Part of the reason why I hate multiplayer games. If you’re sitting in 4th position and the preceding players all bought Cutpurse, well, you’re kinda hosed. Even 2-player games suffer from Cutpurse, though it’s not quite as bad as Militia (e.g., if both players draw Militia + 4x Copper, player 1 gets a Gold and player 2 gets a crappy $4).
It’s also a peculiar card, in that it’s the only non-trashing card I can think of that’s only helpful in the opening. Of course, if you have the Action, Cutpurse always provides that +$2, but in the late game Coppers 1) are probably gone, 2) are probably hard to hit even if they aren’t, and 3) probably don’t matter anyway. Sometimes this isn’t true, if your opponents are playing some sort of weird Copper strategy (most commonly, Gardens or Coppersmith; Moneylender doesn’t really count since they’re trashing all their Coppers anyway), or if it’s an attack-heavy game and every Copper matters, but frankly I’m usually happy to send my Cutpurse to the Chapel after a couple reshuffles.
That having been said, it’s definitely a brutal attack in the early game. Compare it to Militia, one of the best opening $4’s: in the early game, Militia is only superior if you draw no Victory cards. But even then, Cutpurse is not really all that worse: this ordinarily means a hand of 5 Copper. Militia drops you down to $3, and Cutpurse down to $4. Either way, the damage is done: it’s cutting you off from the $5 that really hurts. (The rare exception is if you hit a Silver + 4x Copper hand, whereupon Militia gets you down to $4 but Cutpurse only to $5. But even then, going from $6 to $5 is still much worse than going from $5 to $4.) And in multiplayer games, as alluded to before, Cutpurse stacks, but Militia doesn’t.
(One can only imagine how ridiculously brutal Cutpurse used to be, when it read “+$2; name a Treasure card; each other player discards it.”)
In other words, Cutpurse is probably one of the best early game attacks, along with Sea Hag, Militia, and Ambassador. If you’re feeling especially vindictive, an early second copy of Cutpurse can work wonders: for example, in this game, Celicath’s second Cutpurse cripples my deck advancement and gets Apprenticed later to boot.
Finally, when paired with Chapel (or similar early trasher), Cutpurse works similarly to a Militia/Chapel opening, in that it is a good way to boost yourself up while hurting your opponent’s trashing. As if first player didn’t already have enough reasons to celebrate Cutpurse being in the set.
- Other handsize-reducers (Militia, Goons, Torturer, Ghost Ship, etc.): just remember to play them first before the Cutpurse!
- Heavy attack-focused games, where Coppers matter for a while
- Chapel, as part of a Cutpurse/Chapel opening to slow your opponent’s trashing
- Ambassador, which ensures that Coppers will always be floating around
- Cards that get rid of Cutpurse for some benefit (Bishop, Apprentice, Salvager)
- Opponents that depend on Copper (e.g., Gardens players, Coppersmith strategies)
- Being first player
- Opponents’ Counting House
- Pirate Ship
- Potion games
- Chapel, and other early trashing (especially treasure-focused: Moneylender/Loan/Mine), in the sense that the Coppers will be gone quickly
- Being the last player