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Seprix

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Hermit
« on: February 25, 2019, 07:40:19 pm »
+5



This is a draft, and more or less completed in terms of content. Any questions, areas of clarification, subtractions or additions are helpful. Things that are not helpful are complete reworkings or new structures.

Introduction

Hermit (and by extension Madman) seems to continue being undervalued. Every month brings a new tale of the exploits of Madmen taking opposing decks from seemingly behind to rapidly ahead. This is because Hermit is seen primarily as a trasher and gainer, but not as a deck accelerator. Itís time to change that outlook.

Madman

The single strongest thing about Hermit is the ability to get Madmen. Doubling handsize (after playing Madman of course) with a +Action is one of the strongest effects in the entire game, on par with Donate, City Quarter and Kingís Court. Itís no wonder that Madman is a one shot. The strength of the effect largely depends on the amount of cards in hand. If a hand gets discard attacked to three cards, Madman will only be as good as an Encampment. If a Laboratory is played, the Madman will draw 5 cards. Madman play typically starts with at least a single Hermit open, although Double Hermit isnít uncommon either.

Play continues and once the Hermit is found, it often is the time to gain a Hermit, buy nothing and gain a Madman. Buying a Silver or even a shiny Action card isn't usually worth the deck acceleration Madman provides, which might feel counter-intuitive. The trick is, Madman does a number of things well all at once. Firstly, Madman allows for a multitude of options and ideas with the sheer amount of draw it provides, especially when there are multiple Madmen played. Secondly, it gets the deck closer to the shuffle, allowing for quicker access to those same powerful cards gained on the previous turn. In short, Madman accelerates the deck.

The single greatest gift with Madman is gain and play abuse, and Madman already comes prepackaged with a gainer in Hermit. Abusing gain and play is exactly why combos such as Hermit/Market Square work so well, which will be discussed shortly. Any time Madman is on the board, always look for opportunities to gain and play cards. Even in the absence of gain and play, having things to do on the Madman turn is crucial. Maybe there's some trashing or remodeling to do. Maybe a second buy could be thrown in there. Always have a reason to get Madman.

In addition, the cost to get Madman isnít even that high. Skipping a buy is already what Tactician does. Just be sure to draw Madman at the top of the shuffle. If the Madman bottomdecks and the opposing player draws it at the top of his shuffle, heís way ahead, just because he got to blow up sooner. That is a real risk with Madman, but the alternative is instantly losing. However, there are some ways to mitigate this.

With Watchtower in hand, or buying Traveling Fair, topdecking Madman becomes viable, and a player wonít risk simply losing to Bottomdeck Syndrome. In addition, gainers such as Horn of Plenty and Alms allow for a Madman gain while getting cards like normal. Both of these specific situations quickly lead to some pretty fast game states, and it is often losing to ignore. Scheme works in an interesting way, to where if Scheme topdecks a Hermit after not buying anything, a Madman is gained without losing the Hermit. Events and Projects also combo well with Hermit and Madman gaining, due to Landscapes not being cards.

The next question is a much trickier one, and that is how often is Madman gained? Usually the safe answer is just one, but that isn't always the case. I've built decks with Monastery and Banquet (Monastery killing the Coppers gained in play), getting multiple Madmen and drawing deck where it wasn't ordinarily possible every turn as a result. I didn't keep going until the Hermits were empty. At a certain point, I made the call that buying cards normally was worth more than the one shot of Madman without the flexibility of buys. That call was made way later, but that is the call that has to be made every time a new Madman is considered. Maybe there's a megaturn, or maybe there's just that much stuff to do, or maybe the cost opportunity is low to keep Madmen around. But always have a reason to get Madman. A useless Madman is an expensive one, and inefficiencies lose games.

Hermit/Market Square

The classic combo with Madman is Market Square, and it is very deadly when executed correctly. Playing it well requires precise play, deck tracking knowledge and a good memory. The open is Hermit/Hermit, and the goal is to try to both win the Hermit split and get an odd number of Hermits in the deck. Nine Hermits is the dream, and also impossible to realistically ever pull off in todayís meta. Seven Hermits is a good goal, but also not likely realistic. After all, the opponent is going to try for the same ideas. Also, do not trash every single junk card in the deck. Those are needed for later.

