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Author Topic: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital  (Read 2293 times)

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dedicateddan

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Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« on: September 25, 2017, 08:26:59 pm »
+32

The Mandarin/Capital Combo
By: Dan Brooks


Mandarin/Capital is an underappreciated combo, capable of multi-Province turns and reliable sustained greening.


The Mechanics:
Capital generates debt when it is discarded from play. If a Capital is topdecked to Mandarin's on-gain ability, it is not "discarded", so no debt is incurred.


Building:
The build path is broken down into three distinct stages.

1. Buy Capitals
The goal of this stage is to buy at least 3 Capitals, taking them on every $5+ hand. Terminal draw, sifting, and sometimes light trashing can be helpful, but don't build up like traditional engines - just buy Capitals.

2. Line up the Capitals
Once you have a few Capitals in your deck, buy Mandarins to continuously topdeck the Capitals you draw. As you sift your deck, you'll eventually have all of them in hand.

3. Greening
If multiple Capitals are in play, it's usually correct to buy green cards. Two Capitals + Copper can buy Mandarin + Province and Three Capitals + Silver + Copper can pick up Mandarin + 2 Provinces or Mandarin + Colony + Duchy.


The Mandarin Pile:
In a non-mirror, the deck picks up around 50-60 VP and empties the Province pile around turn 12-13 with a few Mandarins left in supply.

When mirrored, the Mandarin pile sometime runs out before greening is finished. Continue taking Provinces and close out the game with moneyish play. When there are two Mandarins left in supply, it's usually best to take both to deny one from your opponent.


Sample Game:


Words of Warning:
The Mandarin-Capital combo is resilient to most attacks. It can power through junking attacks like Mountebank and Cultist. Handsize attacks simply limit the number of Capitals topdecked.

Watch out for Minion and Possession, however, as they can disrupt your Capital investments ;)


Other Mandarin Golden Decks:

It is also possible to build a Mandarin golden deck without capital. The idea is to use a treasure generate an additional gain and to pick up Mandarin + a Victory card every turn.

Some of the more common examples are:

Horn of Plenty + Copper + Silver + Gold + Platinum -> Mandarin + Colony
Horn of Plenty + Copper + Silver + Gold + Treasure -> Mandarin + Province
Counterfeit + 4 Gold -> Mandarin + Province
Fortune + Treasure -> Mandarin + Province
Counterfeit + Potion + Treasure -> Mandarin + Vineyard

Most of the time, these Capital-less decks will be outclassed by multi-Province engines or outpaced by traditional money decks, but have applications on junk heavy boards, where a Province a turn can be winning.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 07:09:52 pm by dedicateddan »
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Seprix

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 08:46:16 pm »
+3

With a Mandarin and 3 Capitals in play (which will happen as you buy Mandarins), that is a double Province turn as well. Simply topdeck whatever card is left (usually a Copper) and then buy double Province + Mandarin. Also, Copper and Silver in hand with the 3 Capitals guarantees Double Province + Mandarin for the rest of the game as well.

I got 56 VP and ended the game in 13 turns with a little assistance from the Kingdom. It's a wicked fast strategy.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 08:47:26 pm by Seprix »
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 09:14:23 pm »
+3

Finally a use for the crap Mandarin card.
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Burning Skull

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 09:25:41 pm »
+1

nuts!

werothegreat

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 09:49:25 pm »
+3

Yeah!  This is a fun one.  Now to see what happens when one player tries Mandarin/Capital, and the other tries Mandarin/Horn of Plenty.
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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2017, 10:27:29 pm »
+7

Yeah!  This is a fun one.  Now to see what happens when one player tries Mandarin/Capital, and the other tries Mandarin/Horn of Plenty.

Capital wins. It’s not really even close.
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Deadlock39

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2017, 11:20:52 pm »
+1

Yeah Mandarin/Horn is not very good... mostly because Horn engines are so stupidly good.  The last time I tried Mandarin Horn was a long time ago, but I remember it clearly because I got super crushed by the engine.

Awaclus

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 01:59:08 am »
+1

Yeah Mandarin/Horn is not very good... mostly because Horn engines are so stupidly good.  The last time I tried Mandarin Horn was a long time ago, but I remember it clearly because I got super crushed by the engine.

Mandarin/Horn isn't very good also because Mandarin/Horn just isn't very good.
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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 10:15:47 am »
+8

This would be a great combo article for the blog. The blog did used to do combos; just because those old combos are now mostly overshadowed (or were not that great to begin with) doesn't mean there isn't a place to highlight particularly strong or unique card interactions. I enjoyed thinking about the combos posted on the blog when I first found DominionStragtegy; having someone highlight why two cards work particularly well together really got me to think deeper about Dominion and learn something appropriately bite-sized.
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markusin

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 11:49:00 am »
+1

Doesn't Mandarin/Horn require a kingdom treasure as well?
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Awaclus

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 11:54:06 am »
+1

Doesn't Mandarin/Horn require a kingdom treasure as well?

