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trivialknot

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Poacher
« on: September 19, 2017, 03:45:24 pm »
+11

You want these if you can get away with it.

In Dominion, there are many cards that give +1 Card, +1 Action, +, or some similar bonus.  These are called Peddler variants, named after a card from Prosperity.  Poacher is the simplest such card, especially when none of the piles empty except for Provinces.

In this article, we will first consider Poacher in the case where no piles empty, and then in the case where piles empty.  Then we will discuss how to predict whether piles will empty, and show a few examples.

Poacher without discard

In many cases, you will be deciding between Poacher and Silver, since they cost nearly the same and serve similar roles.  Poacher... is just better than Silver.  In almost all cases.  Poacher gives you , plus the value of one average card from your deck.  For most of the game, in most games, the average card in your deck is better than Copper (if not in terms of economy, by providing some other utility such as trashing or gaining).  Therefore Poacher is better than a Silver.

Another way of thinking of it is that Poacher + Copper = Silver.  Therefore Poacher = Silver - Copper.  Buying Silver instead of Poacher is a bit like buying Copper instead of nothing.

Another thing is that Silvers anti-synergize with each other by getting in each other's way.  They slow down your deck cycling, making you see important cards less often. By contrast, Poachers do not get in the way of each other and do not slow down cycling.

Some reasons you might get Silver instead of Poacher:
-You have only .
-There's something that cares about the card names (e.g. Merchant).
-There's something that cares about card type (e.g. Smithy without extra Actions).
-You're playing a very junked deck where your average card is worse than Copper.
-You're drawing your whole deck either way.
-You're worried that a pile will empty.

There are often other things you want to prioritize over Poachers, but as far as building your economy goes, a stack of Poachers is great.  That is, as long as you don't get the whole stack...

When piles empty

If a single pile empties, it's not the end of the world!  Poacher is still as good as Oasis (from Hinterlands), which is an okay card costing .

In a few cases, discarding cards is actively helpful.  The most notable case is when you have draw-to-X cards such as Library.  You can also discard cards with the intention of trashing them with Sentry.  However, even in absence of such interactions, discarding cards can be mostly harmless.

More specifically, it's mostly harmless in games where you have some cards which are worse than copper.  For example, if you never trash Estates.  Or if the pile that emptied are the Curses or Duchies, you probably have some Curses/Duchies around to discard.  Even if you're forced to discard Copper, Poacher is still as good as the average card in your deck, and had also provided benefit earlier in the game.

But there are two caveats.  First, be mindful of mid-turn shuffles, which will include the junk cards that you discarded.  Second, there is an antisynergy with other discard effects (e.g. Cellar, opponent's Militia, other Poachers), because you only have so much junk to discard.  There's also an antisynergy with cards that trash your junk, although you can usually use the same cards to trash your Poachers if you don't like them anymore.

If more than one pile empties, then Poacher usually becomes garbage.

How to predict when piles will empty

-Cards that give +Card and +Action (e.g. Merchant, Laboratory)
-A draw engine (e.g. Village, Smithy, and Market)
-Victory cards that compete with Provinces (e.g. Gardens)
-Cards that hand out Curses
-Gainers and a pile worth gaining (e.g. Workshop)
-Bonus tokens from Adventures

These signs only matter if they're good enough to go for.  For instance, Gardens obviously won't cause any piles to empty if Gardens is so bad that nobody goes for it.  Of course, if you go really heavy on Poachers, your opponent might decide that Gardens are good after all because it messes up your strategy.  It's not an all or nothing decision.  If you think there's a moderate risk of piles emptying, you might get just a few Poachers, as much as you can get away with.

Another obvious point is that piles are more likely to empty the more players you have, and they empty quicker too.  With 4 players you may find that even terminal actions get depleted because everyone wants 2-3 copies.

Some special consideration needs to be given to the Poacher pile itself.  Obviously, you should never get 9 Poachers, because your opponent can pick up just one and ruin your deck.  On the other hand, if you get 6, it usually isn't worth it to your opponent to pick up the last 4, because that's expensive and ruins their own deck almost as much.  In 2-player games, you and your opponent often end up with a similar number of Poachers, because nobody wants to get so far ahead that their opponent can counter by emptying a pile.

