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Qvist

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The Best Dominion Cards List 2012 Ed.1: Potion cost cards
« on: May 03, 2012, 08:35:05 am »
+8

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.

The Best Potion Cost Cards
#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.

To the favourite cards
To the Edition 2
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:26:56 am by Qvist »
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WanderingWinder

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 08:48:45 am »
+3

Alchemist absurdly overrated, no shock there.
I guess other than this, it's not so terrible. I would point out that familiar is the cursing attack which is directly a cursing attack that you can probably skip most often, without any kind of defensive plan to stop the curses any more than 'get a big lead before they're much of an issue'. You can also defend against it with trashing more than most other cursers, just because you get time to do so. Of course, that's not to say that you can ignore it often, at least without other curse-givers around.

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 10:51:59 am »
0

It occurs to me that besides Familiar, Golem is another potion-cost card that Philosopher's Stone synergizes with, both being less effective in decks with heavy draw.  Anyway, I agree with WW:  move Alchemist down to either side of University, and this list looks just about right.  The Apothecary/Golem pair is a close-call, so the fact that the ratings themselves were close is the takeaway there, not which one wound up edging out the other.

It's kind of neat how strongly some of the Alchemy cards are tied to each other.  More than any other set, there seem to be intentionally fabricated combos you're meant to use:  Alchemist/Herbalist, University/Vineyard, and University/Scrying Pool are as perfect for each other as Dominion cards can be.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 10:55:01 am »
0

I wouldn't consider University/Scrying Pool a combo, as on boards where a Scrying Pool strategy is viable, Scrying Pool/Scrying Pool will tend to be the better combo. I mean, maybe you throw in a University at some point, but mostly it's just in the way of buying more Scrying Pools.
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ecq

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 11:16:20 am »
+1

More important than the list itself, thanks for finishing it, and I'm glad to see you're around.  People were starting to worry.
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cherdano

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 11:54:19 am »
0

I am surprised University is ranked so low. It seems a great card whenever there are 2+ power $5 cards and you can use the village effect - this isn't that rare. Am I overrating it?
With University as the only potion card, I would buy a potion much more often than with Golem as the only potion card.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 11:56:42 am »
+3

I am surprised University is ranked so low. It seems a great card whenever there are 2+ power $5 cards and you can use the village effect - this isn't that rare. Am I overrating it?
With University as the only potion card, I would buy a potion much more often than with Golem as the only potion card.
Yeah. Thing is, it's slooooow. Because you have to take time to buy the potion, then time to buy the university, and only then can you start to grab actions. Whereas if you just buy silvers, you're probably getting to those power 5 cards a lot faster. Now, eventually you grab more than them. But in the meantime, they're building up a big advantage. So you really need those lots of actions to be very much more powerful than just a few.

ecq

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 12:09:29 pm »
0

I am surprised University is ranked so low. It seems a great card whenever there are 2+ power $5 cards and you can use the village effect - this isn't that rare. Am I overrating it?
With University as the only potion card, I would buy a potion much more often than with Golem as the only potion card.
Yeah. Thing is, it's slooooow. Because you have to take time to buy the potion, then time to buy the university, and only then can you start to grab actions. Whereas if you just buy silvers, you're probably getting to those power 5 cards a lot faster. Now, eventually you grab more than them. But in the meantime, they're building up a big advantage. So you really need those lots of actions to be very much more powerful than just a few.

When some of those power $5 cards are terminal, the non-University player would need to be buying villages in addition to Silver.  Further, the treasures would tend to make it harder to line up +actions with terminals.  Any time action density is a consideration (this, plus Conspirator, Scrying Pool, KC, ...), University seems like the better bet.

Also, whenever action card gain is useful in and of itself.  University + Apprentice is a powerhouse in most kingdoms, as is University + Vineyards.  University also gives a little more control over the end-game.  If you have a few of them, you're more able to pile out when it's advantageous.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 12:14:10 pm »
0

I am surprised University is ranked so low. It seems a great card whenever there are 2+ power $5 cards and you can use the village effect - this isn't that rare. Am I overrating it?
With University as the only potion card, I would buy a potion much more often than with Golem as the only potion card.
Yeah. Thing is, it's slooooow. Because you have to take time to buy the potion, then time to buy the university, and only then can you start to grab actions. Whereas if you just buy silvers, you're probably getting to those power 5 cards a lot faster. Now, eventually you grab more than them. But in the meantime, they're building up a big advantage. So you really need those lots of actions to be very much more powerful than just a few.

When some of those power $5 cards are terminal, the non-University player would need to be buying villages in addition to Silver.  Further, the treasures would tend to make it harder to line up +actions with terminals.  Any time action density is a consideration (this, plus Conspirator, Scrying Pool, KC, ...), University seems like the better bet.

Also, whenever action card gain is useful in and of itself.  University + Apprentice is a powerhouse in most kingdoms, as is University + Vineyards.  University also gives a little more control over the end-game.  If you have a few of them, you're more able to pile out when it's advantageous.
Sure. I very much agree with everything you're saying, except your first sentence. Because univs are pretty weak as villages, and for a LOT of terminals, particularly if you only get a few anyway, you just don't need villages, don't need to chain.

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 12:35:51 pm »
0

This is the only list I'm in almost complete agreement with. I'd move alchemist down, but maybe still above university (difference: each card is a trap on many boards, maybe roughly the same percentage. But when university is a trap, you just lose if you open potion; you might get lucky with alchemists.)
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 12:36:55 pm »
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I'm pretty sure that I was the combo-breaker that ranked Philosopher's Stone last instead of Transmute.

And I stand by that assessment.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 12:47:40 pm »
+1

For my money, Alchemist is just barely better than Possession. The rest of the list I agree with, except maybe switching Golem and Vineyards, but hey, they are close.

But seriously, why do people swoon over Alchemist? "Okay, now that those first 9 or 10 turns are out of the way, I am ready for green, and drawing my whole deck! Yes, I drew my whole deck a second time. And... oops, didn't draw Potion, that's over with. And I'm 2 Provinces behind."
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 12:51:12 pm »
0

I'm pretty sure that I was the combo-breaker that ranked Philosopher's Stone last instead of Transmute.

And I stand by that assessment.

I am what passes for a Philosopher's Stone apologist I guess, but I have to admit I was mostly wrong about it combo-ing with IGGs in a different thread. But, it's better than Transmute! That's just crazy talk.
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jsh357

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2012, 12:55:50 pm »
0

Alchemist
For my money, Alchemist is just barely better than Possession. The rest of the list I agree with, except maybe switching Golem and Vineyards, but hey, they are close.

But seriously, why do people swoon over Alchemist? "Okay, now that those first 9 or 10 turns are out of the way, I am ready for green, and drawing my whole deck! Yes, I drew my whole deck a second time. And... oops, didn't draw Potion, that's over with. And I'm 2 Provinces behind."

Alchemist stacks are popular because they're the most obvious engine in the game. (All the components are written on the card, setting up's a no-brainer, etc)  I am divided on making fun of them because I feel like I've lost to Alchemist strategies a lot, but on the other hand, it's my #10 "Win Given available" on CR so I guess I can.

