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HiveMindEmulator

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Terminal Draw Big Money
« on: June 05, 2012, 05:12:51 pm »
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One of simplest basic strategies you learn which is surprisingly effective in the base set is "Smithy Big Money". The idea of this strategy is to open Smithy/Silver, add a second Smithy sometime after a couple shuffles, and other than that, buy just money and VP cards. You can add in some card to help with the late game, like Market or Remodel, but for the most part, it's just a couple Smithies and money. The idea is that the Smithy is going to draw you up to 7 cards, and with 7 cards, with which you can very often buy Gold. And when you have enough Silver/Gold, you can often buy Provinces.

When you add in some expansions with more trashing and other engine-friendly cards, as well as cards that are better than Smithy with "Big Money" strategies, Smithy BM becomes pretty weak. But there are some variants of it that you may at times go for, particularly when there is no way to quickly build a strong engine. The goal of this article is to look at the terminal draw cards and discuss the differences from plain old Smithy BM and how they affect the game.

Before we get into the cards, we should outline a few general ideas about terminal draw BM. First off, you canít afford to have too many actions, particularly terminals, because youíre going to draw cards dead. And compared to decks without card-drawing, you go through more cards per turn. As a result, you want to stick to a couple drawing cards and only mix in other actions that do something particularly strong in the early- or late-game. Examples include end-game accelerating trash-for-benefit cards like Remodel or Salvager, and really strong estate-trashing openings like Jack of All Trades, Masquerade, or Island. With these three cards in particular, you want to open them ahead of Smithy, adding the Smithy on turn 3-4.

While you want to take it easy on the actions, youíre more than happy to grab kingdom treasure cards like Foolís Gold, Venture, Stash, Cache, Royal Seal, Bank, Hoard, or Harem (not Loan, Contraband, Quarry, Talisman or Horn of Plenty, which are primarily for engines, and not Philosopherís Stone, whose potion cost makes it too slow for a fast BM strat). Kingdom treasures tend to make terminal draw BM stronger, so the presence of one of these cards may steer you be more likely to play terminal draw BM.

A couple of tactics also show up in terminal draw BM games.
1. If playing your draw card will trigger a reshuffle, you have to weigh the benefits. Usually itís worth it, since skipping this play of the card is usually just as bad as having it miss the shuffle, but if itís not going to improve your buying power, you should skip it.
2. When it comes down to Duchy dancing, you want to keep track of your oppnents key cards: their terminal drawers and their Golds. For Smithy BM, for example, once youíre well into greening, Province turns typically require Smithy+Gold or 2xGold. So if you can tell from previous turns that your opponent canít have one of these hands, you may want to break the Penultimate Province Rule.

As a disclaimer, none of the numerical things I say in this article are to be taken too literally. When I say that you want a Smithy ďafter the second shuffleĒ, that doesnít necessarily mean that something magical happens when you shuffle the deck a second time. Itís just a relative timing. At around 16-18 cards in your deck, you can tolerate a second Smithy if your only actions are Smithies. But if you want to add some other card, or your opponent does some sort of attack, that changes things. The point of this article is to describe relative differences between these cards, so saying you want the second Smithy after the second reshuffle does mean something relative to saying you want a second Oracle before the second reshuffle. You have to wait a little longer for a the second Smithy than for a second Oracle, in order to let your action density thin out a bit. I'm also not going to go into when you might prefer to skip terminal draw altogether in favor of other terminals. You can get a bit of that from this thread, though beware that that thread does not consider combining multiple different terminals.

So on to the cards:

Envoy
Envoy is the closest cousin of Smithy -- so close that it was cut from Intrigue due to the great similarity. So what is the difference? Envoy adds 4 cards to your hand instead of 3, and draws 5. Because it draws so many more cards, you really can't afford to add any terminal actions to your deck (i.e. no second Envoy). In the Envoy turn you see more than half your deck, so the probability of collision is higher than the probabilty of non-collision until your deck size is at least 19, at which point the game is probably already over. Although you canít really add any other terminals to Envoy, you still get plenty of plays out of your single Envoy due to the rapid cycling. Though you want to avoid terminal actions, you should still be willing to open Jack or Island before getting your Envoy (with Masquerade, youíre better off just skipping the Envoy).

Courtyard
Courtyard is the version of Smithy that did make it into Intrigue. Itís sneaky good, because at first glance, you may tend to think of it as being closer to Moat, costing $2 and netting 2 cards. However, it serves as a beautiful example of how pricing works in dominion. More expensive does not mean better in all situations. In an engine where you play a lot of drawing cards to get a huge hand and buy multiple cards, Smithy is better because it nets more total cards. If Smithy cost $2, it would be overpowered in Village/Smithy-type engines since you would be able to get a bunch of them on extra buys, but Courtyard at $2 is just fine. In BM, on the other hand, the returning a card to the deck top is actually a benefit, not a penalty. Courtyard BM is significantly stronger than Smithy BM, but in BM, the difference between $2 and $4 is basically nothing, since you donít have the extra buys.

