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ragingduckd

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Rebuild Mirrors
« on: June 11, 2013, 07:21:59 am »
+62

This article isn't an introduction to Rebuild or a comprehensive treatment of the card. It focuses on two player games with Provinces and Estates where both players pursue a Rebuild strategy.

This should really be considered a coauthored article with SheCantSayNo. The ideas presented here are the product of extensive testing and discussion we did together over several weeks.

Rebuild Mirror Matches

When Rebuild is on the board, you usually just have to buy it. Other engines have a reasonable shot in games with Colonies or Shelters, but Rebuild is always a force to be reckoned with. When Rebuild has the home-court advantage of a Province game with Estates, there are very few decks that can outrun it.

This means that many of your Rebuild games -- particularly your Province/Estates games -- will be mirrors matches. Most of those Rebuild mirrors will follow a fairly consistent script. Playing them well requires first understanding that script and then deciding how and to what extent any particular kingdom demands that you deviate from it.

We assume that you're playing against one opponent, with no Shelters, no Colonies, and no game-breaking combos, and that you and your opponent are both going for Rebuild. I briefly discuss some the major deviations from this setup at the end.

Act I: The Duchy Race

Your main goal in the early game is to win the Duchy split. An empty Duchy pile is a Rebuild roadblock for your Estates, so the Duchies you buy during this phase are the only cards you can productively Rebuild for the rest of the game. Getting more than your share of those Duchies is a huge win.

Your other early-game goal is to clear out those pesky starting Estates. If you manage to win the Duchy split 5-3 while emptying your deck of Estates, you're in an absolutely dominating position. Every Rebuild you play will turn a Duchy into a Province, so playing Rebuild five times gets you five Provinces and a virtual lock.

Buying a Rebuild with your first $5 hand is a good start on both goals. With your subsequent $5 hands, keep buying either Rebuilds or Duchies. With each $5 hand, ask "if I buy another Rebuild, will I get to use it on an Estate before the Duchies run out?" When the answer is no, it's time to start buying Duchies instead.

Edit: SCSN has done a wide range of simulations that suggest a simpler approach: buy 2 Rebuilds and then all Duchies.  Situations where anything else is better appear to be extremely rare.

Common mistakes to avoid:
  • Rebuilding Duchies into Provinces -- Deliberately rebuilding a Duchy instead of an Estate is the biggest early-game mistake you can make. Your opponent will snap up five or six Duchies, leaving you with deck full of small treasures, VP cards, and nearly-useless Rebuilds, and then rebuild his Duchies into Provinces while you scramble to find an $8 hand.

  • Buying Gold or any $5 action besides Rebuild -- Unless you plan to skip Rebuild entirely, your early-game focus should be on Duchies (and Rebuilds that can gain Duchies). Even the game-breaking $5 terminals (see Combos below) should only be purchased after the Duchies are gone.

  • Buying surplus Estates -- If your opponent is also rushing Duchies, you probably won't have time to rebuild four Estates. A fourth Estate can be valuable if in you're well ahead or in danger of running out of Rebuild targets, but it should be approached with caution. If that extra Estate wins the Duchy split, it's a hero; if it's the one Estate you get stuck with in a 4-4 split, it's a goat. A fifth or sixth Estate is wildly overoptimistic and almost always a mistake at this point.

Act II: Post-Duchy Strategies

With the Duchy pile empty, the remaining sources of VP are limited. Unless there are alt-VP cards or VP tokens, it's down to the Provinces and the Estates. Each player wants to Rebuild his Duchies, but he also has extra production to use along the way. He can use that production for of any of of three major post-Duchy strategies:

1. Turbo Rebuild: Add Rebuilds and sifters to rebuild your Duchies quickly

There are 8 Duchies in play and 8 Provinces to be gained. Every time a Province gets bought or trashed by Rebuild, another Duchy's dreams die. With Turbo Rebuild, your goal is to make it the other guy's Duchies that don't get turned into Provinces.

2. Rebuild-BM: Add treasures and productive actions to buy Provinces

It's not easy to start buying Provinces when you have a deck full of Duchies and Rebuilds, but it pays off big. Rebuilding a Duchy into a Province is only +3 VP, but buying one is +6 VP. Buying one Province can be enough for the win after a 4-4 split, and buying two will more than make up for losing the split 3-5.

3. The Estate Blitz: Buy estates and end the game early by rebuilding your Provinces into other Provinces

With Duchies gone and rebuilt Provinces worth only +3, Estates constitute a respectable form of VP. In a Blitz, you piledrive Estates and play Rebuild naming Estate to run out the Province pile. If all goes well, your opponent won't have time to buy or rebuild into those last couple Provinces, and your pile of Estates will carry the game.

Some general considerations that should inform your decision:
  • The Duchy split -- When you've won the split, Turbo Rebuild is usually the best continuation (assuming you don't also have 2 or 3 surplus Estates for you Rebuilds to trip over). Five Provinces is a near-lock, if you can get there. If you can't, then your Rebuilds will at least be productive right up to the end of the game. If you've lost the split, Turbo Rebuild isn't going to close the VP gap, so go Rebuild-BM or Estate Blitz instead.

