Trying my hand at a short, simulation-based article. What do you think?

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Masquerade and Market Square seem like they should be an absolutely unstoppable combination because Market Square gives out Gold for doing what Masquerade does naturally: trash cards! The extra buy on play is an added bonus that can help out late game, as well. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that a strategy that always buys Market Square over Silver after getting one Masquerade actually loses to buying no Market Squares at all[1]. At some point, the Market Squares stop colliding with the Masquerade as frequently and money density is almost always going to be less than $2/card[2], so beyond about 2 Market Squares, Silver actually becomes the better buy[3].

**Figure.** Each data point represents 10,000 simulated games in Geronimoo's Dominion Simulator. The graph displays the percentage point difference in win rate between a Masquerade - Market Square strategy and a Masquerade alone strategy.

Masquerade with two Market Squares does beat Masquerade alone, but only just barely[4]. Masquerade alone is a strong strategy, and while Market Square helps, it is not that special. For example, Masquerade with two Markets does about as well as Masquerade with two Market Squares, even though Market costs $5[5]. Also, Masquerade with two Market Squares still gets beat by other strong money strategies like Courtyard[6].

Masquerade and Market Square is not a killer combo, but the two cards do have a good synergy that can be easily supplemented to create some very fast strategies. Look out for ways of getting extra actions, extra draw, or an additional attack. It does not take much more than what Masquerade and Market Square already provide to create a deck that will come together really quickly and beat any money-based strategy!

Footnotes:

[1] See Figure. The "Masquerade alone" strategy is the default two-player Province Masquerade strategy with one change: the strategy buys Province if the number of Golds in deck is greater than 0 (rather than greater than 1). This change slightly improves the bot and is consistent with the Gold buying rule of the "Courtyard" strategy, which is used later. The "Masquerade - Market Square" strategy augments the "Masquerade alone" strategy by buying the given number of Market Squares after one Masquerade but before buying Silvers.

[2] Simulation results show that average coin generated per turn does not ever exceed $8, which is less than $2 per card in a five card hand.

[3] See Figure.

[4] See Figure.

[5] Based on 10,000 simulations of a Masquerade with 2 Market Squares strategy versus a similar Masquerade with 2 Markets strategy that buys 2 Markets after buying one Masquerade but before buying Silver (if the Markets are affordable). Masquerade with two Markets wins 49% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 46% of the time.

[6] Based on 10,000 simulations of Masquerade with two Market Squares versus the default Courtyard strategy. Courtyard wins 53% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 43% of the time.