Combo of the Day #22: Ironworks/Scout/Great Hall

Both Ironworks and Scout work nicely with Great Hall.  Ironworks is normally not that great a card: you can freely get a $3 or $4 Action, but it has to be a good non-terminal, and few non-terminal $3 or $4 Actions are worth piling up on at the expense of scaling up your deck.  Using Ironworks on Great Halls, however, means that you aren’t playing with a reduced hand; you get to replace the Ironworks in your hand with another card, and you get another Action to boot.  After you run out of Great Halls, though, the Ironworks tend to be useless; look for a way to Salvage or Remodel them.

Likewise, Scout is usually a waste of a card slot early on.  But with Great Halls on the board, you can temporarily forsake the typical buildup to focus instead on Great Halls.  You won’t have tons of money, but you only need enough to consistently hit $3/$4, and soon your Scouts will start pulling in enough Great Halls to give you 5- or 6-card hands, enough to jump to Gold.  You’ll probably want to start off with a Silver and avoid too heavy a focus on Scouts.  It also doesn’t do quite as well with strong trashing, though, since you’ll want to leapfrog up to Golds much more quickly.

You don’t need both Ironworks and Scout to pull this off, but it’s nice to have all three.

Sample game

The Shanty Town is a strong addition, since all my Actions are non-terminal (meaning the only times I can’t play the Shanty Town for 2 cards is when I draw it with another Shanty Town).  Note also that the Scout allows me to jump to Provinces much more quickly than I ordinarily would.

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13 Responses to Combo of the Day #22: Ironworks/Scout/Great Hall

  1. Grujah says:

    Uh.. Scout + Great Hall didn’t really ever work for me, and god knows that I’ve tried it. You just need too many Great Halls to make it useful, and many times there are better options, especially if you hit a high gold hand.
    Scout + Harem I found way more useful. Scout + Nobles is ok too, but with Harem it rocks.
    Ironworks + Great Hall – yeah, it kinda works.. but you’ll just end up with loads of Ironworks, Great Halls and some silver and not too many things to do with those.

    This is one of those things that I so think and want and try to make to work but it just doesn’t.

    • Grujah says:

      Though I don’t think that I ever had all 3 of those in game. Might try it out.

    • theory says:

      There’s nothing wrong with having Great Halls. The problem is its opportunity cost: you’re not buying Silver/other $3/$4 cards that help you build to $5 and $6.

      So if there’s critical $5’s and $6’s (Mountebank, Goons), you’re wasting your time by picking up the Great Halls. But if the $5’s and $6’s can wait (Explorer, Market, Mint), then it’s in your best interest to get maybe just one Ironworks and assign it to Great Hall duty, using the rest of your deck to build to $5 and $6.

  2. Personman says:

    I feel like you’re both missing the point — the thing about Ironworks/Great Hall is that you can Ironworks the Ironworks as well, and that’s two piles empty insanely quickly, along with a bunch of VP in your deck. If you can get more GHs than the other guy and run out a third cheap pile (maybe Villages or Shanty Towns) you can win insanely quickly.

    • theory says:

      I don’t like to do that mainly because even if you get all 8 Great Halls, your opponent can beat that with a Province + Duchy.

      Perhaps it is more viable in 3p/4p though.

  3. ghweiss says:

    Re: the game you posted – while I understand that Shanty Town consistently draws 2 cards when all your actions are non-terminal, not having terminal actions seems to me like a reason to skip Shanty Town (here, in favor of Chancellor or Silver).

    Also you wrote that Scout allowed you to jump to Provinces quicker. Is that because it “trashes” the Estates, and adds a Copper or two for each Great Hall it reveals? I never buy Scout (it seems overpriced) and I’m curious to hear more about why I should.

    I guess I’d like to see articles on both these cards 🙂

    • theory says:

      With terminal Actions, I prefer Villages instead of the Shanty Town. With non-terminals, a sprinkling of Shanty Towns turns them into Laboratories.

      You can buy Province earlier than usual with Scout because the Scout sucks the Province into your hand, so early Province buys don’t hurt your deck as much as usual.

      As for overall Scout use … in general, Scout does especially well with mixed Victory cards like Great Hall, Harem, and Nobles. Otherwise I tend not to bother.

    • Zaphod says:

      The Scout will not only pull Great Halls into your hand (along with other Victory cards), it also will allow you to rearrange the top of your draw pile to put the most useful card on top. For example, say you play the Scout with 5 coin in your hand, and the top 4 cards on your draw pile are Great Hall, Estate, Copper, Gold. You put the Great Hall and Estate in your hand, then move the Gold to the top of the draw pile, then play Great Hall to draw the Gold into your hand. Then you have enough to buy a Province.

      The Scout is an interesting card. As the only action, it’s nothing special, but in combination with many other cards it can be great.

      • Ithan says:

        Opening with Scout is pretty good for setting up your next turn. An early Scout will just about guarantee a $5 or $6 next turn by clearing away the Estates. With +1 Action, there’s also no reason to worry about collision with your $3 buy. In fact, Scout makes Ambassador, Masquerade, or Chapel much more effective by ensuring you’ll have the Estates you want to get rid of on the turn you want to get rid of them!