After the Hermit pile is empty or someone has nine/seven Hermits, go for gaining Madmen (sometimes youíll start on this even sooner) and Market Squares. The goal is to get exactly three more Madmen than Hermits, so the dream combination (as an example for 7 Hermits) is five Madmen and two Hermits. After a bunch of Market Squares are gained and the Madman count is where it should be, pull the trigger on the Madmen. It needs to be timed to where you know you will draw deck when you blow the Madman up. The safest way to do this is to not blow up unless there are two in hand, but with deck tracking itís possible to know whatís coming up.

Once the deck is drawn, blow up the junk card with Hermit (and depending on the deck, either gain more junk to blow up with the next hermit or gain something that helps toward winning), react all of the Market Squares, draw back up with a Madman, and repeat over and over until itís not possible to. Usually even if Provinces canít be piled thereís a three pile available, which is something to watch for with the 5/5 Hermit split. Quite often it's Estates, simple enough with two Hermit gains and 6 buys.

All in all, the combo requires a lot of finesse and has a lot of moving parts. It is recommended to practice it multiple times solo before ever trying it in a real scenario. This is also without more complicated aspects, such as dealing with junkers, other $3 trashing cards, and other strange scenarios. As always, if you find something good, look for something even better.

Hermit

Of course, there are still things Hermit does well enough on its own. After all, it does trash and gain. Paired with a treasure trasher, Hermit does plenty of work killing Estates and replacing them with Hermits, Silvers or whatever $3 cost is desired. Hermit helps with pile control. In the rare instance where it matters, Hermit works really well with cost reduction.

At the end of the day though, the main strength of Hermit lies in Madman, and mastery of that aspect of Hermit will go a long way towards winning games. Always remember: Hermit is primarily a deck accelerator, and the trash/gain effect is secondary.


« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 10:17:33 am by Seprix »
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DG

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 09:01:54 am »
+1

I see a lot of players using a madman on turn 5 or 6 without preparing the deck to maximise the big hand with 2 actions. Adding a buy or a card gainer can get extra value from a hand full of copper.

I also see plenty of games where hermits are used as a trasher/gainer from start to finish. Hermits have two strings to their bow and both are important.
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faust

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 09:22:39 am »
0

I would scrap the whole Hermit/Market Square section, there are already articles about this.

Other than that, the article does not provide a whole lot of value. Nothing about timing (when do I get the Madmen?), nothing about the kind of decks that profit from Madman, the parallel drawn to Tactician does not work at all. Basically the whole article article could be condensed to "Madman is good, especially if you can topdeck it."
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Seprix

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 09:38:19 am »
+1

I would scrap the whole Hermit/Market Square section, there are already articles about this.

Other than that, the article does not provide a whole lot of value. Nothing about timing (when do I get the Madmen?), nothing about the kind of decks that profit from Madman, the parallel drawn to Tactician does not work at all. Basically the whole article article could be condensed to "Madman is good, especially if you can topdeck it."

Considered the first part. Still not really sure yet, I'll probably end up keeping it.

As to the second part, that seems to just be an issue of clarity (or omission) so I'll go ahead and fix that. You take Madman ASAP a lot of the time, gaining Hermit while doing so. The article does say more than you seem to think it does, which might be another issue of clarity.

I see a lot of players using a madman on turn 5 or 6 without preparing the deck to maximise the big hand with 2 actions. Adding a buy or a card gainer can get extra value from a hand full of copper.

Yes, I'll add something about that if I didn't already. Can't believe I didn't.

Quote

I also see plenty of games where hermits are used as a trasher/gainer from start to finish. Hermits have two strings to their bow and both are important.

Yeah and there's not much to say about that, there's only so many ways to say "this card can trash and gain", the focus is more on re-imagining the card primarily as a deck accelerator. Because it does seem to be.

More or less I wasn't happy with my draft, and this confirmed my suspicions.

edit: I made my edits and I feel a lot happier with the article so far.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 09:57:48 am by Seprix »
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A Drowned Kernel

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 10:13:22 am »
+2

Madman draws 5 cards if you play a lab first, not 6.
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faust

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 10:32:02 am »
+2

It is clearer now I think, and there are some decent points. I would still lose the Tactician reference, that only ends up being confusing because the two play quite differently. Plus, it should be clarified that the cost of gaining a Madman is not just a buy, but (if you replace the Hermit) a $3 that you would have gained from Hermit and a buy.

