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Author Topic: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes  (Read 2302 times)

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Cave-o-sapien

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The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« on: February 26, 2019, 03:41:13 am »
+12

Hexes
It has been 16 months since we were first introduced to Hexes in the Nocturne Previews, and it seems we are still far away from understanding the average impact they have on our games. I believe people, even smart people like us, are generally poor at evaluating the effects of rare, random events. Hexes certainly fall into this category. Any particular Hex shows up in a little over 1/3 of the games with Doom cards. That is not much data from which to form an opinion!

Fortunately, markus (with the help of ceviri's Woodcutter tool) has gathered a ton of data from high-level Dominion matches online. He has data from nearly 7500 games with Hexes and has estimated the effect on win probability from receiving one more of a particular hex than your opponent. These data are available here on the sheet titled 'Gain Advantage'. Similar information can be seen on the stat charts he made here. What these data seem to tell us about Hexes contrasts pretty sharply with some of the rankings below.

Hexes can be received in a variety of ways: markus estimates 80% of Hexes come from attacks, 15% from Cursed Village gains and the remaining 5% from Leprechaun plays. The circumstances of receiving a Hex can influence how harmful it is. The effect of some Hexes is muted when received in combination with another. For others the effect is nearly invariant to game state.

I will generally discuss these Hexes from the perspective of the Receiving player.

#1 =0 Delusion Weighted Average: 94.2% ▲9.6pp / Unweighted Average: 93.0% / Median: 100.0% =0.0pp / Standard Deviation: 14.8%

There is nothing else like this Attack in the game. While its strength depends on the card-pool (presence of Events, Projects, Night, alt-treasure cards diminish its impact), action-card denial in the early or middle stages of a game can seemingly put a player a full turn behind their opponent. It received 9/13 first place votes. Interestingly, this falls just middle-of-the-pack in markus’ stats. Is it possible that we remember those times Delusion kills us early but forget when it does next-to-nothing late?


#2 ▲4 Poverty Weighted Average: 74.5% ▲7.8pp / Unweighted Average: 75.5% / Median: 81.8% ▲9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 19.3%

This year’s biggest riser in the rankings, Poverty was voted first twice. Given that this is just a bog-standard Militia attack, I was a little surprised to see it this high. This can hurt with Leprechaun but is generally a Hex you hope to see when buying Cursed Village. The stats rate this as the 10th most effective Hex. Two Hexes in, and two major disagreements between the stats and the rankings.


#3 ▼1 Locusts Weighted Average: 71.9% ▼7.0pp / Unweighted Average: 72.7% / Median: 72.7% ▼9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 15.1%

There are plenty of Locusts horror stories: gaining a Cursed Village on an empty deck, an opponent hitting your Champion, or a Vampire getting turned into a Pirate Ship. Generally, the outcome isn’t that bad. What many might suggest as the most common nightmare case – getting a Province trashed – is typically a 3-VP deduction, an outcome on par with Misery. While some of the Hexes diminish when combined with other Hexes, Locusts hits no matter when or how you receive it, and arguably gets stronger with Haunting, Bad Omens and Greed. This ranked 5th in the stats.


#4 ▼1 War Weighted Average: 68.4% ▼1.2pp / Unweighted Average: 70.6% / Median: 72.7% ▲9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 16.4%

Similar to Locusts, War always “works”. It may find nothing, or it may find something you can convince yourself you didn’t want anyway, but it’s generally doing something harmful every time it is received. Not every Hex can say that. The stats also place War 4th.


#5 ▼1 Plague Weighted Average: 67.2% ▲0.7pp / Unweighted Average: 63.6% / Median: 54.5% ▼9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 16.7%

As Cursers go, this one is pretty mild, but even weak junking is harmful. As with War and Locusts, there is no minimizing the impact of this Hex while Curses remain in the supply. You could argue that this one hurts more to receive with Cursed Village than from an opponent’s attack. This Hex ranks 3rd in the stats.


#6 ▼1 Envy Weighted Average: 57.6% ▼8.6pp / Unweighted Average: 62.2% / Median: 72.7% ▼9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 25.2%

Like Delusion, Envy’s attack is unique. The average effect may not be very harmful, but it can completely derail end-game turns that rely on treasure payload. I had a game once where my opponent twice got Envy on what would have otherwise been double Province turns. Seems pretty bad, right? Let’s revisit the language I just used: “I had a game once…” This anecdotal experience has stuck with me, and as a result, I probably overrate Envy. So, what does the data tell us? It’s quite harsh: Envy ranks as the most impotent Hex.


