Counter of the Day #5: Minion v. Treasury

Minion‘s attack is a bit of a gamble.  Sometimes it hurts, but other times it actually improves an opponent’s hand.  But it is quite powerful when you know your opponent has good cards in his hand, and this commonly occurs when your opponent is investing heavily in Treasuries.  The effect is doubly devastating: not only are you getting rid of one of his primary sources of income, but by forcing him to discard them, you prevent your opponent from chaining them together again for a long time.

Minion also counters Alchemists, and for the same reasons as outlined above, can completely wreck an Alchemist’s ability to get through his deck.  To a lesser extent, Minion can also nullify the top-decking power of Royal Seal/Watchtower/Herbalist (assuming they top-decked something useful, you can then force your opponent to discard it immediately).

On the same principle, Masquerade can work in place of Minion, albeit via a different mechanism.  If your opponent’s hand is consistently filled with Treasuries/Alchemists, you can often force him to pass you a good card.

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8 Responses to Counter of the Day #5: Minion v. Treasury

  1. foo says:

    I think a focused Minion strategy is one of the most dominant in the game. I think it comes as no surprise that Minion beats almost any other strategy. What’s interesting, tho, is what beats Minion?

    • theory says:

      Well, for starters, don’t forget that Minion is an attack and can be blocked by reaction cards …

      Other attack cards can also seriously gum up the Minion engine — curse-giving attacks, Rabble, etc.

      And Library or Tactician is a good response to the Minion attack.

  2. Mel Gibson says:

    I think Minion’s attack capability is minor compared to what it provides the owner, so I don’t think the Reaction card blocking is a show stopper. I consider the attack an added bonus, but generally acquire it for the 2 coins, 1 Action. Once constructed, a Minion engine is pretty efficient, and in many respects defends itself effectively against itself.

    In many respects, it is very similar to a Lab. The optional discard/redraw essentially repopulates your deck.

    I would agree that a curse-giver or card dispensor (Ambassador) is probably the most effective defense other than joining in the Minion race.

  3. I had a game on Isotropic where I managed to Minion, the turn after my opponent combined his Treasure Maps. That was fun.

  4. permagoof says:

    I tend to agree with “Mel Gibson” (I feel a little dirty typing that even though it’s just a username) about Minion’s ability. It may be officially classified as an “attack” card, but the attack ability is entirely secondary IMHO to the deck-cycling it allows the player of the Minion. A good Minion chain can let you play the same action cards on consecutive turns while accumulating high-value treasure cards. If one’s deck is efficiently constructed to start with, this can be devastating to opponents way beyond the one-time reduction of their hand to four cards (which can sometimes result in an improved hand for them anyway).

  5. Minion says:

    There is serious irony in this article. It’s like saying the best way to counter a samurai sword is heat-seeking rocket propelled grenade.

    Sure Treasury is pretty good but Minion is one of the best strategies out there. The only consistent counter to a Minion is to buy Minions.

    Yes its expensive and slow, sometimes, but it slows you down along the way too. Buying reaction cards just slows you down even more. You give up a couple buys and you have another couple of clog cards. E.g. Moat, it takes up the 5th slot that a Minion would have cleared.

    And for those folks who say it sometimes lets you draw to a better hand…consider the odds of drawing a better 5 card hand or 4 card hand. The 5 card hand is on average 25% better, and in Dominion each card additional card is a multiplier many cards pair with each other.

    Anyhow, just venting my Minion boredom.

  6. Steve says:

    This same theory would also work against alchemist. And to a lesser extent, watchtower.

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