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shark_bait

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Count
« on: October 18, 2012, 03:52:29 pm »
+7

Count*

With the advent of Dark Ages, you could say that “things just got real” in the life of a Dominion player.  Cards that we never even imagined came out and have completely changed the way we think about the game.  One simple and subtle card is Count.

Count offers the player 2 different choices from two different sets of 3 options.  Through this unique wording, it offers a whopping 9 different ways in which it can be played.  Obviously some combinations offer more synergy than others and will not be used.  But the choices make it a unique card that can function in both an engine style and a big money style of game.

The Choices

Choose one: Discard 2 cards; put a card from your hand on top of your deck; or gain a Copper.

Choose one: +$3; trash your hand; or gain a Duchy.

Trashing and Hand Size

One key thing to keep in mind is that when resolving the different actions, you go from top down.  This means that you resolve the first choice and then resolve the second choice.  One thing to notice about the first set of choices is that each choice affects your hand-size in a different manner.  Think from a perspective of your hand-size before playing Count, your hand-size after resolving the first choice will equal to HS-n where n=1,2, or 3.  This has the biggest impact on deciding whether or not to trash your hand.  By controlling the size of the hand that you are going to trash, you can selectively trash only the cards that you want to trash.  Another thing worth mentioning regarding trashing is the trashing of copper.  It is more beneficial to gain a copper in your discard pile and trash your entire hand than place a copper on top of your deck and trash your hand.  The net amount of coppers in your deck stays the same, but the placement of the copper is better if it is in your discard pile. 

Count as an Engine

So we’ve thought about how Count can be used as a trasher.  But more importantl to consider is when Count should be used as a trasher.  You want to use Counts trashing to enable an engine.  The benefit of Count being your trashing is that its purpose is two-fold.  It can function to streamline your deck into a well-oiled machine and then seamlessly integrate itself into a reliable engine component when its initial purpose is served.  The disadvantage of this card is that it costs $5.  What this means is that unless you get a $5/$2 start, you can not start trashing right away.  And one of the biggest rules of engine building is that you want to streamline your deck quickly.  Count as your sole trasher suffers from  Turn 5 Chapel Syndrome (T5CS).  In T5CS, your opening chapel misses a reshuffle allowing only 1 play after the 1st two reshuffles.  In a game of equal skill between two opponents with 1 suffering from T5CS, it is almost impossible to come back due to the huge tempo loss.  Thankfully, Count has a prescription for this problem and it’s even better than more cowbell!  The ability to place a card on top of your deck means you can over-invest in other trashing cards to make up for this loss in tempo.  If any of your power cards clash with Count, simply top-deck it and use it next turn.  This other power card can also be another Count.  Getting 2 Counts after your first reshuffle will have no risk of collision due to the top-decking and will help alleviate T5CS.

Okay, so we’ve used Count to get our decks ready for an engine but what kind of engine should we try to build?  As mentioned earlier, playing count will always result in a net decrease in hand size.  Therefore it is imperative that good +draw be present.  For this type of deck, the best type of card is of the form draw up to X like Watchtower/Library.  Since these cards require an action, strong village support is essential.  Things like Fishing Village and Hamlet are Tier 1 villages for this type of application due to cheapness and amount of +action given.  Obviously others can be used but a more expensive village means a harder engine to set up.  The nice thing about an engine like this using Count is that Count helps provide part of your economy in the +$3 available for the second choice.  This means that once you trash down, you are already halfway there to building back up.  Building a viable Count style engine can also be done in such a way that you get rid of your entire hand.  In that way, the detriment of either discarding or top-decking can be avoided by not having cards left in your hand.  The Duchy gaining ability can also be helpful in situation where you need TfB fodder.  Gaining a $5-cost card is very good if you need cards to give to your Expand/Rebuild/Salvager/Apprentice etc.

In an engine, count also excels at maintaining stability.  You can overbuy engine components and use the top deck ability to ensure that you put useful cards back on top making sure that your next hand does not stall.  Toward the end game, having count also can contribute to getting a slew of Duchies which can help result in a lead.

