Caleb Stanford


Dominion Online tournament 2019 (Round 5)


games dominion

Well, I won another round of the Dominion Online tournament…which means I have to make another post. It was another close match: at first I won 3 games, then my opponent won 3 games, so it went to the game 7 tiebreaker. I’m now in the top 8 (top 4 places get a small cash prize). Previous post about round 4 is 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

Druid has Swamp’s Gift, Field’s Gift, and Earth’s Gift set aside.

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Masquerade, Druid.

These are some of the best gifts that Druid can have -- and Masquerade and Will-o-Wisp are the only real draw. Masquerade is great trashing early as usual. So we build to an engine that has a lot of Wisps. Settlers is kinda draw as well, if you are clever. The engine is mostly Masquerade, Crown, and Worker's Village; payload is Druid, Armory, and later either Crown on money or Gold.

Guide is pretty important here to avoid dudding. And Borrow gives you a 4-card hand so it makes Guide especially important. I won because my opponent did not get guide, so they dudded after attempting a pile-out and made it easy for me to pile out. I didn't get Armory (so my only gaining for engine pieces was Druid's Earth's Gift) -- according to chat commentators, I really should have gotten Armory.

Game 2

Kingdom 2

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Chapel, Vassal.

Chapel to trash down extremely quickly, then buy a Squire, then basically transition immediately to Vassal payload. My opponent's big misplay was getting a Squire for 5 which just isn't a fast way to build (Market is strictly better). I didn't build optimally, probably needed to buy more Vassals and I bought Nobles or Squire instead, but I was still pretty ahead the entire game after that.

Game 3

Kingdom 3

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Artificer and Cursed Village.

There is no trashing, but these two cards combo beautifully, and there's lots of other draw-to-X support: Lighthouses (which you may need anyway), Scheme to set up the turns, and Horse Traders.

I won partly by luck, but maybe also because I held on to the Flag from Flagbearer the whole game, and got Necromancers which my opponent didn't. My opponent won the Cursed Villages 7 to 3, but then failed to pile out on the critical turn, which left a pile out for me.

Game 4

Kingdom 4

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Urchin, Haggler, Den of Sin.

I threw the game on turn 3: we both opened double Urchin for trashing, but I failed to use the Urchin/Save interaction to make my Urchins line up on the 2nd shuffle, and then they unluckily failed to line up on the 3rd shuffle as well. As commentators pointed out, the game was basically over from the moment I failed to save Urchin while my opponent correctly did so to line up Urchins. Beyond this, the way you play the game is to get just a few Den of Sins and a Haggler, then Province early using Haggler to gain an extra Den of Sin on each turn, or a Gold.

Game 5

Kingdom 5

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Tournament, Seer, Pathfinding. Also, Remake and Gear.

This is a race for Tournament. We want to open Gear/Remake, trash Estates -> Silvers on the second shuffle, and then use Gear to line up 8 as soon as possible. The deck we build after that will be mostly Seers drawing up Tournament, Silver, and/or Caravan Guard (if you even buy Caravan Guard over Silver). We both played it well, but even though I got to Province first (I was player 1), my opponent lined up Province and Tournament first, thereby gaining Trusty Steed, soon after getting Followers, and sealing the game. That's just how Tournament games go sometimes.

Game 6

Kingdom 6

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Quarry and Squire. (And Chapel.)

I got outplayed badly here. Note to self: Quarry *loves* any card that can give a lot of +Buy. The right strategy is to open Chapel and then get 2 Quarries, 2 Squires, and trash everything else as soon as possible. Once you have this deck, you can basically buy out the entire board. For example, if you play 2 Lost Cities, then 3-4 Squires all for +Buy. That's 7-9 buys, and everything is free or almost-free with Quarry. You can get the entire stack of Lost Cities, two Treasure Maps if you want economy, or just buy more Squires for insane pile pressure. (I did some stuff with an early Dismantle instead of a second Quarry, which just isn't fast enough. Nothing else on this board is fast enough to beat Quarry/Squire.)

Game 7

Kingdom 7

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Platinum, Sculptor, Ironmonger, and Duplicate.

There's no draw; this is basically a money board where we want to get to Platinum and Colony as soon as possible. Ironmonger works pretty well with money, as does 1-3 Sculptors (but not any more), because they can gain Silvers and later Ironmongers when there are spare villagers. Later in the game it's nice to pick up lots of Duplicates for points, which can also threaten piling Duplicate or Duchy piles. I got several Ventures; it wasn't terrible, but spectators didn't like it that much. I mostly won because although my opponent got several Platinums faster than me, I was lucky enough to hit 11 a few more times and my opponent's Platinums missed the shuffle. Once you have a points lead there are lots of ways to keep it; Salt the Earth aggressively on Colony is good, as is gaining Duplicate with Sculptor and then putting it on the mat for pile pressure.

There is some speculation here about whether you can play towards Duchy/Duke by building a strange deck with Procession, Duplicate, Sculptor, and even Rogue. This seems interesting, but without trashing I wasn't willing to try it, and I think the money thing just wins because Colonies are a lot of points. Without Colony, I would definitely go for Duchy/Duke here.

Dominion Online tournament 2019 (Round 4)


games dominion

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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

Spoiler:

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.

