The Five Worst $6+ Cards

Disclaimer: Dominion does a really great job of balancing its Kingdom cards. Pretty much every card has some situations where it shines, and some situations where it doesn’t. Nevertheless, some cards just end up being flat-out better than others, either because they are more useful more often, or just ridiculously good when they are useful. Don’t expect this list to be very scientific.

This is a strange category, since it’s really hard to call any of the $6+ cards “bad”.  Even the worst are only situational, and none are as situational as the worst $5 cards.  On the other hand, that just makes the disparity between these and the truly dominant $6+ cards all the more staggering.

Hoard

Dominion: Prosperity

5. Hoard

This is ordinarily a great $6 buy, since in Province games you can get all the Gold you need just from Hoard.  But its problem is twofold:

1) If you can’t get through your deck, then you’re essentially getting $1.5 per card.  Unless the Victory cards you’re buying are making a meaningful difference on the score, you’re building a deck whose buying power is even worse than pure Silver.  This is especially problematic in Colony games, where without a card like Warehouse or Salvager, you’re probably better off using Gold to directly jump to Platinum.

2) If you’re running a complex Action chain, the Golds and Victory cards are going to gum up your engine and make it difficult for you to draw all the components together.  This is why Hoard works much better with Harem than with Nobles.

Bank

Dominion: Prosperity

4. Bank

True, Bank is usually worth as much a Gold, and often much more.  But without +Buy, you almost never really need that much cash, making it a needless risk when Golds are perfectly adequate.  They’re especially comical in Province games, where you’ll see someone play them for +$6, having $20 in total, and buying a single Province, and then playing them for +$2 the next turn to buy an Estate.

Of course, like all $7 cards in Province games, if you actually draw $7 in the mid-to-late game, you’re likely to punch a hole in something, what with the $8 card being so much more important.  That’s what you get for taking Fishing Village instead of Silver.

Forge

Dominion: Prosperity

3. Forge

Forge is the best all-around trasher in the game, since it’s basically a Chapel with benefits.  The problem is that it tends to come too late.  Chapel is as powerful as it is because you’re guaranteed to be able to get it on Turn 1; Forge usually won’t come into your deck until you’ve already got an engine set up.  You can’t really rely on it as a trasher in the same way as any of the $3’s or $4’s, and worse yet, it depends heavily on drawing the right trashable cards.  Against multiplayer Militias, for instance, Forge can barely get off the ground.

It’s a nice midgame trasher if there’s no other way to trash, but it’s so slow that unless you’re drawing large hands and/or good combinations of cards to trash, it’s often outrun by someone who spent their $7’s on King’s Courts instead.

Forge gets some bonus demerits for the analysis paralysis it induces, since calculating optimal trashing is technically an NP-complete problem.

Nobles

Dominion: Intrigue

2. Nobles

Nobles is probably one of the most overrated cards in the game.  Building an +Actions/+Cards chain with just Nobles is an exercise in futility, since two such Nobles only works out to a single Laboratory.  It’s a nice supplement on top of a pre-existing +Actions/+Cards engine, where Nobles can substitute for Smithies rather than for Villages, but without any support, the Nobles will usually just end up as dead cards.  Even a Great Hall is often superior, since at least it’s useful by itself in a hand.

In Province games, they’re at least important to fight over, since if you’re on the wrong side of a 5-3 Nobles split you need a Duchy + Estate to equalize, but in Colony games they’re just a pretty distraction from Golds and Platinums.

Adventurer

Dominion

1. Adventurer

One of my favorite cards in the game, but it’s been badly outmoded by Venture.  It has a few advantages over Venture, but the fact that it can’t pick up other Adventurers is a huge mark against it by making it an essentially un-spammable card.  Unlike Venture, buying more Adventurers doesn’t actually increase your overall buying power, and unlike Venture, drawing more than one in your hand does you very little good.

Because it draws the Treasures into hand rather than playing them immediately, it has limited combo potential (e.g., Village/Adventurer/Mine), but 90% of the time it’s just not worth it compared to a Venture stack.

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80 Responses to The Five Worst $6+ Cards

  1. kn1tt3r says:

    Is Peddler included in this category?

    • Eric says:

      Yes, It’s part of the 5 Best $6+ cards. And for good reason (other people have already said why below).

  2. Kuildeous says:

    I would certainly classify the Peddler as in the 6+ category, but I’m not surprised to not see it on the “worst list.” Peddler is basically a weaker market that can often be bought for less than a Market. And in the right situations (such as spammed Markets), the card really shines.

