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Markov Chain

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Haggler
« on: April 13, 2013, 09:05:23 pm »
+5



Haggler is the better +Buy.  With +Buy, you can pick up an extra card, but must split your money; good cards with +Buy require a lot of money to get a benefit from the +Buy.  Haggler can get you a $4 and $3 with just $2 additional in cash, or a Province and a Gold with $6 additional in cash.  This works well with many different types of decks.

General Uses
Haggler reduces the stalling when you start greening.  You can gain a Gold or Grand Market with your Province, keeping your money density up, or gain a card such as a Laboratory which lets you play extra cards to compensate for the dead card.

Haggler works well with expensive cards, and the ability to buy them.  In Platinum/Colony games, if you have $11, you can get a Colony and a Platinum rather than needing to choose one.  If you have $7 and can buy a Bank or an Expand, adding a Gold makes for a much better deal.  If your hand is full of Curses and you need the Haggler to reach $3, the extra $2 card or Copper won't help much.

Haggler can also be useful for three-piling without losing VPs.  If you are trying to end the game on piles and the third pile costs $4 or less, Haggler allows you to buy the Duchy you want and still exhaust the third pile.

Deck types
In an engine, Haggler lets you pick up an extra component every turn, as long as you have components with different costs.  You can get a Village with your Smithy, a Worker's Village with another Haggler, an extra Haggler with your Gold, a Conspirator with your Bazaar, or a Hamlet with almost any purchase.  Multiple Hagglers, or Hagglers with +Buy, allow you to build the engine even faster.  When your engine buys a Province, you can pick up another engine card, keeping the engine tuned up; thus engines with Hagglers can start buying Provinces a bit earlier.

In a big money deck, keeping your money density up is important at the end of the game; gaining Gold with your Provinces and Silver with your Duchies helps keep your ability to buy more greens.  To get a mid-game benefit from the terminal Haggler, you need non-terminal $4 or $5 cards, as you don't want too many terminals in a big money deck.  If you don't want any $4 or $5 cards, then Haggler gaining Gold will only add another Silver, and turns with $4 will force you to buy a terminal unless you want Silver and Copper.  (With $5, you would probably choose not to play
the Haggler, or buy a Duchy and Silver.)

In alternate-VP rushes, keeping your money density up is even more important, as you will have more VP cards, and Silvers are enough for you to keep buying VP cards.  Haggler is best with Gardens and Feodum; not only can you gain a Silver with these cards to keep from stalling, but the Silver also increases the value of the VP cards.  You can also use it with Fairgrounds to get the $4 and $5 cards you are missing; the fact that you cannot take Gold as your extra card is likely to be irrelevant, as Fairgrounds decks do not need much Gold.  And even though it doesn't directly help Silk Road or Duke, those decks need a lot of VP cards, and Silver keeps them going.

Weaknesses
You cannot take a Victory card (except indirectly if Haggler gains Border Village), so Haggler is no substitute for a +Buy when you want three Provinces on one megaturn, and it doesn't help when the second card you want is a double-type Victory card such as Island.

You cannot gain two cards of equal value; this can be a problem if your engine components all have the same cost (such as Worker's Village/Caravan/Smithy or Bazaar/Laboratory/Rabble).  One-card engines (Hunting Party) may still work; you gain Hunting Party as your second card with Gold or Province, and gain some lesser card with Hunting Party.

Haggler doesn't work as well with Potion-cost cards, as the only less expensive cards are either other Potion-costs (and you cannot take Vineyard) or low-cost cards. Some combinations of Potion-cost cards will still work well, such as Alchemist/Apothecary, but Apothecary, Scrying Pool, and University will force you to take a Transmute or a Copper unless there are $2 kingdom cards.  (Vineyard is still worse, as Copper and Curse are the only cards costing less than it, but you have no need to play Haggler when buying a Vineyard unless you have a +Buy and are haggling the other card.)

And the card gain is mandatory; buying a $3 card with Haggler may force you to take a Copper if there are no useful $2 actions, and some engines with no card under $4 may be stalled if you must take a Silver with your $4.

Watch out for three-piling with Hagglers around, as the cheap piles will get taken.  If there are Hagglers but attacks are leading to weak turns, then $3 and $4 turns with Hagglers will exhaust the $2 and $3 actions.  And if there are high-demand $2 or $3 cards (Fool's Gold, Fishing Village, Lighthouse with attacks around), they will go quickly as second cards with Hagglers.

You do not gain additional extra cards if you Throne Room or King's Court a Haggler, but mutliplying the $2 bonus is still valuable, as the bonus can add to the value of your extra card, so this is not a major weakness.  KC/Haggler gets you at least a Gold and another Haggler, and with just an extra $2, it gets you a Province and another King's Court.

