Dominion Tournament in Ypsilanti, MI

U-Con will be holding their Eighth annual Dominion tournament this year on Saturday, November 10, 2018. This tournament features a respectable prize pool and has gathered a very talented field of players for several years, and the organizer has a way of coming up with particularly devious kingdoms to test players’ skill. Below is a message from the tournament organizer about the tournament. Any questions can be sent to him by E-mail at


This tournament is sanctioned by Rio Grande, and will be a qualifier for the World Masters, if there is one in 2019.  All players receive promotional cards!

The competition will feature custom-designed kingdoms drawn from all of the Dominion sets and expansions, and will emphasize strategy and high-level play.

Tournament seating is limited, so pre-register for the event here; just click on the ‘Add’ button and proceed through the checkout process.  You’ll need a tournament ticket and a convention badge.

If you can, I’d encourage everyone to pick out other games to play in and attend the whole game convention, which runs from Nov 9-11, all day (and late into the night Friday and Saturday).

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For those who have attended in the past, note that this year the tournament has been moved to an outbuilding:  We will be on the upper floor of the resort’s golf clubhouse, and will have the area mostly to ourselves. You will need to pick up your tickets and badges first, at the con’s registration desk.

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This article on Storyteller was originally written by Will and collaboratively edited with the Dominion Strategy Blog team. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we launch content relevant to the upcoming expansion, Dominion: Renaissance. 

Storyteller is a card unlike anything else in Dominion, being the only card to let you effectively spend your economy for massive amounts of non-terminal draw. In doing so, Storyteller both spends whatever virtual economy you’ve built up so far (the card itself providing $1, making it a cantrip when played alone) while letting you play up to 3 of your treasures.  While this effect seems counterproductive at first glance, +1 card is almost always preferable to $1 as long as you still have cards to draw. Provided your drawn card is better than a Copper, turning your economy into cards will almost result in a better turn overall.

Weaknesses and Basic Strategy

Storyteller is a card that, at worst, plays itself as a cantrip, while potentially being one of the strongest sources of non-terminal draw in the game. What weaknesses could the card even have? In a vacuum, not many. Provided you’ve trashed your Coppers and Estates, 3 to 5 Storytellers and an ample supply of Silver or Gold can be the sole source of draw in a thin deck that consistently draws itself. Being able to consistently acquire 10-20+ card hands non-terminally is a major boon, allowing you to spend your terminal actions on attacks or powerful payload cards such as Bridge.

On weaker boards, it’s a perfectly valid strategy to build a ‘Storyteller + Big Money + X’ deck, ‘X’ being a particularly strong terminal and/or a +buy card to take advantage of the massive hands this deck can generate. While most Storyteller-BM-X strategies can easily beat traditional BM, against more traditional forms of draw, Storyteller/BM decks will often fall behind when ran entirely unsupported. There are two main reasons for this: speed and reliability.

Storyteller’s speed weakness is rarer, but simple. Storyteller decks aim to consistently draw most or all of your deck. When Storyteller is both unsupported and up against strong draw alternatives such as Wharf, Storyteller decks can have a hard time keeping up with the latter’s explosive tempo. Other forms of non-terminal draw such as Hunting Party and Alchemist can also threaten Storyteller’s viability on certain boards. Since Storytellers require both the card itself and 2 or 3 treasures to draw effectively, it can sometimes be quicker to simply buy and use other sources of draw over Storyteller (and its fuel) and when aiming to build a deck that draws itself.

However, more important than this is Storyteller’s reliability problem. Storyteller decks are completely dependant upon having a Storyteller in their starting hand; while 4 Silvers and a Storyteller is a fantastic opener, 4 Silvers and a terminal is just a Big Money variant – slow and unimpressive. Even all of the strategies written in this article fall to pieces without access to a Storyteller in your opening hand. This makes Storyteller decks more prone to dud than other conventional draw engines. The best way to combat this is simply to have 1 or 2 more Storytellers than you’d otherwise need to fully draw your deck – having to play 1 or 2 Storytellers as cantrips every turn is well worth having a deck that runs consistently.

