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Author Topic: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet  (Read 23869 times)

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Chris is me

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Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« on: January 05, 2016, 12:18:40 pm »
+25

Let's Discuss Adventures Cards is a daily(ish) series of forum threads where we discuss a different Adventures card each day. Right now the plan is to just go through all of them alphabetically, with a single thread for each Traveller line.



Card Text: Now, and at the start of your next turn, choose one: +$1; or trash a card from your hand; or gain a Silver.

Some points of discussion to start with (discussion of anything else related to Amulet is also welcomed):
  • Obvious comparisons can be made with Steward. They are both $3 cost cards that trash two cards per play and then do something else once they are done being trashers. How do the two cards compare in effectiveness? Does Amulet's increased flexibility make a big difference (not forced to trash two cards, more ability to buy things on both turns)? Does Steward's +2 Cards make it ultimately more useful?
  • Somewhat overlooked in earlier discussions is Amulet's efficacy at gaining Silvers; it is one of the fastest and best at it in the game, gaining up to 2 Silvers per play. In what situations would you focus primiarly on gaining Silvers with Amulet? How effective is a Big Money strategy, supplemented with light trashing and silver gaining from Amulet?
  • The +$1 bonus is, in a lot of cases, a $2 swing because otherwise you would have trashed a Copper. When would you neglect Amulet trashing to reach a certain cost? How often can you skip trashing before your deck starts to seriously slow down?

---

My personal opinion: Steward is definitely the better card, partially because it is slightly faster at trashing and largely because +2 Cards tends to be a lot more useful than two +$1 boosts, but Amulet is still a respectable trasher that does its job well. It is also easier for a deck to support two Amulet than it is for a deck to support two Steward, particularly because, if you have to, it is a lot easier to trash one of them once you've thinned out. Amulet is also a really, really good Silver gainer and it is better in Big Money decks than you might initially realize. It doesn't have the game-changing power of other BM enablers like Gear but it is still pretty useful in those kinds of decks.

If your aim is to thin your deck as much as possible (most engines) I would be wary of ever skipping a trash opportunity to get an expensive key card. Even missing one or two Trash choices really slows down Amulet's thinning quite a lot. You pretty much want to always trash with it, at least at first.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 12:42:09 pm »
+6

Without attempting an extensive analysis, I think I'd give a slight edge to Amulet over Steward. But I probably undervalue Steward. It seems to me that if there are good $2 components you want, Steward is better because early on you'll have a lot of $2 hands post-trashing. If you need to get $3 and $4 components (which seems way more common), Amulet allows you to buy those, while still trashing almost as quickly as Steward. So if they both just trashed, I'd say Amulet wins by a mile. But for an engine deck (which you're often building if you're trashing down) with villages, Steward's +2 Cards probably does help much more than Amulet's options. The +$1 and Silver gain options aren't useless in such a deck, but they're not great. On the other hand, if you're building a village-less engine (with Lab, etc.), +2 Cards is really awful.

To summarize, I think it depends both on the price point of cards you want and on whether your engine has villages.
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Dingan

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 12:49:39 pm »
+3

My first thought that comes to mind is that, yes, I agree Steward seems much better; the main reason being the early trashing.  I usually play Steward on T3 or T4, therefore trashing 2 cards by the end of T4, and having Steward in my deck for the >=T5 shuffle.  If I draw my Amulet on T3, then it is similar to Steward in those ways.  But if I instead draw it on T4, not only do I only trash 1 card instead of 2 by the end of T4, but it is not in my deck for the next shuffle.

Also, I feel like the Amulet-Steward relation is similar to Caravan-Lab in that:
- Steward can give +$2 now, no duration effects
- Amulet can give +$1 now, and +$1 next turn
- Lab gives +2 cards now, no duration effects
- Caravan gives +1 card now, +1 card next turn
And in general, it's better to have a lot of stuff at once, rather than a little bit of stuff multiple times (which is why Lab is higher cost than Caravan).

But nonetheless, it's a good card.  I agree with the consensus that it is a relatively good $3-cost card.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 12:51:10 pm by Dingan »
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Infthitbox

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 12:54:00 pm »
+5

One thing that came up surprisingly often (given that I've only played a few games with Amulet) is that you have to choose at the beginning of the turn. This is especially annoying with the trash ability; often I will want to clear out the last few coppers out of my deck and I already have my deck running. Steward (any other trasher, really) is much better than Amulet in this case, because you have to choose another mode (usually 1coin) if the card you want to trash isn't in your hand.