I used to love the card when I had just started playing, but I realized that it wasn't paying off so much and have avoided going Alchemist a lot since.  It's a good support card, though, especially if it's not the only Potion cost card in the Kingdom.

I would personally not rate it above Vineyard or Golem and maybe not even Apothecary.  Otherwise, I'm in decent agreement with this list.

On that note... I wonder if it would be fun to do sort of a card "book club," like have a thread discussing/rating a card going once a week?  Maybe see how its results compare to Qvist's in the end.  I love stuff like that, though I'm sure it's not for everyone.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 12:59:56 pm by jsh357 »
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O

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2012, 01:00:34 pm »
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I would argue that Possession is underranked considerably. Yes, it's ignorable a large percentage of games. But is it really more ignorable than Golem or Alchemist (which is clearly overranked.)

I'd say I probably pick up a possession in a higher percentage of games in which it is in than Golem.. I probably pick it up about as frequently as alchemist.

Also, Vineyards is overranked a bit. It's a viable strategy a good deal less often than Apothecary or University.

Finally, I'd say University > Golem. You need two good, relatively spammable 4s/5s and a lengthened game (Alt VP, VP tokens or Colonies) to make university worth it. You need a bit more to make golem a smart buy.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 01:19:01 pm »
0

Looking back, I discover that I was one of the benighted souls who ranked Alchemist #3.  What in the world was I thinking?  It's a nice card but definitely not as good as Apothecary, Vineyard, and Golem.

I love Apothecary more and more every day.  It's probably not quite as good as Vineyard, but I enjoy playing with it a lot more. 

I have never gotten the hang of Golem.  It is clearly a good card, but I can't figure out how to play it.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2012, 01:44:47 pm »
0

I'm pretty sure that I was the combo-breaker that ranked Philosopher's Stone last instead of Transmute.

What puts Philosopher's Stone above Transmute in my mind is that there are (albeit few) cards that Philosopher's Stone has good synergy with and it can potentially be an effective counter to certain strategies, whereas Transmute is just bad in general. There are no effective strategies off the top of my head that rely on Transmute, and the only time that I see players make effective use of them is when there's another potion cost card in the kingdom and curses being flung around.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2012, 01:53:56 pm »
+1

Also, Vineyards is overranked a bit. It's a viable strategy a good deal less often than Apothecary or University.

I disagree. Vineyards are a semi-viable strategy or nice late-game pickup on at least 65% of the boards that I see and the crushingly dominant strategy on maybe 20-30 (you just need hamlet, or herbalist, or transmute, or worker's village, or any gainer, or...). Apothecary is nice on even more boards but dominant on far fewer; that one is a toss-up. University is a trap on at least 50% of boards, i.e. the person who buys university loses, which you can't say about the other two cards; admittedly it is quite dominant with torturer, watchtower, and library.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2012, 02:15:32 pm »
+2

Okay, this is convincing me it's time to get off my rear and write that article on Transmute I've been knocking around in my head for a while. 

It's not a good card, and it's almost never a star, but it's viable way more often than people realize.  My stats certainly seem to indicate that I do much better with it than with PStones: buy 21% rather than 14%; equal win rate win or lose (1.24/1.24) rather than doing much worse with Stones (1.10/1.20).  Transmute is my fourth highest "Effect With" and I very much enjoy surprising my opponents by getting effective use out of it.

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 02:26:34 pm by chwhite »
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blueblimp

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2012, 02:25:17 pm »
0

It occurs to me that besides Familiar, Golem is another potion-cost card that Philosopher's Stone synergizes with, both being less effective in decks with heavy draw.  Anyway, I agree with WW:  move Alchemist down to either side of University, and this list looks just about right.  The Apothecary/Golem pair is a close-call, so the fact that the ratings themselves were close is the takeaway there, not which one wound up edging out the other.

It's kind of neat how strongly some of the Alchemy cards are tied to each other.  More than any other set, there seem to be intentionally fabricated combos you're meant to use:  Alchemist/Herbalist, University/Vineyard, and University/Scrying Pool are as perfect for each other as Dominion cards can be.

And don't forget Herbalist/PStone. PStone is usually really bad, but Herbalist is so tailor-made to combo with it that the combo is strong. (Top-deck the Potions to buy more PStones. Bloat your deck with buys. Top-deck the PStones later. Use the +buys to mitigate multi-PStone hands.)
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ecq

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2012, 02:26:29 pm »
0

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.
Link

I assume that's the one?  "Crushed" is a strong word, but interesting game nonetheless.
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chwhite

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2012, 02:27:55 pm »
0

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.
Link

I assume that's the one?  "Crushed" is a strong word, but interesting game nonetheless.

It felt more lopsided than the final score was.  This may be because I'm usually the player going for Vineyards and Transmutes instead (though I don't actually combine the two often), and I was feeling the impending dread of being beaten at my own game. :P
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ehunt

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2012, 02:42:21 pm »
+4

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.

This clever gambit has forced me into the position of either having to admit that my win was undeserved or lose my fondest Dominion argument: transmute is the worst card in the game. Well played.

On principle, I choose the latter: chwhite's strategy is better, would certainly have won if I hadn't split 5/2, and should have won anyway except for some very unfortunate tactician luck.

My actual decision-making process went like this: "OK, vineyards, are they viable? Not really, no +buy except tactician, and I guess pseudo +buy from transmute, but that can't be right. Well, whatever, I split 5-2, I open tactician and decide what to do later. Wait, he opens great hall? Oh God, he's going for vineyards and transmutes. OK, I'm wrong, it's a vineyards board, fine, I'll go for vineyards and transmutes." Many turns later: "oh. great hall + Conspirator. Right. I guess I lose."
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WanderingWinder

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2012, 03:06:35 pm »
+1

Okay, this is convincing me it's time to get off my rear and write that article on Transmute I've been knocking around in my head for a while. 

It's not a good card, and it's almost never a star, but it's viable way more often than people realize.  My stats certainly seem to indicate that I do much better with it than with PStones: buy 21% rather than 14%; equal win rate win or lose (1.24/1.24) rather than doing much worse with Stones (1.10/1.20).  Transmute is my fourth highest "Effect With" and I very much enjoy surprising my opponents by getting effective use out of it.

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.
All that says is that YOU are better with it. Not that it's better. I mean, I can throw out my stats with the two cards. Phil Stone: +% is 30.1, I buy almost a full one per game (.95), win rate with is 1.28, without is 1.26. Effect with: 2.70, without: .45.
Transmute: +% is... 9%, I buy .19 per game, win rate with is 1.22, without is 1.26, effect with is 1.81, without is -0.35.
Doesn't mean a lot.

chwhite

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2012, 03:28:19 pm »
+1

And I even played a game yesterday where I avoided the Mutes and got crushed by an opponent who went for them (I think it was ehunt in fact), so it's not like this is all esoteric knowledge that only I know.

This clever gambit has forced me into the position of either having to admit that my win was undeserved or lose my fondest Dominion argument: transmute is the worst card in the game. Well played.