The article would also probably benefit from some case studies: One where Madman is used for an early spike, one where it is used consistently throughout the game with workarounds for gaining card, one where you maybe use it to connect Province/Tournament, one where you gather mutliple Madmen for a megaturn (which I guess is already there in the form of Hermit/Market Square) etc.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

AJD

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 11:13:40 am »
+1

Plus, it should be clarified that the cost of gaining a Madman is not just a buy, but (if you replace the Hermit) a $3 that you would have gained from Hermit and a buy.

This is convoluted and I had to read it a couple of times to understand it. I think it would be clearer as "the cost of gaining a Madman is not just a buy, but also trashing your Hermit." And then there could be a parenthetical like "(You can always use the Hermit play to gain a replacement Hermit, but then your missing out on whatever other $3 card you might have wanted.)"
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 08:13:16 pm »
+1

Always remember: Hermit is primarily a deck accelerator, and the trash/gain effect is secondary.

I'm not sure this is such good advice. I think it's worth pointing out that the gain is the effect that's mandatory. I often forget this and then end up having to gain a Silver I don't want. You also have to watch out for the cards that can make the gain really valuable, like Fishing Village and Fool's Gold.
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Seprix

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 04:00:44 pm »
+1

Always remember: Hermit is primarily a deck accelerator, and the trash/gain effect is secondary.

I'm not sure this is such good advice. I think it's worth pointing out that the gain is the effect that's mandatory. I often forget this and then end up having to gain a Silver I don't want. You also have to watch out for the cards that can make the gain really valuable, like Fishing Village and Fool's Gold.

Okay, so I write a sentence that Hermit is good at gaining great $3s. What does that accomplish? It's what the card does on first glance.

And that advice, it's the primary reason I wrote the article in the first place! :P It's the single most important thing about Hermit and previous articles did not emphasize this. Take that away, and Hermit isn't very good at all. You'd get it and stuff, but it would be about Workshopish in power.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 04:03:55 pm by Seprix »
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segura

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2019, 08:26:01 am »
0

I have my doubts about the strength of Madman and I could be totally wrong, given that it is not easy to play well with Hermit/Madman. And, as others have pointed out, exchanging itself into one-shot is not the only thing that Hermit does. To evaluate the strength of the card correctly you also have to look at the other stuff it does, the trashing and mandatory gaining.

Madman it is a powerful one-shot but the claim that you should always get it as soon as possible is wrong.
In Kingdoms with junkers you might want to keep Hermit around longer. As DG has pointed out a huge hand can be pointless early on if you do e.g. hit $7 with no extra buy and all you want is a $4 or a $5. In the very situation in which you might want to exchange Hermit for Madman you hit $5 so you rather buy a Kingdom card instead of nothing. And last but not least, the opportunity cost to get that powerful one-shot is buying a $3 and not buying a card on the turn you exchange it for the one-shot.

Also, what Chuckles said. In order to constantly play Hermit you are forced to gain $2s/$3s and while there are Kingdoms in which this is brilliant there are also Kingdoms in which that Silver gaining will become self-junking at some point which makes Hermit a not-so-good card in this very Kingdom.
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Burning Skull

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2019, 01:27:26 pm »
+1

Exactly!
If you are using Hermit to gain a bunch of Fortune Tellers, why not go and buy them in the first place.

Seprix

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2019, 03:17:46 pm »
+1

I have my doubts about the strength of Madman and I could be totally wrong, given that it is not easy to play well with Hermit/Madman. And, as others have pointed out, exchanging itself into one-shot is not the only thing that Hermit does. To evaluate the strength of the card correctly you also have to look at the other stuff it does, the trashing and mandatory gaining.

Well it's not easy playing with Hermit/Madman, it's why I wrote this. It's the single best thing Hermit does. You will lose most games ignoring it. If you don't believe me, you can go and try it for yourself.

And okay about the Hermit being useful outside of Madman, nobody disagrees, but what do I say? Hermit gains a $3, and it can trash a card. It's right there on the card. It can turn a junk card into a $3. Nobody has to be a rocket scientist to read what it does. I mention that Hermit is quite fine as a gain and play card in the Madman section, something gainers can do. I don't like wasting needless time writing stuff everyone knows. Do I have to list what Hermit combos with? Like, what do I do here?