Supported Storyteller

Like most cards, Storyteller’s strength in comparison to other draw sources depends upon the rest of the kingdom. While there are many cards that interact with Storyteller directly, letting you further capitalize on the card’s strengths (more on those later), the strongest synergies are those that patch up Storyteller’s weaknesses, its speed and unreliability.

Storyteller with Savers

For a Storyteller deck to avoid dudding, you need an opening hand of money and a Storyteller. Since money is a pretty easy thing to consistently draw, getting a Storyteller into your hand every turn will effectively negate a Storyteller deck’s chance of failure almost completely. Cards that can consistently put Storytellers into your hand every turn such as Haven, Scheme, and Save can let you fully draw with near 100% consistency, provided you still have ample Storytellers in the rest of your deck. In the absence of traditional saving cards, you can use cards such as Courtyard and Count to topdeck a Storyteller once you’re done drawing, or simply use supplemental Duration draw such as Haunted Woods to increase the likelihood of drawing a Storyteller in your opening hand.

Storyteller with Gainers

Why worry about having to buy all of your Storyteller fodder when you can have cards give you boatloads of treasure for free? Silver gainers such as Jack of All Trades, Amulet, and Masterpiece can fill your deck with excessive amounts of Silver incredibly quickly. This usually isn’t a good thing, since Silver is an engine-clogging stop card in every other scenario. Storyteller, however, lets you turn your Silvers into incredibly potent non-terminal draw (Silvers effectively becoming Laboratories when fed to a Storyteller), while still providing fantastic economy from the Silvers you don’t need for draw. Not needing to buy your Storyteller fodder lets you build at an exponentially faster rate, letting you spend your payload on more Storytellers or powerful actions. While rarer, Storyteller becomes even stronger when on the board with gold gainers such as Soothsayer or Bandit. Governor is an especially strong card with Storyteller, since it can both gain gold non-terminally and remodel them into Provinces in the late game. This being said, it’s still important to not over-gain treasures in a Storyteller deck. Thoughtlessly gaining loads of Silver or Gold will still clog your deck, making it hard to actually find your Storytellers to play.

Storyteller with Kingdom Treasures

Storyteller is one of the three cards in the game (along with Black Market and Villa) that can put Treasures in play during your action phase, giving your action cards access to Kingdom Treasures’ special effects. Not only are most Kingdom Treasures simply much stronger cards overall when played as draw rather than as payload, but certain treasures can prove incredibly strong when played during your action phase. Feed Storyteller a Quarry? Your Workshops can now gain Grand Markets. Feed Storyteller a Royal Seal afterwards? Your Workshops can now topdeck Grand Markets!

Bank is an especially notable example of this – any treasures fed to Storyteller count as ‘in play’, and therefore add to Bank’s total value while also helping you fill your hand with even more treasures to boost Bank! While this still takes some build-up without support, Bank-Storyteller can lead to explosive results when paired with +buy cards. Simply feeding 4 Storytellers 3 Treasures each puts all your Banks at $13 and counting, disregarding any treasures still in your hand! Platinum, while lacking any special effects, also deserves a special mention. Though expensive and hard to connect with Storyteller, Storyteller/Platinum provides near-unrivaled drawing power that can easily facilitate game-winning megaturns.

Storyteller with Virtual Coin

Storyteller has mixed results when played with ‘virtual coin’, the economy generated by cards such as Market and Monument. Unlike treasures, you can’t control how much of your virtual coin is spent; you spend it all, then draw accordingly. Non-terminal virtual coin usually works quite well with Storyteller decks, as they can be played similar to treasures and generally benefit from being played as draw. Terminal coin-generating actions don’t work at all; the moment you’re spending actions to draw with Storyteller, you’re missing out on one of the card’s biggest strengths.

