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Author Topic: Request: Winning the Curse War  (Read 6959 times)

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Warrior

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Request: Winning the Curse War
« on: December 16, 2012, 12:35:56 pm »
+1

Hi all,

We all know in Dominion how important cursers are, and how important it is to win the curse war, or split. I have played a few games recently where I picked up, say 2 Sea Hags, while my opponent only gets one, but we still split the curses 5-5. Obviously, there's more to winning the curse war than simply buying more cursers (sometimes that's the case, but not often). So, I, and probably many others, would greatly appreciate an article on winning the curse war. If anyone could help out that would be great.

warrior297
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SirPeebles

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 12:40:11 pm »
+3

What's important is playing your curser often.  One way of doing this is to buy more copies.  Another way is to trash away junk with something like Chapel so that you'll reach your curser more often.  Yet another is to use a sifter like Warehouse or a card like Sage to reach your curser more often.  Also, don't let your opponent Sea Hag your Sea Hag, and don't let your Witch draw a second Witch dead -- that is, sometimes you just get worse luck than your opponent.
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RD

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 09:38:21 pm »
+3

Scheme is pretty good. You can either use it on your Curser or on a Reaction (especially if you're keeping good track of your opponent's deck and you know when the Curse is coming).

The pithy term for what SirPeebles talked about is cycling. Even something as simple as Caravan can have an impact by helping you move through your deck faster. (Of course if you're playing with Witch you run the risk of drawing Caravan dead.) It's also a good way to play your trasher more often if you have one; or any other strong cards you might have.

Also bear in mind it's not just about winning the Curse split. Of course you know this, or you'd have bought three Sea Hags in those games you cited. Winning the split is great but beyond a certain point it isn't worth buying more Cursers which will be crummy when the Curses run out. Good enablers let you hold up your end of the fight but are still valuable after the Curse war is over. Your Scheme can find another target, your Warehouse can sift through all those Curses. It's way better than having a bunch of lousy Cursers with nothing to give out. (Another option is to trash your Cursers when you're done, using a good TfB card. Cultist seems to beg for this.)

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Warrior

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 11:34:33 pm »
0

Thanks!
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 01:20:53 am »
+3

To echo what everyone has said, cycling is very important in curse games. If you can use cycling to hand out as many or almost as many curses as you could have by buying an additional curser, it's worth it, because once the Curses are gone, the cycling remains much more valuable than the curser. It is rare that you ever actually want a second Sea Hag, since they are completely useless once the Curses are gone. Witch is a little better because it at least has some utility.

Of course, at the start of the game, you have to ask yourself how important winning the curse split is. If you're going to be able to trash into an engine, you just want to get at most one curser to slow your opponent a little, but then focus mainly on building the engine (which should also help you cycle the curser). If there's no way to deal with the curses, and you're more likely to transition into money-heavy play, then you may be better served buying a second curser.
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PitzerMike

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 04:39:56 am »
+2

Some of these have already been mentioned but here is my advice:

  • Scheme: A Curser / Scheme opening is great. Always put back your Curser. Later you want to add more Schemes, not more Cursers. With two Schemes in play you can put back a Scheme and the Curser to guarantee you playing the Curser three turns in a row.
  • Sifters like Warehouse and Cellar are invaluable. Don't be afraid of discarding your coppers. Your goal is to play your Curser more often, not to optimize your $ on each turn. However, when sifting, be aware of your shuffles and make sure your Curser doesn't miss a reshuffle. With a pricepoint at 2$ or 3$, you can usually open Sea Hag/Young Witch + sifter.
  • Generally prefer Oasis (it helps with cycling) and Lighthouse (blocks attacks) over Silver.
  • Even without non-terminal Sifters I often prefer a no-money opening in these games when there's a cheap Village and something like for example Storeroom. Or I would buy a second Young Witch with Village support because it transitions nicely into later stages - IF there's a way to clean up after the early game and an engine to be built afterwards.
  • With Hunting Party on the board I like a Silver + Curser opening with low card-diversity (ie. only add more Silvers and Hunting Parties). It can be kind of slowish and might even lose the Curse split to a double Curser player but with the Hunting Party advantage you're still miles ahead.
  • I often ignore Moat and/or the Bane card if they don't fit into my follow up strategy in favor of the things mentioned above. Moat can be nice in a big-money follow-up. But double Young Witch and double Witch is too.
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PitzerMike

