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1
Variants and Fan Cards / Each opp. trashes copper or gains curse
« on: July 27, 2015, 12:17:11 pm »


I personally like cards which look insane at first sight ... the following card appears much worse than laboratory, because of the discard, and of course, trashing copper is usually good. But ... well, I don't want to elaborate on my tests, because I primarily would like to get some feedback: what are your first ideas looking at it?

CardRequiringANiceName 5$
Action - Attack

+2 cards
+ action

Discard a card.

Each opponent may trash a copper. If he doesn't, he gains a curse.

2
Dominion Articles / Top 10 opening blunders
« on: April 19, 2014, 09:09:29 am »
This is a 100% subjective list of unpleasant situations I encountered due to frouzy board analysis before choosing my opening. I'm not talking about subtle suboptimalities, but obvious idiocies.
I am also aware that stronger players might never do these things, while weaker players will often do other terrific stuff. Feedback is very welcome, and I'd be happy to see your personal list of bad mistakes :)


10) Where did he get these goons?

Ask the young witch or look at the second page.

9) I got all sorts of engine components ... why can't I draw my deck?

A village without +card, combined with a two-card-drawer, will never lead to a big hand, no matter how many you assemble. That also holds for hamlets and courtyards.

8 ) I managed to draw my deck, yeah. But where's the village for my three terminals?

Probably, one should think about it before taking that duchess with 5-2.

7) I'll go Big Money. I don't see any counter ... oops.

Beginners might overlook the problems BM faces, when there is a perpetual handsize attack. Stronger players will eventually ignore the danger coming from mediocre to bad cards, e.g. Noble Brigand, Knights or Pillage.

6) Reactions are generally weak.

Mostly, yes. This is why it's easy to miss strong openings with moat or trader.

5) You buy WHAT? That's insane.

"What do you want to do with all those hermits and native villages? And how did you get to level 40 with openings like beggar or woodcutter?"

Sometimes, opponents just play poorly. But in many situations, it's better to admit right from the start that you haven't seen their combo.

4) ... and why don't you care about those ruins and coppers I give to you?!

In general, junk attacks are strong. And so it might be, that you overestimate a looter, running into oppenents death cards, vineyards or scrying pools. Spamming coppers is questionable as well, if there are gardens, strong slogs, apothecaries, or even counting house.

3) Ah, a shelters game. Oh, many nice cards ...  let's take a minute to analyse this board ...

... which is a good idea, unless you forget about shelters - and open with baron. Even ambassador is occasionally a bad choice because of shelters.

2) Now that I built my engine ... where's that f*$&ing +buy?

Hopefully, your engine can work without it. But if you need these double province moves to catch up, and there is not even an abandoned market you can buy for $16, you're in trouble.

1) Oooh ... there's also colonies!

It's really surprising how many players, including myself, repeatedly fall for this one.

3
Dominion Articles / Engine payloads
« on: March 27, 2014, 10:44:54 am »
Many (good) articles have been written about engines. But even after reading quite a dozen, I didn't capture the necessity of doing something special with my engine. It's really frustrating to trash, build a cool deck and watch your opponent pick VPs just to realize ... that you don't have a concrete target.
To avoid this, it's useful to know about the quality of different payloads - cards, which add some powerful effects, e.g. attacks.
There is no exact definition, and it's easier to define what is not supposed to be a payload, namely all cards which make the engine run: Cards that trash, draw, sift, give +actions or +buy.
I consider these cards to be "engine enablers", but not "payloads". I also ignore terminal money unless the amount is really big (say, $4 or more).
This article classifies the quality of different payloads, beginning with "mostly bad" ones, and ending with the supreme one. Onto the list:

Level 0: Deceptive payloads

Rebuild might be a wonderful addition to any engine - unfortunately, your opponent will have trashed/grabbed all the VP's earlier.

