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Author Topic: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village  (Read 12964 times)

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Mean Mr Mustard

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Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« on: October 29, 2011, 01:36:10 am »
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I really shouldn't be posting this.  This is a tried and true combo that has served me very well and has never been properly mirrored by an opponent.  But, in light of the new expansion and in the spirit of brotherhood I will offer up my favorite combo, and the method of playing it successfully.

To begin with, I suggest anyone who wants to learn this engine to go play in solitaire a dozen times in order to really get the flow of the deck.  The requirements for a completed deck, hopefully by turn nine, is 8 Copper, 1 Native Village and as many Apothecaries as you can muster.  The key to playing this deck is the use of Native Village.  NV should <b>never</b> be used blindly.  Not even once.  Indeed, it is a dead card until the Apothecaries start working.  The NV is used to remove a green card from the top of the deck.  Thus, it is a simple matter to cycle through the deck using Apothecaries and picking up the greens with NV when they get left behind.

Once the Estates start to disappear, the deck generates $8 with ease.  It is okay to buy a second Native Village if it is needed; the spare can be sucked up once the deck has caught up.  This engine, once running, is like the bunny with the drum.  It never slows because the NV is constantly removing the greens.  This deck with great luck can be realized quickly, and with bad luck it can take quite a bit longer, so beware:  on very fast boards it might be better to look elsewhere.  The true strength of this combo is the staying power and the simplicity.
 
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2011, 12:16:21 pm »
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I played this solitaire for nearly an hour and really couldn't get it to work. When I opened potion/NV, I often drew $2 in the second shuffle (at which point I can either get a second dead card, pass for a turn, or start treating the NVs as blind draws, all of which are pretty unappealing options) and occasionally drew $1P (which is a disaster for obvious reasons). Potion/silver was much better but even then I was pretty unsure what to do with another $3 draw. Another silver? OK, but that really gets in the way of the apothecaries.

I found that this combo works much better if you have a cantrip that also gives coins. Peddler worked ok, though there's no buy naturally in this combo. Wishing Well was great for obvious reasons. Bazaar was ok and so was Market. In general, with a cantrip +$ and opening Potion/Silver, I was generally able to hit 4 provinces plus 2-3 duchies around turn 16. I had some fast games where I hit 4 provinces plus a duchy around turn 14, but I also had some games with no obvious support where I was still floundering around with two provinces at turn 18.

My feeling is that this combination tends to be a bit swingy. If you hook up your apothecary with a native village early (which is harder than it sounds, because sometimes you draw 4 cards and sometimes you draw 2-3 but the remaining ones are silver and apothecary), you're in good shape and can usually be at least competitive with Big Money. And when that happens I definitely feel like my deck has  decent staying power, even to duchy dance, because with 3+ apothecaries I'm typically able to connect my NV to some green every time it come up. But if you don't hook up the combo early or get a couple of bad draws, it's way too slow, even on a board with no accelerants.

MMM, do you have a sample game illustrating how to play this combo? I searched council room but couldn't really find a good example.
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ehunt

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2011, 01:03:35 pm »
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I think the intended opening is potion/copper, right?
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2011, 12:55:38 am »
0

Yes, Potion/Copper.  No silver at all.  An opening Native Village just gets in the way.
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Titandrake

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 12:37:16 am »
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Here's a quick log where I tried it.

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201110/30/game-20111030-213059-a2df6d9d.html

It gets 4 provinces by turn 14, which is pretty respectable. Took a couple tries to get this though.

I followed these rules (or tried to, I messed it up a bit):

1. Open Potion/Copper
2. Get a Native Village and an Apothecary.
3. If you have an Apothecary, play it. Priority for ordering the top of the deck should go Apothecary > Native Village > Victory cards. The exception is if you have a NV in hand. Then, you will want to put 1 victory card on top, and then use the previous ordering.
4. If at any point a victory card is on top, use Native Village. This is why there is an exception: you want to use NV as soon as possible to make Apothecary look at the maximum number of new cards.

5. During the buy phase, buy a Province if you can. If you can't, buy Apothecary. If you can't, buy nothing.

I'll try it out more, see what happens.

