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Author Topic: Things that make Menagerie amazing  (Read 9000 times)

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AdamH

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Things that make Menagerie amazing
« on: July 30, 2015, 03:58:13 pm »
+4


I'm not writing an article on Menagerie. Sorry if you got your hopes up. This is more along the lines of those discussion threads I've done before, where I feel like I'm bad at something and we can talk about it and collect information and perspectives.

Also, let's get this out of the way: Please, let's try to keep the discussion from going off-topic. Thank you.


All right, who here has never lost a game of Dominion because they underestimated Menagerie?

*crickets*

It doesn't feel good. Menagerie is such a fun card, and I don't want to watch my opponent have fun AND win the game! I want to have fun and win the game, I love both of those things! It's true, that if Menagerie was just +1 Action and +3 Cards for $3, it would be totally broken, so if there's a board where you can enable it to be that most of the time, you're going to lose if you don't make that a part of your strategy. Menageries are easy to get lots of, so what makes it worth focusing on?

Maybe this isn't quite the right way to go about it, but it's at least a starting point. Whenever someone makes a deck with Menagerie that I didn't think was viable or as explosive as it was, it's usually because I didn't think about a certain enabler.I think we could start by finding the best enablers for Menagerie and maybe the discussion can go from there.

What makes an amazing Menagerie enabler?

Well the best of the best are going to be non-terminal -- The Terminal ones have to be played before your Menagerie, which requires a Village before you get to use your awesome source of draw. This is hardly something I want to build a deck around, though it's not something I want to ignore either.

It discards cards from your hand -- this is a great way to get past duplicate cards in your hand to activate future Menageries, and it alleviates the main problem that decks like this have: they can stall once you buy your second Province.

It allows you to play duplicate cards -- An abundance of Actions from lots of Villages will allow you to run a Bridge deck or a Goons deck with Menagerie as your main source of draw, though a lot of the time it can take two stacks of Villages for you to get enough to make this really work.

What are things to look for in a kingdom that allow for Menagerie hands?

It gains Menageries -- Almost every gainer in the game has an easy time gaining Menageries because of its cost, and though they're pretty easy to buy, sometimes you're pinched on Buys and gaining them is much better.

It trashes cards -- you start the game with seven Coppers in your deck. If you can't get rid of some of them, you're going to have a hard time activating your Menageries.

...then there are some of the more questionable ways to make Menagerie good: things that help but I'm not quite sold on. Feel free to convince me that I'm wrong.

Having lots of unique cards in your deck -- Knights, Tournament, Black Market, all of those awful cards that nobody in their right might would ever want to play with. Sure, they have different names. Does that make Menagerie better? Uhh...

Terminals? Hunting Party? Disappearing cards (Festival, Native Village, Fishing Village, etc.)? Top-deck interaction? Maybe these are good. How good are they?

Ranking Menagerie enablers:

Hopefully with the help of this thread, we can put together an approximate ranking, maybe some categories, of how awesome various cards are at making Menagerie a truly broken card. I'm thinking like Warehouse on top of the pile, along with Hammy, Artificer. Then another layer with like Oasis, Upgrade, I dunno. If I had this part done already, I would just write an article, but I'm not that good so let's talk about it!

...and one more time, just for-safesies: Please, let's try to keep the discussion from going off-topic. Thank you.
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AdamH

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 04:04:46 pm »
+1

Oh snap! I've already thought of a couple of things that I totally spaced on: Cards your opponent buys that make your Menageries awesome.

Bishop, Vault, discard attacks (particularly Urchin)

Maybe there could be another category of One-card strategies that Menagerie can still support because Menagerie is really awesome.

But that's probably just "all of them" -- maybe the list should be One-card strategies that Menagerie doesn't support. So I'm thinking Rebuild, Cultist, Village/Torturer (but probably not even that). Yes, even Horn of Plenty can be enabled by Menagerie, though that basically requires Warehouse and only Warehouse in order to work -- maybe that works with Dungeon? I haven't really tried it, it's probably just worse.

This is kind of stream-of-consciousness from me, in case you couldn't tell.
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JW

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 04:08:33 pm »
+3

Plaza is +Actions to enable you to get rid of a second copy of a terminal and also a way to discard excess treasure (usually Copper).
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 04:24:37 pm »
+1

I've just watched Burning Skull's League match vs Simon (DK). During one game he built an engine which also had Storeroom and Embassy. The board had no trashing and despite both of them being terminals, at some point Skull's Menageries drew surprisingly well.

http://www.gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?20150728/log.50a94f0ce4b07a80ae66d119.1438109876158.txt
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AdamH

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2015, 04:26:50 pm »
0

It might be useful to do some simulation to see how Menagerie can benefit even Big Money, or basic draw engines with no trashing -- I seem to remember Menagerie+BM being better than BM, but you don't buy Menageries for quite a while. I could also just be making that up.
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belugawhale

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2015, 04:46:55 pm »
0

I played a game with Menage, Black Market, and Fairgrounds. Menageries were my main source of draw :).
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2015, 06:11:29 pm »
0

I want to try Menagerie/Dungeon.  Discarding cards at the beginning of your turn means you don't have to try draw Menagerie and your discarder in the same hand.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2015, 06:16:01 pm »
0

I once lost a game by going Cultist vs. Menagerie.  So I'd say having a ton of unique cards is definitely helpful.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 06:17:22 pm by Kirian »
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ehunt

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 07:25:15 pm »
0

i hope this isn't too far off topic.

i've two or three times lost because i thought i'd be able to handle opponent's torturers by having lots of menageries. too slow, discarding down to menagerie is not a winner for having a good hand (but i get three cards!), and you still wind up taking curses (which then make menageries less likely). you have to torture too, accepting that occasionally your torturer will help your opponent set off a menagerie.