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 05:00:35 pm »
+1

Here's a nice example that I just played where I used an early Cartographer to accelerate my Young Witch plays. (I'm hugo in this one)
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201212/18/game-20121218-135102-6092f3d1.html

It also showcases a low-economy transition into a nice engine like I mentioned in the previous post.
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enquerencia

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 09:29:22 am »
0

All of the above is true, but there is another way.  Only in certain situations, but sometimes you can just ignore the curser completely.  If you have a heavy trasher and a Tfb that doesn't care about cost, you can get all of your starting junk out of the way and then every curse your opponent hands you is a $5 card.  For instance, if you open double forager in a game with mountebank, you will be guaranteed cards to trash.  This is just a really simple example, but it can get more complex.

Sometimes it's awesome to see your opponent trying to sea hag you and you have a very trim deck that draws itself and a trash for benefit that doesn't care about cost.  They're feeding you good cards!  This is rare, but it's important to note that usually the best defense against cursers is to curse back, and sometimes the best defense is to do something else entirely, but either way, you best trash your curses!  If you can't trash your curses, there can still be other ways.

In general if your opponent is going heavy on cursers and you know you won't win the curse split you have to look at what he's missing out on by buying these cursers.  Venture is a great way to overcome a no +action no +buy game with cursers because venture doesn't care how purple and green your deck is.  Upgrade can be an okay way too, but only with other support.  Rebuild is a great option.  It doesn't get rid of your curses, but it does improve every other worthless card in your deck.  Pretty much any alt VP can handle curses better than a straight buy-all-the-provinces strategy. 

Ambassador?  Sometimes even with no cursers you will want to actually BUY a curse in an ambassador game.

In general, when combating curses, know what's in your deck, think of creative ways to either remove the curses from your deck, turn them into something useful, or give them back to the guy that gave them to you.  If you can't do any of those things, then just buy those cursers and hope for the shuffle luck/first player advantage. 

Also know which cursers are better.  If young witch, mountebank and witch are all out, don't buy a young witch at four, and pass up the witch for a mountebank at five.  And above all, don't fall into the trap of buying a potion just to get a familiar.  If there are no better reasons for buying a potion, just find a way around your opponents familiar strategy.  It will be faster.

I'm not an expert, but I play an insane amount of dominion.  These are my opinions.
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Mic Qsenoch

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 10:10:47 am »
+2

Also know which cursers are better.  If young witch, mountebank and witch are all out, don't buy a young witch at four, and pass up the witch for a mountebank at five.

I disagree with this. Young Witch will often be the correct opening (if the Bane is weak) because getting curses in your opponent's deck fast is important. Whether to open YW will be depend highly on what the Bane is. The Mountebank vs. Witch question isn't clear-cut either, since the Witch player can often win the curse split because of the built in moat on Mountebank. I don't know what the general conclusion on Witch vs. Mountebank is, but I'm sure it isn't "always buy Mountebank".
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DrFlux

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 11:07:26 am »
+3

If there are no better reasons for buying a potion, just find a way around your opponents familiar strategy.  It will be faster.

Yeah, this is only true sometimes. If there is a strong trasher on the board like remake, sure, don't open potion, but even then in many cases I might pick up the potion later (especially with remake, as I can later turn it into a $5). Familiar is hated because it is swingy, but also because it is strong, so you often can't ignore it.

There are exceptions, and you should definitely look for them. Trader is pretty good at combating familiar. Jack is too fast for familiar, at least without some very strong support. But don't assume that you can always "find your way around" familiar either.

One final thing to remember is that familiar is a much better engine card than a money card, because it is a cantrip. Because it doesn't give you any money, BM+familiar is fairly weak. So if you are thinking of "finding your way around" familiar, check if its more of a money board or an engine board. The worse the engine on the board, or the stronger the money cards on the board, the more likely you are to be able to skip familiar.

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enquerencia

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 11:30:12 am »
+1

If there are no better reasons for buying a potion, just find a way around your opponents familiar strategy.  It will be faster.

Yeah, this is only true sometimes. If there is a strong trasher on the board like remake, sure, don't open potion, but even then in many cases I might pick up the potion later (especially with remake, as I can later turn it into a $5). Familiar is hated because it is swingy, but also because it is strong, so you often can't ignore it.