Cantrip money from cards such as Peddler can situationally benefit Storyteller decks, though you lose a noticeable degree of control when utilizing these cards in a Storyteller deck. Did you play 6 Peddlers, then draw a Storyteller? It doesn’t matter how many more cards you need to draw, you’re spending all $6 or not playing the Storyteller at all. This isn’t to say that Storyteller and cantrip money are completely incompatible. Rather, caution is required when playing Storyteller with cantrip money. Think carefully when playing coin-generating actions before your last Storyteller. In some cases, it might be worth not playing your last Storyteller at all if you’d spend more coins than your drawn cards could get back.

Storyteller without Trashing

At first glance, you’d think Storyteller would be a significantly worse card with no trashing – after all, it’s harder to align your Storytellers with your Golds with 7 Coppers and 3 Estates in the way. And while this is true, these 10 junk cards also apply to every other player in the game, no matter what cards they decide to go with. As well as using Silver and Gold to increase handsize, Storyteller’s Copper-to-cantrip effect lets you cycle through your Coppers if need be. While using Storyteller as a glorified Forum isn’t ideal, it makes drawing 4 Coppers and a Storyteller often preferable to drawing 4 Coppers and a Smithy.

Overall, Storyteller is a fascinating and versatile card – its reliance on vanilla Treasures makes it at least a semi-viable option in any kingdom, though depending on its support and competition, Storyteller can be totally dominant, completely outclassed, or anything in between. While Storyteller decks build and play quite differently from anything else in Dominion, the classic rules of building and balancing a coherent deck apply just as strongly. Knowing when to go for Storyteller, along with how to build your deck around Storyteller, can spell the difference between an awkward pseudo-BM deck and a spectacular 20-card megaturn.  

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Renaissance Previews #5: Fair, Silos, Citadel, Star Chart, Sewers, Innovation

The following is the fifth and final preview for the new Renaissance set from Donald X. Vaccarino:

Projects are abilities everyone can have. They go in your randomizer deck or special sideways deck, like Events and Landmarks. You only play with 2 max between these and Events and Landmarks, unless you prefer to have more, I can’t stop you. Each player gets two wooden cubes, that’s right we’ve at last moved into wood, and if you buy a Project – using a buy in your Buy phase – you put one of your unused cubes on it and then have that ability for the rest of the game. You only get two cubes, even if you preferred having more than two Projects out at once. Everyone can put a cube on the same Project, there’s room for all. There are twenty Projects. Here are six of them.


Silos lets you Cellar away Coppers at the start of your turn, could be a pip.

Citadel repeats your first Action each turn. You are going places once you have one of these.

Star Chart lets you pick your top card every time you shuffle. It seems like that could come in handy. Yes you get to look at the cards, you don’t have to pick from the backs.

Sewers means every trasher you have can trash an extra card. It also works when you play a one-shot like Acting Troupe, or lose a card to Swindler or something. It can be sneaky.

And finally Innovation makes your first bought/gained Action each turn leap into play and immediately do something. Not all things are useful to play in your Buy phase (and there isn’t always a Workshop available), but it turns out a lot of things are (and sometimes, there’s a Workshop).

That’s it for previews! You’ll be able to play with the previewed cards online all through the weekend; then they’ll vanish until the street date for the physical set. Which is when you’ll also get to see the rest of the cards. And when is that? Well the current guess is… late October. Very late October. So late in October that it’s almost not October. Man. A month away. But at least RGG has a lot of confidence in that estimate. The rulebook will show up online around then as usual, and once people have the cards I’ll post a Secret History.

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Renaissance Previews #4: Flag Bearer, Swashbuckler, Treasurer

This is the fourth in a series of five preview posts by Donald X, each showing new cards and mechanics from the upcoming expansion, Dominion: Renaissance. These new cards are playable online during this week at, so be sure to check them out!

Artifacts are abilities only one player can have. When you take the Flag, you take it from whoever had it, if someone had it. So, they go back and forth. They’re like Lost in the Woods (from Nocturne); hey could I do more with that kind of thing, I thought, and I could. There are five Artifacts total, and here are three of them and their parent cards.Flag Bearer comes with a Flag. If someone takes it away from you, just buy another one. How many Flag Bearers can your deck tolerate, anyway? Well you can also trash them to get the Flag, so that won’t always be an issue.