So the question is how to take advantage of the ability to return a card to your deck. The most immediate benefit is that you donít have to worry about 2 Courtyards colliding. One can just put the other back on top of the deck. This means you can, and should, buy your second Courtyard much sooner (i.e. after a single Silver), and can be much more willing to add a third (terminal) action to your deck. Having 2 Courtyards very early can be a huge advantage, since as with Smithies, when you play them, you very often find yourself able to buy Gold. Combining this with the power to put back excess money on hands where you draw to $5 or $7, and youíll find that you are able to get a huge amount of Golds early. Once youíve racked up the Golds, itís smooth sailing, using your Courtyards to rearrange your hands into mostly $8s. As with Smithy, you should prefer to open Island, Jack, or Masquerade ahead of Courtyard, delaying your first Courtyard to turn 3-4. And if you open Jack or Masquerade, you also want to delay your second Courtyard, since you already have that extra terminal.

Masquerade
Even though it is a terminal draw card, Masquerade actually ends up functioning more like Jack of All Trades than like Smithy. This is because the trashing aspect is more significant than the drawing aspect, which primarily functions to help you find Estates to pass/trash and to allow you to still have buying power while trashing. +2 cards is much less likely to actually allow you to buy Gold early, but with your first couple plays of Masquerade, youíre very likely to remove a couple of Estates from your deck. With fewer Estates, even 5 card hands have a good chance of being worth $6+, and the 6-card Masquerade hands are even better. Since the primary function of the Masquerade is Estate-removal, you typically don't need a second one, though you should be more than happy to add another type of terminal draw card, since the removal of Estates makes card drawing generally stronger. Island and Jack are still good opening cards to add, but rather than delaying your Masquerade to turn 3-4, you can even just open Island/Masquerade or Jack/Masquerade. With the early-game strength of these cards, it can be worth risking a collision.

Library
As long as your hand size has not previously been increased, Library is at least as good as Smithy, drawing 3 cards, but with the added benefit of not drawing actions dead. For this reason, you can afford to add in an extra action or two beyond what you would do in a Smithy deck. So you can afford to open with a useful opening action (Jack, Cutpurse, Island, Bishop, Salvager, Navigator -- or even more off-the-wall stuff like Bureaucrat, Baron, or Ironworks) and still get 2-3 Libraries.

Vault
While Vault only draws 2 cards, it actually guarantees the ability to be able to buy Gold off of the 6 cards, since you can discard VP cards or actions for $1 apiece. Additionally, if one of the 6 cards is Gold, it guarantees a Province. This makes it an incredibly strong BM card. And since there is no real penalty for collision, you can afford to open with just about any reasonably useful action (as with Library) and just keep buying Vaults (or other useful action cards) without any real regard for collision.

Embassy
Embassy ends up working a lot like Vault, but without an explicit guarantee. Still, in 9 cards, youíd be hard pressed not to be able to hit $6, and youíll very often hit $8. It also has a bit of Envoy to it, since it draws so many cards that it provides a huge amount of cycling to allow many plays off of few Embassies. Usually, you want 2 (and asap, since a collision is not that bad), with the first one taking priority over Gold if you didnít open with another action card. The reason you take it ahead of Gold is that if you use your first Embassy to buy your first Gold, youíre more likely to quickly cycle it in than if you were to use your first Gold to buy your first Embassy. But if you have another action, youíre better off with the Gold, which doesnít have problems with collision. Of course, since Embassy leads to a much higher probability of collision, you have to more picky with your opening terminal than you would be with Library or Vault. For example, Silver/Silver is probably going to be better than Navigator/Silver or Bishop/Silver.

Council Room
Compared to Smithy, Council Room gives both you and your opponents an additional card, and gives you an additional buy. Early on, this is probably a bit worse than Smithy, since you wonít use the buy, and an 8th card on your big turn is probably overkill while a 6th card on a regular turn for them can make a bigger difference. However, having an extra card and buy on your big turn (on which you have 2 buys) can be a big deal late game. Since Council Room doesnít really shine until late game, youíre not in a huge rush to buy them. You should not buy one for $6 ahead of Gold, and you should probably delay the second one until after the second reshuffle even if you draw $5 on both turns 3 and 4. Since youíre not in a huge rush to get your Council Room, you can even do things like opening Bureaucrat or Baron to help you get more early treasures, delaying your CR, but giving you more power to use with your +buy later. But you still canít pull off some of the weaker openings that you would with Library of Vault, since Council Room does draw a lot of cards dead, and the game is going to tend to be even shorter than other terminal draw BM games if both players are allowing each other to draw extra cards with their Council Rooms.

Wharf
Wharf is on a whole different planet from the the rest of these non-attack terminal draw cards. Itís one of, if not the best non-attack cards in the game. In total, it draws the same number of cards as Council Room, but the splitting of the draw between 2 turns actually makes it phenomenally better. The primary reason for this is that you will have far fewer dead-draws, since half the cards are drawn ďliveĒ at the start of your turn. Your first goal with Wharf BM is to get 2 Wharfs asap (buying them over Gold). If you can play Wharves almost every turn, you will always be looking at 6-8 cards per buy phase, which makes it easy to buy a lot of Golds and/or additional Wharves. And then having all the extra buys helps grab extra VPs to seal a win.

The thing to watch out for with Wharves is that they are equally phenomenal in engines, providing a +buy and the ability to start turns with more than 5 cards, making combos easier to set up. So you need less support to go for an engine than you do with the other non-attack terminal draw cards (e.g. just Fishing Village is enough, even without trashing/attacks/alternative VPs). But still, Wharf BM is capable of outpacing weaker Wharf engines.