Cultist is another card you would love to kingscourt - but when? With few cultists in your deck, additional cultists are stronger; and when the ruins are dealt, it is often stronger to go for money and VPs directly.

Fools Gold/engine is another kind of nombo: Doesn't it look sweet to draw your deck, and your FGs are guaranteed to meet? The downside is, that your opponent might have bought them all ... and if you mirror him from the start, it's mostly too late to build engines once the FG-race is over.


Level 1: Rarely strong payloads

(Most) junk attacks (Familiar, Witch, Young Witch, Mountebank, Marauder, Soothsayer, Sea Hag):
"Draw your deck and play a junk attack every turn" sounds like an awesome plan, but it's rarely realizable. If no decent trasher is available, your decks are frequently too crappy to turn them into a viable engine. And in the presence of decent trashers, by the time you have built an engine, your opponent might have done so as well - and the few remaining curses/ruins won't hurt him that much.
Sure, there are some edge cases like late junking or unmirrored junk attacks - but usually, an engine should look for other payloads.

Baron is also rarely a good payload, as you need those useless estates. Even if you were guaranteed to hit estates, both cards are just worth two silvers, with +buy instead of the action you used for baron.
Though, there are some edge cases,e.g. draw-to-X-engines; and if you can't trash your estates, it's nice to have $4.

Coppersmith , Masterpiece and Bank can also be payload cards - if you can handle the big downside that engines usually don't like too many treasures.

Level 2: Occasionaly decent payloads

Poor House shines in treasure-less decks.

Saboteur and Rogue are mostly weak cards. But if you can set up quickly a  decent engine, you might have the time to trash down your opponent.

Death Cart as well needs a very stable engine. If available, with +5$, it can be the star of the show.

BM-Counters: Noble Brigand, Pirate Ships and Thief usually aren't terrible. But played repeatedly against BM, even Thief can shine.

Discard-for-benefit (Vault, Storeroom, Secret Chamber): Those can shine with menagerie, with draw-to-X, and in the presence of abundance of draw, e.g. scrying pool or caravans.

(Some) peddler variants: Baker, GrandMarket, Market, Treasury and Peddler itself are more useful in the presence of good trashing.

Playing a single Pillage each turn is often much better than any other discard attack although it is harder to pull off as you need to either purchase or gain a new Pillage each turn.

Level 3: Often decent payloads

M-discarders: Milita, margrave, mercenary, minions nerf BM hard and are constructive in the same time.

Ghost ship does so, too, and it could even be the best of all handsize-reducers, if there weren't two big downsides: it stacks poorly, and it has many counters.

Rabble is not a handsize reducer, but can have a similar effect against decks containing green cards or junk.

Trash-for-benefit cards (including Governor, Mine, Taxman ...) are also a big plus for going engine. If you see all your cards at once, you can easily grab multiple provinces. Another option is to upgrade/remodel/expand[insert tfb-verb here]... a card and play the upgraded card in the same turn.

Cost Reduction (Bridge, Highway ...) stacks perfectly in an engine. Merchant Guild is very similar to a card providing "cost reduction".

Knights and Swindler are stronger than Saboteur/Rogue, if played repeatedly.

Monument is both viable for BM and engines.

And of course, Conspirator loves engines.

Possession , too. Just be careful you are the one who profits the most of your deck.

With a trasher on board, market squares can solve your economic task fast.

Level 4: Excellent payloads

Free Province gainers: There's basically three ways to get Provs without paying: Massive cost reduction to 0, reduce costs to 3/4/5 and use a gainer, and horn of plenty. In the presence of these megaturn options, engines are highly recommended.

As said, junking engines are difficult to set up, but there's a major exception: ambassador can deal out curses, even if no other card did before.

Torturer, if stackable, is such a brutal attack, that going BM looks ridiculously weak - unless you will answer "no" to the question "Would you mind being dealt 10 curses within few moves?".

