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Commodore Chuckles

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Masquerade
« on: October 07, 2017, 01:28:13 am »
+3

Masquerade has become one of my most hated cards, and I might ban it if I could. The constant threat of being forced to pass your opponent a good card in exchange for junk just screws over so many other aspects of the game. It feels like Possession in that you have to keep your deck crummy so that your opponent can't take advantage of it. Even though it's one of the oldest cards, it's one of the cards I least understand. So, what I'm wondering:

-Should you not even bother with other trashers when it's on the board, simply because trashing down too fast will just give good cards to your opponent?

-Are there any times it can be ignored? The only situation I can think of is Ambassador, which is a great counter because it's also a card that can thin and junk at the same time. Are there any other situations?

-What about other junking attacks? Should you not bother with them because your opponent can just fling the junk back at you? It seems to me that Mountebank and Cultist are fast enough to bury an opponent who's relying solely on Masquerade, but the other junkers I'm not sure.

-Is buying more than one of them ever a good idea?

-Is passing good cards to your opponent just not that big a deal sometimes? Can you trash all the way down and build an engine so good that it can shrug off all of Masquerade's mischief?

Any help on dealing with this insane card would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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josh56

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 01:53:49 am »
+1

You shouldn't worry to death about the threat of having to pass an opponent good cards because you can normally see it coming for some time when they aim for that.
But the very presence of Masquerade does make junking and thinning a bit less important. That's really all it does in my opinion and it isn't special in this regard (e.g. Chariot Race's strength also depends upon the deck of your opponent). For example the presence of a village does make all terminal draws better and the presence of a junker makes all trashers better. How the evaluate relative card strengths precisely, well, there's no golden rule to that and that's after all the main appeal of Dominion.
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DG

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 09:07:14 am »
+4

-Is buying more than one of them ever a good idea?
Yes that can be fine. Masquerade does only trash one card each time.

-Should you not even bother with other trashers when it's on the board, simply because trashing down too fast will just give good cards to your opponent?

You should be aware of that but a second trasher can be fine.

-Are there any times it can be ignored? The only situation I can think of is Ambassador, which is a great counter because it's also a card that can thin and junk at the same time. Are there any other situations?
One of the advantages of masquerade over other trashers is the economy you get while trashing. If other cards give better economy and the trashing isn't important then you might want those. Masquerade can also be a bad fit with cards like IGG that make your deck bigger. I wouldn't see masquerade as an ideal card to use with peasant or other important terminal actions.

In multiplayer you might also find that the bad cards get passed round and don't all collect in a deck without masquerade.

-What about other junking attacks? Should you not bother with them because your opponent can just fling the junk back at you? It seems to me that Mountebank and Cultist are fast enough to bury an opponent who's relying solely on Masquerade, but the other junkers I'm not sure.

If your opponent is trashing the junk with masquerade then they're not trashing their other poor cards. Witch vs masquerade is pretty even (but most players would probably choose masquerade).

-Is passing good cards to your opponent just not that big a deal sometimes? Can you trash all the way down and build an engine so good that it can shrug off all of Masquerade's mischief?

Yes, this is particularly true if you're playing a different strategy to your opponent. One player might want only actions cards and the other only treasures.
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mameluke

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2017, 01:32:15 pm »
+1

The worst is when there is a handsize reducer like Militia or Ghost Ship on the board as well and +Actions, which will effectively reduce your handsize to 2 cards, since you will want to keep a bad card in your hand in case Masq is played afterwards.

I'm not a fan of the card either, because it can really hurt if you keep a lot of junk but it just doesn't show up in those 5 cards you drew for this turn, and you have to pass something good. It's worth buying more 3s and 4s (like Silver) which are not the worst thing in the world to pass.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:34:17 pm by mameluke »
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jonaskoelker

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2017, 09:27:46 am »
+2

Here's a game between Adam Horton and Qvist which showcases several features of Masquerade very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkogD_WLqG8&index=17&list=PL7MIC-UQuoeSnDnNa2HoWR85tod7J7Tqj. I recommend watching it, to see how some of your concerns play out in practice—or at least one way they can play out.

