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HiveMindEmulator

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The truth about Jack of All Trades
« on: May 21, 2012, 03:33:58 pm »
+13

Iíve noticed that throughout this forum and on isotropic, there are a lot of misinformed beliefs about Jack of All Trades. Iíve made a ton of posts on various different threads to try to set the record straight -- enough that Iíve decided to just make my own thread. For fun, Iíve decided to try out this true/false format (which Iíd love to read your comments on). Iím basically going to make statements about Jack of All Trades, some of which are true, and some of which just sound like the true ones, but are actually not true. Now, none of these things are provably true or false, so donít take these as facts (thatís how we got in this mess to begin with). But hopefully if you read the explanations, youíll see what Iím talking about.

So here goes...

1. Jack is a strong opening $4 card.
TRUE.
On early turns with Jack, you almost always trash an estate, gain a silver, and cycle at least one extra card. And you still have enough in your hand to buy a $4-5 card. This is pretty solid early game turn, by any standard.

2. Jack makes the game faster.
TRUE.
Double Jack can get 4 provinces in 14 turns pretty easy. And double Jack is a baseline for games with Jack. It's generally a lower-bound for Jack+X. Of course other stronger Jack+X strategies may be slightly slower with their strength coming from +Buy or something. But for the most part, Big Money strategies with Jack openings are pretty fast.

3. You can't play slower strategies when Jack is around.
FALSE.
Sure, someone playing Jack+money can get 4 provinces in 14 turns. But the game doesnít end when 4 provinces are gone. It ends when all the provinces are gone or 3 piles run out. A true statement might be that you canít play slow strategies when Jack is around and there are no alternative sources of VPs, since the Jack player can grab half the available points pretty quickly. But with alternative sources of VPs, there are often ways for slower strategies to win.

4. "DoubleJack" (buying 2 Jacks and then just money) is one of the strongest single-card strategies.
TRUE.
If you go in the simulator and pit single-card strategies against each other, Jack is going to win a lot. As far as I can tell, it only loses to Young Witch, Witch, Mountebank, Wharf, Masquerade, and Courtyard.

5. Playing DoubleJack is often the best choice in a real game.
FALSE.
If you were restricted to only play single-card strategies, then sure you'd want to play Jack a lot, but you're not. If you could only play single-card strategies, Dominion would not be a best-selling game (and Young Witch would be the best card in the game)! Single-card strategies are fine to simulate to give simplified, baseline comparisons of cards, but you don't really want to do that in real games too often. Jack+almost anything beats pure jack.

You can try it out in the simulator. Take any of the following bots, and add a buy rule for 1-2 Jacks ahead of Silver, and youíll get something that beats the Jack bot: Bank, Bazaar, Cartographer, Council Room, Duke, Embassy, Explorer, Festival, Goons, Harem, Inn, Laboratory, Library, Merchant Ship, Nobles, Rabble, Royal Seal, Stables, Stash, Torturer, Vault, Venture. Note that this is not a complete list of things that work better with Jack -- in fact, itís nearly trivial to create several more, including Ill-Gotten Gains, Monument, Envoy, Smithy, Tournament, and Caravan, not to mention the cards that beat Jack in single-action decks listed in (4) -- itís just meant to show that itís not hard to find something that beats DoubleJack. 

The important idea to understand is that Jack is a good opener for money-heavy strategies. Pure Big Money is one such strategy, but itís rarely the best one. Youíre better off taking a stronger money-heavy strategy and adding a Jack opening (and potentially a second Jack if you have actions to spare).

Additionally, there are a bunch of other cheap support cards you can add, as discussed in this thread, which includes bots for Lighthouse, Fishing Village, Oasis, Scheme, Warehouse, and Spice Merchant.

6. Jack is not a great opening for engines.
TRUE.
Not that it can't work, but generally for dense deck engines, you want to open with a trasher. While Jack is technically a trasher, it can't actually reduce your deck size, since it also gains a card, whether you trash or not. Usually if thereís an engine strategy quick enough to beat a money strategy with a Jack opening, itís because there is a good quality non-Jack opening for the engine strategy.

7. Jack does not work with other cards.
FALSE.
See (5). You donít need to be building a complex engine to have multiple kinds of action cards in your deck! Removing Estates and adding Silvers has a positive synergy with a lot of stuff.