Example Games

These examples are all sourced from Burning Skull's How to Base Dominion series on YouTube.

Example 1
Discarding with Poacher is good here because of its interaction with Library.  BS takes 6 Poachers to opponent's 2, and wins.

Example 2
This is a Chapel game where no piles are in danger of emptying.  Because of Chapel, the average card is a lot better than Copper, so Poacher is way better than Silver.  I'd like to note that in turn 5, instead of buying a Poacher, BS opts to trash an extra Copper and buy a Silver.  This is a clear, if minor, mistake. Recall that Poacher + Copper = Silver, except that Poacher + Copper is better because you can trash the Copper later.

Example 3
In this game, Merchant/Workshop is good and leads to an empty pile.  However, by the time it has happened, the Poachers have already done a lot of work.  Also, both players have 2-3 Poachers so it hurts them about equally.


IMO this article is "long" and I would appreciate suggestions for things to cut.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 08:17:21 pm by trivialknot »
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Chappy7

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 04:38:31 pm »
0

Personally, I don't think it is too long. 

After reading it, I looked back through it for stuff to get rid of, and honestly, it all seems to have a somewhat important purpose.  If I had to make a suggestion, maybe you could get rid of the first bit about peddler variants. Although, as I said, I kinda like everything how it is.

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Seprix

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 04:41:35 pm »
+3

Ditch the thing about Peddler Variants because that has nothing much to do with Poacher, include Stonemason and Magpie and other cards like that as quick pile emptiers, and I don't see the reason to include what the community thinks a stock Peddler variant would cost. In all honesty, Poacher is hard to write an article on. There's really not much to say.

A good thing to write about is Poacher openers. Compare Steward/Silver with Poacher/Steward, for example. Note that Poacher makes it less likely your trasher misses the shuffle, and note you probably want 1-3 in your deck for cycling purposes. There's not much else to cover besides opening play.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 04:47:34 pm by Seprix »
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Awaclus

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 04:57:48 pm »
0

I think it's worth noting that Poacher doesn't slow down your cycling, unlike Silver.
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aku_chi

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 05:14:26 pm »
+2

Some reasons you might get Silver instead of Poacher:
...
-There's something that cares about the card names (e.g. Keep and Delve from Empires).

You do a great job references cards in Base.  You should continue this trend here and mention Merchant (and probably not mention Keep or Delve).

-You're really concerned about the first shuffle, when your average card is indeed slightly worse than Copper.

I don't think this is worth mentioning.  The money density of Silver + Poacher vs. Silver + Silver is almost identical (0.909 vs. 0.917), and you're slightly more likely to hit $5 on turns 3 or 4 with Poacher + Silver (source).
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 05:14:56 pm »
+4

Overall a nice article.
Two things I would recommend:

1. The speculation of what a pure peddler would cost is interesting only to people who predate the second edition, and confusing otherwise.
2. Maybe provide an example game where the correct choice is to not go for poachers.
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Dingan

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 05:42:57 pm »
0

Half of this article feels like an article on Oasis to me. Do you really need those parts?

And random thought: I wonder what has been (or can be) the most cards discarded by Poacher ???
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DG

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 06:21:58 pm »
+2

A few assorted ideas (I've never thought this much about poacher before)

Poacher/silver opening - good chance of hitting 5 coins on turn 3 or 4 and then getting the 5 cost card into play on turn 5 or 6.
Workshop family - these makes poachers easy to gain but does it mean piles will run out earlier?
Dilemma - if an opponent has a lot of poachers, do you buy out the last poachers to make their deck worse knowing that you're buying poor cards?
The basic poacher is vulnerable to top of deck attacks like fortune teller. An oasis can be considered a mild defense against those same attacks. How about that?
Risky card to put with throne room and king's court since the discard penalties repeat (procession might be a poacher's friend though).
Could do with a link to a good oasis article that covers discard tricks.
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 07:03:42 pm »
+1

You should mention that Poacher's discard effect can specifically be useful with trashers, notably Sentry, if you are able to guarantee what card will be in the discard.
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filovirus

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 07:39:12 pm »
+1

Ditch the thing about Peddler Variants because that has nothing much to do with Poacher, include Stonemason and Magpie and other cards like that as quick pile emptiers, and I don't see the reason to include what the community thinks a stock Peddler variant would cost. In all honesty, Poacher is hard to write an article on. There's really not much to say.

