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Author Topic: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: $5 Cards (Top third) (Countdown order)  (Read 333 times)

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GendoIkari

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Theory, please lock, etc.

#25 ▲25 Outpost (Seaside) Weighted Average: 73.0% ▲17.0pp / Unweighted Average: 70.2% (27) / Median: 73.8% ▲25.8pp / Standard Deviation: 19.5%

Chris is me: Itís taken the greater Dominion community quite a while to catch on to the rather simple idea that doubling the amount of turns you take is really, really good. Outpost is one of the biggest winners on this list, rocketing up 25 spots! Given some way to improve your deck reliability (thinning or sifting, really), itís basically just trading an Action for an entire turn. Even if you whiff once or twice, you just burned one Action on a potential extra turn. My rule of thumb is to buy it a shuffle earlier than I think I should.

tracer: Outpost has possibly the most exotic effect in the game (Possession currently doesnít exist in most peopleís worlds) and for that effect should be higher despite its drawbacks. It is the most important card on far too many boards to be so low.
#24 Old Witch (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 73.5% / Unweighted Average: 70.5% (25) / Median: 75.4% / Standard Deviation: 20.6%

Chris is me: Old Witch is a bit better than it is rated here, I think. The thing about Old Witch is that it recognizes that Cursing attacks are already (usually) temporary. The long-term drawing potential of +3 Cards makes up for the drawback of sometimes letting the opponent trash a curse, and in my opinion itís often better for an engine than Witch. That extra card draw is really nice.
#23 ▲12 Horn of Plenty (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 73.7% ▲8.6pp / Unweighted Average: 67.9% (31) / Median: 76.2% ▲6.2pp / Standard Deviation: 24.3%

tracer: One of the large risers on this list, Horn of Plenty is one of the best gainers around. Given some amount of draw there is usually a way to make it able to gain Provinces, and before that big turn it will non-terminally gain all the things needed to make it happen.
#22 ▲1 Groundskeeper (Empires) Weighted Average: 74.1% ▼0.5pp / Unweighted Average: 72.1% (22) / Median: 80.0% ▲12.4pp / Standard Deviation: 21.2%

xyrix: Personally I always find beating someone who has 7 Provinces by buying 8 Estates very satisfying, but ďmost satisfyingĒ is only one dimension of ďbetterĒ. Groundskeeper is hard to rate because itís both staggeringly powerful at the top end and often crushingly slow.

tracer: Groundskeeper is super dependent on having draw or very good thinning, but with draw is usually essential. It may be slow to set up but can score a lot quickly when needed and is so much better for a deck than victory cards.
#21 ▲10 Knights (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 74.1% ▲6.3pp / Unweighted Average: 71.7% (23) / Median: 73.0% ▲3.0pp / Standard Deviation: 16.6%

xyrix: Knights have gone from underrated from pure gentility dissuading their purchase, to probably overrated as people are often too eager to buy the top Knight even when itís bad. A lot of the Knights are bad! There is an absolute chasm between Bailey and Jo.

Chris is me: Even so, losing the Knight split can be a major disadvantage, as it essentially puts a timer on how long your deck will keep working while components are sapped away.
#20 ▼7 Avanto (Promo) Weighted Average: 77.2% ▼5.0pp / Unweighted Average: 75.0% (19) / Median: 79.4% ▼2.4pp / Standard Deviation: 18.0%

tracer: Although dropping seven spots, Avanto still seems high for what it is. With Sauna often questionable as a gain, Avanto is not available in many games and even when it is, a simple +3 cards that helps Saunas not be terrible does not compare favorably to the more exotic effects of the closely ranked cards.

#19 ▲2 Highway (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 78.3% ▲2.7pp / Unweighted Average: 76.0% (17) / Median: 78.7% ▲1.4pp / Standard Deviation: 18.1%

Chris is me: Cost reduction without taking up any terminal space is still uniquely powerful, and extra gains to exploit Highway with are more common than ever. The card will never be useful on absolutely every board, as it is completely dependent on extra gains, but it doesnít take much for the Highway split to be game-deciding. Bridge Troll offers stiff competition lately, as even though it is terminal, the Duration effect means it doesnít take as much terminal space.
#18 ▲2 Lost City (Adventures) Weighted Average: 79.2% ▲3.5pp / Unweighted Average: 78.1% (14) / Median: 84.8% ▲2.1pp / Standard Deviation: 19.2%