Since youíre going to want to accumulate a lot of Wharves fast in Wharf BM, you have to be a bit more picky with opening actions on 4/3. Jack, Monument, Swindler, and Island are still good, but Militia, and Cutpurse arenít likely to be worth it. If you choose to add an opening action, youíre going to want to prioritize Gold over a second Wharf to avoid collision problems.

Moat/Watchtower
The card-drawing reaction cards generally draw 2 cards, with their addition benefits as reactions. It would have to be a really weak board for it to be worth playing them as Big Money enablers. If you do, you probably don't want more than a couple, since in the absence of trashing or spare actions, +2 cards isn't a whole lot better than $2 most of the time.

Steward
Steward is optionally a terminal drawer, but because it also has a strong trashing option, it lends itself much more to engines setting up engines than to being played in BM. In the unlikely event that you choose to play it in BM, youíre basically only going to want to use the trash ability if youíre not hurting your buying power. Youíll tend to use the +$2 more early and use the +2 cards when +$2 seems relatively weak (e.g. it gets you to $7).

Nobles
Nobles generally prefers to go in engines for several reasons. First, at $6 it has to compete with Gold, which is hugely important for BM, and much less important (at least early on) for engines. Second, itís +2 actions option helps smooth out engines. And third, the extra points it gives allow you to lose the province split to a BM player and still come out ahead. But if there is no other source of actions, you donít want to just go for a Nobles-only engine, since itís too expensive to be used largely as a (poor) village. So you can still go BM with Nobles around. In BM, Nobles is not going to play a huge role. You donít want to pass on other decent action cards just to save your actions for Nobles. You just want to start adding Nobles late game, once you start buying Provinces. Itís sort of like a partial step toward Duchies. Youíre willing to sacrifice a bit of card goodness to get a couple VPs once youíre already greening.

Adventurer
If I asked you to enumerate the terminal draw cards, youíd probably forget Adventurer. I know I did at first. Technically, itís terminal and it draws 2 cards, and like Library it guarantees no dead actions, and even no victory cards! Sounds great, but the problem is that it costs $6 and will rarely be better than Gold in a BM deck with 7 Coppers in it. In pure BM (and engines too, for that matter), itís basically always better to spend your terminals and $6 purchases on something else.

Torturer/Margrave/Rabble
These $5 cards are Smithy + attack. This makes them generally better than Smithy for BM. However, the attack will have a tendency to slow down the game, allowing you to (slowly) build an engine using them as the drawing component. So when there is some sort of village around, youíre going to favor building an engine around these cards to playing BM, even without any sort of trashing or gaining. Without villages, they can play out a lot like Smithy BM, where you get about 2 of them. With Torturer and Margrave, you probably want the first one ahead of Gold if you didnít buy any other actions in your opening, because they will often allow you to buy Gold when you play them, and getting in an earlier play of the attack is better than just getting Gold first and using it to buy the $5 card. In terms of choosing an opening action for Torturer or Margrave, your standards should be about the same as for Embassy, but with Rabble, you can be much more liberal.

Ghost Ship
There is a significant difference between the +2 cards of Ghost Ship and the +3 cards of the attacks in the previous section. The card-drawing of Ghost Ship simply counteracts the Ghost Ship attacks of your opponents, and doesnít really allow you to build chains or draw larger hands. Ghost Ship does not provide enough drawing to be the primary source of +cards in an engine. Still, it slows the pace of the game down, which does open more doors for engines than othe BM strategies. But a lot of times, there wonít be a great a great engine to build, and Ghost Ship BM is pretty strong. Generally for Ghost Ship BM, you want as many Ghost Ships as possible, so you can keep playing them every turn. As explained in the Ghost Ship article, itís important to be able to play multiple Ghost Ships in a row, so you probably want to get your 2nd (or even 3rd) Ghost Ship before your second Gold.

Since youíre trying to play Ghost Ships every turn, you really have no room for other terminal actions, so if youíre going to open with a terminal action, it better be a good one. This includes usual suspects (Jack, Masquerade, Island, Swindler, Monument), and additionally because of the decreased pace of the game, you can actually afford to open with multi-card trashing like Remake or Steward. Losing an early game turn or two to trashing is less painful in the typically longer Ghost Ship games, and you will have time to reap the benefits of a more streamlined BM deck.

Oracle
The jury is still out on Oracle. Simulators donít play it well, so itís hard to say how well it does in various situations. Its draw is a little better than that of Ghost Ship, because it comes with a filter, but itís still probably not enough to be the primary source of +cards in an engine. Additionally, while the attack can be strong, itís not consistently strong enough to noticeably lengthen a game. Since it canít force long games like the $5 terminal draw attacks, Oracle will probably end up being used as a BM card more often than those attacks. In Oracle BM, because it only draws 2 cards, and it comes with a filter, you can probably afford to go up to 3 of them.