Openings
Haggler is a reasonable opening with a 5/2 start, although it isn't as good as the powerful attackers.  If the only $2 cards would conflict with Haggler (such as Moat or Secret Chamber), it's probably best to pass on the $2; if you need the $2 for defense, you should have bought the attack rather than the Haggler.  (Haggler/Lighthouse is still good, as they do not conflict, and you gain the defensive benefit from the Lighthouse.)

Councilroom says that the strongest opening, other than the obvious Chapel, is Haggler/Haven.  If you have both in hand, you can choose to use the Haggler this turn or next, whichever is better.

Synergies/Combos
Alternate VP, particularly Feodum and Gardens
Most engines
Non-terminals at $4 and $5
Royal Seal/Watchtower (to top-deck both parts of a combo)

Antisynergies
Megaturns without +Buy
Engines with all components at the same price
Potion-cost cards, particularly $2P
Powerful attackers (cursers, Ambassador) leading to weak turns
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 09:08:47 pm by Markov Chain »
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DG

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 09:46:51 pm »
0

I think it's worth comparing the haggler to a couple of other cards. Like a hoard it can be bought too early or too late: too early if you're not enough coins to make it useful and too late if you're not using the cards you are gaining. If you can generate big hands you are more likely to have the big coin income to make the hoard or haggler work. Like an explorer, a haggler can be used for gaining some silver or gold but since an explorer doesn't seem to be strong the haggler's value must partly come from gaining good action cards.

Looking more closely at the action cards, these will typically be action cards in the mid cost range so that you can buy them in preference to silver, or gain them after buying a gold. It's no surprise that the council room stats show great synergy between the haggler and laboratory type cards and villages. The drawing cards create more big spending hands in future turns. The villages can help support engines built rapidly using the card gaining.

Hagglers are quite weak against attacks on spending such as hand size reduction. In fact any weakness in your deck is unlikely to get fixed by the haggler unless you need more cheap cards or silvers.

It's probably also worth mentioning that Hagglers are good at emptying supply piles. This can lead to early 3 pile endings. Hagglers can gain and promote cities quite easily.
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dondon151

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 10:23:56 pm »
+1

I don't think it's ever "too early" to take a Haggler. If there aren't better $5s on the board, I would gladly open with it, which is about as early as you can get it. A $4 hand with Haggler gains a Silver if you buy a $4, which is fair if there is an engine component at $4. Even better if there's something that you want at $3. The absolute worst case scenario is if you hit $3 with Haggler in hand, in which case your turn is dead.

DG is definitely correct, though, that handsize attacks and cursing attacks hurt Haggler a lot.
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Morgrim7

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 11:40:33 pm »
+4

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Schneau

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2013, 09:30:58 am »
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I think Jester and Rogue, and to a lesser extent Explorer, are very comparable to Haggler. They all cost $5, give you terminal +$2, and can potentially gain you another card in your deck.
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SirPeebles

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 12:41:06 pm »
+1

I think Border Village is a nice synergy to mention, particularly in the end game when it lets you "cheat" by gaining a Duchy with your Province.  It's also in the same expansion as Haggler.

Speaking of expansions, a stylistic point that gave me pause.  Why did you use Envoy as a generic example of a $4 card?  I imagine that you want this article to be accessible to as many players as possible.  Part of this, in my opinion, should include avoiding unnecessary references to obscure promo cards.  If there is an important reason to bring up Envoy or another promo, then by all means do it. But otherwise, why not use a $4 example from Base like Smithy or from Hinterlands (the set containing the featured card Haggler) like Trader?
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qmech

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 02:08:32 pm »
+1

Hey, its me!

Whenever Haggler comes up on Goko I think "Aargh, it's Morgrim!"

As a particular combination from the synergies and antisynergies sections, Haggler has an ambivalent interaction with Vineyard.  You can try to use Haggler to gain actions, but you'll have to take Coppers later.
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AJD

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 02:15:11 pm »
+1

Hey, its me!

Whenever Haggler comes up on Goko I think "Aargh, it's Morgrim!"

As a particular combination from the synergies and antisynergies sections, Haggler has an ambivalent interaction with Vineyard.  You can try to use Haggler to gain actions, but you'll have to take Coppers later.

Best-case scenario, you could get Ruins!
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Mr Anderson

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2013, 02:56:30 pm »
+2

As a particular combination from the synergies and antisynergies sections, Haggler has an ambivalent interaction with Vineyard.  You can try to use Haggler to gain actions, but you'll have to take Coppers later.