Count as Big Money

Now that we have thought about Count as an engine enabler, let’s consider how it functions in BM style games.  Count can be quite a force to be reckoned with in this style game as well.  One obvious comparison can be made with Mandarin.  In fact, Count can function exactly like a Mandarin in its on-play capabilities.   So what differentiates Count from Mandarin in a BM game then?  The answer in is the choices.  With Mandarin, it’s tough to get started because purchasing Mandarin slows your tempo due to the on-buy condition.  Count does not have this shortcoming.  Additionally, Count allows you to choose what you want to do with your hand.  If you have 2 junk cards, simply discard them and nothing is lost.  Do you absolutely need every card?  Then just gain a Copper.  Do you have a card that you wish you had next turn?  Put it on top of your deck.  Let’s think about the second set of choices.  In BM, the trashing option will be largely ignored.  But the other 2 options are stellar.  Do you need money to get up to Province?  Then take the +$3.  So you think you can dance?  Well no one is better at endgame Duchy dancing than the Count.  With Count, if you could buy a Province, you will always have the option to double Duchy.  Keep in mind that the top-decking ability can help organize your money that you always have exactly the amount you need, no more and no less.  In a close BM style game, minimizing variance due to card draw is a fantastic way to increase your odds of winning.

Count as Alternate VP

Count is also a card that works quite well with a couple different alternate VP style games.  Strong synergy exists between Count and Duke.  Consider the Horse Traders/Duke combo.  Count can in fact act completely like HT when played as a action.  But Count also has the ability to straight up gain Duchies/Copper and then buy something else.  Those are both great options, especially when you only need a deck to get to $5.  Silk Road/Gardens are two other alternate VP that also scale well with Count.  There is obvious a trade off present due to Counts $5-cost price tag and alternate VP strategies like this can often be more rush oriented.  As a consequence, you might lose the split 3/5 if your opponent aggressively pursues purchasing of SR/Gardens.  However, what you lose in the number of alternate VP cards, you make up for in there worth and Duchies.  For Gardens, Count will gain you 2 cards each play (Copper/Duchy).  This means that your Gardens will most likely be worth more than your opponents and this bonus plus the extra Duchies will swing the game in your favor.  In Silk Road, gaining the Duchies will have a similar effect as a Gardens strategy in that the extra points from Duchies and/or higher value SR will be enough to circumvent a potential lost SR split.

Conclussion

Count is a versatile card that can be used in either engine or BM style games.  In an engine game, you will need support from both Village and +draw but the benefit is that count itself functions as money when it has served its trashing purpose.  In a BM style game, Count is exceptionally good at lowering variance from shuffle luck and is a powerhouse in controlling the end-game.

*Dominion is an exceptionally complex game with a large magnitude of options.  While this article doesn't cover all the ways Count functions, it tries to address the key ways in which Count can function.  The space below here is reserved for unique specific interactions present with Count and other kingdom cards.

Unique Interactions
  • With Village/Mystic, you can draw the card which was placed on top of your deck
  • With Rebuild, gain Duchies with Count and use Rebuild to make them Provinces
  • In Tournament games, top-deck a Province to both block your opponents and facilitate your own Prize gaining.
  • With Tunnel, you have 4 chances to have Tunnel in a hand with Count.  Not the best activator, but with Count's other great benefits, a Tunnel/Count strategy can make up for a lost Province split by having excess Tunnels and Duchies.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 11:39:09 am by shark_bait »
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jomini

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Re: Count
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 04:33:19 pm »
+3

