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Messages - Skumpy

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That second picture raises a lot of questions, specifically "What happened to the other two girls?"

On second thought, I'd rather not hear the answer.

*in my opinion.

I'm sure you've been there too; you load up a game or deal out 10 blue-backed cards and see your one personal rectangular nemesis that makes you think "Oh crap. I'm not winning this game" (Just me?)

Anyways, these are the cards that I feel separate the Dominion Greats from the Not-So-Greats. (It's also a little bit of "Teach me how to play better please" disguised as a clickbait article).

This isn't a list of the best cards in Dominion - Chapel's great, but it doesn't take too long to learn how important it is to trash your whole hand. It's also not a list of the cards whose strategies are easy to get, hard to perfect - you might've played your Rebuild or Governor deck slightly better than I did and won, but at least I understand the general principles of them. Also not a list of those cards with those obscure edge case strategies that are easily overlooked in favor of classic engines/BM - it sucks you beat me with that Counting House combo, but 99 times out of 100, there's no way it's worth it.

So without further ado, these are the cards with the what/why/when/how/where/who that need a lot of practice (still in my opinion).

Honorable Mentions

Distant Lands - Many have asked the question, few have found the answer: WHEN do I start picking up these cards with this really awesome color scheme?

Duke - OK, like most other pure victory cards, I kinda forget about it until the late game. I'm not great at looking at a board in the beginning and evaluating how Duke/Duchy stacks up with Province.

Groundskeeper - Surprisingly, the only Empires card that made it even to HM for me, though a few others were close. It can be game changing at the end, but like Distant Lands, 'when' is the question. Too useless early, too late...late. And yes, gainers are an obvious solution, but without gainers, picking up a G-Keeper in the midgame over other $5s is a tough choice.

Highway - ...and other cost reducers. Less about me and more for the general public, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of most of Highway's tricks. What I don't have, however, is a good recognition of Highway's 'countertricks' (oh yeah, THAT'S why my Apprentice isn't working).

Watchtower - A cute little helper card, obviously not a powerhouse nor a card you need a lot of it, but it can do 3 separate cool things, all of which are easy to both forget about and underrate. I don't know, I feel like this is a really forgettable card for some reason, but it's usually a very useful one.

10. Tactician

When you start playing Dominion the thought process associated with Tactician goes: (see it for the first time) "Discard your hand? Ewwww" (sees somebody else use it) "+5 cards, + 1 action + 1 buy? That was awesome!" (and then more uses) "Eh".

Funny enough, Double Tactician is one of the coolest uses of Tactician, and yet, it's also not too tough to see when and why it works. It's the Single Tactician deck that's more gray area - Yes, 1 great turn is usually better than 2 good ones, but how good are those good turns I'm having, and how great is that one great one? It's that middle ground where I have a tough time seeing if sacrificing a turn is really worth it.

9. Minion

OK, fine, this one's a personal vendetta - I just can't win with Minion on the board. I can't. Minion stack is great, I was told, it's self-sufficient, I was told, and yet, there's so many cards that can combo well with Minion that I'm not aware of. In addition, I have a tough time with the main discard/+$ decision of Minion. When it's the last card left, sure, discard and get 4 new ones, but when you only have 5 total Minions in your deck, it's tough to get them to line up right.

8. Hermit

Maybe another card that is more personal, one that I don't really get...but I don't really get it. I remember watching a game from someone (I think it was Mic, could be wrong), where they butchered Coppers into Curses just to feed them to the Hermit. Yes, I see it's a nice counter to Looters and Curses, but it's still only one card you can trash, not to mention it doesn't work on treasures. As for Madman, sure it's great, but it's a 1-time use, plus you might have to sacrifice a solid turn in order to get it. I've seen games of people going after Hermits hard, and I don't see the purpose of having a bunch of them. Again, maybe this card is more of a personal sob story than one that accurately reflects the community's feelings....then again, it's my list, I can do what I want.  8)

7. Transmogrify

So here's what I know how to use Transmogrify for:
1) It can turn Estates into Silvers for some nice early game usage
2) It can turn Provinces into Provinces to help end the game faster
3) ....some other stuff

Transmogrify is nice with Summon, it's great with Fortress, but it's easy to let it sit on your mat and not feel like using it. It's a card that can be used to help smooth out rough turns and give you power to kick off, but I imagine a lot players don't see a lot of immediate gain from it and pass it up for other $4's that can give an instant impact/direct contribution to an engine. It's easy to imagine that tricks exist with Transmogrify, harder to spot, much less practice, those tricks in an actual game.