I think this mistaken belief may stem from a comparison to Envoy that was done at some point. While both cards are strong in pure money decks, they function very differently. The way Enovy works is by drawing half your deck every time you play it so you can buy Golds early and Provinces late, and cycle the Envoy back around quickly. Naturally, this kind of strategy doesnít like other cards, because there is a very high chance the card will be drawn on the Envoy turn and be completely useless. Jack money decks, on the other hand, work by trashing Estates and adding a lot of Silvers. This makes your deck primarily Coppers and Silvers, drastically reducing the variance of your cards and getting you close to that $1.6 per card point, allowing you to buy Golds and Provinces with typical 5-card hands. In this kind of deck, there is no real danger when adding other cards. The collision probability is not significantly higher than with any other card, particularly because the Jack adds extra treasures to the deck.

8. Jack is a good defense against attacks.
TRUE.
The card was designed to be an after-the fact Moat. Each of its 4 parts counters one kind of attack. The trash counters non-treasure junk-giving attacks. The draw counters hand-size attacks. The spy counters top deck attacks. And the Silver gain counters deck destruction attacks. So by design, itís good against attacks.

9. You should ignore attacks when Jack is around.
FALSE.
Jack is extremely good against hand-size attacks, but its ability to trash Curses merely mitigates the damage of cursing attacks. Cursing attacks are the strongest attacks because each play of the attack card can hurt multiple times. Even if you can trash the curse right away, you are still forced to draw the dead card at least once, and more times if you are unable to trash them immediately. And if youíre forced to wade through 10 Curses while your opponent doesnít have to deal with them at all, youíre going to find yourself behind. So while Jack helps against cursing attacks, it canít really take the place of cursing completely. Witch/Mountebank+Jack beats either the curser or Jack alone.

And even non-cursing attacks still can have an effect on the game. With Jack in hand, discard attacks are terrible, and weaker deck-top attacks aren't that great, but eventually your Jack density thins out, and attacks get stronger. If you get hit by a discard attack in a non-Jack hand, the Jack doesn't help a lot. And if Rabble puts 3 VP cards on top of your deck, filtering out 1 doesn't save you. If an Ambassador is feeding you multiple Coppers per turn, Jack is pretty helpless against that...
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 04:08:31 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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WanderingWinder

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 03:47:57 pm »
0

Iíve noticed that throughout this forum and on isotropic, there are a lot of misinformed beliefs about Jack of All Trades. Iíve made a ton of posts on various different threads to try to set the record straight -- enough that Iíve decided to just make my own thread. For fun, Iíve decided to try out this true/false format (which Iíd love to read your comments on). Iím basically going to make statements about Jack of All Trades, some of which are true, and some of which just sound like the true ones, but are actually not true. Now, none of these things are provably true or false, so donít take these as facts (thatís how we got in this mess to begin with). But hopefully if you read the explanations, youíll see what Iím talking about.

So here goes...

1. Jack is a strong opening $4 card.
TRUE.
On early turns with Jack, you almost always trash an estate, gain a silver, and cycle at least one extra card. And you still have enough in your hand to buy a $4-5 card. This is pretty solid early game turn, by any standard.

2. Jack makes the game faster.
TRUE.
Double Jack can get 4 provinces in 14 turns pretty easy. And double Jack is a baseline for games with Jack. It's generally a lower-bound for Jack+X. Of course other stronger Jack+X strategies may be slightly slower with their strength coming from +Buy or something. But for the most part, Big Money strategies with Jack openings are pretty fast.
Ok, we're good so far.

Quote
3. You can't play slower strategies when Jack is around.
FALSE.
Sure, someone playing Jack+money can get 4 provinces in 14 turns. But the game doesnít end when 4 provinces are gone. It ends when all the provinces are gone or 3 piles run out. A true statement might be that you canít play slow strategies when Jack is around and there are no alternative sources of VPs, since the Jack player can grab half the available points pretty quickly. But with alternative sources of VPs, there are often ways for slower strategies to win.
But if you're going for something else, they should adjust there play. I basically disagree with this part, because Jack, maybe more than almost any other BM strategy, certainly something like envoy, is way way more resilient to greening, so it can gobble all the provinces in 21 turns on average if uncontested and buying nothing else, up to around 29 turns if it's grabbing duchies and stuff too, like you normally would. Something between for the kind of thing you're talking about. So yeah, you can go for a mega-turn. You can basically always go for a mega-turn, if the right cards are out. But you do need to be a lot faster/stronger than normal.