Swashbuckler is trickier. All that stuff after the colon only happens if you have cards in your discard pile – which is harder than it sounds. Part of it is, you draw the three cards before checking. The Coffers tokens don’t have to have come from Swashbuckler specifically, so sometimes that helps, but you still need a discard pile at least once to get the Treasure Chest.

Treasurer can put you down a Treasure, up a Treasure, or even on Treasures. And the Key is like a Treasury. So it’s sure to be a card you treasure.

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Renaissance Previews #3: Villain, Ducat, Silk Merchant

This post by Donald X. is the third of five previews for the new Dominion expansion, Dominion: Renaissance.

Coffers are like Villagers but for coins. Bam. Also Coffers appeared already in Guilds, though it wasn’t called that until the later printing. It’s money you can save for later. You can only cash in the tokens before buying cards; they make +$1 each. Guilds originally said “take a coin token”; this set says “+1 Coffers.”Villain has +2 Coffers, there you go, it’s that easy. It makes the other players discard something good, except early on they’ll have Estates and later on Provinces. But you know, in the middle there, it demands a good card.

Ducat is the Coffers treasure. If you have a Copper in hand when you get it, it essentially upgrades the Copper into a kind of save-able Copper.

Silk Merchant spills out tokens both coming and going. You may even get use out of it in the middle.

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Renaissance Previews #2: Acting Troupe, Sculptor, Recruiter

This is the second in a series of five preview posts by Donald X., each revealing some cards and mechanics from the upcoming Dominion expansion, Dominion: Renaissance.

Villagers are like Coffers but for Actions. I guess that explanation would have been simpler tomorrow. +1 Villager means you add a token to the Villagers side of your Coffers / Villagers mat. You can remove the token for +1 Action in your Action phase. It’s a +1 Action you can save. The actual tokens are coins, but don’t be fooled, they do double duty. I will tell you now, it’s so nice just using one type of token. So anyway, Villagers.Acting Troupe gets right to the point: 4 tokens, it’s gone. How much of a village is that exactly; what decks are possible when this is the only village-like thing? As always I leave those questions to you.

Sculptor is that rare animal, a Workshop that gains cards directly to your hand. Watch out. If you gain an Action you won’t necessarily be able to play it that turn… but wait, you might have Villagers from previous plays of Sculptor. They thought of everything.

Recruiter can let you really go nuts getting Villagers. Don’t go too nuts; you don’t need a giant pile of Villagers sitting there.

If you missed yesterday’s preview, I am here to tell you that you can try these cards right now at If you did catch yesterday’s preview, I’m just wasting your time now.

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Renaissance Previews #1:Mountain Village, Priest, Seer, Scholar, Experiment

Original preview article by Donald X. Vaccarino

Dominion, that’s what you’re trying to achieve. This time in the Renaissance!

Renaissance has four themes: Villagers, Coffers, Artifacts, Projects. And we’ll be seeing them in that order over the next 4 days. But in fact half the kingdom cards in the set don’t fit any of those themes. And today, here are some of those. Like last time we will have the preview cards playable at, and to have plenty of variety there I’m previewing 5 cards today. You read them already, but this paragraph still has to pretend you haven’t, so, here they are:


Mountain Village gets back a card from your discard pile instead of drawing you a card. Or draws you a card if it can’t, you aren’t hurt there. It does some tricks; the first one you’ll see is, one Mountain Village in your hand gets back all the Mountain Villages in your discard pile.

Priest is a trasher, and rewards you for further trashing. Play Priest, get +$2, trash a Copper. Play a second Priest, get +$2, trash a Copper, get a +$2 bonus from the first Priest. Play a third Priest, get +$2, trash a Silver (you ran out of Coppers), get +$2 from the first Priest and +$2 from the second Priest. See how it goes? Try to have enough stuff to feed them.

Seer draws cards costing from $2 to $4. Those aren’t your best cards but hey, you could get three of them.

Scholar makes the cards go round. It’s a poster child for simplicity; this set goes the extra mile to be simpler than the previous few.