Young Witch/Witch
Technically, the witches are terminal draw cards, but that aspect of the cards is more of an afterthought. They are primarily cursers, and the way the game plays out is going to depend largely on how you handle the curses or play with an uglier deck. Because they really junk up your deck, you will end up playing them in BM a fair amount. You usually want to stop at 2 (maybe 3 in rare situations where your opponent is trying to ignore Witch and make an engine) cursers because once the curse pile runs out, they're not doing a whole lot for you. After that, because they aren't actually major drawing cards and because your deck is probably a bit bloated from the curses, you can easily add in a few more terminals. In terms of openings for Witch, youíre looking at most of the typical stuff except Island, which doesnít provide money to help you get to $5 early, and doesnít trash enough to make up for it. You can, however, go with stronger trashers like Chapel or Ambassador.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 03:01:17 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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Geronimoo

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 05:40:27 pm »
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This article should have been written years ago. Glad someone finally did! Thx, HiveMindEmulator.
I like how you added which cards can handle other actions and which don't (did you check these with the simulator?)
It would be nice to order the cards/BM strategies according to their strength.
Shouldn't Jack be included? You included Adventurer, so why not?
Duchie-timing for each strategy would be a good addition. It's one of the few ways to get an edge in a mirror match
Example games are always nice to include, even for these very simple strategies.
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DG

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 06:57:35 pm »
+3

I'll mention a few things that are not new but are relevant.

Not many other kingdom cards enhance these money decks but the higher cost treasures do. Bank, Stash, Venture, Harem, Hoard, and Cache all help. There is a big gap between 6 coins for a gold and 3 coins for a silver, so cards at cost 5 can be particularly useful when using the lesser drawing cards that are unlikely to provide you with instant gold. Harems are useful since you might draw them in big hands where the loss of 1 coin to spend (compared to gold) might be irrelevant. Banks are good in treasure rich hands but they only excel with an extra buy, from a council room perhaps.

Island is another card that can help a drawing deck. If you open with Island/silver and buy the drawing card soon afterwards, the deck will recover the lost time by the end of the game. This applies mainly to envoy or smithy but doesn't apply to embassy or vault.

Card play is pretty simple in drawing decks and the only decision is whether to play the drawing card when it will reshuffle the deck.

Simple drawing decks are vulnerable to the PPR since they can only typically buy only one victory card each turn. When you have the option to use the PPR it's good to know whether the opponent's drawing card is in the discard pile, or the chance of it being in hand.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 07:01:06 pm by DG »
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clb

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 07:15:00 pm »
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Thanks for the article!! I have a question I hope you might be able to clarify for me. You indicate that you would like to have only a single envoy (because of the large draw), but you indicate that you usually want a second embassy. Both of these cards draw 5, so wouldn't that make collisions equally likely? Is it because with envoy your opponent gets to choose which card is discarded, leaving you with a dead card, whereas with embassy, you can choose to discard the dead action and keep your money?

Envoy
Envoy is the closest cousin of Smithy -- so close that it was cut from Intrigue due to the great similarity. So what is the difference? Envoy adds 4 cards to your hand instead of 3, and draws 5. Because it draws so many more cards, you really can't afford to add any terminal actions to your deck (i.e. no second Envoy). In the Envoy turn you see more than half your deck, so the probability of collision is higher than the probabilty of non-collision until your deck size is at least 19, at which point the game is probably already over. Although you can’t really add any other terminals to Envoy, it still ends up usually being better than Smithy because the greater cycling allows you to play your single Envoy more often.
...
Embassy
Embassy ends up working a lot like Vault, but without an explicit guarantee. Still, in 9 cards, you’d be hard pressed not to be able to hit $6. It also has a bit of Envoy to it, since it draws so many cards that it provides a huge amount of cycling to allow many plays off of few Embassies. Usually, you want 2 (and asap, since a collision is not that bad), with the first one taking priority over Gold if you didn’t open with another action card. The reason you take it ahead of Gold is that if you use your first Embassy to buy your first Gold, you’re more likely to quickly cycle it in than if you were to use your first Gold to buy your first Embassy. But if you have another action, you’re better off with the Gold, which doesn’t have problems with collision. Of course, since Embassy leads to a much higher probability of collision, you have to more picky with your opening terminal than you would be with Library or Vault. For example, Silver/Silver is probably going to be better than Navigator/Silver or Bishop/Silver.
...
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Robz888

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 07:58:40 pm »
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Thanks for the article!! I have a question I hope you might be able to clarify for me. You indicate that you would like to have only a single envoy (because of the large draw), but you indicate that you usually want a second embassy. Both of these cards draw 5, so wouldn't that make collisions equally likely? Is it because with envoy your opponent gets to choose which card is discarded, leaving you with a dead card, whereas with embassy, you can choose to discard the dead action and keep your money?

Yeah, that's why. If your Envoy draws an Envoy, your opponent let's you keep it and discards something else, because you can't play it. So you only get 3 cards you can use, and you lost your best card. With Embassy, you have to discard anyway, so the fact that you can't play another Embassy is mitigated.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 08:06:45 pm »
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This article should have been written years ago. Glad someone finally did! Thx, HiveMindEmulator.
I like how you added which cards can handle other actions and which don't (did you check these with the simulator?)
It would be nice to order the cards/BM strategies according to their strength.
Shouldn't Jack be included? You included Adventurer, so why not?
Duchie-timing for each strategy would be a good addition. It's one of the few ways to get an edge in a mirror match
Example games are always nice to include, even for these very simple strategies.
I did check with the simulator for a lot of things.
I didn't want to get into ranking, which is kind of covered by ftl in his simulation thread. The order I used was kind of narrative, i.e. if something refers to another section, it should come after it. I kind of went sub-$5 non-attack with +3 or more cards, $5 non-attack, non-attacks that barely count, attacks.
I guess I could include Jack since I already wrote about it in my Jack article, but you can hardly call it a drawer. In that case, ironworks gaining a victory card is also a terminal drawer. As it is, my list includes everything CouncilRoom.com calls "Actions==0&&Cards>=2" other than Followers.
You're right about the Duchy timing thing, though things I say about that are going to end up being a lot less concrete...
As far as sample games go, I'm not sure how worth it it is. I don't really feel like digging through CR logs to find them, but if anyone has any good ones to post in the thread, I can add them.

