Caleb Stanford Blog

Dominion Online tournament 2019 (Round 4)


Another post about the Dominion Online tournament! I’ve somehow made it on to the top 16, after a close match that required a tiebreaker 7th game. Previous post about round 3 is here.

Despite my good standings this year, I’m not one of the top 16 players in Dominion online; I’m not even close to one of the top 16 players who entered the tournament. The reason I’m still in this is partly due to luck: I should have been up against one of the best players in round 3, but they were defeated in round 2 in a major upset. ( — Insert disparaging remarks about single elimination tournaments here — )

For each kingdom, try to guess the most valuable cards, i.e. which cards are most important to the best strategy. For reference, a list of all Dominion cards can be found here. Good luck!

Game 1

Kingdom 1


Most valuable card(s): Page, Den of Sin, and Counterfeit. Honorable mention to Doctor.

First observations: The only draw is Den of Sin and Warrior, so we definitely want a lot of Den of Sins, and probably some Warriors. The only estate trashing is Doctor, so we want to open it or buy it soon after.

I incorrectly pegged Page as relatively weak, since we don't really need the +Actions that Champion gives. But I'm learning that Page can be good even if Champion isn't very exciting. This is due to the Warrior attack, the Warrior draw, and Hero. Hero can gain a Gold or a Counterfeit; Gold and Counterfeit go really well together.

Additionally, spectators pointed out that I should have paid attention to the interaction between Champion and Pawn. Champion turns Pawn into +1 card, +1 coin, which is a Peddler for 2, and can also be used as +1 card, +1 buy or whatever. Totally worth. In summary, by all accounts, the Page line is really good here.

I lost this game, partly due to unfortunate luck: my opponent's Warrior trashed mine, putting me quite behind on the Page line. But my big mistake was never buying Counterfeit. Even though Doctor is sufficient trashing on its own, Counterfeit is still really important because it spikes economy, and clears out unwanted Silvers and Golds.

Game 2

Kingdom 2


Most valuable card(s): Inventor and King's Court.

Just from seeing these two cards, we know this is going to be a race to line up the giant megaturn. Playing King's Court on Inventor a few times in one turn should be able to pile out with a huge number of points. The only additional thing the deck needs to work is some kind of draw, and there's plenty of that: Wild Hunt, Diplomat, and Magpie.

Also, Wishes from Magic Lamp are extra gains on the megaturn, even Provinces if necessary. We should supplement this with some trashing (Tmog and Butcher), and definitely buy Citadel (Citadel + opening the turn with King's Court feels amazing), but that's basically the deck.

This ended with me winning on Turn 10, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible to win earlier than that with better draws.

Game 3

Kingdom 3


Most valuable card(s): The ultimate Seer + Patron combo!

Seer draw is often very strong, and on this board it seems especially so, because of 2-4 costs like Wishing Well and Patron. Actually this is something of a 3-way combo: Seer combos with Patron for +coffers; Wishing Well combos with Seer because if Seer *doesn't* draw, then we can rearrange to guarantee a Wishing Well hit, and because Seer picks up Wishing Well; and finally, Wishing Well can also reveal Patron for coffers.

Normally in Seer decks I get a lot of Silvers. Here Patron and Wishing Well seem strictly better. (Also Silver is -2 points due to Bandit Fort.) Of course, you want Doctor early on for trashing. The board is buy-limited but thankfully we have Pouch, so we can build to double-province and make use of all the coffers that Patron has been giving us.

Game 4

Kingdom 4


Most valuable card(s): Knights. Honorable mention to Pixie and Peasant.

This might be the most challenging board. I lost, but I still am not completely sure what I did wrong. What's clear is that the Knights attack will be devastating. Without Knights, Peasant would dominate the board as usual; but a lucky Knights hit can kill the opponent's Soldier, Fugitive, Disciple, or Teacher. Because of this, I actually elected to not open Peasant, instead trying to hit 5 to buy Knights as early as possible (I think I opened Gladiator / Silver or something).

The thing is, there's no draw here except the +Card that you can get from Teacher (or certain Pixie boons). And I figured Teacher just wouldn't be fast enough when all your cards are getting trashed from Knights. I ended up having a lead of 3-4 knights over my opponent, but my opponent managed to hold on to a Disciple and a Teacher which my knights did not trash, and these were able to gain enough cards and draw to win. Teacher put the +Card on Market Square, and I think the opponent only ever had about 2 Market Squares that weren't trashed, but maybe even that is enough draw to give them the advantage? Or maybe I was just unlucky, not hitting Disciple with my Knights. I did get Peasant as well (on the second shuffle) and a Disciple of my own, but skipped Teacher. I really would have expected to win with such a lead on Knights, even though I did not have any draw in my deck.

Game 5

Kingdom 5


Most valuable card(s): Cathedral and Black Market.

As usual, we want to buy Cathedral ASAP. The only reason we skip Cathedral would be if there is no way to gain extra cards (here there's Nomad Camp and Black Market), or if there are severe discard attacks and not a good way to mitigate them (here, Villain does hurt, but not enough to matter).

We both opened Cathedral / Black Market. In the black market deck I looked mainly for villages, better draw, and powerful cards in general, but I think I neglected buying Stables too many times; my opponent ended up with 7 of them to my 3, and although I had a few good villages I didn't have draw to go with it. So that's probably why I lost, but it could also be due to just unlucky black market reveals.

Game 6

Kingdom 6


Most valuable card(s): Procession and Fortress. Honorable mention: Engineer.

Procession/Fortress is pretty high up in terms of broken combos. I won on turn 9 by piling. You can play Procession on Fortress, gain Rabbles, play Rabbles, play Procession Engineer to gain 3 cards at a time, etc. I believe my last turn (which required several minutes of thinking) was to use Engineer to gain two Horse Traders, then draw and play them to buy out the Engineer pile. Empty piles: Engineer, Procession, Rabble.

Game 7

Kingdom 7


Most valuable card(s): Hermit. Maybe also inheritance.

So there isn't much draw here. Technically, Cursed Village is draw, but it doesn't have any cards to go with it; no way to build a deck that isn't based on treasures. That leaves Madman as the only draw, which makes Hermit quite strong (and Hermit is already a great way to trash estates).

I expected this to be mainly a money board, with a few Hermit/Madmans --- what else can you do? But the deck I ended up playing (which won) actually used Inheritance on Sage. This was mainly because I had the opportunity to buy Inheritance with 2 estates left in my deck, so this is basically like trashing two estates, which is great. Inheritance on Sage is a bit less degenerate than when you have a deck full of Sages, since the Estates do not draw other Estates. And then I had a bunch of Markets and Golds, so Estate is generally guaranteed to draw up either Market or Gold. I guess the points from Estate are also just enough to tip the game; I probably had 7 or 8 Estates, which is more than a Province.