Dominion Online tournament 2019 (Round 3)


games dominion

I finished 3.5 to 2.5 in round 3 of the Dominion Online tournament! So I’ve moved on to round 4. Here’s the post for round 2. Below are the kingdoms – 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

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Pixie and Remodel.

There is not a lot going on on this board, with no draw except Experiment and certain Pixie Boons. So basically you play with a lot of Pixies, maybe some Wandering Minstrels and Rogues, and just get Provinces. Remodel is great because it gains Pixies or trashes Estate into Experiment, or it can gain Province.

Because the board is pretty draw-limited, you also want to get Raider for the attack. It also helps spike Province easily, and can be remodeled to a Province on the last turn.

Game 2

Kingdom 2

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Inventor, Magic Lamp, and Stables.

Inventor is of course really important here: even if we don't build to the Inventor megaturn, it gives us massive control over the piles (enabling a 3-pile if opponent isn't careful). I won this game in 10 turns on a 3-pile. Triggering Magic Lamp early is also very important, for the tempo; you can even threaten to exchange Wishes for Provinces if necessary with Inventor. Finally, Stables is the draw here, so even though playing several Inventors is the end goal, mainly you buy a lot of Stables (and some Farming Villages).

Game 3

Kingdom 3

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): This one is hard. Maybe Butcher and Rats. Possible Honorable Mention to Bandit Camp and Spices.

There is no way to draw: even though Courtyard is technically draw, here the only village is Bandit Camp, which adds a Spoils to your deck, so that Courtyard + Bandit Camp can't actually draw deck effectively.

I lost this game. I elected to play mainly with Rats, Butcher, and Spices, with 1 Soothsayer. The idea is that Rats lets me trash starting cards and then can be sacrificed to Butcher into provinces; Spices gives coffers to help Butcher work and is generally good with money strategies anyway; and Soothsayer gains Golds which can be turned to Provinces with Butcher, while also attacking the opponent. My opponent got a bunch of Bandit Camps and had many Spoils, and was able to spike enough provinces to win with that.

I am not sure if I just didn't start Provincing early enough, or if Bandit Camp is actually a really key card here. I think that Butcher/Rats works very well. I also think Spices works well in that deck. But maybe you don't need Soothsayer at all, and you just buy Bandit Camps and Courtyards to kind of draw your Butchers more easily, and you don't mind junking the deck with Spoils because you can just Province if your hand is full of Spoils.

Game 4

Kingdom 4

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Engineer is *really* good. After that, probably Sauna/Avanto.

Draw on this board is Experiment, Sauna/Avanto, and Vault. Experiment is great because we can gain it with Engineer, so we definitely want that. But Sauna/Avanto is also the only trashing, and the Sauanas can be rushed pretty quickly with Engineer. So we both went for it, and I think that's the right decision. Vault for draw is just too expensive (it's kind of like a Moat for 5).

Engineer is incredible on this board. My opponent was way ahead, getting 3 Sauanas and 3 Avantos whereas I only had 2 of each. Their key mistake was trashing their Engineers and not getting more of them. Engineer can gain Experiment for draw, Villages for actions, Merchants for economy, and Squire for gains (Squire gains Silvers for Keep points if necessary, or it just gives you enough +buy to pile out). If you have several Engineers (I actually only had 2, but I probably should have gotten more), they threaten piling extremely effectively because you can trash them on the final turn for twice as many gains. The Experiment pile is easy to empty, and of course Sauna/Avanto is already empty, so you only need to empty one more pile.

Also, the Keep points are important -- that's partly what might enable a pileout with Engineer gains.

Game 5

Kingdom 5

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Hunting Party, Magic Lamp, and Sewers.

Sewers is the only trashing, so we want to use it early with either Trade Route or Death Cart (I'm not sure which is better to be honest) to trash down. After that, we just want a lot of hunting parties for draw (it seems to make more sense than Seer here, as we won't have a lot of cards in the 2-to-4 cost range). As usual, we want to trigger Magic Lamp as fast as possible, because it spikes tempo and gives us a lot of Hunting Parties. At some point we want a single Merchant Guild so we have two buys.

I lost this because I messed up the opening -- buying Secret Cave / Silos, which just doesn't make sense. I think I would now favor Secret Cave / Silver or Sewers / Death Cart. Sewers / Trade Route is fine, as well. Later on I got both Trade Route and Death Cart for Sewers, which was bad; I should have only gotten one of the two.

Game 6

Kingdom 6

Spoiler:

Most valuable card(s): Stonemason and Scrying Pool.

We need Treasurer and/or Monastery to trash. What makes Monastery better than usual is that you can gain 3 cards with a Stonemason buy, and thus trash quite quickly. Then you can also be gaining 2 Scrying Pools and once, to have the Scrying Pool engine up and running much more quickly than usual.

But that's not why Stonemason is probably the best card here. Once you have several Scrying Pools, Stonemason allows for very efficient gaining and should enable an early win. We can trash, for example, a City or Gold into Blessed Villages, or trash Silver or Potion into 2 Stonemasons, then use Scrying Pool to draw up the Stonemasons and repeat. We can also trash Gold into two Duchies, then use Treasurer to gain back the Gold. So there are a number of different possible tricks, but the driving force behind it is Stonemason.

« Newer Posts Older Posts »