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Davio

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Everyday I'm Shuffling
« on: January 24, 2012, 06:02:14 am »
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Reference: LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem

One of the great things about playing Dominion online instead of in real life is that you don't have to shuffle all the time. This doesn't mean that you don't have to pay attention to when your deck is shuffled by the computer. In fact, it's very important to know where your good cards are at any given time.

The first rule of shuffling is:
You want to shuffle when most of your good cards are in your discard pile. When those good cards are in your hand, play area or left in your draw pile, you don't want to shuffle.

This is very trivial, but I'll still talk about it with some examples.

Example 1
Assume your hand is Mountebank-Witch-Copper-Copper-Copper, there is one card left in your draw pile and you know it's a Platinum. What do you play? There are a bunch of Curses left and it's midgame.
The correct answer is Mountebank. If you play your Witch, you will draw the Platinum, but also trigger a reshuffle since you need to draw an extra card. The cards you play this turn will go to a fresh discard pile and you have to go through your entire deck before you see either of the Cursers again.

Example 2
Your hand is Navigator-Gold-Platinum-Copper-Estate with 4 cards left in your draw pile. Do you play the Navigator in order to get a Colony or will you go for the Platinum without playing Navigator? Playing Navigator will trigger a reshuffle and you have to be aware of this. Whether you actually play it for the Colony depends on the stage of the game. If it's early, getting another Platinum without causing it to miss the reshuffle can be huge. Later in the game, that Colony is too hard to pass on. With Navigator that Colony misses the reshuffle and this is a good thing. This leads me to the second rule of reshuffling.


The second rule of shuffling is:
Early in the game, you usually want to shuffle as much as possible. During the greening stage, you don't want to shuffle at all if possible.

The beginning of the game is comprised of building yourself up to be able to buy those juicy green cards like Province and Colony. This means your deck's power will increase during those first turns. The more you reshuffle, the more you're able to buy those good action and treasure cards. Later on, when your deck is clogged with greens, you don't want them mixed in with your valuable money and actions.

So Chancellor must be a very good card then? Well, if you're somehow guaranteed that you'll draw Chancellor in your first hand after every shuffle, then yes, Chancellor is a good card. But the later you see it, the less useful it is and it's also a terminal, so most of the time there are much better options around.


So the basics of shuffling are not all that interesting and they flow logically from the game state and where your good cards are. What I do find interesting is the amount of cards that can cause unwanted shuffles. I'll talk about a lot of them and tell you why you have to look out for them.


The Durations
Duration cards are in a league of their own. Any time you play a Duration in between shuffles, it will obviously miss the shuffle, since you have to let it out there. This is not necessarily a bad thing, you can overinvest in Wharves and not have them collide as much once they get going properly. Caravan is a less than great card, because its ability to miss reshuffles.


The Drawers: Cards with * don't fit exactly, but well enough
I'm not talking about pants.

Draw 5: Envoy*, Embassy - Because of their immense draw, they can very very easily trigger reshuffles. The good thing is that after you've played these cards, your discard pile will already have 10 cards, meaning you're close to seeing them again anyway. They can power through unwanted shuffles because of their huge draw.

Draw 4: Council Room, Minion, Tribute* - It's rare that you're not going to play such a huge drawing card such as Council Room because you're worried about the reshuffle: you'll want the cards and the +Buy anyway. Minion is a weird case since it draws 4, but you have to discard first. Be careful of your Minion chains though, because if you've played 4 this turn, you want to keep them ready. Tribute can draw up to 4, but you don't know that before you play it.

Draw 3: Smithy, Torturer, Nobles, Courtyard*, Warehouse, Rabble, Menagerie*, Margrave, Stables, Governor - Menagerie is a weird case, since it'll draw 1 more often than it does 3. You have to pay special attention to Warehouse however. This is because you're always discarding the bad cards. If you go past the reshuffle with Warehouse, all those bad cards will be shuffled in again and you have to go through several turns of misery before you see those Warehouses again.