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2016, 01:03:50 pm »
+3

One of the biggest things about Amulet is that it's much more likely to miss a shuffle than Steward.  Some back of the envelope calculations give an 80% chance of trashing 4 cards before the 3rd reshuffle and Amulet a 14% chance of doing the same.

So the expected values of number of cards trashed before the 3rd reshuffle is:
Steward: 3.6
Amulet: 2.4

Of course, you have to balance that against the fact that you may be able to buy some cards on turns when you play Amulet, whereas you usually can't buy anything early when you play Steward to trash.
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SCSN

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2016, 01:31:17 pm »
+4

Of course, you have to balance that against the fact that you may be able to buy some cards on turns when you play Amulet, whereas you usually can't buy anything early when you play Steward to trash.

And against the fact that with Amulet you'll need less villages for the same number of terminals, which isn't that relevant early on but certainly makes a difference when you integrate over the length of the game.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2016, 01:56:32 pm »
+2

In moneyish games, Amulet can be compared with Jack of All Trades.  Both cards can trash junk, gain Silvers, and improve one's economy.  Amulet is the better trasher; it can trash twice per play (if the opportunity presents itself) and can trash Coppers (though this is usually a bad idea in moneyish games).  Amulet is also more flexible as a Silver gainer.  You can gain 0-2 Silvers per play, depending on your situation.  Jack is generally better for your economy: Spy + draw is usually better than a coin or two split over two turns (which you might not even get if you're focused on trashing and Silver gain).  Jack also counters spy and handsize attacks.  Amulet is probably better in slogs, though.  Amulet's major disadvantage (missing more shuffles) may or may not be offset by its reduced price.
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AdamH

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2016, 02:00:19 pm »
+2

I've said this many times, some people have disagreed, some of those people are pretty good at Dominion. My opinion has not changed.

Steward is more often than not a much better card than Amulet. It is a better trasher because in most cases it trashes faster than Amulet (because it misses less shuffles) which offsets the slight flexibility you get by trashing one card from two different hands. The drawing option is stronger on most boards than gaining a silver because more boards are engine boards than slog boards.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2016, 02:05:22 pm »
+2

Amulet is at least 23% worse than Stew.... okay okay I'll stop. 

I played one or two games with Amulet, and the first thing that struck me during play vs. how I thought it would pan out  is the issue of choosing at the beginning of the turn, as was mentioned above.  I was often struck with some analysis paralysis, not sure if cards in my hand (like a draw) would let me hit a key price point with the +1$ or if I should trash something.  I suppose Steward has the same kind of issue, but I more often find myself always trashing early with Steward (unless the key $5 is really important or something), so I don't really feel the tradeoff with Steward as I did with Amulet.
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Infthitbox

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2016, 02:28:39 pm »
+2

In moneyish games, Amulet can be compared with Jack of All Trades.  Both cards can trash junk, gain Silvers, and improve one's economy.  Amulet is the better trasher; it can trash twice per play (if the opportunity presents itself) and can trash Coppers (though this is usually a bad idea in moneyish games).  Amulet is also more flexible as a Silver gainer.  You can gain 0-2 Silvers per play, depending on your situation.  Jack is generally better for your economy: Spy + draw is usually better than a coin or two split over two turns (which you might not even get if you're focused on trashing and Silver gain).  Jack also counters spy and handsize attacks.  Amulet is probably better in slogs, though.  Amulet's major disadvantage (missing more shuffles) may or may not be offset by its reduced price.

Its so easy to compare Amulet to Steward that I hadn't considered Jack of All Trades. Is there simulator data for Amulet for gaining Silvers and just playing big money?
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AdamH

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2016, 02:43:57 pm »
+1

Its so easy to compare Amulet to Steward that I hadn't considered Jack of All Trades. Is there simulator data for Amulet for gaining Silvers and just playing big money?

Sometimes the comparison is made between Jack and Hermit for Big Money games, they call hermit "Jack-lite" or something like that. The big thing you lose is the card draw if you're going with Hermits, right? Obviously it's more complex than that because of Madman but that discussion has happened.