There are exceptions, and you should definitely look for them. Trader is pretty good at combating familiar. Jack is too fast for familiar, at least without some very strong support. But don't assume that you can always "find your way around" familiar either.

One final thing to remember is that familiar is a much better engine card than a money card, because it is a cantrip. Because it doesn't give you any money, BM+familiar is fairly weak. So if you are thinking of "finding your way around" familiar, check if its more of a money board or an engine board. The worse the engine on the board, or the stronger the money cards on the board, the more likely you are to be able to skip familiar.

I agree.  I guess the main thing I was trying to say is it's not always about splitting the curses.  Sometimes there's another way.
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enquerencia

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 11:34:41 am »
+1

Also know which cursers are better.  If young witch, mountebank and witch are all out, don't buy a young witch at four, and pass up the witch for a mountebank at five.

I disagree with this. Young Witch will often be the correct opening (if the Bane is weak) because getting curses in your opponent's deck fast is important. Whether to open YW will be depend highly on what the Bane is. The Mountebank vs. Witch question isn't clear-cut either, since the Witch player can often win the curse split because of the built in moat on Mountebank. I don't know what the general conclusion on Witch vs. Mountebank is, but I'm sure it isn't "always buy Mountebank".

Yes, good points here too.  I have to admit that I have fallen into the camp of thinking that Yw is bad just because it usually is.  But if the bane is completely undesirable, then it definitely gets stronger.
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DrFlux

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 11:57:31 am »
0

Yes, good points here too.  I have to admit that I have fallen into the camp of thinking that Yw is bad just because it usually is.  But if the bane is completely undesirable, then it definitely gets stronger.

YW can sometimes be good even if the bane is good, if there's no trashing. There's a bit of a runaway effect in that if you manage to give out a few curses, it becomes easier to miss the bane.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 03:34:00 pm »
+1

Also know which cursers are better.  If young witch, mountebank and witch are all out, don't buy a young witch at four, and pass up the witch for a mountebank at five.

I disagree with this. Young Witch will often be the correct opening (if the Bane is weak) because getting curses in your opponent's deck fast is important. Whether to open YW will be depend highly on what the Bane is. The Mountebank vs. Witch question isn't clear-cut either, since the Witch player can often win the curse split because of the built in moat on Mountebank. I don't know what the general conclusion on Witch vs. Mountebank is, but I'm sure it isn't "always buy Mountebank".

Yes, good points here too.  I have to admit that I have fallen into the camp of thinking that Yw is bad just because it usually is.  But if the bane is completely undesirable, then it definitely gets stronger.
I disagree that young witch is usually bad.
IMO, it has more effect on the game than any other 4-cost.

dondon151

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 06:28:46 pm »
+3

I ignore YW a lot and lose.

(Except the times I don't ignore YW I get shafted by luck on the banes, so I still lose.)
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Warrior

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2012, 06:43:31 pm »
0

Also know which cursers are better.  If young witch, mountebank and witch are all out, don't buy a young witch at four, and pass up the witch for a mountebank at five.

I disagree with this. Young Witch will often be the correct opening (if the Bane is weak) because getting curses in your opponent's deck fast is important. Whether to open YW will be depend highly on what the Bane is. The Mountebank vs. Witch question isn't clear-cut either, since the Witch player can often win the curse split because of the built in moat on Mountebank. I don't know what the general conclusion on Witch vs. Mountebank is, but I'm sure it isn't "always buy Mountebank".

Yes, good points here too.  I have to admit that I have fallen into the camp of thinking that Yw is bad just because it usually is.  But if the bane is completely undesirable, then it definitely gets stronger.
I disagree that young witch is usually bad.
IMO, it has more effect on the game than any other 4-cost.

I definitely agree. Biggest $4 game changing card.
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DG

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2012, 07:16:12 pm »
+4

The 'curse war' is generally pretty complicated. There are attack, reconstruction, and game end as rough phases to the game. Those phases can merge together or be skipped entirely, but you generally need ideas for all of them before you start buying your cursing cards. This degree of planning can defeat less experienced players as they generally only plan for cursing without planning for reconstruction, or find themselves at the game end when they thought they were still mid game.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2012, 04:47:29 pm »
0

To echo what everyone has said, cycling is very important in curse games. If you can use cycling to hand out as many or almost as many curses as you could have by buying an additional curser, it's worth it, because once the Curses are gone, the cycling remains much more valuable than the curser. It is rare that you ever actually want a second Sea Hag, since they are completely useless once the Curses are gone. Witch is a little better because it at least has some utility.