Experiment is a one-shot Lab, but you get two of them.

Again,, you can try out the cards right now (yes unless you are reading this from the future). Click on the thing that looks like it will do that, and it will.

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Dominion: Renaissance Teaser

This teaser was originally posted by Donald X. to the Dominion Strategy Forums. Next week, we will be posting Dominion: Renaissance previews each weekday, which will reveal various cards and mechanics from the new expansion. You will also be able to try out these new cards and mechanics for free, as they are revealed, on the Dominion Online client.

Prepare to be teased.

Renaissance has:

  • 25 kingdom cards, 25 sideways cards, 12 wooden cubes, 6 playmats, and 35 tokens
  • three Treasures, two Attacks, two Duration cards, and one Reaction
  • fifteen uses for tokens
  • sixteen uses of “trash”
  • a card with a word in quotation marks on it
  • a card with only 3 words on it; a card with only 4 words on it
  • three ways to play Actions in your Buy phase
  • a way to take a turn after the game would otherwise be over
  • a trasher you can’t turn off
  • something that cares about shuffling
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This article was written by werothegreat and edited in collaboration with the Dominion Strategy blog team. Be sure to check out the blog next week for previews of the upcoming Dominion expansion, Dominion: Renaissance!

Feodum, like its counting Victory card brethren, is a rather niche card.  In a few instances, it can be worth a staggering amount of VP, vastly outweighing Provinces; however, it is also often ignorable, and can sometimes be worth nothing at all.  There does exist a middle ground, though, where it can be treated like a pinata full of Silver, or where it can help add a few tie-breaking points in a sloggier game.

If Feodum is on the board, quickly run through this mental checklist:

  • Is there a way to gain Silver very quickly?
  • Is there a way to gain Silver more slowly?
  • Is there a way to trash Feodum?

Let’s look at each of these individually.

Feeding the Feoda

The time Feodum shines brighter than a supernova is when there is a powerful Silver gainer.  Masterpiece and Delve are the cream of the crop here, letting you buy multiple Silvers per turn.  Also noteworthy is Raid, which has the added benefit of hurting your opponent, though it does require you to gain a few Silvers the hard way first.  All of these are helped by any kind of strong draw: Masterpiece and Delve want as much $ as possible to spend on a Buy, while Raid wants you to get as many Silvers into play as you can.

If you find yourself in this optimal situation, your aim should be to empty out the Silver pile as quickly as possible, picking up Feoda along the way (assuming your opponent mirrors).  In this specific combo instance, winning the Silver split is more important than getting more Feoda (though if you don’t get any, you’re screwed); if you get 27 Silvers and 3 Feoda (27 VP total), that will beat an opponent with 13 Silvers and 5 Feoda (20 VP total).  If your opponent goes for Provinces instead, emptying the Silver pile isn’t strictly necessary; you just need enough to make sure your Feoda give more points than their Provinces, so make sure you actually grab Feoda before the game ends!

In a Masterpiece game, ideally you want to finish with a three pile ending: Silvers, Masterpieces, and Feoda.  However, if the Masterpieces don’t quite run out (or you’re using an Event gainer), your deck jammed full of Silver is perfect for buying Provinces, and can easily end the game conventionally.

If your opponent doesn’t try to mirror you, you’re looking at a maximum of 8 Feoda worth up to 13VP each – more than Colony!  In such a case, run down the Silver and Feodum piles as quick as you can while your opponent dawdles trying to get Provinces.  Do not buy any Provinces yourself until you’ve secured enough VP to trounce them.

The Middle Ground

Unfortunately, most Silver gainers are not as dramatic as those mentioned above.  However, that doesn’t mean Feodum is down for the count!  In a game with Bureaucrat or Squire, while emptying the Silver pile entirely is unrealistic, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to have 10 or more Silvers by the end of the game.  In such cases, Feodum becomes a cheaper Duchy, and another option for three-piling.  While it’s no longer the star of the show, it can still be a nice supplement to your main VP from Provinces.

