|#16 Stables (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 18.38 / Median: 16.5 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 7.4|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #7 (1x), #10 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #32 (1x), #33 (1x), #34 (1x)
After a 1.7 point gap we are now in the top third. Stables has a big outlier on the second rank and with a relatively high consensus for this region, it has no outlier in the lower ranks and was only 3 times below #30.
When you try to evaluate Stables, the comparism to Laboratory is very obvious. Both give you an action and a hand with one card more. In games with no trashing a few Stables can even be stronger, because you get an additional Warehouse-like cycling effect. Just discard your Coppers and you'll see you valuable cards more often. If you buy Stables and don't play Big Money, then your action density increases and the chances that you draw no treasure cards with Stables in hand increases too. Then Stables may be a dead card in hand. Especially in cursing games Stables is weaker. And even if your only treasure card is a Gold it highly depends on your deck if you really want to discard the Gold for 3 new cards. But a few Stables, Silvers and a +Buy card like Horse Traders can make pretty good Hunting-Party-like deck. An early Stables is great and superior to Laboratory on a board with no trashing, but with more Action Cards, Victory Cards or Curses, Stables is getting weaker, so just don't buy too many. Just compare a hand of 5 Laboratories and 5 Stables.
|#15 Governor (Promo) Weighted Average: 17.54 / Median: 15.5 / Mode: 11 / Standard Deviation: 9.6|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #5 (1x), #6 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #36 (1x), #43 (1x)
Governor is the newest of all cards. That may explain the second highest deviation of all $5 cards. It was listed 7 times in the Top 10 and has a really high mode, but still has 2 big outliers in the lower regions. In the unweighted ranking it would be on #14.
The different options make it difficult to play. And depending on what you choose it can a really bad card or a great one. That may also explain the high deviation. Like Council Room, the +1 card may pretty huge for your opponent if you choose +3 cards. And if you even choose that multiple times in a row, you give your opponent a great hand too. So either do that only if you a) play a discard attack afterwards, b) can end that game in a mega turn or c) possess your opponent afterwards. In all these 3 cases Governor is really powerful. The remodel effect is bad in the early game, you're helping your opponent even more for letting him trash his Coppers or get a Silver for an Estate, you can use it in the end game to remodel your treasure card in respective Victory card. The best option without above mentioned supporting cards may be the Gold gaining. The Silver can be really bad for your opponent in a Colony game or if he builds a deck with high action density. And you can pick up Governors over Golds because you can get Golds with Governor later. That leads to a state where Governor can combo with itself. Gain many Governors, choose the gain Gold option every time. With many Governors and Gold in your deck use a few Governors for +3 cards and the rest to remodel your Gold into Provinces in a mega turn. Its power in a thin deck shows the rank #6 in the best openings for Governor/Chapel.
|#14 Embassy (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 16.91 / Median: 16 / Mode: 10 / Standard Deviation: 9.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #5 (1x), #8 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #34 (2x), #36 (1x), #37 (1x)
Embassy is another card with a really high deviation. It's the first card with a first place and was above #10 3 times. And its mode is really high with being #10 4 times.
Embassy is a great Big Money card. An early Embassy is so good that your opponent gets a Silver for free. The mix of a terminal drawer and a Warehouse-like filter makes it that powerful. Yes, basically it's only +2 cards, but every time you play it, you can choose the best 6 cards out of 9 cards. Similiar to Envoy: If you have 5/2 and have the luck to draw it on turn 3, you may draw it in turn 4 and 5 again and will probably have already a huge lead, due to quick cycling. But it is also good in engines if you can guarantee to draw it with an action card. So just like Wharf it combos well with Fishing Village.
|#13 Margrave (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 14.50 / Median: 14.5 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 9.5|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #4 (1x), #7 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #31 (1x), #32 (2x)
Here's another big gap of 2.4 points. And Margrave is another card with high deviation, the third highest, shared with Venture. It was 8 times above #10.
Terminal drawers with +Buy are very strong as they tend to let you have many money in hand, more you often need for a Province. Council Room has the drawback of give your opponent another card, but Wharf is still to come in this list. Margrave gives you an additional discard attack. The discard attack itself is not as strong as Militia's or Goons' discard attack because your opponent may draw a card first. But the discard attack is still very strong. It's just like you play Council Room+Militia or Governor+Militia. Margrave is another good Big Money card. With $11 you can buy an additional Silver to your Province. And terminal draw and +Buy is all Fool's Gold needs. No surprise Margrave/Fool's Gold is the best opening on #198. It's also a good addition to your engine, but you have to be careful to add not too many Margraves to your engine, because every time you play a Margrave your opponent has another chance to draw a hand like 2 Golds and a Silver to buy a Province himself.
|#12 Vault (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 14.01 / Median: 14 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 8.4|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #5 (1x), #6 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #29 (1x), #35 (1x), #41 (1x)
Vault was 6 times above #10 and has 2 big outliers in the lower regions, the only 2 ranks below #30.
