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aku_chi

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Gear
« on: August 18, 2018, 07:21:59 pm »
+12


At first glance, Gear looks similar to Moat: +2 cards and some additional text.  But itís this additional text that enables Gear to provide so much control over your turns, and makes Gear one of the strongest cards in Dominion.  Let's look at all the valuable things you can do by setting aside cards with Gear:
  • Save excess money from turn to turn.  This is especially important when you only have one buy.  Early on, you can save a Copper to turn a hand into a hand in order to hit on the next turn.  Later in the game, you can save money exceeding so you can buy Provinces more consistently.
  • Save an unplayable terminal action for the next turn.  This is especially important in games without villages.
  • Improve your starting hand.  You can set aside +card or +action cards that will make your next hand stronger.  This is especially valuable when you have a few powerful draw cards such as Scrying Pool or Storyteller.
  • Force bad cards to miss the shuffle.  If you're about to trigger a shuffle, you can set aside green cards so that you don't draw them in that shuffle.
  • Pair up synergistic cards.  Gear can help you pair up your Estates with a good Estate trasher, or Province with Tournament, or Gold with Encampment, and more!
Let's dive deeper into a couple contexts in which you might use Gear.

Gear in the Early Game

Gear is a very strong card with a / opening.  If you draw Gear on turn 3, you're guaranteed to be able to see and play your other opening card on turns 3 or 4.  If your other opening card doesn't draw, you will end turn 4 with an empty deck - having seen all twelve of your cards.  You will be able to freely distribute your deck's total money over these two turns.  If you draw Gear on turn 4, you might have to set aside your other opening card to play on turn 5 (if it's an action you can't play), but you will also have an opportunity to cause 1-2 weak cards to miss your next shuffle.

If there is a key - card on the board that you want to open with, consider a Gear opening carefully.  If the key card is non-terminal such as Quarry or Transmogrify, Gear is usually a great accompaniment.  However, if you open Gear with a terminal trasher such as Chapel or Steward, they might collide on turn 4.  Gear will probably only be worth opening if you can get a cheap village while trashing.

If there is a key card on the board, Gear + Silver is an excellent opening.  So long as Gear is drawn on turn 3 or 4, you are guaranteed to be able to buy a card and (almost always) a or card (perhaps another Gear, if the key card is non-terminal).  You can also open Gear alongside a coin-generating action such as Poacher or Swindler, but you run the risk of not hitting on turn 3 or 4 if you draw poorly.  Gear + Potion is also one of the most reliable ways to hit on turn 3 or 4.

In the rare event that there are no kingdom cards costing or less that you want early, double Gear is a good opening.  With a double Gear opening, if you draw Gear on turn 3, you have a good chance to hit on turn 4 for Gold (or something better).  If you don't see any Gears on turn 3, you can buy Silver and have a great chance to hit on turn 5.

Gear + Money

Usually, you will want to play a card-drawing engine, and a few Gears will fit in well.  But, sometimes there is no good engine to build, in which case you should play primarily with Gear and treasures.  This is often the case when there are no villages and no non-terminal draw in the kingdom.  Gear is a very strong card in moneyish strategies, because Gear's money saving and terminal spacing functions give you tremendous control over your turns

Gear + money strategies benefit most from Estate trashing and treasure gaining, so consider incorporating them into your strategy.  Gear + money's strongest supports are cards and events that can trash Estates with very little lost tempo: Trade, Transmogrify, and Plan.  With strong support, Gear + money can beat slower engines - especially if there are no handsize attacks or alternative VP available.

Non-terminal support cards such as Sentry or Treasure Trove are easy to incorporate into a Gear + money strategy.  Because Gear can help space terminal actions, using 3-4 terminal actions is a good rule of thumb for a Gear + money strategy.  Sometimes, Gear is better in a support role with strong terminal actions such as Witch or Haggler.  In this role you can use 1-2 copies of Gear along with 2 additional terminal actions.  More often, you will want to combine 2-3 Gears with one copy of a supporting terminal action such as Salvager or Bandit.

Sometimes, there aren't any other beneficial kingdom cards.  Unassisted, you should open double Gear hoping to get Gold on turn 4.  You should get a third Gear as soon as you are confident you can get Gold.  With 3 Gears, you should be able to play one Gear each turn pretty consistently and smooth your money to exactly buy Golds (3-4), and then Provinces.  Without support, Gear + money does not get 7+ Provinces very fast, so beware strong alternative VP.