I disagree. I like the list of Peddler variants as it shows that many of the Poacher tactics would apply equally well to other, similar cards. But I do agree that stock variant cost is a fun fact, but probably has no bearing on a Poacher strategy article.
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trivialknot

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 08:25:00 pm »
+2

Made a few changes in response to feedback:
-Removed the list of Peddler variants although I still mention the concept.
-I clarified discussion of how Poachers synergize with everything.  What I meant was that it cycles faster, as people have been saying.
-I replaced the Delve/Keep example with Merchant.  I deliberately refer to Base cards whenever possible, that's why I mention Workshop instead of Magpie or Stonemason even though the latter are stronger.
-Included Sentry as a beneficial interaction.
-Removed the part saying Silver is slightly better in first shuffle.
-A few other minor changes.

I couldn't find a game in BS's series where Poacher is obviously bad.  It seems to be generally solid in Base set, even when piles do empty on occasion.  And players seem to buy them conservatively.  Now, if the kingdom had some Adventures cards...

Most of the article is basically about Oasis, yes.  There is no article on Oasis right now, so it needed to be written.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 08:34:48 pm »
+1

I can't get past poached eggs being a thing, because I imagine someone with a bow hunting down a wild egg.

Apparently other people do not have this issue, which I also do not understand.
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crj

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 01:09:39 am »
0

One other potential reason to prefer Silver to Poacher: if your deck has terminal draw.
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Seprix

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 01:18:01 am »
0

Ditch the thing about Peddler Variants because that has nothing much to do with Poacher, include Stonemason and Magpie and other cards like that as quick pile emptiers, and I don't see the reason to include what the community thinks a stock Peddler variant would cost. In all honesty, Poacher is hard to write an article on. There's really not much to say.

I disagree. I like the list of Peddler variants as it shows that many of the Poacher tactics would apply equally well to other

The best solution could be to just have an article covering all of the peddler variants, and then it's not an issue for me anymore. Since there's not much difference between all of them, I don't see why it couldn't be done.
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faust

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 01:42:43 am »
0

A good thing to write about is Poacher openers. Compare Steward/Silver with Poacher/Steward, for example. Note that Poacher makes it less likely your trasher misses the shuffle, and note you probably want 1-3 in your deck for cycling purposes. There's not much else to cover besides opening play.
I agree there there need to be more on Poacher openings, specifically Poacher vs Silver as opening buys. Poacher makes you less likely to hit $5, and this is not covered at all so far, despite being an important consideration.
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trivialknot

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 02:58:05 am »
+1

I agree there there need to be more on Poacher openings, specifically Poacher vs Silver as opening buys. Poacher makes you less likely to hit $5, and this is not covered at all so far, despite being an important consideration.
I thought so too, and had said so in the first version, but aku_chi linked to a simulation which indicates that this is incorrect.  Poacher/Silver is slightly more likely to hit $5 than silver/silver, and also the difference is so small that it is not an important consideration.
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Omastar68

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2017, 02:27:36 pm »
0

Maybe you could talk about the value, if any, of double Poacher on Baker boards?
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2017, 02:37:02 pm »
+8

This article is pretty OK.

I would say that all articles about cards that have player interaction should have a section on what to do if your opponent gets the card. How to fight Militia. How best to take advantage of opponent's Council Rooms. How to contest Ports. In the case of Poacher, I think it would be good to mention that if an opponent is depending heavily on Poachers, you can hobble their deck by emptying a pile or two.