Remember, you do not need to play all of you actions. If there is no +Buy, there is no need to play Haggler if you want to buy a vineyard and there is no Ruins pile.
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ftl

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2013, 02:59:14 pm »
+1

Well, yes, but then you're still not getting very good value out of the Haggler, if you're just not playing it a lot of the time. It's still an antisynergy.
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Mr Anderson

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2013, 03:11:21 pm »
+1

If you have no +Buy and you really need that vineyard, why would you punish yourself and play the Haggler to gain a Copper. That does not make any sense at all. You will play Haggler before to gain many actions, so you will get quite a good value out of your Haggler, 2/3 VP per Vineyard (rounded down) everytime you play your Haggler and buy an action for at least 3$ (if there is an action for 2$ in the kingdom).
If you have +Buy, you will play the Haggler for sure, likely to gain two more actions or a duchy and one more action for 2/3 or 1/3 VP per Vinyard in your deck.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 03:13:15 pm by Mr Anderson »
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Robz888

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2013, 04:50:40 pm »
0

Haggler is a very good card, especially as far as non-attack, non-terminal draw $5 cards are concerned. Which means that very often there will be something better to get first, but you usually do want this card if it's available. It's one of those good for money and good for engine cards. But yeah, discarders really hurt it, good call on that.

Really, Haggler belongs in a specific family of gainers alongside Hoard and Explorer. Actually, it's theoretically incredibly similar to Explorer, but much better in practice.
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dondon151

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2013, 05:03:34 pm »
0

If you have no +Buy and you really need that vineyard, why would you punish yourself and play the Haggler to gain a Copper. That does not make any sense at all. You will play Haggler before to gain many actions, so you will get quite a good value out of your Haggler, 2/3 VP per Vineyard (rounded down) everytime you play your Haggler and buy an action for at least 3$ (if there is an action for 2$ in the kingdom).

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The stats do show that Haggler is not a good Vineyards enabler, even if you sort of play Haggler only in the earlygame.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2013, 05:11:09 pm »
0

If you have no +Buy and you really need that vineyard, why would you punish yourself and play the Haggler to gain a Copper. That does not make any sense at all. You will play Haggler before to gain many actions, so you will get quite a good value out of your Haggler, 2/3 VP per Vineyard (rounded down) everytime you play your Haggler and buy an action for at least 3$ (if there is an action for 2$ in the kingdom).

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The stats do show that Haggler is not a good Vineyards enabler, even if you sort of play Haggler only in the earlygame.

I am aware of no stats that show this.

HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2013, 01:39:10 pm »
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Really, Haggler belongs in a specific family of gainers alongside Hoard and Explorer. Actually, it's theoretically incredibly similar to Explorer, but much better in practice.

I disagree. Hoard and Explorer are restricted to gaining treasure. Haggler is not. That's one way to use Haggler, sure. But the ability to gain action cards makes it *much* more versatile.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2013, 02:03:36 pm »
+2

The article states that buying Apothecary, University or SP with Haggler will force you to take a Copper. This is not true. Aside from Ruins and Curses, you can take a $2 kingdom card. This latter point is worth mentioning because many players still get confused about how potion costs compare to non-potion costs. 2 < 2P.
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Markov Chain

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2013, 10:05:51 pm »
0

The article states that buying Apothecary, University or SP with Haggler will force you to take a Copper. This is not true. Aside from Ruins and Curses, you can take a $2 kingdom card. This latter point is worth mentioning because many players still get confused about how potion costs compare to non-potion costs. 2 < 2P.

Fixed; thanks for the correction.  Apothecary/Herbalist, for example, can be a good combination, but if there aren't any $2s, then the haggle is a disadvantage, and even if there are $2s, getting a $2 with a $2P isn't that much of a benefit. 
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Re: Haggler
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2013, 12:23:26 pm »
0

I think Watchtower should be added to the list of combos.  Yes, Watchtower can do this for any +Buy style card out there, but the nature of Haggler's gaining make the synergy exceptionally good.  During engine building phase, you can top deck 2 engine components ensuring a good next hand, mostly through pairing engine component that go together (e.g. KC/GM, Mountebank/TR, Smithy/Village).  It also helps during the greening stage in that you can continue top-decking gained engine components despite the fact that you are adding green to the deck. 
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Markov Chain

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2013, 09:04:52 pm »
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I think Watchtower should be added to the list of combos.  Yes, Watchtower can do this for any +Buy style card out there, but the nature of Haggler's gaining make the synergy exceptionally good.  During engine building phase, you can top deck 2 engine components ensuring a good next hand, mostly through pairing engine component that go together (e.g. KC/GM, Mountebank/TR, Smithy/Village).  It also helps during the greening stage in that you can continue top-decking gained engine components despite the fact that you are adding green to the deck.