    Poor Adventurer, though. No love for him, even when he risks life and limb to bring you your treasure.

    • WheresMyElephant says:

      Sure, you CAN pay $6 for Peddler, but no sane person ever would (except to end the game, of course). The same could be said for Copper. I struggle to see any practical reason why we should think of it as a $6 card, rather than a $0-4 card that is available only under certain conditions (similar to Grand Market).

      To the extent that Peddler is legitimately a $6 card in games with no +Actions, it is by far the worst $6+ card in the game, but including it on the list is just going to confuse people.

      • Kuildeous says:

        Just because most people would not pay 6+ for it doesn’t mean it isn’t a 6+ card. It’s certainly considered an 8-cost card when Salvager, Remake, and Swindler are played.

        That’d be like saying that Laboratory is not a 5-cost card when Bridge or Princess is played. While it’s true that most times you won’t see Peddler bought for 6 or 8, by the strictest of definitions, Peddler is a card that costs 6+. Of course, I’m not theory, so my opinion is just that.

        I did buy Peddler for 8 in my very first Prosperity game last year. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it was the only card with +1 Action. That by itself wouldn’t have convinced me to buy Peddler, but the King’s Court allowed me to generate extra actions with it. I did win that game, although I’m sure most of that was because the expansion was new and people were more willing to clog their deck with cool terminals. I just happened to realize the lack of actions on the board. So, I wouldn’t say that no sane person would ever buy it at that high of a price. It’s just not as common.

        • EmmyCaution says:

          And that it’s considered a $8 card is what makes it a good $6+ card. I agree that it should be considered a $6+ card but it certainly isn’t bad. It will never destroy your deck since it won’t take up an action or a place in your hand + you get a +$1 so it will never clog your deck (like the other cards on the list).

          The Salvager, Remodel and Swindler are what makes Peddler a great card. Buy it cheap and than dispose of it in a good way.🙂

        • WheresMyElephant says:

          Sorry but I can’t agree that paying $8 or even $6 for a Peddler in the desperate hope of drawing it with KC is remotely justified. I don’t think it’s even possible to clog your deck so badly with terminals that this makes sense. Even if it is possible, and for some reason you did it (maybe all your Silver was Swindled into Woodcutters or something) I would instead buy a Gold which will help avoid terminal collisions, or another KC.

          Of course calling players who were still learning the cards “insane” is a bit unfair of me, but you get the idea.

          Anyway, by the “strictest of definitions” Peddler costs 8*, and nowhere is it written that 8* is more than 7 (just as 2 Potion is neither greater nor less than 3). But in any event what is the purpose of using strict definitions? He’s trying to give practical advice, and in practical terms Peddler is never $8 when you buy it.

          • Kuildeous says:

            You have to stop using that word, “never.” I’ve already proven that’s not true, even if it was not with an ideal strategy. And I’d argue that most Dominion players don’t use ideal strategies. Not everyone can be level 40 on Isotropic. Even my own gameplay suffers because I spread out a little too much here or there and get ambushed by the Duchy Ninja. While I’m sure it’s true to say that you “never” buy Peddler for 6+, that statement does not hold for everyone, sane or not.

            And I’d still argue that 8* > 7. We’re not talking about adding Potions, which is an apples-vs-oranges situation. We’re talking about how Peddler costs $8. The asterisk means that there are certain circumstances where the cost is reduced. For that matter, Bridge and Princess inherently add an asterisk to every card’s cost. King’s Court is a $6+ card, unless you play Princess. Now it’s a $5 card and should be added to the Best $5 list.

            Though, let’s approach this from another angle. What list would you place Peddler? If it’s not a $6+ card, then should it be added to the best $4 list? The best $2 list? The best free buy list?

            If you insist that the cost is not $8, then you cannot classify the card, at least not into a category that has non-Peddler cards.

            The card costs $8. The fact that it can be bought at a discount is just one reason why it’s such an awesome card.

    • theory says:

      Yes, Peddler is included. As a spoiler, it’s on the best list: not because it’s actually worth buying at $6+, but because it’s one of the best cards that happens to have a MSRP of $6+.

