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Author Topic: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel  (Read 3729 times)

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AdamH

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BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« on: September 13, 2011, 02:04:13 pm »
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There has been lots of talk about how Chapel is a card that completely changes the game because of how fast it makes your deck. Don't get me wrong, I believe it. I've played a couple of games with Chapel and you just don't have bad turns when you use that card.

However, in running lots of simulations, I came across the following statistic:

BM alone    buys its fourth province at turn 16-17
BM + Smithy buys its fourth province at turn 15-16
BM + Chapel buys its fourth province at turn 15-16

I can think of three explanations for this:

1. Chapel is not as awesome as all of the people (who are smarter than me) claim that it is, and Smithy is just as good. Not likely, but that's what the numbers suggest with no context.

2. BM + Chapel + Standard trashing is not the best way to play Chapel. Does the benefit of Chapel require the presence of other action cards whose power gets magnified by having a thin deck? Perhaps this benefit can create decks that buy their fourth province before turn 14?

3. UR DOIN IT RONG. I've messed something up in the simulation and my numbers are incorrect.

Looking around, all of the current literature focuses on convincing people that trashing your ten starting cards is a good idea. I completely agree. However, that literature states that Chapel is orders of magnitude better than Smithy, and my dense mind is unable to understand how to fully leverage that benefit to get the same result. Perhaps an article along the lines of "OK, I have a Chapel deck. Now what?" would be helpful?
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WanderingWinder

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 02:12:38 pm »
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Chapel is not terribly great with money. Smithy is. In fact, I think you're doing it wrong, because smithy should be winning more. Chapel's great strength is for letting you play strong cards all the time, typically action cards. It's good with money, too, but not great.

Epoch

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 02:15:31 pm »
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1. Chapel is not as awesome as all of the people (who are smarter than me) claim that it is, and Smithy is just as good. Not likely, but that's what the numbers suggest with no context.

2. BM + Chapel + Standard trashing is not the best way to play Chapel. Does the benefit of Chapel require the presence of other action cards whose power gets magnified by having a thin deck? Perhaps this benefit can create decks that buy their fourth province before turn 14?

3. UR DOIN IT RONG. I've messed something up in the simulation and my numbers are incorrect.

Want to post your Chapel bot?

I'd suspect that the answer is two things:

1.  Chapel is not the ideal entry into Big Money, which (in a Province game) tends to mind Coppers less than an Action heavy strategy does.

2.  Your bot may be trying to green with an overly thin deck.

It's really easy, with Chapel, to get a very thin deck that can absolutely reliably produce $8... until it buys 1-2 Provinces, at which point it chokes hard because it's so thin that just a couple of green cards massively dilutes it.

But probably the answer is #1.  A really thin deck building into some kind of Action engine is better than a really thin deck that only buys money.  An action-engine with +buys can build back up to a thicker -- but just as dense with good cards -- deck quickly.  It can deliver payloads -- including multi-card combos that are way better than a Gold or two -- very reliably.  Whereas a money-only deck has to thicken back up (so that it doesn't stall in greening) at 1 buy per turn, and the best buy it can make is Gold.  Which is rough.
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AdamH

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 02:23:26 pm »
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The chapel bot is just the _Chapel included in Geronimoo's simulator.

Would it be too much to ask for an example or two of an action-based engine that is greatly enhanced by the use of Chapel?
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philosophyguy

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 02:25:50 pm »
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Frankly, I'm surprised that Chapel is even competitive with the Smithy-BM deck. Smithy starts with 3 dead cards but everything else produces coin, and the +draw cycles the deck to get higher-value coins into the shuffle sooner. Chapel works by eliminating not only the dead cards but also some cards that produce a little coin, and it has to rebuild before it can get going. Because it has eliminated a lot of the Coppers, the Chapel deck is more susceptible to clogging once it starts going green. So, Chapel is behind on several counts: it's eliminating cards that contribute coin, taking a few turns before it revs up its buying power, and is vulnerable to clogging. Chapel is great at accelerating engines, but with a BM strategy I'm shocked that Smithy isn't winning 70-30 or more.
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guided

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 03:47:16 pm »
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A long time ago, I micro-optimized a Chapel bot (with much more complex play rules than Geronimoo's simulator supports) against BMU, and the absolute best I could do was about 55/45 for the Chapel bot among un-tied games. Before that exercise, I thought single-Chapel was an excellent strategy. But it turns out it's not! Though it does work very well against novice and even intermediate players who don't yet understand when to buy Duchies. Anyway: Chapel is elite for building engine decks and pretty crap for building pure money decks.