Of course, at the start of the game, you have to ask yourself how important winning the curse split is. If you're going to be able to trash into an engine, you just want to get at most one curser to slow your opponent a little, but then focus mainly on building the engine (which should also help you cycle the curser). If there's no way to deal with the curses, and you're more likely to transition into money-heavy play, then you may be better served buying a second curser.

Is second Hag really that bad? Assuming an otherwise mirror match (including general hand luck) with one guy buying a silver instead of a Hag in the second shuffle, how useful is a second Hag? First shuffle, you each gain a curse (1:1, 2 gone), second shuffle, you get a second curse, he gets 2 more (3:2, half gone). Third shuffle (5:3) and say you each split the last shuffle. You win 6:4 with an overall dead card ratio of 7:6. He has an additional silver. Looking at rarer cases, like when you guys miss reshuffles, or where you hit the last 2 curses before he can, makes it more powerful for second Hag.

Additionally, you have left him with 2-3 extra gimped hands of curse/4 random cards, that delays their gold buying a decent bit (given a deck average of < 1.5 coin per card thanks to early game, no trashing, and the other curses in deck). Likewise, you have almost double the odds of flipping something good (hag, silver, gold) and really slowing him down (yes, you also have double the odds of flipping something bad twice, but that is a much lesser impact than flipping something strong).

So basically, we are asking the question if you'd trash a silver to give your opponent a curse? Given the opportunity cost of Igg, that seems to point towards second hag being not too bad. Of course, I could be wrong here, but are there any solid numbers saying silver > second hag?
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2012, 05:01:43 pm »
0

To echo what everyone has said, cycling is very important in curse games. If you can use cycling to hand out as many or almost as many curses as you could have by buying an additional curser, it's worth it, because once the Curses are gone, the cycling remains much more valuable than the curser. It is rare that you ever actually want a second Sea Hag, since they are completely useless once the Curses are gone. Witch is a little better because it at least has some utility.

Of course, at the start of the game, you have to ask yourself how important winning the curse split is. If you're going to be able to trash into an engine, you just want to get at most one curser to slow your opponent a little, but then focus mainly on building the engine (which should also help you cycle the curser). If there's no way to deal with the curses, and you're more likely to transition into money-heavy play, then you may be better served buying a second curser.

Is second Hag really that bad? Assuming an otherwise mirror match (including general hand luck) with one guy buying a silver instead of a Hag in the second shuffle, how useful is a second Hag? First shuffle, you each gain a curse (1:1, 2 gone), second shuffle, you get a second curse, he gets 2 more (3:2, half gone). Third shuffle (5:3) and say you each split the last shuffle. You win 6:4 with an overall dead card ratio of 7:6. He has an additional silver. Looking at rarer cases, like when you guys miss reshuffles, or where you hit the last 2 curses before he can, makes it more powerful for second Hag.

Additionally, you have left him with 2-3 extra gimped hands of curse/4 random cards, that delays their gold buying a decent bit (given a deck average of < 1.5 coin per card thanks to early game, no trashing, and the other curses in deck). Likewise, you have almost double the odds of flipping something good (hag, silver, gold) and really slowing him down (yes, you also have double the odds of flipping something bad twice, but that is a much lesser impact than flipping something strong).

So basically, we are asking the question if you'd trash a silver to give your opponent a curse? Given the opportunity cost of Igg, that seems to point towards second hag being not too bad. Of course, I could be wrong here, but are there any solid numbers saying silver > second hag?

The problem here is that you're counting Curses per shuffle, but not good cards acquired. Getting the Silver gives you a much better shot at getting key $5 cards. Sure if you're just playing Sea Hag BM, then you want a second Hag. But most of the time, there are some other cards you'd rather start to collect instead.
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zahlman

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2012, 06:41:40 am »
+1

I've been thinking about writing up something about "how many cursers to buy, what enablers" etc. I think "can I ignore them" is an interesting topic, and I recently played a game where my strategy involved buying a curser but deliberately falling behind in the split.
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Robz888

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2012, 12:08:35 pm »
+1

Witch > Mountebank, especially head to head
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Warrior

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2012, 12:35:41 pm »
0

Witch > Mountebank, especially head to head

Definitely

warrior297
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2012, 01:40:19 pm »
+1

Witch > Mountebank, especially head to head
But Witch is also more ignorable than mountebank - an engine is much more likely to be able to deal with witch's attacks defensively than mountebank's.