Gear Tips

Gear is almost always good; buy it, you won't regret it.  Here are a few final Gear tips:
  • When playing Gear, if you choose not to set aside any cards, Gear will not stay in play.
  • In general, you should set aside all the cards you don't need on a given turn, even if it's just one card.
  • When using Gear as your primary source of draw (not recommended if there are alternatives), only save cards with your final Gear.
  • When trashing from your deck with cards such as Sentry or Lookout, stop using Gear to save cards you want to trash pretty early.
  • The cards saved by Gear are not in your hand during opponents' turns, so you can't use saved reactions such as Moat.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 09:13:40 pm by aku_chi »
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theory

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Re: Gear
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2018, 08:42:23 pm »
+5

I immediately thought of the comparison to Haven, rather than Moat.  How does it compare to that - what makes Gear so much more powerful despite Haven being a cantrip?
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aku_chi

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Re: Gear
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2018, 08:57:24 pm »
+2

I immediately thought of the comparison to Haven, rather than Moat.  How does it compare to that - what makes Gear so much more powerful despite Haven being a cantrip?

A few things:
  • Gear is significantly more flexible in that it can save 0, 1, or 2 cards.  If Haven could save 0-2 cards, I believe it would be almost as strong as Gear.
  • Gear is better in the opening, on account of drawing 2 cards.  And the opening is a substantial part of Gear's strength.
  • Gear is also much better in moneyish strategies, on account of drawing two cards.  It's pretty amazing how nicely Gear + money plays despite its modest +2 cards.
  • Saving cards goes especially well with terminal draw, because it helps mitigate the downside of drawing actions dead.
Also, Haven is a pretty good card!  And Save is super strong.  So, the saving mechanic in general is deceptively powerful.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 09:03:16 pm by aku_chi »
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crj

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Re: Gear
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2018, 09:17:14 pm »
0

I'm not convinced all your points are valid.

For example, why is it good to save an unplayable terminal Action until next turn, when you could have played it this turn had you not played Gear?

Also, "If you draw Gear on turn 3, you're guaranteed to be able to see and play your other opening card on turns 3 or 4.". So you are unable to play your other opening card on T3 or T4 if both:
ē You fail to draw Gear on T3, and
ē You fail to draw the other card on T3 or T4
The risk of that happening is 1 in 11.

So what if you didn't buy Gear? Suppose you instead bought just that other opening card? Then, the risk of failing to see that other card on T3 or T4 would be... 1 in 11. You've not improved your chances at all.
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Polk5440

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Re: Gear
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2018, 09:11:00 am »
0

I'm not convinced all your points are valid.

For example, why is it good to save an unplayable terminal Action until next turn, when you could have played it this turn had you not played Gear?

Several reasons. For example, you draw it dead so you couldnít have played it or you have more than one other unplayable in your hand. Itís also possible the value of the action is much higher next turn. For example, you play Village-Ghost Ship and have to choose between Gear or another Ghost Ship. Itís  correct to play Gear over Ghost Ship and save the second Ghost Ship for next turn instead of playing it now because you will attack on both turns rather than just this one.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 09:44:25 am by Polk5440 »
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Chris is me

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Re: Gear
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2018, 02:16:11 pm »
0

Perhaps itís too subtle in the article, but I thought the advantage of opening Gear over opening nothing is pretty obvious - your handsize is increased either the turn you play it or the turn after, increasing your cycling and economy. This can allow you to buy fewer Silvers, spike an early $5 / Gold, etc.
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schadd

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Re: Gear
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2018, 03:20:24 pm »
+2

At first glance, Gear looks similar to Moat
its orange actually
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schadd

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Re: Gear
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2018, 03:25:46 pm »
0

I immediately thought of the comparison to Haven, rather than Moat.
yeah this dude knows
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Holunder9

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Re: Gear
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2018, 03:28:22 pm »
0

I'm not convinced all your points are valid.

For example, why is it good to save an unplayable terminal Action until next turn, when you could have played it this turn had you not played Gear?
Because you drew it with Gear. ^^

I totally agree with the OP. Only when Smithy variants are present should you think twice about Gear.
In general it is probably the best Moat variant (Oracle has its uses but Gear is much more versatile).
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Donald X.

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Re: Gear
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2018, 03:59:25 pm »
0

So what if you didn't buy Gear? Suppose you instead bought just that other opening card? Then, the risk of failing to see that other card on T3 or T4 would be... 1 in 11. You've not improved your chances at all.
Having a Gear is better than having nothing. Then, once you're going to not have nothing, Gear has advantages over some other things you might have instead.
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gloures

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Re: Gear
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2018, 04:35:42 pm »
0

I immediately thought of the comparison to Haven, rather than Moat.  How does it compare to that - what makes Gear so much more powerful despite Haven being a cantrip?