#7 ▲2 Misery Weighted Average: 44.2% ▲8.6pp / Unweighted Average: 44.1% / Median: 36.4% =0.0pp / Standard Deviation: 23.3%

Getting two “anti-VP tokens” often feels inconsequential. After all, the card does absolutely nothing to directly affect your deck or your ability to build. But this Hex does something irreparably bad to your score each of the first two times it hits. Simply put, there is no escaping the damage it does, and it has a very real, measurable effect on the outcome of the game. This is the top-ranked Hex in the stats by a comfortable margin.


#8 =0 Greed Weighted Average: 41.7% ▲4.2pp / Unweighted Average: 40.6% / Median: 45.5% ▲9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 18.1%

Greed follows Plague’s theme of weak junking by handing out a slightly more palatable type of junk but putting it where you least want it: the top of your deck. How bad could that be? Well, the stats think it’s pretty bad: it ranks second only to Misery. Notably this puts it just above Plague.


#9 ▼2 Haunting Weighted Average: 30.7% ▼12.1pp / Unweighted Average: 32.2% / Median: 27.3% ▼9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 15.8%

This mini Ghost Ship attack feel less than half as harmful as a regular Ghost Ship, but that seems to be consistent with the power level of Hexes. It interacts with many of the other Hexes, so consider carefully what you top deck when you’re getting hit with multiple Hexes on a turn


#10 =0 Bad Omens Weighted Average: 24.3% ▼2.5pp / Unweighted Average: 20.3% / Median: 9.1% ▼9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 21.7%

This Hex is only occasionally harmful and can actually be very helpful in certain situations (such as triggering a shuffle between turns 1 and 2). The better your deck is, the less this one hurts, and even if you do get two Coppers on top, knowing that they’re there can be useful. Here we see general agreement between the voters and the stats, where it finished 11th. Two people voted it last.


#11 =0 Fear Weighted Average: 23.6% ▲0.8pp / Unweighted Average: 23.8% / Median: 27.3% ▲9.1pp / Standard Deviation: 7.6%

It’s easy to underrate this Hex or dismiss it as merely a Cutpurse. The difference is that this it scales with your deck. Getting hit with this late is comparable to a Raider attack, which isn’t nothing. It can fail to hit when combined with other discard Hexes (such as Poverty or Haunting).


#12 =0 Famine Weighted Average: 1.6% ▼1.5pp / Unweighted Average: 1.4% / Median: 0.0% =0.0pp / Standard Deviation: 3.3%

If there’s a Hex on this list that makes me question the stats, it’s this one. Almost unanimously picked as the weakest Hex (11/13 picked it last, the other two picked it 2nd-to-last), the effect of this Hex according to the data is on par with Delusion and Fear, but a step below Locusts. Perhaps this is another case of a Hex hitting every time, and therefore having a larger average effect than we tend to notice.
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markus

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 04:03:09 am »
+6

Just one word of caution with the stats ranking is that some hexes are close and the differences not statistically significant.

If you want to have one number: receiving Misery makes you go from 50% to 44% win chance. (95% confidence interval about [42%,46%]. Bad Omens for comparison would be [45%,49%].)
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 11:04:36 am »
+2

Just one word of caution with the stats ranking is that some hexes are close and the differences not statistically significant.

If you want to have one number: receiving Misery makes you go from 50% to 44% win chance. (95% confidence interval about [42%,46%]. Bad Omens for comparison would be [45%,49%].)

Hey, don’t soft-pedal the numbers. We want to get people riled up here.
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 12:41:05 pm »
0

Just one word of caution with the stats ranking is that some hexes are close and the differences not statistically significant.

If you want to have one number: receiving Misery makes you go from 50% to 44% win chance. (95% confidence interval about [42%,46%]. Bad Omens for comparison would be [45%,49%].)

Hey, don’t soft-pedal the numbers. We want to get people riled up here.