  • The kingdom -- Cantrip sifters accelerate your rebuilding, which strengthens Turbo Rebuild and the Estate Blitz. Strong drawing cards strengthen Rebuild BM. Baron allows for a hybrid Estate-BM strategy. A complete list of combos would be difficult to write and painful to read, but you can usually just look at a kingdom and figure out which strategies have good support.

  • Your deck -- If you have some extra Silver because you didn't get to $5 on T3 or T4, you're probably in a reasonable position to go Rebuild BM. If you managed to clear out all of your Estates, then Turbo is very attractive.  If you got caught with 2 or more Estates, they're going to seriously get in the way of your Rebuilding, so you might avoid Turbo even if you won the Duchy split. On the other hand, you probably have a VP lead already and the opportunity cost of an Estate Blitz is relatively low.

  • Your opponent's strategy -- If the first thing your opponent does after Duchies run out is spend $6 on a Rebuild, he's telling you that he's going either Turbo Rebuild or Estate Blitz. Your time is limited, so responding with Rebuild BM is questionable unless you already have a good start. If he buys a Gold or an Estate instead, that reveals his intentions too. It's hard to give concrete rules here, but try to anticipate how your strategies will interact and choose accordingly. If you respond to Turbo with Turbo, for example, the game will be high-variance and lightning fast.
You only get a few turns to choose your post-Duchy strategy once and for all. Once you start filling up on extra Rebuilds and Warehouses, you'll have a miserable time changing gears to buy Provinces. Similarly, once you start adding Estates, it's awfully hard to use your Rebuilds productively. This why Estates should be approached with caution during the Duchies race -- a deck that gets caught with 2 or more Estates is essentially pre-committed to a Blitz.

Act III: End-Game Tactics

Once the players have committed to their post-Duchy strategies, the game is mostly tactical. But these aren't the usual "do I buy a Duchy or a Gold?" end-game tactics, and they require skills that don't normally get a lot of practice.

Tracking your VP cards throughout your shuffle is key. Rebuilding a Duchy is always best, and it's often possible to engineer that. It's also rather embarrassing to name the wrong card and have Rebuild skip your whole deck. If this happens to you, check the log to see exactly what was in the deck that you just discarded; this will get you back on track. The VP counter won't do your job for you, but the counter plus the trash will often let you catch up if you've gotten just a little lost.

Resist the temptation to purchase haphazardly. If you're running an Estate Blitz and some freak shuffle gives you a $7 hand, buy another Rebuild or Estate anyway. Despite this aberrant hand, you're in no position to buy Provinces and adding a Gold isn't going to change that. Stick to the cards that are compatible with your strategy, even if you have to grossly overpay.

Assess your long-term prospects and Rebuild accordingly. Often you have to risk either hitting an Estate or a Province. Hitting an Estate is pretty much a wash, but hitting a Province brings the game closer to its end. Before you play your Rebuild, consider whether shortening the game is good or bad for you.

As a general rule, the player with the better deck wants a longer game. If you have extra Duchies or loads of treasure, you want time to turn that advantage into Provinces. If your deck is full of Estates or you've already rebuilt all your Duchies, you probably want to end the game ASAP. An ordinary end-game is usually a race to gain Provinces (or sometimes to 3-pile), but a Rebuild end-game is often a race between a player who wants to gain Provinces and an opponent who wants to destroy them.



Game-Breaking Combos

Most Rebuild combos simply strengthen or weaken the various post-Duchy strategies, but there are a few that are simply so powerful that you have to scrap most of the script.

Rogue and Graverobber can regain your trashed Duchies. Turbo Rebuild is the only serious strategy on such a board, since you'll have a continuous flow of Duchies to rebuild. For the same reason, Estates become a huge liability.  These guys are mid-to-late game buys, but with Duchies going to the trash constantly and with little else to do with your $5 hands, you'll want to acquire two or more.

Duke is the only $5 VP in the game besides Duchy, so it provides Rebuild with the only alternate road from Estate to Province. With Duke on the board, you can flood your deck with Estates and your Rebuilds and they'll continue being productive right up to the end. You'll have some Dukes in your deck at the end of the game, so name Duchy when you play Rebuild and let your Provinces fend for themselves.

Tunnel, as werothegreat has already noted, turns Rebuild into a Gold machine. In a Rebuild game with Tunnel, there's no actual rebuilding into Provinces. Just name Tunnel every time and flood your deck with Gold.

Feodum isn't game-breaking per se, but deserves a mention here, as it's rather strong and it doesn't play like a normal Rebuild mirror. Edit: Rebuilding Feoda into more Feoda and then buying Provinces with the Silver seems to work rather well and usually beats a Duchy-oriented Rebuild strategy.  Ignore Duchies until late in the game and be more inclined to buy Gold, draw, and other actions that help you get to $8.



Other Notable Situations

Colonies weaken Rebuild. It takes several extra turns to go from 4-5 Provinces to 4-5 Colonies, and it's a whole lot easier for an engine to grab 4 Colonies in 19 turns than 4 Provinces in 14 turns. With 4 VP cards instead of 3, you also have a lot less control over what your Rebuilds hit.

