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Author Topic: Menagerie Hot Takes  (Read 6972 times)

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segura

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2020, 05:11:07 am »
+1

The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.
I basically disagree with everything here. Otter is absolutely essential in Kingdoms without draw, Mule deals very well with terminal collision, Monkey is also essential if there is no extra Buy (it can literally make an engine viable) and Horse is an obvious way to get of unneeded Actions or use cheap Actions as one shots.
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mxdata

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2020, 02:23:52 pm »
0

The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.
I basically disagree with everything here. Otter is absolutely essential in Kingdoms without draw, Mule deals very well with terminal collision, Monkey is also essential if there is no extra Buy (it can literally make an engine viable) and Horse is an obvious way to get of unneeded Actions or use cheap Actions as one shots.

Yeah, Horse is especially useful for cards with a good on-gain effect that aren't useful in your hand.  Flag Bearer, for example, basically becomes equivalent to "gain a Horse and the Flag for $4".  And it's amazing when you have Ruins in the game and a source of extra buys - pick up free Horses with those extra buys!  It also really messes up Cultist and Marauder's attacks.  Giving your opponents a free Horse isn't exactly a devastating attack to put it mildly

Way of the Worm is interesting with Shelters games.  You typically don't need Necropolis' +2 Actions your first few turns, so you're basically just Exiling an Estate every turn you get your Necropolis in your hand in the early game.  Games I've had with Shelters and Worm end up emptying the Estates pile rather quickly
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Titandrake

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2020, 07:13:09 pm »
0

To clarify, by "I have never played with this" for Mule, I mean I've never had a game with it, not that it's bad. I think it's pretty good as a backup option.

I think it's rare that you have a kingdom with no draw these days - it's been a while since I played a Village-Moat engine and that is basically what Otter boards are. Similarly I think that boards where Monkey are the only +Buy are not that common, if it's the only +buy then of course it's more important to thin kabout.

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segura

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2020, 03:42:07 am »
0

I have recently played a Colony game with Oracle. Colony, as in Platinum is fairly dominating. Yet Oracle was absolutely essential to win.
So I find the notion that cards that net draw only 1 card are somehow bad or wrong for engine play quite dubious.

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Titandrake

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2020, 09:02:00 pm »
+1

I have recently played a Colony game with Oracle. Colony, as in Platinum is fairly dominating. Yet Oracle was absolutely essential to win.
So I find the notion that cards that net draw only 1 card are somehow bad or wrong for engine play quite dubious.

When did I ever say that?

Quote
Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

I'm not sure if you think this, but we don't disagree that you can build an engine out of +2 Cards. Nor do we disagree that doing so can be the right play. Nor have I ever claimed that playing with a +2 Cards action is bad or wrong for engine play. I'm saying

1. That it isn't where you want to be, but sometimes you have to if the board has nothing else.
2. It isn't very common that the board has nothing else.
3. Therefore it isn't that common that you have to use Otter for draw.

And based on how you're arguing, I think you misunderstood my position.
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segura

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2020, 12:56:31 am »
0

You claimed that Kingdoms without Smithy variants are rare and that does not match my experience.
Otter is pretty brilliant precisely because the presence of draw or no draw changes the entire Kingdom. It is thus a far more significant Way than many others.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 12:58:06 am by segura »
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Jonatan Djurachkovitch

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2020, 05:14:28 am »
+3

(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

I once played a game with Gatekeeper and Tournament and it was really frustrating getting my Princess in exile, especially since I didn't notice it at first. Still pretty funny thematically; bribing the city guards to put the princess herself into exile!?
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ipofanes

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2020, 06:03:36 am »
0

Mini-Harem wouldn't be worth existing.

Pasture looking sad.
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ipofanes

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2020, 06:09:28 am »
+1

To clarify, by "I have never played with this" for Mule, I mean I've never had a game with it, not that it's bad. I think it's pretty good as a backup option.

Mule, as a Vault with a flexible ceiling, quite nicely enhances cards like Diplomat, Shanty Town, Horn of Plenty, Menagerie the card, Draw-to-X, and in general encourages taking the risk of terminal collisions. It's one of  my walked most often Ways.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 06:32:07 am by ipofanes »
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LastFootnote

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2020, 11:18:07 am »
+4

faust, if it makes you feel any better, I was right there with you, complaining about Sanctuary during testing. But uh, like Donald X. said, most games don't have it, and it provides a novel experience. And at the level I play at (54-ish), most games with it don't have golden decks. So I've come around on it, and enjoy using it to do what it does.