A few things:
  • Gear is significantly more flexible in that it can save 0, 1, or 2 cards.  If Haven could save 0-2 cards, I believe it would be almost as strong as Gear.
  • Gear is better in the opening, on account of drawing 2 cards.  And the opening is a substantial part of Gear's strength.
  • Gear is also much better in moneyish strategies, on account of drawing two cards.  It's pretty amazing how nicely Gear + money plays despite its modest +2 cards.
  • Saving cards goes especially well with terminal draw, because it helps mitigate the downside of drawing actions dead.
Also, Haven is a pretty good card!  And Save is super strong.  So, the saving mechanic in general is deceptively powerful.

Haven, not having the option to save 0 cards and thus making it a mandatory handsize decreaser is one of it's biggest weakness in my opinion, Haven would be a much stronger card if the setting aside was optional (it is still is pretty good though). 
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crj

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Re: Gear
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 04:36:38 pm »
0

Having a Gear is better than having nothing.
That may well be (indeed, presumably is) the case. But improving your chances of being able to play your other T1/T2 purchase on T3/T4 isn't one of the ways in which it's better than having nothing.

To me, that suggests including it in the article as an advantage of Gear is bogus.
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crj

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Re: Gear
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2018, 04:40:27 pm »
0

I'm not convinced all your points are valid.

For example, why is it good to save an unplayable terminal Action until next turn, when you could have played it this turn had you not played Gear?

Several reasons. For example, you draw it dead so you couldnít have played it or you have more than one other unplayable in your hand. Itís also possible the value of the action is much higher next turn. For example, you play Village-Ghost Ship and have to choose between Gear or another Ghost Ship. Itís  correct to play Gear over Ghost Ship and save the second Ghost Ship for next turn instead of playing it now because you will attack on both turns rather than just this one.
If the other terminal action is dead, so is Gear; Gear can't save you from drawing something dead!

OK, I suppose if you have one action left, with Gear and two other terminals in your hand, you can play Gear to defer both of them to next turn and hope (a) Gear doesn't draw yet another action dead and (b) you draw a village next turn. That feels pretty desperate, though.

I agree that Gear can be useful to defer until next turn cards you'd rather play then than now. But I think that's already covered as a separate point in the article.
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Holunder9

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Re: Gear
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2018, 05:07:00 pm »
0

OK, I suppose if you have one action left, with Gear and two other terminals in your hand, you can play Gear to defer both of them to next turn and hope (a) Gear doesn't draw yet another action dead and (b) you draw a village next turn. That feels pretty desperate, though.
If you have 3 terminals in hand chances are high that you (a) have built a bad deck or (b) will draw a splitter next turn. Transferring both terminals into the next turn is thus not desperate but simply best play (of course there are subtleties like, will you shuffle, etc. but we are talking about whether it is generally, in most cases, the right decision).
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Polk5440

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Re: Gear
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2018, 05:12:35 pm »
0

I'm not convinced all your points are valid.

For example, why is it good to save an unplayable terminal Action until next turn, when you could have played it this turn had you not played Gear?

Several reasons. For example, you draw it dead so you couldnít have played it or you have more than one other unplayable in your hand. Itís also possible the value of the action is much higher next turn. For example, you play Village-Ghost Ship and have to choose between Gear or another Ghost Ship. Itís  correct to play Gear over Ghost Ship and save the second Ghost Ship for next turn instead of playing it now because you will attack on both turns rather than just this one.
If the other terminal action is dead, so is Gear; Gear can't save you from drawing something dead!

Yes, it can if you draw it dead with Gear. 
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Donald X.

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Re: Gear
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2018, 06:34:08 pm »
+2

Having a Gear is better than having nothing.
That may well be (indeed, presumably is) the case. But improving your chances of being able to play your other T1/T2 purchase on T3/T4 isn't one of the ways in which it's better than having nothing.

To me, that suggests including it in the article as an advantage of Gear is bogus.
It's one of the ways it's better than various things you could have had instead. It's an advantage Gear has over many non-Gear cards.
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Re: Gear
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2018, 09:28:27 pm »
0

Also, Haven is a pretty good card!

I despise Haven.  Though not as much as Tax.
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Re: Gear
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2018, 02:28:49 am »
+5

Also, Haven is a pretty good card!

I despise Haven.  Though not as much as Tax.
And not as much as the IRS despises a Tax Haven.
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