On principle, I choose the latter: chwhite's strategy is better, would certainly have won if I hadn't split 5/2, and should have won anyway except for some very unfortunate tactician luck.

My actual decision-making process went like this: "OK, vineyards, are they viable? Not really, no +buy except tactician, and I guess pseudo +buy from transmute, but that can't be right. Well, whatever, I split 5-2, I open tactician and decide what to do later. Wait, he opens great hall? Oh God, he's going for vineyards and transmutes. OK, I'm wrong, it's a vineyards board, fine, I'll go for vineyards and transmutes." Many turns later: "oh. great hall + Conspirator. Right. I guess I lose."

And on principle I contend that your strategy was better: some of my "bad tactician luck" had to do with wanting to play my cash rather than always double-tac because I needed to deny at least a couple Vineyards.  And even if I had tried to just double-tac and ignore the Vineyards I suspect that either a) fizzling eventually or b) greening too late was inevitable.  Had I not done that, I would've probably had another Province or two, but you also could have bought the entire Vineyards stack and pumped them even higher than 7VP each.

I think Transmute is clearly better than Thief, Scout, Adventurer, and Counting House at a minimum; and there are probably a half dozen or so other cards which are plausibly just as bad (including PStone).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 08:34:32 pm by chwhite »
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Tdog

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2012, 05:02:23 pm »
0

Where would you rank Familar with the other~ $5 cursers? I would think it is the strongest. The potion price puts it fourth behind IGG witch and Moutebank head on, however.
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jotheonah

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2012, 05:15:13 pm »
0

I have never gotten the hang of Golem.  It is clearly a good card, but I can't figure out how to play it.

The key to a good Golem deck seems to be really good deck control. Putting exactly the actions you want to play in and nothing else and then somehow obtaining a high Golem density. I can't say I've mastered it either, but I do know that you often get in trouble just trying to add Golem into a deck as an afterthought. (Especially, obviously, with trashers, but there are lots of cards that Golem doesn't love. I had a deck with a bunch of Hamlets (because I kept hitting $2P and there was nothing else in that pricepoint) and my Golems kept hitting double Hamlet, which was really not that helpful at ALL)
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WanderingWinder

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2012, 05:23:28 pm »
0

Where would you rank Familar with the other~ $5 cursers? I would think it is the strongest. The potion price puts it fourth behind IGG witch and Moutebank head on, however.

You mean if it cost $5? It would be the strongest, yeah. As it is, it's the weakest in general, of the cards that actually give curses (i.e. I'm excepting amb, Jester, and Swindler here). Only exception to that is MAYBE young witch, because it's so bane-dependent.

brokoli

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2012, 05:30:42 pm »
0

Alchemist is clearly overrated... even if I ranked it 2nd ! My opinion has totally changed about this card  :P
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chwhite

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2012, 08:49:19 pm »
0

Where would you rank Familar with the other~ $5 cursers? I would think it is the strongest. The potion price puts it fourth behind IGG witch and Moutebank head on, however.

You mean if it cost $5? It would be the strongest, yeah. As it is, it's the weakest in general, of the cards that actually give curses (i.e. I'm excepting amb, Jester, and Swindler here). Only exception to that is MAYBE young witch, because it's so bane-dependent.

Young Witch is not just vulnerable to good banes: I've found that if the board has good trashing and engine potential, it's often better to just get your own economy up and running instead, and know that you can handle the curses as they come in- this is somewhat true for Familiar as well, but it's almost never true for Mountebank, and only rarely for Witch/Hag/IGG.  (Hag is of course even worse for your own deck, but makes up for it by giving curses in a much more painful manner.)  I do think it's a notch below Familiar, though Familiar is in turn worse than the others.
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yuma

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2012, 07:56:32 pm »
0

I'm pretty sure that I was the combo-breaker that ranked Philosopher's Stone last instead of Transmute.

And I stand by that assessment.
I'll admit: it was me... and I retract my vote, I think I had quite a few outliers on this list for a couple of reasons:

1. when I submitted my list I was ~ level 10.
2. when I submitted my list I put all the cards together in one huge 157 card list and as a result the bottom of the list just got cluttered with "bad" cards and I didn't pay a super lot of attention to where some of the cards were ranked compared to others of the same cost.

I had Philosopher's Stone beneath it along with a couple of other cards of other costs that don't make any sense to me now (Bureaucrat, Cutpurse, Contraband and about 10 others  :o )

Sorry to ruin the consistency
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 07:59:03 pm by yuma »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2012, 08:43:28 pm »
0

Young Witch is not just vulnerable to good banes: I've found that if the board has good trashing and engine potential, it's often better to just get your own economy up and running instead, and know that you can handle the curses as they come in- this is somewhat true for Familiar as well, but it's almost never true for Mountebank, and only rarely for Witch/Hag/IGG.  (Hag is of course even worse for your own deck, but makes up for it by giving curses in a much more painful manner.)  I do think it's a notch below Familiar, though Familiar is in turn worse than the others.
I think Sea Hag is probably skippable more often than you give it credit for. Sea Hag is about the same power level as Young Witch with a bad bane. It hurts them more but hurts you more too (in about equal proportion).
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popsofctown

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2012, 07:46:22 pm »
+2

Young Witch is not just vulnerable to good banes: I've found that if the board has good trashing and engine potential, it's often better to just get your own economy up and running instead, and know that you can handle the curses as they come in- this is somewhat true for Familiar as well, but it's almost never true for Mountebank, and only rarely for Witch/Hag/IGG.  (Hag is of course even worse for your own deck, but makes up for it by giving curses in a much more painful manner.)  I do think it's a notch below Familiar, though Familiar is in turn worse than the others.
I think Sea Hag is probably skippable more often than you give it credit for. Sea Hag is about the same power level as Young Witch with a bad bane. It hurts them more but hurts you more too (in about equal proportion).

Disagree.  Sea Hag is far less skippable than Young Witch.  Yes, they both hurt you, and yes, Young Witch hurts you less, but the key thing is that Sea Hag drags your opponent down to your level.  Since the damage is fast, it can keep your opponent from laying a finger on the 5$ or 6$ price point, which often has key cards for tolerating a curse game like Trading Post as a counter or Embassy as a powerhouse.

Young Witch lets you hit those price points and the ability to scramble out of the curse filled muk butterfly affects the rest of the game.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2012, 04:48:09 am »
0

Clearly YW and Sea Hag games are going to play out differently, but my argument is that they are of similar power level (assuming the bane is not worth getting). With Hag, everything moves slow for both player. With Young Witch it moves faster. But while you're building up faster against Young Witch, the Young Witch player is building up too, while giving curses.

As an example, I take the "Peddling at the Market" bot in Geronimoo's sim, replacing the Masquerade with a Steward, so it doesn't hard-counter curses. If you put this modified engine bot against Sea Hag or Young Witch, it wins. But if you open Young Witch/Silver instead of Steward/Quarry, and then go into the same engine, it beats the pure engine. You can't do the same with Sea Hag. So one could argue that in this board (Market, Peddler, Quarry, Smithy, Worker's Village, Steward, $4 curser), you can skip Hag but you can't skip Young Witch.

