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Author Topic: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?  (Read 2615 times)

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Epoch

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Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« on: September 08, 2011, 02:32:25 pm »
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I had a game this morning which went... absurdly well.  Most of it was just shuffle luck on my part, but the big difference was that on a board with Sea Hag and Masquerade (and no other absurdly good $4 or $3 cards, and with both of us opening 4/3), he opened Sea Hag/Masquerade, while I opened Masquerade/Silver.

Was that the correct play?  My thought was, any time he Sea Hags with my Masquerade in hand, I'm guaranteed to be able to return the curse to him, and, obviously, the Curses I miss immediately are fairly likely to eventually be returnable.  Meanwhile, he has a deck with no buying power besides his opening 7 Copper, and only the effective +1 card of Masquerade to draw that, plus of course collisions and hands with Sea Hag lowering his buying power.

In the game as it turned out, on turn 3, I was able to Mint away 5 Coppers and rapidly bootstrap into Golds and Platinums.  It was totally one-sided, but I got to wondering how it would have gone without the lucky 5 Copper hand on turn 3, or without Mint in the supply.

Anyone have any opinions?
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guided

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 02:38:02 pm »
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I'd like to know too if anybody's studied this enough to draw solid conclusions. I'm always on the fence about what to do when Sea Hag is on the board with Masquerade (or Ambassador, for that matter).
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Rabid

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2011, 03:09:11 pm »
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I don't like early curses vs ambassador or masquerade.
The sim, give 80% win for 2 Masq vs 1 masq+1 Sea hag.
Sometimes I like to win the masq / amb war early, then add a sea hag late game.
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guided

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 03:55:06 pm »
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I have zero faith in the simulator's ability to handle Masquerade competently, or to handle Ambassador in games where other action cards are used.
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drg

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 04:13:12 pm »
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Would think a 2nd masquerade would be a much more effective card than a sea hag.  Personally, I never get sea hag with masquerade in play.  Ambassador is a different animal, but I would take another ambassador over the sea hag in the early game at the least.  Removing 2 coppers and handing one to your opponent is better than just giving them a curse (or even better, estates).  Watching the decks and if you've got +2 action cards, may get a curser later to bury them if you've already gained an edge.
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guided

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 04:14:47 pm »
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I should add that the most recent cases where I did try an early Sea Hag along with Ambassador or Masquerade, I had little success. I seem to recall I haven't always failed, but no recent successes come to mind.
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ackack

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 04:15:36 pm »
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Sea Hag specifically seems like a big mistake on a Masq board, both because Masq is so good at giving the curse immediately back and because Sea Hag contributes nothing to the party otherwise. If the opponent goes strongly Hag, I probably just pick up a second Masquerade.
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Epoch

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 04:19:28 pm »
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For Masq and Ambassador, is it really worthwhile to start double of them?  Particularly Masquerade?

Consensus seems to be "yes," but man, you're awful low on money at that point (and, with Masquerade, awfully high on chance to collide).

EDIT:  Hmmm, the _Masquerade built-in strategy in the simulator beats a simple modification where you just buy two Masquerades as early as possible.  Though of course simulator, dumb, etc.

EDIT2:  Opening Silver/Masq and getting a second Masquerade later also beats opening Masq/Masq, though getting just one Masquerade does better than either of them.  Vindication!  Though again, simulator, dumb.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 04:24:17 pm by Epoch »
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Fangz

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 04:30:59 pm »
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I disagree. Masquerade might be able to send a curse back, but at the start of the game, all that does is trade an useless curse for a useless estate (and vice versa on the recieving end). Or maybe a coin if you are lucky. There is after all an enormous difference between discarding a card at random, and discarding a card you choose. The real point of masquerade is that it's a fast cycling drawing trasher, and so sea hagging will help slow him down (especially if you sea hag his masquerade!). If you are racing for good $5s though getting that early silver might be worth it.

Ambassador is a much stronger counter to curses though.
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Epoch

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 04:49:24 pm »
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I disagree. Masquerade might be able to send a curse back, but at the start of the game, all that does is trade an useless curse for a useless estate (and vice versa on the recieving end).

But, in the case of having the Masquerade in your hand when your opponent Sea Hags, it does so instantly.  You never have to actually suffer through the hand where that curse is lowering your buying power -- you still have a 5 card hand that doesn't include the Curse, keeping your initial tempo up.

Obviously, you won't be as fast as if you weren't Cursed at all, but your opponent had to suffer through a worse hand than you did just to give you that Curse (since they had the dead Sea Hag).

Ambassador, sure, you get rid of the Curse or Curses while your opponent doesn't get to get rid of their Estates, but you also have to wait for a hand which has a (dead) Ambassador and one or two (dead) Curses, meaning that hand is freaking awful.

Of course the Sea Hag could flip over your Masquerade or your Ambassador or your other Sea Hag, but, you know, that's life with Sea Hags.  There's nothing you could buy that couldn't be flipped over by your opponent's Sea Hag.
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Fangz

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 05:10:41 pm »
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I disagree. Masquerade might be able to send a curse back, but at the start of the game, all that does is trade an useless curse for a useless estate (and vice versa on the recieving end).

But, in the case of having the Masquerade in your hand when your opponent Sea Hags, it does so instantly.  You never have to actually suffer through the hand where that curse is lowering your buying power -- you still have a 5 card hand that doesn't include the Curse, keeping your initial tempo up.

Yes you do, though! For example, if you got sea hagged with a copper replaced by a curse, then you masquerade and replace that curse with an estate, you almost can't avoid the fact that you've had your buying power reduced by $1.