Level 5: Goons

Goons is the ultimative reason to go engine. It is the only card that extends the spendable time for engine building in two ways: First, the attack slowsdown BM concurrents as massively as the m-discarders do. And second, even if they manage to get seven provinces -and  being permanently under fire, they will need an eternity- goons can score more than this in one single turn.
Even without having a village, goons are still excellent engine payload. Just imagine a card saying "+card, +action, +buy, each opponent discards down to three cards". This is significantly stronger than market, and probably a powerful $6-card by itself. Now imagine, this card is followed by an improved monument which gains one VP per card you buy - and here we go: Playing a single goons is like playing these two cards in a row. Amazing.

Beyond any levels ...

Only few excellent cards help building engines which don't need any of the described payloads. Scrying pool, Wharf and hunting party are strong enough on their own, and a draw-to-x-engine can be viable if there is enough disappearing money.

To build or not to build an engine?

To answer this question, the most important aspects remain, how strong your engine components are, and how challenging the best non-engine-alternative would be.

But if the decision is close, payload strength is mostly an important tie-breaker. Example given, if goons are out, you might even consider a lousy engine based on shanty-town with moats. Otherwise, if none of the above mentioned payloads fits into your plan, a simple BM-strategy with reasonable terminal draw is often better.


*****************************************
Looking forward to get some feedback of all kinds :)

4
Dominion Articles / Plaza
« on: September 17, 2013, 05:30:38 am »
Plaza is an interesting village with a trade-treasure-for-coin-token-option. It looks good, it feels good - and indeed, sometimes it shines:

Draw-to-x

If you can replace the discarded treasure via Draw-to-x, Plaza is equivalent to
"play village, play baker, replace a treasure with a random card".
In other words, if Plaza/Draw-to-X is out, you need a good reason to skip it.

Draw your deck twice

Plaza discards treasures. And usually, an engine which consistently draws your deck, is also able to pick up these treasures for a second time. At this stage of the game, every Plaza basically gives you "+Card, +2Actions, +Coin Token", which is strictly better than a Bazaar for two reasons: Coins are better than +1$, and $4 is much more affordable than $5. Gainers will be your friend here.
While building a Plaza engine, be careful with reshuffling. After playing multiple Plazas, your discard pile will often have an unhealthy share of coppers.


Saving money

One or two Coin Tokenizer always help arranging your economy  - and as Plaza includes "+Card, + Action", it can do so without hurting. If you ignore it, don't curse bad luck drawing $7 in the endgame.
Another common target to save money is an early Platinum. And it should be mentioned, that Coin Tokens ease megaturns.


If you need a village ...

... Plaza is one, obviously. Goons, Ghost Ships and Torturer don't need the Coin Mechanism, but they won't complain about it either.

Don't overdo it

In the paleolithic times of Dominion, the "Village Idiot Syndrom" was a dangerous trap for beginners. As Plaza is clearly stronger, it is even more tempting to buy many copies of it. Unfortunately, it can be a huge waste of time. Example given, if Journeyman is out, Journeyman-BM will frequently outperform a Plaza-Journeyman-Engine.
If you want to reap all the advantages Plaza offers, it is indispensable to have +Buys and some trashing. Otherwise, you will look silly grabbing one province with 20$ each turn. And if you plan to draw your deck twice without trashing: well, good luck. At least, you should be able to get rid of your estates (Coppers aren't that bad here).

Summary

Plaza is nice with Draw-To-X, engines and megaturns. But if there's no decent purpose to buy it, don't become an upper class village idiot.


Synergies

Draw-to-X
Gainers
Need for +Action
Engines / megaturns
Menagerie
Poor House
Tactician
Treasures which have become useless (e.g. Potion, Loan, Contraband ... )

Antisynergies

Lack of possibility to trash estates
Other discarders

5
Dominion Articles / Death Cart
« on: July 04, 2013, 04:11:40 am »
I tried to analyse Death Carts abilities, and i couldn't avoid some mathematical reflections, as i don't know whether a simulator for Death Cart exists. What do you think?