Obviously there are also examples in the other direction (where you can skip Young Witch but not Sea Hag), but I think on the whole it's probably pretty close. I think there's just a greater psychological fear of Sea Hag that keeps people from trying to skip it.
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O

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2012, 10:54:12 pm »
+1

Clearly YW and Sea Hag games are going to play out differently, but my argument is that they are of similar power level (assuming the bane is not worth getting). With Hag, everything moves slow for both player. With Young Witch it moves faster. But while you're building up faster against Young Witch, the Young Witch player is building up too, while giving curses.

As an example, I take the "Peddling at the Market" bot in Geronimoo's sim, replacing the Masquerade with a Steward, so it doesn't hard-counter curses. If you put this modified engine bot against Sea Hag or Young Witch, it wins. But if you open Young Witch/Silver instead of Steward/Quarry, and then go into the same engine, it beats the pure engine. You can't do the same with Sea Hag. So one could argue that in this board (Market, Peddler, Quarry, Smithy, Worker's Village, Steward, $4 curser), you can skip Hag but you can't skip Young Witch.

Obviously there are also examples in the other direction (where you can skip Young Witch but not Sea Hag), but I think on the whole it's probably pretty close. I think there's just a greater psychological fear of Sea Hag that keeps people from trying to skip it.

>Takes Sea Hag bot, using only Sea Hag or Young Witch
>Puts in engine with several other cards as a competitive alternative
>Sea Hag and Young Witch Bots don't have access to any of the other cards.
>Draw conclusion that cursing is ignorable

There's no folly there...
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 01:39:36 am »
0

>Takes Sea Hag bot, using only Sea Hag or Young Witch
>Puts in engine with several other cards as a competitive alternative
>Sea Hag and Young Witch Bots don't have access to any of the other cards.
>Draw conclusion that cursing is ignorable

There's no folly there...

I actually made a complete argument, and just took that as a quick example because it's built into the sim. The point has nothing to do with that specific kingdom. And my conclusion was not that cursing is ignorable.

I'm not 100% sure you can't beat that bot with a strategy using Sea Hag, but that's not really the point. Any time I use sims, it's to investigate or demonstrate a concept. In this kingdom, buying Sea Hag slows you down a lot, because you can't get a Quarry and first Market as fast, and so you're going to end up behind in Markets and Peddlers. The curses you give don't cause enough of a slowdown to make up for it. Young Witch, on the other hand, lets you keep building your engine while cursing, so you can keep up.

It appears at least as first that here: Young Witch + Engine > Engine (no cursing) > anything with Sea Hag.
This may not exactly be the case here, and you're welcome to spend your time finding a Sea Hag + other stuff strategy that wins, but that's merely academic.

The point is that such kingdoms exist (kingdoms where you can skip Sea Hag, but wouldn't be able to skip Young Witch if it were there instead). Sea Hag does cost you something, and if it doesn't do enough damage, it's not worth it. I think Sea Hag is probably skippable over 25% of the time. According to councilroom, I skip it nearly 25% of the time and have an increase in win rate (from 1.36 to 1.43) when I do, and I feel like I still don't skip it enough, because a lot of times I go into auto see-strong-card-and-buy it mode.
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Piemaster

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2012, 04:43:31 am »
0

I had a deck with a bunch of Hamlets (because I kept hitting $2P and there was nothing else in that pricepoint) and my Golems kept hitting double Hamlet, which was really not that helpful at ALL)
+2 Cards, +2 Actions, plus some gravy.  Doesn't sound that bad to me...
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tlloyd

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2012, 04:56:56 pm »
0

Young Witch lets you hit those price points and the ability to scramble out of the curse filled muk butterfly affects the rest of the game.

I'm trying to imagine how I would have responded to this "gibberish" two years ago. Now it makes perfect sense to me.  :)
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popsofctown

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2012, 05:12:32 pm »
0

curse-filled should be hyphenated, it'd make the sentence more readable.

And verbing the noun "butterfly effect" by spelling effect with an 'a' is sketchy.

Is muck spelled with a c when it isn't a pokemon?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 05:14:45 pm by popsofctown »
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qmech

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2012, 05:37:51 pm »
0

Yes.  And is it just me, or is dark in here?
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toaster

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2012, 06:04:56 pm »
0

The point is that such kingdoms exist (kingdoms where you can skip Sea Hag, but wouldn't be able to skip Young Witch if it were there instead). Sea Hag does cost you something, and if it doesn't do enough damage, it's not worth it. I think Sea Hag is probably skippable over 25% of the time. According to councilroom, I skip it nearly 25% of the time and have an increase in win rate (from 1.36 to 1.43) when I do, and I feel like I still don't skip it enough, because a lot of times I go into auto see-strong-card-and-buy it mode.

I certainly can agree that there are Kingdoms where Sea Hag is skippable and Young Witch isn't (tops on my list would be set with strong Sea Hag counters like Lookout/Maquerade/Native Village, which take advantage of SH's topdecking behavior).  I'd also agree that 25% probably a decent ballpark for how often Sea Hag is skippable...I play it in 75.5% of my games and do slightly better when I play it than when I don't.  That's still far more effective than Young Witch, which I find is only a good buy in a little over half the games where it's present.  The ability to top deck a curse really is that powerful, and I think Sea Hag's general reputation as standing head and shoulders above Young Witch is well deserved.  There are exceptions where YW is stronger, but that's true of almost any card and those sets are just that: exceptions to the general rule.
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chwhite

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2012, 06:42:33 pm »
0

I buy...
Mountebank 91%
Sea Hag 80%
Witch 76%
Familiar 75%
Young Witch 51%

And of these, Young Witch is my highest "win rate given available" by far: in fact I win more often when I don't buy it.  At least in my experience, it's easily the most ignorable of the Curse-giving actions.

Note that I should buy Witch more often than I have: there was a period of time when I was trying to be too cute in ignoring it and got burned a lot.  My sense is that if I played optimally Witch would definitely a few percentage points higher, and Hag/Familiar might be a couple points lower.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 06:44:55 pm by chwhite »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2012, 06:48:11 pm »
0

Oh Young Witch is definitely more skippable overall, but largely because of the bane card. My claim was the Sea Hag and Young Witch with unbuyable bane are of similar power level. The number of boards where you buy neither Young Witch nor the bane is probably in the 25% ballpark just like Sea Hag. That other 25% of time that you skip Young Witch, you're probably also buying the bane.

To clarify, the quote i was originally responding to was:
Young Witch is not just vulnerable to good banes: I've found that if the board has good trashing and engine potential, it's often better to just get your own economy up and running instead, and know that you can handle the curses as they come in- this is ... only rarely [true] for ...Hag...
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 06:52:35 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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popsofctown

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2012, 12:38:12 am »
0

^Yes, this is what is being discussed.

We should rename the thread "Sea Hag versus Bad Bane Young Witch" to avert future confusions >_>.
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chwhite

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2012, 03:52:25 am »
0

Oh Young Witch is definitely more skippable overall, but largely because of the bane card. My claim was the Sea Hag and Young Witch with unbuyable bane are of similar power level. The number of boards where you buy neither Young Witch nor the bane is probably in the 25% ballpark just like Sea Hag. That other 25% of time that you skip Young Witch, you're probably also buying the bane.