I imagine something similar could be said about Amulet being "Jack-lite" for money games. I'd bet lots of money that Jack is better and it's because of card draw, but I'm quite sure Amulet is better than Hermit for these cases, especially in Colony games (actually it's probably better than Jack there, since the Silver gain is not mandatory, Copper-trashing actually has value, etc. But realistically I'm getting both Jack and Amulet in that case, yeah?)
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Infthitbox

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2016, 02:52:43 pm »
0

Its so easy to compare Amulet to Steward that I hadn't considered Jack of All Trades. Is there simulator data for Amulet for gaining Silvers and just playing big money?

I imagine something similar could be said about Amulet being "Jack-lite" for money games. I'd bet lots of money that Jack is better and it's because of card draw, but I'm quite sure Amulet is better than Hermit for these cases, especially in Colony games (actually it's probably better than Jack there, since the Silver gain is not mandatory, Copper-trashing actually has value, etc. But realistically I'm getting both Jack and Amulet in that case, yeah?)

Yeah, I don't imagine that Amulet is better than Jack for that role, but understanding that it can perform that role in a similar manner gives a meaningful reference point if, say, I've played Jack with money but haven't tried it with Amulet yet and I see this board and am considering it, etc. I imagine that if I'm considering playing a money-ish strategy with Amulet and Jack both on the board, I agree its likely that I'm buying both during the game (possibly with my opening buys).
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Chris is me

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2016, 04:25:49 pm »
0

In moneyish games, Amulet can be compared with Jack of All Trades.  Both cards can trash junk, gain Silvers, and improve one's economy.  Amulet is the better trasher; it can trash twice per play (if the opportunity presents itself) and can trash Coppers (though this is usually a bad idea in moneyish games).  Amulet is also more flexible as a Silver gainer.  You can gain 0-2 Silvers per play, depending on your situation.  Jack is generally better for your economy: Spy + draw is usually better than a coin or two split over two turns (which you might not even get if you're focused on trashing and Silver gain).  Jack also counters spy and handsize attacks.  Amulet is probably better in slogs, though.  Amulet's major disadvantage (missing more shuffles) may or may not be offset by its reduced price.

Its so easy to compare Amulet to Steward that I hadn't considered Jack of All Trades. Is there simulator data for Amulet for gaining Silvers and just playing big money?

Funny you mention that; in the money section of the post I almost called Amulet a "mini-Jack", but deleted it before I posted. If you don't need the attack resistance it really can accelerate money decks in much the same way as Jack, but with the added benefit of working over 2 turns and Copper trashing when possible. Simple Silver gainers make pretty decent Big Money supporters.
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Roadrunner7671

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2016, 04:33:57 pm »
0

I've only played with Amulet yet, but it seems really lackluster. With an engine with any other trash card, it seems ignorable.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2016, 05:02:55 pm »
+1

The thing with most trashers is that they take a whole turn to use. You steward/chapel/remake/ambassador/etc. some things, and end your turn. Amulet allows you to still get a buy because it doesn't kill your handsize as much while only sacrificing a little bit in speed.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2016, 05:05:28 pm »
0

The thing with most trashers is that they take a whole turn to use. You steward/chapel/remake/ambassador/etc. some things, and end your turn. Amulet allows you to still get a buy because it doesn't kill your handsize as much while only sacrificing a little bit in speed.

Yeah, but the tradeoff is amplified a little bit because you have to choose at the beginning of your turn.  Also, the turn you use it, it doesn't replenish itself. 
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2016, 05:10:18 pm »
0

Steward's much better in engines, since it trashes faster and then turns into coins/cards.

Amulet does shine in decks that actively want silver. It's one of the premier duke/duchy enablers.
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convolucid

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2016, 05:46:45 pm »
+4

I'll just comment on Amulet's trashing role, not the BM support. My IRL playmates really love this card, but I've been buying it less over time. Here's my initial thoughts about the card and how they've changed:

- Hey, look how easy it is to trash specific targets with a duration trasher! ( Totally true, this is a major strength )
- On the turn you play it you can usually still buy something meaningful, especially compared to Steward ( True, but only marginally. Missing the shuffle seems to balance this out pretty evenly )
- You can buy more of these than a normal trasher, because it's a duration and it has non-trashing options ( It's strangely tempting to over-buy Amulet! The non-trashing options are pretty weak and you really feel the lack of draw in comparison to Steward. I originally thought maybe Amulets could cannibalize each other a la Mercenary, but if that's the right play I can't make it work. )
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2016, 07:17:37 pm »
0

things
-i like steward, and when i saw amulet in the previews, i thought, hurrah, another steward! twice as likely to appear in random kingdoms

