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Author Topic: Request: Philosopher's Stone  (Read 17716 times)

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jotheonah

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Request: Philosopher's Stone
« on: April 28, 2012, 07:44:47 pm »
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Here is a card I just can't figure out: It seems to be a paradox.

In order for the card to be an exceptional treasure (sufficient to make up for it's opportunity cost) you have to have a large (probably bloated) deck.  But if you have that giant deck, then you'll rarely see your Philosopher's Stones. It seems like in the cases where the card is good, your deck is not optimized to take advantage of it.

It seems fundamentally different from Gardens, where your only objectives are to get the lion's share of the Gardens and to then end the game in a hurry with the biggest deck you can manage. So the fact that, by the end, that deck isn't that great is not too important.  But with P-stones there's another step, one where you actually have to buy some Provinces or something.

So, anybody think they have P-Stones figured out?
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ehunt

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 07:49:53 pm »
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I don't. Here I get murdered by quasi's p-stones:
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111213-103600-d7fef5f6.html

One card that combos well with p-stones is jester. It also defends well against Jester. Of course, you're very angry if your opponent steals your p-stone, but life lends itself to rage. I think in general you're safe to ignore p-stone. Except in that game above.
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ehunt

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 07:51:43 pm »
+1

Also, as a wise man once said:

fool's golds spread out and p-stones clump

if you're going for p-stones, you'd better expect some hands with 3 p-stones, a billion money, and only one buy.
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DG

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 08:24:36 pm »
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Quote
In order for the card to be an exceptional treasure (sufficient to make up for it's opportunity cost) you have to have a large (probably bloated) deck.  But if you have that giant deck, then you'll rarely see your Philosopher's Stones. It seems like in the cases where the card is good, your deck is not optimized to take advantage of it.

This is true. However given that you have a large bloated deck then buying a platinum or bank instead isn't going to be any better since you'll not draw that any more often. Increasing deck size is a factor though in buying the philosopher's stones. Big decks do not usually cycle fast enough to let you buy that many stones from each potion, making the opportunity cost of buying the potion comparatively high. This makes the timing of potion purchases very important.

On the other hand, if you already have the potion in your deck then there is a great opportunity to gain a high value treasure without building up a treasure base. This would be particularly true in familiar games where it can be very difficult to build a conventional economy, potions are already in the deck, and the deck size is increased through cursing.
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dondon151

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 08:27:01 pm »
+1

Herbalist is also a good complement for Philosopher's Stone.

I'd also say it's an adequate counter to Ambassador, but you'd need to count on your opponent not to have a roaring engine.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:34:58 pm by dondon151 »
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ednever

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 10:13:55 pm »
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Good facilitators:
Other potion cards (since then it only costs $3 and is quickly worth a gold)
Herbalist (so you can play it twice)
Sifters (get to it faster)
"put buy on top of deck" (royal seal, watchtower)
Discard for... (vault, etc - to get your hand back into discard)

I've only used it really successfully once, so I would love to learn better techniques

Ed
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 10:22:13 pm »
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Basically, it's not very good.
Herbalist is quite a strong combo with it, always use the buys, get lots of them quickly by returning the potion, make them strong late by returning them.
It's good with familiar too - your deck is bloated, the game is long, your deck is weak, and you already have the potion.
But to make it worth it, you need the opportunity cost of the potion to be worth it, which means you need some way that makes the game really long and affords you the time to buy the potions and the stones.
In fact, it's not that great with most of the other alchemy cards, because they tend to work best when you're drawing a lot of stuff!
Um, what else? Sifters are good, but usually you don't have time for them.
I guess it's halfway decent against mountebank? But when do you have time to buy it in a mountebank game?
The ambassador issue... well, if you're doing this as a counter, you want to buy duchies a lot sooner than you otherwise would. Actually this is probably true in general for p-stone. But it's not a very good counter, just because, well, you don't get to play it very much. Usually, if it works as a counter, silvers would also have worked.

dondon151

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 10:37:49 pm »
+1

I can also imagine that a couple of Philosopher's Stones would be excellent in a multiplayer game with cursing or other attacks that give you junk.
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jotheonah

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 11:01:11 pm »
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What about Hunting Party? Get lots of Hunting Parties, your starting cards, Potions, and P-Stones. And then you can buy Estates and Coppers like crazy ...

Actually I don't see this working at all.
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Razzishi

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 11:18:59 pm »
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I won't say Philosopher's Stone is a great all-around card, but there are some instances where it can be practically the only way to buy Provinces.  I ignore it on most boards and probably buy it too much, but I tend to jump on it if there's cursing with no trashing and no way to end the game quickly.
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O

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2012, 01:09:38 am »
+1

Is there:

A) Familiar
or
B) Herbalist?