Shelters weaken Rebuild because you no longer get a free Duchy with every early-game Rebuild you play. I'd estimate that Rebuild with Shelters is effectively 2-3 turns behind Rebuild with Estates. In the mirror, you should buy fewer early-game Rebuilds and buy more of your Duchies directlyEdit: SCSN's simulations suggest that Shelters don't particularly hurt Rebuild.  When Rebuild is matched against non-Rebuild strategies, its win rate with Estates is almost exactly the same as with Shelters.

Nobles, Harem, and Farmland can all be rebuilt into Provinces. Buying these is usually at least as good as buying Duchies, so the Duchy race becomes less important and finding $6 to buy these with becomes more important.

Smaller Alt-VP cards should be added with caution. They can play the same role as Estates in a Blitz, but you can't name both Estate and Great Hall. Every time your Rebuild trips over a Great Hall, your opponent gains time to grab the Province you otherwise would have trashed. Still, Rebuild games are usually close, so all three strategies are happy to grab some extra VP as the game draws to a close.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 09:13:37 pm by ragingduckd »
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Schneau

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 09:58:22 am »
+1

This article is excellent. There are two points that I feel would be helpful to either clarify in this article or should be considered for future articles:

1. You give the 3 main post-Duchy strategies, and say that Turbo Rebuild is good if you win the split and the other two are best if you lose it. What if you tie? Also, I didn't find it obvious what card is usually best to name in each strategy.

2. How do attacks affect Rebuild? I haven't played enough Rebuild games to have a good feel on this.
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SirPeebles

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 10:22:07 am »
+5

Very nice article!  I enjoyed reading it, but I would like to comment that as someone who plays most of my games offline, it really tripped me up when you said:

If this happens to you, check the log to see exactly what was in the deck that you just discarded; this will get you back on track.

I imagine that this is referencing the log in Goko's online implementation.  I know others disagree with me, but I feel like the default assumption for these articles ought to be the physical sets, with references to other implementations being made explicitly when appropriate.  But again, it's your article.
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 10:43:17 am »
+3

Very good and clear written article indeed.

You're saying always go Rebuild on a board with estates and without colonies. I'm a bit scared you're mostly correct. At least I remember failing rather miserably at a couple of engines that tried to fight Rebuild. But how about the really powerful ones? Any ideas on the following matchups?:
  • Rebuild vs bishop-chapel?
  • Rebuild vs some powerful goons engine?
  • Rebuild vs Native Village-Bridge?
  • Rebuild vs Some Forager-Market Square-draw-thingy
Another question: there are some cards that look pretty strong in a Rebuild Mirror that aren't green or cyclers:
  • Tournament. Just has to be great with 'free' provinces, resulting in free duchies or estates (followers)
  • Marauder. More $5 for you and less $5 for your opponent has to be good, right?
  • ... ?
And one more question: what happens if we play with Jack and Rebuild...
Player A: open Jack/Silver, buy Rebuilds, keep estates, basically go with what you describe here.
Player B: open Jack/Silver, buy 2nd Jack, trash Estates, immediately start Duchies for $5+, buy a Rebuild after Duchies are gone.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2013, 10:46:22 am »
+1

2. How do attacks affect Rebuild? I haven't played enough Rebuild games to have a good feel on this.
I haven't either, but my guess would be that the best counters would be trashing attacks. Having your Rebuilds swindled into Mines or Counting Houses or whatever probably disrupts the strategy a bit.
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PitzerMike

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2013, 11:57:18 am »
0

Very well written article!

I would also have to agree with Jack Rudd that as far as attacks go, trashers are the only real danger.
In a non-mirror you can add your own cursers/discarders to your Rebuild deck, since Rebuild is non-terminal.

However in a Rebuild mirror I really have no idea if it's worthwhile to sacrifice the Duchy split and throw in a Militia or Witch. Discarders probably not, cursers likely yes if you can get them on T1 or T2. Early cursers should be able to hit enough before the Duchies are gone.

EDIT: Discarders could be a worthwhile addition after the Duchies are gone though.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 11:59:56 am by PitzerMike »
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Schneau

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 11:59:20 am »
0

2. How do attacks affect Rebuild? I haven't played enough Rebuild games to have a good feel on this.
I haven't either, but my guess would be that the best counters would be trashing attacks. Having your Rebuilds swindled into Mines or Counting Houses or whatever probably disrupts the strategy a bit.

Agreed, though it might hurt even more to have your Duchies trashed, especially after the Duchy pile is empty.
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SCSN

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2013, 12:39:48 pm »
+3

Great article! Rebuild is my favorite card. It turns Witch into the worst card in the game, makes Mountebank look like your silly little sister, and promotes the usually horrible Rogue to a stunning monster in the post-Duchy landscape. What's not to love?

This article is excellent. There are two points that I feel would be helpful to either clarify in this article or should be considered for future articles:

1. You give the 3 main post-Duchy strategies, and say that Turbo Rebuild is good if you win the split and the other two are best if you lose it. What if you tie? Also, I didn't find it obvious what card is usually best to name in each strategy.

