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Episode 20: Apothecary

In this episode, Adam and Jake discuss Apothecary from the Alchemy expansion.

Kingdom at the end: Royal Blacksmith, Apothecary, Amulet, Oasis, Herald, Sea Hag, Spice Merchant, Apprentice, Contraband, Vampire

Another good episode, again I don't have much to say.

 

On the kingdom at the end, I don't think I agree with either of you really (though I'm not entirely sure what Jake is advocating). I get that the Apothecary deck looks really snazzy - you play apothecary, reveal some stuff, set up Herald, Herald into some good stuff, rinse, repeat, lather, etc. But I think there are two problems: First of all, to what end? You end up with a deck that can draw itself and... buy one Province per turn, most turns? And the other problem is how long it takes to get there. You need to buy a potion, like 3-4 Apothecaries, maybe 4ish Heralds, an Amulet, enough actual payload to be able to buy that province... this is like 18ish turns for 4 provinces if you're solitairing? Maybe you can do some tricks with Vampire/Amulet gaining silver to trash to SM for a buy to help out. But I'm not sure exactly how reliable this deck is going to be either - if you're trashing coppers, by the time you get a few provinces, you'll still probably draw your deck most turns, but you can easily dud out non-negligibly. I think it's basically just better to not trash coppers, or at least not many - you save time in gaining the other payload, you're drawing slightly better (though that's a pretty small difference). Anyway it still doesn't seem very good to me - my guess is you come close to making up the time you invest to building all the potion and apothecary stuff, but not really further. The big problem is that there just aren't all that stellar actions to herald, and there isn't a good source of +buy.

 

So what I'd advocate for is Sea Hag/Amulet (on a 5/2, vomit, then uh, I guess open Vampire maybe? Or if that isn't good - it's hard for me to tell either way - Hag/Nothing?). Then get another Amulet (I think, but maybe 1 is fine), a Vampire (I think? But I haven't played with this at all, nor the hexes, so maybe this part isn't good - not a huge deal; if it's really good, you can get a second), trash down a little, and move into lots of Silver (Gold when you can get it) and some Apprentices. And then just buy Provinces.

 

Of course both of those things are going to be sloooooooow and pretty weak in a vacuum, but there isn't much way around that I don't think. And the Hag has to slow you down, but I don't know there's much way around that. The curses I think really hurt the Apothecary strategy, as it just gums everything up, and it's not so super easy to get rid of them. It's possible that Bat is good enough that you actually want to skip the Hag in the mirror - but I doubt it. Anyway, I think more of a money-based strat seems better. Would love to test.

@WanderingWinder "(though I'm not entirely sure what Jake is advocating)"

 

Actually your next couple of paragraphs are a much more coherent and thought-out version of what I was getting at when I said "you can do other stuff here." Man, I'm insightful.

I think it's kind of close between going for Apothecary here and not, but given that 2 provinces per turn isn't terribly viable, everything else you're doing in either deck probably looks about the same, right?

 

Maybe minus the Heralds if you don't decide to go for Apothecary.

Roughly similar, yeah. As you say, Heralds are a thing with apothecary, and not otherwise, and the non-apothecary deck is probably keen on getting more silvers, but the broad strokes are fairly close.

So I did play a quick game against a bot last night (so this is the best data point ever) but the goal was to make sure the deck I had in my brain was remotely viable, which it was.

My idea is to open Potion/Amulet, aim for 3-4 Apothecaries, get a few Heralds, a second Amulet, one or two Vampires, and a Spice Merchant. Slowly thin all of the Coppers and gain enough Silvers to build up to potentially double Province turns. As the Coppers start to go, a Royal Blacksmith or two is really important to keep the draw up. A Sea Hag can be good if the opponent hasn't gone for Vampire/Bat, but if they have Bats around, I think the Bats could be looking for food so it's probably not that great.

Herald is the only village on the board, and with as many Silvers for payload as I think you need here, Apothecary seems pretty important to line up enough of them to use Royal Blacksmith as your source of draw.

I'll make sure we do so reps with a Sea Hag opening, and I'll make sure we try all combinations with and without Apothecary during testing.

Speaking of testing, WW, if you wanted to play any games on Friday (tomorrow) I'm pretty flexible on time. Tonight could also potentially work.

 

EDIT:

Quote from WanderingWinder on April 18, 2018, 7:24 PM

Vampire (I think? But I haven't played with this at all, nor the hexes, so maybe this part isn't good - not a huge deal; if it's really good, you can get a second),

Oh I wanted to mention this. In my opinion, Vampire is the strongest card in Nocturne, and I think most people would agree that it's certainly in the top two or three in the set. I gave it a 9/10, personally, and with a median of 8, it was the highest rated card in Nocturne according to my most recent power rankings poll.

Granted, that comes with the qualification that Nocturne didn't seem to have any super-mega-power cards and also didn't have any complete 100% duds.

Quote from Adam Horton on April 19, 2018, 9:13 AM

So I did play a quick game against a bot last night (so this is the best data point ever) but the goal was to make sure the deck I had in my brain was remotely viable, which it was.

My idea is to open Potion/Amulet, aim for 3-4 Apothecaries, get a few Heralds, a second Amulet, one or two Vampires, and a Spice Merchant. Slowly thin all of the Coppers and gain enough Silvers to build up to potentially double Province turns. As the Coppers start to go, a Royal Blacksmith or two is really important to keep the draw up. A Sea Hag can be good if the opponent hasn't gone for Vampire/Bat, but if they have Bats around, I think the Bats could be looking for food so it's probably not that great.

Herald is the only village on the board, and with as many Silvers for payload as I think you need here, Apothecary seems pretty important to line up enough of them to use Royal Blacksmith as your source of draw.

I'll make sure we do so reps with a Sea Hag opening, and I'll make sure we try all combinations with and without Apothecary during testing.

Speaking of testing, WW, if you wanted to play any games on Friday (tomorrow) I'm pretty flexible on time. Tonight could also potentially work.

 

EDIT:

Quote from WanderingWinder on April 18, 2018, 7:24 PM

Vampire (I think? But I haven't played with this at all, nor the hexes, so maybe this part isn't good - not a huge deal; if it's really good, you can get a second),

Oh I wanted to mention this. In my opinion, Vampire is the strongest card in Nocturne, and I think most people would agree that it's certainly in the two two or three in the set. I gave it a 9/10, personally, and with a median of 8, it was the highest rated card in Nocturne according to my most recent power rankings poll.

Granted, that comes with the qualification that Nocturne didn't seem to have any super-mega-power cards and also didn't have any complete 100% duds.

Good to know.

 

I probably won't have time tonight, but hit me up tomorrow and we should be able to find a time to smash this board apart.