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Author Topic: Draw-to-X engines  (Read 1679 times)

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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2018, 07:37:58 pm »
+1

Oh, but wouldn't the combination of JoaT and Changeling be lovely for a Draw-to-X engine? A man can dream...

Or combining it with Watchtower, to trash the Silvers.
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crj

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2018, 10:42:09 pm »
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Unless I really really needed the trashing, I'd rather skip JoaT and just buy the Watchtower. Playing Watchtower in isolation draws two more cards than playing JoaT with a Watchtower in hand does.
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jomini

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2018, 09:17:36 am »
0

Faust:

Of course Gardens and Islands are able to make the game longer. Without Alt-VP a 7:1 Prov split means game over (42 VP : a max of 38 VP, ignoring starting estates and curses). Even for a 6:2 split you are looking at winning the Duchy pile by at least 7:1 and getting more estates. Take Islands. They give you 16 VP of margin, if you pile them all you can win against a 7:1 prov split without touching the Estates. If you break Islands 6:2 you can win with a 6:2, 2:6 province and Duchy splits. With 3-4 VP Gardens you can easily win 7:1 Prov splits.

Put another way, Island lets your opponent fish for another Prov. How many bonus turns is that? Depends on what he's playing. BM often means you have another 3 or 4 turns as the 8th prov means you have to draw further out on the bell curve than the 7th (and it works better for you to have Gardens if they are hitting duchies). Engines that are efficient have increasing rates of return so you can gain a lot more points by stretching even a turn or two.

Islands in particular work well for DtX. Build out to $9/2 buys. Every turn you gain a Duchy/Island and every turn you Mat it away.  You can sustain this better than regular draw as matting increases your effective draw. You can let the opponent get 5 Provs while you get 5 Duchies & 5 Islands. Now the race is one for 3 Provinces, they have a deck with 5 stop cards. You have none. Odds are not bad that you will get all 3 Provs. If they dabble in Duchies, you can overcome them with duchies and Islands.


Quote
So this is just bad advice. Okay, I am losing the Province race, so my plan is to build even more and then get 8 Gardens and have my deck crumble. All the while my opponent will get 8 Provinces, which are still worth more than my Gardens, and I lose

So your opponent gets a 5th province. Your advice is to buy more provinces?

A 5:3 split requires you to hit the duchies and get 4 more of them than your opponent. People do this all the time.

In high skill play, you can often see a 5:3 split coming; being down 4:2 in Provs is typically not the time to spend $10 on a Prov/$2. Even though you might be able to pull out the next province, your opponent will all but certainly hit Duchy. May as well buy the two duchies now.

When you get skilled you can often see an opponent who will hit 5 provs before you, albeit being left with a weak deck afterwards. Okay, plan for it. Have the strong deck. Anticipate how to win a 5:3 split. Gardens and the like let you go further. Plan to win a 6:2 split or the 7:1. You have the option of going long - take it when it makes sense. Alt-VP dramatically enhances the odds that skilled players beat unskilled players.

And frankly your Provs may not beat my Gardens. At $16 coin a DtX engine can pretty easily support gaining 4 cards, with useful cantrips (e.g. Oasis) and not too henious of +buy, you will be gaining 5 cards in around 1-2 turns 6 in around 2-3 and perhaps 8 in 4. Depending on what is out (e.g. Vagrant, Pearl diver) I may well be able to spike to 50 cards, buy 4 gardens, and then buy 4 more the next turn and 2 coppers.

And you can make DtX green tolerant. Count, Horse traders, Cellar, Warehouse, Dungeon, Cartographer, Inn, Artificer, Forum, Poacher, Mill, Storeroom, Hamlet, Yw, Minstrel, Secret cave, Shepherd, Xroads (use one DtX to stock up on green in hand, then draw through with Xroads) ... odds of something being out there are pretty high. Sure DtX is not quite as good at being green tolerant ... but it can afford more of the enablers and to build out to a higher payload on a lot of boards. Something like Htraders lets you build up lots of coin and keep the draw running. With cost & action efficient draw this sort of thing does actually work.

Traditional draw is better at using Alt-VP. However you pretty rarely are going DtX vs Traditional village/Smithy stuff. One or the other typically is clearly better (e.g. Festival/Donate -> DtX, Workshop/Village -> Village/Smithy). More often assymetric games are not-obviously-strong DtX vs some decent-to-strong BM thing. Alt-VP is huge here. Gardens are particularly nice as you can build up to massive card counts with DtX if that is remotely profitable.

Smithy is straight limited to 35 non-cantrip cards it can draw. The pile empties and that is your hard cap. Worse you need 50% of your cards to be a drawing village or a Smithy. Even with Nobles added in, you still are going to have a very hard time playing anything past 40 cards. Smithy/Village can support ~ 40 cards, but 20 of those can be stop cards. If your village is not drawing not only do they eat into your 35 cap, they also mean you need 33% villages and 33% Smithies for the last few draws. This pushes your effective cap down towards 30.

The hard limit on DtX is much higher. The trade off is you can support fewer stop cards. For the crazy 70 card decks you would need to have no unplayable cards. 70 playable, non-cantrip actions is a tall order, but not exactly unprecedented. Of course there are all manner of enablers (e.g. Bm) that make it easier to sustain a huge deck).