***************************
+5$ leaves little doubt that this card can shine - but it is very trappy as well. We will first examine four problems you might face if you get too tempted by five bucks:

Death cart doesn't work with money decks

Let's first analyse a simple BM-strategy and assume that we open silver+death cart. We will use it twice to trash our ruins and once to trash itself; apart from that, we play BM. How will this perform?

If you draw your death cart in move 3, you have a chance of 53.8% to draw it with a ruin. Suppose you do so, and in move 3 to 5 you buy a treasure and  draw your death card again in move 6. Till then, your deck will have 16 cards, and the chance to draw your second ruin with your death card is roughly 26.7%.

First observation: The probability of never missing your ruins is approximatively 53.8% * 26.7% = 14.4%; thus, in 6 of 7 times you will miss your ruins at least one time.

Another interesting question might be: How long does it take in average till you have trashed both ruins? If we assume for the sake of simplicity that the above probabilities will be constant, you will need 1/0.538 + 1/0.267 = 5.6 shuffles (the true average will be higher, as your deck grows after each shuffle).

Based on this, we can highlight the benefit if you need 6 shuffles to clean out both ruins - which means that you have played your death cart twice and will play it a third and last time after the seventh shuffle. You have paid $4 initially to get three terminal platinums - it would be a great deal without the opportunity costs. The true problem is, that your death cart has taken a slot in your deck 7 times, and your ruins even more (depending on how often you missed both). Obviously, using 14 other cards would be better - by far!

This poor BM-performance might be improved with a more flexible concept of when to trash death-cart, or maybe with a second death cart. But none of these change the principle verdict: Don't use it for a money-based strategy.

Gaining ruins is critical

If you have some +Buy left, you might look at ruins as free fuel for a death cart. This is profitable if you match death cart with the new ruin and no other ruin in the same hand. Unfortunately, this takes a long time in average.
 Say, you have 20 cards (without drawing or sifting), containing Survivors and a death cart. If you choose to gain an abandoned market, the probability to match it with your cart without having survivors in the same hand is roughly 0.17, and in average you will need approximatively 6 turns till your death cart trashes your abandoned market. But using 6 slots with a ruin and one more slot for your cart is not worth 5$ at all.

Trashing the ruins is rarely an effective help

Example given, Steward is generally considered as a good trasher. So, one might argue, that if death cart misses the ruins, Steward can trash them. But usually, this is a bad plan, for two reasons: First, the ruins might miss both Steward and Death Cart. And second, even if you trash both with Steward immediately and use your Cart as a one-shot, your opportunity costs are too high: After trashing, your steward hand has 2 cards instead of 6 (if you had chosen +2 cards). Adding the slot your cart uses, you play with 5 cards less to obtain terminal +5$, which is a bad average.
Other trashers imply different opportunity costs, but the baseline remains the same: If trashing the ruins needs a noticeable effort, the one-shot isn't worth it.

Trashing action cards often has little benefits

Say, you want to trash a swindler for $5, which looks like a benefit of $2. Unfortunately, it isn't: Not only you lose your swindler worth 3$, you also can't use it in the actual hand. Summed up, instead of having a 3$-swindler, +2$ and the swindlers attack, you have +5$. This is seldomly a great win.

Death Cart works in a stable engine

Now, let's switch to the situations where DC is great.
The classical one is a stable engine. We don't have to worry about matching with the ruins if we draw our whole deck. With leck of money, death cart can be the star of the show.
Just make sure your engine isn't too vulnerable: If the probability is high, that 3 new cards will interrupt your drawing, they aren't worth it. Additionally, if you have a lack of +actions (and already other strong terminals), beware of adding three more terminals.

