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Author Topic: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away  (Read 852 times)

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Titandrake

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Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« on: June 22, 2020, 03:51:41 pm »
+6

Trashing is good, thinning is winning, so on and so forth. But why is thinning winning?

Well, thinning is winning because it lets you get rid of bad cards, and it makes you more likely to collide Action cards together to draw your deck. Usually, that makes up the tempo loss you get from trashing cards early. Thinning, by itself, is not intrinsically valuable - it is a means towards the end of drawing your deck, gaining lots of cards, and producing lots of money.

Let's suppose we waved a magic wand, and could guarantee that we draw our deck every turn. Then what is trashing doing for us? Pretty much nothing. In fact, it's actually bad, because you don't get the money from the Coppers you trashed. Of course, most games are not like this - you need the trashing to get to the "draw your deck" phase in the first place, or you get to "draw your deck" faster by trashing.

But, there are the rare games (think Wharf engines) where the draw is so potent that you can start drawing your deck without trashing very heavily in the early game. In those cases, it can be better to trash less aggressively early. That way, you have the money to buy the draw cards like Wharf. Once you have the draw set up, you can catch up on trashing later - if you draw your deck then you can play your trasher every turn and your deck should clean up pretty quickly from there.

Trashing almost always comes with a short-term tempo loss (except for Masquerade, because Masquerade's busted). It's just that usually the tempo loss is small enough that it makes up for itself super fast and you don't care. Sometimes, you do.
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segura

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Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2020, 04:13:23 pm »
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Drawing and sifting are always partial substitutes for trashing, i.e. the presence and strength of drawers and sifters in a Kingdom decreases the relative strength of trashers.
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Titandrake

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Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 05:17:00 pm »
+1

Drawing and sifting are always partial substitutes for trashing, i.e. the presence and strength of drawers and sifters in a Kingdom decreases the relative strength of trashers.

Eh, it's true that trashers are relatively weaker in that example, but Dominion is about finding the best thing in each Kingdom. If trashers are still the best thing to do, then you should do it, even if the alternatives are almost as good.
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segura

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Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 05:35:11 pm »
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It is not a binary but a tempo issue. Of course you should always trash but in the presence of sifters and drawers, you should trash slower than in their absence. It is elementary and more or less what you said in the article.
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jonaskoelker

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Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 05:48:12 pm »
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I think "tempo loss" can be broken down into two parts: one is, you can start drawing large chunks of your deck even with light trashing and getting the trasher is a turn spent not getting more draw. Another is where trashing interferes with your economy in a way that detracts from building. That is, the decrease in draw is not (only) from not buying draw on the turn where you buy the trasher, but (also and primarily) from not buying draw on later turns.

I've recently played on this kingdom:



(Estates and Provinces, no landscapes)

I want to draw my deck with Festival and Library, to do it I want to trash, I want to be very treasure-light and I would like to get an Artisan to help me get Festival and Library if I can find time to do it. How should I open? Thinning is winning so I get Silver and Moneylender, and my first $5 is Sentry, yes? Or maybe even Moneylender/Cellar to play Moneylender more often?

Maybe, it looks plausible but I'm not super duper certain: opening Silver plus terminal silver gets your money to $11 in 12 cards or slightly less than $1/card (= $5/hand on average). Moneylender only trashes Copper and Sentry only increases your money density on average if you either selectively trash estates or your money density is already at least $1/card or you look at Copper+Estate. How do you hit the next $5? A second silver is unattractive in your eventual Festival/Library deck, Militia fights with Moneylender for terminal space (as does Vassal early), so Poacher? A fine card that you're happy to have, but are you happy with that plan for hitting $5?

Getting a Festival as your first $5 helps your economy while also making it more attractive to add a second terminal silver. You might want to delay trashing until your economy is at the point where trashing actively improves your economy (i.e., on this board, your chance of hitting $5). So maybe Moneylender/Silver, Festival as your first $5 and Sentry as the second $5, then more Festivals?

... or did I just get burned by a bad experience that was due more to variance and bad luck than the fundamentals I'm trying to point to, and I'm rationalizing it post-hoc? I had a hard time hitting $5 opening Moneylender/Silver.

In any case, I think the general pattern I'm talking about is clear: missing a key price point really hurts and the particular trashing on the board hurts your chances of hitting that price point until you build for a little while, yet you also want to trash. (And the trashing is on the slow side, maybe.) On those boards I think it makes sense to delay trashing. Identifying those boards seems non-obvious. Perhaps non-obvious enough that I failed ;)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 06:54:59 pm by jonaskoelker »
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Awaclus

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Re: Sometimes you don't need to trash right away
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 03:16:39 am »
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You shouldn't have a hard time hitting $5 with Moneylender/Silver. I would buy a Sentry on the first $5 there, it's very crucial to get it as early as possible so that you can actually hit your Estates with it instead of hitting good cards all the time.
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