EDIT: Yeah, it seems to be somewhat swingy. I'm getting results around turn 14-16 for 4 provinces.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 01:02:29 am by Titandrake »
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Young Nick

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 12:50:43 am »
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While I am a bit skeptical of this regularly churning out 4 Provinces by turn 16 (I guess the simulator will be the ultimate way to test this), I must say that this is an awesome engine. I don't care if it is slow as molasses or lightning fast, it is plain awesome either way. Any deck that runs Copper and no other treasure (see Counting House/Golem) gets my vote. If it doesn't degrade with greening, all the better. I see it as a combo of the aforementioned Counting House/Golem and a Goons/Watchtower engine. Who doesn't love VP's that don't clog?
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ftl

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 02:47:36 am »
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(I guess the simulator will be the ultimate way to test this),

I'm not sure that a simulator is going to properly reorder the top of the deck and know not to play Native Village otherwise.

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Geronimoo

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 03:58:59 am »
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If I program specific play rules for Native Village and Apothecary the simulator could play it perfectly. I'm probably going to do this, because it's such an elegant engine.
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Davio

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 07:48:06 am »
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If I program specific play rules for Native Village and Apothecary the simulator could play it perfectly. I'm probably going to do this, because it's such an elegant engine.
Plus you can always open Potion/Copper, whether you have 5/2 or 4/3.
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Copernicus

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 10:41:05 am »
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It's a good combo.  It does feel a bit lumpy when it comes to winning, especially if I can only get three Apothecaries early on.  (With 13-15 cards, there's a 25% chance or so of missing on the first shuffle).

It's also annoying to do nothing with four or five copper early on.  I'd really want to test it with going for double native village and just buying victory points as soon as possible, but I'll wait for a simulator update first.
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 03:47:37 am »
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A player named anFROny  suggested earlier to put off buying the copper a couple of rounds.  I tried this method in solitaire and can get 4 by turn 13-15 regularly, and 8 by 18-21.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 04:22:38 am by Mean Mr Mustard »
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hobo386

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 09:59:25 am »
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This is a neat little combo, but I just played a game where my opponent tried to apothecary spam, and there was one more card on the board... Possession. I grabbed it and destroyed my opponent with it.

Which brings up something most people don't talk too much about.

We've all know possession is very strong, and have all heard about ambassadoring 2 provinces (or colonies) away, but it can also destroy decks that rely on native village, as well as any deck that relies on knowing what will be in your deck next.  Apothecary and cartographer are crushed by possession.
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DG

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 11:57:38 am »
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Quote
Apothecary and cartographer are crushed by possession.

Actually, the apothecary is a great enabler for possession since it allows you to buy the possession early and cycle it quickly, with almost no opportunity cost in buying or drawing the potion. By the time that your opponent buys a possession there may be little of value in your deck except possession, deck cycling, and green cards.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 12:04:36 pm by DG »
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hobo386

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2011, 12:43:24 pm »
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Quote
Apothecary and cartographer are crushed by possession.

Actually, the apothecary is a great enabler for possession since it allows you to buy the possession early and cycle it quickly, with almost no opportunity cost in buying or drawing the potion. By the time that your opponent buys a possession there may be little of value in your deck except possession, deck cycling, and green cards.

Maybe I've just gotten lucky then. I just use possession on them and use their apothecary to draw their possession (so they can't use it) and leave 3 estates and a province in their next hand (so they are pretty much locked down).  Meanwhile, I can just stock up on Mountebanks, Goons, more Posessions, militias, etc.
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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2011, 02:11:19 pm »
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I'm surprised this combo is so strong.  It seems to me that one would need a starting hand with at least two Apothecaries, or a very lucky draw, to get a Province this way.  But then, I haven't tried it, so I don't really know.
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ftl

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2011, 02:42:39 pm »
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Maybe I've just gotten lucky then. I just use possession on them and use their apothecary to draw their possession (so they can't use it) and leave 3 estates and a province in their next hand (so they are pretty much locked down).  Meanwhile, I can just stock up on Mountebanks, Goons, more Posessions, militias, etc.

My guess is that they probably didn't play it all that well. Look, if you have both Goons AND Mountebanks AND Possessions, whereas they're aiming to have just Possession as their main terminal, then if they've played it right they should probably be getting to play Possession more often than you do, and they should get it first (because, as mentioned, Apothecary is pretty good for getting Possessions).

