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Chris is me

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Giant
« on: December 26, 2016, 04:30:23 pm »
+9

I'm bored in an airport. Here's a terrible article on Giant. Lemme know if it's salvagable.

What does Giant do?

Giant is an attack card which uses the Journey token to restrict most of its effect to (in most cases) every other play. The attack is a hybrid of a trashing attack and a Curser, and it is among the largest sources of virtual coin in Dominion on the strong play. On the weak play, it produces just $1. In non-engine decks, this results in a terminal that is very good at spiking large values occasionally. In an engine deck, the card is best played in pairs, producing $6 + 1 attack at the cost of 2 actions and 2 non-drawing cards in hand. While Giant is not an overwhelmingly strong card, it has some utility in various decks.

Giant as a spiking attack

Giant's spikiness makes it useful in certain scenarios even with a Big Money like strategy. It is reasonably easy to hit $8 with Giant on the strong play, so it isn't the worst way to get expensive cards early. Province (for Tournament), Inheritance, Pathfinding, King's Court, Forge, etc. are all cards which can give you a big momentum advantage if spiked somewhat early, and sometimes Giant is the way to do that. It is not always the fastest way to consistently hit $7 or $8 though, since it needs two plays to accomplish this, but if you can grab two Giants early, or one Giant + thinning, it's not too bad.

The attack gives Giant some purpose beyond the early game. If the spike allows you to transition to an engine, the two Giants you collected will make for acceptable payload. Giant can also best other (weak) BM variants with the Cursing plus the large swings in coin.

A special case for Giant is in certain Rebuild games. If Rebuild isn't well supported, a Giant BM strategy can compete against Rebuild favorably. The basic idea is to get 2-3 Giants, then buy Duchy or Province whenever possible. Giant's swinginess allows the Giant BM player to deny Duchy and spike Province. This combined with the Curses can give an edge to the Giant player over the Rebuilder.

Giant as engine payload

Giant makes for decent engine payload when played in pairs. In exchange for 2 actions and having to draw 2 dead terminals, you get $6 + a fairly strong attack every turn. This is pretty good on a fair number of boards, and can be what pushes an engine strategy over a Big Money strategy.

The biggest difficulty is in finding the terminal space for Giant. Most +Actions / +Cards engines will struggle to find the space for it - you often need multiple Village piles and some way to easily gain them in order to sustain both terminal draw plus two additional terminals for payload, on top of whatever other terminal space you may need for gainers / +Buy / etc. The best engine decks for Giant are those that at least partially take advantage of nonterminal draw - Hunting Party, Storyteller, Alchemist, Scrying Pool, etc. are good examples. Giant actually can help with the construction of nonterminal draw decks, as you can use Giant spikes to guarantee buys of your $5 cost draw card.

Once you find a way to incorporate your Giants, it's just a matter of consistently drawing and playing them. If possible, try and time the Journey token so that the first Giant play is the strong play - this helps later on if your deck chokes and you need to spike a high value to stay in the game.

Regardless of the type of engine, thinning and +Buy (especially nonterminal) are very helpful to dampen the opportunity cost and maximize the benefit of Giant. Special note is given to Throne variants, particularly Royal Carriage, in making Giant viable. These reduce the terminal space needed for Giant, plus the Throne variant can be used on other cards if need be.
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tim17

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Re: Giant
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 06:13:17 pm »
+16

Lemme know if it's salvagable.

Of course it is, it gives you 5 coins.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 07:00:34 pm »
0

A special case for Giant is in certain Rebuild games. If Rebuild isn't well supported, a Giant BM strategy can compete against Rebuild favorably. The basic idea is to get 2-3 Giants, then buy Duchy or Province whenever possible. Giant's swinginess allows the Giant BM player to deny Duchy and spike Province. This combined with the Curses can give an edge to the Giant player over the Rebuilder.

What is this based on? I'm not saying it's not true, it sounds plausible enough, but I'm just a little skeptical.

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Re: Giant
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 10:09:41 am »
+5

A special case for Giant is in certain Rebuild games. If Rebuild isn't well supported, a Giant BM strategy can compete against Rebuild favorably. The basic idea is to get 2-3 Giants, then buy Duchy or Province whenever possible. Giant's swinginess allows the Giant BM player to deny Duchy and spike Province. This combined with the Curses can give an edge to the Giant player over the Rebuilder.

What is this based on? I'm not saying it's not true, it sounds plausible enough, but I'm just a little skeptical.

