Combo of the Day #7: Spy/Thief

Thief is usually a pretty bad attack.  Early game, you do nothing but help your opponents by trashing their Coppers.  Mid game, it’s just not reliable enough to justify spending the terminal Action.  Late game, you mostly end up discarding Victory cards, and even when you do hit a Gold or Silver, it’s too little too late.

Thief becomes much more effective when you have an army of Spies able to hunt through your opponents’ decks until they find Treasure worth stealing.  You should depart from typical Spy norms when you have a Thief in hand—be willing to discard your opponent’s Victory cards and Coppers until you find Silver or Gold.

(Do note that a devious counter to this strategy is willfully refraining from revealing Reaction cards until the Thief is played.  Then all you’ve done is top-deck good Treasure for your opponent, while discarding junk he doesn’t want.)

It’s conceivable that Scrying Pool could replace the Spy, but it’s much less convenient to buy and therefore hard to achieve the critical mass necessary to use the Thieves effectively.

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5 Responses to Combo of the Day #7: Spy/Thief

  1. george says:

    There´s another good use for thieh.

    Thief works well against chapel. Thats because when chapel is used decks get thin with few and valuable treasure.

    So it gets pretty easy to hit silvers and golds and cause an economic crisis

  2. chesskidnate says:

    of course thief isn’t always good just because chapels out, even if your opponents play chapel. One possibility is a setup thats easy to produce cash with action cards (if your opponent can use something like Kings Court+ grand market chains forget about theiving). And note that they can keep cash to start this combo(except for early bad luck i.e. theif hits silver first round through which’ll make them very slow) by getting down to a 5 card deck

  3. Jake says:

    I dont agree with that the Thief is bad in early games, at least not in random games. Having a thief discard a players coppers in the first few rounds can seriously cripple that players ability to buy new cards. I dont see how it is a gain for somebody with 7 coppers and 3 estates to suddenly have only 6 coppers to buy cards with. Of course, this demands that you get to buy a thief early and get to use it but overall, I would say that the thief is a very good card early games.

    • WheresMyElephant says:

      Counterpoint: Spice Merchant. That card is very nearly the same thing as being hit by an early-game Thief: you lose a Copper from your deck but you don’t lose an action or get your hand shrunk or anything. (You even cycle forward two cards, like Thief!) The biggest difference here is that instead of your OPPONENT spending a $4 buy (and then spending an Action) to do this to you, YOU are spending a $4 buy to do it to yourself.

      And yet, Spice Merchant is a good opener in many games! And when it’s NOT a good opener, it’s typically not because it would be actively harmful; but rather because there is a better alternative available, even if it’s just Silver. If you were offered a free Spice Merchant on turn 1 in addition to your normal buy, you would usually take it.

      Now, there are maybe some games where you’re so desperate to reach $5 and get some great Action card that you welcome the Copper. But if quickly getting to $5 is so crucial in this Kingdom, then he shouldn’t be buying Thief: he should be buying a card that gives money (such as Silver). By making this decision he’s harming his own early buying power much more than he harms yours.

      • Jake says:

        Of course, my point is simply that I like the Thief and that I have played some nice games with the Thief as a main strategy to gain an advantage and it works quite well (aka I win more than I lose).

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