Quote
4. "DoubleJack" (buying 2 Jacks and then just money) is one of the strongest single-card strategies.
TRUE.
If you go in the simulator and pit single-card strategies against each other, Jack is going to win a lot. As far as I can tell, it only loses to Young Witch, Witch, Mountebank, Wharf, Masquerade, and Courtyard.
Can't really say about Young Witch without knowing the bane. With no bane, sure. I'm not sure that this is a totally 100% right list either, but... meh.

Quote
5. Playing DoubleJack is often the best choice in a real game.
FALSE.
If you were restricted to only play single-card strategies, then sure you'd want to play Jack a lot, but you're not. If you could only play single-card strategies, Dominion would not be a best-selling game (and Young Witch would be the best card in the game)! Single-card strategies are fine to simulate to give simplified, baseline comparisons of cards, but you don't really want to do that in real games too often. Jack+almost anything beats pure jack.

You can try it out in the simulator. Take any of the following bots, and add a buy rule for 1-2 Jacks ahead of Silver, and youíll get something that beats the Jack bot: Bank, Bazaar, Cartographer, Council Room, Duke, Embassy, Explorer, Festival, Goons, Harem, Inn, Laboratory, Library, Merchant Ship, Nobles, Rabble, Royal Seal, Stables, Stash, Torturer, Vault, Venture. Note that this is not a complete list of things that work better with Jack -- in fact, itís nearly trivial to create several more, including Ill-Gotten Gains, Monument, Envoy, Smithy, Tournament, and Caravan, not to mention the cards that beat Jack in single-action decks listed in (4) -- itís just meant to show that itís not hard to find something that beats DoubleJack. 

The important idea to understand is that Jack is a good opener for money-heavy strategies. Pure Big Money is one such strategy, but itís rarely the best one. Youíre better off taking a stronger money-heavy strategy and adding a Jack opening (and potentially a second Jack if you have actions to spare).

Additionally, there are a bunch of other cheap support cards you can add, as discussed in this thread, which includes bots for Lighthouse, Fishing Village, Oasis, Scheme, Warehouse, and Spice Merchant.
Oh, this is true. Often it IS. Most of the time, not, though the difference is small. But pretty often it is.

Quote
6. Jack is not a great opening for engines.
TRUE.
Not that it can't work, but generally for dense deck engines, you want to open with a trasher. While Jack is technically a trasher, it can't actually reduce your deck size, since it also gains a card, whether you trash or not. Usually if thereís an engine strategy quick enough to beat a money strategy with a Jack opening, itís because there is a good quality non-Jack opening for the engine strategy.
Ok, great is again relative. I probably agree. It's fine though. Just nothing special. But it also depends on your engine... you can use its card draw in some cases.

Quote
7. Jack does not work with other cards.
FALSE.
See (5). You donít need to be building a complex engine to have multiple kinds of action cards in your deck! Removing Estates and adding Silvers has a positive synergy with a lot of stuff.

I think this mistaken belief may stem from a comparison to Envoy that was done at some point. While both cards are strong in pure money decks, they function very differently. The way Enovy works is by drawing half your deck every time you play it so you can buy Golds early and Provinces late, and cycle the Envoy back around quickly. Naturally, this kind of strategy doesnít like other cards, because there is a very high chance the card will be drawn on the Envoy turn and be completely useless. Jack money decks, on the other hand, work by trashing Estates and adding a lot of Silvers. This makes your deck primarily Coppers and Silvers, drastically reducing the variance of your cards and getting you close to that $1.6 per card point, allowing you to buy Golds and Provinces with typical 5-card hands. In this kind of deck, there is no real danger when adding other cards. The collision probability is not significantly higher than with any other card, particularly because the Jack adds extra treasures to the deck.
You basically say this above already, but yeah, I agree.

Quote
8. Jack is a good defense against attacks.
TRUE.
The card was designed to be an after-the fact Moat. Each of its 4 parts counters one kind of attack. The trash counters non-treasure junk-giving attacks. The draw counters hand-size attacks. The spy counters top deck attacks. And the Silver gain counters deck destruction attacks. So by design, itís good against attacks.

9. You should ignore attacks when Jack is around.
FALSE.
Jack is extremely good against hand-size attacks, but its ability to trash Curses merely mitigates the damage of cursing attacks. Cursing attacks are the strongest attacks because each play of the attack card can hurt multiple times. Even if you can trash the curse right away, you are still forced to draw the dead card at least once, and more times if you are unable to trash them immediately. And if youíre forced to wade through 10 Curses while your opponent doesnít have to deal with them at all, youíre going to find yourself behind. So while Jack helps against cursing attacks, it canít really take the place of cursing completely. Witch/Mountebank+Jack beats either the curser or Jack alone.
I guess the other thing to say here is that discard attacks can be good too. The issue is that if you hit their jack hand, the discard attack often helps them - i.e. militia CAN be worse than silver here. But that's only if you happen to hit their jack hand. Which, later on, is not SO big a concern. But yeah, cursers are still pretty good.

HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 04:04:15 pm »
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But if you're going for something else, they should adjust there play. I basically disagree with this part, because Jack, maybe more than almost any other BM strategy, certainly something like envoy, is way way more resilient to greening, so it can gobble all the provinces in 21 turns on average if uncontested and buying nothing else, up to around 29 turns if it's grabbing duchies and stuff too, like you normally would. Something between for the kind of thing you're talking about. So yeah, you can go for a mega-turn. You can basically always go for a mega-turn, if the right cards are out. But you do need to be a lot faster/stronger than normal.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "slower". I don't consider mega-turns that go off on turn 15 or something "slow".

Quote
Can't really say about Young Witch without knowing the bane. With no bane, sure. I'm not sure that this is a totally 100% right list either, but... meh.
With single-card strategies, it doesn't matter what the bane is. The Jack player can't buy it...

Quote
Oh, this is true. Often it IS. Most of the time, not, though the difference is small. But pretty often it is.
Depends on what you mean by "often". 10% of the time? 20%? I can't imagine it being 20%+. Most of the time you hit $5 at some point early enough to matter, and then there is usually a card worth grabbing there.

Quote
Ok, great is again relative. I probably agree. It's fine though. Just nothing special. But it also depends on your engine... you can use its card draw in some cases.
Sure it can show up in some sort of engines, but as an opening, it's probably not worth it nearly ever in Province games, and rarely in Colony games. If there is good trashing, you usually want to open with that. And if there's not, then maybe an engine isn't the best bet.

Quote
You basically say this above already, but yeah, I agree.
Yeah, I know. But I wanted to add in the little story about Envoy and how the misconception came to be...

Quote
I guess the other thing to say here is that discard attacks can be good too. The issue is that if you hit their jack hand, the discard attack often helps them - i.e. militia CAN be worse than silver here. But that's only if you happen to hit their jack hand. Which, later on, is not SO big a concern. But yeah, cursers are still pretty good.
Yeah, I guess I should expand on this part. Thanks.
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dondon151

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2012, 04:29:18 pm »
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I guess the other thing to say here is that discard attacks can be good too. The issue is that if you hit their jack hand, the discard attack often helps them - i.e. militia CAN be worse than silver here. But that's only if you happen to hit their jack hand. Which, later on, is not SO big a concern. But yeah, cursers are still pretty good.

IIRC JoAT in combination with a handsize attack does worse than pure JoAT? Of course the damage done by the handsize attack will randomly hurt if the defending player has no JoAT in hand, but I seem to remember the simulators saying that inclusion of handsize attacks actively hurt the probability of winning a DoubleJack matchup.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 04:32:27 pm »
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I guess the other thing to say here is that discard attacks can be good too. The issue is that if you hit their jack hand, the discard attack often helps them - i.e. militia CAN be worse than silver here. But that's only if you happen to hit their jack hand. Which, later on, is not SO big a concern. But yeah, cursers are still pretty good.

IIRC JoAT in combination with a handsize attack does worse than pure JoAT? Of course the damage done by the handsize attack will randomly hurt if the defending player has no JoAT in hand, but I seem to remember the simulators saying that inclusion of handsize attacks actively hurt the probability of winning a DoubleJack matchup.
Which ones? The big thing here is that it's another terminal. So if you buy it earlier, you get big collision chance for mitigated benefit. And later, you're almost always buying gold or province or duchy if you're playing a jack game. So yeah. They generally hurt. You don't want to mix them, at least in a mirror. This is basically a factor ONLY when there's not a jack v jack matchup. And it's much more a factor against single jack than double jack.

dondon151

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 05:24:57 pm »
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Which ones? The big thing here is that it's another terminal. So if you buy it earlier, you get big collision chance for mitigated benefit. And later, you're almost always buying gold or province or duchy if you're playing a jack game. So yeah. They generally hurt. You don't want to mix them, at least in a mirror. This is basically a factor ONLY when there's not a jack v jack matchup. And it's much more a factor against single jack than double jack.