If I remember correctly tracer built a Giant BM sim that beats rebuild-money 55% of the time. The key I think is that you start buying duchy on your third five, as giants spikiness still allows you to hit 8 and the points are vital against rebuild. But of course tracer would know better than I.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 06:01:13 pm by SettingFraming »
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Re: Giant
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2016, 11:45:02 am »
+1

Nice article! I'm glad to see something like this once in a while, as I feel that recently the forums have had little solid dominion-related content.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 12:30:00 pm »
+2

Giant curses, trashes and produces coins. It's not very good at any of the three, but sometimes one of the abilities is quite important. If there's no +buy, lost arts/giant might be better than lost arts/catacombs.

The coin production on giant impacts the way the card is played. A common play pattern is to pick up several giants early for the cursing and trashing and then quickly pivot into provinces as coin production rises.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 01:41:45 pm »
+1

A special case for Giant is in certain Rebuild games. If Rebuild isn't well supported, a Giant BM strategy can compete against Rebuild favorably. The basic idea is to get 2-3 Giants, then buy Duchy or Province whenever possible. Giant's swinginess allows the Giant BM player to deny Duchy and spike Province. This combined with the Curses can give an edge to the Giant player over the Rebuilder.

What is this based on? I'm not saying it's not true, it sounds plausible enough, but I'm just a little skeptical.

If I remember correctly tracer built a Giant BM sim that beats rebuild-money 55% of the time. The key I think is that you start buying ducky on your third five, as giants spikiness still allows you to hit 8 and the points are vital against rebuild. But of course tracer would know better than I.

Yeah, this is approximately correct. It should be noted though that a strategy which buys 1 or 2 Giants (forget which) and then pivots to Rebuild does beat this strategy as does continuing into more standard Giant BM.

Basically, buy your Giants before your Rebuilds.

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Re: Giant
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2016, 07:25:10 am »
+3

About your question about salvaging giant its quite good move to do as you will have one weak card less. On more serious note main problem of article is that there isn't much knowledge - it mostly states what would average player thing when he first sees boards with giant. It would need more strategic advices.

I would expect giant to be card that loses most ranks this year in quist ranking as its a bottom tier card that was ranked average previous year. Most important part about giant strategy is when to skip it which this article doesn't address. Best way to decide that is to generate lot of boards and think if giant is part of optimal strategy. To keep same random seed lets use following boards.

http://gokosalvager.com/logsearch?p1name=&p1score=any&p2name=&startdate=08%2F05%2F2012&enddate=12%2F28%2F2016&supply=giant&nonsupply=&rating=professional&pcount=2&colony=any&bot=false&shelters=any&guest=false&minturns=&maxturns=&quit=false&resign=any&submitted=true&offset=0

Provinces / Estates - Cellar, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Embargo, Estate, Feast, Giant, Gold, Hunting Party, Mining Village, Province, Sage, Scavenger, Silk Road, Silver, Storyteller, Ball

Scavenger-hunting party mirror, nobody bought giant.

Provinces / Estates - Altar, Band of Misfits, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Fairgrounds, Giant, Gold, Guide, Herbalist, Militia, Mystic, Nomad Camp, Province, Silver, Urchin, Mission

Here I disagree with players strategy. Mercenary is key here with mission/guide support. Giant isn't that good due terminal collision and millitia would be better if opponent doesn't pick any guides. Best use of giant is for fairgrounds points. So its 1/2 for giant.

Provinces / Estates - Chancellor, Copper, Curse, Distant Lands, Duchy, Estate, Forager, Giant, Gold, Grand Market, Highway, Hireling, Masterpiece, Mine, Province, Royal Seal, Silver, Alms

Obvious highway/grand market engine with forager/hireling/alms+highway support. One player opened giant instead of highway and lost as he deserved.

Provinces / Estates - Band of Misfits, Copper, Cultist, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Giant, Gold, Noble Brigand, Philosopher's Stone, Potion, Province, Royal Carriage, Ruins, Scrying Pool, Silver, Transmogrify, Treasure Trove, Courtyard

Obvious cultist board transitioned into ttrove/pstone. Players didn't play this that well but one got giant instead cultist and lost again.


Provinces / Estates - Copper, Curse, Duchy, Embassy, Estate, Fairgrounds, Feast, Giant, Gold, Hermit, Library, Messenger, Province, Royal Carriage, Silver, Treasure Map, Wishing Well, Trade

Here both players did treasure map hermit. Alternative is embassy bm with trade support. Either way giant is ignorable.

