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Author Topic: Is Guardian useless without attacks?  (Read 1832 times)

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Commodore Chuckles

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Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« on: June 26, 2018, 03:14:26 pm »
+1

Seriously, is there any reason to buy it if there are no Attacks on the board? Besides, of course, diversity/Gardens stuff, where it's no better than literally any other card besides Curse.

It's occurred to me that this card seems to break with the general design principle that defense cards should provide some sort of benefit even if there are no Attacks. Moat and Lighthouse aren't great if there are no Attacks, but Moat can very occasionally be used for draw and Lighthouse can be useful with draw-to-X. A delayed Copper, though, is Ruins-level bad. If you're really desperate for an extra +1$ you can just get a regular Copper.
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jonts26

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2018, 03:24:18 pm »
+5

You may possibly want one in a very sloggy game to try to spike a province or something the following turn. Especially useful if you don't expect to shuffle again.
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Awaclus

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2018, 03:29:54 pm »
0

Yeah, the fact that you get it immediately on your next turn is super relevant.
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Holunder9

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2018, 03:41:00 pm »
0

Seriously, is there any reason to buy it if there are no Attacks on the board? Besides, of course, diversity/Gardens stuff, where it's no better than literally any other card besides Curse.

It's occurred to me that this card seems to break with the general design principle that defense cards should provide some sort of benefit even if there are no Attacks. Moat and Lighthouse aren't great if there are no Attacks, but Moat can very occasionally be used for draw and Lighthouse can be useful with draw-to-X. A delayed Copper, though, is Ruins-level bad. If you're really desperate for an extra +1$ you can just get a regular Copper.
Lighthouse is pretty useful even if there are no Attacks. Throne it to make a splitter out of it, draw more cards via Scrying Pool, activate those Heralds, have the buying power of a Silver for a mere 2 Coins, etc.
Guardian on the other hand is fairly useless without Attacks so the only question is whether it is situationally tactically justified to get a Copper into your deck in order to have an extra Coin next turn.
For example if you know that you make 4 next turn but want to hit 5 going for Guardian can be a decent choice, being mildly similar to Banquet. Whether that choice is good partly depends on whether you can later get rid of the Guardian/Coppers.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 03:50:13 pm »
0

It's occurred to me that this card seems to break with the general design principle that defense cards should provide some sort of benefit even if there are no Attacks.

The next-turn bonus used to be "Recieve a Boon". It was changed very late in development because it just slowed games down too much. The replacement bonus needed to be terse, but "+1 Card" or "+1 Action" would have made it really similar to Ghost Town. So, "+$1".

You can buy it tactically to get +$1 next turn, as jonts notes. I have done that and will probably do it again.
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benedettosoxfan

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 03:59:55 pm »
+5

I find one of guardian's most clutch abilities is being able to open with a $5 card whenever you open 3/4. If there's an elite $5 trasher or a wharf or something like that on the board, I have no problem adding a delayed copper to my deck to get it before the first shuffle.
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Screwyioux

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 04:18:20 pm »
0

It's a very bad card for your deck (worse than Copper most of the time), so its two uses are attack blocking and seeding next turn with a coin.
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trivialknot

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 04:23:56 pm »
0

It's a very bad card for your deck (worse than Copper most of the time), so its two uses are attack blocking and seeding next turn with a coin.
Guardian is usually not as bad for your deck as copper, because the duration type means it skips shuffles more often.  You want coppers to skip shuffles more often.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2018, 04:35:34 pm »
+3

It's a very bad card for your deck (worse than Copper most of the time), so its two uses are attack blocking and seeding next turn with a coin.
Guardian is usually not as bad for your deck as copper, because the duration type means it skips shuffles more often.  You want coppers to skip shuffles more often.

Plus, as we all know, a delayed Copper must be better than a regular one, since one good turn and one bad turn are better than two average turns. /s
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crj

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 06:19:00 pm »
0

I find one of guardian's most clutch abilities is being able to open with a $5 card whenever you open 3/4.
I'd be really sad if my opponent opened 2/5 on a board with Guardian and something like Border Village or Goons...
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markusin

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2018, 10:05:27 pm »
+3

I find one of guardian's most clutch abilities is being able to open with a $5 card whenever you open 3/4.
I'd be really sad if my opponent opened 2/5 on a board with Guardian and something like Border Village or Goons...

Altar or Artisan might be even scarier as openings.
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jonts26

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2018, 10:13:32 pm »
+6

Once I opened inheritance with guardian and baker.
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DG

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2018, 10:53:25 am »
+2

There are plenty of edge case reasons such as buying your guardian to feed your exorcist, setting up bonfire+tomb points, but it is always there to get that +1 coin next turn.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2018, 11:12:10 am »
+3

buying your guardian to feed your exorcist

Oh man, I forgot about this combo. Specifically I love buying a Den of Sin and immediately turning it into a Ghost.
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Aleimon Thimble

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2018, 02:54:31 am »
+4

buying your guardian to feed your exorcist

Oh man, I forgot about this combo. Specifically I love buying a Den of Sin and immediately turning it into a Ghost.