I thought that Jack + any one of Militia, Goons, Ghost Ship, or Torturer lost to DoubleJack, but it seems that HiveMindEmulator's appraisal of 2 of those matchups differs... this information is somewhat difficult to find =(
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WanderingWinder

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 05:28:40 pm »
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Which ones? The big thing here is that it's another terminal. So if you buy it earlier, you get big collision chance for mitigated benefit. And later, you're almost always buying gold or province or duchy if you're playing a jack game. So yeah. They generally hurt. You don't want to mix them, at least in a mirror. This is basically a factor ONLY when there's not a jack v jack matchup. And it's much more a factor against single jack than double jack.

I thought that Jack + any one of Militia, Goons, Ghost Ship, or Torturer lost to DoubleJack, but it seems that HiveMindEmulator's appraisal of 2 of those matchups differs... this information is somewhat difficult to find =(
Possibly excepting goons, I think that's right - you're talking mirrors, and against doublejack rather than single here. As I describe in the rest of my post after the first two words.

HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 05:29:40 pm »
+1

@dondon: Those strategies should lose. But WW's point was not that you should play Jack + hand size attack, it was that you can't *ignore* them. If your opponent builds into an engine that plays a discard attack every turn, having a Jack in your deck isn't going to save you more than once per shuffle.
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blueblimp

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 06:58:20 pm »
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6. Jack is not a great opening for engines.
TRUE.
Not that it can't work, but generally for dense deck engines, you want to open with a trasher. While Jack is technically a trasher, it can't actually reduce your deck size, since it also gains a card, whether you trash or not. Usually if thereís an engine strategy quick enough to beat a money strategy with a Jack opening, itís because there is a good quality non-Jack opening for the engine strategy.

Maybe a Jack/Lookout opening is an exception here. It certainly feels very nice when the Lookout is drawn in the same hand as the Jack. Because the Jack is pumping silvers into your economy, it seems okay to even get a second Lookout to thin the deck faster.
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Copernicus

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 07:14:40 pm »
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I've seen Jack fuel a complicated Bishops/Villages engine.  It was basically Village like crazy, Bishop the money, Jack to refill hand and fuel Bishop.

I am interested in how to value Jack in a Platinum game.  Getting a few Silver early on and trashing Estates has to be useful, but there's obviously a limit to how useful it is.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 07:25:08 pm »
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6. Jack is not a great opening for engines.
TRUE.
Not that it can't work, but generally for dense deck engines, you want to open with a trasher. While Jack is technically a trasher, it can't actually reduce your deck size, since it also gains a card, whether you trash or not. Usually if thereís an engine strategy quick enough to beat a money strategy with a Jack opening, itís because there is a good quality non-Jack opening for the engine strategy.

Maybe a Jack/Lookout opening is an exception here. It certainly feels very nice when the Lookout is drawn in the same hand as the Jack. Because the Jack is pumping silvers into your economy, it seems okay to even get a second Lookout to thin the deck faster.
That's true. If you get a sub-$3 trasher and use Jack to refill economy while you trash, it can potentially work out. This is kind of why I start the explanation by saying "Not that it can't work". There are definitely times to do it, but it probably ranks as one of the weaker viable openings for engines.
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Davio

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 05:12:27 am »
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1. Jack is a strong opening $4 card.
TRUE.
On early turns with Jack, you almost always trash an estate, gain a silver, and cycle at least one extra card. And you still have enough in your hand to buy a $4-5 card. This is pretty solid early game turn, by any standard.
I've cut out this most interesting point: Jack is a strong opener. It does four things at once that you need in the opening: Grab some cash, trash those lousy Estates, cycle a bit extra and increase your hand size so you can quickly buy a $5 or $6.

The challenge with Jack is transitioning out of it.

I just played a Colony game where my opponent who went first opened Witch/Pawn to my Jack/Silver. After I had gotten a second Jack and a Witch of my own it was time to transition out. I started focussing on Apprentices which I think combos well with Jack (you can explode the Jack for 4 cards or one of the Silvers for 3) in a Colony game to shoot for early Platinum.

By the end of the game both of my Jacks and my Witch were in the trash as they had all outlived their usefulness.


So while Jack is definitely a good opener and very solid in Province games where Double Jack can sometimes be the dominant strategy, it's more fun to play in Colony games as this gives you more time to switch to a post-Jack strategy.

This post is somewhat an answer to Copernicus: Opening Jack in Colony games is helpful, but an analogy with Fool's Gold can be made here. At some point in the game you have to look beyond your Jacks to what else is out there. Use 3 Fool's Golds to get an early Platinum, not another Fool's Gold. Use Jacks to give your deck an early boost, but the rest of the kingdom plays a more important role here.
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jomini

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 12:59:31 am »
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I'm not so sure about jack as an engine opener.