      • DannyR says:

        Thanks for wrapping that up🙂

      • The Cow says:

        There is no possible way Peddler belongs on the best list; it simply isn’t better than five or six other cards. King’s Court should be #1 followed by Grand Market and Possession (uggh). After that it gets a bit murky but Goons feel like four followed by either Nobles or Expand. Peddler is only really good when it shows up with a convenient set (worker’s village or a combination of cards that achieve something similar) and when it turns into something else.

  3. EmmyCaution says:

    I think you are a little wrong about Forge. Of course it is very fortunate if one could get it early but even late game when you have a feeling it is about to end you can take the opportunity to trash valuable cards for extra Victory cards. Say a little Fishing Village and a Gold for a province right before you end the game by buying the last Colony. I like Forge very much, otherwise I completely agree with your list. Can’t think of any other card I would put on the list.

    • Reyk says:

      “Say a little Fishing Village and a Gold for a province right before you end the game”

      The little fishing village is a native village?😉

    • theory says:

      It’s a tough call. In late game, Expand could do the same without as much risk. In the end, it just came down to the fact that Forge is one of those rare $6+ cards you can be unhappy about drawing in the late game.

    • rls22 says:

      I am pretty down on Forge ever since a game a few weeks ago where I drew $7 about a third of the way through the game — I thought pretty hard about Forge vs. Gold, and ultimately went with Forge (I already had a couple golds, there was limited other trashing, etc.). But, in every single instance in which I drew Forge for the remainder of the game, a Gold would have been better. Anecdotal evidence of course, but it’s currently coloring my view of the card…

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree with your sentiment, Fishing Village + Gold will not Forge you a Province because of the “exactly” clause.

  4. guided says:

    I’m puzzled by the inclusion of Hoard. Maybe because it’s an easy card to play badly? My Popular Buys “effect with” is 0.64, against -0.38 without. I think it’s almost strictly better than Gold as an early buy. At the risk of divulging my secrets, up to a certain point in most Hoard games I tend to buy Hoard with $6 and $7 hands that include a single Hoard. Until the endgame I strongly prefer not to buy a Duchy or Estate unless it gets me at least 2 Golds.

    I’m in agreement with your other selections, with the proviso that in the rare case where Bank is strong it can be one of the most disgustingly powerful cards in the game. It’s only the rarity of those cases that deservedly places the card on this list.

    • kn1tt3r says:

      I would have also included Harem instead of Hoard or Bank, but well… it’s all very close up there.

    • mischiefmaker says:

      Say you draw a hand with 1 hoard and $5 total and there are no Kingdom cards you want. How early would you start buying duchies (8 provinces left? 5? Some other criteria?)

      • guided says:

        I’d probably buy a Duchy in that situation, even early in the game. 3 VPs and $1.5 average card value seems better to me than buying Silver.

    • chris says:

      I think it’s almost strictly better than Gold as an early buy. At the risk of divulging my secrets, up to a certain point in most Hoard games I tend to buy Hoard with $6 and $7 hands that include a single Hoard. Until the endgame I strongly prefer not to buy a Duchy or Estate unless it gets me at least 2 Golds.

      If you’re not buying VP with it, it’s strictly *worse* than Gold (aside from some special situations with Cornucopia cards). Drawing $5 including Hoard is the best-case situation (when you own one Hoard); you buy Duchy and gain Gold (while, if you had Gold in place of the Hoard and had $6, you might have just bought Gold; and even calling this a “best” case implies that the game is close enough to ending for the Duchy to help you more than it hurts you).

      But if you draw $4 including Hoard, you just screwed yourself out of a $5 buy by having Hoard instead of Gold, and you’re not likely to want to go for Estate + Gold instead. So you buy something for $4, using your Hoard as an overpriced Silver.

      And the more Hoards you have, the more buying power you lose compared to having Gold — especially if you draw them separately, giving you several turns of reduced buying power and no chance to gain multiple Gold at once.

      Even the one card that makes you *want* to buy a Victory card early — Tournament — doesn’t work well with Hoard, because the Hoard will only slow down your first $8 turn, which is so crucial in a Tournament race, compared to buying Gold on your $6 turns.

      Obviously this goes a little differently if cheap-but-not-worthless Victory cards like Great Hall or Island are out, or if there’s a way to guarantee drawing the Hoards together, but cards shouldn’t be evaluated solely in terms of their best combos.

      Gold now is better than Gold later; Gold that relies on clogging your deck to get isn’t so great at any time; and by the time you can buy Provinces with Hoards, gaining Gold doesn’t do you much good anymore because the game is almost over.