Death card is an endgame card

Essentially, DC helps buying provinces - therefore, $5 is best when it comes up late.   Let's extend our previous example and say that you have DC, Swindler, and three coppers. You can buy a province with DC, without it, you play the swindlers attack and have a swindler and a 5$ card. The latter combination is more helpful in move 3, but obviously weaker in the last round.
Another reason why DC is stronger if you buy it late is that the ruins hurt less. If you buy it in the next-to-last round, you get +5$ for three cards, which is an average of 1.7. This is fairly good (you need 1.6 to get provinces), but more important, you get all your money on a single card, and accumulating buying power is crucial in the endgame.
A third reason for DC's endgame-power is its synergy with some alt-VP-cards: Three cards are a nice-to-have in a gardens game, and they can be a big boost with vineyards and fairgrounds.

Miscellaneous opportunities

Finally, our tricky card leaves space to many occasional synergies:

- With Trader in hand, you can avoid both ruins and obtain a 5$-one-shot-card, which is very strong in the endgame. With Watchtower, topdeck it with one ruin and trash the second one.

- DC yields big amounts of money very early. This can be effective with Forge on board or with overpaying strategies.

- Like every trasher, it synergizes well with on-trash-abilities, especially with Market Square.

- Inn and Herald help matching your ruins and your cart.

- Rats and Fortresses are useful.

- opponents looters increase the probability to match cart/ruins.

Summary

There are several good occasions  - but Death Cart can also be a trappy card in many kingdoms. Just don't overestimate it in the described critical circumstances -  those ruins can be a mess!

Synergies

Stable engines
Endgame
Watchtower, Trader
Rats
Fortress
Vineyards, Gardens, Fairgrounds
Forge
Overpaying
Inn, Herald
Oppponents looters

Antisynergy

Money games

6
Dominion General Discussion / Combo Procession-Armory-Duchy-Rush
« on: June 06, 2013, 06:58:29 am »
I was newly faced to an astonishing combo I couldn't beat, let's call it the "Procession-Armory-Duchy-Rush":

The kingdom was something like

2 Cellar
3 Ambassador
3 Oracle
4 Procession
4 Armory
4 Scavenger
5 Horn of Plenty
5 Festival

.. and two more cards I have forgotten. Let it be thief and scout, if you want so :)

My opponent went first and opened armory/silver, bought two processions on move 3/4 and played his armory on move 4, topdecking another armory.
I opened double ambassador, in move 3/4 i ambassadored two coppers and one estate, and i bought a silver on move 4.
On move 5, he played procession-armory, topdecked a procession and an armory, trashed his first armory into a duchy and bought an estate(!).
Seeing this, I figured out, that his plan was to repeat procession-armory->duchy, three-pile-ending the game before I got enough provinces ... and this is exactly what happened.
Now, I have three questions:

1) Was my double ambassador already a mistake?

2) What would you do in my position, confronted to procession-armory-duchy?

3) Is this combo really strong? At least, it is almost sure you can set it up within 5 to 7 moves, and it can hardly be stopped (minions, pillages and pin strategies put aside).




7
Dominion Articles / Junk Dealer, missing strategy article
« on: May 02, 2013, 04:40:25 am »
NEW TRY FOR AN ARTICLE:

Trashing is mostly strong - even more with Dark Ages on-trash-abilities. A card like Lookout is correctly priced at $3, though it trashes "in the dark" - a card saying  "+1action, +1card, trash a card" is probably even better and would cost at least $3, too.
The latter doesn't exist in Dominion, but there are two 5$ versions, namely Junk Dealer and Upgrade. Upgrade additionally gains a card costing exactly 1 more than the trashed card, while Junk Dealer includes a vanilla peddler. Thus, buying JD provides two cards roughly worth $3 and $4 for the price of 5$. Is it too cheap?