EDIT: You kind of already do talk about it, but from the perspective of the player who overbuys Poachers, not from their opponent. Maybe that's good enough.

Maybe you could talk about the value, if any, of double Poacher on Baker boards?

Nope! Nope nope nope. That's too specific for any sort of card article. In order for it to be worth spending any amount of time on a specific card interaction, that interaction should be crazy strong, like Masterpiece/Feodum or Counting House/Travelling Fair.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 02:38:17 pm by LastFootnote »
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Deadlock39

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2017, 04:28:56 pm »
+1

Yeah... You are probably almost never opening double Poacher because of Baker. Baker lets you open with a 5, so you are almost always going to be doing that.

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2017, 05:39:10 pm »
0

Nice article. Maybe throw in a link to some article on Oasis if there is one?

Another way of thinking of it is that Poacher + Copper = Silver.  Therefore Poacher = Silver - Copper.  Buying Silver instead of Poacher is a bit like buying Copper instead of nothing.

I'm not sure what the plus, minus and equality signs mean here. Something that's true is that Poacher+Copper does the same to your money density as a Silver. Maybe say that instead?

If the algebraic manipulations are there to justify the last sentence, then I think a clearer presentation is "Silver - Poacher = Copper". Or maybe just the sentence about money density I encouraged you to put in.

Anyways, this is the part where I have the hardest time following your train of thought.
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jonaskoelker

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2017, 06:16:19 pm »
+1

And random thought: I wonder what [can be] the most cards discarded by Poacher?

I think the supply can at most contain:

11 Kingdom Piles (due to Young Witch)
5 Basic Treasures (Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Potion)
4 Basic Victory piles (Estate, Duchy, Province, Colony)
1 Curse pile
1 Ruins Pile

It's possible to empty the supply mid-turn, so I think the correct answer is that Poacher can make you discard 22 cards.

One way of emptying the supply mid-turn is to use Lurker/Hireling/Bonfire repeatedly to have an arbitrarily large starting hand, bring all piles down to 1 over the span of some turns, have Champion in play, then King's Court 3xBridge (for a cost reduction of >=7), trash the kingdom with KC+9xLurker and gain the rest with Ironworks and Workshop. (It's possible that KC makes Workshop unnecessary.)

Kingdom: Lurker (Bane), Page, Young Witch, Bridge, Ironworks, Workshop, King's Court, Hireling, Poacher, Marauder, Transmute — Events/Landmarks: Bonfire.

(You could put some of this in a Black Market deck and free up kingdom piles if you like. Procession'ing a Hireling probably means you don't need Bonfire.)
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2017, 07:45:39 am »
0

There are times you don't mind (or want to) discarding more than one card: Tunnel, draw-to-X, Diplomat, Menagerie...
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2017, 06:47:02 am »
0

I like how straightforward this is.
Do you want to add synergies/anti-synergies/competing cards or leave it as is?
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Re: Poacher
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2017, 07:32:57 am »
0

I like how straightforward this is.
Do you want to add synergies/anti-synergies/competing cards or leave it as is?

...the article goes into quite a lot of detail of the kind of cards it works with, the kind of boards that hurt it, and other variants of the same concept? What’s missing?

If you mean like, specifically the bulleted list form, eh, people should read.
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greybirdofprey

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Re: Poacher
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2017, 08:16:24 am »
0

I like how straightforward this is.
Do you want to add synergies/anti-synergies/competing cards or leave it as is?

...the article goes into quite a lot of detail of the kind of cards it works with, the kind of boards that hurt it, and other variants of the same concept? What’s missing?

If you mean like, specifically the bulleted list form, eh, people should read.

I mean like City and Tower, which also track empty piles, what to do/buy if there are similar cards on the board (Peddler, Oasis, maybe Mill/Merchant). Maybe Adventures tokens (not how Adventures tokens influence emptying piles, but the fact that Poacher and tokens synergize quite well).

Especially what happens when Poacher and City are both on the board is quite interesting.

But again, the article doesn't have to go in-depth about specific card interactions.
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