      • guided says:

        I should specify that I mean Hoard is almost strictly better than Gold for Big Money-variant strategies, elevating such strategies to the point where they can routinely compete with action chains on a broad range of boards. The big advantage of Hoard is that it allows you to buy green cards without appreciably clogging your deck. From your analysis it’s clear you undervalue Duchies. The greatest strength of heavy treasure-based strategies is that even when they fail to get a 4-4 Province split (which generally means a landslide win) they can with some frequency get enough Duchies to make up for a 3-5 split.

        It’s also not true that Golds gained on Province buys are insignificant. A typical Hoard deck is likely to see multiple shuffles after gaining its first Gold from a Province buy.

  5. Thisisnotasmile says:

    No honourable mention?

  6. chwhite says:

    Two big disagreements; one which will probably be a lot lonelier than the other.

    I’d have put Harem in Nobles’ place- Nobles is often a great buy in engine decks, either if it’s the only source of Actions or as a Smithy with points if there are Villages about. Harem, on the other hand, is rarely ever anything better than a consolation prize. I usually ignore Harem unless I’m going in a Big Money-ish direction, and I don’t normally go Big Money if I can help it.

    I’ll also be a lonely voice saying that Possession is massively overrated and is one of the worst $6+ cards. Sometimes it’s a must-buy, of course, and most of Isotropic hasn’t gotten past the point of thinking it always is. But the majority of the time it is actually really easy to defend against and you’re probably better off just getting that Province, or better yet, that Goons. I’d rather see it on this list than Hoard. And, no, this is not Alchemy-hate speaking: I really do like most of the set.

    • theory says:

      Boy, if that’s how you feel about Harem, you aren’t going to like the “Best of” list …😉

      All the Potion-cost cards get their own list, since it’s not really fair to compare them otherwise.

      • chwhite says:

        Well, given that comment I think we know what the top 5 is going to be, though not necessarily in order: KC, Goons, Grand Market, Peddler, Harem? The first four strike me as simply way too obvious.

        Yeah, I’d put Hoard up there instead of Harem. Yeah, buying Harems with your Hoard is nice, but Hoard is clearly the dominant half of that partnership. I don’t actually think Harem’s the second-worst 6+ card- it’s better than Forge at least. Also, the Isotropic numbers seem to back me up: Harem is pretty much even (1.00 win rate with, 0.99 without), whereas Hoard (1.01/0.97) is better than even and Nobles (1.01/0.91!) is much better.

      • chwhite says:

        Also, sure, the value of Nobles goes down in Colony games, but the value of Harem goes down even more precipitously- I mean, it has the same functionality as silver. Silver! Nobles at least can be a useful engine part.

      • Anon says:

        http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110602-175356-ac32a549.html

        A fast game where both players opened Chapel/Bazaar, with Conspirator, King’s Court and Mint on the board. 57% Fresh went for the simple Bazaar + Conspirator combo, and bought 5 consecutive Provinces from Turn 11 onwards. However, this was not enough to match PSUguy who mixed in a single Harem and 2 Mints, then proceeded to mint ALL 7 OTHER Harems. Check out turns 12 (one KC’ed mint and one non-KC’ed mint) and 14: draws a Mint and 4 Harems, buying a Province.

    • Death to Sea Hags says:

      I think Nobles is great in an village-smithy-type engine deck because of the flexibility it provides – it really reduces the impact of shuffling variance.

      Because of the 2vp, letting your opponent get a 5-3 or better split on them in almost any non-Colony circumstance is BAD. That makes a “race” card, and thus kinda annoying, but not actually a bad card.

      That said, i can see the problem in making a $6 list – something has to be at the bottom, and by definition $6 cards should be good.

  7. Katsue says:

    I love my engine decks, but you need to have an engine before Nobles is any good. As a source of actions, it’s less functional than Native Village, and as a card drawer, it’s on par with Smithy. Both of those cards are significantly less expensive than Nobles. Harems don’t work as well in an engine as Nobles, but it still works better than other VP cards even in a tight engine like Minion/Scrying Pool, whereas Nobles is a poor fit on a table that can’t support an engine.

    • tlloyd says:

      Explain how Harems beat Nobles in a Minion/Scrying Pool deck. That seems unlikely to me.

      • tlloyd says:

        Nevermind. I get your point. Harem is better than a Duchy in those cases, not better than Nobles. Okay.