Robz888

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2012, 01:43:13 pm »
+1

Witch > Mountebank, especially head to head
But Witch is also more ignorable than mountebank - an engine is much more likely to be able to deal with witch's attacks defensively than mountebank's.

Sure, they just aren't ignorable very often. Mountebank also has specific ameliorators that witch doesn't have--like Counting House, Trader counters harder, etc.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2012, 12:21:08 pm »
0

To echo what everyone has said, cycling is very important in curse games. If you can use cycling to hand out as many or almost as many curses as you could have by buying an additional curser, it's worth it, because once the Curses are gone, the cycling remains much more valuable than the curser. It is rare that you ever actually want a second Sea Hag, since they are completely useless once the Curses are gone. Witch is a little better because it at least has some utility.

Of course, at the start of the game, you have to ask yourself how important winning the curse split is. If you're going to be able to trash into an engine, you just want to get at most one curser to slow your opponent a little, but then focus mainly on building the engine (which should also help you cycle the curser). If there's no way to deal with the curses, and you're more likely to transition into money-heavy play, then you may be better served buying a second curser.

Is second Hag really that bad? Assuming an otherwise mirror match (including general hand luck) with one guy buying a silver instead of a Hag in the second shuffle, how useful is a second Hag? First shuffle, you each gain a curse (1:1, 2 gone), second shuffle, you get a second curse, he gets 2 more (3:2, half gone). Third shuffle (5:3) and say you each split the last shuffle. You win 6:4 with an overall dead card ratio of 7:6. He has an additional silver. Looking at rarer cases, like when you guys miss reshuffles, or where you hit the last 2 curses before he can, makes it more powerful for second Hag.

Additionally, you have left him with 2-3 extra gimped hands of curse/4 random cards, that delays their gold buying a decent bit (given a deck average of < 1.5 coin per card thanks to early game, no trashing, and the other curses in deck). Likewise, you have almost double the odds of flipping something good (hag, silver, gold) and really slowing him down (yes, you also have double the odds of flipping something bad twice, but that is a much lesser impact than flipping something strong).

So basically, we are asking the question if you'd trash a silver to give your opponent a curse? Given the opportunity cost of Igg, that seems to point towards second hag being not too bad. Of course, I could be wrong here, but are there any solid numbers saying silver > second hag?

The problem here is that you're counting Curses per shuffle, but not good cards acquired. Getting the Silver gives you a much better shot at getting key $5 cards. Sure if you're just playing Sea Hag BM, then you want a second Hag. But most of the time, there are some other cards you'd rather start to collect instead.

I get that. The point is, each play of a Hag reduces the other guy's hand by the average value of his deck until curses run out. If you go single hag, straight silver, in a mirror, your average hand doesn't hit 5 until you start the 4th shuffle. Does anyone have any actual numbers quantifying how much better your odds of hitting 5 are - including the fact that 2 or 3 additional hag hits will gimp a like number of opponent hands?
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dondon151

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2012, 07:24:25 pm »
+1

1) An average hand value of <$5 does not mean that one can't hit $5.
2) On average a second Sea Hag will swing the Curse split 6-4, I'm guessing. If single Sea Hag gets a better cycling card due to the extra Silver, then it's less likely to split 7-3. If double Sea Hag gets a collision, then it's less likely to split 7-3.

So if double Sea Hag only wins the Curse split 6-4 but there is a good prospect of rebuilding the deck, then that second Sea Hag really wasn't worth it. In terms of average hand value, buying a second Sea Hag is like buying a Curse, so I suppose that you can treat double Sea Hag as having more Curses in deck until the extra Sea Hag plays cause it to break even.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2012, 07:25:05 pm »
+1

I get that. The point is, each play of a Hag reduces the other guy's hand by the average value of his deck until curses run out. If you go single hag, straight silver, in a mirror, your average hand doesn't hit 5 until you start the 4th shuffle. Does anyone have any actual numbers quantifying how much better your odds of hitting 5 are - including the fact that 2 or 3 additional hag hits will gimp a like number of opponent hands?