Or Platinum.

If it's a board where you get to choose between Mandarin/Capital and Mandarin/HoP, though, that's not a problem.
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crj

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2017, 12:23:53 pm »
+12

The blog did used to do combos; just because those old combos are now mostly overshadowed (or were not that great to begin with) doesn't mean there isn't a place to highlight particularly strong or unique card interactions. I enjoyed thinking about the combos posted on the blog when I first found DominionStragtegy; having someone highlight why two cards work particularly well together really got me to think deeper about Dominion and learn something appropriately bite-sized.
Frankly, whether or it improves one's game, combos are really amusing and interesting to read about.

I'll take an article about some absurd combo that loses over an article on how to win a Laboratory mirror game any day.
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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 02:43:49 am »
+7

I think I may have been thinking in the wrong way about articles involving Dominion the whole time. They don't need to be more complex and long, they need to be shorter and less complex. They can cover interactions between two or more cards because those things are interesting. That's what Dominion is all about. Having some stoic stance where only general information about one card is given is kind of silly when I really think about it.
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dedicateddan

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 12:41:18 pm »
+5

I played another 8 games with this. Capital/Mandarin won all 8 times - although a Bridge megaturn did come close

Capitals are the priority early. Get 2-4 of them to get started

Once you start topdecking Capitals, the rate of cycling slows. A lot of the time, you trigger a shuffle and then use Mandarin to topdeck all of the Capitals in that shuffle. You likely won't see any additional cards that you buy

In a mirror, the Mandarin pile will often run out - which is OK. Whoever lines up Capitals first will usually have have a big point lead when this happens. Simply audible into Capital/Mandarin money to close out the game

The strategy seems to ignore most attacks. There were several boards where Cultist, Margrave, etc. were ignored. There are few boards where the decks can afford to ignore 50+ points of greening without contesting Provinces (Goons comes to mind)

So, in summary, it does seem quite strong and also quite straightforward to play. 

Edit: I think the standard line is to open Capital/X or Silver/X and take Capitals on every $5+ hand. Once you have 3 Capitals in a clean shuffle, topdeck as many Capitals and good treasures as possible to Mandarin while sifting. Do the same if you happen to draw 2+ Capitals in the same hand. Once you have all your Capitals in hand, play all your treasure and go full golden - the rest of your deck doesn't matter.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 08:33:38 pm by dedicateddan »
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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 06:18:18 pm »
+4

Congrats to Dan Brooks. This article is now up on the home page/blog. https://dominionstrategy.com/2017/10/02/the-mandarincapital-combo/

Keep up with the great content!
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ednever

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2017, 03:08:05 pm »
+1

Not as good, but similar concept:

Play Counterfeit / Capital at the end of an engine. Two cards generate $12, but you need to re-buy the CF for $5, so you generate $7 for two cards. So a little better than two golds, but a bunch of extra buys - and $6/card o the last turn
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LastFootnote

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 03:21:41 pm »
+4

Not as good, but similar concept:

Play Counterfeit / Capital at the end of an engine. Two cards generate $12, but you need to re-buy the CF for $5, so you generate $7 for two cards. So a little better than two golds, but a bunch of extra buys - and $6/card o the last turn

Counterfeit itself makes $1, so you mean $13. And you have to re-buy the Capital, not the Counterfeit.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2017, 04:50:58 pm »
+2

Not as good, but similar concept:

Play Counterfeit / Capital at the end of an engine. Two cards generate $12, but you need to re-buy the CF for $5, so you generate $7 for two cards. So a little better than two golds, but a bunch of extra buys - and $6/card o the last turn

I'd argue that the concept isn't that similar. Sure, you're avoiding paying the Capital debt, but the cool trick here is perpetuating the combo each turn via Mandarin's on-gain ability.

With Counterfeit/Capital, you've still got to ensure you get a Counterfeit in your hand with the Capital. It's in the same class as Herbalist/Capital.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 04:52:27 pm by Cave-o-sapien »
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jonaskoelker

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Re: Public Service Announcement: Mandarin/Capital
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2017, 06:15:40 pm »
+3

I was reading Empires previews for the lulz when I came across this post:

Is it my imagination (I'm no Dominion guru) or might Mandarin+Capital be a candidate for the combo which gives the largest possible advantage to players that get a 5/2 split?

Buy Mandarin, topdeck $5. Buy Capital. Then, when the Capital comes around again, every turn buy Mandarin + as many Capital as you can afford until all the Capital is gone. At that point, buy Mandarins and Duchies to pile out quickly.

Of course, there's a difference between having an idea versus testing and developing an idea.

Incidentally, that difference is why I post in the really bad card ideas thread and Donald shows off his work in the preview subforums ;)
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