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Author Topic: Smugglers/Jester  (Read 2383 times)

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philosophyguy

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Smugglers/Jester
« on: August 31, 2011, 10:08:18 pm »
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What factors influence you to buy a Smugglers/Jester? I group these cards together because they can potentially give you copies of cards that your opponent has bought, although they obviously differ in execution. They are both high variance cards, so I have a hard time determining when they are worth buying and when not. I know that my opponents seem to be consistently lucky with Smugglers especially (usually gaining a hard-earned early Gold or getting ahead in a Caravan race), but since I don't see his or her hand I don't know how often the Smugglers ends up being a dead card.
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Fangz

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 11:45:49 pm »
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I usually buy at least one jester. It's a terminal silver that either earns you a good card, or messes up their deck. That makes it really awesome. Smuggler... well, only if I can be assured I can play it often.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2011, 04:14:06 am »
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I never buy Smugglers. I probably should based on the number of times it seems to give my opponent the benefit of my hard work, but I don't because I feel it's cheap (not in the price sense) and swingy. I'll buy Jester when it's the best $5 card around and I have spare actions and/or TR or KCs.
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DStu

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 05:14:33 am »
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I usually don't buy Smugglers. When you Smuggle something valueable, replace the Smuggler by a Silver in your mind, and you could have afford it anyway most of the times. So what you really gained was this $3/$4-card you bought instead.
So if there are lots of those you want to have, or maybe there is no +buy but I can consistently hit $8 despite Smugglers, I might pick one, but usually I prefer Silver and something more interesting for my Terminals.

Jester is a terminal $2, so it does not really hurt if you have the actions, therefore it depends on the other terminals if I take one.
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2011, 07:53:00 am »
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I tend to buy Smuggler in the presence of strong non-terminals, like Laboratory, Nobles or Grand Market.  Hoard is also decent.  Cards that require Potions in the set are a good reason to avoid Smugglers but an incentive to include Jester.  Jesters seems to me a decent but not great attack, akin to Cutpurse or Fortune Teller.  Maybe he would be better <a href=http://sales.starcitygames.com/cardsearch.php?singlesearch=Jester%27s+Cap>if he had a cooler hat</a>.
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DG

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2011, 09:03:18 am »
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Smugglers and jesters aren't quite the same but I'll go over some common ground. A first first reason to get them is deck expansion for philosopher's stones and gardens. It then doesn't matter too much that the smuggler doesn't help you buy a province. The main reason to smuggle would be good 4, 5 and 6 cost cards that your opponent has to buy to progress, good cards that fit nicely into your deck. A laboratory would typically add well to a smuggler deck, so might dukes, but a smithy might not (terminal clashing). 7 cost cards, black markets, tacticians, and alchemy cards are clearly a barrier to smuggling. If there are easy extra buys in the kingdom then you might be better taking silver and choosing how to use it. A jester is better when there is high variance in your opponent's deck so you can keep the very good stuff and pass your opponents the very bad stuff.
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Captain_Frisk

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 10:42:27 am »
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DG and Mustard beat me to it...

Things that make me want either:
Caravans, Labs, Hunting Parties, Menageries, Fishing Villages, Grand Markets, Nobles (maybe), Throne Room (maybe)

Things that make me want jester:
King's Court
alchemy (maybe)
Ambassador + Villages
Massive drawing engines that maximize the number of times I can play it.

A jester played 4 or 5 times over the course of the game isn't really reliable enough.  When you can start playing the jester every turn, then it starts being good.

Sometimes if my opponent has ignored sea hag on a 4/3 split, I MIGHT consider smugglers / sea hag, and hope they don't collide, especially if there wasn't anything else tasty to buy with the 3/4 that I expect to have on my next shuffle due to the hag.
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Fangz

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 12:10:01 pm »
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I'd open sea hag/silver in that case. You'd hopefully screw over him enough with sea hag that he wouldn't be buying anything worth stealing anyway.
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chwhite

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 01:13:16 pm »
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I think Smugglers is actually a strong contender for "worst $3 card in the game", and rarely buy it.  It has two main problems: first, it's a Workshop variant, so you're spending a terminal action to gain a card that may not be all that good.  Second, it puts you at the whims of your opponent, and is only as good as their deck.  If you're doing better than them, or pummeling them with attacks, then they're not going to be buying anything you want and the Smugglers is a waste.  If they're doing well enough to buy important engine cards (that you want- Smugglers is obviously no good if you're taking divergent strategies), then hey maybe you're losing and that's not good either.  And if they're buying Provinces, congrats!  You have an entirely dead card in your hands!