The downsides

Cost/value relation isn't linear: $3+$4 is far from $7, and sometimes $3+$4 is even less than $5. In other words, the major downside of Junk Dealer is its opportunity costs: many cards at the same price give more specific advantages, changing the nature of the game, e.g. cursers.
The second downside: trashing isn't optional. This leads to typical problems of mandatory trashers: If your opponent plays discard attacks, you don't know what to keep in hand; if you are close to the end, your good-card/bad-card ratio increases and trashing becomes less useful; and it antisynergizes with other trashers, as your JD will soon lack of target. Just take note of two exceptions:
- you can trash-for-benefit Junk Dealers in the late game
- if you use Steward/Count as a trasher only a single time, there is enough junk left for JD

Synergy of trashing and peddling

Now that we have seen why Junk Dealers two abilities are sometimes less than the sum of their added value, the question remains when cantrip trashing and peddling work together at their best. Both lead to higher average buying power, therefore Junk Dealer boosts your probability to reach $5 or $6 every turn. This makes it most worthy if you want to build up an engine with expensive components, especially because trashing is crucial in engine building. This even includes buying a single JD before buying a couple of minions, laboratories or stables.
Another interesting option is to boost mediocre BM-strategies. JD itself is a lousy BM-enabler, but being nonterminal, it can be combined with nondrawing terminals bought at a 3-4-start, some examples: While BM-Swindler or BM-Scavenger are rather weak strategies on their own, adding a Junk Deaker turns both into a viable challenge.

Synergies
On-trash-abilities
Expensive engine components

Antisynergies
Opponents hand-reducers
Other trashers (excluding tfb)





FIRST VERSION


Hi, i am new on this forum, and i haven't found an article about Junk Dealer, though it's one of my favourite cards. So i tried to write one myself, do with it whatever you want to ;) I am interested in your opinions about it. By the way, i apologize if you find mistakes or strange phrases - i am not a native speaker.



JUNK DEALER

Maybe,  this powerful card is so severely underrated because of the art on it: look at this poor, ugly guy! He has to sell trash to get a single buck! Doesn't look sexy at all. Though, it is.

Why is this card so strong?

Simply put, because nonterminal trashing is strong. Cantrip trashing is even stronger; and additionally, you get a coin for it. What do you want more? Maybe, you'll want some impressing abilities for 5$, but likewise with JackOfAllTrades, it's the sum of four mediocre advantages which turns out to be strong.
Now, this time, Junk Dealer is nonterminal, and like all nonterminals, it only really shines if there are other cards in game you can cooperate with. Of course, the first thing coming to mind is its abilty to enable engines: You can thin your deck, but neither will Junk Dealer slowdown your economy nor is it terminal. But it can do more than this:

Assisting Cursers and Looters

Clearly, reliable Junk Attacks remain the strongest cards in the game, and if you let your opponent give you ten ruins or curses just to clean them out with Junk Dealer, you'll end up in big trouble. You need one of those cursers – or maybe two of them?
 
If we are talking about chainable Cultists or Familiars, you should get a second one. Maybe this also holds with Mountebank, as they keep on junking after the curses are out, and the risk of a collision is clearly lower than with two witches due to spamming coppers and lack of card-drawing. In a game with IGG's, you should buy some copies of them until your opponent gave you enough targets (curses) for buying a junk dealer; maybe, if you have three or four, the chance is high enough to prefer the junk dealer.

The other cursers and looters– witch, young witch, sea hag and Marauder – should probably be bought only once due to the risk of terminal collision.

And, here we go – after you have bought your curser(s), Junk Dealer will be your best friend. In a game with mountebank or IGGs, you might even get a second one because of all those nasty coppers.

Assisting strong nonterminals

One might question the necessity of a Junk Dealer due to the high opportunity cost: Isn't it better to go with Hunting Parties, Minions or Labs? Probably yes - if you weren't allowed to buy different 5's. But the big deal is to get the best of both worlds:

If you buy a junk dealer first, then starting the hunting party, both cards will come up more often and  become a devastating engine. Even better is the combo "first a junk dealer, then go minions". Just have a look at the well-known combo Minion – Loan. Similarly, a junk dealer can clean out coppers without being terminal; and it has two more synergic abilities: it trashes estates/shelters, and it can decrease your hand size.
Both together compensate sufficiently for the opportunity cost of 1 Minion.
Now, how does it work with labs? These one have "+card" instead of "+coin, trash a card", which is clearly weaker at the beginning of a game and stronger in the end. So, just start with junk dealer and buy labs afterwards, and you'll be fine.