        • theory says:

          Ah, but the draw power is mandatory, which means it only works if you have the Scout in hand with the Ambassador/Chapel 🙂 Otherwise you just left your poor Chapel next turn with no Victory cards …

        • rrenaud says:

          Maybe you want to look here? Scout does pretty terribly overall as an opener.

          I am not sure there is really a good reason to open scout.

          Even if there is a Nobles or Great Hall on the board, I still think you want to go Silver before Scout.

          If you open Chapel/Scout, If you draw your Chapel and your Scout together, that’s great. But if you draw them apart and you play the Scout, it could mean that you’ll have a Chapel and 4 Coppers, rather than a Chapel and 2 Coppers and 2 Estates.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve mixed Scout/Great Hall with Crossroads and Bridges. The Scout into Great Hall into Crossroads works well, and with bridges I was able to run out some piles really quickly. Even as I greened up, the crossroads kept the cards flowing.

  5. Hello,
    I have a thing to add to this amazing article. I’ve stumbled upon this page long after I’ve started mastering the Victory Dance scenario of Intrigue and I was amazed someone actually wrote down about my findings. 🙂

    In short: I was getting increasingly frustrated with not being able to reliably win 95% of times in this scenario so I played it over and over like a madman and I think I’ve got it figured out.

    Ok. So in Victory Dance you’ve got Pawn, Masquerade, Ironworks, Duke, Harem, Great Hall, Bridge, Scout, Upgrade and Nobles

    And let me tell you – you can’t go wrong with Scout, Ironworks, Great Hall in this. But there is a trick to it, so let me explain.

    First: depending on opening hand, if you get a 5-2/2-5 split it’s actually worse than a 4-3/3-4 cause you want to buy two cards as early as possible.

    1 copy of Masquerade and 1 copy of Ironworks

    TIP: Masquerade is essential. You can never ever lose for anything. But it’s not really likely you will, unless you do something very wrong.

    Ironworks is essential until Great Halls run out, then it’s really sub-par and you need to Masquerade it to your opponent or just trash it.

    Ok, so you’ve got your Masquerade and Ironworks, what now? Well, now the only two other action cards you’re going to buy and they are 2 copies of a Scout. Those guys do the real job in this deck. (I don’t count the Great Halls as Action cards since they’re more like cogs, but sure, they are action cards as well). After you get them this deck starts running smoothly towards the winning stage.

    During the game when you draw your Ironworks – gain a Great Hall with it, unless you don’t have 2 Silvers or any Harems in your deck yet. If you have a hand of Ironworks, Copper, Copper, Estate, Estate after your first shuffle then gain a Silver with Ironworks and the additional coin from gaining it will let you buy a second one with the two coppers in your hand. And let me state that clearly – this is the last time when you’ll be buying any treasure aside from Harem in this scenario. Two silvers is plenty enough for your goals.

    Now your second hand is probably going to include Masquerade and some dough. If you don’t have any actions it’s fine to just Masquerade. If you have any other actions in hand play them first so you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re gonna be passing along and trashing for maximum efficiency. This includes playing Ironworks into Great Hall before Masquerade if you’ve drawn those two together. Getting Great Hall will draw you a card and give you an action for Masquerade so it’s a win-win situation.

    Ok. Once you’ve drawn from Masquerade, got the card from opponent and trashed an Estate it’s probable you’ve got enough cash for a Harem. If not – buy a Great Hall or Scout (if you don’t have two Scouts in your deck yet). There are no other options for you now. Don’t get tempted with buying any other cards even if you have 5 coins and it pains you to not use them all. This is crucial.

    Your deck should now consist of 2 Scouts, 1 Ironworks, 1 Masquerade, 2 Silver + some number of Great Halls and Harems.

    Now, whenever you have a hand with a Scout and something that draws a card always use Scout first to get that juiciest card set on top of your deck for drawing.

    If you don’t have a Scout in hand but have some Great Halls and nothing else – just Great Hall away until you dig one out or get enough cash for a Harem of Great Hall.

    Now this is the fun part. Once you’ve filled your deck with Harems and Great Halls your Scouts begin to read: Draw 3-4 cards among which some of them are 2 coin cards and other give you options to draw even more!

    Sorry for the overly enthusiastic tone but I simply love this part.

    You will be drawing a LOT of money from those Scouts and a lot of additional draws from Great Halls. It is very unlikely you won’t be able to start buying Provinces soon. With their clogging effect mitigated by Scouts you won’t even feel much clogged till maybe 4-6 Province and by then you can just buy a Duchy of even an Estate while waiting for the appropriate piles to run out. No biggie.

    Always try to increase your deck consistency by trashing unneeded in the early game with Masquerade, unless those are Coppers that are needed for you to buy a Harem. Then obviously don’t. Also don’t give your opponents important pieces of this deck because even lacking one of them (besides Ironworks after Great Halls run out) will hurt it immensely.

    To recap, your deck is as follows:
    1 Masquerade
    2 Scouts
    1 Ironworks
    2 Silvers
    a fair amount of Great Halls
    a fair amount of Harems
    endgame Provinces and Duchies/Estates

    This strategy is the best one I’ve come up until now out of 200+ Victory Dances played. I hope you’ll enjoy it if you didn’t know it already.

    If you did know it – excuse my lengthy post. I’m just really excited to contribute a piece of my experience to you guys.

    Take care and have fun dancing the Victory Dance!
    Samuel Kalkin

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