Count has several other big features.
1. In engines, you can overbuy components and make the engine hugely reliable. Take a village/smithy engine with enough draw to draw everything. Playing count twice can allow you to put an extra village/smithy combo on top to start next turn.
2. Another strong shot for engine/count is that at end game you can pull in duchies like mad. I've done double count with Tr and nabbed 4 duchies on my final turn. Sure I lost the province split 5/3, but I also had two nobles for the win.
3. Count can keep alive copper activated cards. For instance, Moneylender can be a good play in long games (colonies, ghost ship, etc.) where you plan to go engine. However you eventually reach a point where you have no more coppers to trash, Count can keep such cards alive while keeping your engine humming. Likewise, any TfB that doesn't care about cost works well with count as you can gain the copper into the discard and only draw it after you have all the expensive, shiny engine components in hand.
4. Count has no penalty in most cashless decks (at least for the first count). Let's say you have draw, villages, and count. Discarding VP is painless. Your last count can also discard if you have an empty hand. Absolute worst case scenarios are things like: have 3 counts in hand, top deck one, play 2 for 6 coin, have 3 counts in hand, gain 2 C, +9 coin. More often, you can discard dead cards (like VP) or top deck cantrips (village, pearl diver) and just play all 3 for the province.
5. Count can make reactions extremely solid. Top deck a curse with count, laugh off Mountebank for the rest of the game. Moats, watchtowers, traders, market squares, banes ... anything you need to have in hand between your turns can find itself there forever with count.
6. Gaining a duchy can net you 5 coin in value for scaling TfBs. Want some salvager bait? Duchies can do you. Need a card for rebuild to hit (and count/rebuild is just good)? Count does it for you.
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DG

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Re: Count
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 08:16:41 pm »
+2

Firstly, lets not forget that the count is a top tier card for gardens and duke style decks. I would say that this is the best use of a count.

Secondly, the count generally works badly in three or four card hands.

Experienced players have seen mandarins and horse traders before so should know how to best get from the +3 coins option, leaving the trashing ability as probably the most difficult to harness. It can be much trickier than trashing with a steward. Although you might have the perfect hand with the count to put a gold on top of the deck and trash three curses, you are far more likely to get some mismatched hand that doesn't fit properly. As soon as you have vp cards that you need to keep in your deck, the trashing options seem to get even worse. You can't keep treasures in hand to play after trashing with the count. Whilst the count can be excellent at trashing big hands, just like a forge, it is more complicated since any size of hand might be unsuitable.
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shark_bait

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Re: Count
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 09:41:37 am »
0

Updated to add alt VP section.  Thanks for the comments DG.
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brokoli

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Re: Count
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 10:43:02 am »
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Count seems quite good with tunnel too.
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Coone

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Re: Count
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 03:48:00 am »
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I was considering writing something on the count for a while but I feel I'm lacking in seniority so I'm glad someone else is tackling this.  There are major flaws with this article as it stands though, in my humble opinion.

Big Money: This is the best thing that the Count has going and so I think it should be the focal point of the article.  As you started to touch on: it accelerates the set-up of a Big Money deck and forces competitors to consider if an engine themed deck can be set up fast enough.  Then at the end game, the flexibility to gain a duchy and/or to reserve an unneeded gold from the hand can really clinch the victory.

Engines and Trashing: You mention many of the flaws but it still seems that there is a tone that it is good deck-thinner.  Count most of the time cannot be employed as soon as the chapel, and when it is employed you basically are left with a dead turn because it takes your entire hand. You do not mention the difference between count and other trashers in that count requires you to basically forfeit a turn. It can set up an engine by trashing but the combo would have to be really good because of the loss of momentum (To fully trim the 10 starting cards it would take a minimum of four skipped turns using the count).

I would like to see mention of how it fares against looters and curses.  In a primarily BM deck, curses and ruins really detract from your buying power, but Count being a 5$ that provides 3$ helps you maintain your buying power.  When the curses and ruins reach a volume where they start to outright ruin hands, the Count doesn't really give up a lot when it loses the whole hand to trash a few curses (For example, hand: Cu, Cu, Prv, Prv,Ct).  There could be some lively discussion on when to trash and when not to trash.  Consider the hand: Ct. Cu, Cu, Gd, Sv. Do you discard gold and silver to trash the curses or do you discard the curses, and get plus 3 to buy a province?