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 07:27:32 pm »
+2

hunting party is an active reason to avoid menagerie, and maybe the best one.
dually, menagerie is an active reason to avoid caravan, and maybe the best one.
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Garth One-eye

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 11:13:48 pm »
+3

In my experience Artificer is one of the best cards to pair with Menagerie. Artificer both enables Menagerie and puts something worth drawing on top of your deck. It's fairly easy to enable a constant stream of activated menageries.
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pubby

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 05:33:35 am »
0

Even without trashing or discarding you are still very likely have at least one turn where you can activate two or more Menageries. It's a mini Menagerie megaturn and it's occasionally game-winning.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 09:17:04 am »
0

hunting party is an active reason to avoid menagerie, and maybe the best one.

Not necessarily. Some degrees of variety suit both.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 10:21:02 am »
+2

Couple things I'll add:

Menagerie, like Shanty Town, is a neat counter to discard attacks.

Depending on your support for it, Menagerie tends to be best in the mid game because you have a large junk-to-good-stuff ratio at the beginning of the game, and you usually have a lot of duplicate green cards at the end of the game.  Of course, there are exceptions to these scenarios (which is what this thread is all about), but this can be a good rule of thumb to follow in some boards.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 10:23:08 am by Dingan »
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2015, 05:10:27 pm »
+4

Hamlet is one of the best Menagerie enablers.  Absurdly cheap. Can discard for more + actions to play duplicate actions down to one. Can discard for more + buys to get even more menageries/hamlets. The 2x discard per hamlet often allows you to discard 2x's of good cards (golds/plats etc) knowing you will get them back later when you play your 2nd or third +3 menagerie.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 09:49:49 pm by Honkeyfresh »
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2015, 06:34:00 am »
0

I once lost a game by going Cultist vs. Menagerie.  So I'd say having a ton of unique cards is definitely helpful.

I'm pretty sure that was against me.
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jomini

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 01:24:02 am »
+1

Shelters: Getting rid of Estates makes life a lot better, you can use a lot of copper trashers that might be too slow otherwise, also Necropolis can enable a lot terminal cards a decent fraction of the time.

Stonemason: Yeah he sucks at killing Estates ... but he can easy gain two menages and pick off stray coppers, you might be surprised how often he is strong at $5 when Menage is contested.

Scavenger: With village support this can be very, very good. Dump the deck, then build a hand starting with uniques on deck top. My best was Scav/Stash/Menage/Baron. Scheme can also work nicely to enable consistenly big draw.

Outpost: Worth it even with no trashing/discard. If you hit Menage in the Opost turn you get a full, free hand a huge amount of the time.

Jester: Yeah you might gain Menages, it is a nice terminal-silver-attack, but it also works very well at disrupting the other guy's menage hits if you do nothing but flood him with copper. Noble Brigand is also surprisingly good at gumming up the other guy's ultra-slim menage stack, he is vicious if you are running copper/silver/gold/terminal $2. Nbrig is not something I'd necessarily build a Menage stack around, but sliding it in helps in a lot of cases, particularly if you end up with a spare $4 buy.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2015, 06:55:49 am »
+1

Surprised at the lack of mention of Hamlet. It's super cheap, discards up to 2 redundant cards, gives you extra actions to play redundant terminals, and generally is awesome. Almost any discard-for-benefit works well with Menagerie, obviously. You talked about this a bit, but basically any Tunnel enabler is going to also be good for Menagerie - see Inn, Storeroom, Vault, even Secret Chamber in a pinch.

Disappearing Villages are nice too, generally moreso than other Villages since you don't always want the free draw. Fishing Village, Festival, the like. Similar to Library enablers. Outpost is very good here. Opponent's discard attacks aren't even attacks anymore. You basically can use Menagerie any time you have a Kingdom with a lot to do, and you have some way of dealing with the extras.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2015, 05:19:58 pm »
+1

Since Hamlet was mentioned, another card that's also in Cornucopia is Horse Traders.  Hamlet for the actions, discard down with HT, then draw the same stuff with Menagerie.

I don't recommend this in an IRL game.  It was painful.
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terminalCopper

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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2015, 02:19:54 am »
0

Beyond long lists, I prefer short helpful rule of thumbs I can easily recall in-game, example given:

Avoiding multiples by discarding/trashing every other play turns menagerie into a lab in average.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2015, 07:34:04 am »
0

Beyond long lists, I prefer short helpful rule of thumbs I can easily recall in-game, example given:

Avoiding multiples by discarding/trashing every other play turns menagerie into a lab in average.

That's only true if you don't get some benefit from discarding. Depending on your enabler card(s), you almost always do, so it's a bit better than just Laboratory on average. I know this is pedantic hair-splitting, but I think it's a big part of how Menagerie can be so good.
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Re: Things that make Menagerie amazing
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2015, 08:11:24 am »
0

That's only true if you don't get some benefit from discarding.

You always get some benefit from discarding. In the case of Hamlet, you can choose to discard cards for extra vanilla benefits. In the case of Inn, the benefit you get from discarding is that the rest of the card is incredibly powerful for its cost.
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