If you tie the Duchies, it depends highly on how many Estates you have left relative to your opponent. If he has zero and you have one or more, go Estate Blitz (always naming Estate when Rebuilding). If you have less, go Turbo Rebuild (keep track of your deck on whether you can name Province or should name Estate). If you have zero Estates you should always name Province.

Quote
2. How do attacks affect Rebuild? I haven't played enough Rebuild games to have a good feel on this.

You should completely ignore pretty much all attacks. The exceptions being Swindler and Militia, as you can get one of those on T1/2 over a Silver. Avoid Fortune Teller, as it tells your opponent which victory card is on top of his deck, which is of great help when rebuilding. Maybe Cultist is an exception too, as it junks so phenomenally fast, but I have insufficient experience with Cultist in Rebuild games to make a final verdict.

Here's a funny Rebuild game I played yesterday where I get attacked by Young Witch, Familiar and Knights. I swallow all 10 Curses while 2 of my 3 Rebuilds get trashed, yet my victory is never in danger. I diverge a bit from Andrew's script because 1) it's not a mirror 2) Tournament is present (which I don't get to connect until very late in the game).

  • Marauder. More $5 for you and less $5 for your opponent has to be good, right?

Marauder is way too slow. It hurts you in the early game by being a dead card whereas it could have been a Silver. Once it starts benefiting you and hurting your opponent, he has had enough opportunity to build up an insurmountable lead.
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DG

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2013, 01:04:13 pm »
+1

Quote
Here's a funny Rebuild game I played yesterday where I get attacked by Young Witch, Familiar and Knights. I swallow all 10 Curses while 2 of my 3 Rebuilds get trashed, yet my victory is never in danger.

That's scary really. Four provinces in ten turns against cursing attacks from something close to a one card strategy. Is rebuild now the strongest card in Dominion?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 01:05:48 pm by DG »
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SCSN

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2013, 01:20:26 pm »
+1

Quote
Here's a funny Rebuild game I played yesterday where I get attacked by Young Witch, Familiar and Knights. I swallow all 10 Curses while 2 of my 3 Rebuilds get trashed, yet my victory is never in danger.

That's scary really. Four provinces in ten turns against cursing attacks from something close to a one card strategy. Is rebuild now the strongest card in Dominion?

Given that it's self-sufficient (in contrast with King's Court and Goons) and makes Witch/Mountebank look like complete jokes, I'm inclined to say yes!
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2013, 01:28:40 pm »
+1

Very well written article, thank you!

2. How do attacks affect Rebuild? I haven't played enough Rebuild games to have a good feel on this.
I haven't either, but my guess would be that the best counters would be trashing attacks. Having your Rebuilds swindled into Mines or Counting Houses or whatever probably disrupts the strategy a bit.

Saboteur is the attack that is strongest against the Rebuild approach, I believe. You have relatively few Silvers, perhaps, no Gold, and a bunch of Rebuilds, Provinces, and/or Duchies (depending on the game state). Hitting any of those is a distinct advantage. Unfortunately for Sabotteur, it costs $5, so I don't know how best to integrate it into your deck. Perhaps as an early purchase after the Duchy race?
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Robz888

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 01:34:05 pm »
+3

Terrific article. Oh, Rebuild. So comically overpowered.

I just want to bring up Count, which is not, in my view, a very good card, but gains Duchies directly and probably has a place in most Rebuild decks. I think you would spend your first $5 on a Count rather than a Rebuild.
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 01:46:05 pm »
0

Feodum isn't game-breaking per se, but deserves a mention here, as it's rather strong and it doesn't play like a normal Rebuild mirror. [Unfortunately, I don't understand it all that well. Does anyone want to write a brief section for it?]
I feel like that should be me, since I beat you with this strat last night :)  But really I don't have a better handle on it than you do.  I'm not sure of how the tactical play of that strat should work.  I'm also not sure how important Remodel was in the game I posted, it's obviously very good for the combo (you can Remodel Estates to Feoda to get free Silvers out of your early Rebuild plays, you can Remodel Feoda to Duchies for free Silvers, you can buy Duchies and Feoda with all those Silvers, and notably you can also Remodel those free Silvers into Duchies) but it's not clear to me how well the combo would work without Remodel to open with.
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 04:14:21 pm »
0

I think you would spend your first $5 on a Count rather than a Rebuild.

Especially in a Shelter game.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 04:59:56 pm »
0

Great article Andrew!

You have helped me get a better grasp of Rebuild. I have been playing on Goko since September, and I am finding it funny that now the consensus is becoming this is the best $5 card in Dominion. I remember mentioning that I had that feeling many months ago. Although, I had more experience playing it.

Anyway, Rebuild has always been a bit of a mystery to me, and I do feel you did a good job covering a lot of bases, and have given me a better appreciation for the card and also a better strategic understanding. I do think some exceptions should be noted. Count like said by RobZ should be the ideal first $5 buy if it is on the board. In Shelter games, Rebuild really isn't slowed down that much and should still be the dominant strategy. In Colony games, I tend to agree, it is much slower, and you might not want it, especially if an engine is viable. In Tournament games, I think trying to get the first Province might be more important than buying Rebuild, although, you can Rebuild a Duchy into a Province, but is that quicker than buying a Province itself? Then, what do you do on a crazy engine board where you have KC, HoP, Goons, etc.