Imagine if your original post-masquerade hand is
$ $ $ $ $ $ E (of which you swap away one card and trash whatever junk), giving you a buying power of usually $6

If you've been sea hagged though, it would be
$ $ $ $ $ C E, giving you a buying power of $5

And having trashed a card, you've basically wasted one use of that masquerade, to get your deck back to how it was before.

So a sea hag hitting a copper is like being cutpursed, plus the curse effect. Now, if that sea hag hits a silver, or a high value card, the effect would be even worse. Your masquerade in return generally doesn't hurt him at all unless he drew a hand without estates. Compare ambassador, which combines the masquerade effect (actually usually pseudo-trashing faster) with a pseudo-curse effect. If you've been ambassadoring your coppers and so on, you would be able to use it more often than his sea hag, thus screwing him over quickly.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:12:43 pm by Fangz »
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Epoch

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 06:32:45 pm »
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Yes you do, though! For example, if you got sea hagged with a copper replaced by a curse, then you masquerade and replace that curse with an estate, you almost can't avoid the fact that you've had your buying power reduced by $1.

Sure, I understand what you're saying.  But your opponent already played a four (or fewer) card hand just to give you that Curse, and they're playing a four (or fewer) card hand next turn when you give them the Curse.

Like I said, obviously you would be faster if your opponent wasn't Cursing you at all: your hands will be better if your opponent is playing BMU versus if they're playing Sea Hag.

But your opponent slowed themselves down very significantly getting and using that Sea Hag.  It hurts them a lot to have the Curse affect only one of your hands, and it's a higher-value hand than usual, so having the curse is less of a percentage hit than it would've been in a 5 card hand.



Contrasted to Ambassador, where it's a little less likely to coincide on the first hand (there are 5 places in your deck where a Masquerade can immediately trash an incoming Curse from a Sea Hag, there are only 4 where an Ambassador can do the same), and the hand where you give away the Curse is effectively a 3 (or fewer) card hand.
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ackack

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 07:13:24 pm »
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For Masq and Ambassador, is it really worthwhile to start double of them?  Particularly Masquerade?

No, two Masqs to start doesn't seem great. When I said I'd pick up a second one, that's largely if my opponent gets a second Hag, meaning it doesn't happen until a few turns in.

Re: Ambassador, the main time I'll double up on them at the beginning is if it appears my opponent is going to ignore them altogether. Otherwise, I'll grab Silver or a non-terminal and pick up a second Ambassador a bit later. I've been experimenting with Ambassador/Throne Room openings and I think it's fairly strong, and gets even better if there are other actions out you'll eventually want to Throne.
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jonts26

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2011, 07:58:43 pm »
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Re: Ambassador, the main time I'll double up on them at the beginning is if it appears my opponent is going to ignore them altogether. Otherwise, I'll grab Silver or a non-terminal and pick up a second Ambassador a bit later. I've been experimenting with Ambassador/Throne Room openings and I think it's fairly strong, and gets even better if there are other actions out you'll eventually want to Throne.

That's interesting. The main time I dont double up on ambassador is if my opponent ignores them. If my opponent gets one, I have more incentive to get a second soon to stay ahead of the game.
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timchen

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 03:15:34 am »
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Quote
So a sea hag hitting a copper is like being cutpursed, plus the curse effect.

Yeah, but without the +2 coins effect. That is really a big difference.
If the curses can't be trashed, the curse of course is more powerful than a +2 coins in the turn.
With weak trashing it is hard to keep up with the curses.
With masquerade/upgrade/lookout though, lots of times the curse becomes more temporary.
Here the opportunistic cost of not having a silver as well as having an otherwise useless card
in hand starts to hurt.
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Geronimoo

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 05:29:45 am »
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I have zero faith in the simulator's ability to handle Masquerade competently, or to handle Ambassador in games where other action cards are used.
Maybe you should try it before judging it... Just look over some sample games and you'll see the simulator has few problems Masquerading correctly. When Sea Hag and Masquerade are in the same hand the simulator will always play Sea Hag first which might not be optimal, but I'm sure most human players will play Sea Hag first if he can deal out a curse. (You are right about Ambassador being played very poorly though)

If your opponent opens Sea Hag/Masquerade you should be very happy opening Masquerade/Silver! You'll have Gold a LOT faster and you won't have terminals colliding constantly...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 05:48:14 am by Geronimoo »
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Big Cheesesteak

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2011, 12:29:55 pm »
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I was the opponent in Epoch's game. The lesson I took away is that Sea Hag / Masquerade was definitely a bad opening in this game, and probably requires too much good luck to work well in general. It might be a worth it with a village available, which this game did not have. I doubt it. This game did have Masquerade / Mint, which is for sure the winning combo:

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110908-082208-7baadaab.html

Things went as badly for me as they could and about as well for Epoch:

Turn 3: Epoch Masquerades, spends 5 coppers to buy a Mint!

So after turn three that's 6 starting cards trashed!

His deck is now Estate x2, Copper x2, Silver, Masquerade, Mint, and he couldn't have failed to get a silver on the next turn.

I didn't manage to play the Sea Hag until turn 7. Epoch bought Platinum on turn 6 with a Mint in deck! Game over.

So it could have been better for me, say I draw Sea Hag + Copper x3 after the first shuffle and throw away his Masquerade. But odds are my own Masquerade is going to cause me problems in the early game, either by colliding, drawing the Sea Hag dead, or taking back the curses handed out by Sea Hag.

It could have taken him a little longer to get to Minting Platinum than it did, but I think Masquerade by itself makes this pretty inevitable.
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Epoch

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Re: Sea Hag & Masquerade: buy both or just Masquerade?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2011, 01:09:11 pm »
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Things went as badly for me as they could and about as well for Epoch:

Yeah, I want to be clear that I don't think I won this game via any particular merit.  Turn 3 was absurd.
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