Really, how powerful a hex is depends on the type of game being played that includes them. Some boards make Misery devastating, while others make Envy a completely turn destroyer. Envy and Delusion are pretty ineffective when received from buying Cursed Village. Envy gives me nightmares, whereas Delusion rarely seems to hit at a point where buying a treasure/green card instead of an action is super devastating.
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AJD

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 01:07:18 pm »
0

Envy and Delusion are pretty ineffective when received from buying Cursed Village.

Wait, how's that? In that case, don't they just affect your next turn?
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markusin

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 02:42:45 pm »
0

Envy and Delusion are pretty ineffective when received from buying Cursed Village.

Wait, how's that? In that case, don't they just affect your next turn?

Oops, forgot how those worked.
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 07:52:03 pm »
+4

[Misery] is the top-ranked Hex in the stats by a comfortable margin.

I think this is enough to make me question how useful these "stats" are. Unlike the other hexes, it's trivial to know whether Misery caused you to lose. I've only had one game where that has happened, and I play online a lot.
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trivialknot

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 11:03:49 pm »
+1

A 44% win percentage for receiving Misery doesn't seem that outlandish.  If you look at a bunch of landmarks, getting a 2-3 VP lead often translates to about 5% advantage there too.

Markus could address this question with a histogram of VP differences. But it's fairly common to trounce on a forced victory as soon as you can get the slightest VP lead, so I would guess that 1 VP leads are far more common than 10%

I dunno about high-ranking games, but I play IRL and we're bad at tracking VP, and I feel like I lose to Misery all the time.  Despite this I ranked it #8.  Man, I should really put Misery higher next time.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:04:58 pm by trivialknot »
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markus

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 02:29:58 am »
0

I do have all the VP stats, but it's indeed a bad measure in my opinion. If I need those additional 2 VP, I'll take that Duchy with my win, otherwise I just end it as quickly as possible.

Linking this to another discussion: how many VP chips do you think that player 2 would need to start the game with to have a 50% win chance on average. I've seen 2.5 VP been suggested, maybe it's a bit higher. Misery's estimated effect is about half of first player advantage.
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Titandrake

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 01:12:17 pm »
+1

[Misery] is the top-ranked Hex in the stats by a comfortable margin.

I think this is enough to make me question how useful these "stats" are. Unlike the other hexes, it's trivial to know whether Misery caused you to lose. I've only had one game where that has happened, and I play online a lot.

Is it? I've had a few games where I got an early Misery and was forced to buy a Duchy in a later turn, or had it such that a 3-pile was no longer in play. I think it's very nontrivial to figure out all the follow-on effects of -2 VP. Often it doesn't matter, but there are cases where it cascades into just enough slowdown to get you to lose.
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samath

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 12:19:16 pm »
+5

If our worst experiences shape our perception of these hexes, maybe it's worthwhile as a corrective to look at the other extreme: When do these hexes actually help?

#1 Locusts: We've all had that Locusts-trashes-Curse moment where we realize the loophole. A bit rarer are the Copper/Estate trashes after the Curses are out. And then there are the beneficial trades like trashing Skulk into Experiment or whatever.

#2 War: War trashing Fortress or just plain flipping your deck can be one of the friendliest hexes. Or maybe it gets rid of your Sea Hag once Curses are gone, or Potion once Scrying Pools are.

#3 Bad Omens: A classic boon when opening Cursed Village on 5-2. Also helps in slogs when having money on top of your deck is beneficial, or when you want good cards in your discard pile to find with Mountain Village.

#4 Haunting: In money decks, the quasi-Haven effect can also help you either smooth or spike money.

#5 Poverty: Helps filtering for non-discarding Draw-to-X like Cursed Village.

#6 Fear: Activates Swashbuckler!

#7 Plague: Can save you from a sad Cathedral trash, give you something to pass with Masquerade, or otherwise feed Bats or Foragers.

#8 Greed: If you're overdrawing, that's an extra coin of payload that could help you hit a needed price point.

#9 Famine: Can undo a bad topdeck (e.g. due to Rabble), reveal Patron for Coffers, or discard a Settlers for your Bustling Village to pick up.

#10 Envy: Apart from weird hypotheticals involving not wanting to draw with Storyteller, never.

#11 Delusion: Never. Fewer options is always worse.

#12 Misery: Never. Fewer points is always worse.
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faust

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 01:50:30 pm »
0

#11 Delusion: Never. Fewer options is always worse.

