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DeepCyan

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Archive
« on: May 04, 2018, 12:44:01 pm »
+20

First time writing one of these articles (or posting at all, usually just a lurker), so any and all feedback would be much appreciated  :)



Archive is a card that, at first glance, seems absurdly strong even for a 5 cost engine piece. On turn 1, you get a neat little sifting cantrip, and then on the 2 subsequent turns you get an even more flexible version of Laboratory, a similar 5 cost engine enabler. 2 Labs for the price of one is an undeniably strong effect for an already handy cantrip Duration, and Archive is certainly a card that will almost never outright harm your deck. However, there is a surprising amount of nuance to the card; unlike Lab, it's rarely a card you can brainlessly pile-out to your benefit. Archive's main purpose (and the amount you should buy for your deck, respectively) varies from kingdom to kingdom, and certain setups can leave Archive as either a game-winning addition to your deck or a card to be ignored entirely.

Weaknesses

So, when don't you want an Archive? Well, the card essentially takes 3 cards out of your deck (ignoring the archive itself), lets you add one of the 3 to your hand immediately, then feeds the 2 removed cards back into your hand over the process of 2 turns before finally returning itself to your deck. Thus, the situations in which Archive becomes a hindrance are when you have a deck that can't afford or simply doesn't want to be 2 cards lighter. Engines that can consistently draw your whole deck, for example, hate Archives; at that point, why bother taking those 2 archived cards one at a time when you could simply have them all in your hand at once?

Strong early trashing combined with cheaper sifting cards can also heavily disincentivize Archive pickups. Say you've trashed your deck down to 10 key cards, 2 of which are Archives. Playing the Archives will remove 6 cards from your deck (including the Archives), leaving you with only 4 cards to draw. Sure, the Archives will bring you back up to 6, but all that one of those Archives is doing is simply restoring what your hand should have originally been. Being able to manipulate what your 6 card hand will be is nice, but not usually worth the opportunity cost of two 5s, and at that point any source of draw would almost certainly be preferable. Once your trashed deck becomes clogged with green cards, Archive becomes a semi-decent pickup again just for its pseudo-sifting qualities, but at that point you're usually better off just picking up an actual sifter.

So when do you want an Archive?

As mentioned, Archive falters in decks with strong draw and efficient trashing. However, cards that can fully draw or completely de-junk your deck are far from guaranteed presences in a kingdom. Archive shines the most in kingdoms in which either consistent draw or deck thinning is lacking entirely, or when the effectiveness of your deck depends entirely upon a specific combo of cards in your starting hand. In these cases, you should base your Archive purchases around what aspect of your deck you're trying to enable, and how many Archives are needed to accomplish this goal.

Archives as collision enablers

Recommended number: 2-3

Buying a couple supplementary Archives can be an absolute godsend with Kingdoms containing collision dependent power cards such as King's Court, Prince, and City Quarter. Drawing your first King's Court with your un-trashed Coppers and Estates whilst your opponent draws it with their Lost City or Bridge is normally both utterly game-losing and (quite aggravatingly) out of your control. A couple Archives can perfectly negate this risk, either by temporarily removing your dud cards to increase the chance of ideal collisions, or by setting aside your important engine enablers to be added back into your deck once you finally draw the parts they need. While you want to keep your Archive numbers limited in these scenarios, since such engines will often end up drawing your deck once their ideal collision takes place, Archives can massively help offset the RNG factor that comes with running such collision dependent kingdoms. Don't feel compelled to only do this for incredibly expensive or vital collision cards either - semi-collision dependent cards such as Library or Legionary, while useful when drawn alone, still appreciate being Archived and added to hands that can fully capitalize on their potential.

Archives as terminal collision management

Recommended number: 1-2

In situations with no villages but incredibly strong terminal (Mountebank and Wharf being notable examples), you can use Archives to try and remove multiple terminals from your deck and feed them back into your hands one at a time, preventing terminal collision. While this strategy can allow you to fill your deck with more terminals than it could otherwise sustain, this can sometimes backfire if your Archive happens to set aside 3 non-terminals, subsequently increasing the chance of terminal collision for its duration. This risk can be circumvented with cards like that allow you to top-deck cards in your hand or cards that give you control over the top of your deck (Secret Chamber and Cartographer being strong examples of each), letting you control what cards are and aren't archived.

