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Author Topic: Best/Worst Openings discussion  (Read 14923 times)

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theory

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Best/Worst Openings discussion
« on: June 13, 2011, 09:29:11 am »
+1

rrenaud has updated the Best and Worst openings page: http://councilroom.com/openings

I, for one, am shocked at how well Tournament/Ambassador does.  In retrospect, it makes sense, since Tournament's additional buying power is going to be pretty important in a drawn-out Ambassador game, and the fact that it keeps cycling your deck means you can keep up in the Ambassador race.  Still, I'm surprised it does better than Caravan/Ambassasdor.

I am also consistently surprised by how well Ambassador/Ambassador does, since I have always believed that Silver/Ambassador with a second Ambassador later is superior to Ambassador/Ambassador -> Silver.  Perhaps the stats for Silver/Ambassador are tainted with too many games of people falling behind in the Ambassador race because they didn't respond to Ambassador/Ambassador with a second Ambassador.
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Jimmy Jimmy

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 09:56:51 am »
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Re ambassador/ambassador: Yeah that surprised me too. I would have thought silver/ambassador would be considerably superior because, as you set out in your March article on basic opening probabilities, there's a 30.3% chance of your two ambassadors colliding.

The stats are probably furthered contaminated by players who ignore ambassador altogether as an opening card - to their peril.
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shark_bait

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 10:58:14 am »
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I for one, am a fan of the ambassador / silver opening.  By opening with ambassador / ambassador, you risk the having the actions conflict.  Additionally, you severely limit your ability to get to 5 gold in turns 3 or 4.  By getting that one silver, you have a good chance of being able to purchase a powerful 5-cost action.  In almost all cases, I agree that you should pick up another ambassador to keep up with the passing of estates and coppers.  The following game I recently played illustrates the benefits of ambassador / silver while showing potential pitfall of the double ambassador opening.  My opening allows me to get an early tactician followed by kings court.  The game was practically over after my first tactician hand and my opponent resigned soon after.  Here's the the log if you're interested.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110412-173225-6dd7b6d9.html
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 10:59:53 am »
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3   Mountebank / Lighthouse   5/2

Lighthouse:  surprised by this but it is undervalued or overvalued quite a bit depending on the board.
 
5   Caravan / Ambassador   4/3

The caravan in the top five seems out of place to me.  I am learning to severely dislike this card and usually avoid it.

12   Trading Post / Lighthouse   5/2

Oddball combo.  No synergy I see here.  Looking further, Tradepost +any cantrip is ranked very strong.  /Pearl Diver?  I think I would rather TP/-

14   Monument / Chapel   4/2

I am really surprised.  I love both of these cards but they are both terminal and have a tendency to clash during the important trashing turns.  I would have thought old fashioned silver/chapel is better. 

16   Witch   5/-

Jeez.  This game is broken.

23   Laboratory / Chapel   5/2

Old favorite from BSW.

32   Young Witch / Ambassador   4/3

Ugh.  Try this or Hag / Amb against a top player and get creamed.

33   Potion / Ambassador   4/3

Jeez.  This game is broken.

Level -6  -14.447 ± 9.374      Watchtower / Embargo   3/2

Two potentially great cards.  When used under the right circumstances either can really shine.
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adf

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 11:14:48 am »
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I'm surprised Wishing Well/Ambassador doesn't rate better. If you hit your Wells perfectly, they're Labs, and even if they hit 60-70% of the time (which should be doable over the aggregate of the first two or three reshuffles) I think they're better than Caravans because they're faster and they don't get tripped up by reshuffles.

Mountebank/Lighthouse seems obvious because you get a non-terminal that provides solid coin and protects against the most devastating attack in the game.

I've started moving away from Ambassador/Ambassador, but I used to take it all the time. The 70% chance of no clash in reshuffle 1 is worth the 30% chance of a clash. And in the case of a clash you're still returning two cards.
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timchen

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 11:36:06 am »
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Caravan/ambassador:
Caravan is a strong card. It is pretty much a lab when you cannot draw your entire deck. I am only appreciating how strong it is not until rather recently. It works well with ambassador too.

Monument/Chapel:
I actually have thought of this one. It is actually not that hard: in the first few times when you draw chapel with silver, the correct thing to do is to trash everything else. It therefore does not make any difference (unless there is some savvy $2 cards to buy) if you replace the silver by the monument. On the other hand, in a chapel-province game, the few extra VP tokens can make a huge difference.

On the technical side, I have some trouble understanding what the ratings mean and how they are calculated. For one thing, if I open the same thing with say, LV 5 with my opponent, but I am at LV 40 and he is LV 0, now we become LV 45 and LV 5, which persumably would have a different win rate I think. (Or does the win rate depend only on the difference of the level of the players? If so it seems a rather strong assumption for the levels to follow a normal distribution.) Even for asymmetric openings, it seems very impossible for every kind of player match up to shift for the same amount for the different openings. It would be easier for me to understand if there is just an explanation of how it is calculated.
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variance

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 11:52:43 am »
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What up Theory, great site, TY.