6. Stonemason

So it took me a while to figure out why this card is considered so good. It can gain things, it goes great with potion-cost cards...but still, it's a dead card whose trashing ability just isn't that good. Depending on the board, there is a point where too many Stonemasons are detrimental.

I feel like I've started to get away from the whole purpose of this topic, so I'm gonna try to get back on track here: why does this card separate good from great players when it's buy ability isn't too difficult to figure out? Keyword(s): Endgame control. Stonemason both through buying and through trashing is possibly the best card at creating quick pile outs, and it's difficult for opponents to see it coming. Finding forced wins is a vital skill, and few cards better enable it than Stonemason.

5. Butcher

Good ol' Mr. My-Bald-Cap-Doesn't-Fit-So-Well-And-My-Ear-Is-A-Doorknob. Similar to Transmogrify in a lot of respects - trashing Estates into $3s and $4s is good early on, and endgame, it can drain Provinces quickly. And playing a Butcher just for the coin tokens is also a reasonable play. And then the questions come: When do you start burning those coin tokens? Is it worth to use 5 coin tokens turning a copper into a $5? Should I save them for later in the turn when I can use them with my multiple buys? When do I start turning my expensive actions and treasures into Provinces? Coin tokens are in general tough because it's a tough call when to use them, though the earlier the better is a good rule of thumb, but Butcher complicates the issue by giving you two different, useful ways to use coin tokens to get better cards.

4. Jack of All Trades

OK, I know what you're thinking: how the heck did this make the list, let alone get to 4? Haven't you heard of the fabled Double Jack, of whom many stories have been spread across the lands.

Why, yes, I do know of the legends! But do you mean to tell me that unless your deck contains 2 Jacks and a bunch of silvers that it's a useless card? The fact is Jack of All Trades is a jack of all trades. It does 4 things, each to be utilized weaponized (I like that word better!) in their own way. And it seems to me the best players can spot when one or multiple of those abilities can be used to better an engine. Maybe it is a little high on the list, I'm committed. The 4-word card shall stay at #4!

3. Develop

Say what you want about the last 12 cards so far, I'm pretty confident in my choice for top 3. Starting with Develop. Gains a card costing more and less. There aren't that many cards that make you trash backwards in cost, but here's one of 'em. It's a poor copper trasher, a mediocre estate trasher (at least you get a $3 on top of you deck), the real power lies in knowing when to get rid of those $4 and $5 Actions you worked oh so hard to get, just to feed them to the sinking sandcastle owned by an alien (seriously, why is his face GREEN‽‽‽‽). Again, maybe more of a personal issue, but I imagine a lot of players are reluctant to trash actions as 1) You bought them with your own hard-earned cash at some point and 2) and more importantly, it's tough to justify trashing over playing them.

But the flip side is you get two more cards, one of which is stronger than the trashee, plus you'll probably be playing them real soon, and adding engine cards to an engine is always smart. I haven't even mentioned endgame yet; you can use it to add some endgame victory cards and can get in some sneaky pileouts. Upon seeing the card for the first time, it should be obvious that there are tricks you can find with it, it's just a matter of managing to spot them and pull off a with it.

2. Procession

It's a Throne Room! It's an Upgrade! It's...Procession. Does it seem to strange to you that Procession is a Throne Room that improves the card you throne, gives you a chance to play that card on the same turn, costs the SAME as Throne Room, and despite all that, is still rated lower by the community. Huh? Well, the main reasoning isn't too hard to see it turns out - Throne Room can be used on your best, most expensive actions, while Procession...could technically too, it would just be dumb.

Regardless of how it stacks up against Throne Room, it's still a tough card to play right. On the face of it, even if you don't play the new card this turn, at least instead of paying $5 for the next card you need for your deck, you only need $4 to replace the card you just got rid of it. Frugality! Save a buck! Well, not so simple. Village/Terminal balance is key, and Procession can upset the balance. As with Develop, even when you're getting a more expensive card, it can still be discouraging to trash those o-so-precious Actions of yours.

But what really makes this card shine is when you Procession the Procession. Think about it for a couple seconds, and it's still not quite obvious what's gonna happen, even with just a chain of just 2, let alone 5. The endgame pileout the Processing a Processing a (insert recursion code here) enables is tough to underestimate unless you've done it yourself, or more likely, had it happen to you. So with both the ability to sacrifice actions for better ones and miraculously drain 3 piles like that, Procession is a well deserved #2.

And 1. Peasant and Friends

I hope you all saw this one coming. Countless articles have been written on Peasant and his 4 elders siblings, and yet, still we wander in the darkness, without a flicker of light to illuminate the proper way to play a game of Dominion with these sepia gentlemen. In a game where it's fun to find cards that thematically match what they do, perhaps no card better does this than Peasant: we Peasants don't know how to play with it, and must become the Teachers to master it.