Overall, though, I feel that you did a great job on this article!
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2013, 05:14:14 pm »
+9

First of all, I want to say I don't think this is a bad article by any stretch. I want to point this out, because I am about to poke at basically every single hole I could find in it. Some of these are things I would just say differently, some of these are things I want to see elaborated, some are places I think you missed (though hey, you may be right; but I want a second look at them, anyway), and some are just places I am surprised. But overall, a nice article, and mostly I am just saying so much because I feel like there is a lot for me to learn here, and I am probably coming from a different starting perspective. Anyway, here goes:

Quote
Your main goal in the early game is to win the Duchy split.
This by far seems to be the main point of your article. However, I don't see all that much on *how* to do it.
Quote
Your other early-game goal is to clear out those pesky starting Estates. If you manage to win the Duchy split 5-3 while emptying your deck of Estates, you're in an absolutely dominating position.
Is emptying out your estates important? Really? Isn't that more about getting duchies? Why are estates so bad?
Quote
five Rebuilds is all you need for five Provinces and a virtual lock.
I read this three times before I understood you meant five plays of Rebuild - it looks to me like you are advocating buying five copies of the card Rebuild.
Quote
With each $5 hand, ask "if I buy another Rebuild, will I get to use it on an Estate before the Duchies run out?" When the answer is no, it's time to start buying Duchies instead.
This is by far the best line in the article. Still, I want to know a little more on how to answer this question. Also, what do I do on $5 if there aren't any more duchies around?
Quote
Rebuilding Duchies into Provinces -- Deliberately rebuilding a Duchy instead of an Estate is the biggest early-game mistake you can make.
Okay, cool. But what about if I have all my remaining estates in hand? Do I not rebuild duchy->province in this case even? Is it THAT important? I would think no, go ahead and turn the duchy into a province. But from what you are saying, it feels like you would say, this will hurt you in winning the duchy split (because you either name province and might have to duchy->province again, or you name estate and might hit your province). Or maybe you should rebuild duchy->duchy? What do I do here?
Quote
Buying surplus Estates -- If your opponent is also rushing Duchies, you probably won't have time to rebuild four Estates.
See, my feeling is that the well-timed fourth estate (cue French Revolution joke) is probably a big key in milking some skill out of these things. Sure, it's a bit risky, and you do need to time it right, or it might blow up in your face, but... well, I dunno. Maybe you're right.
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Act II: Post-Duchy Strategies
My main issue with this part is it doesn't really tell me which way to go. I assume that most of the time, one of these is just better than the others, and it takes something rather extraordinary to upset this balance. In particular, I would guess that Rebuild-BM is most likely terrible in virtually every case. I mean, you are rushing duchies so hard, you have a decent number of green cards and rebuilds, and no golds, which is going to make it quite difficult to get 8 with any kind of reliability before the game is just over. Most importantly, I have almost no idea whether I should go 'turbo rebuild' or 'estate blitz'. There are just very few recommendations here, but well, you say to go Estate Blitz>Rebuild BM if you lost the split, but
Also, should I ever seek to hold on to some of my duchies?
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Act III: End-Game Tactics
This section is good. I don't know how tactical it really is, because it seems like it should probably play itself (from my perspective - again, I'll mostly defer to you here). I also don't really understand how it is different from Act II, more like Act II is choosing, and this is implementing. But whatever, this part is fine.
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Tunnel
Is this strategy really faster/stronger than the straight-up Rebuild? Also, wouldn't this make it... not a mirror?
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Feodum
I would guess this isn't very good at all, much like the other alt VP you mention below
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Colonies
This is good. The only issue is, well this doesn't seem much mirror-driven. In the mirror, things probably mostly get a lot mroe tactical, duchies are less important and more rebuilds is more important. In the not mirror, youra nalysis is right, but then yo would need to use not-mirror strategy, which is (currently) beyond the scope of the article.
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Shelters
Surely you buy more estates here as well. Also, I would think you wouldn't really want that fewer rebuilds, really. Again, you might be right there.


Other stuff I want to know:
Apart from what has been covered by some other people, what early support cards are good? Jack and Masquerade, the usual suspect, are probably not so hot here. What about swindler? Other 2-4 cost stuff that's particularly good/bad? I assume there is some. At least I think you should mention sifting. Warehouse has to be best, cellar ought ot be good too. Sifting is strong here. Trashing, I find to be significantly weaker than normal. Junkng attacks are worth very little - they hurt, sure, but not nearly as much as other decks.

And then, there is a lot of other stuff about rebuild, too, but this doesn't really fit in something focused just on mirrors.

ragingduckd

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2013, 06:27:53 pm »
+3

1. You give the 3 main post-Duchy strategies, and say that Turbo Rebuild is good if you win the split and the other two are best if you lose it. What if you tie? Also, I didn't find it obvious what card is usually best to name in each strategy.

See SCSN's answer. I'll edit to clarify and expand on this.

If this happens to you, check the log to see exactly what was in the deck that you just discarded; this will get you back on track.