I love amb/amb, the times that you get both ambs in your hand on turn 3 or 4; you have 2 copper or 2 estates anyway....thoughts?

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rrenaud

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 12:07:48 pm »
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On the technical side, I have some trouble understanding what the ratings mean and how they are calculated. For one thing, if I open the same thing with say, LV 5 with my opponent, but I am at LV 40 and he is LV 0, now we become LV 45 and LV 5, which persumably would have a different win rate I think. (Or does the win rate depend only on the difference of the level of the players? If so it seems a rather strong assumption for the levels to follow a normal distribution.) Even for asymmetric openings, it seems very impossible for every kind of player match up to shift for the same amount for the different openings. It would be easier for me to understand if there is just an explanation of how it is calculated.

TrueSkill makes the normal distribution assumption.  So holding variance constant, if you add a fixed level to both you and your opponents skills, the model says there is no difference.  The hard part is to understand TrueSkill.  http://www.moserware.com/2010/03/computing-your-skill.html

The openings data also makes the assumption that you and your opening form a team and that you add your skills together with equal weight on the player skill and opening skill.  I'd guess the player matters much more than the opening, but optimizing this for the right criteria for multiplayer games is hard, http://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/10067/maximum-of-two-or-more-gaussian-distributions-with-known-and-possibly-different).  Likewise the opponents team does the same thing, then you model a little noise from the outcome of the game, and then your combined normal distributions fight.
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Stoc

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 02:42:16 pm »
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I've always preferred Ambassador / Silver, and with some of the other top players here posting the same thing I'm a surprised how big the gap is. Top 10 vs. 61st is a big gap.

I'm trying to think of a $5 card that would necessitate going Ambassador / Silver, though, and I can't come up with one.

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WanderingWinder

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 03:02:48 pm »
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Let me preface this by saying that Ambassador is my least favourite card.
I always go ambassador/silver. I most usually pick up a second ambassador on my second reshuffle, especially if my opponent has an ambassador.
However, there are some cases where you can get around picking up an ambassador at all, and I pretty much always go for them (whether I should or not).

painted_cow

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 03:39:56 pm »
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Ye, like many of you stated, i also like Ambassador/Silver a lot more than Amb/Amb. You get the second Ambassador in turn 3 or 4 like always.

1st you have no chance of colliding 2 action cards when its most crucial.
2nd and even more important, you already have a silver (oh really...). If you open with Amb/Amb you sometimes have trouble to get to 3 coin.

Imho Amb/Amb is only better if there are really cheap villages for 2 or 3 coin.
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J.Co.

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 08:19:13 pm »
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I am also consistently surprised by how well Ambassador/Ambassador does, since I have always believed that Silver/Ambassador with a second Ambassador later is superior to Ambassador/Ambassador -> Silver.  Perhaps the stats for Silver/Ambassador are tainted with too many games of people falling behind in the Ambassador race because they didn't respond to Ambassador/Ambassador with a second Ambassador.

I dunno, I think having the silver won't be as beneficial, since you're often trying to get rid of coppers. By doing that, you've got less money to spend, so getting $5 cost cards won't be easy, with or without a silver.

On the other hand, while colliding ambassadors is a risk, having two of them can mean up to four cards out of your deck and two into someone else's deck by the second shuffle. Even if they use Ambassador on you (just once until your second shuffle), they're already behind. I'd imagine whoever gets his/her deck streamlined (as much as it can be in an ambassador game, anyway) faster has the better chance of staying ahead. Getting a second Ambassador later is a buy that won't see an effect until it may be too late.

It's kind of like your famed Chapel theory. Even if you have four coppers, there should be little hesitation in trashing all four of them. Same with Ambassador. You should be trying to get rid of as much as you can as quickly as possible and slowing down your opponent as much as possible before getting your deck into gear.
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theory

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011, 08:48:12 pm »
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That does sound persuasive, but it seems like you'd run into major buying power issues if you can only keep playing Ambassador.

I guess it depends on whether the $5's help Ambassador.  Laboratory or Hunting Party, I can see Silver / Ambassador >> Ambassador/Ambassador.  But guided once sold me on how Ambassador / Silver / Ambassador beats Ambassador / Ambassador ... he'll have to show up here and explain why :)
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Death to Sea Hags

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2011, 09:57:48 am »
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There's a lot of two-terminal openings - many more than most players would consider playing.  I suspect, then, that in many of these cases, its just feast or famine: if you don't collide, you win.  If you collide as P1, you've basically lost your P1 advantage.  If you collide as player 2, you lose.

What I find more interesting is the different synergies.  TP-Haven beats TP-Lighthouse?  But Attack-Lighthouse beats Attack-Haven.  Mountebank is better with Haven, Witch isn't? 