If Yes: Pstones may be for you!!!
If No: Pstones are almost certainly not for you!!!
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qmech

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2012, 07:55:55 am »
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Here's a game featuring Ambassador, Herbalist and Philosopher's Stone.  There isn't anything exciting to do with a small deck, so "ignoring" Ambassador is a reasonable move.  That said, I do open Ambassador/Silver, with my opponent opting for double Ambassador.  I never return anything to the supply, but liked Ambassador as a feint so that my opponent was reasonably committed once I started picking up Potions (it was also the Bane, but an early Young Witch would be a strange move in the presence of Ambassador regardless).  I'm not sure there are any other cards you can do this with (not wishing to exclude the possibility that you can't sensibly do it with Ambassador!).

Philosopher's Stone can also be quite good in long multi-player games, although looking through my logs it seems I've generally done better by ignoring it.
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shark_bait

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2012, 08:56:16 am »
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You can also consider purchasing Philosopher's Stone in ugly colony games.  Colony games in general are longer giving you more time to increase the value of the Stone.  With an ugly card present like Witch or Mountebank, getting up to Colony can be downright challenging.  While in most cases, a province rush will win those types of games, the Philosopher's Stone is the card to have in order to go for Colonies.
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AJD

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2012, 09:06:45 am »
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I've found Philosopher's Stone can be good in combination with Goons (and no villages), for the <a href="http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1141.0">same reason Apothecary is</a>: you're rewarded twice for using up your extra buys, since each buy both grants you a VP pellet and boosts the value of your Philosopher's Stones.
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elephantdog

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2012, 10:54:36 am »
+1

Because of the expense of Philosopher's stone it's important to assess whether each philosopher's stone will be worth 6, 7 or 8 by the end of the game, and whether it can beat out a potential +cards/actions/buys engine, if there is one on the board. Most attacks actually help the philosopher's stone:

-Attacks that make you discard will help, since they might bump the total cards in your deck/discard pile and make the P-stones worth 1 more.

-Attacks that give cards are great. Every time torturer comes up, take a curse. Mountebank will give you cards even after the curses run out. Even the sea hag isn't such a big deal, if you've got enough silvers and potions.

-Deck inspection attacks don't usually make much of a difference, since by late game your deck will be filled with a lot of junk.

The best times to go for a philosopher's stone (in my opinion, of course) is when there's no engine that can help you draw your whole deck or even one that can give you a lot of extra buys, but there are cards out there that will help inflate your deck. If I see a lot of curse giving, heavy attack cards on the board with Philosopher's stone, it just makes me all the happier because my opponents almost always go for the attacks and by the end of the game it doesn't matter if I have 4 curses and a philosopher's stone in my hand. That stone is worth $8 and I can buy the province.

That being said, I don't know how well a philosopher's stone would work in Colony games. I'm not sure I've ever tried it and I've never gotten a single philosopher's stone up to $11. But I suspect that a game in which philosopher's stone works best is more of a 3 pile ending game than a last colony/province ending game.
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Robz888

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2012, 01:01:46 pm »
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Philosopher's Stone is decent with Ill-Gotten Gains. You are gaining so many Copper that having a sufficiently large deck for PS isn't a problem. Sure, you won't get to play your PS very often but it basically just becomes an automatic Province buy whenever you do have it--and buying Provinces can be tough with IGGs, as you usually end up just aiming for Duchies.
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Davio

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2012, 01:55:01 pm »
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Would some combination of Golem and PS be viable?

Golem costs a Potion too, so you have a little more use out of it than just for the PS.
Then you can use the old trick of just having Golem and maybe one other action card (an attack possibly) to cycle your deck and have everything in discard.

Of course, you can even use Golem+Chancellor or a single Chancellor, but having the Potion for just the PS seems like a waste to me.
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qmech

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2012, 02:50:55 pm »
+1

Philosopher's Stone counts cards in deck and discard pile, so Golem is a slight anti-synergy.
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ecq

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 08:41:48 pm »
+1

Philosopher's Stone is decent with Ill-Gotten Gains. You are gaining so many Copper that having a sufficiently large deck for PS isn't a problem. Sure, you won't get to play your PS very often but it basically just becomes an automatic Province buy whenever you do have it--and buying Provinces can be tough with IGGs, as you usually end up just aiming for Duchies.

The problem is that any time you see $3p, you could have bought an IGG or Duchy instead (if you bought a Silver instead of a Potion).  My gut says this would lose the split pretty badly and that the Potion would start feeling more like an additional Curse by the end of the game.  I'm not sure how much the possibility of buying Provinces makes up for that.
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Robz888

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 08:54:27 pm »
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Philosopher's Stone is decent with Ill-Gotten Gains. You are gaining so many Copper that having a sufficiently large deck for PS isn't a problem. Sure, you won't get to play your PS very often but it basically just becomes an automatic Province buy whenever you do have it--and buying Provinces can be tough with IGGs, as you usually end up just aiming for Duchies.

The problem is that any time you see $3p, you could have bought an IGG or Duchy instead (if you bought a Silver instead of a Potion).  My gut says this would lose the split pretty badly and that the Potion would start feeling more like an additional Curse by the end of the game.  I'm not sure how much the possibility of buying Provinces makes up for that.