I imagine that this is referencing the log in Goko's online implementation.  I know others disagree with me, but I feel like the default assumption for these articles ought to be the physical sets, with references to other implementations being made explicitly when appropriate.

Ok. IRL, I suggest looking at the cards as you flip through them. ;)

Any ideas on the following matchups?:
  • Rebuild vs bishop-chapel?
  • Rebuild vs some powerful goons engine?
  • Rebuild vs Native Village-Bridge?
  • Rebuild vs Some Forager-Market Square-draw-thingy

I'd take NV-Bridge, Hermit-Bridge, Hermit-Market Square, or Apprentice-Market Square over Rebuild. While Rebuild may have a slight edge in hitting 4 Provinces first, these decks can often pick up the remaining Duchies and some Estates/alt-VP if they're running behind. I feel less qualified to assess Bishop and Goons engines, and I'm sure there are some other zippy combos I've forgotten..

@Jack Rudd and PitzerMike re attacks:

Again I agree with SCSN's answer. I also think Saboteur can be a strong mid-game response to Rebuild. It can devastate Turbo Rebuild or Estate Blitz in the late game. Those strategies have few Saboteur targets other than Provines, Rebuilds, and Duchies; losing any of these is huge; and replacing a Province with a Gold/Rebuild or Duchy with a Silver isn't much compensation. SCSN and I have both lost some Rebuild games to Saboteurs.

@Robz888 re Count:
I've lost (or deserved to lose) a few Province games trying Count with Rebuild. In a mirror with Estates, I'd rather pick Rebuilds early (which gain Duchies and clear Estates too) and buy Duchies directly later. I think it's great in a non-Mirror, where I'm not going to get stuck with useless Estates and where I can keep using its Duchy ability through the whole game. I think AJD is right that Count a good first $5 buy with Shelters.

@jaybeez re Feodum:
Yes, that game definitely piqued my interest in Feodum. It wasn't a great test of Rebuild-Feodum vs straight Rebuild because of how dramatically I had to diverge from the script (and how poorly I played): T3-$4 -> Silver, T4-$3 -> Silver, T5-$8 missing the shuffle -> Forge(??). Still, the Feodums were powerful and I could be convinced that this is another combo that calls for diverging from the script.

@Beyond Awesome and WW:
My Rebuild decks have done a whole lot better with Estates than with Shelters. On the other hand, I'm not confident that I'm playing them all that well. This is definitely a major topic that could use a fuller treatment.

@WW:
Many good points and suggestions. I will edit to address them. If we end up with yet another Rebuild article (see my post below), I'll also try to make this one more purely about mirrors.
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ragingduckd

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2013, 06:30:00 pm »
+4

[Note: I posted specific responses immediately above this]

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. Special thanks to SheCantSayNo, who revised an early draft, played a bunch of trial games with me, and from whom I stole most of these ideas in the first place. ;D

I kept having to cut this article down as I was writing, lest it get completely out of hand. For the sake of clarity, I think the (very important) card-specific questions asked here should be addressed in a separate article. I'd be happy to write that one too, but I think that SCSN is better-qualified and we should all bully him into doing it.

In addition those card-specific questions, I think we could use a fuller treatment of the following general issues that I skipped or glossed:
- Rebuild w/ Colonies or Shelters
- Rebuild vs attacks, especially Saboteur
- Rebuild vs VP tokens (or supported by them)

Edit: fixed typos, changed list slightly
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 06:38:06 pm by ragingduckd »
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Powerman

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2013, 06:30:30 pm »
+2

I think an important thing to remember since Rebuild is non-terminal, you can (and probably should?) add at least one important / good terminal action.  What would you say are the good ones?  My guess is Monument / Swindler / Navigator are among the best, but maybe not.  Thoughts?
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SCSN

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2013, 08:29:57 pm »
+4

Terrific article. Oh, Rebuild. So comically overpowered.

I just want to bring up Count, which is not, in my view, a very good card, but gains Duchies directly and probably has a place in most Rebuild decks. I think you would spend your first $5 on a Count rather than a Rebuild.

Count is probably good in games with Shelters, but in normal Rebuild mirrors with starting Estates, getting a Count over a Rebuild or Duchy at any point in the game is one of the biggest errors you can make.

In Tournament games, I think trying to get the first Province might be more important than buying Rebuild, although, you can Rebuild a Duchy into a Province, but is that quicker than buying a Province itself?

Yes, at least in games with Estates. If you want, you're guaranteed a Province after playing Rebuild twice (name a non-Estate card the first time, take a Duchy, name Estate the second time).

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Your other early-game goal is to clear out those pesky starting Estates. If you manage to win the Duchy split 5-3 while emptying your deck of Estates, you're in an absolutely dominating position.
Is emptying out your estates important? Really? Isn't that more about getting duchies? Why are estates so bad?

Say you split Duchies 4-4, but you have one Estate left whereas your opponent has none. Now each time your opponent plays Rebuild, he's guaranteed to Rebuild a Duchy into a Province, whereas you risk Rebuilding an Estate into an Estate or a Province into a Province, depending on what you name. This means that you need on average more Rebuild plays than your opponent to Rebuild all your Duchies into Provinces, for which you may not get the opportunity since he'll start Rebuilding Province->Province once he's done with his Duchies, or you might have done that yourself already by naming Estate.