The constant threat of being forced to pass your opponent a good card in exchange for junk just screws over so many other aspects of the game. It feels like Possession in that you have to keep your deck crummy so that your opponent can't take advantage of it.
They're not quite comparable; an awesome deck with 20% bad cards passes bad cards to Masquerade but gives good turns to Possession.

Also, as you see in the linked game, even when forced to pass a good card, it looks like it's not a huge deal. Maybe Qvist could have played some more Monuments if he had passed fewer Mining Villages, and maybe Adam could have bought more green cards if he had passed less Silver, but on the whole it looks to me like it was much closer to having a mild impact on the game than causing huge swings.

-Should you not even bother with other trashers when it's on the board, simply because trashing down too fast will just give good cards to your opponent?
Trashing down fast with Chapel seemed to work out perfectly fine for Qvist in that game. Keeping a few bad cards around to pass to Masquerade makes sense when trashing down fast. Obviously the larger your deck, the more bad cards you need to have a high probability of having one in your opening hand.

-Are there any times it can be ignored? The only situation I can think of is Ambassador, which is a great counter because it's also a card that can thin and junk at the same time. Are there any other situations?
I would think any engine that draws deck and has some vaguely decent trashing makes mid-game Masquerade a complete non-threat. Upgrade, Forager, Junk Dealer all do a fine job. Steward and Chapel both do the job very well.

Given the choice I probably want Masquerade over Forager in the early game, due to the +2 cards, but I pick Chapel over Masquerade any day. I'm not sure between Steward and Masquerade: Steward trashes faster but also gimps your turns. (Chapel of course totally gimps your turn, but it gimps a smaller number of turns, and gives you really big turns faster.)

Note also a reason to not ignore Masquerade: when it's the only draw. I think Qvist's deck would've rather used Moat for draw if available, though. The presence of +buy/gain might swing a decision between Masquerade and Witch for draw—which is a choice you almost never have to make, so whatever :-)

-What about other junking attacks? Should you not bother with them because your opponent can just fling the junk back at you? It seems to me that Mountebank and Cultist are fast enough to bury an opponent who's relying solely on Masquerade, but the other junkers I'm not sure.
I wouldn't worry about getting junk returned. I think the real concern is whether the trashing speed of Masquerade makes the junking worthwhile or not. When the junking is faster than the trashing it seems great to go for. When it's equal, meh, I don't think I can give generalized advice. One general true statement, though: when trashing the junk you're given, it's (often) at the expense of trashing the junk you're starting with. Delaying your opponent's thinning may be worth it.

-Is buying more than one of them ever a good idea?
Qvist does it in the linked game, and it seems perfectly sensible to me; though he does it for the draw.

If playing Masquerade/BM, getting 2xMasquerade makes sense to me. The earliest you'll get rid of your starting cards is turn 12, Smithy/BM gets 4 provinces by turn ~14, and http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=2532.0 ranks Masquerade/BM as stronger than Smithy/BM.

-Is passing good cards to your opponent just not that big a deal sometimes? Can you trash all the way down and build an engine so good that it can shrug off all of Masquerade's mischief?
I think Qvist succeeds in doing just that. The effect of Adam's Masquerade is not nothing, but it's also not a big deal.

(DG says "One player might want only actions cards and the other only treasures."; the linked game is an example of this.)