There are some situations where I'll buy Smugglers: it's my opinion that even the worst $3 cards are good buys about a quarter of the time, which is a much better ratio than any other cost level.  Specifically it requires powerful, spammable $5 and $6 cards and opponents competent enough to go for them too: Minion and Grand Market (especially since it's so hard to buy outright) are my two clearest triggers for Smugglers.  A lack of other +Buy also helps.

...

Jester is an alright card, but I'm not sure it's quite as good as it looks.  When I buy Jester, I generally expect that I *won't* be getting many good cards from my opponent, but am just as likely (if not moreso) to just keep handing them Copper instead.  If I have the Actions to spare, or there aren't more powerful attacks, that'll be good enough to grab one: giving Copper isn't as destructive as giving Curse, but it's unwelcome all the same.  Jester is better with heavy trashing, Potion cards, and deck inspection: that way you're more likely to get good cards yourself, or turn Jester into a Curse machine.  It's way way worse if your opponent is buying lots of Silver.

Take this with a grain of salt, though.  I'm not very good at playing Jester: my Effect With and Effect Without are both negative.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 01:16:58 pm by chwhite »
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play2draw

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2011, 03:54:31 pm »
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I have a different opinion about Smugglers; it's actually a very good card on some sets or, at worst, a mediocre one in many others. If there's one clear "superior" strategy on the board, (let's say, Minions or Cities or Grand Markets or Goons or whatnot), then Smugglers will help you build up your deck at a faster rate than your opponent... I'd probably prefer opening smugglers over silver in such a game. If there are plenty of useful non-terminals in the $4 and $5 range, a smugglers will help you snag these at a faster rate. It also works fairly well in slim decks; probably you can chapel your coppers away without worrying about when to buy a Silver.

If there are only mediocre terminals and mediocre non-terminals, then Smugglers is probably a bad choice (probably as bad as loading up your deck with, say, mediocre terminals and mediocre non-terminals). There are boards where even the likes of Workshop or Woodcutter are useful, but such a game occurs much less often than a game where Smugglers is useful.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 03:56:50 pm by play2draw »
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jonts26

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2011, 03:55:01 pm »
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It should also be noted that Jester scales wonderfully in multiplayer, while smugglers is mostly the same.

And for those who say smugglers can't help you get provinces, this is an actual thing that happened to me.

   --- jonts26's turn 14 ---
   jonts26 plays a Gold, a Silver, and 3 Coppers.
   jonts26 buys a Province.
   (jonts26 draws: a Bridge, 2 Coppers, a Caravan, and an Estate.)


--- polriver's turn 15 ---
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
polriver had played the Caravan with a Throne Room.
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
(polriver reshuffles.)
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
polriver had played the Caravan with a Throne Room.
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
polriver had played the Caravan with a Throne Room.
polriver draws 1 card from the Caravan.
polriver plays a Throne Room.
... and plays a Throne Room.
... ... and plays a Bridge.
... ... ... getting +1 buy, +$1, and reducing all costs by $1.
... ... and plays the Bridge again.
... ... ... getting +1 buy, +$1, and reducing all costs by $1.
... and plays the Throne Room again.
... ... and plays a Smugglers.
... ... ... gaining a Province.
... ... and plays the Smugglers again.
... ... ... gaining a Province.
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Titandrake

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 11:50:52 pm »
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Although I personally don't like smugglers/jester for their swingyness, they do have merits. If there isn't plus buy, and both of you go similar strategies, smugglers can give an edge (true for jester too). Smugglers also gets better when you're smuggling harems or duchies. Still don't buy it that much though.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Smugglers/Jester
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2011, 05:42:08 am »
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Although I don't buy smugglers very much at all, I'm not sure I buy the "Smugglers is only good when there are good non-terminals to smuggle" stuff. If there aren't good non-terminals or engine cards then the likelyhood is the best strategy is Big Money (+X) and your opponent should be buying Silver and Gold. But hey, you're playing Big Money (+Smugglers +X) because it's the best strategy, so you should be fine with smuggling those cards.
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