        • Amaranth (aka Katsue) says:

          Right, and often in such decks, the purchasing difference between Harem and Gold is not significant. 3 Minions + 1 Harem purches a Province just as well as 3 Minions + 1 Gold. Scrying Pools are cheap in terms of coin, and the filler actions picked up with extra buys are often pretty cheap as well.

  8. Sprocket says:

    if you rate Harem above Nobles, it seems like you’d have to at least say that Silver is better than Smithy, right (take away the VP from both)? In this case it’s actually Smithy with an option, so that should be strictly stronger. This would also indicate that Smithy is overpriced at $4.

    I suppose the two possible counter-arguments I can imagine are:
    1) a single Smithy might be better, but a deck full of Silvers is better than a deck full of Smithies (although argument this is slightly weakened by the village option).
    2) The Smithy might be stronger early, but because these cost more, you won’t get them until later, at which point maybe money might be better. I’m not sure if I really agree with this, but I could see how it might be argued.

    • rrenaud says:

      This graph is relevant. Of course, I don’t know how independent theory’s arguments are from this data.

      http://councilroom.com/win_rate_diff_accum.html?cards=Cost%3D%3D6%7C%7CCost%3D%3D7

      But Nobles does well in that competition, unlike most of the other cards there. So either the data means something, or theory at least believes most of it ;P.

      Certainly as the game goes longer, you expect your deck to mostly get better, the value of your Nobles (or Smithy) increases when your cards get better, so you’d expect Smithy to outperform Silver more and more, until your deck gets clogged by end game VP.

    • Amaranth (aka Katsue) says:

      It’s more that in a setup where engines aren’t feasible, you’re likely to have bought a terminal action or two before you could afford Nobles, and by the time you can afford them, you may be better off buying Gold.

    • The Cow says:

      Rating Harem above Nobles is simply ridiculous. Both are 2vp. Harem is 2 coin. Nobles is a choice between 3 cards or 2 actions. As you state, Nobles > Smithy + 2vp and Smithy is definitely > silver.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree that Adventurer, Nobles and Forge are exactly where they are.

  10. DG says:

    I would seriously re-order this list. Forges could be up there as one of the cards can be most badly misplayed along with the saboteurs and outposts. I’m often wary of hoards and they need to be bought in a timely fashion, like most cards, but they are often a key card in a kingdom that drives a whole strategy. Harems on the other hand are almost never a key card. Every time buying a gold would be a mistake then a harem would usually be a mistake too, plus you get the times when gold is still better than the harem as well. The number of cards that make the harem a weak buy in a kingdom seems almost endless: goons, militia, tournaments, pirate ships, thieves, tributes, treasuries, horns of plenty, warehouses, cellars, upgrades, smugglers, bureaucrats, minions, ghost ships, ventures, bishops, apprentices, salvagers, platinum, and more.

    One advantage of harems is giving early vp leads and giving options for early terminations to games. Nobles however can give the same early vp leads but by combining well with (almost any) other actions they allow you much more flexibility in how you command your deck, create big hands, and use multiple buys to close out games. Perhaps my personal style of play appreciates the choice and flexibility offered by a noble but this choice of poor village/expensive smithy is frequently just what is needed to juggle a mess of cards and make them into a working deck. Harems certainly have their days but they rarely help you close out a game better than a gold would do and they typically give an opponent time to redress any vp deficit.

    • chwhite says:

      Agreed. I’m trying to think of situations where I’d specifically rather have a Harem in preference to just a Gold or a Duchy and I find they’re just not that common. The most obvious situations are with Scout (woohoo, let’s combo with one of the worst $4 cards) and as your first purchase with Hoard (where it’s pretty clear Hoard is the strong half of this combo). I guess in most treasure-driven Province games there’s a window in the mid-to-late game where Harems are the best choice when you have less than $8, but as I mentioned above that really smacks of “consolation prize” to me. A $6 that often fails the Gold test and is most commonly bought as a consolation prize really deserves to be on this list.

      To be clear: it’s not a bad card. Adventurer is the only “bad” $6-plus card in the game. But most cards that cost this much are so much better.

