Sorry for the loooong waiting. I just looked and found out that I've already finished this text, but just didn't post it here. I'm back and here it is.
|#10 Transmute (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 9.98 / Median: 10 / Mode: 10 / Standard Deviation: 0.2|
Highest Rank(s): #9 (1x) / Lowest Rank(s): #10 (29x)
Which guy destroyed out unity? Only one player didn't rank Transmute last. That's the most obvious and consentient rank of all lists.
Why is that card so bad? You need trashers early in the game. For Transmute you need to open Potion. Then you buy a Transmute in turn 3/4 and have your Transmute somewhere between turn 5 and 8! That is really slow. And what's the benefit? You can trash Estates to get Gold, ok that's really nice, but only for the 3 starting Estates and you have to draw them together. If you trash Copper you get another Transmute! Why does anyone want that? And trash actions to get Duchies could only ne nice in the end game, but still make no big difference. You can also trash a Curse, but you won't get anything for that. For a pure trasher it's too slow, for a trash-for-benefit card it's too weak. When do you really want to buy one? Yes, it's better with dual-type cards like Great Hall (for Duchy and Gold) and you can heavily trash for Gold->Transmute->Duchy and try to three-pile, but I think that's just too slow in the most cases. I think the only reason when you want to buy it, if you want that Potion anyway.
|#9 Philosopher's Stone (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 8.65 / Median: 9 / Mode: 9 / Standard Deviation: 1.1|
Highest Rank(s): #5 (1x), #6 (1x), #7 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (19x), #10 (1x)
Two third ranked Philosopher's Stone second last, still no surprise here. It has the second lowest deviation.
With Philosopher's Stone on the board and it is the only Potion cost card, it's often ignorable. And it anti-synergizes with all other Potion cards except for Familiar (with University you get a lot of cards, but mostly to build an engine). With a relative cost of ~5.5$ it's in direct comparism to Gold. This means you need 20 cards and no drawing power. With no +Buy you need 10 turns to achieve this. This is often way too late. This card gets better and better the longer the game lasts. But you want high value treasures early in the game. The only reason going for it, may be in Curse-heavy games where it's obvious you get big decks.
|#8 Possession (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 6.88 / Median: 7.5 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 2.3|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (2x), #3 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (5x)
Possession has the highest deviation of all cards in this list. That shows the range going from first to second last.
Possession seems so powerful, but in reality it isn't. It's just frustating. There's much to say about Possession, but I keep it short. First you have to realize, that it's really the most expensive kingdom card in the game so far as it costs ~8.5$. So, if you want it and it is the only Potion cost card on the board, don't open Potion. And the cost also means it's in direct competition with Province. When you've bought a Possession you mostly could have bought a Province instead. Its high cost makes it stronger in Colony games. When does it shine? Especially in 2-player games when your opponent opens with strong cards like Ambassador or Masquerade, you may look after an opportunity to send good cards (of course especially Provinces and Colonies) to you. With King's Court Possession is just madness. With Council Room or especially Governor you can boost the turn you get from your opponent and may even boost your own turn afterwards if he has them too. When your opponent has strong trash-for-benefit cards like Apprentice, you can even trash Provinces or Colonies to get the benefit. And if he has cards with choices like Envoy you either get stronger benefit or can mess his deck up. And if he has duration cards you can also profit from them. It may seem now that there are many situations where Possession is good. That's true, but still often ignorable because of its slowness.
|#7 University (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 6.43 / Median: 6 / Mode: 6 / Standard Deviation: 1.4|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (1x), #4 (1x), #5 (2x) / Lowest Rank(s): #9 (3x)
University was voted on #6 12 times, so it has a pretty low deviation.
The effect of University is by far not bad. Unlike Workshop you don't need to spend an action to gain a card and you don't get weak $4 cards, you get strong $5 ones. And you are able to play all of them because of the +2 Actions. But, it has the same problem as all Potion cards have. It's very slow. If you go for University and open Potion/X you lose at least one reshuffle to get the critical $5 cards (and you need to get a Potion only to get strong non-Potion cards, what?). You you have to be sure to have enough time to catch up and this really depends if the cards on the board are really so strong that you want as many as you can get. So, it's very board dependant and is really nice with Library, Wharf, City, Torturer and any money producing cantrip. It has only few combination potential with other Potion cards. University/Scrying Pool looks nice but is even slower. Only University/Vineyard is really strong. Beware of 3-piling with University.
|#6 Apothecary (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 5.27 / Median: 5.5 / Mode: 8 / Standard Deviation: 2.1|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (4x) / Lowest Rank(s): #8 (6x), #9 (1x)
Apothecary has the second highest deviation, as many voted it on #2 and on #8 too.
