This article is a brief overview on Delve. It is meant to be a quick and friendly read for newer players, but more experienced players may also benefit from the contents.
With the advent of Dominion: Empires, many are looking at the strength of Events such as Dominate, Salt The Earth, and of course the biggest contender for best Event in the game, Donate. However, I wish to focus today on Delve, an Event that has gotten less attention than it deserves.
So what does Delve do? Simply stated, Delve gains a Silver for $2 without costing a buy. This seemingly innocent ability is much stronger than it first lets on. In fact, I will make a bold prediction from my limited playing time with Empires and say that Delve may become as game-warping as Save is.
I can hear some objections already. “Isn’t Silver a bad card?” “Why would you ever want Silver in an engine?”
Some of you may already know in general what I will write about, but my hope is that everyone learns something new about Delve, including myself. So let’s “Delve” into the world of Silver gaining, shall we?The Opening
Delve is most likely to be bought right at the opening first two turns, whether the strategy is Big Money or Engine. The mechanics of Delve in the opening likely would create an article in itself! Thankfully, a lot of it is common sense. For example, a player can pick up a Hamlet and a Delve for Silver with $4 on Turn 1, followed by a $3 Steward on Turn 2. Or perhaps a Silver/Silver with $4 on Turn 1 followed by a $3 Oracle Turn 2. The presence of the extra Silver helps spike $5 more often. What may come as a surprise is this: It may be better to open triple Silver over a $4 and a Silver! On a board where hitting $5 is crucial, this is great to consider! In the case of opening with $5/$2 hands, Delve will likely be a must purchase. Mountebank and
Silver on the opening buys? Yikes.
In the opening buys, it is important to weigh out the plan in your mind. Do you want three Silvers in your deck straight away? They provide more economy and building quicker, but they may clog up your deck later on.Big Money
Next off is likely the first thing on your mind for Delve: Big Money. Delve is a powerful Event in Big Money Kingdoms, and I’m sure you didn’t need me to tell you this. A free Silver without losing a buy for $2 is very strong indeed. What may be a little less obvious is this: Avoid buying Gold completely. The pure density of three Silvers in your deck increases your average monetary deck value more than a single Gold.
Because of the nature of Delve, there are two more things to consider when playing a Province Big Money game. These things are easy to conclude but worth stating; both stem from the free +buy given with the purchase of Delve. Firstly, there is the ability to buy draw and payload at the same time. A hand of $6 becomes Silver and Smithy. A hand of $7 becomes Silver/Silver/Gear. Secondly, there is a potential fear of overbuying terminal draw. Delve also mitigates this through the sheer volume of Silver it can purchase in a given turn, allowing you to buy more draw if needed.
Before you get too comfortable, everything changes when you are presented with a Colony board. While some initial Silver flooding is fine, the ultimate goal will be to get Platinum. A hand of 5 Silvers will become more unlikely as the game progresses and you accumulate Victory cards. This effect is somewhat mitigated with stronger draw cards but still holds true.
Alright. Delve can be great in Big Money. But is Delve any good in an engine?Engines
Delve may even be better for engines than Big Money. To approach this conclusion, Silver must not be thought of simply as a Treasure but as a payload. This section of the article will be more abstract; there are many kinds of engines out there in the world and Delve will have different uses depending on the board.
Firstly, as with Big Money, Delve encourages flexibility with purchasing power, decreasing the opportunity cost of time and coin. The power of building the engine and increasing payload simultaneously cannot be overstated! Secondly, Delve’s cheap cost encourages more aggressive trashing. Instead of worrying about trashing too many cards, the player can simply trash everything with Chapel and use a spare $2 for Delve. Thirdly, Delve provides instant quick payload. For example, Upgrade can get more fuel with more Silvers to enable more power $4 gains. This quick payload may not even be specifically for trash-for-benefit, but perhaps even just the simple spending power. Spending $4 for an extra $4 economy with no +buy sacrificed can be huge.
All of this considered, engines using Delve may very well be much quicker than engines without.Miscellaneous
Delve absolutely loves Gardens and Feodum. Delve can mitigate certain junking attacks like Ruins and Curses, as well as trashing attacks like Swindler and Knights. Cultist adores Delve, as does Rebuild.
What about times Delve is not so great? There are plenty of cases where buying Delve is a bad idea. Engines that rely on VP chip payloads like Goons engines and Groundskeeper would do well to stay away from purchasing Delve. Engines that wish to be slim also despise Delve, whether it be because of King’s Court, fragility, lack of trashing, etc. Minion decks in general do not like a flood of Silver.Conclusion
Delve will likely be purchased at least once in most Kingdoms it is in; it is a very formidable force that is best used as a compliment to a strategy. Will Delve be as game warping as Save? Only time will tell, but the future looks very bright for such a darkly colored Event.