Yeah, well, I don't think PStone with IGGs are by any means dominating. But anyway, I don't mind losing the IGG split if I have a better way to get points than my opponent. Well, if you get horribly crushed by Cursing, than its impossible to do that, but it's worth falling behind in the IGG rush to pick up cards that will help you eek out badly needed Provinces--like Expand, Salvager... and I suspect, PStone. But maybe not.
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ecq

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 11:03:08 am »
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Yeah, well, I don't think PStone with IGGs are by any means dominating. But anyway, I don't mind losing the IGG split if I have a better way to get points than my opponent. Well, if you get horribly crushed by Cursing, than its impossible to do that, but it's worth falling behind in the IGG rush to pick up cards that will help you eek out badly needed Provinces--like Expand, Salvager... and I suspect, PStone. But maybe not.

The problem is that in an IGG rush, you usually have no reliable +buy, so every card you acquire costs 1 turn.  Buying the Potion costs a turn.  Every PStone costs a turn.  If somehow you're unlucky and end up with $2p, that costs a turn, too.  If you don't want to spend a turn buying a PStone at the moment, you're stuck with a dead card in-hand, which hurts when your average money per hand is low to begin with.  The last thing you want to see is $4p when you're racing for Duchies.

The cards that are good to pick up in an IGG rush tend to be ones that let you get more than one card out of a turn.  Salvager and Expand both let you gain an additional card when they're played and make use of relatively weak IGGs in-hand.  PStone is the opposite.  It costs more than one turn to acquire and still only affords you one card per hand.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2012, 11:39:57 am »
+3

The single biggest factors I've seen make worth it are, in order:
1. Some other reason to get the potion. Familiar and Golem are the two biggest ones here; Apothecary, University, and transmute can also enter into calculations (or even apprentice), but are rarely enough on their own. Potions mean you get to play your PStones a shuffle later AND that you don't get whatever benefit comes from the 5 coin cards for a while. You really need the potion route to be very strong to go it. Also, having the ability remodel, governor, etc. an apothecary to a PStone or the like makes it easier to acquire late game P.Stones or to swap them to more useful cards.
2. Herbalist. This combo just works. Herbalists are cheap and P.stones get strong. Playing them 2 or 3x as often and having a +buy makes for strong VP gain.
3. Colonies. Colony games reward you more for playing the long game. Being able to buy colonies off a single P.Stone late game is very strong.
4. Smoothers. Haven, courtyard, and mandarin all let you save P.stones (or other treasure) for a turn where you really need it. Mandarin works both to double play P.Stones when buying (have P.stone worth 5, buy mandarin, top deck P.Stone) and to send back coins that aren't needed in the late game. Breaking up the clumping can be pretty big.
5. Junk hands/decks. P.stones can work out well as defenses against a wide variety of attacks. Say you are getting hit with curses (from a young witch), swindles, and a ghost ship in a four player game. Pstones are mostly invulnerable to the swindler, they make some use of the curses (and like YW's sifting), and are powerful enough to hit province with just 3 card hands. The more types of attacks being thrown around (minus thief type attacks), the better P.Stone becomes. However, in 2er the opportunity cost of not getting in on the attacks yourself is very high.
6. Adventurer/venture. These conflict a good bit as you need to clear out the copper to really make it viable, but for some limited setups it can be viable. Something like remodel/decent 2 coin card/P stone/venture can hit a province every turn even if you are getting hit with curses from followers (or another late game curse giver like something out of the BM deck or IW/masq); any source of +buy can also allow you to tuck away a few tie breaking estates as well.
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Davio

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2012, 11:54:25 am »
+1

Philosopher's Stone counts cards in deck and discard pile, so Golem is a slight anti-synergy.
Hmm, I guess my understanding of the sentence "per 5 cards between them" was off. I thought it would be worth more when there is a greater spread.  ???
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ecq

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2012, 12:11:18 pm »
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6. Adventurer/venture. These conflict a good bit as you need to clear out the copper to really make it viable, but for some limited setups it can be viable. Something like remodel/decent 2 coin card/P stone/venture can hit a province every turn even if you are getting hit with curses from followers (or another late game curse giver like something out of the BM deck or IW/masq); any source of +buy can also allow you to tuck away a few tie breaking estates as well.

+1 for the rest of the list, but I'm not sure I understand this last one.  I would think Venture conflicts pretty badly with PStone.   With Venture, you like lean decks, and you really like it when a good percentage of your treasures are Ventures.  The ideal is to play a Venture, causing other Ventures to be played.  PStone likes bloated decks and doesn't like having lots of cards in play, since those cards reduce the deck + discard count.  Also, it seems like the Potion would end up getting in the way of Venture a little.

The up-side is that Venture will play the Potion more often, so you get the chance to acquire more PStones.  I'm not sure whether or not that makes up for the conflict.
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pauley_walnuts

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Re: Request: Philosopher's Stone
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2012, 02:58:33 pm »
0

Can Oasis be an enabler for P-Stone?

I feel that you don't necessarily have to have a bloated deck to get benefits from the P-Stone since it is supplemented by the +$1 from the Oasis.
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