      • tlloyd says:

        So about any time I see a card universally derided as “bad” on this blog, I like to try using it the next few times it comes up. Maybe I enjoy the challenge, or maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Anyway, I played a game yesterday where I bought one Adventurer, one Coppersmith, and a few Golems. I bought some ventures (I maybe should have bought duchies instead) and the one potion but other than that bought no new treasures besides my initial seven copper. Unfortunately my deck took a while to get going, and since this was only a Province game I didn’t quite have time to catch up to my opponent’s early lead. But I think the strategy might have been a winner in a Colony game, since I was pulling $11+ hands relatively quickly and consistently.

        • guided says:

          It’s a rare board where it’s a good strategy, but Counting House excels at getting to $8 (or even $11) consistently on really crappy, slow attacking boards. (And of course it combos pretty well with Golem too.) A couple of my favorite wins were decks where basically the only significant action cards I bought were Goons and Counting Houses:

          http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110111-212917-356d715d.html
          http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110204-105227-012c778e.html

        • chwhite says:

          Oh, of course, even the worst cards in Dominion have situations where they shine. Counting House is a beast in games with Mountebank and no trashing; Coppersmith can be good with Apothecary or in some mega-turn strategies; Chancellor is good with Stash or as an opening Silver substitute in Familiar games; Secret Chamber works well enough in Vault’s absence if you’re rolling double-Tactician; Bureaucrat and Explorer are great if you’re going after Dukes. In particular, I’ve had a surprising amount of success recently with Bureaucrat. And Adventurer definitely has a niche in trimmed Big Money decks and probably some other situations too. It’s just that, well, Adventurer’s niche is really small for its really big cost, and Venture is almost always better, for cheaper.

          I can find good things to say about every card save Thief.

          • AJD says:

            I had a great time using Secret Chamber today in a Young Witch game with Shanty Town as bane. Get attacked, use Secret Chamber to make sure my Shanty Town was in my hand and my other actions were back on the deck, reveal bane to block the witch. But I suppose now I’m getting kind of off-topic.

          • Amaranth says:

            I just had a game where Adventurer was useful today. Vineyards were in the set, along with Worker’s Village, Wishing Well and King’s Court. Basically, I used Adventurer to search my deck for Potion so I could buy the Vineyards, which ended up being worth 7vp each.

  11. Fuu says:

    Could anyone more experienced than I comment on the wisdom or otherwise of buying Hoard early on in a heavy-cursing game? My reasoning is that you may quickly find that your buying power isn’t very high in a heavy-cursing game, and so using Hoard (hopefully more than once in a turn, and/or for buying a functional victory card) may help you shore up your buying power with those additional golds. The victory cards you add to your deck in order to gain gold will slow you down, but you’ll occasionally get a good hand you might not have gotten without those free golds, and they are precious points anyway in a potentially low-scoring game.

    • The Cow says:

      Cursing -> Slow -> Time to breed golds -> Hoard is better in heavy cursing.

    • DG says:

      Yes hoards can add gold to curse ridden decks and sustain a rush to buy out duchies and win on 3 piles. Hoards are also a good option when expanding a deck against an ambassador.

      • drg says:

        Hoards are also very nice when you have trash for benefit – you can both trash the green cards you buy or superfluous golds. Apprentice and Bishop are particularly nice, but salvager is also nice.

  12. Anon says:

    The ranking is pretty unexpected to me. When I rank my 6+ cards by “Win Rate Given Available”, I only have 4 cards above the baseline (i.e. Province, Copper, etc.) win rate. One of them is Fairgrounds, and the other 3 are on this list: Hoard, Bank, and Forge.

    Forge is one of my favourite cards, because they play out so differently. $2 and $3 cards suddenly become valuable as bricks & mortar. Also, in Colony games I can quite safely buy multiple Forges because they can be converted to Platinums or Colonies very easily. I seldom want more than 1 in a Province game though.

    Hoard is a strange one. On average the Hoard deck might be slightly behind in terms of getting to Provinces first, but is often slightly ahead in points thanks to the extra Duchies/Estates. Opponent then has to choose between disobeying the PPR, or Duchy dancing – but the Hoard deck is one of the best in Duchy dancing!

  13. ycz6 says:

    http://councilroom.com/popular_buys?player=ycz6

    I love Hoard so much. Hoard is my #1 card in terms of Effect With, and I buy it in 91.1% of available games.❤ Duchies

    Adventurer is actually #8, though I only buy it 15.5% of the time, so these two statistics mean very different things.