The +2 Cards that make the difference between Secret Chamber and Vault are very important to make Vault a good card and Secret Chamber a weak one. With every play of Vault you are guaranteed a Gold or even better a Grand Market. And if you have a Gold in hand or draw one you can buy a Province for sure. This makes Vault a great counter to cursing attacks and is still great after you've gone green. No surprise your opponent has the chance to make his hand better too, because this effect is very strong. This effect makes it also a good card for Duke. Like Secret Chamber it's also good if you can draw your whole deck for example with Scrying Pool, discard all actions for a lot of money, just to draw all actions again with another Scrying Pool. Similar to this, it's great in Double Tactician decks. The downside of this card is that it's very vulnerable to discarding attacks. Although it shines in big decks with a lot of junk the #12 opening Vault/Chapel shows its strength if you are able to play it every turn.
|#11 Apprentice (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 13.21 / Median: 14 / Mode: 15 / Standard Deviation: 6.5|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #3 (1x), #4 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #23 (1x), #24 (1x), #27 (1x)
Apprentice is the first card after a while with a really low deviation. It was above #10 8 times and it's the first card with no rank below #30. And it was only 4 times below #20 too. If we declare Ill-Gotten-Gains as an Attack Card, this is the 5th best non-attack $5 card.
Although you can use an early Apprentice to trash your Coppers, Apprentice epitomizes (just like Salvager) Trash-for-Benefit cards; because the benefit is huge. If you don't hesitate to trash e.g. a Gold to get 6! cards and draw at least a card with +Buy or a Gainer you can really fasten the game. With Apprentice+Hoard or Apprentice+Haggler you can buy a Province nearly every turn. It combos also nice with Border Village. And as being one of the strongest Trash-for-Benefit cards, I especially mention the danger in Possession games. Your opponent won't hesitate to trash a Province or even a Colony for drawing nearly your whole deck.
|#10 Laboratory (Base) Weighted Average: 12.78 / Median: 11 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 6.1|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #2 (1x), #5 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #21 (1x), #22 (1x), #30 (1x)
Now we're in the Top 10. Laboratory is the second card which reached the first place and the first with a mode better than 10 with being on #8 4 times. It was above #10 11 times and below #20 only 3 times. It's the 4th best non-attack $5 card.
Unlike Stables, like mentioned above, Laboratory is a good card in nearly every deck. It increases the hand size by one which is a often underrated benefit. And if you have multiple Laboratories in your deck you have a consistent Village+Smithy engine in your deck where it isn't possible to draw dead. So, it's a engine on its own and you best begin early to build it. Therefore it's no surprise Laboratory/Chapel is on #34 in the openings list.
|#9 Ghost Ship (Seaside) Weighted Average: 10.59 / Median: 9 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 8.4|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (1x), #3 (1x), #4 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #27 (1x), #31 (1x), #36 (1x)
Ghost Ship is the third card with a first place. It was below #20 5 times, resulting in a higher deviation. It was below #10 only 13 times.
Ghost Ship is very strong because it's a discard attack in which you don't have to discard, you have to top deck. So this messes up this turn and the next turn. You have then to choose to get 2 mediocre turns or a bad turn and hopefully a better next turn if you aren't getting "ghostshipped" again. This results in really slow games in which it takes long until you reshuffle and see the newly bought cards the first time. The difference to all other strong attack cards is you don't want to play as many as you can in one turn, you just want to constantly play it each turn. That's the reason why Ghost Ship with Schemes can be devastating. If there are no good defense cards / counters, you are in a pin you aren't likely to get out soon.
|#8 Tactician (Seaside) Weighted Average: 10.13 / Median: 10 / Mode: 12 / Standard Deviation: 5.0|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #3 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #17 (2x), #20 (1x), #21 (1x)
High consensus here. Tactician was below #20 13 times with no big outlier and #21 being a really high worst rank. It's the 3rd best non-attack $5 card.