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Also, what do I do on $5 if there aren't any more duchies around?

This very much depends on the board and on the post-duchy strategy you're picking. Independent of your strategy, if there is Rogue, Graverobber, Saboteur, and maaaybe Mountebank or IGG, you should pick those (definitely don't buy Witch, though). If there aren't any such cards and you are going for Turbo Rebuild, get another Rebuild with each $5 until very late in the game when you might want to pick Estate. If you go Estate-Blitz you might want another Rebuild with your first post-Duchy $5, and probably an Estate with every >$1 hand after that (unless of course you get a miraculous $8).

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Rebuilding Duchies into Provinces -- Deliberately rebuilding a Duchy instead of an Estate is the biggest early-game mistake you can make.
Okay, cool. But what about if I have all my remaining estates in hand? Do I not rebuild duchy->province in this case even? Is it THAT important? I would think no, go ahead and turn the duchy into a province.

Sure.

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Apart from what has been covered by some other people, what early support cards are good? Jack and Masquerade, the usual suspect, are probably not so hot here. What about swindler? Other 2-4 cost stuff that's particularly good/bad? I assume there is some. At least I think you should mention sifting. Warehouse has to be best, cellar ought ot be good too. Sifting is strong here. Trashing, I find to be significantly weaker than normal. Junkng attacks are worth very little - they hurt, sure, but not nearly as much as other decks.

Warehouse, Scheme, Quarry and Baron are all amazing. Tournament is great. I don't think I've actually tried Cellar, but it's probably good too.

Andrew has repeatedly requested me to write a follow-up piece about more advanced Rebuild play (combo's, alt-VP, non-mirrors, etc.). I was reluctant mostly because I'm very often puzzled by the card myself, which I thought disqualified me from giving advice, but seeing that even you seem more uncertain than I am, I might actually do it.

[Note: I posted specific responses immediately above this]

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. Special thanks to SheCantSayNo, who revised an early draft, played a bunch of trial games with me, and from whom I stole most of these ideas in the first place. ;D

You're welcome!

Quote
I kept having to cut this article down as I was writing, lest it get completely out of hand. For the sake of clarity, I think the (very important) card-specific questions asked here should be addressed in a separate article. I'd be happy to write that one too, but I think that SCSN is better-qualified and we should all bully him into doing it.

If you agree to assist me and play-test a bunch, perhaps I will ;)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 08:44:29 pm by SheCantSayNo »
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Qvist

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2013, 09:07:27 pm »
0

Thanks Andrew for this great article, one of the most insighting articles I read in the last months - and it's about my probably least favourite card of all Dominion.  :P
I'm not sure about the correctness as I haven't played that many Rebuild games, but all you say seems reasonable, I'll try it out and comment my thoughts later.

One minor thing I noticed:

There are 8 Duchies in play and 8 Provinces to be gained.

I would change that line because "in play" is a reserved term and Duchies are never technically "in play". I think you mean "gone" or something like that. It got me confused what you mean exactly here.
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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2013, 09:11:21 pm »
0

Quote
Your other early-game goal is to clear out those pesky starting Estates. If you manage to win the Duchy split 5-3 while emptying your deck of Estates, you're in an absolutely dominating position.
Is emptying out your estates important? Really? Isn't that more about getting duchies? Why are estates so bad?

Say you split Duchies 4-4, but you have one Estate left whereas your opponent has none. Now each time your opponent plays Rebuild, he's guaranteed to Rebuild a Duchy into a Province, whereas you risk Rebuilding an Estate into an Estate or a Province into a Province, depending on what you name. This means that you need on average more Rebuild plays than your opponent to Rebuild all your Duchies into Provinces, for which you may not get the opportunity since he'll start Rebuilding Province->Province once he's done with his Duchies, or you might have done that yourself already by naming Estate.

I have a few problems with this. First, is this really that bad? I mean, I just go for more estates, name estate every time, and probably eat a province->province at some point. But the province->province only costs me three points, and if I get three estates.... Or I can just deck track and probably know which thing to name most of the time, and ride my estate to victory? But moreover, how did I possibly get to this state? How is it that we both have 4 duchies AND I have another estate? Did I BUY it as a fifth victory card? Why would I do that, unless I wanted to pound estates anyway? Did I buy lots of duchies? Probably at least some of these should have been rebuilds. And then I don't have the problem.

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Also, what do I do on $5 if there aren't any more duchies around?

This very much depends on the board and on the post-duchy strategy you're picking. Independent of your strategy, if there is Rogue, Graverobber, Saboteur, and maaaybe Mountebank or IGG, you should pick those (definitely don't buy Witch, though). If there aren't any such cards and you are going for Turbo Rebuild, get another Rebuild with each $5 until very late in the game when you might want to pick Estate. If you go Estate-Blitz you might want another Rebuild with your first post-Duchy $5, and probably an Estate with every >$1 hand after that (unless of course you get a miraculous $8).
Okay, you keep knocking witch, and I get that it's not a great card for these kinds of games, but really, it can't be THAT much worse than IGG, at least early on. You will give probably as many curses, on average (at least), and the money from IGG isn't going to be *that* helpful, will it? Furthermore, I want to know what to do on a null board. Most of the time, none of these handful of cards will be there - what do I do then?