I'll mention a few things that are not new but are relevant.

Not many other kingdom cards enhance these money decks but the higher cost treasures do. Bank, Stash, Venture, Harem, Hoard, and Cache all help. There is a big gap between 6 coins for a gold and 3 coins for a silver, so cards at cost 5 can be particularly useful when using the lesser drawing cards that are unlikely to provide you with instant gold. Harems are useful since you might draw them in big hands where the loss of 1 coin to spend (compared to gold) might be irrelevant. Banks are good in treasure rich hands but they only excel with an extra buy, from a council room perhaps.

Island is another card that can help a drawing deck. If you open with Island/silver and buy the drawing card soon afterwards, the deck will recover the lost time by the end of the game. This applies mainly to envoy or smithy but doesn't apply to embassy or vault.

Card play is pretty simple in drawing decks and the only decision is whether to play the drawing card when it will reshuffle the deck.

Simple drawing decks are vulnerable to the PPR since they can only typically buy only one victory card each turn. When you have the option to use the PPR it's good to know whether the opponent's drawing card is in the discard pile, or the chance of it being in hand.
These are good general tips. I guess I should expand the intro section to talk about this kind of stuff.

Thanks for the article!! I have a question I hope you might be able to clarify for me. You indicate that you would like to have only a single envoy (because of the large draw), but you indicate that you usually want a second embassy. Both of these cards draw 5, so wouldn't that make collisions equally likely? Is it because with envoy your opponent gets to choose which card is discarded, leaving you with a dead card, whereas with embassy, you can choose to discard the dead action and keep your money?
Yes. Envoy gets you the worst 4 of 5, which means adding a useless card to it makes it significantly worse. Embassy gets you the best 2 of 5, so adding a useless one has much less of an effect (you basically just need one of the 5 cards to be a good treasure and you're good). You do want to stop at 2 however, because having multiple useless cards does start to creep up.
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ftl

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 08:22:55 pm »
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Not many other kingdom cards enhance these money decks but the higher cost treasures do. Bank, Stash, Venture, Harem, Hoard, and Cache all help. There is a big gap between 6 coins for a gold and 3 coins for a silver, so cards at cost 5 can be particularly useful when using the lesser drawing cards that are unlikely to provide you with instant gold. Harems are useful since you might draw them in big hands where the loss of 1 coin to spend (compared to gold) might be irrelevant. Banks are good in treasure rich hands but they only excel with an extra buy, from a council room perhaps.


Hmm, it's also interesting to see which special treasures help which ones?

I bet Stash is great for Embassy and Envoy,  because of the super-frequent shuffling. Bank is great with Council Room because of the hand size and the +Buy. Cache is probably good with Embassy and Masquerade maybe? Embassy because you're doing a lot of filtering, Masquerade because you'll be trashing some coppers anyway? Venture probably goes well with Masq, again because of the small amount of copper trashing? Hoard is probably best with Embassy and worst with Envoy?

These are all just hunches though, not data.

Oh, I guess there's also Royal Seal. It doesn't have any particularly clever interactions with any of the terminal draw cards I think, just keep track of your deck and see whether you want to use RS to top-deck a new terminal drawer for the next hand?
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 08:32:00 pm »
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^I think the big idea is that all of the $5 ones are better than Silver in any terminal draw BM deck. And Bank > Gold. The only ones that are questionable are the $6 ones. Hoard and Harem timings need to be dealt with like Duchy timings. The particular synergies may matter for when making tough decisions about whether on not to go terminal draw BM, but I don't discuss that topic in too great detail; I think it's a bit out of the scope of the article.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 10:36:10 pm »
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Couple little issues. One, I don't think that Jack is any less card draw than Adventurer really, which is to say, I don't really think either of them REALLY fall into that category.

Okay, you say that envoy tends to end up being better than smithy. Well, straight-up, the sims like it by like 1 measley percentage point. But let me tell you, I don't know that there's a board where I'd play BM/envoy over BM/smithy. Well, okay, with stash maybe. But basically I actually think smithy's a little better, but I wouldn't say that one is stronger than the other so definitively (and you were wishy washy, but you say it like there's a small but distinct edge) either way.

Courtyard also helps you not have so many 7s and 5s and 4s, and later in the game, 6s, as you want, and you should mention that. You can say, okay, I want to prioritize getting what I need now, and then give myself the best money back for next turn too. Even if you couldn't put actions back, I still think courtyard is better than smithy for BM.

I think you have masquerade... well, pretty wrong. The passing's pretty important. The estate-trashing is big, but not THAT big, and the card draw is a really really important part of this card. Most of all, it really doesn't act like jack, whose main purpose is getting silver, not trashing estates. Though, I guess they have some similarities.