If you managed to get all your stuff set up, without using Apothecaries, before they got their own engine set up, then I think it's because you just played better, not because Apothecary and Possession conflict.
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hobo386

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2011, 10:26:32 pm »
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Maybe I've just gotten lucky then. I just use possession on them and use their apothecary to draw their possession (so they can't use it) and leave 3 estates and a province in their next hand (so they are pretty much locked down).  Meanwhile, I can just stock up on Mountebanks, Goons, more Posessions, militias, etc.

My guess is that they probably didn't play it all that well. Look, if you have both Goons AND Mountebanks AND Possessions, whereas they're aiming to have just Possession as their main terminal, then if they've played it right they should probably be getting to play Possession more often than you do, and they should get it first (because, as mentioned, Apothecary is pretty good for getting Possessions).

If you managed to get all your stuff set up, without using Apothecaries, before they got their own engine set up, then I think it's because you just played better, not because Apothecary and Possession conflict.

The last game with apothecary and possession, my opponent got one witch (and a nomad camp, I think), a few apothecaries, and some cash. I straight for a margrave+BM to start, and got my possession first (he got his before the next reshuffle though). Every time I got a possession, I used his apothecaries to sort through his cards and leave the green for his next hand.  They also let me draw his possession quite few times by rearranging it to the top of the deck, putting it in my hand, then not using it.  He may not have played it perfectly, but apothecary is still a bad card to let your opponent use against you.

But imagine a game with the NV + 8 copper + apothecaries strategy. Possess them, use the NV to dump the green back into their deck, and leave them with a hand full of green and stumbling to recover.
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biopower

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2011, 11:11:55 pm »
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But imagine a game with the NV + 8 copper + apothecaries strategy. Possess them, use the NV to dump the green back into their deck, and leave them with a hand full of green and stumbling to recover.

In a game with Apothecaries and Possession, the player who plays Apothecary is more likely than not going to get and play the first possession, in addition to playing it more often. In a game with Possession, I'd probably forgo the extra copper so that the opponent can never possess me and buy a Province, at the same time sucking up green with NV. If the opponent dumps green back into the deck, that just means they have a harder time buying anything as well.
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ftl

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2011, 11:45:26 pm »
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NV definitely is a bad idea when Possession is around, though. No matter how you spin it, if you want to keep control of what's on your NV mat, Possession *will* mess that up.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 11:48:39 pm by ftl »
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ehunt

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2011, 03:26:15 pm »
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I had a good game with this yesterday with scheme on the board; I opened scheme/potion to keep the apothecaries on top (buying the 8th copper later, as MMM suggests somewhere in this discussion). Thanks for the tip!
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2011, 07:20:35 pm »
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Potion/- is kind of a hilarious opening. Doubly hilarious that it's about as fast as Smithy-BM (which is no slouch), and has better staying power.
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Geronimoo

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2011, 07:08:59 am »
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I added play strategies for Apothecary and Native Village to my simulator to enable the engine. I also added a default bot (Apothecary/Native Village/Scheme).

Some conclusions from simulations (you can easily do these yourself):

  • The combo on its own (Apothecaries + 1 Native Village) is on par with BMU without actions which is clearly not competitive
  • Adding Scheme will make it on par with Envoy (which is clearly competitive)
  • delaying the Copper buy is not a good idea (nor is delaying the Native Village buy)
  • Adding more Native Villages is bad, as is adding more Coppers
  • This strategy does not want other treasures (not even Gold!)
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DG

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2011, 08:44:08 am »
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I think you need to change the apothecary deck ordering in the simulator for this so that it always places the native village ahead of the estates. You only need the estates on top of the deck when the native village is in hand.

This is clearly running into the impenetrable simulator problem of "play one action based on the next action you might play".
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gamesou

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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2011, 10:50:03 am »
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Could the combo be stronger in a Colony game ? I mean, you just have to buy three more coppers at the beginning, which slows down you a little bit. But then drawing 11 coppers with an apothecary deck shouldn't be much harder than drawing 8.
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Re: Combo: Apothecary/Native Village
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2011, 01:56:45 pm »
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This is an amazing combo. thank you so much for posting!
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