In all seriousness - yeah, Peasant's tough. Where do I begin. How many Peasants should I get? How early should I fill my deck with these dead terminals? How many Disciples do I want? Which card should I Disciple? Do I even want a Teacher? What token do I place first? Which pile does it go on? Why am I placing my first token while my opponent just ended the game? (Been there, done that).

People have complained about Peasant ranking behind Page in the Qvist rankings. One of the main reasons (I think) Page has beaten Peasant two years is that people UNDERSTAND the Page chain. It's so beautifully intuitive! Champion stops attacks. Champion lets me ignore '+x Action'. The End. Heck, even Page is simpler than Peasant, it's just a $2 cantrip - what could be easier to get?

So yes, with a callback to the purpose of this article, when you play a game against me and Peasant is there, congrats on the victory.

Again, everything above is how I feel. I'm sure there are cards above that are much more obvious that I let them on to be and I'm just missing some simple fact about them. Those are just the cards that I see on boards that cause me to panic a little bit. I don't know, anybody else have thoughts/lists of their own? I decided to post this in General Discussion for a reason, so....Discuss! But do it generally...

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Duchies
« on: April 16, 2017, 03:26:05 pm »
man i'm getting The Drive. somebody give me something to write an article about

Very well. I challenge you to do article on why Rocks rocks.

Be sure to include a log of yours where you use Rocks, so we can all see an example...

Donate + Poor House

On your first 3 turns, pick up 2 Poor Houses and a village, if possible.
Donate your starting deck on turn 4, and by turn 6 (at the latest), you'll have a debt-free 3-card deck producing $8. Groovy!

Well, at least until you buy your 4th Province, at which point it has a chance of stalling if you don't draw the village, and that chance goes up with each additional Province. Sure, it seems as though six or seven Provinces should win, but the deck is missing pile control. You can't end the game. With Donate on the board, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that lose to an engine that could do something with Alt+VP and/or piles, or maybe even raw speed.

Poor House makes such fantastic engine economy with Donate and +Actions, what you should really be doing in a kingdom where they're present is figure out how MANY Provinces you want per turn, and that number is almost certain to be more than one. Assuming there's +buy. Which, if there is, almost guarantees some kind of Megaturn since the Poor Houses themselves are super-easy to pile with extra buys. Play what you're describing, and you're likely to see

Player 1: Province
Player 2: Stuff
Player 1: Province
Player 2: More stuff
Player 1: Province
Player 2: A lot more stuff
Player 1: Province
Player 2: The other four Provinces and a Duchy.

I gotta stop thinking about Donate. I'm drooling on my keyboard.

Well, I never said what to do once you got there, just that you have a very good consistent payload for at least a couple of turns and COULD pick up a few Provinces early on. Absolutely it's probably best to build for a little longer, especially if there's plus buy. Reading back, I can understand why you inferred it that way. My bad.

In the game I played where I found this, there weren't any +buys on the board. It went something like 4 Ports/2 Poor houses on my first 4 turns, Donate on turn 5, Diplomat (which I think was the only draw) turn 6, maybe a province or 2 next, then realized I should get a Butcher to speed up the Province pile. By turn 12, my opponent (who admittedly didn't play the board too great, as they went for Moneylender as the only trashing) had one province, while I emptied out the other 7, keeping 4. Again, it might have gone very different if there was +buy...but there wasn't.

I kinda feel bad about posting a Donate combo, seeing as it combos with....well, everything. But so be it.

Donate + Poor House

On your first 3 turns, pick up 2 Poor Houses and a village, if possible.
Donate your starting deck on turn 4, and by turn 6 (at the latest), you'll have a debt-free 3-card deck producing $8. Groovy!

Dominion General Discussion / Re: How do you handle Keep
« on: April 07, 2017, 03:32:41 am »
I'll let others give the important advice with Keep, as I haven't played with it too many times yet, but trashing coppers (on most boards anyways), should still be a priority; it doesn't matter if you're giving up 5 VP early on, opening with 5 Great Halls wasn't the greatest of strategies. In the endgame, if you have extra cheap buys, that's when you can start regaining coppers. But timing's probably pretty crucial: too early, and you won't be able to Province anymore, too late, and you'll lose the Copper Keep. If you have fewer extra buys, then you can start Yellowing earlier, as you won't be junking your deck as much.   