Hope this helps!
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jomini

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Re: Count
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 07:22:21 pm »
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I was considering writing something on the count for a while but I feel I'm lacking in seniority so I'm glad someone else is tackling this.  There are major flaws with this article as it stands though, in my humble opinion.

Big Money: This is the best thing that the Count has going and so I think it should be the focal point of the article.  As you started to touch on: it accelerates the set-up of a Big Money deck and forces competitors to consider if an engine themed deck can be set up fast enough.  Then at the end game, the flexibility to gain a duchy and/or to reserve an unneeded gold from the hand can really clinch the victory.

Engines and Trashing: You mention many of the flaws but it still seems that there is a tone that it is good deck-thinner.  Count most of the time cannot be employed as soon as the chapel, and when it is employed you basically are left with a dead turn because it takes your entire hand. You do not mention the difference between count and other trashers in that count requires you to basically forfeit a turn. It can set up an engine by trashing but the combo would have to be really good because of the loss of momentum (To fully trim the 10 starting cards it would take a minimum of four skipped turns using the count).

I would like to see mention of how it fares against looters and curses.  In a primarily BM deck, curses and ruins really detract from your buying power, but Count being a 5$ that provides 3$ helps you maintain your buying power.  When the curses and ruins reach a volume where they start to outright ruin hands, the Count doesn't really give up a lot when it loses the whole hand to trash a few curses (For example, hand: Cu, Cu, Prv, Prv,Ct).  There could be some lively discussion on when to trash and when not to trash.  Consider the hand: Ct. Cu, Cu, Gd, Sv. Do you discard gold and silver to trash the curses or do you discard the curses, and get plus 3 to buy a province?

Hope this helps!

Big money Count is still very easy to disrupt with attacks. Take any of the discard attacks, Count hands with only 3 cards can gain you a duchy, good. They can also top deck a gold in hopes of buying a duchy/gold/count and next turn doing something with it. Yeah, Silver/Gold/Count can let you gain a copper & buy a province, but when dealing with three card hands that copper really hurts the odds of getting good, high value hands.

Count mitigates Ruins and Curses, but nonetheless, those do slow Count down and unlike in the engine case, it is harder to set up turns to trash either. Deck inspection can be particularly brutal against count as you will tend to have fewer mediocre cards and flipping a count or gold becomes that much more painful.

As far as using Count for trashing, the only real problems are its 5 coin price point, and the fact that it is so good at gaining early golds. Early game you will  have exceedingly few cards you really want to keep and Count can protect 2 of them (discard). So you have a zero coin hand? Compare to those Steward trash hands; at best early Steward trashing will leave 3 coin hands, more often you will have a lot of 2 coin hands. Sure some days, Haven or Village is out and you are fine with that. More often, you will trash 2 cards, be done with it, and buy nothing. Count is far better at trashing when you have another strong card or two. Say you have something like a Merchant Ship (buy Count, then Mrchshp), unlike with Chap, Steward, Remake, etc. you can top deck the Mrchshp for later play. With treasureless decks, Count is phenomenal at trashing - you can literally all you're non-actions in one go and you can keep doing so until you have more than two provinces in hand. And there are many setups that let you count away your deck in one or two goes. E.g Necro/Smithy/Count can do it with just two dead turns of trashing (better than Chapel); it isn't so hard to add count to a action heavy deck and just blow away all the junk once you have some draw. Better, once you have tossed all your coppers, one of the banes of ultra-thin decks - a lack of buying power - isn't likely to derail things as you have plenty of coin potential in the Count(s).
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Count
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 01:39:01 am »
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In engine games, trashing the first two hands with Count can be crucial. I have won many games because my opponents underestimated Count's trashing on an engine board. Yes, you lose a turn, but think of it as a reverse-Tactician.
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Coone

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Re: Count
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 10:08:27 pm »
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Big money Count is still very easy to disrupt with attacks. Take any of the discard attacks, Count hands with only 3 cards can gain you a duchy, good. They can also top deck a gold in hopes of buying a duchy/gold/count and next turn doing something with it. Yeah, Silver/Gold/Count can let you gain a copper & buy a province, but when dealing with three card hands that copper really hurts the odds of getting good, high value hands.

