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markusin

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The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« on: January 17, 2018, 12:20:02 am »
+8

Below are the results of the Tournament Prizes rankings for the 2017 Edition of the Dominion Cards Lists 2017 organized by Qvist. The results are based on votes from 28 people. Keep in mind that these rankings reflect the strength of the Prizes relative to each other, and not their strength overall, as well as remembering that all of these prizes only exist in the context of other prizes being present in the kingdom.

Let's begin.

The Best Prizes

#5 =0 Bag of Gold
Weighted Average: 12.0% ▲2.5pp
Unweighted Average: 10.7%
Median: 0% =0pp
Standard Deviation: 12.4%

Bag of Gold saw a slight increase in its average, but still finds itself in last place. It has the lowest standard deviation of the Prizes and 16 votes for last place, with the rest voting it second last place.

While the Gold it topdecks can come in handy to buy Provinces to end the game, the Gold can still get in the way of you finding the cards that allow more fancy things to happen. It also happens to compete with Duchy when the game is reaching its conclusion. Perhaps there is more appreciated for Gold gainers these days to explain its slight increase in average. Even then, there is still the issue that Bag of Gold comes into effect later in the game than you'd normally hope.
#4 =0 Diadem
Weighted Average: 13.2% ▼2.5pp
Unweighted Average: 15.2%
Median: 25% =0pp
Standard Deviation: 13.9%

Paired with the rise in Bag of Gold's average, the drop in Diadem's average made for a close contest for the #4 spot. It has the remaining 12 votes for last place, with the rest voting it second last place just like we have with Bag of Gold.

There are some conceivable cases where the absurd amount of +actions that can be accumulated makes Diadem a top pick, but it's incredibly rare for these scenarios to arise in practice. In the common scenario, Diadem is something you get when you need the coin it produces to buy one of the remaining few Provinces. Diadem nets you fewer stop cards when you want to use it for cash compared to Bag of Gold, but it doesn't work well with trash for benefit the way Gold tends to.
#3 =0 Princess
Weighted Average: 66.0% ▲3.3pp
Unweighted Average: 64.3%
Median: 50% =0pp
Standard Deviation: 19.4%

After an enormous jump of over 50% in average, we find Princess sitting at the #3 spot. It received only a modest increase in its average from last year. It has the largest standard deviation in this list by a very small margin and has four votes for first place.

As far as payload goes, few cards compare with Princess. Princess helps immensely in creating double Province turns even with no other available sources of +buy, and it enables massive gains when other +buy or similar effects are available. And yet, it's only ranked third place among the five prizes. In English, we have a saying that goes, Don't put the carriage before the horse. As great as Princess can be, it doesn't save a dud hand. A deck that can use Princess to the fullest might be too far away if you had to spend a bunch of time rushing for Tournaments and Provinces just to get Princess in the first place.
#2 =0 Trusty Steed
Weighted Average: 75.9% ▼3.4pp
Unweighted Average: 72.3%
Median: 75% =0pp
Standard Deviation: 19.3%

Despite the slight drop in average, Trusty Steed still has a comfortable lead over Princess for second place. It has the second highest standard deviation in this list and has seven votes for first place.

Introducing the horse. Those who can't shake the habit of picking +1 Card +1 Action from Pawn will be happy to know that the +2 Card +2 Action option for Trusty Steed is generally a solid play, and even helps you connect more Tournaments with Provinces. Sometimes you don't need the draw or the actions, or the coins guarantee something important, so you take the coins option. The Silver gaining option is a bit messy, but it has its uses and some special synergies. All in all, Trusty Steed is the all-around good card of the Prize bunch.
#1 =0 Followers
Weighted Average: 83.0% ▲0.2pp
Unweighted Average: 87.5%
Median: 100% =0pp
Standard Deviation: 17.0%

Solidly maintaining its place at the top of the Prize list is Followers. This card has the biggest disagreement between the unweighted average and the weighted average. It has 17 votes for first place.

Some games don't feature good ways of dealing with small hand sizes. In such games, getting the only discard attack in the form of Followers gives you a major advantage. At the same time, you distribute stop cards to both decks and draw some cards yourself. The distribution of Curses and Estates drives the game closer to being a slog, which is convenient for you if you are the one playing Followers considering the 2VP net increase you gain over your opponents every time it's played. Remember that wins you games of Dominion is not making your deck better, but making your deck better than the one your opponents have.

