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Episode 35: Overdraw

In this episode, Adam and Jake summarize the principles of overdraw in Dominion.

Kingdom at the end: Fishing Village, Workshop, Cemetery, Duplicate, Magpie, Nomad Camp, Remodel, Villa, Margrave, Trading Post

Did you take over management of the Dominion Strategy blog?  I thought you might've.  I always thought you should manage it, because you were the only person with an active Dominion blog, which I think is far and away the best indicator.  Not that I had a problem with BA and Wero.

On overdraw: I forget if you mentioned this, but overdraw for reliability is most important when you have cards that individually draw a lot.  I think you mentioned City Quarter, but I would also give a shout-out to Hunting Grounds, Royal Blacksmith, and Storyteller.  The reason being that you need fewer of these cards to draw your deck, but if you have fewer copies then you're less likely to start with them in hand.

Kingdom at end: I don't agree with pushing hard for Margrave in the opener.  I think I'd want Workshop and Remodel, to thin down as hard as possible with cemeteries.  Then I'd try to gain all the Magpies.

A perfect game would look like this:
T1-T2: Remodel/Workshop
T3-T4: Trash 8 cards with 2 cemeteries
T5: Gain a Villa and Magpie
T6: Play magpie to gain magpie, and gain 2 more magpies
T7: Play Magpie, gain magpie, play magpie, gain magpie, etc.  Remodel Magpie to Margrave and gain Fishing Village.

Quote from trivialknot on August 1, 2018, 10:28 AM

Did you take over management of the Dominion Strategy blog?  I thought you might've.  I always thought you should manage it, because you were the only person with an active Dominion blog, which I think is far and away the best indicator.  Not that I had a problem with BA and Wero.

I appreciate you saying that. I wouldn't say there's "one person in charge" of the blog, but yeah I've been the one pressing the buttons to post content and I'd say I'm the one with the responsibility of making sure there's content every week.

On overdraw: I forget if you mentioned this, but overdraw for reliability is most important when you have cards that individually draw a lot.  I think you mentioned City Quarter, but I would also give a shout-out to Hunting Grounds, Royal Blacksmith, and Storyteller.  The reason being that you need fewer of these cards to draw your deck, but if you have fewer copies then you're less likely to start with them in hand.

So I sort of mentioned this point at 28:46, and I called out City Quarter, Scrying Pool, and King's Court. Hunting Grounds would have been a great tie-in to when we mentioned it in its episode, and those other cards are certainly like that.

...I'm hoping the point got across effectively there? If not then coming back to it next episode might be a good idea...

Kingdom at end: I don't agree with pushing hard for Margrave in the opener.  I think I'd want Workshop and Remodel, to thin down as hard as possible with cemeteries.  Then I'd try to gain all the Magpies.

A perfect game would look like this:
T1-T2: Remodel/Workshop
T3-T4: Trash 8 cards with 2 cemeteries
T5: Gain a Villa and Magpie
T6: Play magpie to gain magpie, and gain 2 more magpies
T7: Play Magpie, gain magpie, play magpie, gain magpie, etc.  Remodel Magpie to Margrave and gain Fishing Village.

Yeah umm, I said you want to get Margraves a lot and get them early, but then I say I want to open with Remodel/Workshop, which makes it really hard to hit $5 for a while. I guess I'm not sure what I was trying to say?

I played this game against a bot once and hoo boy, it's really thinky. There's a lot going on for sure. Drawing cards is great but man there's a lot of other cool stuff to try.

So I sort of mentioned this point at 28:46, and I called out City Quarter, Scrying Pool, and King's Court. Hunting Grounds would have been a great tie-in to when we mentioned it in its episode, and those other cards are certainly like that.

...I'm hoping the point got across effectively there? If not then coming back to it next episode might be a good idea...

Oh yeah, I remember now.  I listened to it while I was falling asleep, and then heard the rest the next morning, so I might have forgotten some of it.  I think you got the point across, and I was just echoing the point.

Great automobile episode!  I've been listening to the podcasts in the car while driving and requested more "concept" episodes that aligned with the tutorial videos.  My voice was heard 🙂  I'm starting to benefit from actually listening to the podcasts while playing the kingdoms discussed...not while driving.  Be safe out there Dominion commuters!

First thing is not Dominion-related at all. Jake, suicide is never the answer. Don't hang yourself! But I also don't think it's the answer for a joke. Thankfully, I haven't ever been terribly close to someone who has done that, but there are people who are close to me who have gone through that, and people who've gone through depression, and it's not a pleasant thing for them.

 

As for the actual content. Hrmm, I think I disagree with a good chunk in this episode again, though it's less about 'you said this thing and that thing is wrong' and more about you structure/focus on things differently than I think is best.