-this is a card that offers twice as many choices as steward and though the difference between taking 1 to go from $4 to $5 on turn 7 and trashing a copper and buying a scheme is often gonna be negligible, probably, amulet is a card that favors the bestest players because you get to choose precisely which thing you want to do (see also: butcher)

-amulet costing less terminal space is, like, a fallacy right? you have to play terminal actions less often because they miss the reshuffle, but that means that 4 amulets have maybe the same effect as 3 stewards, and you could just buy 3 stewards and a village. i dunno

-i think we maybe need to figure out opening steward. how good is opening steward/steward? stef does it and seems to like to trash twice, and i'm content to obey blindly stef's every implicit recommendation. i like the idea of it, mostly because you can decide to trash two estates one turn and then draw 2/ +$2 the other time to buy a mountebank. amulet/amulet seems to lean towards trashing twice and then getting 2 $3s/$4s rather than a $5/$6 and a $2, and substituting either with silver seems to be stronger in general for the opening but allows less trashing of cards and whatever in the long term. these claims are all difficult to support and maybe very wrong. that's always fun!

-gaining silver is weird, there's plenty of cards that do that but this is the only card that lets you gain two of them per play without trashing anything (right?). that's really compelling for any slog sort of alt-vp, especially gardens (if gaining three cards per play, like beggar does, is a completely dominant thing, then 2 can't be thaaat bad, and plenty of money to spare) but it is maybe kinda crummy in engine games, i guess, it's maybe relevant early if you opened amulet/amulet but the village costs $5, or if you're considerably overdrawing, or if you like butchers and bought like 4 of them.

-amulet is solid. i have it at #5 among $3s, just under forager and steward. dae
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Aleimon Thimble

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2016, 07:34:58 pm »
0

We've discussed Amulet vs Steward in engines to great lengths before, so I won't go into too much detail there.

I do want to mention that Amulet/Feodum is a pretty insane combo that wasn't mentioned yet. It's only outclassed by Masterpiece and maybe Trader as a Feodum enabler.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2016, 10:29:36 pm »
0

-gaining silver is weird, there's plenty of cards that do that but this is the only card that lets you gain two of them per play without trashing anything (right?).
You can also gain multiple Silvers with Treasure Hunter.  Often, this isn't helpful, because you're trying to cycle your Traveller(s) faster.  I recall some games where either me or my opponents had to pass up playing a Treasure Hunter to avoid gaining 4+ Silvers (and as many as 8!).  Also, playing Treasure Trove is very similar to gaining two Silvers.

On the topic of Silver gaining; what cards really like Silver?  Feodum and Duke, of course.  Storyteller, I'd claim.  An excess of Silvers can be good with Counterfeit, I guess.  Bank, if you can increase your handsize.  Are there any other cards with strong Silver synergy?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 10:33:54 pm by aku_chi »
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2016, 02:56:31 am »
+1

Are there any other cards with strong Silver synergy?

Chapel.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2016, 03:22:06 am »
0

Versatility is a huge boon to any card, being able to fit it perfectly to your current situation.
That $1 might turn a late $7 into a Province.

But it does seem worse in engines than a lot of cards we can compare it with, like Steward.
When compared to Jack, I think I like Jack slightly better, because it helps getting $5 earlier and more often.

This still has its uses as a sort of Trade Route though.

Maybe it's important to note that if you want to trash, you have 5 cards on your second turn to choose from instead of 4 cards on your first turn, might not make a huge difference, but maybe it makes up for missing the shuffle sometimes.
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Infthitbox

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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2016, 09:29:53 am »
+8

Something that's been bugging me about large portions of this discussion (admittedly, I did this myself) is that I feel like we're getting caught up comparing Amulet to Steward and, to a lesser extent, Jack of All Trades. While this is somewhat helpful for understanding the roles of a card that we're all probably not as familiar with now (not being online and all), I feel its easy to fall into a trap where we think "this card isn't as good as Steward, therefore, something". But knowing that Amulet isn't as good as Steward in engine games or JoAT in money games doesn't help me if Amulet isn't in the supply with those cards. Even if I know that Trade Route < Amulet < Steward, it doesn't tell me a whole lot about how good it is, how many I want, etc in games where the comparison cards aren't there. I know its not intentional, but when the conclusions the discussion naturally lead to are "Card X isn't as good as Card Y in games of type φ", we miss a lot of understanding about the card.