#12 Misery: Never. Fewer points is always worse.
You forget Possession! Misery is a good Hex to get when playing an opponent's Leprechaun. Delusion is still good when you play an opponent's Leprechaun via Scepter so that it affects their next buy phase. Since the latter is conditional on more cards, Delusion should be last, not Misery.
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Tables

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 05:10:35 pm »
+4

[Misery] is the top-ranked Hex in the stats by a comfortable margin.

I think this is enough to make me question how useful these "stats" are. Unlike the other hexes, it's trivial to know whether Misery caused you to lose. I've only had one game where that has happened, and I play online a lot.

I disagree. I assume when you say it's trivial it's because you're thinking, you can just look at how often you got Miserable/Twice Miserable and compare to how often you lost by less than 2/4 points respectively? But that isn't the case. The goal in Dominion is not to have the most points when the game ends but rather, to end the game when you have the most points. That's probably my most famous quote I've ever made on this site, and I think it applies here - while sometimes, yes you will lose DIRECTLY because of Misery losing you the 2/4 points to be behind your opponent, there will also be times you lose INDIRECTLY, because you could have ended the game ahead without it, but now can't because those -2/-4 points prevent you from taking the lead. And then maybe your opponent goes on to lead by more than 2/4 points and it looks like Miserable didn't factor in, when really it did. Similarly, if a game is less engine based (e.g. only one buy/gain per turn), how far ahead/behind you are can affect how you optimise which victory point cards you buy. 5 points behind? Getting the ante-penultimate Province is probably a good move, as you will be ahead with just 2 provinces left, your opponent is risking a direct loss picking up the penultimate Province. But 7 points behind because of Misery? Buying that province might be a bigger risk, your opponent can pick up the penultimate Province and maintain a dangerous lead. This small difference in points can lead to big strategy swings that aren't necessarily reflected in a close final score.

How often is that a factor? I don't know. Probably not hugely often, but I don't think it's trivial to check either. And I think it might be slightly more than you give credit for. Then again, I've never played this expansion so I don't know for certain - I'm just arguing what I know to be the case from Dominion in general.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 05:15:48 pm by Tables »
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ThetaSigma12

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 07:34:25 pm »
0

#8 Greed: If you're overdrawing, that's an extra coin of payload that could help you hit a needed price point.

Or just some extra trash fodder to get you that extra Altar play.
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2019, 08:21:51 pm »
+3

#5 Poverty: Helps filtering for non-discarding Draw-to-X like Cursed Village.
#6 Fear: Activates Swashbuckler!

Really, both help with filtering and Swashbuckler. Also, Poverty can (somewhat ironically) activate Tunnel.
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Erick648

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2019, 08:23:53 pm »
0

#10 Envy: Apart from weird hypotheticals involving not wanting to draw with Storyteller, never.

#11 Delusion: Never. Fewer options is always worse.
Don't forget, Envy can protect you from Delusion and vice-versa. 

For example, if you have a hand of Gold-Gold-Silver-Province-Province and your opponent is playing a lot of Doom Attacks, you may be happy to get Delusion.  Likewise, if you're building an engine with virtual coin and your opponent is playing a lot of Doom Attacks, getting Envy will make you feel safe in the knowledge that you won't be stopped from buying more engine parts. 

Sure, it's quite situational, but so's the rest of this list (Hexes aren't meant to be beneficial, after all).
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 08:25:24 pm by Erick648 »
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2019, 01:38:00 am »
+1

I hear by declare Bad Omens to be the cutest of all the Hexes!
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2019, 03:21:28 am »
+1

I hear by declare Bad Omens to be the cutest of all the Hexes!

meow!

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2019, 07:41:16 am »
+1

*reads Bad Omens ranking blurb*

Wait, how the hell are you going to get Hexed between turns 1 and 2?  A Summoned Leprechaun?
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2019, 09:06:40 am »
+2

*reads Bad Omens ranking blurb*

Wait, how the hell are you going to get Hexed between turns 1 and 2?  A Summoned Leprechaun?

Cursed Village on 5-2 opening maybe?
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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Hexes
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2019, 04:02:40 pm »
+2


Quote from: ackmondual on Today at 01:38:00 am
I hear by declare Bad Omens to be the cutest of all the Hexes!

PURR PURR PURR

I tend to announce KITTY every time it happens, whether to me or another.  and I don't mind it at all, I used to have a foster kitten that looked like that :)
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