It's hard to give any numbers since we're talking about a card you're not going to play until the third shuffle, and haven't specified what the other cards in the kingdom are. Clearly, this is enough time for those other cards to play a significant role. Just because your "average" hand isn't hitting $5 doesn't mean you're not going to hit $5. You never really draw an "average" hand. You draw some good and some bad. Generally, there are things at $3-4 that are going to synergize better with your $5+ cards than a second Sea Hag will.

The important thing to discuss about Sea Hag is tempo. When you play Sea Hag, you cost your opponent a card out of their next turn, but you also have an equally useless card (in terms of self benefit) in your current turn. So when you play Sea Hag, you actually lose a tempo rather than gain one. You don't get that tempo back until your opponent draws the Curse a second time. The first Sea Hag is good because the turn-around time is small enough and you're going to get a lot of plays out of the Sea Hag. But the second one isn't going to get more than 2 plays, and the first Curse it gives out isn't going to show up until the 4th shuffle. There's just not a great deal of benefit there. Going back to what DG was saying, you're focusing too much on the tail end of the attack portion, which will cause you to fall behind on the reconstruction.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2012, 01:44:09 pm »
+2

Shockingly, I get the idea of variance and how important 5's are. What I'm opposed to is "It is rare that you ever actually want a second Sea Hag, since they are completely useless once the Curses are gone." The fact that Hags are mostly worthless (barring the usual suspects: TfB's, heterophiles, etc.) after Curses are gone is not why we question second hag. As Dondon notes, a second hag will normally give you a 6:4 split and 7:6 dead card split - this is a win. What matters, is the opportunity cost of not buying the second (third, etc.) silver, or the competing 4's or 5's. A second Hag comes at an opportunity cost of a silver (roughly, 1.5x what an Igg runs). Given a choice, in general, would you trash a silver to give a curse?


Okay, so let's posit that we have a mirror with both players opening Silver/Hag. After T4 we most likely have 13 cards in the discard with two being bought and one being flipped by each hag (I'm ignoring the cases where people flip hags or where the hags end up in T5 hands as these are edge cases). At T5, you will have bough two cards and played a Hag. 2 Cards are left in deck. Assuming that if you hit 5, you buy that. This means we have end up with decks decks that must contain 7 Cu, 3 E, 1 Crs, and either 1 H / 3 S or 2 H / 2 S (again ignoring edge cases where you hit <3 coin; I'm also assuming that hitting a power 5 here, means you automatically buy the 5 - in other words we ignore the cases where buying the second Hag doesn't effect outcome). This moves your average card value from .87 coin to .73 or about a 16% reduction. That isn't a lot, and it, going with HME's estimated tempo figures, is as bad as it ever gets.

So we are, really, talking about the opportunity cost of foregoing a single silver, or some other better <=4 coin kingdom card. If there are no other Kingdom cards you really want (e.g. the Kingdom is mostly Woodcutters, Talisman, etc.), sure go for the second Hag. Sure, obviously some fives, like Hunting Party, are pretty much assured single Hags. But some Fives, like Outpost, pretty rarely are worth losing the dead card split 7:6. Where is the tipping point? Something mediocre like Lab? Rabble without village support?

The second Hag being a dead card doesn't matter - if you could get it for free with a Silver (say you are granted a magical single chance to get a free Haggle) you'd almost always want the second Hag; what matters is not buying the Silver (or other better card). I'd like to better delineate where the lines are - some fives make it better to play for them, some fives make it better to run Hag/Money.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 01:45:56 pm by jomini »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2012, 07:23:33 pm »
+1

The main point of my post is that playing a Sea Hag doesn't give you a benefit until the Curse is drawn a second time, so a Sea Hag at any time other than an opening actually provides a very minimal benefit. You're overvaluing the dead card split. It's not just about the dead cards, it's when the dead cards show up. By buying the Sea Hag, you get your dead card sooner than they get theirs, so if you're not getting a multiple dead card edge, it's not worth it. If you want to think about the comparison to IGG, you have to think about buying the last 1-2 IGGs. Generally, you don't want to buy these until the very end of the game, because 1-2 Curses in the Curse split is simply not as important as moving on to the next phase of the game in a timely manner. In the case of IGGs, this is usually buying Duchies, and in the case of Sea Hag, it's usually putting together your engine.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2012, 12:46:29 pm »
+1