I didn't even bother to try it against single-Smithy, and I would expect Smithy to absolutely crush Chapel in that matchup. I'm sure others have done simulation studies.
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Epoch

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 06:45:00 pm »
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A thought to throw out.  I think that there's a low chance that it's correct, but what the hell:

Is it possible that in a Chapel Big Money deck, you don't want to follow the heuristic of "trash 4 starting cards if possible," and instead want to prioritize being able to buy at least a Silver on every round that you get a Chapel?  So you only trash Coppers if they bring your hand in excess of $3, or if you have $2 or less?

Can't test that in Geronimoo's simulator.  It seems like the other one might be able to do it, but I couldn't figure out the syntax for setting it up in a few minutes, so...  I'm lazy.
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guided

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 07:11:22 pm »
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Is it possible that in a Chapel Big Money deck, you don't want to follow the heuristic of "trash 4 starting cards if possible," and instead want to prioritize being able to buy at least a Silver on every round that you get a Chapel?  So you only trash Coppers if they bring your hand in excess of $3, or if you have $2 or less?
I extensively tested play-rule tweaks like this when I was doing my sims. There are definitely (lots of) times when you don't want to trash as much Copper as you possibly can, instead preserving enough for Silver or Gold. Though you probably don't ever want to save 3 Copper to buy a Silver, unless failing to do so leaves you with fewer than $3 in your deck.
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danshep

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 09:52:43 pm »
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A chapel + any single good action (especially a curser) will normally be able to hold it's own or beat big money smithy. Look at ChapelWitch or ChapelMontebank on dominiate (http://rspeer.github.com/dominiate/play.html), which both blow big money smithy out of the water.

If you run ChapelMontebank, you'll get upwards of 75% against BigSmithy. The same strategy without chapel will match you about 55%. That's a massive difference.

A single witch big money runs only about 35% wins against BigSmithy, but add a chapel in and you've got 95%wins, which is just ridiculous.
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AdamH

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 10:37:34 pm »
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Epoch - I think the strategy you're describing is the "Standard" Chapel strategy in Geronimoo's simulator. There is another option called "AggressiveTrashing" that is more aggressive (though I can't imagine why he named it that). Standard out-performed AggressiveTrashing by about .3-.4 turns when playing solo.

It looks like I should try some other combinations... hopefully I'll find a few things that work very well...
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RobF

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 05:38:51 pm »
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If you grant the BMU a Smithy, why not have the BMU Chapel also buy a smithy?  I bet that would make it a lot better/more consistent after it trashes a bunch of crap.
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danshep

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Re: BMU + Smithy vs. BMU + Chapel
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2011, 08:17:47 pm »
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Chapel with a BigSmithy holds it's own against BigSmithy in a colony game - after a couple of thousand games, it's up slightly, but still within the margin of error - I can't be bothered waiting for it to actually sort out.

In a province game, the BigSmithyChapel just doesn't get enough time to build the deck back up. You need a stronger kicker than smithy to make it worthwhile. Witch, with it's cursing and card draw is just about perfect.

For reference, here's the bot - just a straight combo of the chapel and smithy bots - it can likely be improved, but I doubt you're going to get it working well in a province game. It can probably be made dominant in a colony game if you mess with the buy rules a bit (and maybe the trash rules?)

Code: [Select]
{
  name: 'ChapelBigSmithy'
  gainPriority: (state, my) -> [
    "Colony" if my.countInDeck("Platinum") > 0
    "Province" if state.countInSupply("Colony") <= 6
    "Duchy" if 0 < state.gainsToEndGame() <= 5
    "Estate" if 0 < state.gainsToEndGame() <= 2
    "Platinum"
    "Gold"
   
    "Smithy" if my.countInDeck("Smithy") < 2 \
             and my.numCardsInDeck() >= 16
    "Smithy" if my.countInDeck("Smithy") < 1
    "Chapel" if my.coins <= 3 and my.countInDeck("Chapel") == 0 and my.turnsTaken <= 2
    "Silver"
    "Copper" if state.gainsToEndGame() <= 3
  ]
}
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