Count mitigates Ruins and Curses, but nonetheless, those do slow Count down and unlike in the engine case, it is harder to set up turns to trash either. Deck inspection can be particularly brutal against count as you will tend to have fewer mediocre cards and flipping a count or gold becomes that much more painful.

As far as using Count for trashing, the only real problems are its 5 coin price point, and the fact that it is so good at gaining early golds. Early game you will  have exceedingly few cards you really want to keep and Count can protect 2 of them (discard). So you have a zero coin hand? Compare to those Steward trash hands; at best early Steward trashing will leave 3 coin hands, more often you will have a lot of 2 coin hands. Sure some days, Haven or Village is out and you are fine with that. More often, you will trash 2 cards, be done with it, and buy nothing. Count is far better at trashing when you have another strong card or two. Say you have something like a Merchant Ship (buy Count, then Mrchshp), unlike with Chap, Steward, Remake, etc. you can top deck the Mrchshp for later play. With treasureless decks, Count is phenomenal at trashing - you can literally all you're non-actions in one go and you can keep doing so until you have more than two provinces in hand. And there are many setups that let you count away your deck in one or two goes. E.g Necro/Smithy/Count can do it with just two dead turns of trashing (better than Chapel); it isn't so hard to add count to a action heavy deck and just blow away all the junk once you have some draw. Better, once you have tossed all your coppers, one of the banes of ultra-thin decks - a lack of buying power - isn't likely to derail things as you have plenty of coin potential in the Count(s).

I did not consider the complexity of many trashing situations, that is a good point.  However I still think it would be good to mention momentum because the other player will almost always be able to go for a fast-pace BM with count on the board.

I consider attacks to be the exception rather than the rule.  Handsize attacks are very harmful to the point of nullifying counts usability but I don't think there are not enough of them to consider them a constant or common enough threat.  Spy attacks that discard the top-deck are annoying to a count but not game-breaking by any means.  Deck inspection cards such as saboteur are mercifully rare and in most cases slow down your opponent as much as they slow down yourself.
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jomini

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Re: Count
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2013, 12:08:38 am »
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I did not consider the complexity of many trashing situations, that is a good point.  However I still think it would be good to mention momentum because the other player will almost always be able to go for a fast-pace BM with count on the board.

I consider attacks to be the exception rather than the rule.  Handsize attacks are very harmful to the point of nullifying counts usability but I don't think there are not enough of them to consider them a constant or common enough threat.  Spy attacks that discard the top-deck are annoying to a count but not game-breaking by any means.  Deck inspection cards such as saboteur are mercifully rare and in most cases slow down your opponent as much as they slow down yourself.

There are 9 hand size reduction attacks in Dominion: Militia, B-crat, Minion, Torturer, Cutpurse, Ghost Ship, Followers, Goons, Margrave, Urchin/Mercenary, and Sir Michael. That means that with all 173 cards in play, ignoring Young Witch and Black Market effects, that means there will be a discard attack in one of the other 9 Kingdom  slots ~45% of the time or so; ~33% of the time there will be a discard down to 3 type attack. Yeah there isn't good that any particularly one of those will be out, but odds that at least one of them will be are rather high, actually. The odds that no relevant attacks, at all, will be out are even lower.

Sab doesn't affect engine and BM players equally. A BM deck forgoes a duchy and sees the Sab once every 3-5 turns. An engine deck may also forgo a duchy, but see it every turn. Killing a province (to a duchy) makes the Sab a net benefit after two hits; hitting a Count or gold likely deprives the opponent of 3VP as well (up until his final shuffle). Sab is quite strong against Count as Count tends to have few silvers or golds protecting the Counts/Duchies/Provinces. In any event, deck inspection is a LOT more brutal if you have a high variance BM-esque deck. With fewer intermediate cards, I can keep flipping until I hit the big stuff. Losing some dross (like coppers or estates) this shuffle can almost be made up with the fact that the next shuffle - with all that new green/copper in it comes faster.