Questions unanswered by these types of conclusions:

How many Amulets do I want in an action engine if its my only trashing and I never want to gain silvers with it?
How many Amulets do I want if the only trasher is a 5-cost that I can't open?

I know these questions are often context-dependent, but some guidelines about these types of questions would go a long way towards educating players who don't have a full understanding of these nuances and who otherwise will just know that its worse that Steward.
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Re: Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Amulet
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2016, 10:46:57 am »
+4

Something that's been bugging me about large portions of this discussion (admittedly, I did this myself) is that I feel like we're getting caught up comparing Amulet to Steward and, to a lesser extent, Jack of All Trades. While this is somewhat helpful for understanding the roles of a card that we're all probably not as familiar with now (not being online and all), I feel its easy to fall into a trap where we think "this card isn't as good as Steward, therefore, something". But knowing that Amulet isn't as good as Steward in engine games or JoAT in money games doesn't help me if Amulet isn't in the supply with those cards. Even if I know that Trade Route < Amulet < Steward, it doesn't tell me a whole lot about how good it is, how many I want, etc in games where the comparison cards aren't there. I know its not intentional, but when the conclusions the discussion naturally lead to are "Card X isn't as good as Card Y in games of type φ", we miss a lot of understanding about the card.

So I don't think I agree with the bolded part above (that the discussion comparing Amulet to Steward and Jack isn't helpful). I think it's very helpful, possibly some of the best discussion that can take place without the ability to actually play games and look at logs/videos. Why?

Well it plays a similar role in those decks, so knowing what you know about Steward/Jack and these comparisons can help you answer those questions you have. For example:

How many Amulets do I want in an action engine if its my only trashing and I never want to gain silvers with it?

If you're looking at a board where you would open double Steward for the purpose of thinning quickly, then yeah you should probably open double Amulet. Maybe you want a third Amulet if you feel like your draws are not letting you thin as much as you'd like (you would have this problem with Steward <3 #stewardisthebest <3) but all I needed to know to get me on the right track is comparing it to Steward.

Pretty much the same argument can be made for your other question by the same reasoning.

What if you wouldn't open double Steward? This means that you aren't concerned with thinning as quickly as possible, so you'd just get one Steward, right? Wait, I don't need your approval for this, I'm making this scenario up. Speak with authority, Adam! Ahem. I decree that on this new hypothetical board you've decided you'd only open with one Steward for thinning! Complaints may be directed to the circular file.

Well the pace of your trashing is less important to you. I'd get one Amulet here, maybe a second Amulet on the second shuffle if you want a little more pace, but I dunno I'm just sort of guessing what would be close to what Steward does.

I know these questions are often context-dependent, but some guidelines about these types of questions would go a long way towards educating players who don't have a full understanding of these nuances and who otherwise will just know that its worse that Steward.

So I hope you see my point that these guidelines are most easily explained by comparing the card to Steward. Steward has been around for like 8 years so that feels like a pretty valid reference point as long as you point out the differences (draw vs. gain a silver, missing shuffles, flexibility blah blah blah).

It's a similar story with Jack, though the last few posts here I think are just a little off in one area: if you're playing Amulet for the same reasons as you're playing Jack (so you have a money focus) then Jack's draw is a really, really big deal and I think that's being underestimated by a lot. You get defense from tons of attacks with this and that draw never stops being good for you economy. I mentioned this before and maybe I didn't say it strongly enough: Jack is much, much better than Amulet for Big Money and possibly even slogs.

This is why I compared Amulet to Hermit for money games, I feel like that's a much better comparison power-level wise. Sure, Amulet is in between Jack and Hermit, but it's gotta be much closer to Hermit than it is to Jack. Like, maybe Amulet is "Jack-lite" and Hermit can be "Lil' Jack"? There's gotta be a pun in here somewhere, like a Lil' Jon reference? (PPE: it's a meme, it's totally a meme. Unfortunately I'm no good at making memes so someone else will get all of the +1s for this. I just hope it gets posted in the meme thread and not here.) I dunno, I don't listen to rap, I'm more of a TSwift fan.


...and as an aside, you can see I made little quips and references in this post but pretty much all of the content was about Dominion. Isn't it a great post? I should get +1s from the quippy people AND the Dominion people!
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