Chris is me: Draw and Actions together in one gain and one card are always going to be useful. Dominion may offer many other ways to build an engine, but few are as gain-efficient as Lost City, and the on-gain penalty is really no big deal compared to the utility of the card. Itís a bit too vanilla of a card to get any higher on this list, but itís simple and effective.
#17 ▼8 Upgrade (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 79.3% ▼8.1pp / Unweighted Average: 73.7% (21) / Median: 84.1% ▼4.1pp / Standard Deviation: 23.1%

tracer: A big loser along with the similar Junk Dealer, as a trasher Upgrade similarly suffers from being expensive and somewhat slow. Contrasting with Junk Dealer, Upgrade is typically worse for your deck early as it does not allow expensive buys but can be more useful later gaining components or points.
#16 ▼1 Counterfeit (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 80.0% ▼0.7pp / Unweighted Average: 77.9% (15) / Median: 81.0% ▼1.7pp / Standard Deviation: 16.6%

xyrix: Counterfeit is better than Upgrade and at least the list reflects that now. Maybe next year itíll also pass Junk Dealer. Itís a nice tempo trasher that gives +Buy and can continue to be useful throughout the whole game. Notably, if you take more Silvers in the opening than youíd otherwise like because you need to get to Counterfeit, it provides a nice way to get rid of them later.
#15 ▲1 Bridge Troll (Adventures) Weighted Average: 80.4% ▲1.1pp / Unweighted Average: 75.1% (18) / Median: 84.1% ▲2.3pp / Standard Deviation: 18.5%

xyrix: Bridge Troll is unique in that with only a village you can do an 8 Province megaturn even without any draw on the board. Granted, itís not very likely if you donít also have trashing but it is possible. Anyways, cost reduction is broken, Bridge Troll gives you the +Buy you need to exploit that and itís much easier on your terminal space and draw than Bridge is. The attack even hurts a decent amount if your opponent tries to go for some sort of money strategy.
#14 =0 Hunting Party (Cornucopia) Weighted Average: 81.4% ▲0.2pp / Unweighted Average: 78.5% (13) / Median: 85.7% ▲1.1pp / Standard Deviation: 18.7%

tracer: The finest non-terminal draw card Dominion has to offer stays appropriately high year after year. Early on Hunting Party makes you see your key cards more often, and later it helps to keep turns going by picking out what is lacking in your hand.
#13 ▼10 Junk Dealer (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 82.5% ▼7.5pp / Unweighted Average: 78.5% (12) / Median: 90.3% ▲1.2pp / Standard Deviation: 25.8%

Chris is me: Junk Dealer has plummeted from the Top 10, and honestly the main fault I can find in J-Dizzle is that thereís so much competition for great $5 costs, especially trashers. It is still an excellent trasher that conserves tempo with the economy boost it gives on-play. It is the first trasher on this list that eventually reaches a point where you can no longer play it, though, and perhaps that is Junk Dealerís undoing versus cards like Sentry and Recruiter. $5 gain opportunities are really valuable in fast paced, high level play, so it makes sense that JD, while still a great trasher, loses out to cards with more staying power throughout the game.

xyrix: Iím glad we can close the book on the dark year where Junk Dealer was ranked as the #2 $5 cost. Itís killer off the 5/2 opening but otherwise you often need 2Ė3 to get clean in a reasonable timeframe, which is just too slow to justify passing up good trashers at the sub-$5 cost level.
#12 ▲14 Vampire (Nocturne) Weighted Average: 82.5% ▲11.4pp / Unweighted Average: 81.6% (10) / Median: 84.9% ▲12.2pp / Standard Deviation: 13.8%

Chris is me: Vampire was quite underrated last year for all it accomplishes in one set of cards - trashing, gaining, attacking. But perhaps there has been a bit of an overcorrection here, as evidenced by its higher unweighted ranking. In very high-tempo games, Vampire ends up being a bit slow, especially if you have to rely on Bat as your primary trashing. Itís an extremely effective card in many decks, but itís important to acknowledge this slight limitation.

xyrix: If Bat is the only trashing, then you probably arenít in a very high-tempo game. I like Vampire a lot, a non-terminal $5 gainer with an attack is just crazy. The Bat does slow it down a bit but I think a top-10 position would be justified.
#11 =0 Butcher (Guilds) Weighted Average: 82.7% ▼0.6pp / Unweighted Average: 76.8% (16) / Median: 86.4% =0.0pp / Standard Deviation: 21.8%

tracer: After a significant rise last year, Butcher stayed put in these rankings this year although I would argue it should be higher. Few cards provide the versatility that Butcher does: it fits into nearly any deck and provides utility throughout the entire game. Not gaining Butcher is considered a nearly automatic loss in high-level play, and the unweighted ranking 5 below the weighted one seems to show that this idea has not caught on at the lower levels.
#10 ▼3 Witch (Base) Weighted Average: 83.8% ▼4.7pp / Unweighted Average: 81.9% (8) / Median: 92.9% ▼0.7pp / Standard Deviation: 16.4%

xyrix: Witch is the first card on this list to not just absolutely beat you over the head with how obviously good it is. There just arenít that many cards that unconditionally hand out Curses. Itís fallen in the rankings a significant amount as trashing continues to get stronger and could probably stand to fall a bit more. Itís a good card but if something is a top 10 $5 cost I should at least be excited to buy it more often than not.
#9 ▲9 Ghost Ship (Seaside) Weighted Average: 83.9% ▲6.6pp / Unweighted Average: 81.2% (11) / Median: 85.6% ▲4.7pp / Standard Deviation: 16.4%

xyrix: Attacks that draw cards are the big winners of this yearís $5 cost list, perhaps on the heels of the addition of Villagers to the game, and Ghost Ship sees the biggest rise. Unlike Torturer, a single Ghost Ship can effectively shut an unprepared opponent out of the game, so thereís an argument that the Ship could rise even higher.