In actual games, you pretty often have the villages contested. So your card cap becomes tied to how action efficient your draw is. The worst DtX is ~5 draws/action. That equals the best traditional draw.  If you can go crazy on useful actions, Village/Lib is basically spending $1/draw slot. For Smithy/village you are spending almost $2/draw. So not only will you get more draw per village with DtX, you will also have more money to spend on villages (and on multiple village boards typically have a much easier time using crappy secondary villages like Xroads or Shanty).

In real games, when DtX is a viable strat, it is typically able to support larger decks that Village/Smithy-esqu decks when they are a viable strat.

Ultimately you are telling I cannot win by doing something I have done dozens of times against good players to overcome massive early luck differentials (i.e. making the game last long enough for luck to even out).


Building DtX engines is going to typically be slower building in the early/mid game for a couple of reasons:
A. Early draw plays provide less return for the price point. Playing Wt cold is just +2 cards vs +3 for Smithy. Your Smithy will hit $5 sooner and be able to ramp up quicker if anything clutch is at those price points (e.g. expensive trashers like Altar or Forge, expensive villages like City or Bazaar, expensive payload like Gold or Goons, expensive enablers like Kc or Prince). On the top end playing Lib is far less likely to hit $5 than something like Catacombs and again is slower at buying more draw or other expensive cards.
B. Mid-game chained draw is less effective. Festival -> Wt -> Wt draws leaves you with 6 cards of buying power and $2/2 buys. Doing the same with Smithy leaves you with 8 cards of buying power, $2/2 buys. Assuming an average card value of ~$1/card before you've trashed more than half your starting deck that means you can hit $8 for Wt, good enough if you want just Festival/Wt again, but bad if you want Festival/$5 attack like Rogue. For Smithy you hit $10/2 buys and can get whatever you want (e.g. Kc/$3, Festival/Replace). And of course Festival is the absolute most unfair comparison possible, any other village is going to make Smithy have much higher relative buying power.
C. A decent percentage of boards are not going to have useful $3 buys, particularly if you are vehement about avoiding Silver. A $3 hand on say T6 for Catacombs/Bazaar is going to be a Silver most of the time and make it easier to keep building. A $3 hand on T6 for Bazaar/Lib may be a complete waste.

DtX is typically a turn or two slower at "draw your deck" than Village/Smithy. It is faster once you can play your gains same turn. For something like a $5 trasher (e.g. Count), a $5 village (e.g. Bazaar) and a $5 draw (e.g. Lib/Catacombs) you will be faster with Catacombs up until your average draw per Lib is something like 3.5 cards. Then you can add way more Bizaar/Counts pairs per Lib. This is exactly the sort of board where optimal play is to open Silver/Silver, possibly gain a 3rd Silver, and then bulk up on mass Count/Bazaar & maybe trash out the Silvers when you start to Green.

CC/CRJ: just trash out the Silvers. Early game they help you buy expensive stuff. Late game whatever you are using to nix the coppers will work as well or better on Silvers pretty much always. Running around with several TfBs (e.g. Apprentice, Spice Merchant, Bishop, Priest, Salvager) is quite strong if you are using Jack for draw. I had fun a while back using Jack/Count/Monument until the Silvers ran out. I was pulling 7 or 8 VP per turn while my opponent slowly stalled out on Colonies and Provs, while I had a rock solid deck with a Jack top decked each turn.

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Watno

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2018, 01:29:51 pm »
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The hard limit on DtX is much higher. The trade off is you can support fewer stop cards. For the crazy 70 card decks you would need to have no unplayable cards. 70 playable, non-cantrip actions is a tall order, but not exactly unprecedented. Of course there are all manner of enablers (e.g. Bm) that make it easier to sustain a huge deck).
I'd love to see that precedence.
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2018, 07:19:21 pm »
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Unless I really really needed the trashing, I'd rather skip JoaT and just buy the Watchtower. Playing Watchtower in isolation draws two more cards than playing JoaT with a Watchtower in hand does.

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jomini

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Re: Draw-to-X engines
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2018, 09:25:34 pm »
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The hard limit on DtX is much higher. The trade off is you can support fewer stop cards. For the crazy 70 card decks you would need to have no unplayable cards. 70 playable, non-cantrip actions is a tall order, but not exactly unprecedented. Of course there are all manner of enablers (e.g. Bm) that make it easier to sustain a huge deck).
I'd love to see that precedence.
Bm goes a long way. Both for gaining extra villages & nonterminal actions, but also for clearing out treasures to pad your viable card count.

I believe my record is something north of 12 VP Gardens. She pulled Amb, Kc, Goons and Monument out of the Bm, so she was scoring 5 or 6 VP per turn; I snagged Possession (I was running Uni/Lib). I played Tr -> Possession and then Kc -> Amb to return problem cards (her trasher, Bm, and all her Unis). She kept racking up VP tokens with unreturnable cards, but I was returning everything else in her deck from the supply (Lighthouse, bane for Yw in Bm, IIRC). I was not able to win with Provs & Duchies and those would have tanked my engine. Every turn we played built more VP into the Gardens, and my final turn had some insane number of gains/buys (Haggler from the Bm deck was very useful). My deck was pure actions, Tr let me play a huge amount of terminals, and I pretty much sucked everything remotely useful out of the Bm deck (we had a copy of every card we then owned in the Bm deck). It was even more fun winning the bet I suggested when I saw I was getting Possession out of the Bm =)

Really the only truly hard part of hitting 70 cards in a strong Lib deck is avoiding the opponent ending the game. A Kc/Uni/Lib deck would provide everything needed for 70 but the +buys and coin needed to pile the Gardens.
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