Like you, I also don't really know how to play around the Silver/Gold/Kingdom Treasure piles, so I'm not going to try to explain when/how much you focus on gaining those. What I do think is true is don't get content being tied, or even +1, on a treasure pile - try and make sure you've secured those 5 VP and your opponent can't also get them. After all, that's pretty dang close to Province level, not counting the actual impact of having treasures in your deck.

Ultimately, Keep encourages Big Money, or at least an engine with treasure as payload, but you still have to evaluate how strong/quick the engine is. As you've seen, 5 points per pile is a lot, and I expect it to be up high when the Landmark rankings come out (Qvist!! But seriously, no rush).

Ferry/Adventurer BM might be better than Mandarin or Merchant Ship BM, but not by much.

I love this line so much. Gives a lot of insight into the power of Adventurer.

Out of curiosity (I'm sure DXV's answered this somewhere before, but I'm too lazy to go find it), I know the game was new and all, but did playtesters really think this card was overpowered at $5, let alone $4?

Dominion League / Re: Season 21 - Signups
« on: March 21, 2017, 12:34:39 am »
I'll join in, new player here.

Username: skumpy
Time Zone: America/Los Angeles

Note: I may decide to drop out a week or 2 before the season starts in case I feel I don't have enough time, but I think that's unlikely to happen.

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Revenge of Dominion Picture Trivia
« on: March 18, 2017, 08:30:59 pm »
#1 could be Bridge/Crown.

I'm trying to figure out #4. Maybe Stonemason, Dungeon, or Tunnel?

Nice call on 1. I was thinking along the same lines for 4 with Dungeon/Tunnel, but I couldn't come up with the Empires card. Rocks and Delve don't seem quite right...

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Revenge of Dominion Picture Trivia
« on: March 18, 2017, 06:16:13 pm »
For one of the cards in 3 I'm thinking Settlers

I was on that track too, and I just managed to crack the other word.

3. Settlers Port

I feel like the filter is making things more difficult - it probably would've been more clear with the original image.

12 might have Library from the books

Again, was thinking that as well, and again, couldn't get the second word for a while because of the image quality. But now, after realizing that those books are not on a shelf, I think the full pair is 12. Library Donate

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Revenge of Dominion Picture Trivia
« on: March 18, 2017, 03:11:59 am »
I'm definitely not going to be figuring out most of these. While I'm first, I will solve

6. Warrior Arena

Will edit if I get more...

EDIT: I know nothing about Star Trek, but I googled "Black Guy in Star Trek" leading me to:

10.Engineer Forge

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Rules mess ups you've seen?
« on: March 09, 2017, 11:56:00 am »
You don't have to discard with plaza. We're you taking tokens without discarding?

Yep. It turns out Plaza is actually not a stronger Bazaar. Go figure.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Asper's Cards
« on: March 09, 2017, 11:53:22 am »
Yay! Thanks for posting your first fan card opionions in my thread, Skumpy :)
This was a really in-depth analysis. I think I'm okay with the very first version of Werewolf after all.

About theme, I actually felt Werewolf was already rather thematic, with your defense being Silver.

Yeah, I should've seen the silver connection. That was a nice idea.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Asper's Cards
« on: March 08, 2017, 11:21:29 pm »
First time commenting/thinking about fan cards, for what it's worth.

The first thing I thought of for Werewolf was Legionary, as you mention. Terminal gold, with a chance to attack. In my unprofessional opinion, I think the Legionary attack is far stronger than a curse - it has the potential to singlehandedly ruin your opponent's next turn. If their deck/hand is good enough to recover from the attack, it's probably also good enough to withstand a curse. However, you could play multiple werewolves a turn and the Werewolf attack will land more often than Legionary in the early game, so I honestly feel like Legionary and Werewolf are at a similar strength level. Werewolf would make for a better starting buy, but Legionary powers up when you can draw more of your deck. I'd probably still give Legionary the edge.

It's also really similar to Soothsayer though. Immediate payload versus adding Golds to the deck. Both are good for $5, but I'd prefer the Soothsayer actual gold over the Werewolf virtual gold. I guess that's balanced out by the extra card from Soothsayer.

So yeah, the original Werewolf seems perfectly fine and balanced to me. If you still want to weaken it, you could try gaining the curse to the hand, which would be an ever-so-slightly weaker attack, as long as there are no draw-to-x.

My one complaint is that it's too great of a card name to not give it a more Werewolf-esque functionality. I've never done a fan card and probably never will, so I'm not one to talk, but it would be cool to give it some kind of 'everyone else gains a Werewolf unless ....'. Or you could turn it into a season card, and do something with that. Idk, just my 2 cents; you're welcome to ignore this.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Rules mess ups you've seen?
« on: March 08, 2017, 10:50:29 pm »
let her know what I'd done.