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Coone

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Re: Count
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 10:45:21 am »
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There are 9 hand size reduction attacks in Dominion: Militia, B-crat, Minion, Torturer, Cutpurse, Ghost Ship, Followers, Goons, Margrave, Urchin/Mercenary, and Sir Michael. That means that with all 173 cards in play, ignoring Young Witch and Black Market effects, that means there will be a discard attack in one of the other 9 Kingdom  slots ~45% of the time or so; ~33% of the time there will be a discard down to 3 type attack. Yeah there isn't good that any particularly one of those will be out, but odds that at least one of them will be are rather high, actually. The odds that no relevant attacks, at all, will be out are even lower.

Sab doesn't affect engine and BM players equally. A BM deck forgoes a duchy and sees the Sab once every 3-5 turns. An engine deck may also forgo a duchy, but see it every turn. Killing a province (to a duchy) makes the Sab a net benefit after two hits; hitting a Count or gold likely deprives the opponent of 3VP as well (up until his final shuffle). Sab is quite strong against Count as Count tends to have few silvers or golds protecting the Counts/Duchies/Provinces. In any event, deck inspection is a LOT more brutal if you have a high variance BM-esque deck. With fewer intermediate cards, I can keep flipping until I hit the big stuff. Losing some dross (like coppers or estates) this shuffle can almost be made up with the fact that the next shuffle - with all that new green/copper in it comes faster.

I appreciate your well thought out responses and they make me realize that I need to focus my concern before we begin an outright discussion on overall Dominion Strategy.

My "exception rather than the rule comment" probably should have been restated as "the article should have a separate section for counters."   I would still stress BM as the strategy that Count is potentially best at, but I would try to mention an eloquent way of stating that Count changes the pace at which BM can be set up, but it does not change the situation of the kingdom.  By this I mean that Count does not make BM a competitive strategy on its own, like all other Dominion games it depends on the potential of other cards.

Also, that variance calculation seems like a bit of a stretch with a few cards.  Sir Michael is kind of a weird card because if a bad knight shows up as the first car, he might never be seen.  Followers is bound to show up with Tournament of course, but there is only one in the deck and its effect of the estate gain slows down how often it will be seen.  And torturer-count might be an interesting enough discussion for its own thread.  Since you can choose to gain a curse, a single torturer might be more harmful to a deck with counts than a torturer chain.  After all, if you take four curses in a single turn you can use the trash hand effect and basically shorten the lifespan of the torturer's attacking effectiveness.

With the point of saboteur, I think the counter lies more-in the ability to set up an entire deck drawing engine rather than the saboteur.  When that potential engine exists, it is usually enough to warrant throwing out a big Money strategy to begin with.

As far as deck inspection, you probably have more experience so please correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Scrying Pool and Rabble the only competitive deck inspectors?  Both require set-up as well so I'm not sure if I would call the cards counter rather than an opposing strategy.  That's not what you did I'm just thinking of the potential article again.
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jomini

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Re: Count
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 03:25:19 pm »
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Okay so let me try to be clear on a few things. Count BM is good, but Count/Engine is also really good. For a large number of boards the decision will actually come down to what I draw when (e.g. 5/2 may be engine and 3/4 may just be BM).

Quote
Also, that variance calculation seems like a bit of a stretch with a few cards.  Sir Michael is kind of a weird card because if a bad knight shows up as the first car, he might never be seen.  Followers is bound to show up with Tournament of course, but there is only one in the deck and its effect of the estate gain slows down how often it will be seen.  And torturer-count might be an interesting enough discussion for its own thread.  Since you can choose to gain a curse, a single torturer might be more harmful to a deck with counts than a torturer chain.  After all, if you take four curses in a single turn you can use the trash hand effect and basically shorten the lifespan of the torturer's attacking effectiveness.