Provinces / Shelters - Armory, Band of Misfits, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Fortress, Giant, Gold, Hireling, Menagerie, Mine, Oasis, Province, Ratcatcher, Silver, Training, Treasure Map, Pilgrimage

Again here both players ignored giant. While they misplayed  it doesn't change giant usefulness. Here one wants to use bom/arory to get menageries and training on them with some ratcatcher trashing. Midgame tmap is possible if you got 2-3 bom to guarantee collision.

Colonies, Estates - Butcher, City, Colony, Copper, Crossroads, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Giant, Gold, Horse Traders, Plan, Platinum, Poor House, Prince, Province, Silver, Swamp Hag, Talisman, Trader, Quest

This was misplayed, both players got giants and one got 6 without village support. Here i am not sure if giant or swamp hag are better for spiking platinum so 1/2 for giant.

Provinces / Estates - Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Farming Village, Fortress, Giant, Gold, Great Hall, Library, Outpost, Pawn, Province, Remake, Silver, Tribute, Herbalist

Here both players got giant early which is mistake. But it is rare board where you want giant as giant+pawn are only sources of virtual coin for draw-to-x engine. Attack part here is irrelevant as you want 2 remakes for trashing and remaking fortress. If one gets giant after he could draw deck with 2-3 libraries it would work. So point for giant

Provinces / Estates - Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Forge, Giant, Gold, Great Hall, Hunting Grounds, Province, Secret Chamber, Silver, Squire, Talisman, Torturer, Warehouse, Crossroads

Torturer engine - giant has no place there as torturer helps/hurts more, one player gets giant and loses despite poor play of second one (opening great hall).

Provinces / Shelters - Copper, Curse, Doctor, Duchy, Dungeon, Estate, Festival, Giant, Gold, Hireling, Hunting Grounds, Island, Menagerie, Province, Rats, Rebuild, Silver, Scouting Party

Rebuild game, nobody gets giant. I am skeptical that it would outpace rebuild here as with dungeon/scouting party it looks too fast.

Provinces / Estates - Coin of the Realm, Copper, Curse, Distant Lands, Duchy, Estate, Feast, Giant, Gold, Market, Militia, Peasant, Province, Ranger, Remodel, Silver, Trade, Transmogrify, Borrow

Here both players missed ranger-cotr engine with peasant to supercharge. Opening remodel to get convert copper into cotr looks good. Avoid giant as you don't have actions to support it (including distant lands in midgame) and it will mess ranger journey tokens as you want 5 cards from ranger instead of 5 coins from giant here.

Provinces / Estates - Caravan Guard, Copper, Council Room, Crossroads, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Fairgrounds, Giant, Gold, Grand Market, Mandarin, Province, Ranger, Silk Road, Silver, Training, Wandering Minstrel, Travelling Fair

Here both players got giant, and here its bit reasonable for faigrounds points. It isn't good source of coins here as training on minstrel is better and you want draw here and giant conflict bit with ranger again. So here its 1/2 for giant if you could buy and play 2 giants after you could draw your deck but I am not convinced yet its better than golds.

Provinces / Estates - Border Village, Bridge, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Envoy, Estate, Expand, Giant, Gold, Mandarin, Mining Village, Province, Silver, Torturer, Worker's Village, Young Witch, Wishing Well

Again bad player gets giant, good player gets torturer and ignores giant. Good player wins.

Provinces / Estates - Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Gear, Giant, Gold, Laboratory, Mint, Page, Peasant, Province, Ranger, Scavenger, Silver, Worker's Village, Herbalist

GIant is ignorable again as one gets quickly champion to moat and gold for economy. I disagree bit with players opening as page-gear looks best because you will likely mint 5 coppers with gear on turn 3-4.

Provinces / Estates - Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Fool's Gold, Giant, Gold, Herbalist, Jester, Laboratory, Moneylender, Noble Brigand, Oracle, Province, Silver, Swamp Hag, Torturer, Raid
Log Viewer Kingdom

First game where player that buys giant and opponent doesn't win. But its because opponent plays moneylender-oracle bm. Torturer or swamp-hag bm here should crush giant.

Provinces / Estates - Advisor, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Festival, Gear, Giant, Gold, Golem, Potion, Province, Scheme, Scrying Pool, Silk Road, Silver, Stash, Thief, Summon

First game where its clear to get giant, as you could find card to trash with scrying pool, as well as main source of coins and use festival+gear to keep copper+other junk from deck. 1 point for giant

Provinces / Estates - Caravan Guard, Copper, Coppersmith, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Explorer, Gear, Giant, Gold, Inheritance, Jester, Mining Village, Province, Raze, Silver, Urchin, Workshop, Plan

One game where giant doesn't help to spike inheritance as one gets that on turn 9 and buys a province. Here giant is skippable as jester is better and you will get inheritance faster with gear/silver opening+more gears to inherit villages then get workshop to gain estates.  Even gear-bm should beat anything with giant here but former engine looks better than gear bm.