Quote
Madman it is a powerful one-shot but the claim that you should always get it as soon as possible is wrong.

I didn't say always. I said often.

Quote
In Kingdoms with junkers you might want to keep Hermit around longer. As DG has pointed out a huge hand can be pointless early on if you do e.g. hit $7 with no extra buy and all you want is a $4 or a $5. In the very situation in which you might want to exchange Hermit for Madman you hit $5 so you rather buy a Kingdom card instead of nothing. And last but not least, the opportunity cost to get that powerful one-shot is buying a $3 and not buying a card on the turn you exchange it for the one-shot.

You can gain another Hermit as you blow it up, you can gain a Silver and buy a card, you can do whatever you think is correct man, I'm not stopping you. People take articles way too seriously, they're not some strict interpretation, they're a guideline, a way of approaching something. There's always exceptions.

And yes, Madman can be useless if you're not prepared. So uh, prepare for it? I don't get what is being said here. You don't have to play Madman or gain it if you're not ready. But quite often you are.

The question of gaining a $5 or a Madman is not an obvious question, it almost never happens and when it does, it really depends on what the $5 is, or what happens if you don't get the $5 and the Madman instead. It depends on the overall strategy. Should I write about that and basically say "I don't know figure it out" to it? I don't think it's possible to answer that question with any accuracy.

Quote
Also, what Chuckles said. In order to constantly play Hermit you are forced to gain $2s/$3s and while there are Kingdoms in which this is brilliant there are also Kingdoms in which that Silver gaining will become self-junking at some point which makes Hermit a not-so-good card in this very Kingdom.

Okay, so you stop gaining or playing Hermit at some point. I guess I could write something about that, that you shouldn't just play all of your cards possible whenever you can.

Exactly!
If you are using Hermit to gain a bunch of Fortune Tellers, why not go and buy them in the first place.

lol
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segura

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2019, 04:43:46 pm »
0

I have my doubts about the strength of Madman and I could be totally wrong, given that it is not easy to play well with Hermit/Madman. And, as others have pointed out, exchanging itself into one-shot is not the only thing that Hermit does. To evaluate the strength of the card correctly you also have to look at the other stuff it does, the trashing and mandatory gaining.
Well it's not easy playing with Hermit/Madman, it's why I wrote this. It's the single best thing Hermit does. You will lose most games ignoring it. If you don't believe me, you can go and try it for yourself.

And okay about the Hermit being useful outside of Madman, nobody disagrees, but what do I say? Hermit gains a $3, and it can trash a card. It's right there on the card. It can turn a junk card into a $3. Nobody has to be a rocket scientist to read what it does.
I disagree with your evaluation of Madman, not at least because you ignore the stuff the Hermit does and because you evaluate Madman in a vacuum. Context is how you understand when a card is good or bad. It is like claiming that the payload of Trade Route is always the most important part of the card and ignoring that the trashing part of that card can be more relevant.

For example in Kingdoms in which the gaining or trashing of Hermit is very relevant the relative strength of Madman decreases, i.e. the opportunity cost to get one is higher. An obvious example is a junking intense Kingdom with no other trashers but Hermit. Pointing out that context matters and that a card like Hermit/Madman is more Kingdom-sensitive than e.g. Laboratory is fairly trivial and not rocket science either but seemingly necessary.
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Seprix

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2019, 10:45:05 am »
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Alright, I came back to this article after months away expecting to find tons of flaws. Surprisingly, there is still nothing I would change, outside of maybe deleting that Market Square part, which doesn't seem particularly egregious to me, just possibly making the article too long.
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allanfieldhouse

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Re: Hermit
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 02:36:25 pm »
+1

Surprisingly, there is still nothing I would change, outside of maybe deleting that Market Square part

After reading the critical comments, I think the article would be improved by starting with a quick paragraph talking about the "obvious" stuff that can make Hermit itself good. Then this gives you the opportunity to transition into your thesis that despite the great things Hermit itself can do, the primary thing to think about with the card is the deck acceleration provided by Madman.

I personally enjoyed the Market Square part of the article. Since it's such a technical strategy, it's nice to have it explained again. At the very least if you wanted to remove that section, I think you'd need to mention the strategy and link to one of the existing articles.
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