Thank you Qvist for organizing the Dominion Card List all these years. It was lengthy, but still fun to get a taste of having to do the results writeups.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 12:23:56 am by markusin »
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Awaclus

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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 03:35:19 am »
+1

Princess and Followers should swap places, as usual.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 04:41:04 am »
+1

I'm a Steed > Followers > Princess player myself, but really, I think any ordering of those 3 Prizes is reasonable.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 05:54:30 am »
0

Any of those three prizes can be the best in any given kingdom, but Trusty Steed is usually the one I get first if given the opportunity.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 07:45:42 am »
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The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 08:04:50 am »
+1

Given that the first prizes would be handed out after a Province rush (i.e. you'd buy the first Province earlier than you would normally), Trusty Steed would do most for you in the given situation, while Princess unleashes her true power some turns down the road. Did anyone run a bot tournament pitting the strategies "pick Steed first"/"pick Followers first"/"pick Princess first" against one another?
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 08:12:53 am »
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The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.

But it forces that antisynergy onto the opponent as well with its junking and handsize attack. I do find myself in situations where I really don't want it sometimes, but you can't be too hipster and always insist on skipping Followers.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 08:40:43 am »
0

The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.

But it forces that antisynergy onto the opponent as well with its junking and handsize attack. I do find myself in situations where I really don't want it sometimes, but you can't be too hipster and always insist on skipping Followers.

Handsize attacks don't make it harder to fire Tournament though. Junking does, but you junk yourself too. The VP swing isn't too helpful unless you're on a very sloggy board where tournament isn't as powerful and terminal draw sucks.
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 09:33:58 am »
0

The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.

But it forces that antisynergy onto the opponent as well with its junking and handsize attack. I do find myself in situations where I really don't want it sometimes, but you can't be too hipster and always insist on skipping Followers.

Handsize attacks don't make it harder to fire Tournament though. Junking does, but you junk yourself too. The VP swing isn't too helpful unless you're on a very sloggy board where tournament isn't as powerful and terminal draw sucks.

It can if the person being attacked has either Province of Tournament in hand but not the other. Keeping Province increases the risk of stall, and keeping Tournament risks having them get blocked and having a completely dead turn.

In the presence of trashing, the player with Followers has a slightly easier time trashing the Followers junk thanks to having the +2 cards off Followers and not starting with a 3-card hand.

The VP swing might not always matter, but sometime you might end up slacking on proper engine building to actually get the prize you want first. Getting a bunch of Tournaments is not equivalent to having an engine, especially if the Tournaments start getting blocked. At that point, you have something of a slog.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 09:41:39 am »
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I still think Princess is strongest, cost reduction is just that amazing.
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 09:45:36 am »
0

I still think Princess is strongest, cost reduction is just that amazing.

I'm surprised it didn't get more votes for first place, having only four of them.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 10:27:27 am »
+1

The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.

But it forces that antisynergy onto the opponent as well with its junking and handsize attack. I do find myself in situations where I really don't want it sometimes, but you can't be too hipster and always insist on skipping Followers.

Handsize attacks don't make it harder to fire Tournament though. Junking does, but you junk yourself too. The VP swing isn't too helpful unless you're on a very sloggy board where tournament isn't as powerful and terminal draw sucks.

It can if the person being attacked has either Province of Tournament in hand but not the other. Keeping Province increases the risk of stall, and keeping Tournament risks having them get blocked and having a completely dead turn.

In the presence of trashing, the player with Followers has a slightly easier time trashing the Followers junk thanks to having the +2 cards off Followers and not starting with a 3-card hand.

The VP swing might not always matter, but sometime you might end up slacking on proper engine building to actually get the prize you want first. Getting a bunch of Tournaments is not equivalent to having an engine, especially if the Tournaments start getting blocked. At that point, you have something of a slog.

If you have T but not P in hand when the attack hits, then in most cases you are going to keep T, and whether or not your draw kicks off will be the main determiner of whether you get the P, which would still be the case with 5 cards. If you have P but not T, then you may well discard the P for kickoff and then draw a T, or keep the P but then not kick off and not draw the T, so it is a bit more of a problem there, but I do not think it is that much of a hindrance anymore than discard attacks normally are.

Do not get me wrong here: I am not arguing that Followers is not a great card and is not a good prize to go for in a lot of situations, I just think that the fact that it is a prize weakens it more than the same fact weakens any of the other prizes except for BoG, and I think that means it is not the best prize to aim for first in as many scenarios as is often argued.

At the point you get the first prize, you are either already in a super-trim state and lined up your T and P because of that, in which case you probably want Princess, or you lined up by volume of Ts in what will then be a slightly messy cantrippy deck that you haven't transitioned into an engine yet, in which case terminal draw is nails for you, the self-junking kills your transition to engine, and you really would prefer Trusty Steed to help you transition to engine. The latter situation is probably better for Followers, as the long, junky game you will then get makes the VP advantage it gives more potent, but your opponent will then probably get Trusty Steed and may well be able to cycle faster and deal with his curses better than you can deal with your estates. That is the other big drawback of Followers compared with Princess. When Princess is good, the consolation prize your opponent gets is a Trusty Steed they don't really need or a Followers you can deal with. When Followers is good, the consolation prize is a Trusty Steed that will be nearly as good as Followers.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 10:28:02 am »
+1

Nooooo Prizes and Knights means no + today :(

At any rate, no changes to Prize rankings, nothing to see here, move along
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 11:19:22 am »
0

The problem with Followers is that, though a strong card in its own right (it would surely cost $7+ in the supply), it has a huge antisynergy with Tournament.