To clarify, the quote i was originally responding to was:
Young Witch is not just vulnerable to good banes: I've found that if the board has good trashing and engine potential, it's often better to just get your own economy up and running instead, and know that you can handle the curses as they come in- this is ... only rarely [true] for ...Hag...

Eh, I'm pretty sure that I still skip YW on boards with unbuyable banes more often than I skip Hag, though obviously the difference is less stark.  I don't think there's a way to separate it out in CR data, so this is more of a gut feeling than anything.
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Geronimoo

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2012, 04:08:40 am »
0

I don't think unplayable banes exist. As soon as someone buys a Young Witch, the bane will become playable because the Curses you're going to get otherwise will be slightly more unplayable...
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2012, 04:48:54 am »
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I don't think unplayable banes exist. As soon as someone buys a Young Witch, the bane will become playable because the Curses you're going to get otherwise will be slightly more unplayable...

Arguing like that Moats would be a great defense to Cursers in 2p, which they often aren't...
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2012, 04:59:41 am »
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I don't think unplayable banes exist. As soon as someone buys a Young Witch, the bane will become playable because the Curses you're going to get otherwise will be slightly more unplayable...

Arguing like that Moats would be a great defense to Cursers in 2p, which they often aren't...
Except it often is...
If you open Silver/Moat you have a clear advantage over someone who goes Silver/Silver in a Mountebank/Witch game and even more pronounced is the Sea Hag/Moat opening.
You can easily check this by adding a Moat to the default bots in the simulator.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2012, 08:27:14 am »
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I don't think unplayable banes exist. As soon as someone buys a Young Witch, the bane will become playable because the Curses you're going to get otherwise will be slightly more unplayable...

Arguing like that Moats would be a great defense to Cursers in 2p,
Right.
Quote
which they often aren't...
Well, maybe they often aren't. But they very often ARE.

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2012, 08:28:43 am »
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seems like I stand corrected.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2012, 08:35:34 am »
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seems like I stand corrected.
Well, general consensus agrees with you. Because 'oh, moats take care of cursers' IS typically a bad gameplan. Actually probably more because theory doesn't like moat much at all in 2p (it is a BEAST in a lot of multiplayer games).
But I'm dumbfounded when people talk about moat as like one of the 2-3 worst 2-cost cards, because even in 2p, it can be pretty potent against a lot of the strong attacks.

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2012, 01:04:55 pm »
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On boards where Embargo doesn't have much tactical use it is a pretty bad bane since it doesn't even stick around.

There might not be a truly unbuyable bane but banes that get close to that are where YW approaches Sea Hag.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2012, 01:27:58 pm »
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I had no idea Moat was generally a good buy in 2p attacking games. Somebody please write an article. :)
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2012, 01:52:32 pm »
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Eh, I'm pretty sure that I still skip YW on boards with unbuyable banes more often than I skip Hag, though obviously the difference is less stark.  I don't think there's a way to separate it out in CR data, so this is more of a gut feeling than anything.

So you think more than half of the time that you skip Young Witch, you don't buy the bane? If you buy the bane more than half the time when you skip YW, then you're skipping both YW AND the bane less than 25% of the time.

Intuitively, it seems to me like it should be easier to trash your way out of Sea Hag than Bad-Bane-Young-Witch.

If you're playing Remake or Steward or Chapel and not buying anything, it doesn't matter all that much that the Curse shows up on top of your deck, because it can't really hurt your buying potential on trashing turns since you're not buying anything anyway. So the Sea Hag attack is no much more effective than the Young Witch attack against that type of strategy (which is the only kind of strategy you really consider skipping the cursers anyway).

The bigger difference I think is that against Sea Hag, you have a lot more time to trash your way out, since the Sea Hag player isn't going to be buying Provinces or ending the game any time soon. But Young Witch is actually a moderately useful card in a deck. It's usually worth like $1 and some cycling. It's much easier to hit $5 on a YW turn than a Sea Hag turn, and you never get stuck at $2.

A simulator example of how much slower Sea Hag is that Young Witch can be seen by pitting Double YW and Double Hag against Double Jack. Young Witch beats Jack by a 2/1 ratio taking an average of under 21 turns. Sea Hag loses to Jack by a 2/1 ratio taking an average of over 24 turns! Now Double Jack isn't an engine, but it's the simplest example of trying to deal with curses by trashing, while making a non-terrible deck.

If you're concerned that there's some special Jack-vs-Hag interaction, then you can also try pitting Young Witch and Sea Hag decks against other simple bots. Both beat BM easily, but Young Witch takes 23 turns to end the game while Sea hag takes 27. Versus Chapel, they take 22 and 25 turns, respectively. Versus Steward 22 and 26. Basically against Sea Hag, you have 3 extra turns to work with, and that can make a big difference when trying to build an engine.

EDIT: Oh another funny one: Mass Lighthouse beats both Sea Hag and Sea Hag+Lighthouse (by a wide margin). That's right. Mass Lighthouse... (naturally it loses worse than 3/1 to any other curser besides Sea Hag and Familiar)
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 02:09:34 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #54 on: May 08, 2012, 02:15:16 pm »
+1

I think Jack is a bit of an unfair comparison, because Jack is one of the rare instances where Sea Hag's curse-on-top power is a benefit to the Cursee rather than an additional punishment.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2012, 02:18:10 pm »
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Eh, I'm pretty sure that I still skip YW on boards with unbuyable banes more often than I skip Hag, though obviously the difference is less stark.  I don't think there's a way to separate it out in CR data, so this is more of a gut feeling than anything.

So you think more than half of the time that you skip Young Witch, you don't buy the bane? If you buy the bane more than half the time when you skip YW, then you're skipping both YW AND the bane less than 25% of the time.

That's not precisely what I meant.  There are going to be some games with banes that are bad as banes but I may buy eventually anyway because they fit an important part in my engine- something like Woodcutter or Black Market, for instance.  If you only can handle one or two of the Banes, and this is the case for mostly all of the terminals, than it's not going to be that effective as a bane even if you buy it. 

Intuitively, it seems to me like it should be easier to trash your way out of Sea Hag than Bad-Bane-Young-Witch.

If you're playing Remake or Steward or Chapel and not buying anything, it doesn't matter all that much that the Curse shows up on top of your deck, because it can't really hurt your buying potential on trashing turns since you're not buying anything anyway. So the Sea Hag attack is no much more effective than the Young Witch attack against that type of strategy (which is the only kind of strategy you really consider skipping the cursers anyway).

Well, sure, if you're lucky enough to have your trashers line up like that.  But it's just as likely that your Steward is in hand when your opponent plays Hag, hitting a "buy something" turn instead; and the chance that Hag will discard your key card from the top of deck is large enough to be a significant factor here as well.

The bigger difference I think is that against Sea Hag, you have a lot more time to trash your way out, since the Sea Hag player isn't going to be buying Provinces or ending the game any time soon. But Young Witch is actually a moderately useful card in a deck. It's usually worth like $1 and some cycling. It's much easier to hit $5 on a YW turn than a Sea Hag turn, and you never get stuck at $2.