Added.  Royal Seal is even better; Watchtower occupies a hand space which limits what you can buy, reducing the value of Haggler.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2013, 09:16:03 pm »
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I think Watchtower should be added to the list of combos.  Yes, Watchtower can do this for any +Buy style card out there, but the nature of Haggler's gaining make the synergy exceptionally good.  During engine building phase, you can top deck 2 engine components ensuring a good next hand, mostly through pairing engine component that go together (e.g. KC/GM, Mountebank/TR, Smithy/Village).  It also helps during the greening stage in that you can continue top-decking gained engine components despite the fact that you are adding green to the deck.

Added.  Royal Seal is even better; Watchtower occupies a hand space which limits what you can buy, reducing the value of Haggler.

But RS is at the same price point, conflicting with Haggler. :P
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jomini

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2013, 04:45:39 pm »
+1

Quote
Added.  Royal Seal is even better; Watchtower occupies a hand space which limits what you can buy, reducing the value of Haggler.
I'd go completely the other way. Generally, Haggler gets stronger the more you move towards engines and Watchtower is great engine bait.

Wt can draw (and draw more if you have get hit with a discard), it can top deck the Smithy/Village combo, it can trash problem cards (letting you say drop 6 coin/3 buys into killing 3 estates & 3 curses to give a credible 3 pile threat without hurting the engine), and of course, Haggler is disappearing cash. Further, Watchtower enables a lot of the crappier villages increasing the range of options for making Haggler strong - Hamlet, Shanty, Squire, Xroads, etc. all lose a significant handicap when using Watchtower. A last concern is that Wt has a 3 coin price point - making it easy to exploit extra gains with Haggler (e.g. Hamlet/Wt/Haggler can buy 2 Wt and gain 2 Hamlets for a lot of draw reliability).

In short Wt protects against several Haggler counters, is an engine card itself, and is at a much more useful price point.

Another very strong combo card is Peddler - you can buy the expensive Peddler at 6 & still get a strong engine component (e.g. a Lab) at 5 as well as later getting free Peddlers off cheap purchases (e.g. buying 2 Squires and a Courtyard, gaining 3 Peddlers is roughly better than a cantrip Plat).

One strategy against Haggler or in mirrors can be to attack the villages. This is worthless if there are plenty of useful cantrips to gain, but Haggler loses a lot of oomph in engine games if you can't use it to gain villages or terminals that you don't have action density to play. Yeah, this makes you slower out the gate, but it can reap big dividends later when you can play 2x as many actions each turn and run a far more reliable deck.
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PitzerMike

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2013, 03:09:33 am »
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Really, Haggler belongs in a specific family of gainers alongside Hoard and Explorer. Actually, it's theoretically incredibly similar to Explorer, but much better in practice.

I disagree. Hoard and Explorer are restricted to gaining treasure. Haggler is not. That's one way to use Haggler, sure. But the ability to gain action cards makes it *much* more versatile.

Well you say you disagree but it sure looks like you two agree. :)
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Markov Chain

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Re: Haggler
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2013, 06:21:51 pm »
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Quote
Added.  Royal Seal is even better; Watchtower occupies a hand space which limits what you can buy, reducing the value of Haggler.
I'd go completely the other way. Generally, Haggler gets stronger the more you move towards engines and Watchtower is great engine bait.

Agreed.  Haggler works very well in building an engine, and Watchtower (with some type of village, particularly Hamlet) is a good engine component.  Haggler allows you to get Watchtower/Hamlet with just one additional copper.

But Royal Seal and Watchtower both work well for topdecking a combination, even when you can't build an engine; you can top-deck Expand/Peddler (Peddler costs $6 because of the Haggler, but expands to a Colony), or Province/Tournament, or Farmland/Remodel, or Gold/Counterfeit, or Bank/Venture, or Band of Misfits/Treasure Map.  The buying power of Royal Seal helps buy the expensive combinations, and you might buy Royal Seal after Haggler when you do not want too many terminals.
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Re: Haggler
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2013, 12:28:10 am »
0

I think Watchtower should be added to the list of combos.  Yes, Watchtower can do this for any +Buy style card out there, but the nature of Haggler's gaining make the synergy exceptionally good.  During engine building phase, you can top deck 2 engine components ensuring a good next hand, mostly through pairing engine component that go together (e.g. KC/GM, Mountebank/TR, Smithy/Village).  It also helps during the greening stage in that you can continue top-decking gained engine components despite the fact that you are adding green to the deck.

Added.  Royal Seal is even better; Watchtower occupies a hand space which limits what you can buy, reducing the value of Haggler.

But RS is at the same price point, conflicting with Haggler. :P

Also, Watchtower can topdeck as well as trash.  So, with $10 and 2 buys, buy Province, gain Gold, topdeck Gold; buy Estate, gain Copper, trash Copper.
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