If you’re aiming to use Feodum in this way, try to get your Silver gainer early.  Not only do the Silvers help your Feoda, they also, as previously discussed, make buying Provinces easier.

Some Silver gainers can also trash.  Jack of All Trades, Hermit, and Amulet can also fill this middle ground role, but don’t mind if you get a Feodum early, just to trash for the Silvers inside.  Jack and Hermit are better for this, as they can trash and gain Silver at the same time.  In such cases, if you’re uncontested, the Feodum pile is unlikely to empty, so you’re not really losing any VP, as you can always just pick up another one, now worth 1VP more!

A word of warning, though: in a lot of these cases, there’s usually something better to do on the board than just slowly trickle Silvers into your deck, so keep an eye out for faster or more productive strategies.

Silver Slogs

In junking games, particularly with Cultist, the game can be extended significantly as players wade through Ruins or Curses.  In such cases, you might end up buying 12 or more Silvers throughout the course of the game, making Feodum particularly attractive as the game drags on.  In these cases, try to keep track of how many Silvers you think you’ll have by the end of the game; if it’s at least 9, start buying Feodum over Duchy, and keeping adding more Silver as you can.

Popping the Piñata

But what about trashers that don’t gain Silver?  Mass trashers like Chapel and Donate see Feodum as an early game boost; in this case, you don’t really care about the VP, but the 3 Silvers are very nice.  Working with only a single card trasher is a little risky, as it’s harder to line them up, but with Remodelers like Upgrade or Remake, or trash for benefit cards like Salvager or Bishop, it can be worth it, especially since a popped Feodum provides three more pieces of fodder for later use.  Upgrade can actually get a significant amount of VP from Feoda, as it can convert Estates into Silvers, Silvers into Feoda, and Feoda into more Upgrades.

Trader is an interesting example: it can generate a lot of Silvers for Feodum, but requires fodder to do so.  Popping open a Feodum gives you 7 Silvers, while Tradering a Silver gives it back to you with two more.  It’s not quite as reliable as Masterpiece or Delve, and you need to make sure you don’t trash too many Feoda, but it can be very potent, though you may still want to supplement with Provinces.

If you have a single card trasher that doesn’t scale, like Forager or Trade Route, it’s probably not worth the trouble.  An exception would be Ratcatcher, as it’s cheap, and a lot easier to line up with a target.

Being able to trash a Feodum on gain can also be quite nice – Watchtower and Salt the Earth are prime examples, essentially letting you pay $4 for 3 Silvers, and a little bonus.


Feodum provides a decent defense against trashing Attacks, particularly Knights.  If it gets hit, you still get 3 Silvers, which then in turn are preferred targets of the Attack, keeping your more valuable cards safe.

At first thought, it might seem like Treasure Hunter would be a good Feodum rush enabler, but it can be pretty easy for your opponent to play around letting you gain lots of Silvers with it, and Feodum and Silver are both prime targets for Warriors.

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This article was originally written by aku_chi and edited in collaboration with the Dominion Strategy blog team.

At first glance, Gear looks similar to Moat: +2 cards and some additional text. But it’s this additional text that enables Gear to provide so much control over your turns, and makes Gear one of the strongest cards in Dominion. Let’s look at all the valuable things you can do by setting aside cards with Gear:

  • Save excess money from turn to turn. This is especially important when you only have one buy. Early on, you can save a Copper to turn a $4 hand into a $3 hand in order to hit $5 on the next turn. Later in the game, you can save money exceeding $8 so you can buy Provinces more consistently.
  • Save an unplayable terminal action for the next turn. This is especially important in games without villages.
  • Improve your starting hand. You can set aside +card or +action cards that will make your next hand stronger. This is especially valuable when you have a few powerful draw cards such as Scrying Pool or Storyteller.
  • Force bad cards to miss the shuffle. If you’re about to trigger a shuffle, you can set aside green cards so that you don’t draw them in that shuffle.
  • Pair up synergistic cards. Gear can help you pair up your Estates with a good Estate trasher, or Province with Tournament, or Gold with Encampment, and more!
  • Let’s dive deeper into a couple contexts in which you might use Gear.
  • Gear in the Early Game