Embassy also make trashing less important, because you get this really massive filtering effect, which is a huge thing. And actually, more than almost guaranteeing $6, it seems to nearly guarantee me $8 early on. Like, I cannot tell you how many times I've played embassy into a hand of 2 silver and 4 copper.

I don't get your point about council room letting you be more liberal with an opening action. It's much less the case here actually, because you draw more, especially if your opponent mirrors you.

Actually, in general, I really don't think you want so many 'other' actions in these decks as you imply, with a couple of exceptions. But not many.

Wharf, I actually think you're underselling. Because it's probably not the best non-attack (king's court says hi even for its cost... well, it's close. And maybe IGG, though that looks like an attack anyway). But it's better than most attacks. WAY better than virtually every non-curser. And a little better than the weaker cursers even(!)

I understand that Nobles and Steward sorta fit together in that they sorta go engine-wise. But they're so different, I'd split them up. And also, they're not SO bad that I wouldn't have something on how to play them BM wise. There are other cards here that are worse for BM.

Margrave/Torturer/Rabble, I also wouldn't stick together. Well, I guess it's more or less ok, as you aren't going to play them THAT differently in BM.

Ghost ship though, I would write a good deal differently. It's important to know that you really wan to be able to mash these out consistently, because that attack is REALLY powerful, and you want to get that across. Most of the other cards here, you want 1-2 before gold. You want MORE GS (in a BM strat). And you want something that this is EXTREMELY powerful.

The jury may indeed be out on oracle, and it is much less of a standard power than the rest, which is probably part of why. I mean, it shifts around depending on the board more (as do lots of hinterlands cards). But while you can MAYBE accomodate as many oracle as you say (well, that's sorta pushing it anyway), you generally don't want quite so many, because you need to get some treasure rolling too. I'd probably get one zeroth and second reshuffle, usually. And then if I happen to hit sub-5 at a moment later on, possibly a third.



Overall, a nice article! (prolly shoulda written that at the top, but at least now you read all the way through? ;) )

HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2012, 04:46:57 am »
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Okay, you say that envoy tends to end up being better than smithy. Well, straight-up, the sims like it by like 1 measley percentage point. But let me tell you, I don't know that there's a board where I'd play BM/envoy over BM/smithy. Well, okay, with stash maybe. But basically I actually think smithy's a little better, but I wouldn't say that one is stronger than the other so definitively (and you were wishy washy, but you say it like there's a small but distinct edge) either way.
Yeah, I didn't actually mean that it's "better", but really that you get just as many Envoy plays off 1 Envoy as you would off of 2 Smithies. I reworded.

Quote
Courtyard also helps you not have so many 7s and 5s and 4s, and later in the game, 6s, as you want, and you should mention that. You can say, okay, I want to prioritize getting what I need now, and then give myself the best money back for next turn too. Even if you couldn't put actions back, I still think courtyard is better than smithy for BM.
I reworded a bit to mention that the topdecking also helps in the Gold-aquisition phase. Is it still too unclear?

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I think you have masquerade... well, pretty wrong. The passing's pretty important. The estate-trashing is big, but not THAT big, and the card draw is a really really important part of this card. Most of all, it really doesn't act like jack, whose main purpose is getting silver, not trashing estates. Though, I guess they have some similarities.
I think I got it pretty right. In Masq BM, the trash is the most important part, imo. The pass is not really that big of a deal unless there are curses or something. It does help a bit because you're more likely to have an Estate to pass than your opponent when you're selecting off of 6 cards instead of 5, but if you remove that, it doesn't make the card much weaker in BM. The main function of the +cards is to make sure your trashing turns aren't wasted. It does synergize nicely with the Estate removal, since that makes any kind of +cards better, but the aspect that makes the card is undoubtedly the trashing. You never buy a second Masq in Masq BM, do you? Isn't that because you no longer have a need to trash stuff beyond the early game?
And with Jack, I think it's the same story. You do get an extra Silver, but it's not like Ironworks BM is strong, and you can do the same kind of thing without the Estate trashing there. As a mini-experiment, I removed the buy rule for Silver from the Jack bot (to simulate having fewer Silver -- just imagine the gained ones had been bought and there were none gained; it's not precise, but if anything this would be worse than just not having the gain Silver ability), and it still beats the Ironworks bot (which simulates having the Silver gain, but not the trashing -- yes the +$1 is worse than +1 filtered card, so the comparison is not perfect), which I think says something about the relative importance of the two properties. Hard to say though, because both sides are relatively inaccurate. Probably a better job can be done with making new cards for rspeer's simulator, but it's all kind of irrelevant anyway. Obviously, you need both aspects to make the card strong, but I definitely feel like the "main" aspect is the trashing.

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Embassy also make trashing less important, because you get this really massive filtering effect, which is a huge thing. And actually, more than almost guaranteeing $6, it seems to nearly guarantee me $8 early on. Like, I cannot tell you how many times I've played embassy into a hand of 2 silver and 4 copper.
Trashing is pretty-much not important for any of these strategies, so I don't think that's really worth saying, or are you trying to say something else?

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I don't get your point about council room letting you be more liberal with an opening action. It's much less the case here actually, because you draw more, especially if your opponent mirrors you.

