So I try to follow awesome advice like this
to try to determine what is the best state a deck can be in. But one thing I feel those articles don't cover is when there are multiple different routes a deck can take to (attempt to) arrive at some similar desired state, how should I go about choosing which route?
A few different manifestations of deck states and different routes to achieve said state off the top of my head:
- I want a Champion in play and a bunch of terminals -- is it Ok to stock up on terminals while I'm still traveling, or should I just get Champion in play asap and worry about everything else later?
- I don't want Coppers now, but I do want some later -- should I thin them all out now and buy some later, or can I avoid thinning them altogether?
- I don't really want a Young Witch after the Curses are empty -- is it Ok to ignore YW and go for Familiar?
- I need an Herbalist eventually, but don't want to spend the opportunity cost now to buy it -- is it Ok to get it later even if I'm spending $12 for it?
- I want as many Minions as possible -- is it worth buying an Altar, or should I just dive right into the Minions?
- I want as many Peddlers as possible -- do I thin now and get Peddlers later, or get Peddlers now and thin later?
(Note: Some people compartmentalize the "I want as many X's as possible" scenarios as "Rushes". I don't really like that term, as it over-generalizes games that often require very specific/subtle, yet important, decisions on how to actually win the X split. But if that word helps you, cool.)
Below are 3 examples where I was faced with a "what is the best route to achieving this one goal?" sort of question -- two games in which I answered totally wrong, and one in which I think I answered pretty well.Game 1log
no Shelters, no Colonies
Ferry, Duchess, Develop, Trade Route, Tunnel, Moneylender, Navigator, Scout, Merchant Guild, Stables, Hireling
I look at this and do my good ol' fashioned board analysis, based on all what I've learned on these forums:
(1) No villages / max of 1 terminal per turn
(2) "Weak" +buy (I say "weak" because although Trade Route and MG can be powerful, it's not like they're Markets here)
(3) Navigator-Tunnel? Eeeehhhhhh... nope.
(4) Hireling might be nice, but see (1) -- lot of opportunity cost (in both buying it, and playing it) there
(5) Ferry/Develop trick to turn Estates into either Merchant Guilds or Stables, hmm... Meh, seems gimicky to me, plus see (1) -- I'd rather be playing a Merchant Guild or Moneylender as my 1 terminal.
Stables stands out as the obvious power card here. But what's the best terminal? Moneylender seems fine, but seeing how it doesn't give +buy, it might lose to a deck that reliably plays a bunch of Stables and a MG to get a Province plus something else. Develop -- would turn 3 junk cards into 1 junk card (the Develop ends up as a junk card) -- I don't think so. This looks like I just want Stables, 1 MG, and it will be off to Province land.
Ok... how to do that? This turned out to be a case of my opponent and me probably asking the same question.. but them getting it right and me getting it wrong. The Ferry/Develop/Stables thing proved to be much more neat than I thought. I felt SUPER lucky to tie the Stables split 5-5, but at which point my opponent was already ahead and had 2 less junk cards -- again, I think this was a much bigger deal than I originally thought.Game 2log
no Shelters, no Colonies
Ferry, Lost Arts, Page, Raze, University, Trade Route, Port, Talisman, Bridge Troll, Haunted Woods, Junk Dealer, Stables
All I'll mention about this game is that it emphasizes the whole "get cool stuff early and thin later vs. thin now and get cool stuff later" thing. Both of our routes attempt to get a Champion and a bunch of cool terminal actions in play. Needless to say, I thought my opponent's 5 Junk Dealers by T5 were overkill, but nay.Game 3log
Plan, Mission, Vineyard, Pawn, Storeroom, Magpie, Transmogrify, Wandering Minstrel, Lost City, Storyteller, King's Court, Peddler
Again, the good ol' fashioned board analysis:
(1) I want as many Peddlers as possible
(2) It will all be about pile control -- Magpies, Peddlers, and Pawns can empty very quickly
(3) It would be neat to Transmo a Peddler into a (essentially free) KC
(4) There are a few things to do on a Mission turn
(5) Vineyards could get very valuable, but see (2)
Taking these things into account...
I open Transmo/Storeroom. This may seem odd at first, especially with Shelters. I think my opponent even mentioned something about it in the chat at the time, like they were surprised or something. Some sort of Plan-on-Magpie/Magpie thing might seem super good. Basically, my reasoning was: You're gonna want as many Peddlers as possible. And Coppers can get thinned out with Plan (would be nice to do Plan on Peddlers), so Magpies might become just cantrips (and things to Transmo into ... Duchies?). I thought with Transmo/SR, I could (ideally) turn the OG and Hovel into Pawns, and start getting Peddlers asap. The Transmo wouldn't even have to collide with the OG/Hovel, because of the whole call-this-whenever-you-want thing. This turned out to be super correct (I think). Magpies are good, yeah, but ya just want Peddlers here, man. Oh and that Transmo-Peddler-KC thing can come in pretty handy.
I was pretty proud of myself for "seeing" this (Ok, I just guessed right -- I guess wrong just as much as I guess right). I saw an "alternative" path to achieving something that my opponent was probably also trying to achieve, by doing something that at first seems pretty dumb.Conclusion
If you're ever faced with a situation in which you (pretty confidently) know the desired state your deck should eventually be in, but there are multiple possible paths to take in order to achieve that state ... then I have no advice. Haha. I get this wrong probably a lot more than I get it right. But I guess if anything, (1) realizing which paths there are, (2) at least considering the plausibility of each, and (3) critiquing your decision after the game ends (whether you won or lost) are steps in the right direction.