HME: I get it, second Sea Hag isn't great on a lot of boards. Which ones are those? Hunting Party -- Lab -- Outpost, some (most?) Fives make for a bad second Hag. Some boards have scaling TfB (Salvager, Bishop, Apprentice, Forge, Remodel, etc.) which may either say to skip Hag (e.g. Death Cart/Forge may want to skip waste Hag) or may say you should get a second Hag and use its value later (e.g. Forging it into a Province). I'd like to actually get down a bit into the nitty gritty of why and when foregoing a silver (or a better than silver sub-5) is bad.

Second Sea Hag gives you a bad turn one turn before the other guy, but this STILL means that the first shuffle with the 2nd Sea Hag is the worst difference in buying power. I get hands aren't aren't solely determined by average buying power, but for a modest drop in average card value, I don't think the odds of getting all those 5 coin hands change all that much.

Consider your own advice vis a vis witch. With Witch you have much higher odds collision and your opportunity cost is also higher. Here we aren't talking about dropping a 4 coin hand, but a 5 (one where you can get a lab, market, or whatever instead). When you finally get an engine running, you have a moat-with-the-reaction, yet we say that double Witch can still be optimal. Why? +1 card -1 action (Witch vs nothing) is pretty crappy on the face of it even once you have the engine up.

Obviously, once the curse war is over, the player with the extra curser has fewer dead cards and their money/engine density tends to be higher. So this is clearly a phenomena that happens DURING the curse war. I think it is mostly due to the opportunity cost of NOT BUYING something else - not having having a dead card during the post-curse phase (this would then suggest that scaling TfBs would be LESS effective at overcoming this opportunity cost problem). Taken to its logical conclusion - your thought says having more dead cards now is worse than having more dead cards later; this implies that you'd take nothing over a second Hag. Is that correct? Say the silver pile has been double embargoed, and you have nothing else worth buying <5. Would you simply fold the hand or buy a second hag (feel free to specify any middle-of-the-road fives you like) if you hit 4?


I say, generally Hag 2 is better than nothing. Generally, Hag 2 is worse than silver, but not always and I suspect Hag 2 is better than silver in a non-trivial number of cases.

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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2012, 01:46:38 pm »
0

HME: I get it, second Sea Hag isn't great on a lot of boards. Which ones are those?
I'd say any board with any trashing or anything resembling an engine.

Quote
Consider your own advice vis a vis witch. With Witch you have much higher odds collision and your opportunity cost is also higher. Here we aren't talking about dropping a 4 coin hand, but a 5 (one where you can get a lab, market, or whatever instead). When you finally get an engine running, you have a moat-with-the-reaction, yet we say that double Witch can still be optimal. Why?
Most of the time you don't want a second Witch either. Again, if you can build an engine, it's better to do that than to get in a couple more Curses. In pure Curser BM, the alternative cards aren't that great and winning the Curse split is more important (for score), so you want a second one. Witch BM is actually a thing that might happen, but Sea Hag BM should rarely happen since it's so slow to even get half the Provinces. With any kind of trashing or engine, you can rebuild a usable deck and get your share of the Provinces before the Sea Hag BM player gets enough of the points.

Quote
Obviously, once the curse war is over, the player with the extra curser has fewer dead cards and their money/engine density tends to be higher.
Not true. The player without the extra Hag probably got to buy something better during the Curse war that helped improve his deck, and should already be ahead in quality card density. This is the main thing I think you're ignoring. It's not about number of dead cards. There is a snowballing effect of buying good cards.