Let's say you want to go festival/jack/apprentice with a chapel out. If you open chapel/jack you have a slightly higher odds of collision (due to jack's one card of draw should it be drawn before chap is played), but on the whole it doesn't do anything worse for you to collide jack/chap than silver/chap. Once you trash the coppers, you can pitch the now useless chapel leaving you with a quick way to build value to buy festivals and and draw through your deck.

Likewise, with jack/forge/whatever; jack is inferior to silver/silver on the first reshuffle, but after that you have better odds of hitting the forge you really need.

I certainly get that jack can work as part of an engine - upgrade silvers to smithies and worker's villages; forge silvers to plats, etc. But I'm not seeing all that many cases where waiting to put in the silvers works better than risking the early collisions. If the trashing is that sensitive - then I'm likely going to prefer some jack/money game to the engine.

I'm trying to think of a jack engine that I like where I don't buy the jack until later, but I must be missing something.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 01:27:27 am »
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Sure you can open Jack/Chapel or something, but in that situation, it's about as good as Bureaucrat.
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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 02:14:17 am »
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@Jomini: I think the term engine is a bit confusing. We've come to think of it as a deck with no Treasure cards, just an endless string of Actions.
If this is true and we have BMU on the other side, what's in the middle?

I think there's a lot of ground in the middle and Jack fits very well with the strategies in the middle. Sometimes you want to grab a lot of Treasure but splash some enginy cards around.
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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2012, 04:21:09 am »
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I think of an engine as anything that has parts that fit together to achieve a specific purpose.  That could be chaining Minions, Fishing Village/Rabble to draw Treasure, or Scrying Pool/Market/Peddler.  BM/Wharf is not an engine, nor is BM/Cursing Attack.  There's definitely room for Jack if you plan on building a serious draw engine.
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jomini

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 12:07:55 pm »
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Sure you can open Jack/Chapel or something, but in that situation, it's about as good as Bureaucrat.

Yes and no. Chapel/Jack is the same as Bcrat for the first play; but unlike Bcrat, jack can provide two functions to an engine - it can provide payload from silvers (just like Bcrat) and it can provide draw (potentially quite strong draw).

The question for me is - if I want a jack in the engine (where I want it's draw & payload); when else am I going to buy it and what am I going to get instead? Silver/chap may get to 5 or 6 one turn sooner, but jack can thin me quicker and means that I don't have to lose a turn buying the jack instead of the card I really want (e.g. festival) to break 6-4 for me.

In most engine cases, I think jack ought to be bought as one of the first four cards purchased, and quite often as one of the first two. What is a class of engine that uses jack (and isn't inferior to most jack-money decks), but doesn't want to buy the jack as one of the first 4 purchases?


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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2012, 12:25:10 pm »
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Oh, if you're going to buy a Jack, it should probably be early, as long as it doesn't interfere with getting your trashing. There was this game, where I think ehunt won because he got his Remake first.
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jomini

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2012, 12:34:27 pm »
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Gotcha, still though I think what we really are saying is not "don't open jack for jack-engines", but rather "don't open jack at the expense of your trasher". Chap, steward and any other 3 coin or less trasher (maybe excluding masq due to the quite high collision chance, though I doubt that really is a viable jack-engine setup) will pair okay with an opening jack a lot of the time. Any of the 5 or higher trashers (e.g. upgrade, forge) also tend to like jack sooner rather than later. I can totally see remake over jack, maybe bishop over jack as well (though I'm doubtful), but a steward or chap opening really likes jack to come early too.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2012, 12:39:59 pm »
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I never said "don't open jack for jack-engines". I just said Jack is not a great opening card for engines, in general. If you want the Jack eventually, Jack/Chapel or Jack/Steward seem perfectly reasonable.
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jomini

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2012, 01:40:01 pm »
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Well, my opinion is that if jack is a good card for your engine, it will usually be a good card to open (unless it displaces a trasher). Most of the time, jack doesn't displace the trasher (I mean what other strong trashers compete with jack at 4?).
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WanderingWinder

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Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2012, 01:56:41 pm »
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Well, my opinion is that if jack is a good card for your engine, it will usually be a good card to open (unless it displaces a trasher). Most of the time, jack doesn't displace the trasher (I mean what other strong trashers compete with jack at 4?).
Nobody's disagreeing with that here. The point they're trying to make is that usually jack isn't a good card for your engine.
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