Archives as deck cycling

Recommended number: 1-2

While this is never something you should base your deck around, picking up an early game Archive can be surprisingly useful in decks with no sifting/trashing options and cards you want to play as often as possible in the early game, such as Miser or the Traveler lines. Being able to temporarily cut your deck size down 2 cards is a handy way to speed up your cycling rate in the early game, though in a kingdom with Warehouse or similarly potent non-terminal sifters, this strategy is far less necessary.

Archives as sifting/pseudo-trash

Recommended number: 1-5

Initially, it may seem that archive hitting your green or dud cards would be a little useless. However, if an archive hits a couple provinces near on a near-depleted draw pile, you can keep them set aside for the re-shuffle, and then harmlessly add them back into your hand as you go through your (now somewhat de-greened) deck. The same principle applies to other 'dud' cards in an engine, such as coppers, curses, and ruins. While having 2 dud cards removed only temporarily from your deck seems rather weak, buying and cycling through additional archives can help you keep 6-10+ cards of your choice semi-consistently removed from your deck. Being able to add dead cards into your hand on subsequent turns can also help fuel discard-for-benefit cards. While weaker than more conventionally powerful sifters such as Forum and Cartographer, Archives can still massively help mitigate engine junking as long as one of the 3 cards Archive finds is something you want. When buying Archives for sifting, a good rule of thumb is to base your purchases off of how many cards you'd like removed, your ability to draw/sift through said cards without Archive (after all, $5 leaves it as a pretty harsh opportunity cost), and the strength of your engine once Archive un-clogs it. Nonetheless, Archive is definitely a card you should consider in engines without trash, or simply when dealing with Province/Colony bloat in the late game.

Archives as draw

Recommended number: 3-6

To preface: do not do this unless you have to. For the many reasons listed above, relying on archives as your primary source of draw is almost always outclassed by literally any other functional +cards engine. However, in the rare occurence of Archive existing in a kingdom that thrives from large hands but has no other reliable sources of draw, buying out half the archive pile can actually be a pretty reasonable strategy. While you still want to avoid over-buying Archives over having a deck with good cards for your Archives to find, having 3 or 4 archives perpetually running will still give you a constant 8-9 card hand to work with.

Summary

Archive is a card with far more uses than it would first appear. While rarely the centerpiece of an engine, a few well-placed Archives can spell the difference between a game-winning mega-turn and a rage inducing RNG-be-damned loss.
There is little complexity to playing Archive itself, though knowing when to go for Archives, and how strongly to invest in them, is an incredibly important skill for kingdoms in which they are available.

Synergies
  • King's Court
  • City Quarter
  • Prince
  • Other collision dependent cards
  • Travelers (Page/Peasant)
  • Weak draw/sifting
  • Strong terminals

Antisynergies
  • Strong, non-terminal draw
  • Small deck size
  • A lack of strong terminals or throne room variants
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 10:17:51 am by DeepCyan »
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Awaclus

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Re: Archive
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 12:47:42 pm »
+1

Well, for starters, you could make that image smaller by typing [img width=400] instead of [img].
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DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 12:48:56 pm »
+1

Ah, good to know. Thanks for the heads up!
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markusin

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Re: Archive
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 01:07:01 pm »
+1

In a small deck that draws itself, each play of Archive removes itself and two cards out of the top three for the turn. So in total, that is more like three cards removed from your deck, including one Archive, but Archive just replaces itself on play so it's not a big loss to your deck's payload or anything. So really, each Archive effectively removes two valuable cards from a thin deck on play that you only get back after two turns, rather than four as claimed in the article.