Provinces / Estates - Baker, Chancellor, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Giant, Gold, Grand Market, Mandarin, Mystic, Nomad Camp, Province, Royal Carriage, Scheme, Silver, Torturer, Seaway

Another game where player who gets giant but oponent doesn't loses. Here its relatively clunky torturer engine as only actions are from rc-scheme/grand market./torturer.

Colonies, Estates - Adventurer, Colony, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Duplicate, Estate, Giant, Gold, Journeyman, Militia, Mystic, Platinum, Province, Silver, Torturer, Transmogrify, Vault, Doctor

Again one player gets 2 vaults + torturer instead of messing with giant and wins.

Provinces / Estates - Adventurer, Armory, Bandit Camp, Copper, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Giant, Gold, Great Hall, Hunting Grounds, Merchant Guild, Province, Scout, Silver, Wine Merchant, Doctor

Here hunting grounds bm beats giant player. There is a mechant guild engine possible if you overpay doctor and giant has no place there.

So based on these games one could say that giant is rarely useful and if one ignores it completely would help you unless you are at least level 20 player.

Now to article itself and why its mostly first impressions that doesn't apply.

Part about using giant for early spiking 7-8 is first impression but it is wrong as it is rarely best move. It only works with 5/2 opening where giant could spike that reasonably early. Buying giant on turn 3-4 is most of times mistake as its only a copper on next shuffle and you spike it on shuffle after that. You could spike that with basically any reasonable draw cards in same time and you will have better deck than one giant+possibly weaker card from giant play.

As giant winning vs weak bm how weak one? Does it beat something more impressive than bureaucrat?

As giant in engines you made mistake in first sentence that giant is a decent payload. It isn't decent its terrible payload. You could always use gold as payload. Attack is quite weak because of that as you should pick giants and start playing them quite late where it won't matter as opponent could trash it with his engine. Trashing without inspect is weaker as it often just trashes silver. Argument that giant could beat opponent with bm is weak as in most boards its clear that one should do engine or there isn't engine possible and you should do bm. In engine mrrors that are most games giant would just lose you tempo.
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traces Around

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Re: Giant
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2016, 01:11:48 pm »
+1

As giant winning vs weak bm how weak one? Does it beat something more impressive than bureaucrat?

Yes, based on simulation results (all 10000 games) Giant BM beats Courtyard BM 57% of the time, which in turn beats Bureaucrat BM 73% of the time, for example.
Or, to use an example from your post, Giant BM beats Hunting Grounds BM 71% of the time; this is the same rate at which Envoy BM wins against BMU, to give some perspective.
If you have to play a money strategy, Giant is usually one of the best options you have.

You compare Giant payload to Gold payload and then say it is terrible. Unsexy sure, but Gold is decent payload even if it sometimes hard to obtain in quantity. Given terminal space, a pair of Giants does the same thing for you while also helping to keep you ahead or potentially allowing you to catch up with the proper attack hits. So yes, one should be careful about buying Giant and especially early, but no, one should not unconditionally avoid it.

Chris is me

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Re: Giant
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2016, 01:42:08 pm »
0

I kind of wrote this article with "not getting Giant" as the default, trying to highlight the scenarios where it is workable and how it specifically helps when you can incorporate it. But I see how by doing this I'm not really highlighting when not to use it explicitly. Should I add more of a drawback section for that or something?
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vsiewnar

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Re: Giant
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 11:19:36 pm »
0

This might be a bit on the edge-case side but it might show up in, oh, I don't know, a mono-set tournament, say  :P

It's that other cards like Ranger and Pilgrimage affect the Journey token too. So you can use Giant to set up your Ranger (or vice-versa) or to reap Pilgrimage gains every turn.
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SettingFraming

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Re: Giant
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2017, 02:37:44 pm »
+1

I kind of wrote this article with "not getting Giant" as the default, trying to highlight the scenarios where it is workable and how it specifically helps when you can incorporate it. But I see how by doing this I'm not really highlighting when not to use it explicitly. Should I add more of a drawback section for that or something?

We need Giant to be championed. Is it a great card? No. Does it suck? Absolutely not. Yes, it's slow, but the attack is good and $3 per play is nothing to sniff at.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2017, 11:11:01 pm »
0

What cards do you think make the best target for a Giant BM?