A simulator example of how much slower Sea Hag is that Young Witch can be seen by pitting Double YW and Double Hag against Double Jack. Young Witch beats Jack by a 2/1 ratio taking an average of under 21 turns. Sea Hag loses to Jack by a 2/1 ratio taking an average of over 24 turns! Now Double Jack isn't an engine, but it's the simplest example of trying to deal with curses by trashing, while making a non-terrible deck.

If you're concerned that there's some special Jack-vs-Hag interaction, then you can also try pitting Young Witch and Sea Hag decks against other simple bots. Both beat BM easily, but Young Witch takes 23 turns to end the game while Sea hag takes 27. Versus Chapel, they take 22 and 25 turns, respectively. Versus Steward 22 and 26. Basically against Sea Hag, you have 3 extra turns to work with, and that can make a big difference when trying to build an engine.

The fact that Young Witch's cycling is terminal makes it much less useful in my eyes: in many of the sorts of decks where I'd be on the fence about YW, it can be actively harmful.  And sure, Sea Hag gives you more turns to work with, but since it puts the curses in what is normally the single most obnoxious place, you'll need those extra turns.  Obviously any trasher that can deal with the top of the deck isis an exception: Lookout, Jack, and Masq.  Though I'd expect Masq to dominate both YW and Hag to the point where the distinction is academic.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #56 on: May 08, 2012, 02:39:03 pm »
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I think Jack is a bit of an unfair comparison, because Jack is one of the rare instances where Sea Hag's curse-on-top power is a benefit to the Cursee rather than an additional punishment.
I'm not so sure it's a real benefit. If you get it on top while you hold Jack in hand on early turns you cycle through it, and if you get in draw along with Jack, it's just like with any other trasher.

That's not precisely what I meant.  There are going to be some games with banes that are bad as banes but I may buy eventually anyway because they fit an important part in my engine- something like Woodcutter or Black Market, for instance.  If you only can handle one or two of the Banes, and this is the case for mostly all of the terminals, than it's not going to be that effective as a bane even if you buy it.
OK. So you have a much looser definition of "bad bane" than I do. By "bad", I meant that you're not going to buy it. That somewhat explains our discrepancy regarding Young Witch.

But then there's the issue of Sea Hag...

Quote
Well, sure, if you're lucky enough to have your trashers line up like that.  But it's just as likely that your Steward is in hand when your opponent plays Hag, hitting a "buy something" turn instead; and the chance that Hag will discard your key card from the top of deck is large enough to be a significant factor here as well.
Compared to Young Witch, Sea Hag makes the curses come sooner (because of the top-decking), but slower (because of the lack of cycling). Against money decks, this is clearly a stronger attack, since hitting early is much more painful. Against trashing decks it's probably only slightly stronger. Half the time it gets trashed immediately on a turn you wouldn't buy something anyway, and the rest of the time, since the deck is thin, it doesn't show up that much sooner anyway. If it shows up on your "buy something" turn, it's not the end of the world, since you have 3 "free" turns anyway. It's not like they were able to buy something better on their Hag turn. The Hags are working like Curses to the Hag player. If you see the Curses about the same number of times as they see the Hags, you're in great shape.

Quote
The fact that Young Witch's cycling is terminal makes it much less useful in my eyes: in many of the sorts of decks where I'd be on the fence about YW, it can be actively harmful.  And sure, Sea Hag gives you more turns to work with, but since it puts the curses in what is normally the single most obnoxious place, you'll need those extra turns.  Obviously any trasher that can deal with the top of the deck isis an exception: Lookout, Jack, and Masq.  Though I'd expect Masq to dominate both YW and Hag to the point where the distinction is academic.
The point is not just that you may want to incorporate Young Witch into your engine (though you will far more often than with Sea Hag), but that if you're going to ignore the Young Witch, you have to build your engine fast, since Young Witch BM plays out much faster than Sea Hag BM.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 02:41:46 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #57 on: May 08, 2012, 02:43:59 pm »
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The point is not just that you may want to incorporate Young Witch into your engine (though you will far more often than with Sea Hag), but that if you're going to ignore the Young Witch, you have to build your engine fast, since Young Witch BM plays out much faster than Sea Hag BM.

I agree with all of this; I'm just saying that most of the time you'll be able to build your engine much faster against YW than against Hag.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2012, 02:46:42 pm »
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The point is not just that you may want to incorporate Young Witch into your engine (though you will far more often than with Sea Hag), but that if you're going to ignore the Young Witch, you have to build your engine fast, since Young Witch BM plays out much faster than Sea Hag BM.

I agree with all of this; I'm just saying that most of the time you'll be able to build your engine much faster against YW than against Hag.

And I'm saying that if you're able to build it fast enough vs YW, you're often able to build it fast enough vs Sea Hag as well (just do the same thing, and if a few of your "buy something" turns get screwed up, you're still ok, since you have 3 extra turns to work with). This is why my original comment was that Sea Hag is skippable more often than you give it credit for. You feel like you can't build an engine fast enough, but really you can, since you have more time.

This is the biggest thing I learned from Young Witch. By seeing how often it's okay to skip Young Witch, I realized that Sea Hag is also not really as much of a "must-buy" as I had previously thought.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 02:50:12 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2012, 02:50:01 pm »
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I think things have escalated enough for some iso grudge matches.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2012, 02:51:38 pm »
+1

I think things have escalated enough for some iso grudge matches.
I'm not trying to be argumentative or insulting. I'm just trying to share something I think I've learned recently -- that Sea Hag is not as good as I once thought it was.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2012, 02:56:15 pm »
+1

This is the biggest thing I learned from Young Witch. By seeing how often it's okay to skip Young Witch, I realized that Sea Hag is also not really as much of a "must-buy" as I had previously thought.

It's funny how these sorts of things happen: reminds me of how it took witnessing the power of JoaT to realize that Bureaucrat was actually good once in a while.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2012, 03:22:30 pm »
+1

This is the biggest thing I learned from Young Witch. By seeing how often it's okay to skip Young Witch, I realized that Sea Hag is also not really as much of a "must-buy" as I had previously thought.

It's funny how these sorts of things happen: reminds me of how it took witnessing the power of JoaT to realize that Bureaucrat was actually good once in a while.

And Explorer!
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2012, 06:01:17 pm »
+2

Kind of hilarious that the potion-cost list thread has not mentioned a potion card in over a page...
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2012, 06:06:21 pm »
0

Kind of hilarious that the potion-cost list thread has not mentioned a potion card in over a page...

Was thinking the same when reading over the past posts in my thread.

So, no big discussion here, nearly everyone agreed with the ranking except maybe that Alchemist is too high and Apothecary a little bit too low. Great!

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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2012, 06:18:12 pm »
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And Explorer!

Wait what? I can never find a good kingdom board for Explorer, please elabourate! (in another thread if needs be!)
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2012, 06:25:30 pm »
+1

Kind of hilarious that the potion-cost list thread has not mentioned a potion card in over a page...