Draw 2: Moat, Laboratory, Witch, Secret Chamber* (as Reaction), Masquerade, Shanty Town*, Steward, Wishing Well, Tribute, Ghost Ship, Wharf, Alchemist, Vault, Followers, Trusty Steed, Young Witch, Oracle, Spice Merchant, Inn, Hunting Party - Quite a list. Because of their limited draw, these cards offer other benefits. There are some nice attacks here and some good cantrips. If the bonus is limited, you really have to wonder if it's worth a reshuffle. Take for instance Shanty Town or using Trusty Steed as a Shanty Town. Inn is in its own league since it triggers reshuffles when bought. Hunting Party deserves a special mention. It's too easy to brainlessly play all of your Hunting Parties. But Hunting Parties discard your bad cards already in hand and you have to time your HPs so that you leave everything in your discard pile for your next hand.

I won't cover all the simple +1 Card cantrips.

Draw X: Scrying Pool, Library, Jack of all Trades, Watchtower, Crossroads, Apprentice - Scrying Pool is such a good card that you'll rarely not play it, never mind the reshuffle. Some of the others let you get back to 6, so you'll always know exactly how many you're drawing. Same with Crossroads and Apprentice.


While these drawing cards make it very clear that they will cause a reshuffle because they have to dig deep into your pile, there is another class of sneaky triggers:


The Revealers
Revealers make you look at or reveal the top X cards of your or your opponent's deck. When used on your opponent's deck, it can be especially nasty in causing an unwanted reshuffle for him.

Reveal 5: Navigator, Cartographer, Apothecary Navigator is quite a clear example. Its "reveal 5" can be a real setback. Cartographer "touches" the first 5 cards of your draw pile and that's a lot. You won't always see it coming because of its sneakiness, but when you're messing with the top 5 cards of your deck at a time AND discarding bad ones, that's when you'll get bad reshuffles. Don't overcartograph. Once the chaff has been cleared out of your deck, stop! Apothecary is sneaky as well, because it draws 1 card first and reveals the next 4 cards, making it a total of 5. Besides, it can't do anything once it's found a bad patch of VP cards, making your next turn less spectacular.

Reveal 4: Scout, Harvest - Scout is a bad card anyway, so you'll rarely use it. Harvest looks good and can be a solid Gold+ when used at the right times, be careful though.

Reveal 3: Lookout, Rabble - Lookout is a dubious card anyway, it speeds you up in the beginning, but you don't want to forcibly trash a Pgood card later... Rabble's attack can be pretty nasty, coupled with an unwanted reshuffle it can be very cruel indeed.

Reveal 2: Thief, Tribute, Pirate Ship, Oracle, Noble Brigand - All attacks here (except for Tribute) which can cause nasty reshuffles to other players, but that's probably not the reason you're playing them.

The "Reveal 1"s like Spy, Jack of all Trades and Duchess are not that interesting.

Reveal X: Farming Village, Adventurer, Golem, Saboteur,  Loan, Venture, Fortune Teller - These are hard to gauge, because you never know just how deep they will have to dig. Sometimes you just want them to dig up everything and put your entire deck in the discard pile like the Golem - Counting House combo. As far as Farming Village, Loan and Venture are concerned: the card they will find is usually not that far away. Farming Village - Tunnel is a horrible combo for this reason.


Parting Thoughts
There are a lot of cards that can mess with your reshuffles. Pay close attention to them. Always ask yourself if the benefit of the card is enough to trigger a possibly bad reshuffle. If you're playing a Lab chain and after 4 Labs you're already at $8 without +Buys, you want to get as close as possible to the reshuffle without triggering it.

Carefully manipulating these shuffles can mean the difference between a glorified win and a frustrating loss.


More Info
Take a look at some of WanderingWinder's videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/WanderingWinder?feature=watch, in some of them he opts (not) to play certain cards, because of the reshuffle.

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 08:08:25 am »
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I think you could edit the article to give a separate section on "deck mismanagement", specifically giving yourself a draw pile full of rubbish. This is currently spread across a number of sections. This is most important when you have many drawing cards in play and they will all go into the discard pile. Hunting parties, minions, stables are the most obvious along with golems, although golems can also get discarded. Once that is established you can describe how loans and ventures will seek out cards and threaten to spoil your good management of the draw deck.

Cellars are worth mentioning since they can discard a perfect number of cards to manage shuffles. It is a big advanatage.
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ecq

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 11:39:10 am »
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Thanks for this.  I've been hoping this topic would be discussed with this kind of depth.

I think it could use some concrete examples, showing what the draw and discard piles look like before and after playing a chain of Hunting Parties or similar.