Chris is me: As an attack, when Ghost Ship is good, itís as paralyzing and crippling as they come. With the right components on the board (mostly trashing) it is relatively easy to play against, but in the right conditions this attackís ceiling is sky high.
#8 ▲2 Torturer (Intrigue) Weighted Average: 86.3% ▲1.0pp / Unweighted Average: 81.7% (9) / Median: 88.9% ▲0.7pp / Standard Deviation: 20.7%

tracer: Terminal draw cards that happen to do something bad to your opponent are easy to like, and Torturerís high ranking reflects this. While often frustrating to play against when played in multiples, compared to similar cards below it Torturerís attack lacks some potency in the presence of trashing and is generally weaker when terminal space is very limited.
#7 ▲5 Margrave (Hinterlands) Weighted Average: 87.1% ▲4.9pp / Unweighted Average: 81.9% (7) / Median: 88.9% ▲0.9pp / Standard Deviation: 19.4%

Chris is me: Margrave has been steadily climbing the ranks over the years. The combination of draw and +Buy alone is already quite potent and powerful (see: Wharf), but the addition of a handsize attack lets Margrave accomplish so much in the space of just one terminal Action. That kind of functional density is really hard to beat. Of the many, many options for $5 ďSmithy-plusĒ cards, Margrave accomplishes more than any of them. The slight nerf of the attack with repeated use can be a bummer, but itís not enough to keep this card out of the top 10.
#6 ▲2 Sentry (Base) Weighted Average: 88.7% ▲0.2pp / Unweighted Average: 85.0% (6) / Median: 89.5% ▼0.5pp / Standard Deviation: 14.7%

Chris is me: While there are arguably better $5 trashers, Sentry is unique in being both an excellent low-risk trasher with a good chance of trashing multiple cards, while also being a good mid to late game utility card. Sentry has no negative effects on your tempo / economy the turn you play it, without being as fuckle as other top-of-deck trashers like Lookout or Doctor. It loses to Recruiter in its lack of immediate benefit to your turn and struggles with trashing the last couple junk cards in your deck.
#5 Recruiter (Renaissance) Weighted Average: 91.4% / Unweighted Average: 86.2% (5) / Median: 96.0% / Standard Deviation: 19.9%

tracer: I expect Recruiter to rise 4 spots next year to #1. It is one of very few cards that can claim to help you be faster in multiple ways, being great both as a trasher and as a village. While it may not define a board as much as those cards above it, it helps tremendously with anything you want to play.

Chris is me: Recruiter is the best tempo card in Dominion; itís somehow underrated despite debuting at #5. Itís a Masquerade thatís also a source of +Actions! Villagers are most valuable early on when your deck otherwise lacks consistency, and Recruiter provides an abundance of them.

xyrix: Given how new cards are generally severely underrated in these rankings, Recruiter ending up at #5 is effectively a statement that itís the #1 $5 cost to me.
#4 ▲1 Governor (Promo) Weighted Average: 93.0% ▲3.6pp / Unweighted Average: 91.9% (2) / Median: 96.8% ▲4.1pp / Standard Deviation: 10.5%

xyrix: Governor is perhaps unfairly penalized for not being as strong without support as Mountebank and Cultist; as one of the best non-terminal cards it is rarely ignorable. Even on boards where another method of gaining Provinces is faster (e.g. Horn of Plenty), Governors offer very strong draw on the final turn.
#3 ▲1 Cultist (Dark Ages) Weighted Average: 94.6% ▲4.8pp / Unweighted Average: 91.0% (4) / Median: 97.6% ▲2.1pp / Standard Deviation: 19.8%

xyrix: While Mountebank remains a consistent threat to your opponentís deck, Cultist threatens to send out 10 junk cards at unparalleled speed. Its ability to serve as moderately strong draw makes Cultist important on many boards where junkers would otherwise be ignored.
#2 ▲1 Mountebank (Prosperity) Weighted Average: 95.1% ▲5.2pp / Unweighted Average: 91.3% (3) / Median: 99.2% ▲0.1pp / Standard Deviation: 20.6%

tracer: Along with Cultist one of the cards that can blow up an otherwise nice board, Mountebank certainly deserves its high ranking. That said, I would have it below Cultist since draw tends to be more valuable than terminal coin once you are cleaned up a bit, which has become easier to do the way the game is played today.
#1 =0 Wharf (Seaside) Weighted Average: 95.8% ▲3.7pp / Unweighted Average: 92.7% (1) / Median: 97.6% ▲0.3pp / Standard Deviation: 17.7%

Chris is me: Wharf ends up on top once again in the rankings, as the consistency and reliability of start-of-turn draw is incredibly valuable for consistency. While newer cards like Den Of Sin cut into Wharfís niche somewhat, the combination of draw on the turn you play it and the +Buys make Wharf a card that improves basically any deck. As more and more methods for dealing with the harshest of junking attacks pop up, Wharfís more consistent value keeps it on top.

tracer:Wharf is amazing but shouldnít be #1 because it has this problem where other cards are more essential to not losing.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:39:28 am by GendoIkari »
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