Any help on dealing with this insane card would be much appreciated. Thanks.
I think you overestimate how strong the attack part of Masquerade is. Passing a good card feels frustrating, but the intensity of the feeling and the impact on the game are not always proportional. Here's a random suggestion: on the next kingdom where Masquerade shows up, get one or two, but don't go out of your way to play around the risk of getting junk or having to pass good cards. After the game, estimate how much of the game outcome is due to Masquerade-junking or good passes.
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Chris is me

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2017, 12:37:29 pm »
+4

Unless there's Militia or something, it's not really that bad. Try not to trash much faster than they do. Keep 2 or 3 Copper around. Occasionally you end up giving them a Silver or a component, but it's probably not a big deal. Sometimes it's awful but not often. You'll live.
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AJD

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2017, 12:59:09 pm »
+6

Masquerade games seem like a good time to buy weak cantrips like Pearl Diver and Vagrant so that you'll have something that you won't mind having to hand over that you can gain in bulk without blocking your engine.
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Robz888

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 06:20:32 pm »
+3

Masquerade has become one of my most hated cards, and I might ban it if I could. The constant threat of being forced to pass your opponent a good card in exchange for junk just screws over so many other aspects of the game. It feels like Possession in that you have to keep your deck crummy so that your opponent can't take advantage of it. Even though it's one of the oldest cards, it's one of the cards I least understand. So, what I'm wondering:

-Should you not even bother with other trashers when it's on the board, simply because trashing down too fast will just give good cards to your opponent?

If an opponent's Masquerade makes you decide to not trash down for fear of passing a good card, then you have actually allowed yourself to be hit with an even more paralyzing attack (i.e., not trashing down).

Sometimes you have to pass a good card, but as a rule, don't plan to get unlucky. Maybe hang on to a couple more Coppers than you normally would--as long as this isn't slowing you down too much, again it's better to draw your whole deck and occasionally pass a good card than to slog through your deck and only pass bad cards because you don't have enough good cards.
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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2017, 06:30:50 pm »
+1

I have won games where I got rid of all of my junk cards against Masq. Usually, you're going to have something in your deck that's better than nothing but not really a very essential card that you've picked up on turns where you didn't hit $5, and it doesn't even suck all that much to pass one of those.
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ackmondual

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2017, 06:14:21 pm »
+1

Unless there's Militia or something, it's not really that bad. Try not to trash much faster than they do. Keep 2 or 3 Copper around. Occasionally you end up giving them a Silver or a component, but it's probably not a big deal. Sometimes it's awful but not often. You'll live.
Hell, I've had to pass a Gold before.  Hardly ideal, but you find a way to make it through.
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Dingan

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2017, 07:44:03 pm »
+1

A good defense against getting Ghost-Shipped-Masqueraded is to Ghost-Ship-Masquerade your opponent. It probably stinks for them an equal amount as it stinks for you. If you can't do this and they can, then yeah you're most likely in a losing situation :(. If you're both able to do this reliably every turn, then that means you both have strong engines, which in turn means there is a lot of other stuff going on on the board than just playing Ghost Ship and Masquerade. Don't fear it.

The only situation I can see where it really is just annoying is when first player advantage matters a lot, i.e. directly results in the first player setting up the attack first. But this is pretty rare. Or I guess when only 1 person has access to a hand-size-reducer (Followers, etc.). Again, pretty rare.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 07:47:24 pm by Dingan »
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cascadestyler

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 07:22:01 am »
+2

I really wouldn't worry too much about having to pass a good card. The passing is the least important part of the card. The trashing and drawing are way more critical, and the passing is sort of an extra that you have to bear in mind, but should never drive your play of the card. I have built engines with masq as the only draw and only trash before, and they work in some cases. Masq/Festival is fine as long as you just really think about what you're doing and play *slowly*. It's not like a Village/Smithy engine where you just whack through your villages then your smithies down to +1 action then any more villages you've drawn etc etc then play money and buy green. You have to be very careful because of the passing, but you absolutely can do it if you're careful, as the mandatory pass just really isn't that much of a deal.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: Masquerade
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 11:25:18 am »
0

The other thing to keep in mind: if you're both playing masquerade (usually seems to be the case), your opponent is also at risk of having to pass YOU a good card.
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