But it forces that antisynergy onto the opponent as well with its junking and handsize attack. I do find myself in situations where I really don't want it sometimes, but you can't be too hipster and always insist on skipping Followers.

Handsize attacks don't make it harder to fire Tournament though. Junking does, but you junk yourself too. The VP swing isn't too helpful unless you're on a very sloggy board where tournament isn't as powerful and terminal draw sucks.

It can if the person being attacked has either Province of Tournament in hand but not the other. Keeping Province increases the risk of stall, and keeping Tournament risks having them get blocked and having a completely dead turn.

In the presence of trashing, the player with Followers has a slightly easier time trashing the Followers junk thanks to having the +2 cards off Followers and not starting with a 3-card hand.

The VP swing might not always matter, but sometime you might end up slacking on proper engine building to actually get the prize you want first. Getting a bunch of Tournaments is not equivalent to having an engine, especially if the Tournaments start getting blocked. At that point, you have something of a slog.

...

At the point you get the first prize, you are either already in a super-trim state and lined up your T and P because of that, in which case you probably want Princess, or you lined up by volume of Ts in what will then be a slightly messy cantrippy deck that you haven't transitioned into an engine yet, in which case terminal draw is nails for you, the self-junking kills your transition to engine, and you really would prefer Trusty Steed to help you transition to engine. The latter situation is probably better for Followers, as the long, junky game you will then get makes the VP advantage it gives more potent, but your opponent will then probably get Trusty Steed and may well be able to cycle faster and deal with his curses better than you can deal with your estates. That is the other big drawback of Followers compared with Princess. When Princess is good, the consolation prize your opponent gets is a Trusty Steed they don't really need or a Followers you can deal with. When Followers is good, the consolation prize is a Trusty Steed that will be nearly as good as Followers.

This is an interesting way to look at things. I think we can agree that Princess is excellent in the games where you expect to have a good engine coming together soon if it is not already running. I'd just like to add that in the messy cantrip deck, Princess often finds itself being little to no better than a terminal Silver, making Princess's power level very variable. In games where the attack of Followers matters, the other player can't really do much with Princess.

In general, the top three prizes are all rather situational, but usually at least one of them is super good, so you go for Tournament most of the time.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 01:22:20 pm »
0

Are there really games where Bag of Gold or Diadem are the critical prizes to aim for? I've never seen such a game. Diadem I can imagine but only then in extremely specific circumstances; Bag of Gold maybe in slogs but in those cases Followers is the more critical prize. Does anyone have examples of these rare situations?
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 01:37:13 pm »
0

Compared to other Gold gainers like Explorer, Dismantle and Bandit, Bag of Gold is a poor choice. Sure, Bag of Gold is nonterminal, but Governor provides an additional junking effect which can ruin some combos like Vassal, Baron or Scrying Pool. The topdecking la Artisan is more a disadvantage than an advantage, because it can actually slow your next turn down as you may miss an engine part. Like Bureaucrat, its a good card for Gardens slogs with large decks, though if Trusty Steed is already taken. Explorer is so much better, because it gives you the Gold into your hand, making +$3 instead of +1 Action. Coincidentally it has a similar Province requirement like Tournament, but if you already have a few Provinces, the +$3 is much more valuable than the Gold. To conclude, I would always skip BoG for a Duchy.
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Re: The Dominion Card Lists 2017 Edition: Prizes
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 07:07:38 pm »
0

Compared to other Gold gainers like Explorer, Dismantle and Bandit, Bag of Gold is a poor choice. Sure, Bag of Gold is nonterminal, but Governor provides an additional junking effect which can ruin some combos like Vassal, Baron or Scrying Pool. The topdecking la Artisan is more a disadvantage than an advantage, because it can actually slow your next turn down as you may miss an engine part. Like Bureaucrat, its a good card for Gardens slogs with large decks, though if Trusty Steed is already taken. Explorer is so much better, because it gives you the Gold into your hand, making +$3 instead of +1 Action. Coincidentally it has a similar Province requirement like Tournament, but if you already have a few Provinces, the +$3 is much more valuable than the Gold. To conclude, I would always skip BoG for a Duchy.

I wouldn't jump to such a conclusion, I mean the very nature of Dominion means there will always be edge cases so saying you will always skip x for y seems a little foolish. Sure if there are other Gold gainers on the board you might not have much need for a Bag, but there won't be another Gold gainer more often than not. I've taken Bag of Gold as the first prize on numerous occasions, usually involving Apprentice.
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