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Titandrake

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Guildhall Money
« on: December 22, 2018, 07:10:10 pm »
+4

Think of this mostly as a draft + hot take, since Coffers strategy is quite difficult. I think Guildhall is pretty good but also suspect I'm slightly overestimating it.


Guildhall is the Project that helps bring treasure-based strategies back. In an era where people are describing Silvers and Golds like Curses, it's refreshing to see something pull in the other direction.

Now, I'm not saying Guildhall is bad in a less money-based strategy. But the main problem is has for engine-style decks is that in those decks, you often need to be very careful in how many Treasures you gain, since you're trying to maintain control of your draw and your deck. The guiding principles of engines is that they aim to play cards they buy as often as possible. Since Guildhall only triggers on-gain, it doesn't get to take advantage of the compounding effects engines normally give you. This means the main use of Guildhall giving better weapons to "the fun police" - strategies that generally buy Silver and Gold instead of lots of fancy actions.

Base Guildhall-BM

Excluding any other synergies, Guildhall-BM feels just a bit worse than Smithy-BM. (This is based off of trying it against the bot and checking when I hit 4 Provinces, so it wasn't the most scientific study.) Obviously you never actually play Guildhall-BM, this is simply to show how useful Coffers are for a money strategy. It's already been noted that Spices + money is about as strong as Gear + money, and Spices is basically a Silver that lets you change $2 into 2 Coffers when you buy it. Coffers are especially useful in money strategies because they smooth out price gaps between things you care about. $3 for Silver, $6 for Gold, $8 for Province, often anything in between is useless.

In some limited testing I tried, without any other treasure synergies, buying Guildhall over the first Gold consistently saved at least 1 turn to hit 4 Provinces, sometimes 2 turns if the shuffles work out nicer. This is the base power of Guildhall, but there are things that make it better.

Incidental +Buy

Q: If I've built Guildhall and can't afford Silver, should I buy Copper?
A: Usually, yes. In a money deck the Coffers is usually worth having the extra Copper in your deck, especially because you get the Coffers right away. This is less true in Colony games but the cutoff point for when a free Copper is good is surprisingly early.

Because of this, having a bit of +Buy can help speedup time-to-first-Province, and if there are easy ways to get extra +Buy at little cost (like Pouch or Market Square), you should see it as speeding up the money baseline as well. Normally +Buy is only good for the engine because they can use the +Buy more effectively, Guildhall changes this a big.

Light Treasure gaining

This is along the lines of cards that gain 1-2 extra Treasures per play. Stuff like Jack, Haggler, or Lucky Coin.

They're good. I don't have anything to say besides that they're good and you should be aiming to take free Treasures if you're in a position to do so, because in a Guildhall-powered money deck, you'd take free Coppers if you could. With a Guildhall, Cache is actively better than Gold.

Heavy Treasure gaining (the Guildhall combos)

Here are the cards that give you lots of treasures. These cross the line from "money deck" to "Guildhall combo deck". Important ones are:
  • Guildhall + Beggar: When Beggars effectively give +$6, you can empty Provinces very quickly. Buy all the Beggars you can early, then buy Provinces whenever you can.
  • Guildhall + Masterpiece: Getting back everything when you overpay makes it easy to accumulate a massive store of Coppers that guarantees hitting $8 every turn afterwards.
  • Guildhall + Delve: Although the price-per-Silver is higher than with Masterpiece, this is still a very powerful synergy.
  • Guildhall + Trader: This is not as powerful as the other cards (seems to be about 11-13 turns to hit 4 Provinces), but it's another Treasure flooder that's worth mentioning. Trader trashing Silver is net +$1 that turn and gives you 3 Silvers. Trader trashing Gold is net +$3 and gives 6 Silvers. In my testing I aimed for 3 Traders, bought 1 Gold, then went for Provinces.

Guildhall Tactics

Q: Should I be using all my Coffers to hit the most expensive price points?
A: No. One thing about Guildhall is that it's only feeding you Coffers if you're buying Treasures. Once you start greening, the Coffers flow will slow down, so you generally want to bankroll some Coffers (about 2-3) for redundancy before you start greening. In other words, if you haven't bought Gold yet, don't spend your Coffers to buy Province. Generally your aim is to switch to buying Provinces at the point where you expect to hit $8 every turn, and if everything goes perfectly your Coffers stockpile should slowly dwindle to 0 while you do so.

This could be optimized much more but here's the guide I've been following.
* Spending 1 Coffers for a better card is always okay.
* Spending 2 Coffers is okay if you're buying a Gold, or other action improving your deck, but should be done with care. If I have $6 and 2 Coffers I will often buy the Gold to keep the Coffers for an upcoming Province rush.
* Spending 3+ Coffers should only be done when you're in greening mode.

Q: How should I handle buying non-Province VP cards?
A: If you are unmirrored, don't buy Duchies. Just, don't do it. Unmirrored means you're in a race against an engine, which means you just want to empty Provinces. If you need the VP from Duchies, you made a bad call early and Guildhall money wasn't fast enough, but you should commit to your win condition of emptying the Provinces rather than trying to not-lose. This is how you should normally play money vs engine, but it's extra-true for Guildhall, because treasure buys give you Coffers that let you stockpile Coffers across several turns to hit $8. This Coffers accumulation gives Guildhall-money a lot of inevitability.

Q: How should I handle Duchies if I'm mirrored?
A: Oh, I have no idea. It's shuffle-dependent and a big mess and there's a whole bunch of risk-reward involved. If the Duchy doesn't cost Coffers, I think you normally take it. If it costs 1 or more Coffers, it's a lot less clear.
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crj

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Re: Guildhall Money
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2018, 09:51:04 pm »
0

Two things I've been wondering in this kind of area:
  • If there's good +Buy available, how valuable is it to store up Coffers and delay greening?
  • What about gaining treasures for the Coffers, then trashing them? Here, Watchtower is living the dream, but things like Cathedral could also help.
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aku_chi

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Re: Guildhall Money
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2018, 11:36:16 pm »
+2

Nice article.  I think Guildhall + Banquet is more notable than Guildhall + Trader.  The Banquet for Silver baseline isnít too exciting, but should be 11 turns to 4 Provinces pretty reliably.  And thereís usually something better to gain than Silver, like +buy for some lucrative double Banquet turns.
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