Quote
Taken to its logical conclusion - your thought says having more dead cards now is worse than having more dead cards later; this implies that you'd take nothing over a second Hag. Is that correct?
This is not right because if you buy nothing, you also don't give them the Curse and you end up getting it (or at least half of it in expectation) eventually.
[/quote]

Quote
I say, generally Hag 2 is better than nothing. Generally, Hag 2 is worse than silver, but not always and I suspect Hag 2 is better than silver in a non-trivial number of cases.
Yes Hag 2 is better than nothing, but it's better than Silver in very few practical cases. I can't name all the specific cards, since it's not about any individual cards so much as the existence of any sort of semi-reasonable strategy.  I'd say if you can think of anything that might resemble a coherent strategy, it's probably better to go for that than to go for a second Hag. If you're a simulator and can only buy Sea Hags and Silvers, buy the second Hag.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2012, 03:57:59 pm »
0

How about something simple like Cartographer/Hag. Do you want the silver or 2nd Hag at 4? Winning the curse split gives you a big leg up at end game, but you will have a few fewer good hands. Cartographer is good at lessening the impact of dead cards. Which would you go? I've done both, but I haven't seen a major difference. I've also done embassy/Hag and had double Hag beat multiple silvers. Perhaps Vault would be another shot to ask about.

Quote
Not true. The player without the extra Hag probably got to buy something better during the Curse war that helped improve his deck, and should already be ahead in quality card density. This is the main thing I think you're ignoring. It's not about number of dead cards. There is a snowballing effect of buying good cards.
No I'm not. I've been saying the entire time that the opportunity cost is not buying something else. Yes this snowballs, but even exponential growth has some constraints. If the only option other than hag is silver (e.g. a top heavy board), how many more hands will you be able to hit 5, 6, 7, or 8 if you have say 3 silvers/1 hag in deck instead of 2 silvers/2 hags? Not that many at first glance. Your only hands to hit 5 coin or more are: 5 coppers (no change in the odds), Silver - 3 coppers or more, 2 silver/1 or more coppers, and 3 silver.

I totally buy that getting trashing or getting engine components themselves works better for Hag games. Likewise sifters suggest to me that they'd be better than Hag. Silver, other weak coin sources, and maybe even +buy are a bit more suspect. Looking at the actual numbers just doesn't seem to push so hard for no second Hag if you play to transition to BM-most anything.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2012, 05:28:09 pm »
0

I totally buy that getting trashing or getting engine components themselves works better for Hag games. Likewise sifters suggest to me that they'd be better than Hag. Silver, other weak coin sources, and maybe even +buy are a bit more suspect. Looking at the actual numbers just doesn't seem to push so hard for no second Hag if you play to transition to BM-most anything.

Then maybe we're not disagreeing on how Sea Hag works, but rather how often you're able to do something other than Sea Hag BM. I think situations where Sea Hag BM is good are actually quite rare, but you seem to think this is more of the normal case. My claim that you rarely want a second Hag is based on my assumption that you are more likely to find some sort of trashing or cycling that is work pursuing than not.
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jomini

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2012, 05:44:42 pm »
0

I totally buy that getting trashing or getting engine components themselves works better for Hag games. Likewise sifters suggest to me that they'd be better than Hag. Silver, other weak coin sources, and maybe even +buy are a bit more suspect. Looking at the actual numbers just doesn't seem to push so hard for no second Hag if you play to transition to BM-most anything.

Then maybe we're not disagreeing on how Sea Hag works, but rather how often you're able to do something other than Sea Hag BM. I think situations where Sea Hag BM is good are actually quite rare, but you seem to think this is more of the normal case. My claim that you rarely want a second Hag is based on my assumption that you are more likely to find some sort of trashing or cycling that is work pursuing than not.

I'm not saying just Hag BM. Take something simple like Cartographer/Hag BM or Catacombs/Hag BM; yeah you want the 5's, but you are still limited to 1 VP card purchase per turn and missing a silver isn't that bad later missing, what one or two 5 coin hands in mid game is going to kill you here? You will eventually get the cartographers, but with a win on the curses, you can afford to tie the provinces in either position.

Or take something like Vault/Duke. Even with crap hands, you just need enough vaults to get your payout every time.

Now are is 2nd Hag better than other options here - when you lack say +action or +buy? I think in some cases, and these boards, while a minority, aren't too uncommon. Certainly, it has nothing to do with Hag being a dead card, and everything to do with not buying a silver or whatever instead of the 2nd Hag.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Request: Winning the Curse War
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2012, 06:49:36 pm »
0

Cartographer/Hag BM is basically Hag BM, and probably not something you ever want to do. There's not a single other terminal you'd want in your deck? And for Catacombs or Vault or whatever, yeah, I'd skip the second Hag. Silver is really useful for getting the 5s and Gold sooner and then still useful when its drawn with the drawing card.
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