Also, trashing is key - all level 6+ openings include trashing!
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adf

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2011, 10:28:02 am »
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TP-Lighthouse doesn't guarantee that there's an attack in the set. Attack-Lighthouse does.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2011, 12:14:54 pm »
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Also, trashing is key - all level 6+ openings include trashing!
Mountebank/Lighthouse begs to differ. Other than that, if you can call Ambassador trashing (not really a stretch), then you're right. Also your point is well taken.
Also, why is Witch/Lighthouse so low?

chwhite

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2011, 01:15:44 pm »
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Also, trashing is key - all level 6+ openings include trashing!
Mountebank/Lighthouse begs to differ. Other than that, if you can call Ambassador trashing (not really a stretch), then you're right. Also your point is well taken.
Also, why is Witch/Lighthouse so low?

Well, I'd expect it to be worse than Mountebank/Lighthouse because you run the risk of drawing the Lighthouse dead from the Witch.  In general, if you actually buy anything with your $2, Mountebank will be superior for that reason.
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DG

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2011, 01:58:46 pm »
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Tournament/ambassador will be exceptionally strong. You'll get plenty of uses of the tournament as +1 card/+1 coin as ambassador games are usually very slow to develop. The deck will cycle quickly allowing you to play the ambassador more often. You can still get value from an ambassador hand after with playing an ambassador and two cards with it, negating a common problem for hands with ambassadors. There are no complications with actions clashing. Very few strategies are  excluded by this opening.

A successful ambassador deck is likely to be small so that when you buy a province it will hit the tournaments almost immediately. The prizes will allow you to expand your deck quickly with quality, killing off an opponent who might still be competitive if you expand your deck badly.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2011, 02:58:03 pm »
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Tournament/ambassador will be exceptionally strong. You'll get plenty of uses of the tournament as +1 card/+1 coin as ambassador games are usually very slow to develop. The deck will cycle quickly allowing you to play the ambassador more often. You can still get value from an ambassador hand after with playing an ambassador and two cards with it, negating a common problem for hands with ambassadors. There are no complications with actions clashing. Very few strategies are  excluded by this opening.

A successful ambassador deck is likely to be small so that when you buy a province it will hit the tournaments almost immediately. The prizes will allow you to expand your deck quickly with quality, killing off an opponent who might still be competitive if you expand your deck badly.
And for some reason I wasn't thinking about this half an hour ago and theory crushed me. Really really badly. Very strong opening.

variance

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2011, 11:40:42 am »
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I guess pulling an amb on both 3rd and 4th turn, though rare (anyone know the %?), is super strong.  Why else is amb/amb ranked so high on the best/worst list?
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DStu

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2011, 12:09:06 pm »
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I guess pulling an amb on both 3rd and 4th turn, though rare (anyone know the %?)

Having the first ambassador in the first 10 is 10/12=5/6, the second one in the five cards of the other hand is 5/11 (11 and not 12 cause one of the "bad" places is already occupied by the other ambassodor).
This gives you a chance of 25/66 which is roughly 38%.
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Amaranth

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2011, 02:33:24 pm »
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32   Young Witch / Ambassador   4/3

Ugh.  Try this or Hag / Amb against a top player and get creamed.
It's not one that would have occured to me but I guess part of it might be that the Ambassador makes it harder for opponents to draw their banes.

There's also the fact that unlike other +card termminals, you don't care if you draw Ambassador off the Witch.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 02:38:57 pm by Amaranth »
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Reyk

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2011, 05:54:03 am »
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Isn't it strange that Envoy with some terminals (Amb, Chapel, Masquerade) is better than Silver/Envoy? Ok, they are all trashers but still ... Would you ever open Envoy/Masquerade?
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boloni

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2011, 05:18:21 pm »
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Isn't it strange that Envoy with some terminals (Amb, Chapel, Masquerade) is better than Silver/Envoy? Ok, they are all trashers but still ...
I would say it's because ambassador, chapel and masquerade are much better opening cards than envoy.

Would you ever open Envoy/Masquerade?
I wouldn't. Instead I would open Masquerade/Silver which is ranked better than Envoy/Masquerade. Ambassador/Silver and Chapel/Silver are also better than Ambassador/Envoy or Chapel/Envoy.
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david707

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2011, 07:24:50 pm »
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I guess pulling an amb on both 3rd and 4th turn, though rare (anyone know the %?)

Having the first ambassador in the first 10 is 10/12=5/6, the second one in the five cards of the other hand is 5/11 (11 and not 12 cause one of the "bad" places is already occupied by the other ambassodor).
This gives you a chance of 25/66 which is roughly 38%.

That's correct, although it's worth mentioning that the chances they come up in the same hand is about 30%, leaving about 32% that an one ambassador is in hand 3 or 4 and the other is in hand 5.
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