Actually, in general, I really don't think you want so many 'other' actions in these decks as you imply, with a couple of exceptions. But not many.

Yeah, that sentence is kind of a mess. I meant that compared to Embassy, there are a few more acceptable non-Silver/Silver openings since you don't necessarily need your CRs asap. In particular, you can open something like Bureaucrat or Baron to help you get more early treasures, delaying your CR, but giving you more power to use with your +buy later. I'll think about how to reword this.

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Wharf, I actually think you're underselling. Because it's probably not the best non-attack (king's court says hi even for its cost... well, it's close. And maybe IGG, though that looks like an attack anyway). But it's better than most attacks. WAY better than virtually every non-curser. And a little better than the weaker cursers even(!)
I'm not in the business of going through overall card rankings in this article, but I agree with you that's it's better than most attack. That doesn't make my statement in the article false.

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I understand that Nobles and Steward sorta fit together in that they sorta go engine-wise. But they're so different, I'd split them up. And also, they're not SO bad that I wouldn't have something on how to play them BM wise. There are other cards here that are worse for BM.
I guess I'll probably end up doing this in the next revision.

Quote
Ghost ship though, I would write a good deal differently. It's important to know that you really wan to be able to mash these out consistently, because that attack is REALLY powerful, and you want to get that across. Most of the other cards here, you want 1-2 before gold. You want MORE GS (in a BM strat). And you want something that this is EXTREMELY powerful.
I linked the Ghost Ship article to get into those details.

Quote
The jury may indeed be out on oracle, and it is much less of a standard power than the rest, which is probably part of why. I mean, it shifts around depending on the board more (as do lots of hinterlands cards). But while you can MAYBE accomodate as many oracle as you say (well, that's sorta pushing it anyway), you generally don't want quite so many, because you need to get some treasure rolling too. I'd probably get one zeroth and second reshuffle, usually. And then if I happen to hit sub-5 at a moment later on, possibly a third.
I would lean toward getting the second Oracle sooner, because I feel like it's better to overdo it on attacks than to underdo it, but I'm sure you've played more Oracle BM than I have, so you're probably right. I just changed it to be a bit more vague (and unhelpful :P), though as it stands now, there is a minor implication that the second one comes after the second reshuffle as with Smithy.

Quote
Overall, a nice article! (prolly shoulda written that at the top, but at least now you read all the way through? ;) )
Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 04:53:13 am by HiveMindEmulator »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2012, 06:25:27 am »
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Okay, big update. I added a bunch of stuff in the intro section (including talking about types of good additional actions, kingdom treasure, and tactical stuff like watching reshuffles and dealing with PPR -- let me know if there are any other tactics I should add in), split Nobles/Steward, added in some comments about using Jack/Island/Masq openings for sub-$5 cards, and made a few other wording changes. I still haven't added in discussion on VP timings, but I'll get to that at some point.
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2012, 06:37:54 am »
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You never buy a second Masq in Masq BM, do you? Isn't that because you no longer have a need to trash stuff beyond the early game?

Actually, you saw double masquerade quite often in the BGGL days (before simulators).  It can still work ok if your deck has any unusual expansion.
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2012, 09:12:23 am »
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Really liked the article, thanks for writing it.


When I open masquerade, it's masq/silver more then 90% of the time. Only very few other cards I even consider, and Island definately isn't one of them. Am I wrong on this one?
Also I like masq a lot in engines, even more then steward. It enables such a nice start (trashing combined with getting 5 cards).
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jomini

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2012, 09:50:17 am »
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Another shot that may be worth talking about is alternate VP. Council room and margrave can both make late pushes into gardens, it doesn't take too many uses of +buy to make gardens more valuable than duchies and on 2 to 1 par with provinces. I'm not the best at BM type games, so it would be appreciated if anyone who is would be willing to comment on when the copper buys should start on something like a margrave/garden board. Also you may want to talk about when to deny an opponent gardens (to limit the opponent's point possibilities) and when to leave them out to lengthen the game.

Silk roads, likewise, change your buy priorities in the duchy stage. When should you dip into them and when should you leave the stack intact to slow the rush?

Fairgrounds is less interesting in a BM game. You can safely count on the 3 treasures and the 4 VP cards. With one type of smithy this requires 2 other kingdom cards (or curse, potion) to make it to the VP threshold. I find that fairgrounds are quite good if you have an opening card other than silver - island is great, B-crat, remake, etc. also make fairgrounds more attractive than duchies. Having two different smithies (e.g. smithy/margrave) also puts you within a card of getting 4 VP fairgrounds, kingdom treasures and other kingdom VP can also push you over the top. My general rule of thumb is that I will dip into fairgrounds in BM if I'll be one card shy of 10 unique named cards and I'm stalling hard enough to expect another sub-5 hand before game ends. Otherwise I need +buy (to nab a single curse) or to actually be at 10 before going into them.
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2012, 09:51:14 am »
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Also, I don't know if it is worth it, but xroad/BM should be marginally viable, particularly with something like harems out.
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2012, 12:02:24 pm »
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When I open masquerade, it's masq/silver more then 90% of the time. Only very few other cards I even consider, and Island definately isn't one of them. Am I wrong on this one?