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Re: Giant
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2017, 11:11:36 pm »
+2

tbh rats is better.
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majiponi

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Re: Giant
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2017, 07:52:45 pm »
+1

Platinum/Colony games. With a single Gold, it is tough to buy Platinum. With a Giant, easy.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2017, 03:27:26 am »
0

Platinum/Colony games. With a single Gold, it is tough to buy Platinum. With a Giant, easy.
That strategy is simple and false. Most colony games allow engine where you add payload at end. Then you get 6 one turn for gold and could get platinum next turn. With giant its getting 5 one turn, then playing it next turn as copper and you could get gold with that 6 and you will get platinum turn after that. One colony game from twenty where there isn't any better bm than giant one isn't very impressive.
Quote
Yes, based on simulation results (all 10000 games) Giant BM beats Courtyard BM 57% of the time,
Really? Unless I see bots it only shows that you could write near optimal giant but not courtyard bm. Main problem with these is that you don't modify bm to deal with curser, things like getting third courtyard and modyfing greening rules easily give 10% to flip result. Also CY strengh comes from topdecking in endgame where it for example topdeck gold to buy province next turn instead buying duchy and rules for that are compicated.

Quote
You compare Giant payload to Gold payload and then say it is terrible. Unsexy sure, but Gold is decent payload even if it sometimes hard to obtain in quantity. Given terminal space, a pair of Giants does the same thing for you while also helping to keep you ahead or potentially allowing you to catch up with the proper attack hits. So yes, one should be careful about buying Giant and especially early, but no, one should not unconditionally avoid it.
That is fallacy as you imply that giants are easy to obtain in quantity. That is opportunity cost and as I said there is almost no difference between getting giant and gold as early you want better 5 cost cards and by the time when your deck could substain giant you could produce 6 to afford gold anyway.

I wrote part about avoding giant as you wastly overrate it like pirate ship was. Its card that looks great at first glance but after few games you realize that in these games you would rather have saboteur.

Quote
Yes, it's slow, but the attack is good and $3 per play is nothing to sniff at.
Mandarin sneezes. Main reason for getting terminal virtual coin cards is +buy. If you get moat and two silvers in engine instead you could get 4 coins instead 3.
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Re: Giant
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2017, 05:32:58 am »
0

I wrote part about avoding giant as you wastly overrate it like pirate ship was. Its card that looks great at first glance but after few games you realize that in these games you would rather have saboteur.
Like all terminal cards that provide coins it is only viable if you can get a decent village density in your deck respectively if it doesn't compete with other terminal cards for actions to spend. So I would totally agree that Giant is definitely not always good.
But an average 3$ coins plus half a cursing or trashing attack is good. Unlike Knights you can actually get it early in the game (and unlike Saboteur it does something for your economy) because when you miss the card still does something useful, it curses. And it provides more coins than the average curser. It is precisely that hedge which makes the card a good attack.
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majiponi

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Re: Giant
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2017, 06:31:14 am »
0

Platinum/Colony games. With a single Gold, it is tough to buy Platinum. With a Giant, easy.
That strategy is simple and false. Most colony games allow engine where you add payload at end. Then you get 6 one turn for gold and could get platinum next turn. With giant its getting 5 one turn, then playing it next turn as copper and you could get gold with that 6 and you will get platinum turn after that. One colony game from twenty where there isn't any better bm than giant one isn't very impressive.
I think it is sometimes false. Yes, Mr. Combovsky usually wins in 2-player games. But how about 4-player game? His 3 opponent trash your precious combo-component per turn. Can he still spell his funny magic to let his enemies stop playing Giants? I think not. (Of course, depends Kingdom)
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Re: Giant
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2017, 08:24:28 am »
+1

I don't really see how I'm "vastly overrating" the card here. The entire article is about all the dumb bullshit you need to do to make it work and in what situations it is workable at all. Just because an article doesn't constantly bash a card every five seconds doesn't mean it's hyping it.

I also don't think you have any grounds to contest the simulator results other than your gut. Not that simulators are the end all of discussion, but he didn't make a suboptimal Courtyard BM strategy to lose to Giant. If you don't trust them run your own ones and point out what you changed - otherwise you're just providing conjecture.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 08:26:12 am by Chris is me »
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Re: Giant
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2017, 09:41:07 am »
0

Giants play a bit differently in multiplayer as the cumulative attacks do more damage to a deck. There can be races to empty the giant pile in multiplayer games, something that would be pretty rare in two player games.

Giants can be good for sustaining a deck that buys an early province lead. The income spike works well against discard attacks like militia. If there are good low cost cards in a kingdom this can also suit giants as the cheap cards can be bought on the +1 coin turns.
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