Yeah, but even excluding all the discard attacks that can leave you with more than 3 cards as well as Michael and Followers, you still have a discard attack on 25% of the boards out there. Discard attack boards will be a significant minority of all possible boards with any single card. Those attacks will only, themselves, be viable on a subset of those boards, but they aren't so uncommon that we can dismiss them as edge cases.


Likewise, having to take a turn on trashing a hand in a BM setup is problematic - you can have at most 2 cards you can save (golds for instance) and it still gives the engine player either another turn to setup or another turn to cash out - both can tip the balance. Yeah, I wouldn't be sold on Torturer chain against Count - too easy to just trash crap or late game to double discard and then gain a free Duchy.

Quote
With the point of saboteur, I think the counter lies more-in the ability to set up an entire deck drawing engine rather than the saboteur.  When that potential engine exists, it is usually enough to warrant throwing out a big Money strategy to begin with.
Yeah, but Count is part of what makes engines viable. Trashing and action-cash are both really good for engines. Being able to decrease hand size buy three and gain 3 coin for one action is good trade in Lib and Wt decks. Being able to top deck is extremely powerful with stuff like Hunting Party, Scrying Pool, Menage, and Outpost. Count, very much, changes how viable engines themselves can be.

Sab does work well in engines as it gives you a non-negligable chance to win in those cases where BM locks up 50% of the VP before your engine can. It, like Count, can be one of those things that makes the engine a viable strat in the first place.

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As far as deck inspection, you probably have more experience so please correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Scrying Pool and Rabble the only competitive deck inspectors?  Both require set-up as well so I'm not sure if I would call the cards counter rather than an opposing strategy.  That's not what you did I'm just thinking of the potential article again.
Oracle works well in engines, allowing you to fish for key cards (e.g. Festivals & Oracles). Spy is situational, but for a lot of engines once you get to 18 or 22 coin, you really have few things better to do with 4 coin; it likewise can very good at making psuedo-villages with Tr/Golem/Etc. and giving you more time to setup the engine.

Rabble, in my book, isn't so much a deck inspector as top deck mucker - like Fortune Teller and arguably B-crat or Sea Hag. It can just crush BM decks - even Count - when it starts chaining.
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AJD

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Re: Count
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 08:52:21 pm »
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There are 9 hand size reduction attacks in Dominion: Militia, B-crat, Minion, Torturer, Cutpurse, Ghost Ship, Followers, Goons, Margrave, Urchin/Mercenary, and Sir Michael.

...You know that's eleven, right?

Also Pillage. And occasionally Mountebank?
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dondon151

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Re: Count
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 10:09:13 pm »
+1

shark_bait, you spelled "conclusion" incorrectly.
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timchen

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Re: Count
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 03:14:52 am »
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I don't quite like the Garden part. Chances are your opponent would also have some enablers to help him get 2 cards per turn (where he bought instead of your count). So the net profit of the Count is just that one of your extra cards is Duchy.
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Wingnut

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Re: Count
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 12:38:30 pm »
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And after reading this realize I missed much of the nuance in this card and very badly underrated is in the card rankings.
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Minotaur

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Re: Count
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2014, 04:52:27 pm »
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This should be in the wiki.  Maybe it should be edited for length, but a I agree with most of this post, and a too-long post that's informative would be better than what's there now.  I might just edit out the prologue about how new and exiting Dark Ages is/was, though :-D .  I don't know exactly what the policies or courtesy for edits is.  But I looked at the page the other day, and I wanted to say a lot of what was already in this post.  So I think it's worth a necro to suggest this for the wiki.

(However, the on-buy "penalty" of Mandarin is actually pretty good if you have Gold-Silver or Gold-Gold-Silver+buy.  Buying Mandarin with 3 Copper 1 Silver can be pretty meh.  A Mandarin bought with the right coins can be as good as a Count in some circumstances, but I agree that Count is generically better.)
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Storyteller/Crown is Donald's Vietnam Watergate.  Alchemy is Donald's Vietnam.  Scout is the time Donald choked on a pretzel.
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