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Making Luck Episode 38: Capital

In this episode, Adam and Jake discuss Capital from the Empires expansion.

Kingdom at the end: Embargo, Golem, Herald, Ironmonger, Band of Misfits, Capital, Counterfeit, Courtier, Relic, Prince, Expedition, Conquest

Some notes on the Kingdom from last week:

  • First and foremost, opening Temple is bad. You say it's good here, in the video you say you think it's better than getting to stonemason into two 5ers, but it is bad. Consider: There's a 50% chance it will collide with your Witch. There's only a 1/3 chance it collides with the 1 curse you have. And what else is it doing for you, besides trashing the Curse? You don't want to trash Witch, you don't want to trash Copper. Do you want to trash estate? Well, it is point neutral to maybe negative if it eventually shifts Silk Road rungs. So for that to be good, it needs to be because it's improving your deck. And removing the Estate does improve your deck, but you've removed a no-econ card and added a no-econ card (the Temple yourself); yes, the Temple is better, but I don't think by much. And consider that removing the estate does less positively for your deck than adding a Silver would. I can maybe see Temple being ok later when you have more curses and are less likely to collide with Witch, (though I still doubt it), but I can't see it being a better card to open than Silver. My guess is that the big reason this is a blind spot for you is that usually it's so much better because you want to trash Copper usually. But you don't here.
  • I think you're making too big a deal out of Colonnade points. 2 points here and there is real, but iirc they ran out 1 time? And I just don't think it's that huge a shift. Specifically, denial-wise, I would refer to the concept of "Opportunity Denial" which I wrote about on my blog; there are other avenues to points here, so getting cut off of Colonnade isn't really that big of a problem.
  • I think you're greening too late, by a full shuffle or maybe more.


Jake mentioned that "getting control of your deck, thinning down, and drawing a lot of cards is usually always good" is an accepted Dominion Maxim ™ . I bristle at that a bit. I guess it's usually good, but I think there are a lot of exceptions. Perhaps most notably are any board like this, where there is junking, and the trashing is weak.

To Adam's point about a good metric for slogs being the number of swear words per turn: fewer means it's sloggier?

Quote from WanderingWinder on August 22, 2018, 10:30 AM
  • Do you want to trash estate?

I think so, because it helps you line up your trashers with your Curses later on, even without thinning Coppers.

  • I think you're greening too late, by a full shuffle or maybe more.

In the videos I try a lot of things. I think what I landed on is that greening the way I did in the first game is probably best, would you agree with that?

EDIT: Here's a link to the video of the games for reference:

I also thought it was odd that you said Temple was good.  I watched a few of the games you played, and it seemed really bad each time.  Silver would have been better--heck, even a lone Stonemason would have been better.

I was one of the ones who initially said you just play cursed gold every time, but I changed my mind as soon as I tried playing against a bot.  My reasoning was not that you were likely to get those curses anyway, but because I thought you would get greater control over your deck, and ignore fountain.  Temple, after all, is a strong trasher (in the sense that it can trash more than one card), and has a particularly low opportunity cost for trashing curses.  Since this was completely off the mark, I would not play cursed gold much at all.  In fact, I would play it even less often then you did.

I would argue that in general, the presence of a curser makes cursed gold worse to play (until the curses run out).  Yes that you might have gotten that last curse anyway, but you also might have given it to an opponent.  In the mean time, that curse is reducing how quickly you can play your own curser.

The kingdom at the end: In the opening, Silver > Embargo because you want more than just 1 $5-cost.  Later I'd get Embargo over silver, and I could see that completely skewing the game.  I would definitely Embargo high-impact targets (Capital, Province, Herald, Courtier), if I had the slightest inkling that it would hurt my opponent more than me (e.g. if my opponent has a thinner more controlled deck).

Herald > Ironmonger because most of what you want from it is draw.  Courtier is good because it boosts Herald and you have plenty of terminal space.  I don't agree with getting >1 prince.  Relic is probably pretty good too.