    Gear is a very strong card with a $3/$4 opening. If you draw Gear on turn 3, you’re guaranteed to be able to see and play your other opening card on turns 3 or 4. If your other opening card doesn’t draw, you will end turn 4 with an empty deck – having seen all twelve of your cards. You will be able to freely distribute your deck’s total money over these two turns. If you draw Gear on turn 4, you might have to set aside your other opening card to play on turn 5 (if it’s an action you can’t play), but you will also have an opportunity to cause 1-2 weak cards to miss your next shuffle.

    If there is a key $2-4 card on the board that you want to open with, consider a Gear opening carefully. If the key card is non-terminal such as Quarry or Transmogrify, Gear is usually a great accompaniment. However, if you open Gear with a terminal trasher such as Chapel or Steward, they might collide on turn 4. Gear will probably only be worth opening if you can get a cheap village while trashing.

    If there is a key $5 card on the board, Gear + Silver is an excellent opening. So long as Gear is drawn on turn 3 or 4, you are guaranteed to be able to buy a $5 card and (almost always) a $4 or $3 card (perhaps another Gear, if the key $5 card is non-terminal). You can also open Gear alongside a coin-generating action such as Poacher or Swindler, but you run the risk of not hitting $5 on turn 3 or 4 if you draw poorly. Gear + Potion is also one of the most reliable ways to hit $3P on turn 3 or 4.

    In the rare event that there are no kingdom cards costing $5 or less that you want early, double Gear is a good opening. With a double Gear opening, if you draw Gear on turn 3, you have a good chance to hit $6 on turn 4 for Gold (or something better). If you don’t see any Gears on turn 3, you can buy Silver and have a great chance to hit $6 on turn 5.

    Gear + Money

    Usually, you will want to play a card-drawing engine, and a few Gears will fit in well. But, sometimes there is no good engine to build, in which case you should play primarily with Gear and treasures. This is often the case when there are no villages and no non-terminal draw in the kingdom. Gear is a very strong card in moneyish strategies, because Gear’s money saving and terminal spacing functions give you tremendous control over your turns.

    Gear + money strategies benefit most from Estate trashing and treasure gaining, so consider incorporating them into your strategy. Gear + money’s strongest supports are cards and events that can trash Estates with very little lost tempo: Trade, Transmogrify, and Plan. With strong support, Gear + money can beat slower engines – especially if there are no handsize attacks or alternative VP available.

    Non-terminal support cards such as Sentry or Treasure Trove are easy to incorporate into a Gear + money strategy. Because Gear can help space terminal actions, using 3-4 terminal actions is a good rule of thumb for a Gear + money strategy. Sometimes, Gear is better in a support role with strong terminal actions such as Witch or Haggler. In this role you can use 1-2 copies of Gear along with 2 additional terminal actions. More often, you will want to combine 2-3 Gears with one copy of a supporting terminal action such as Salvager or Bandit.

    Sometimes, there aren’t any other beneficial kingdom cards. Unassisted, you should open double Gear hoping to get Gold on turn 4. You should get a third Gear as soon as you are confident you can get Gold. With 3 Gears, you should be able to play one Gear each turn pretty consistently and smooth your money to exactly buy Golds (3-4), and then Provinces. Without support, Gear + money does not get 7+ Provinces very fast, so beware strong alternative VP.

    Gear Tips

    Gear is almost always good; buy it, you won’t regret it. Here are a few final Gear tips:

    • When playing Gear, if you choose not to set aside any cards, Gear will not stay in play.
    • Usually, set aside all the cards you don’t need on a given turn, even if it’s just one card.
    • When using Gear as your primary source of draw (not recommended if there are alternatives), only save cards with your final Gear.
    • When trashing from your deck with cards such as Sentry or Lookout, stop using Gear to save cards you want to trash pretty early.
    • The cards saved by Gear are not in your hand during opponents’ turns, so you can’t use saved reactions such as Moat.
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