Let's start with the kingdom discussion from last time. in general I think I agree with you here, but listening the first time, I think you were underrating Pillage. You eventually get to praising it a lot, but you start by saying it was surprising, and something to the effect of, it usually isn't that great. I think it's fantastic. It's incredibly good - the attack is good, the gain-and-play treasures are good for reliability(! interesting you didn't catch this given the main topic), and it's actually much better than a Minion attack (worst 4 from 5 is definitely worse than random 4). On the other hand, I actually think this is one of the weaker boards for it. The general way you get around things is to have some extra villages, and that's even more effective here that the main village is wandering minstrel. If I have two Minstrels in hand, I'm probably going to be fine even if you attack me.

 

Ok, on to the main topic. Incidentally, I briefly considered making some kind of claim that I came up with the term, but before listening to the episode, I think I would have been about 80% sure I first heard it from Adam. I really like the term, I think it's very simple and gets the basics of the point across well. Anyway, here, I think the thing is that overdraw and increasing your consistency/reliability are two separate, if usually related, concepts. Yes, in most cases, one way you add to your consistency is to buy more of the components of your draw, and if you do that, that means you'll overdraw. I think you generally overestimate the reliability of decks which are teetering on the edge (as people often do!), though admittedly it has a lot to do with the deck size, and you make a very good point (implicitly - don't think you expressly phrased it as thus) about 'if you stop drawing because you drew all your payload, it doesn't matter that you didn't get to all your draw'. But if you're exactly drawing your deck, you're usually not drawing your deck. For instance, that 5 silver example isn't the greatest, because if you only have 5 payload cards, why did you need to add draw to your deck to start with? Of course, even if you're overdrawing, there's often a significant chance that you're still not drawing your deck, because the biggest chance to dud usually comes in the opening 5 cards. Again, depends on size of your deck - mostly how much non-drawing cards (generally payload) you have; the more you have, the less reliable you'll be, and adding extra draw components only diminishes that to some extent. But there are other ways of increasing reliability, too - anything where you can set up your next hand, either by triggering a shuffle (sometimes via mid-turn gains, or discards, or something of that nature, with something that reveals or in worst case draws card), or something like scheme, gain to top of deck, guide - there are many ways. So you can often increase consistency without just throwing extra draw in your deck, and very often this is preferable. Uh, I imagine some events fit in as well, but I don't have a great recall of them.

 

However, when we look at the actual overdraw case, you identify a couple ways that you can still make use, but I think this is only a piece of the pie. What you're really looking for is any way to convert that extra draw to payload. So gain-and-play is one common way of doing that, and discard-and-redraw is a rare way (Scrying Pool really does enable you there, and I think I've also done it on exactly one board with Crossroads, but would not generally recommend; Horse Traders example is interesting, and I think a good example - it's fine to do once or twice, especially if you've got the HT anyway for early 5-hitting or something, but as the backbone of your deck, it's quite lackluster; but once is really about all the overdraw you usually need anyway). But there are other ways, too. Cards that can be used in multiple ways is a big thing here. Obvious case is Steward - you can use it to draw, or once you have drawn, it's some money. So ok, it's not great in either role, but the flexibility is quite helpful in this regard. But similarly, cards like King's Court actually function in much the same way - early on, you king draw, and then once you have enough draw to get everything, you king payload actions. Minion kinda sorta works like this. Hunting Grounds is actually my favorite example though - very often I load up on extras, because eventually they're Pile Control/Points which don't hurt my ability to draw my deck (when I trash extra copies at the end). I'm sure there are many more examples that come up as well, and though it's probably not as much as alternative methods of adding reliability, to my mind, the real point is about being able to use the extra draw constructively (which means payload), and I would have liked that point to be made expressly and more broadly. I feel like what you gave are just a couple examples, but missed the theme.

 

As always, thanks for your feedback, especially the negative stuff. I realize a lot of it comes down to some organizational things, but you're the second person to mention things like Hunting Grounds the way you did, so that probably deserves to get recapped at the start of this next episode. Broad topics like this are bound to jive well with some people and not with others, but I'm not sure if that kind of thing will ever be perfect, just rather the "least bad" way we can organize it for the "general listening audience" of the podcast 😛

As for Pillage, well, umm. I mean you may be right. What I think makes the most sense is to have you on for the Pillage episode -- it's already on the list and it seems like you have some opinions. So yeah.

As always, I hope you don't take my disagreement as uh, a statement that you did anything 'wrong', as much as 'I think this could have been better'. Well, ok, not quite always, but almost always, especially about broad stuff - i.e. you were 'wrong' in this episode I think only about Pillage attack not being as good as minion attack, and possibly slightly some of the kingdom stuff (which you aren't presenting as definitive as much as educated guesses anyway).

 

About Pillage, I don't think I have a lot to say, really. Just the attack is super strong - usually stronger than Militia attack - the two spoils are, well, two spoils (they work with overdraw), and the one-shot-ness is the biggest downside, but in a deck that can draw very well and has extra buys, this is less of a problem. Defending against the attack is most possible when you have most redundancy, which in a village-smithy deck usually means extra villages (as is usually the case in such decks to start with).