That sounds pretty dramatic.

My 'let em know what I'd done' was when I was forgetting to discard with Plaza. I took a single curse to atone for my sins, which then started to jam my Hunting Parties.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The most missed removed card.
« on: March 05, 2017, 04:09:58 pm »
I mostly just feel bad for Theory.

Also, all us six-star members getting labelled "Adventurers".  We should be "Artisans", dammit!  Or "Hirelings" or "Grand Markets" or something

I think if you reached it before 2nd edition you should get to keep Adventurer.  Newbs can get a new label~

I mean, sure, I'd take a Champion or Teacher or Overlord title. Feel free to keep Adventurer.

First time using Tribute, no villages on board, sitting to the left of our friend who blew us out every single time. Since he knew how to build engines really well, I planned to get Tributes to mooch off his big deck of actions.

He went basically pure big money. I hit no action cards the whole game (except at the very end when I actually needed payload and he flipped 2 action cards).

So although I eventually managed to warm up to the card a bit in its final days, I had Tribute PTSD, and was not at all sad to see it go.

Sorry, not the point of the thread. I guess I'll poor one out for ol' Scout. 2p-game with friend from above. It was a god Ironworks board with Great Hall and Caravan, so I decided to just rush Duchies that game as I figured we'd drain 2 piles pretty quickly. As I was doing so, I suddenly had a moment of insight, and gained 1 whole Scout. I managed to win that game, and my friend gave me respect for the Scout. Also, in the MF Intrigue Campaigns, I always went for Scout/Wishing Well when I had the option, and it seemed great at the time since I could beat MF's AIs.

So yeah, that's my bouquet of flowers I'm leaving on Scout's grave. Rest in peace, my tumor-cheeked friend.

Just had a board with NV, KC, bridge, and duplicate. Would you believe that those cards indeed interacted in a neat way?

Do you need the Duplicate? 2 King's Court's + 3 Bridges is game. And you can just King's Court-Native Village everything if needed until you pick up your whole hand one turn.

Also, it's probably just me, but typing out the whole card name feels so satisfying.

Game Reports / Which Fortress Strategy?
« on: February 15, 2017, 09:12:15 pm »
Hello all. This was a fun game I remember playing a few weeks ago (and therefore don't have a log as I'm just now deciding to post it).

The board was:

Coin of the Realm
Cartographer (On this board:

Lost Arts

I got Coin/Butcher on 2/5 as player 1, my opponent opened Plan on Fortress/Fortress on 3/4.

 As you can see, Fortress kinda matters here a lot, but what do I do along with it? My opponent neglected Develop and went for a lot of Apprentices (5 or so) with some Butchers to gain the Apprentices. I was much more haphazard: I somewhat-rushed Fortresses, getting 5 or 6, and then started adding a collection of Develops (which gained more Butchers, Apprentices, and Menageries), stupidly overpayed a $5 Doctor early-ish which was all but useless, and also had a Catapult and picked up one or two more COTRs on dud turns. Also picked up an Altar which I planned to use (and did in fact do so) as Butcher fodder. Despite falling behind 24-6 on Province points, I managed to Butcher out the Provinces and Develop for enough Duchies to eke out a win, thanks to first player advantage. This was turn 12, or so.

Anyways, I guess the main questions I have for this board are:

1) How hard do you rush for Fortresses?
2) What's better? Apprentice or Butcher (or get both evenly)?
3) How early/how many Develops do you get?
4) How hard do you rush for Fortresses? well as how Catapult, Plan, and everything else factors in.

Potentially useful card interaction:
Moat / Witch - You can block Witch with a Moat!

Can someone put together an article for this one? It sounds really potentially useful.

Keep + Black Market

Keep adds extra incentive to buy that Venture or Harem you stumble upon in the Black Market deck.

In contrast to trying to remember how many more silvers/coppers you have than your opponent in the endgame, picking up a treasure from the Black Market gives you 5 quick VP you (usually) don't need to worry about losing.

Related: Keep + Humble Castle, as posted above by Erick.

Game Reports / Re: How to name Knights?
« on: February 08, 2017, 03:00:28 am »
As of right now, you can't (similar problem with shelters, etc).

Without a doubt, the biggest issue with the new implementation is that you can't name the Ace of Spades anymore. I'd like to suggest that we also be able to name the reverse card from UnoTM, the Michael Jordan rookie card, and maybe even Scout.

But seriously, it's a problem that needs fixing.

Remake + Villa

Remake a $3 into a Villa, making remake non-terminal. Then use your second trash on something else, such as Villa -> $5.

Not the greatest, but it works out to be a non-terminal Remodel of a $3 if you do that.

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