Tactician makes use of the phrase "One big turn is better than 2 mediocre ones". So in deck in that you can't guarantee a Province each turn, with Tactician it's still very likely to get 2 Provinces each 2 turns. This applies especially to cards that take profit of big hand sizes like Forge, Bank or Tournament+Province. It's also great to get key cards like King's Court early or as a defense against discarding attacks (0/8 is definitely better than 3/3). And in combination with Black Market or Action cards that let you gain virtual money like Vault/Secret Chamber, Baron or a bunch of Festivals/Conspirators/Grand Markets you can even setup a Double Tactician strategy. You can play your second Tactician in your Tactician turn and still have enough money to buy something and get another 10 card hand in the next hand.
|#7 Ill-Gotten Gains (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 9.32 / Median: 7 / Mode: 4 / Standard Deviation: 8.7|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (2x), #3 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #18 (2x), #31 (1x), #41 (1x)
Ill-Gotten-Gains has two very big outliers in lower regions and has still a pretty high deviation. But it only was below #10 8 times. It has a really high mode, it was #4 4 times. If we count it as an Attack, it's the 5th best.
I remember reading Ill-Gotten-Gains the first time and it seemed not that strong. You have only a one-shot curser to get a better Copper? The high deviation shows that many players still may think about it that way. But that's not like it is. A Ill-Gotten-Gains Rush is really strong. Just buy Ill-Gotten-Gains every time you get to $5. The optional extra Copper make that possible. With a 5/2 opening it's even possible to deal out a Curse before the opponent's first reshuffle, especially for the first player. When the IGGs are gone, the Curses are gone too, so you just have to empty the Duchy pile to win the game and IGGs give enough money to accomplish this. Often you are even able to pick up a Province in between. But you have to be sure to hit your opponent. While these Curses are nearly unstoppable, not even with Moat or Lighthouse (making IGG even stronger), with Trader or Ambassador on the board the Curse pile won't be empty if you empty the IGG pile and your opponent may have enough time to pick up enough Provinces before you empty 2 piles. The same applies with other Cursers on the board. But in all other cases when IGG is on the board, a IGG rush is probably the dominant strategy. It has currently the highest per gain win rate of all kingdom cards (1.2), even higher than Grand Market or any alternative victory card.
|#6 Torturer (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 8.56 / Median: 6.5 / Mode: 6 / Standard Deviation: 7.8|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #20 (1x), #26 (1x), #39 (1x)
Torturer is the 4th best Attack Card. It was below #10 only 9 times. But it has still 4 big outliers on #18 or below. It was 5 times on rank #6.
The relative high deviation may result from that a single Torturer is not that great. You can choose to take a Curse in hand or discard. Taking the Curse in hand is not that great as getting it onto your discard pile or even on top. If you have a Forge or a Jack of All Trades in hand, a Curse in hand doesn't hurt you th at much. In all other cases it's just a Militia-like discarding attack. But multiple Torturers can really torture you, especially because you have a choice, but still are between the devil and the deep blue sea (I hope the phrase is right). So Torturer highly depends from Villages; especially with Border Villages or Fishing Villages a Torturer Chain is definitely the way to go. The first one that gets this set up is likely to win. When the Curses are gone, Torturers are no danger anymore. But the Curse split is likely highly in your favor and you already have a good running engine to maybe pick a few more treasures and then go green. Only with direct Cursers you may still skip them, because until you've set up this chain, there are few Curses left. Torturer/Chapel is a #42 opening and the next best ones are those paired with any $2 village like Native Village, Hamlet or Crossroads around #200.
|#5 Minion (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 8.23 / Median: 6 / Mode: 6 / Standard Deviation: 6.3|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (1x), #3 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #20 (1x), #25 (1x), #29 (1x)
Minion is the 3rd best Attack Card, the next one from Intrigue. It was only 6 times below #10 and only 3 times below #13 - 3 really big outliers. It was 5 times on rank #6.
Minion's discard attack can hit even stronger than any other discard attack. You have one card more than with Militia, but against Minion you cannot choose which card to keep. The non-terminal $2 is great in every engine and the discard option helps you to cycle faster. Those two benefits make it a self-working engine. If you win the Minion split, you can play the first Minions in your hand to get $2 and the last one to get the next 4 cards, then just proceed. And every non-terminal card with virtual coins and/or a non-terminal trasher fit very well in a Minion deck. Yes, there has to be some requirements: You are playing a 2-player game and have a thin deck and don't play with Colony, ... to name the major issues. But then a Minion deck is super strong. Minion/Chapel is the #17 best opening.
|#4 Hunting Party (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 6.12 / Median: 6.5 / Mode: 7 / Standard Deviation: 4.1|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #13 (2x), #19 (1x)
After another big gap we reach the Top 4, so they are definitely the best cards. The stats of Hunting Party prove that. Its the first card with more than one first rank and it was below #10 only 3 times with none being below #20. It has the 5th lowest deviation. It's the 2nd best non-attack $5 card.