Not like this didn't already happen in the $5 cards thread when we spent ~5 pages discussing Goons vs King's Court ;)
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2012, 06:40:44 pm »
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And Explorer!

Wait what? I can never find a good kingdom board for Explorer, please elabourate! (in another thread if needs be!)
Explorer is pretty good for big money (on non-colony games) and very good for alt vp strategies. You know, its good when having lots of silver is good.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2012, 07:05:25 pm »
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Explorer is very good for alt-vp strats because it bloats your deck, letting you absorb dukes or roads or gardens better.

And sometimes you just get a board that's so bad the best terminal silver is explorer. 
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2012, 07:06:28 pm »
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I think things have escalated enough for some iso grudge matches.
I'm not trying to be argumentative or insulting. I'm just trying to share something I think I've learned recently -- that Sea Hag is not as good as I once thought it was.

I'm trying to incite discord.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2012, 07:33:38 pm »
+1

Explorer is a fantastic defense against possession.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2012, 07:37:46 pm »
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Oh yes, that too.  And Bureaucrat too.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #72 on: May 08, 2012, 07:44:57 pm »
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I know, intellectually, that Explorer can be good in BM-esque setups, but I still never find time to use it.  It sort of feels like a poor man's Trading Post, in that it can be a strong pickup on Turns 1 and 2,  but its utility drops precipitously after that.  Even a turn 3/4 Explorer feels too late, and that's assuming you're in the minority of boards where Explorer isn't contraindicated. 

Explorer/Duke is fantastic, though: even when I thought Explorer was the worst $5 I still knew about this combo.  And Gardens, Silk Roads, and opponents' Possessions give it an extra boost as well.

...

An interesting thought experiment: imagine Explorer at $4.  It would be JoaT-level bonkers.  But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2012, 08:27:26 pm »
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i've never simulated a thing but explorer big money has to be a lot better than trading post big money? fwiw i think explorer's a decent pick long after turn 3, same cant be said about trading post unless there is some serious cursing to be dealt with.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #74 on: May 08, 2012, 08:31:20 pm »
+3

I don't think the utility of Explorer drops nearly as precipitously as Trading Post, largely because Trading Post is *really* good on turns 1-2, but also because it produces $2 no matter what. Once your Estates are gone, TP ceases to produce money. So for TP, timing is really important, but for Explorer, not so much.

There are 3 types of situations where Explorer is good:
1. Strategies with early greening (like Duke or Silk Road). The extra Silvers make the VP cards not hurt as much
2. "DG-type" strategies where you "compress down" and then "expand out". If you can draw your whole deck with actions to spare, Explorer is like a Bag of Gold.
3. Boards with absolutely nothing going on. If there is no engine potential, and no really strong BM cards, Explorer fills in as a decent $5 BM card. It beats doing something like Lab BM...
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #75 on: May 08, 2012, 10:16:47 pm »
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Yeah, Explorer isn't nearly as bad as I once thought it was. I mean, it's still in the bottom 10 of the $5s, but probably not the bottom 5, which is where I used to place it.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2012, 12:03:30 am »
0

An interesting thought experiment: imagine Explorer at $4.  It would be JoaT-level bonkers.  But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it would be that overpowered at all at $4. Explorer does give you more money immediately when you play it, but JoAT makes up for that slightly with a draw up to 5, and JoAT's spying effect and Estate trashing are not just cute little bonuses. The benefit of matching up an Explorer and Province in hand is arguably not as much as that of matching up a Tournament and Province in hand, either, and it's probably more difficult to match Explorer and Province if you've been gaining Silvers.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #77 on: May 09, 2012, 01:04:27 am »
0

But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it is in the bottom 5 for $5. You have Saboteur, Counting House, Stash, Outpost, Mine. Those are all definitely worse, right? Then you have Harvest, Mandarin, and Cache, which I think are probably still worse than Explorer. Mandarin and Cache are debatable, but still, Explorer would miss the bottom 5.

Just my thoughts--you may certainly disagree. And I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but that's what these threads are for!
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #78 on: May 09, 2012, 01:27:12 am »
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But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it is in the bottom 5 for $5. You have Saboteur, Counting House, Stash, Outpost, Mine. Those are all definitely worse, right? Then you have Harvest, Mandarin, and Cache, which I think are probably still worse than Explorer. Mandarin and Cache are debatable, but still, Explorer would miss the bottom 5.

Just my thoughts--you may certainly disagree. And I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but that's what these threads are for!

I'd say that Outpost and Mine are, while certainly not good cards, both clearly better than Explorer.   FWIW, my bottom 5 is Counting House as the clear #1 worst, some combination of Cache, Saboteur, and Explorer as #2 through #4, and Stash and Mandarin fighting it out for the #5 spot.

I guess Mine, Tribute, Harvest, and Outpost would probably round out my bottom ten in roughly that order.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 01:35:06 am by chwhite »
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #79 on: May 09, 2012, 01:50:57 am »
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But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it is in the bottom 5 for $5. You have Saboteur, Counting House, Stash, Outpost, Mine. Those are all definitely worse, right? Then you have Harvest, Mandarin, and Cache, which I think are probably still worse than Explorer. Mandarin and Cache are debatable, but still, Explorer would miss the bottom 5.

Just my thoughts--you may certainly disagree. And I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but that's what these threads are for!

I'd say that Outpost and Mine are, while certainly not good cards, both clearly better than Explorer.   FWIW, my bottom 5 is Counting House as the clear #1 worst, some combination of Cache, Saboteur, and Explorer as #2 through #4, and Stash and Mandarin fighting it out for the #5 spot.

I guess Mine, Tribute, Harvest, and Outpost would probably round out my bottom ten in roughly that order.

Well, we definitely agree on which cards go in the bottom 10! It's nice to hear Mandarin get some hate. Such a bad card, and I don't even really understand why it's so bad, but it is. I guess just gaining it is such an awful pain.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #80 on: May 09, 2012, 02:03:52 am »
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I'd pick up a Cache in a higher percentage of games than I'd pick up a contraband. (Trader, Watchtower, Greening, Spicemerchant/Moneylender, Counting House (ok.. not really), apothecary...)
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #81 on: May 09, 2012, 02:17:53 am »
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But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it is in the bottom 5 for $5. You have Saboteur, Counting House, Stash, Outpost, Mine. Those are all definitely worse, right? Then you have Harvest, Mandarin, and Cache, which I think are probably still worse than Explorer. Mandarin and Cache are debatable, but still, Explorer would miss the bottom 5.

Just my thoughts--you may certainly disagree. And I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but that's what these threads are for!

I'd say that Outpost and Mine are, while certainly not good cards, both clearly better than Explorer.   FWIW, my bottom 5 is Counting House as the clear #1 worst, some combination of Cache, Saboteur, and Explorer as #2 through #4, and Stash and Mandarin fighting it out for the #5 spot.

I guess Mine, Tribute, Harvest, and Outpost would probably round out my bottom ten in roughly that order.