Quote from trivialknot on August 22, 2018, 11:36 AM

Herald > Ironmonger because most of what you want from it is draw.

So I haven't played this kingdom yet, but I'm thinking that a mix of Heralds and Ironmongers is probably best. On the podcast I made it sound like I wanted to open with an Ironmonger and then pile Heralds, but now that I think about it, maybe I want like 2 Ironmongers, then a lot of Heralds, and then maybe I want some more Ironmongers later on depending on piles and decks and strategies, etc. Maybe I want like 3 Ironmongers.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm waffling on this a bit. Like, I'm gonna put cards in my deck that I think are best, and I don't know what the number of Ironmongers I end up buying is going to be before I decide Herald is a better card for my deck because that depends on a lot of factors that have little to do with Herald and Ironmonger and more to do with how many times I've hit $5 and how many Coppers I've trashed, and etc. etc.

Next week's Kingdom, thoughts before listening to your suggestions:

  • There's not much trashing, which is going to make it a bit slow to get your deck drawn, especially because the draw is also not the best.
  • Prince is a thing that lets you actually get some draw up and running. Herald and Ironmonger play well.
  • There's nothing at the 3 or less price point that is better than silver in the long term. Embargo TBD.
  • Golem seems not worth it.
  • Courtier interacts with Relic. Cute.
  • Tons of good stuff costs 5.
  • Capital here lets you spike Prince, and can also have some decent to nice interactions with the events. (Particularly once your deck being able to draw 2 cards is worth more than $3)
  • Expedition can help do the spike-a-Prince thing in lieu of Capital

So, I think I want to play a money deck, taking Ironmonger on every $4, silver on 3s (though looking for chances to Expedition maybe), and on 5s going 1 (probably just 1) Counterfeit into... maybe 1 Courtier? and Relic. Does this deck take a Prince? Probably not? But if you end up hitting 4 a lot early somehow, and then get an early 8, sure. But you don't go out of your way for it, for sure. How about Conquest? I lean toward it being mostly just better than Gold for this deck, but I'm not sure.

Alternatively, there's the deck that plays, well mainly the same, but prioritizes Expedition over Silver after getting, oh, probably 1 silver, gets the Counterfeit, loads up on Ironmongers, eventually moving into Heralds maybe. This deck wants 1 Relic (probably exactly 1), a Prince or two for reliability at some point, and then... I'm wondering how it ends up. I kind of want to feather in some extra Counterfeits and go for multi-Conquest turns. Is that actually good? Probably not. In some ways it's more sustainable than Provinces, but at some point you also get so many silvers that you can't keep drawing everything, which means you can't maintain this, which means you would go into Provinces at that point anyway. This deck might also be able to make use of Embargoing Province. Maybe multiple times? Anyway, this top-end may all be too fanciful, but some version of the build-up seems good, where you Counterfeit down ASAP, get some Ironmongers, one Relic, and look to Prince up while Relic attacking every turn. I don't think you want Capital, but I guess I could be wrong.