Also, you may want to mention that paying attention to the shuffle is important even without +cards.  When feasible, it's best to start greening immediately after a shuffle, for instance.  Picking up a powerful card before your second shuffle vs after means that you will probably get to play it earlier, and you'll likely play it one more time than you would have otherwise.

Your buys also influence deck size, which in turn messes with the shuffle math.  This can matter in the early game.  Opening Witch / - means there's a better than even chance of your Witch missing your second shuffle, for instance.  The odds are 1/6 with, say, Witch / Fool's Gold.
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jotheonah

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 06:23:49 pm »
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I think you missed Cellar for Draw X?
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Razzishi

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 06:40:08 pm »
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I don't understand the comment about Warehouse.  If it forces you to reshuffle, you'll be doing that before you discard.  With Cellar on the other hand, you sometimes have the chance the draw the exact same cards you discarded because you have to reshuffle right after you discard.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 06:56:41 pm »
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I don't understand the comment about Warehouse.  If it forces you to reshuffle, you'll be doing that before you discard.  With Cellar on the other hand, you sometimes have the chance the draw the exact same cards you discarded because you have to reshuffle right after you discard.
Best I can make out is that if you play a bunch of warehouses, THEN reshuffle, the stuff you discarded gets shuffled in. I guess. Not sure what the special point is though, exactly.

I wish I knew off the top of my head which videos I do this in. I'd guess rather a lot, like 10-20% of the videos. This only actually comes up in maybe 5% of games (just a guess off the top of my head), but if I do this, I probably think it's extra instructive, and it definitely ups the possibility of my putting it up on the youtube.
One thing I'd add is that it's important to know what cards you've passed in your deck and what are left to come. Mid to late game, maybe just a general idea will pretty well suit you. But in the early game, you want to know precisely. What do I mean? I'm thinking mainly of the first reshuffle. Turn 4. If I've got a pawn, I need to know whether I've passed my other action (play for card and a money) or not (card and action). Again turn 4, now I've got steward and 4 coppers. I'm planning on mostly going big money, so trashing is not a strong option. Do I play for +$2 or +2 cards? Well, if I've kept track and know that the last two cards are coppers, there's a good chance I play for +2 cards, cycle that puppy and still have my gold. But if there's one or more estates (exactly one estate, I have to think how good are the 5-costs), then I need that gold and play it for +$2. Stuff like this comes up, well, decently often. And it's important to know, especially then, when it's early (yeah, wishing well is the obvious one here, if you get it turn 4, you should absolutely be able to nail down that last card in your deck if you want to).

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 01:35:04 pm »
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I think the point is, if you play say 2 Warehouses out of 3 in your deck, then you've probably sifted most of the bad cards out and are left with reasonably good cards in hand. Playing one more Warehouse, and not only are you drawing from that pile of bad cards, but there's no warehouses left for you to get through it more quickly.
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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
But not strictly better, because the spinoff can have a different cost than the expansion.

Davio

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 01:44:02 pm »
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I think the point is, if you play say 2 Warehouses out of 3 in your deck, then you've probably sifted most of the bad cards out and are left with reasonably good cards in hand. Playing one more Warehouse, and not only are you drawing from that pile of bad cards, but there's no warehouses left for you to get through it more quickly.
That's indeed what I meant. Cartographer also has this ability. It not only groups good cards together, it also groups bad cards together in your discard pile. If you're not careful, you have to draw from that pile your next 2/3 turns.

I will probably come back to this article with some good examples, but don't have the time at the moment.
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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 04:59:01 pm »
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Thanks for this article! I'll start doing solitaire games with these cards to try and get a feel for doing these in regular games on semi-auto without making gigantic mistakes through neglecting it. i needed this guide but wish there were examples showing some of the cards and also 1-2 of the +1 card ones.
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jotheonah

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2012, 04:33:02 pm »
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Today, thanks to this thread, was the first time I got really excited to see a hand of Province, Province, Province, Estate, Highway.  There were no cards in my deck.  ;D
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Davio

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 06:31:37 am »
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I take it you didn't play the Highway?  ;D

I think Theory is the one who said: A good and a bad turn is better than 2 mediocre turns.
While this statement is not always true for the opening and mid-game, it's certainly true for those endgame decisive Province buys. If you can get a crucial $8 to get your 5th Province, it's really hard for your opponent to catch up. Not only does he need the remaining Province(s), also 2 extra Duchies.

