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Author Topic: Request: Winning the Curse War  (Read 7080 times)

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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.
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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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