It's a haunted brothel!
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Gazbag

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2018, 07:08:50 pm »
+1

Another one similar to Exorcist is to trash to a Bat.
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ackmondual

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2018, 11:12:01 pm »
0

I find one of guardian's most clutch abilities is being able to open with a $5 card whenever you open 3/4.
I'd be really sad if my opponent opened 2/5 on a board with Guardian and something like Border Village or Goons...
Altar or Artisan might be even scarier as openings.
^^ This...
it's a variation of the 2/6 split.  Or a "0/6 split" since Guardian may not be useful beyond that, but getting to $6 before the first shuffle can be nice!

Otherwise, one plus of Guardian vs. Lighthouse is it doesn't need +Actions to play
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jomini

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2018, 11:18:19 pm »
0

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn. This decreases your odds of hitting the average coin value (e.g. $4) and increases your odds of hitting the extremes (e.g. $3/$5 and even more so $2/$6). For a lot of Dominion, you want more $3/5 odds and less $4/4 odds.

What is bad about Guardian is that it competes with Silver for basic cash generation. This means it can be worth it for just $2 as a gimped silver, but you rarely will want to buy Guardian for cash.

Gaining to hand makes it better than Silver for this shuffle so tactical buys abound.

Gaining to hand has the many uses already listed, another truly clutch one can be to be stack your cards-in-play for next turn count. Lamp and Leprechaun both can get some huge gains by seeding another card into the next turn if you have tracked your deck well enough to know what is (likely) coming. Changing a Hex to a Wish or flipping Lamp to three Wishes massively outweigh adding a dead card (at worst).

Another nice combo is with Courtier, gaining two bonuses can enable Courtier even if you never play the Guardian (e.g. Lib/Courtier with strong trashing).
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LastFootnote

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2018, 12:46:40 am »
+7

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn.

These two things are not mutually exclusive.

For a lot of Dominion, you want more $3/5 odds and less $4/4 odds.

I still find this argument utterly unconvincing. Sure you usually prefer 3/5 to 4/4. But do you prefer 4/6 to 5/5? Do you prefer 7/9 to 8/8?

"A good hand and a bad hand are better than two average hands" is only true when your average hand is bad. And I think that in most cases, your average hand isn't bad enough to make this axiom valid.

EDIT: Put another way, I would rather have two good turns than a great turn and a mediocre turn. Mediocre turns can kill.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:51:02 am by LastFootnote »
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Holunder9

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2018, 07:10:27 am »
+1

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn.
When you talk about the hand-gained Night cards you have to differentiate between what they do when you gain then and what they do when you play them after the first time.
In Kingdoms without attacks Guardian is an on-play delayed Copper and an on-gain extra Coin next turn. The former is pretty bad (and even 'prefer extremes to averages' arguments can rarely rationalize the existence of a delayed Copper in your deck; with a delayed Peddler like Caravan Guard that's a different ballgame) whereas the latter is pretty good.
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greybirdofprey

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2018, 07:25:37 am »
0

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn. This decreases your odds of hitting the average coin value (e.g. $4) and increases your odds of hitting the extremes (e.g. $3/$5 and even more so $2/$6). For a lot of Dominion, you want more $3/5 odds and less $4/4 odds.

I'm not entirely sure it does. Can't it move your value towards the average just as well as it can move your value to the extremes?
For example, I draw four Copper, and a Guardian, and on my next turn, I draw three Coppers and two Estates. In this case the Guardian actually helps moving towards the average.
On the other hand, I could draw three Coppers, a Guardian, and an estate, and on my next turn, I draw four Coppers and an estate. This is the case you describe.

I'm too lazy to do precise calculations or simulations but I would like to see someone check this out. The same thing could be said about Haven.
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jomini

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2018, 05:31:58 pm »
0

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn.
When you talk about the hand-gained Night cards you have to differentiate between what they do when you gain then and what they do when you play them after the first time.
In Kingdoms without attacks Guardian is an on-play delayed Copper and an on-gain extra Coin next turn. The former is pretty bad (and even 'prefer extremes to averages' arguments can rarely rationalize the existence of a delayed Copper in your deck; with a delayed Peddler like Caravan Guard that's a different ballgame) whereas the latter is pretty good.

A "delayed" copper, like any other delayed card would have that affect again and again. This is how we talk about Caravan being a delayed Lab or Wharf being a Moat now and a delayed Smithy.