Well, we definitely agree on which cards go in the bottom 10! It's nice to hear Mandarin get some hate. Such a bad card, and I don't even really understand why it's so bad, but it is. I guess just gaining it is such an awful pain.

I'd pick up a Cache in a higher percentage of games than I'd pick up a contraband. (Trader, Watchtower, Greening, Spicemerchant/Moneylender, Counting House (ok.. not really), apothecary...)

Oh, I completely forgot about Contraband.  I think it's somewhere in the Mine/Tribute/Harvest/Outpost scrum.  Royal Seal's down there too- it not bad per se, it's certainly better than Stash, but actually buying it is rarely the best option.

As for Mandarin... it is a royal pain to buy, very hard to use, and just ignoring it is a good rule of thumb that will rarely steer you wrong.  The on-gain effect is usually a severe penalty, and the when-play topdecking is better but often also hurts. But there are a few situations where I've made good use of it:

a) It can be an income source in heavy treasureless engines- Scrying Pool and the like, pick it up with virtual money and use it for both the cash and topdeck spare engine parts for next turn.
b) Situationally, as an endgame treasure pusher in clogged BM decks- get it instead of duchy if you're ahead and just need that last Province sooner.
c) Very rarely as an opening with a power $5 that does nothing for your economy.  Mandarin/Hunting Party and Mandarin/Mandarin/Mandarin/Apprentice are the only two that come to mind right now, there are probably a couple others.

Basically, all of these situations try to sidestep the problem that Mandarin's when gain effect really sucks most of the time, by either a) avoiding it entirely, b) being the one situation where it's an actual benefit, c) trading tempo for power.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 02:31:37 am by chwhite »
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #82 on: May 09, 2012, 02:29:48 am »
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In a money strategy, I'd buy Cache over Stash anyday.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #83 on: May 09, 2012, 10:33:08 am »
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Mine is really not a bad card. If you can find a way to play it frequently - KC-Mine, Scheme-Mine, Mine as part of a draw-your-deck engine - it can really build your economy fast. It's a good card, just a little slow.

Plus, in an Alchemy game you can use Mine to grab a Potion and Potion-cost card on the same turn, eliminating the telegraphing effect of buying a Potion, and turn your Potion into a same-turn Gold when you're done with it.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #84 on: May 09, 2012, 10:51:31 am »
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Mine is really not a bad card. If you can find a way to play it frequently - KC-Mine, Scheme-Mine, Mine as part of a draw-your-deck engine - it can really build your economy fast. It's a good card, just a little slow.

Plus, in an Alchemy game you can use Mine to grab a Potion and Potion-cost card on the same turn, eliminating the telegraphing effect of buying a Potion, and turn your Potion into a same-turn Gold when you're done with it.

i really love Mine, and it is my best 'effect with' at 3.14.  in addition to KC, scheme, and potion games, it is also nice as the key terminal for a lot of one card engines (hunting party, caravan, laboratory, stables) and it gets a pretty big boost in colony games.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #85 on: May 09, 2012, 01:23:58 pm »
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Cheers for the explorer advice, I'll give it a try next time Dukes stuff's are on the board and see how I get on!
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #86 on: May 09, 2012, 01:59:56 pm »
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The main thing about Explorer (and other treasure gainers) is that they let you green more aggressively.  Obviously, that's great for Duke.  It's also good on boards Tunnel, Silk Road, or Gardens - not so much for pursuing those strategies, but for allowing your deck to cope with a late-game card worth 2-4VP.  In a game with heavy greening, you want an Explorer in your deck

It would also be an awesome partner for IGG, except why didn't you buy an IGG or Duchy instead?

Also, while it doesn't yield Gold reliably, if you pick up 3-4 Provinces, you'll probably see a Gold or two with no additional effort.
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Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): Potion cost cards
« Reply #87 on: May 09, 2012, 08:47:32 pm »
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But at $5 it's pretty clearly in the bottom 5 for its cost.  I think that's a pretty good demonstration of the fact the jump between $4 and $5 is so severe.

I don't think it is in the bottom 5 for $5. You have Saboteur, Counting House, Stash, Outpost, Mine. Those are all definitely worse, right? Then you have Harvest, Mandarin, and Cache, which I think are probably still worse than Explorer. Mandarin and Cache are debatable, but still, Explorer would miss the bottom 5.

Just my thoughts--you may certainly disagree. And I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but that's what these threads are for!

I'd say that Outpost and Mine are, while certainly not good cards, both clearly better than Explorer.   FWIW, my bottom 5 is Counting House as the clear #1 worst, some combination of Cache, Saboteur, and Explorer as #2 through #4, and Stash and Mandarin fighting it out for the #5 spot.

I guess Mine, Tribute, Harvest, and Outpost would probably round out my bottom ten in roughly that order.

Well, we definitely agree on which cards go in the bottom 10! It's nice to hear Mandarin get some hate. Such a bad card, and I don't even really understand why it's so bad, but it is. I guess just gaining it is such an awful pain.

I'd pick up a Cache in a higher percentage of games than I'd pick up a contraband. (Trader, Watchtower, Greening, Spicemerchant/Moneylender, Counting House (ok.. not really), apothecary...)

Oh, I completely forgot about Contraband.  I think it's somewhere in the Mine/Tribute/Harvest/Outpost scrum.  Royal Seal's down there too- it not bad per se, it's certainly better than Stash, but actually buying it is rarely the best option.

As for Mandarin... it is a royal pain to buy, very hard to use, and just ignoring it is a good rule of thumb that will rarely steer you wrong.  The on-gain effect is usually a severe penalty, and the when-play topdecking is better but often also hurts. But there are a few situations where I've made good use of it:

a) It can be an income source in heavy treasureless engines- Scrying Pool and the like, pick it up with virtual money and use it for both the cash and topdeck spare engine parts for next turn.
b) Situationally, as an endgame treasure pusher in clogged BM decks- get it instead of duchy if you're ahead and just need that last Province sooner.
c) Very rarely as an opening with a power $5 that does nothing for your economy.  Mandarin/Hunting Party and Mandarin/Mandarin/Mandarin/Apprentice are the only two that come to mind right now, there are probably a couple others.

Basically, all of these situations try to sidestep the problem that Mandarin's when gain effect really sucks most of the time, by either a) avoiding it entirely, b) being the one situation where it's an actual benefit, c) trading tempo for power.

B) is reason enough that "ignore it entirely" is NOT a good rule of thumb.  That's like saying, "oh, Quarry is a weak card, it's buyable in about as many games as Penultimate Province Rule comes up.  That seems rare enough that ignoring it entirely is a good plan.'

If you're up 2 points with 1 Province remaining, it's key, if you're down 2 points with 1 Province remaining, it's key, if you're fighting an alternate VP strategy and it's about emptying the province pile, it can be key (okay, speculation, I haven't played against alt VP using provinces in a mandarin game yet).


As for openings, I think Upgrade also seems a reasonable pal for Mandarin, similar in concept to Mandarin/Apprentice.  Mandarin can be trashed by upgrade, making it a 5$ card whose text doesn't matter.  It also can topdeck estates to make sure your upgrades collide with estates.
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« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 08:51:32 pm by popsofctown »
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