places and ... wow 5 times on #15.
Many hate Treasure Map for being so luck-based. Tournament is also very luck-based as you have to pair a Province and a Tournament. If you manage to do that you get one of 5 prices that are so strong that Donald X. didn't want to realize these ideas as "normal" cards. So, Tournament is in fact a very good card. I will not go in detail into the prizes, but how do you manage to get a Tournament and Province in hand? It's the same as with Treasure Map. Either trash down to few cards (e.g. Chapel), get a big hand size (e.g. Tactician), or cycle through your deck with sifters (e.g. Warehouse). Also there is the possibility to spam Tournaments which are at least nonterminal and good cards for themselves - at least until your opponent gets Provinces. It's not surprising that Tournament has 3 spots in the Top 10 openings with Ambassador (#3), Chapel (#5) and Masquerade (#8)
|#2 Sea Hag (Seaside) Weighted Average: 3.77 / Median: 2 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 7.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (7x), #2 (9x) / Lowest Rank(s): #11 (1x), #24 (1x), #35 (1x)
We make the last jump to the Top 2. With a lead of 2.7 points over Tournament, the next card is Sea Hag. Again the deviation rises which is surprising for a #2 card. Yes, it has 2 really big outliers, but the consensus was generally high with 7 players ranking it first, half of the players ranking it in the Top 2 and only 7 players ranking it not in the Top 4.
Sea Hag is the next $4 curser. It has a big first-player advantage as you may discard your opponents Sea Hag in turn 3 and because the curse goes on top of the deck. This hurts your opponent even more than all other cursers in the game. At least if he hasn't any good counter, like trashing from top of the deck, like Lookout does. Sea Hag / Lookout is also the #29 best opening (and many other good SH openings between #50 and #100 still to come). The biggest problem of Sea Hag is: it hurts your oppenent more, but it doesn't give you any benefit (like most of the other attacks do). So every Sea Hag is later a dead Sea Hag if the Curse pile is empty (and is basically a Curse for itself too). And don't forget to build up your economy as Sea Hag don't help you now to accomplish this.
|#1 Jack of all Trades (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 2.62 / Median: 1.5 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 3.0|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (15x) / Lowest Rank(s): #8 (1x), #9 (1x), #14 (1x)
This is the best $4 card. Exactly the half of all players voted it on the top rank. It has the second least deviation of all $4 cards. So no discussion here.
Nobody saw that coming when Hinterlands came out. JoaT seems so weak, but it isn't. It seems he does nothing good, he's slowing in trashing, draws few cards and let you get a Silver and has a Spy effect. But it is so strong because it's a very good counter against nearly all attacks. Just buy 2 JoaT and you can skip the cursing attack while you're going for Big Money. Yes, it's boring, but effective. It's weaker in Colony games because of the Silver and there are still situations where a thin deck with an obvious engine or a rush is stronger, but if you feel unsure, JoaT is always a good buy, if you stick to it. It combos bad with nearly all other cards. The opening list proves that. Only Fishing Village and Chapel are better openings paired with JoaT than just Silver.