I like that you discuss late-game sifting. Setting aside a Province is sometimes useful with Gear to reduce chances of having a dud turn, and the same is true for Archive.
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DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 01:14:32 pm »
+1

In a small deck that draws itself, each play of Archive removes itself and two cards out of the top three for the turn. So in total, that is more like three cards removed from your deck, including one Archive, but Archive just replaces itself on play so it's not a big loss to your deck's payload or anything. So really, each Archive effectively removes two valuable cards from a thin deck on play that you only get back after two turns, rather than four as claimed in the article.

I like that you discuss late-game sifting. Setting aside a Province is sometimes useful with Gear to reduce chances of having a dud turn, and the same is true for Archive.

Right, I completely spaced on the fact that one of the ďarchivedĒ cards isnít set aside at all. Thanks for the correction, Iíll update the article as soon as I can.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: Archive
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 01:27:58 pm »
+1

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DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 01:32:39 pm »
+4

We had an article on Archive not too long ago:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=18223.msg746966#msg746966

Ah, hell, didnít see that. I was originally using the stickied post/the dominion wiki as a reference to check if one of these existed, though in retrospect I really shoulda noticed that said sticky was a little out of date...ah well, if nothing else I enjoyed writing it, even if itís redundant.
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markusin

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Re: Archive
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2018, 06:13:29 pm »
0

We had an article on Archive not too long ago:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=18223.msg746966#msg746966

Ah, hell, didnít see that. I was originally using the stickied post/the dominion wiki as a reference to check if one of these existed, though in retrospect I really shoulda noticed that said sticky was a little out of date...ah well, if nothing else I enjoyed writing it, even if itís redundant.

Well that would have been the first place I checked too.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: Archive
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2018, 08:40:45 pm »
+3

We had an article on Archive not too long ago:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=18223.msg746966#msg746966

Ah, hell, didnít see that. I was originally using the stickied post/the dominion wiki as a reference to check if one of these existed, though in retrospect I really shoulda noticed that said sticky was a little out of date...ah well, if nothing else I enjoyed writing it, even if itís redundant.

I didn't mean to imply you shouldn't have written this. It's kind of cool to have two independent articles on the same topic.
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faust

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Re: Archive
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2018, 08:34:57 am »
+2

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2018, 11:02:03 am »
+1

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
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faust

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Re: Archive
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 11:32:57 am »
0

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
I did not carefully read the whole thing, but you have a couple of paragraphs dedicated to different uses for Archive and none of those discusses this.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

dedicateddan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 03:33:06 am »
+1

Nice article, keep it up!
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DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 01:05:31 pm »
0

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
I did not carefully read the whole thing, but you have a couple of paragraphs dedicated to different uses for Archive and none of those discusses this.

In 'Archives as late-game sifting', I mentioned how Archives can be used to temporary take green cards out of your deck as a sort of short-lived Island effect, and in 'Archives as deck cycling', I brought up how you can use Archive's deck thinning effect to get more frequent plays out of self-improving cards like Miser and the Traveler lines. Admittedly, both sections are rather brief, disproportionately so in comparison to the earlier sections. Would you suggest I develop them further, or is using Archives for pseudo-trash something completely different to both of those topics?
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faust

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Re: Archive
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2018, 01:37:27 pm »
0

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
I did not carefully read the whole thing, but you have a couple of paragraphs dedicated to different uses for Archive and none of those discusses this.

In 'Archives as late-game sifting', I mentioned how Archives can be used to temporary take green cards out of your deck as a sort of short-lived Island effect, and in 'Archives as deck cycling', I brought up how you can use Archive's deck thinning effect to get more frequent plays out of self-improving cards like Miser and the Traveler lines. Admittedly, both sections are rather brief, disproportionately so in comparison to the earlier sections. Would you suggest I develop them further, or is using Archives for pseudo-trash something completely different to both of those topics?
I guess the thing that bugs me is that if you use Archive as pseudotrashing, you might want a bunch of them if you have lots of junk. Both sections you mention, however, have quite a low number of recommended Archives.