Apothecary seems very weak at first glance because of its profit of Copper. But unlike many other Potion cards it's very strong at the start at getting very strong cards very early in the game. Buy a early Forge and with your next big hand you can get rid of all your Coppers; or get an early King's Court or Goons. Later in the game it's almost never a bad card, because it's at least a cantrip and even if it draws no cards you can set the order of your next cards (basically a Cartographer without the ability to discard). It's also strong if you build your strategy around Copper. Apothecary/Coppersmith can easily net you Provinces. The problem still is, it leaves the junk on top of the deck. With Native Village you can use this as an advantage. With 8 Coppers, a few Apothecaries and at least one Native Village you are able to buy a Province each turn. With no strong 6+ card or no synergizing card on the board, Apothecary often is not worth a Potion.
|#5 Golem (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 4.92 / Median: 5 / Mode: 5 / Standard Deviation: 1.9|
Highest Rank(s): #2 (2x), #3 (6x) / Lowest Rank(s): #8 (3x), #9 (1x)
Golem still has a high deviation and is only 0.4 points above Apothecary. It was voted #5 6 times.
Like Throne Room, Golem's strength heavily depends from the action cards on the board, what makes it hard to rate. But it hasn't the drawback of Throne Room or King's Court to have at least one action card in hand. You can use Golem either in action-heavy decks and may be able to play more of them in your turns even with Curses or Victory cards in your deck. It acts also as a pseudo-village. Just beware of Golem+Trasher because you have to play the drawn action card and you don't want to risk trashing a Province. Or you use it to play your only 1-2 action cards in your deck everytime you play Golem. Counting House+X Golems guarantees to draw all Coppers in hand. Golem+Scheme+strong attack is also very nice because you can play your attack every turn. Even with those cards on board Golem is very expensive with a cost of ~6.5$. Don't fall into the trap to open Potion with Golem being the only Potion card on the board.
|#4 Vineyard (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 4.8 / Median: 4.5 / Mode: 4 / Standard Deviation: 1.5|
Highest Rank(s): #3 (7x) / Lowest Rank(s): #7 (3x), #8 (2x)
It was a close call, but Vineyard managed to beat Golem by 0.12 points. Relatively high consensus for an alternative victory card. It was voted #4 8 times.
Vineyard is another card that heavily depends from the action cards on the board. You definitely want +Buy or at least gainers to get enough action cards to make it worthwhile. +Buy is also better in getting Vineyards, because you don't waant to "waste" $6P for a Vineyard. Beside +Buy and gainers, you definitely need Villages or many catrips to be able to play all of your actions, cheap cantrips like Hamlet or Pawn are very good. Like all alternative VP strategies, you can totally ignore Provinces what gives you more time getting more action cards. Unlika all other Potion cards you can delay buying the Potion until mid-game when you already have a good running engine. It has nearly no practical limit in the max VP you can get from one Vineyard what can make it really strong and often a clearly superior strategy over Provinces.
|#3 Alchemist (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 3.7 / Median: 3 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 1.7|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #6 (1x), #7 (2x)
Alchemist is the second card that managed to get voted on #1. It was voted #2 8 times.
Alchemist is strictly superior to Laboratory and if you have a lot of Alchemists to draw most of your deck, you're almost unstoppable. But how do you get there? First you have to buy Potion and then you have to spend the next turns to buy Alchemists. That's really slow and with no source of +Buy, you aren't able to build up your econmy at the same time. Alchemists are therefore very powerful in Colony games, but often weak in Province games unless you haven't any supporting card. That's the reason Herbalist was added in Alchemy. With Herbalist you're able to put your Potion back and get the needed +Buy. Cards that profit from big handsizes like Bank (if you have the +Buys) are great. Outpost also synergizes perfectly. Beware of opponents playing with Minions or Masquerade.
|#2 Scrying Pool (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 2.9 / Median: 3 / Mode: 2 / Standard Deviation: 1.7|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (3x) / Lowest Rank(s): #6 (1x), #7 (1x), #8 (1x)
With 10 players voting Scrying Pool second and a clear lead over Alchemist it has a deserved second place.
Attacks that mess up the top of your deck are often weak. Scrying Pool is different because of its drawing power. It may draw your whole deck. Buy you mustn't a lot of treasure cards in your deck. Its power is therefore dependant of trasher on the board and action cards that net you money. Secret Chamber/Vault are especially nice, just discard all action cards and keep one Scrying Pool in hand to get a lot of money and draw them again with your Scrying Pool. Attacks that tend to be swingy because of the top card of your opponent, like Jester or Swindler, are gaining value with Scrying Pools, because you can choose which card to keep on top. If those cards are not in the supply, Scrying Pool is just a Spy (with draws sometimes an additional card) and not worth the Potion.
|#1 Familiar (Alchemy) Weighted Average: 1.4 / Median: 1 / Mode: 1 / Standard Deviation: 1.1|
Highest Rank(s): #1 (22x) / Lowest Rank(s): #2 (6x), #4 (1x), #6 (1x)
With the second lowest deviation and over two third voting it first, there's no doubt: Familiar is the strongest Potion card.
Cursing attacks are the strongest cards in the game. A cantrip curser is just ridiculous strong. If you haven't a plan for defense to get no curses at all or easily deal with them (which is very rare), you can't skip over Familiar. What makes Familiar one of the most hated cards is its cost.