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Dominion General Discussion / A weird combo: Stockpile+Salt the Earth
« on: March 22, 2022, 06:27:38 pm »
Hi guys,

I would like to share with you an interesting combo/strategy that I came up with a while ago, and I haven't seen it being discussed anywhere. I tested it with a friend of mine and it works surprisingly well.

As you might expect the idea is to rush down Provinces by trashing them with Salt.

After some experimentation the best way to do the rush seems to be as follows.

1) In the first 2 shuffles you only buy Stockpiles. In most cases you can buy 5 Stockpiles this way.

2) Then by default you just buy Salts except right before your 3rd shuffle (or maybe even the 4th one) when you buy another Stockpile. If your opponent buys a Province you buy a Province whenever you would buy 2 Salts.

Playing this against the bot almost always wins, and finishes the game in 9 or 10 turns. I'm only writing this for reference, obviously playing against humans is quite different. So what can go wrong?

a) Maybe your opponent builds fast enough (either regular Big Money or some superfast engine), and they can buy a couple of Provinces before you finish.

Well, you can't really defend against a rush by speeding it up. As I mentioned above whenever they buy a Province you can also buy one and at the end they are only winning 1 extra VP (by you not getting the Salt point).

b) What if your opponent also buys a couple of Duchies?

Too slow/not enough points.

c) Here comes the real question: what happens if they also get some Stockpiles?

This is where this is getting a bit tricky. You combo is quite sensitive. If you can only buy 5 Stockpiles it is not quite fast enough, I think, so interestingly the mirror would never play out: most probably both player would pick up the first 10 Stockpiles quickly and then build normally. Still even without trying to mirror the strategy you might want to pick up a couple of Stockpiles. The question is how many is needed to defend? Based on some testing picking up 3 in the first the 2 shuffles doesn't seems to be affecting this strategy that much, so you kind of need to pick up at least 4, and then we are back in the self-inhibitting mirror setting again.

Some further comments: junking slows down the combo a bit, but I don't think it is ever fast enough. On the other hand, any discard attack probably kills the combo since hitting price points early is crucial for the strategy to work. Another thing which probably kills the combo is a 5/2 opening. I don't think opening with one Stockpile is good enough, so I guess in this case you just try to defend (or you just lose :)).

My questions are:
1) Are you familiar with any similar strategy?
2) Is there any way to kill this combo which works on most kingdoms?
3) In general what is the optimal strategy to play this?
Obviously this highly depends on the concrete kingdom (and also shuffles).

I appreciate any feedback.

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