Oh wait, I'm incredibly stupid. As you guys just covered, Counterfeit combos with Capital. Oh that makes me a bit sad, actually. Yeah, obviously you go for that, and then I don't know, double Conquest out of it or something. Probably Ironmonger/Silver into getting a counterfeit, liberally Expeditioning, getting a capital to set up that combo, maybe repeatedly, and then with your flood of Silvers buy Provinces. Can you do something with Embargo...? probably not. You can Embargo Curse and use your zillion buys to insta-empty a pile when you want. So the question is, do you go 2 Counterfeit before Capital? That seems good. And then how many Capital do you get? Probably 2ish, but setting up the combo once first seems the most important thing. Wait, is it? Because of how Conquest stacks, you get a lot of bang for just setting up one hugely huge turn, the bigger the better. If you get combo twice in same turn, then you are scoring 20 points from getting 4 Conquests? If you combo 3 times in same turn, that's 42 points from 6 Conquests? And you can at least throw 1 silver in beforehand, possibly more or an extra Conquest to score even more? You can combo once to set up, that lets you buy 4 Expeditions, drawing 8 extra cards, on top of your 5 that's 13 cards... okay. I LOVE this board. Forget the actions (ok, open with an Ironmonger), we're just going with these treasures and events. Ironmonger/Silver into Counterfeit, probably two, probably want to get a second silver because your fuel will run. Do you go for 3rd Counterfeit? Maybe depends on how big your opponent is going/what they're doing. But you get some Capitals. Comboing lets you get another pair of capitals rinse and repeat. At some point you decide to make your move, cash out with Expeditions, get your one really big turn of Conquests, then win at leisure - you'll have enough silvers to Province consistently, or you can look for pile outs. Probably your opponent is mirroring at least somewhat, and the game will all be about navigating around pile outs - you want to wait as long as possible before pulling the trigger on comboing, so you get the biggest combo, but not so long they can pile out from under you. Dance could include Combo to re-buy the Capital and get a Province every turn for a few. Capital pile might run before others, which would also affect when you combo. My guess is probably 2 Counterfeit before Capital is right.



So, listening to you guys, you missed the Conquest thing. I'm pretty sure that's just amazeballs. But if we set that aside, I think I'm more with Jake on liking Ironmonger over Herald, especially the first few, but with Adam about liking Silver in the deck, at least the first few. It's all kind of moot though - I don't think you are getting more than a couple actions, you're not getting Prince, you're just trying to Treasure Combo. Or build the (insert Cheshire cat grin to troll Adam) Treasure Engine ASAP. As big as possible, as fast as possible. This board seems sweet!

Quote from Adam Horton on August 22, 2018, 10:36 AM
Quote from WanderingWinder on August 22, 2018, 10:30 AM
  • Do you want to trash estate?

I think so, because it helps you line up your trashers with your Curses later on, even without thinning Coppers.

So I agree that you probably do, very early anyway, but I find it really unlikely that this effect, even when it happens on turn 3-4, is enough to make Temple better than silver in that case. I think it's probably close if you get to trash Curse AND estate, I'm not even sure that's the case there. But 50% of the time you're drawing it dead/collision, it has to be the wrong call.

  • I think you're greening too late, by a full shuffle or maybe more.

In the videos I try a lot of things. I think what I landed on is that greening the way I did in the first game is probably best, would you agree with that?

EDIT: Here's a link to the video of the games for reference:

Yeah, that seems right (and I had watched, but you kept going progressively later and later, so I forgot that you greened so early in the first one). Also, I like your wife's Wicked Witch impression.


Another couple notes I forgot to mention earlier: Shanty Town is also terrible. Your deck is in a state that Copper is a good card, right? In this case, Shanty town drawing two gives less benefit than a Silver would, money-wise. So you need to be using the actions (i.e. the village part of it - I don't think you're action-dense enough for this to be useful very often), or have it be very good to cycle (because your terminal is so good, I guess; you're getting cursed though...), and this is assuming a lucky Shanty Town. In practice, obviously, it's going to be Necropolis a non-negligible amount of the time. And silver is a really good card in these decks.


About playing the Cursed Gold: So, my position is that you don't just auto-play it, you need to be increasing what you can buy by enough. How much is enough? Well, turn 1-2 seems like it, but I also think that turning 4 into 7 (2 5ers) might be in many cases, and turning 2 into 5 probably is a good chunk of the time, too. It somewhat depends on how things are going (i.e. turning 2 into 5 is less appealing the more appealing silver looks, but more appealing if you are getting Colonnade points from it), as well as how the Curses will eventually wash out. For instance, in the first game, if Jake had tracked that you were going to have your Witch in hand, then he's pretty safe to just gain the curse anyway, unless he'd also tracked that you were going to have your Stonemason in hand 😛