By contrast, I never complained about Bounty Hunter and Displace being able to exile Provinces, since you're sacrificing more in order to make that happen. In fact I believe I was one of Bounty Hunter's biggest cheerleaders ever since it was introduced in Renaissance testing and the Exile mat was the Cell mat.
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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2020, 03:19:17 pm »
+1

(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

I once played a game with Gatekeeper and Tournament and it was really frustrating getting my Princess in exile, especially since I didn't notice it at first. Still pretty funny thematically; bribing the city guards to put the princess herself into exile!?
Viva la revolucion!
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Titandrake

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2021, 12:53:10 am »
+1

I figured I would revisit this to correct some of the worse comments I made.

Quote
In general, "Gain X Horses" can be treated as "+X cards" for power level.

Horses are better than +X cards. The benefit of saving extra Horses makes up for the 1 shuffle delay in getting your draw.

Quote
Stockpile is insane, especially in 2 player. I'm still not sure how to play it, all I know is that if you play against someone who skips it you tend to win. My suspicion is that early on, you want to get all your Stockpiles off the mat before your reshuffle, but after you get a few, you only want some in the reshuffle.

Stockpile is still insane. I also still have no idea idea how to play it, but your goal is much closer to trying to get all your Stockpiles into the shuffle.

Quote
Cavalry's top portion is kinda eh. Its bottom portion is insane. Quite nice with trash-for-benefit.

Still true but I don't think I conveyed how good the on-buy effect is. It's really good. $4 and 0 net buys is a low price for getting to try to save your turn by drawing a card you need, or shuffling in cards you just bought. And the top half of 2 Horses isn't as bad as I thought it was. In Cavalry games, you tend to be overterminaled because you buy Cavs to rescue your turn, but another way to put it is that you will always use up your available actions and those actions will, at worst, turn into 2 Horses each when you play your leftover Cavs.

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Groom is great with Alt-VP rushes, and even outside Alt-VP rushes, Horse gains on your actions is good, and double Silver gains for money decks isn't bad either. In engine games it's already worth opening Workshop to gain $4 cost actions, Groom is the same thing except you get Horses along the way.

Understates how good Groom + alt-VP is. It's not just good, it's centralizing. It's almost disgusting how fast mass Grooms can empty the Estate pile, or itself. Given 1 Groom + 1 Horse in hand, and an empty draw + discard pile, you can do Groom -> gain Groom + Horse -> play Horse, which loops, converting 1 action into 1 Groom gain. It's a very easy setup that makes it possible to end games out of nowhere.

Quote
Barge should usually be played for your current turn, but if it's your last action and you have a decent buy in your current hand, playing for next turn is nice.

I think that if Barge is your last action, you should default to playing it as duration and be looking for reasons why you want to play it this turn instead (normally the answer is that you really want the +Buy).

Quote
Similarly, Wayfarer is insane - it's arguably the strongest in the set. (Or at least, if you argue it is, you won't be laughed out of the room.)

Hahahahaha no if you argue Wayfarer is the strongest card in Menagerie, you'll be laughed out of the room. I blame playing too many Wayfarer-Counterfeit games at the time of writing. In terms of power, Cavalry, Stockpile, Groom is a clear top 3, and then Wayfarer vs Scrap are competing for 4th and 5th.
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segura

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2021, 04:36:37 am »
+2

Horses are not better, or worse, than drawing immediately. Paddock is the natural example: once the card is nonterminal the disadvantage of not drawing immediately sharply increases.
Horses also partly rely on intra-expansion synergies, Mastermind being the most obvious one.
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anordinaryman

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Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2021, 04:55:48 pm »
+4

My hot take is that Menagerie is one of the most fun expansions. Horses are dang fun to gain and play. Playing actions outside of the action phase feels kind of naughty and it's very fun, as does buying cards for cheaper/alternate costs it feels like you're getting away with something.

Exile is fun too, though not as immediately gripping as the other themes I've mentioned.
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