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Author Topic: Request: Winning the Curse War  (Read 6830 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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