Simulator says ... island/silver then masquerade is slightly better than masquerade/silver! However don't take that as universal since if you add a handy 5 cost card like venture to the kingdom then masquerade/silver is better. I'm guessing that on turn three or four, either island or masquerade will typically remove an estate from your deck and give 3-5 coins to spend. If the island deck is ahead 3vp and buys the same card (silver) then that's an advantage.
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2012, 01:20:59 pm »
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Adventurer is basically a double venture. With plat and/or bank, in cases where you would consider buying venture over another gold, if your deck is spammed with curses/green/terminals or if you're getting a small hand size it's a decent buy. Especially if you have some source of getting gold other than paying 6 for it. Like hoard, mine, tunnel. I've found it very helpful in hamlet warehouse tunnel games. Where buying gold is a total waste of 6 and you end up with 3 card hands pretty often.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2012, 03:18:33 pm »
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Quote
You never buy a second Masq in Masq BM, do you? Isn't that because you no longer have a need to trash stuff beyond the early game?

Actually, you saw double masquerade quite often in the BGGL days (before simulators).  It can still work ok if your deck has any unusual expansion.
By "unusual expansion", you mean something extra to trash?

Really liked the article, thanks for writing it.

When I open masquerade, it's masq/silver more then 90% of the time. Only very few other cards I even consider, and Island definately isn't one of them. Am I wrong on this one?
Also I like masq a lot in engines, even more then steward. It enables such a nice start (trashing combined with getting 5 cards).
Thanks for reading :).
I think Masq/Silver is usually the right opening in general, but I think Masq/Island is better for BM since you're not really concerned with hitting $5, even if there is something like Venture. Sim says 52-44 advantage without Venture and 50-45 with (on 4/3 split). I changed the wording to sound a little less like it's something you have to do.

Another shot that may be worth talking about is alternate VP. Council room and margrave can both make late pushes into gardens, it doesn't take too many uses of +buy to make gardens more valuable than duchies and on 2 to 1 par with provinces. I'm not the best at BM type games, so it would be appreciated if anyone who is would be willing to comment on when the copper buys should start on something like a margrave/garden board. Also you may want to talk about when to deny an opponent gardens (to limit the opponent's point possibilities) and when to leave them out to lengthen the game.

Silk roads, likewise, change your buy priorities in the duchy stage. When should you dip into them and when should you leave the stack intact to slow the rush?

Fairgrounds is less interesting in a BM game. You can safely count on the 3 treasures and the 4 VP cards. With one type of smithy this requires 2 other kingdom cards (or curse, potion) to make it to the VP threshold. I find that fairgrounds are quite good if you have an opening card other than silver - island is great, B-crat, remake, etc. also make fairgrounds more attractive than duchies. Having two different smithies (e.g. smithy/margrave) also puts you within a card of getting 4 VP fairgrounds, kingdom treasures and other kingdom VP can also push you over the top. My general rule of thumb is that I will dip into fairgrounds in BM if I'll be one card shy of 10 unique named cards and I'm stalling hard enough to expect another sub-5 hand before game ends. Otherwise I need +buy (to nab a single curse) or to actually be at 10 before going into them.

I might talk about alt VPs when I get into the VP timing stuff, but if there is too much alt-VP going on.

Also, I don't know if it is worth it, but xroad/BM should be marginally viable, particularly with something like harems out.
Now at this point, it kind of stops being BM...

Adventurer is basically a double venture. With plat and/or bank, in cases where you would consider buying venture over another gold, if your deck is spammed with curses/green/terminals or if you're getting a small hand size it's a decent buy. Especially if you have some source of getting gold other than paying 6 for it. Like hoard, mine, tunnel. I've found it very helpful in hamlet warehouse tunnel games. Where buying gold is a total waste of 6 and you end up with 3 card hands pretty often.
It's not quite double-venture. It's double Venture -1 action -$1, and can't chain. I'm not saying you can't use it, but in a typical BM setting, it's not something you want to go for that often. You're right that I should, however, write something about, since I even wrote something about Steward.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 03:28:32 pm by HiveMindEmulator »
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2012, 08:00:10 am »
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Great article!

The one thing I noticed is missing that no one else has commented on is that the article does not talk about Colony games at all. After reading the article, I feel like I have a good understanding of BM in Province games, but still no idea whether they are viable in Colony games. Do the strategies change much? Do some BM strategies just not work for Colonies? Is it almost always better to go engine in Colony games?
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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 04:42:31 pm »
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Great article!

The one thing I noticed is missing that no one else has commented on is that the article does not talk about Colony games at all. After reading the article, I feel like I have a good understanding of BM in Province games, but still no idea whether they are viable in Colony games. Do the strategies change much? Do some BM strategies just not work for Colonies? Is it almost always better to go engine in Colony games?

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201206/15/game-20120615-133655-5885993e.html

Terminal BM works fine in a Colony game presupposing the other guy doesn't have much to work with either. The key is to analyze the board upfront, note the lack of options and commit to BM throughout. Here, my opponent made a grave mistake of trying to add cantrips while I piled on extra VP that I had no problem sifting past. I have played BM from the get go in only slightly differnt boards with much less favorable results.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Terminal Draw Big Money
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2012, 05:04:32 pm »
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Colony games tend to favor engines more, but when there is still no engine to build, you play BM just about the same way as in non-Colony games.
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