Also, think about it, I don't really like "Archive as sifting". Sifting, for me, is replacing cards in your hand by other cards. That is just not what Archive does. And the "late-game" implies that you would only want to do this then, which I don't think is correct.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

DeepCyan

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Re: Archive
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2018, 02:08:40 pm »
0

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
I did not carefully read the whole thing, but you have a couple of paragraphs dedicated to different uses for Archive and none of those discusses this.

In 'Archives as late-game sifting', I mentioned how Archives can be used to temporary take green cards out of your deck as a sort of short-lived Island effect, and in 'Archives as deck cycling', I brought up how you can use Archive's deck thinning effect to get more frequent plays out of self-improving cards like Miser and the Traveler lines. Admittedly, both sections are rather brief, disproportionately so in comparison to the earlier sections. Would you suggest I develop them further, or is using Archives for pseudo-trash something completely different to both of those topics?
I guess the thing that bugs me is that if you use Archive as pseudotrashing, you might want a bunch of them if you have lots of junk. Both sections you mention, however, have quite a low number of recommended Archives.

Also, think about it, I don't really like "Archive as sifting". Sifting, for me, is replacing cards in your hand by other cards. That is just not what Archive does. And the "late-game" implies that you would only want to do this then, which I don't think is correct.

Good point. I'll admit that my overly low numbers come from personal bias (first Archive game I ever played I over-bought them and ended up with a 3 card deck >_>), and that as long as you're keeping track of your Archive count in regards to your deck size, you can definitely buy a hell of a lot more of them than I stated. And your point about sifting is fair as well; I always thought of sifting as just getting through your green cards, though as you mentioned sifting implies some sort of replacement, which Archive doesn't technically do.

I'm busy as hell rn, but I'll be sure to re-write the 'Archive as sifting' section later tonight. Thanks for the pointers.
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markusin

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Re: Archive
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2018, 02:53:35 pm »
0

I feel like this article ignores the main use of Archive: as pseudotrashing.

Would you mind elaborating on this? I mentioned how archive can be used to temporarily remove both dud cards and green cards from your deck by setting them aside for a few turns, as well as speeding up deck cycling with its temporary thinning effect. That being said, Iím not trying to call you out, Iím genuinely curious as to what I glossed over, and how it differs from the above.

(After all, Iíve read your articles so I know you know what youíre talking about)
I did not carefully read the whole thing, but you have a couple of paragraphs dedicated to different uses for Archive and none of those discusses this.

In 'Archives as late-game sifting', I mentioned how Archives can be used to temporary take green cards out of your deck as a sort of short-lived Island effect, and in 'Archives as deck cycling', I brought up how you can use Archive's deck thinning effect to get more frequent plays out of self-improving cards like Miser and the Traveler lines. Admittedly, both sections are rather brief, disproportionately so in comparison to the earlier sections. Would you suggest I develop them further, or is using Archives for pseudo-trash something completely different to both of those topics?
I guess the thing that bugs me is that if you use Archive as pseudotrashing, you might want a bunch of them if you have lots of junk. Both sections you mention, however, have quite a low number of recommended Archives.

Also, think about it, I don't really like "Archive as sifting". Sifting, for me, is replacing cards in your hand by other cards. That is just not what Archive does. And the "late-game" implies that you would only want to do this then, which I don't think is correct.

I would consider Archive as sifting that is restricted to the card you would normally draw from the top of your deck. Basically, Archive sifts itself. If you play Forum and the cards you discard are both among the three that you drew, is that not sifting?
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Honkeyfresh

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Re: Archive
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2018, 09:00:46 pm »
0

In a small deck that draws itself, each play of Archive removes itself and two cards out of the top three for the turn. So in total, that is more like three cards removed from your deck, including one Archive, but Archive just replaces itself on play so it's not a big loss to your deck's payload or anything. So really, each Archive effectively removes two valuable cards from a thin deck on play that you only get back after two turns, rather than four as claimed in the article.

I like that you discuss late-game sifting. Setting aside a Province is sometimes useful with Gear to reduce chances of having a dud turn, and the same is true for Archive.

agreed.  being able to pull a VP card into a hand that is already strong enough for what u need can be very helpful as a pseudo-sifting tool.
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