After Stables and Laboratory, Hunting Party is the best non-terminal hand-size increasing $5 card. The advantage is the even better filter effect than Stables to get the cards in hand you really need. It's also an engine on its own, just have one Gold and at least a Silver and a good terminal action which gives you at least $2, like Goons, Monument, Horse Traders, Haggler or Baron. With at least 5-6 Hunting Parties you are almost guaranteed a Province each turn because you only have few different cards in your deck and get those all in hand. Going green doesn't hurt you much (only Duchies) and with Cursers you only need a Hunting Party more to filter Curses. It's not strictly better than Laboratory if there are no different cards left in your deck, but that mostly occurs only if you already have a very strong deck or you have a heavily trimmed deck what you don't need when you go for Hunting Parties. The only thing you have to watch out in such a deck is when to trigger the reshuffle so you get at least a Hunting Party in the next hand again. Hunting Party/Chapel is the #24 best opening.
|#3 Wharf (Seaside) Weighted Average: 4.89 / Median: 5 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 2.5|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (2x), #2 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (2x), #10 (1x)
Wharf is the best non-attack $5 card. There is no doubt, it's the only card with no rank below #10, so it has the lowest deviation of all $5 cards too (shared with Counting House). It was #5 6 times. What makes it so strong?
+2 Cards are mostly weak. The benefit you get in this turn is pretty weak too. But the duration effect of +2 Cards without playing an action is like 2 Caravans or if you played 2 Laboratories at the start of your next turn. And Laboratory is already a #10 Card of the same cost. If you have 2 Wharves and you play them alternating each turn, you start each turn with 7 cards and basically each Wharf is a Council Room without the drawback of giving your opponent an additional card. And as already mentioned the +Buy for a terminal draw is really nice too, you need it with so many cards in hand. You can use Wharf for Big Money with less probability of colliding (because of the duration effect) or you can build an engine. In combination with Fishing Village you are almost guaranteed big hands (like you're playing Double Tactician) and even have enough Actions left for Attacks. No matter if you're going Big Money or build a engine with it, Wharf is so strong that those games are over very quick. Wharf's draw and +Buy is also good for Fool's Gold, making Wharf/Fool's Gold the #44 best opening. But Wharf/Chapel is even better on #27.
|#2 Witch (Base) Weighted Average: 3.75 / Median: 2 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 4.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #12 (2x), #15 (1x), #17 (1x)
It was very close, but Witch is only #2. With 16 second places (more than the half) there is no doubt about such a high rank. Still it has a few outliers, 4 below #10 and two times on #7, but all other ranks were between #1 and #5.
Cursers are the strongest cards in the game, I think everyone agrees. There are only 5 guaranteed Cursers, one gives you no benefit and only costs $4, another one is a one-shot and ranked #7 on this list, the third one has Potion in its cost and the fourth is a Prize Card. So Witch is a guaranteed Curser with no drawback and definitely one of the strongest cards in the game. Not only you can curse your opponent, you get 2 additional cards. Have you ever played your King's Court with Witch? This is basically "Game Over" for your opponent. The defense with Witch on the board is mostly to get it for yourself, faster than your opponent and play it more often. Witch/Chapel is the #5 best opening, but it is good with every 5/2 split. It is in the Top 100 14 times, even Witch/nothing is on #53.
|#1 Mountebank (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 3.53 / Median: 1 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 5.2|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (19x) / Lowest Rank(s): #11 (1x), #19 (1x), #22 (1x)
As already said, the decision was close, even if nearly two third of all players ranked Mountebank on #1. Because if someone hasn't voted it on #1, it was mostly considerable lower. So Mountebank has even bigger outliers and a higher deviation.
Witch already is very strong, but Mountebank managed to beat it. Yes, it cannot deal out curses guaranteed, but dealing out 2 junk cards per play is really strong and if the opponent has a Curse in hand, he is mostly behind in the Curse split anyway. So, it's stronger in the beginning where junk hurts you more. Your deck can get clogged up so fast. Then it may not hit every time in the middle game, but when the Curse pile is empty, you can still deal out Coppers, that's another advantage. While $2 is mostly weaker than +2 cards (especially in Colony games), there's no big difference in Cursing games as your deck has more junk and it's more difficult to get a money average of $1 per card at the start anyway. So, it really depends on the board which card is stronger, but mostly it is Mountebank because it hurts more. Just beware with Trader on the board or you may be giving your opponent 2 Silvers. Another reason for Mountebank being first is the opening list. Mountebank/Chapel is the overall best opening. Mountebank is 14 times in the Top 100 too, with Mountebank/nothing even on #29.