And we all know the feeling of getting multiple $7's in a row instead of $8 and $5.

I guess your next runthrough of your deck was a pretty good one?
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jotheonah

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 02:45:19 pm »
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It was basically like I got to go through my deck twice without greening.

Looking back at the log, it says that I drew that hand immediately after reshuffling, which is not how I had remembered it. Kind of amounts to the same though - a whole run through my deck without seeing those Provinces, which led to a double Province buy a few turns later.
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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 05:40:59 am »
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The underrated aspect of this idea is that a high-cost card you bought (particularly early in the game) will not get played for fear of missing the shuffle and such. The problem is, by not playing it, you've already gone through a deck without playing it once and are at risk of not playing it again until a few hands later, possibly even near the end of your deck again. Without studying it too intensely, I'd wager the better the card, the less likely you should avoid playing it to trigger the shuffle. As you mentioned (and it's worth reiterating), you usually want to shuffle as much as possible until the late/greening stage.
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heatthespurs

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 05:58:25 am »
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I think understanding the concept discussed here make people appreciate more about pearl diver: it saves a good card from missing a reshuffle
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Davio

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 06:12:59 am »
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Well, PD obviously has the major drawback that once it's found a useless card on the bottom, it's no better than say, a Great Hall.
Spy also has this problem, but with your opponent's deck instead.

PD could have been so much sweeter as a $3 cost that lets you look at the bottom 3 cards and lets you move 1 to the top or something.
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petrie911

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2012, 08:18:30 am »
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At the very least, it should give the option of discarding the bottom card.

Actually, is there any scenario where you'd want to leave a card on the bottom?  Counting House, maybe?
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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2012, 08:28:00 am »
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At the very least, it should give the option of discarding the bottom card.

Actually, is there any scenario where you'd want to leave a card on the bottom?  Counting House, maybe?

In most cases you don't want CH to be at the bottom, because that usually means that it will find a freshly reshuffled deck. You might want to keep a terminal there, if you have not enough actions to play it along with the ones in hand. Maybe a Province/Estate, if you have reasons to believe that you can collide it with Tournament/Baron, but usually putting them on top should also work in this cases. Maybe not if you have information about the top of you deck.
Also in very small draw piles you might want to keep a Gold at the bottom. For example if you have a Cantrip in hand, a Cantrip and a Gold in discard you might want to draw Cantrip->Cantrip->Gold(reshuffle) rather than Cartrip->Gold, and Cantrip missing the shuffle.
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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2012, 08:52:22 am »
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Pearl Diver really isn't all that bad, it generally doesn't hurt and there are a number of situations where a dirt cheap cantrip is all you want, that's what it is, a dirt cheap cantrip.  It has some neat combos with a few things and occasionally helps with shuffle luck.

Native Village + PD is fun, sift through the bottom of your deck til you find a victory card, then pseudo-trash it.
PD are friends to the goons, the peddlers and the conspirators of the world, they help menageries, HoP, are ok in gardens and especially vineyards rushes.  It's true, they're very rarely better than a pawn or hamlet, but ho hum, cards can't all be as good as each other. In real life, PD are a little easier, cos once you know that you don't care about the bottom card on your deck, you just play them for +1 card, +1 action to speed things up a little.

Improving it slightly and making it $3 misses the point of it in my opinion.
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mDuo13

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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 09:07:51 pm »
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I've been thinking about this subject, and attacks.

Take Sea Hag for example. Assume that the curses have already run out and both players are left with Sea Hags they can't trash from their decks. When you have a Sea Hag and a spare action, is it a good idea to play it out? (Same goes for Thief or Pirate Ship attacks vs. a moneyless deck, although that's a little different since you'd probably rather use the Pirate Ship for money if you had the chance.)

My impression has been that it's a crapshoot, but generally it's not worthwhile. If you hit a Curse or Estate (very likely in these scenarios) then you've just helped their next hand. If you hit a nice action or a Gold, well, sucks for your opponent.

I suppose if the game is late (as is likely if the Curses have run out) and they're greening, then it might be more beneficial to force their deck to cycle faster. But if they're still buying Golds and struggling to make points before the game ends on piles or something, it might be a good call.
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Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2012, 11:18:21 pm »
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You leave the Counting House at the bottom if it's not time to call it up for action yet. If you have a bunch of Pearl Divers, you get to control when the Counting House moves to the top.
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