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Quote
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Rebuilding Duchies into Provinces -- Deliberately rebuilding a Duchy instead of an Estate is the biggest early-game mistake you can make.
Okay, cool. But what about if I have all my remaining estates in hand? Do I not rebuild duchy->province in this case even? Is it THAT important? I would think no, go ahead and turn the duchy into a province.

Sure.
Sure to which thing?

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Quote
Apart from what has been covered by some other people, what early support cards are good? Jack and Masquerade, the usual suspect, are probably not so hot here. What about swindler? Other 2-4 cost stuff that's particularly good/bad? I assume there is some. At least I think you should mention sifting. Warehouse has to be best, cellar ought ot be good too. Sifting is strong here. Trashing, I find to be significantly weaker than normal. Junkng attacks are worth very little - they hurt, sure, but not nearly as much as other decks.

Warehouse, Scheme, Quarry and Baron are all amazing. Tournament is great. I don't think I've actually tried Cellar, but it's probably good too.
Wait, what? Why is Baron any good - you are unlikely to have estates for most of the game - is it just to help you pound estates late? Because I would think that, in the midgame, it's going to be a drag, as it's almost NEVER paired up.

Also, I don't understand why tournament is good at all. Sure, you will probably have provinces fairly quickly. But which prize do you want? Furthermore, your opponent is ALSO going to have provinces early, and they're going to block you more than you are going to connect.

SirPeebles

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2013, 10:38:41 pm »
+13

That's scary really. Four provinces in ten turns against cursing attacks from something close to a one card strategy. Is rebuild now the strongest card in Dominion?

Rebuild is fine.  Why do people even complain about Rebuild.  They can't all be the worst $5 ever.
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Just a Rube

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2013, 10:44:56 pm »
0

Also, I don't understand why tournament is good at all. Sure, you will probably have provinces fairly quickly. But which prize do you want?
Duchy? Or will you empty that pile too quick?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 10:46:01 pm by Just a Rube »
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ragingduckd

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Re: Rebuild Mirrors
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2013, 11:18:17 pm »
0

I have a few problems with this. First, is this really that bad? I mean, I just go for more estates, name estate every time, and probably eat a province->province at some point. But the province->province only costs me three points, and if I get three estates.... Or I can just deck track and probably know which thing to name most of the time, and ride my estate to victory?

Yes, the Estate Blitz is a strong strategy and that's exactly how you play it. If you can anticipate that you want to go for it -- and if you don't mind giving that information away -- then early Estates are great. But if shuffle luck makes you change your mind, or if there's good support for Turbo or BM, then hitting even one or two Estates with your Rebuilds is rather costly. Margins are small in Rebuild games, and an extra 3-6 VP can easily carry the game.

But moreover, how did I possibly get to this state? How is it that we both have 4 duchies AND I have another estate?

By correctly buying the last Duchy even though you have an Estate left. It's much better to leave yourself with that Estate than to risk losing the split on your opponent's next turn.

Furthermore, I want to know what to do on a null board. Most of the time, none of these handful of cards will be there - what do I do then?

I haven't played that many boards where there was really nothing else worth considering, but they certainly can happen. I think the Estate Blitz is is best on a really dry board, in which case those $5 hands should be either Rebuilds or Estates. Same goes for $7 hands, as mad as that may seem. Rebuild BM is reasonable if you've been unlucky enough to acquire a bunch of early Silvers.

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Quote
Okay, cool. But what about if I have all my remaining estates in hand? Do I not rebuild duchy->province in this case even? Is it THAT important? I would think no, go ahead and turn the duchy into a province.
Sure.
Sure to which thing?

Sure, you should turn the Duchy into a Province. 4 Duchies + 1 rebuilt Province vs 3 Duchies is still "winning the Duchy split."

Also, I don't understand why tournament is good at all. Sure, you will probably have provinces fairly quickly. But which prize do you want? Furthermore, your opponent is ALSO going to have provinces early, and they're going to block you more than you are going to connect.

I agree. Rebuild can win without any prizes at all, and I don't think adding Tourney to Rebuild is such a big deal. Followers is still rather nice, but in a non-mirror, I think it's more important to keep the prizes away from your non-Rebuilding opponent than to win them for yourself.

Also, I don't understand why tournament is good at all. Sure, you will probably have provinces fairly quickly. But which prize do you want?
Duchy? Or will you empty that pile too quick?

Duchies will be (or probably should be) long gone by the time you pair a Tourney with a Province.

Andrew has repeatedly requested me to write a follow-up piece about more advanced Rebuild play (combo's, alt-VP, non-mirrors, etc.). I was reluctant mostly because I'm very often puzzled by the card myself, which I thought disqualified me from giving advice, but seeing that even you seem more uncertain than I am, I might actually do it.

Player          Rebuild Games
Andrew I.                 231
SCSN                      177
Other top 10 combined     183


It's certainly a puzzling card, but if you're not qualified, I'm not sure who is. ;)
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