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Author Topic: The Church/Church opening  (Read 1751 times)

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  • Mountebank
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The Church/Church opening
« on: September 24, 2020, 05:04:07 pm »

This is an opening that's getting popular, which I like, but people haven't really talked about it yet.

The idea: Open Church/Church. Hope you draw a Church turn 3. Set aside a bunch of Coppers on turn 3, buying nothing, then buy a $5 cost on turn 4. If you draw a Church turn 3, you are almost 100% guaranteed to have 5 Coppers on turn 4, and will usually be able to trash an Estate as well.

It's good when: there is a $5 cost you'd really like in your deck by the end of the 2nd shuffle.

It's less good when: there is some other $3 or $4 cost you also really want early. Your expectation should be that you spend your 2nd shuffle trashing 1 Estate and buying a $5 cost. If there's an alternative card that will do more than 1 Estate trash while giving you good $5 cost odds, it'll be better.

The deceptively powerful parts: If you draw a Church turn 4, you can set aside any extra cards you don't need and they'll miss the shuffle, letting you draw and play your $5 cost faster.

Let's show a few scenarios to show how this thinner shuffle can be good.

If you draw one Church turn 3 and one Church turn 4, it's not too rare to trash an Estate, then set aside 2 cards on your turn 4 (Estate + Copper). That gives a 9 card shuffle (1 Church, the $5 cost, 1 Estate, 6 Copper, with 1 Estate trashed, and Church + Estate + Copper all set aside). If you then draw the $5 cost in your first hand of the 9 card shuffle, it'll get reshuffled at the end of that turn, you get small chances of high-rolling redrawing the $5 cost.

If you draw both Churches turn 3, you set aside your entire hand, then get 2 trashes and a $5 cost.

If you draw both Churches turn 4, you will likely miss $5. However, you can set aside your entire turn 4 hand, and your shuffle will be 6 cards (your turn 3 hand + turn 3 buy, with 2 Churches and your entire turn 4 hand set aside). You then will almost 100% hit $5 on turn 5, and that $5 cost will get shuffled in right away thanks to how thin your deck is.

In short: the open is best if you draw a Church turn 3, which is pretty common given you opened 2 Churches. If you don't do that, but draw a Church turn 4, it isn't that bad of a fail case. And if you don't draw any Churches on turn 3 or turn 4, then you sombrero-ed, which is very uncommon, and can't be played around anyways.
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Re: The Church/Church opening
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2020, 05:13:46 pm »

A nice side effect of church is shrinking the size of reshuffles, which is a huge boost to momentum early.

In the old days, people would avoid opening cards like Warehouse because it "causes missed shuffles". This is actually quite silly - causing a shuffle of just 4-5 cards is often a good thing. You accelerate your deck even more than the draw power of the card alone would imply by making your Coppers and Estates miss the next hand. Dungeon is so good in large part because it takes this concept to the extreme, causing a "short shuffle" essentially every turn in the early game.

Church does much the same thing, just to a lesser extent and a turn later, with the added benefit of never making a good card miss. Taking 3 cards out of the shuffle has very obvious benefits throughout the game. With two you do this every shuffle, making it 3/5 of a turn faster to get your new $5 card. Opening double Church into like Mountebank or something is very strong for this reason.
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