A big money approach

We all know about the strength of Masquerade-BigMoney. In the beginning of the game, Junk Dealer does a very similar thing: If we set aside funny card-passing, it gives you +1coin instead of +1card, which isn't weaker in the first turns.

Later on, the additional card will outclass the extra-coin; and furthermore, if in the late game all your cards are strong, junk dealer can be a dead card due to mandatory trashing. Thus, simply going BM will be weaker than with Masquerade.

So, the question is: can these weaknesses be compensated by being nonterminal? I think, on many boards, the answer is "yes". If you don't get junk dealer with a 2-5-opening, you might want to start silver+terminal. The latter one doesn't need to be as strong as a swindler or a sea hag; say, a cutpurse or even a navigator might do it as well. All these increase your chances to get $5 in round 3 or 4.
Later on, you might want to buy a second terminal; having a bigger deck, the risk of collision decreases, and it is even 33% lower than with masquerade, as junk dealer can't draw dead other cards.

Furthermore, some cantrips might be nice-to-have. Ahead of all, the synergy with market square should be mentioned here. Just don't overdo buying actions, remember that we are talking about a big money approach - so don't come up with Villages or gainers, you will just be wasting your time.
 
Summed up, with reasonable sidewings, i think JunkDealer-BM might be stronger than Masquerade-BM.

Cooperating with other trashers

Junk Dealer works fine with the remodel family. While at the beginning, deck tuning will be fast, later on you can trash-for-benefit your junk dealer.
It also cooperates in a nice way with flexible trashers: Its a good idea to use a Steward as trasher only a single time and let junk dealer do the rest. The same holds for Count.

Weaker trashers, say a loan or a lookout, should simply be ignored when junk dealer is out; merely, you might skip it compared to other strong trashers, e.g. chapel or counterfeit. Depends on the kingdom ... as it always does.
 
Antisynergy with discarders

The best reason to skip junk dealer are strong discard attacks.
First, if you get attacked, you have a difficult choice: Keeping the junk dealer with two good cards is risky, as you might have to trash one of these if your drawn card is even better. Keeping Junk Dealer with a good and a bad card to trash might end up silly as well, if your next card doesn't help you. Maybe the best thing to do is keeping the three strongest cards and discard the Junk Dealer; but of course, this is not why you have bought it.
Second,  discard attacks like margrave, Torturer or Ghost Ship are simply stronger.
And third, as all of the above draw cards, Junk Dealer might get drawn dead, which is no good fundament for seminal cooperation.

Other reasons to skip junk dealer

Better 5$-cards which don't need a junk dealers assistance. But, beside the already-mentioned, there aren't many. Clearly wharf, probably apprentice. Vault also doesn't work with Junk Dealer, but it's hard to say which is better.

In addition, it is weak in terminal draw-big money and garden games. And dukes don't like it when copper gets cleared out. Though, on many boards these strategies can be topped by a different approach which includes junk dealer.

Maybe the most common reason to buy other things is, that drawing exactly five bucks comes up too late. Trashers need to work early, and especially junk dealer doesn't like the endgame when lack of trashable cards make it unplayable.
And if you plan to go Junk Dealer but find  $6, Gold might often be the better deal.

And of course, you will rarely need a second one (perhaps, in Mountebank games, you do).

Summary

Junk Dealer is good for BM and engine-building, and a helpful assistance in games with Junk-Attacks. It is weak in Terminal-Draw-BM and against discard attacks.

Synergies
Market Square
Good components for engines or nondrawing BigMoney

Antisynergies
Discard attacks
Wharf



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