On-buy you get a bonus coin. End of story. It has no interactions of the copper type (e.g. Gm) or even treasure types (e.g. Poorhouse). It does not enter your hand taking up space like a copper (e.g. Lib) or get played at the same time as a copper (e.g. Gm).

Quite literally Guardian takes up draw slot in your hand that all but always reduces your current buying power by at least $1 for much of the game. That makes it worse in many senses than a delayed copper or even a delayed coin (e.g. Caravan guard)

Guardian is not a "delayed copper". It borrows a $ from this turn to put it into the next turn.

These two things are not mutually exclusive.

For a lot of Dominion, you want more $3/5 odds and less $4/4 odds.

I still find this argument utterly unconvincing. Sure you usually prefer 3/5 to 4/4. But do you prefer 4/6 to 5/5? Do you prefer 7/9 to 8/8?

"A good hand and a bad hand are better than two average hands" is only true when your average hand is bad. And I think that in most cases, your average hand isn't bad enough to make this axiom valid.

EDIT: Put another way, I would rather have two good turns than a great turn and a mediocre turn. Mediocre turns can kill.

Funny it is almost as though I said, "for a lot of Dominion" swinging towards the extremes is better. I.e. basically every first shuffle in the game. Sure we can all come up with plenty of scenarios were we would prefer the constancy of regular cash and they would not even be edge cases ... but then you just buy a second Guardian or a copper and forget about it. When it matters most, on average you prefer the $3/5 over the $4/4. By the time your average hand is $5, you typically are drawing deck or have compensated regardless.

This is not to say that Guardian is good, only that its one-off bonus next turn and its push away from the mean are typically helpful enough to make it better than nothing (or another copper) if you open $5/2 or have $7/2 buys early enough in the game.

People here always seem to get caught up in "is this card good" rather than looking at the marginal utility of a card.  Would you generally take it for free with a good card (e.g. mandatory Haggler gain), would you take it for "free" (e.g. $2 with nothing else to buy at $2), would you take it over silver, would you take it over a bog standard card at $4 (e.g. Smithy or Cutpurse), would you take it over the average $5 (e.g. Chapel type power)? Each of those is a worthy question that requires some thought.

Me I place Guardian-without-attacks somewhere between I would take it off a Silver/Haggler (a board that is really bad for it) and I would take it over Silver on an exceedingly rare number of boards (e.g. ones particularly bad for silvers, like Bandit camp) and that covers ~95% of boards.

Just knowing that a card is weak means little. Knowing why it is weak and what makes it stronger, that helps you actually analyze boards optimally.
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jomini

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2018, 05:44:53 pm »
0

Gbird: Not really.

You play it and your hand has 4 x [expected ultimate value of a card] as its average buying power.

Your next turn is 5 x [expected ultimate value of a card] + 1.

You average hand is simply 5x [expected ultimate value of a card].

This means that in the early game playing a Guardian roughly corresponds to decreasing your expected value of the first hand by ~$0.7 and increasing your next turn by 1. Over half the time your first turn will be average or below (thus moving you lower on your new average). Over half the time your second turn will be average or above (thus moving you towards a higher new average). This is generally good, but only marginally so.

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greybirdofprey

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2018, 04:06:05 am »
0

Gbird: Not really.

You play it and your hand has 4 x [expected ultimate value of a card] as its average buying power.

Your next turn is 5 x [expected ultimate value of a card] + 1.

You average hand is simply 5x [expected ultimate value of a card].

This means that in the early game playing a Guardian roughly corresponds to decreasing your expected value of the first hand by ~$0.7 and increasing your next turn by 1. Over half the time your first turn will be average or below (thus moving you lower on your new average). Over half the time your second turn will be average or above (thus moving you towards a higher new average). This is generally good, but only marginally so.

But what if you get more than one Guardian?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Is Guardian useless without attacks?
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2018, 09:50:12 am »
+1

Funny it is almost as though I said, "for a lot of Dominion" swinging towards the extremes is better.

Yes, and I disagree. I think it's less than half of Dominion where that is true.

This is not to say that Guardian is good, only that its one-off bonus next turn and its push away from the mean are typically helpful enough to make it better than nothing (or another copper) if you open $5/2 or have $7/2 buys early enough in the game.

Me I place Guardian-without-attacks somewhere between I would take it off a Silver/Haggler (a board that is really bad for it) and I would take it over Silver on an exceedingly rare number of boards (e.g. ones particularly bad for silvers, like Bandit camp) and that covers ~95% of boards.

I think you're severely overvaluing Guardian-without-Attacks. I'll gain it, but mostly only when spiking something is terribly important, or when I'm hoping to never draw the Guardian again. I certainly do not consider it anything approaching a Silver replacement.
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