  14. rogerclee says:

    I’ve basically agreed strongly with every other Best/Worst list, so this list is very surprising to me. Implying that Harem is better than Hoard is baffling to me when Harem is not even as good as Nobles in most cases. A Harem is an expensive tiebreaking silver, while Hoard can be an extremely dominant strategy when paired with many other cards, most notably Salvager/Apprentice/Bishop, any of the dual victory cards, or Duke/Gardens. If your argument is that Hoard is bad in Colony games, what does that make Harem?

    My list would be

    5. Forge
    4. Bank
    3. Nobles
    2. Harem
    1. Adventurer

    • drg says:

      Harems are really bad in colony games. The ranking of some of these cards seems to include their misuse/overbuying as well as just their raw power. As has been said, taking away the vps witch are even, nobles is a smithy with benefits and harem is a silver.

      Bank and hoard depend on the board and can be killer when the right stuff is there – hoard works well with action/victory cards and harem as well as trash for benefit and bank is nuts with wharves and tactician.

      Forge is a complicated card that is easy to misuse or to hope for more than it will give you. Of course whoever gets lab-lab-lab-lab-lab forge trashing 3 estates 3 coppers and 4 curses or something like that first wins.

  15. Taco Lobster says:

    I’m no where near a top player, but, based on comments by theory, rreenaud, and other top players, I’ve been taking harem at a higher priority than before and have found it to be better than I thought based on reading it and applying the logic above. It helps with a duchy rush, it’s a great target for bishop or apprentice, and it lets your deck be greener and retain buying power. Conversely, I valued nobles very highly, but, after reading this article, I realized how often I end up with a lone nobles in hand, draw 3, and end up with 2 action cards and a copper. Harems are a self-sustaining way to buy out harems, which will give you 1 pile in a 3 pile strategy, and often before the opponent can deplete provinces.

    • chesskidnate says:

      It seems like harem is a bad target for apprentice/bishop, if you were going to trash it anyway why not have a gold for the extra coin on turns before you trash?

  16. guided says:

    I’m not impressed by the “Smithy costs more than Silver, so Nobles must be better than Harem” arguments. All this proves is that you should definitely prefer Nobles to Harem when you would prefer Smithy to Silver. And guess what? Silver is usually better than Smithy as a card to buy multiples of in the mid-to-late game.

    Maybe there’s some argument to be made about how Nobles is better than Harem, but it isn’t “$4 > $3, QED.” Certainly, unthinking Harem stacking is stronger than unthinking Nobles stacking, because an unsupported Nobles stack is a really crappy engine. $12 for two cards that combine to be mostly worse than a Laboratory (since you often end up with 1 Nobles in hand and 1 action remaining).

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yeah Harem being “good” and Hoard being “bad” is pretty surprising to me too.

  18. Bob dole says:

    I’ve found that forge is one of those cards that works best when you rush for it in order to get the most use out of it. Nobles is overrated, but it’s still a good supplement to basic combos and works well in lab chains. Otherwise I agree with this list.

  19. randomdragoon says:

    Harem is one of those cards that I initially thought was bad, but I’ve appreciated its power more and more the more experienced I became. Try buying Harems over Gold as soon as the first Province gets taken (or even a bit before that…), it’s the only real way to appreciate its power.

    Nobles has been pretty much the opposite for me; I initially thought it was amazing but now it’s nothing too special. If it’s the only source of +actions, you might as well not bother with a +actions/+cards engine, as it’s too expensive and too slow. If you grab nobles for $6 when you don’t have a supporting engine in place, you draw hands like nobles/militia/silver/silver/estate and you get stuck. Of course, nobles are great in an established +actions/+cards engine because they will rarely be dead in your hand.

  20. Not a Cylon says:

    You know, I’m beginning to see your point about Nobles:

    http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201106/28/game-20110628-234355-a247e6dc.html

    I ignored the Nobles and concentrated on Festival/Torturer/King’s Court. (Still not sure what’s up with him buying Smithy with Menagerie on the board …) My engine took a bit longer to get up, but hoo boy … another one of my patented goldless victories🙂 (councilroom.com says I win when I don’t buy Gold. Money hates me.)

  21. Zaphod says:

    Forge can be terrific when you have the ability to draw many cards before playing it. Yesterday I gained 3 Colonies with Forge in a single game. The trick is knowing when to buy it and when to leave it alone. I find it much more useful than Expand, which for me often proves to be nothing more than an expensive Mine or Remodel.

  22. jdotco says:

    I must say, normally Theory is dead-on with these lists, give or take a spot or two, but I am stunned that Bank isn’t on the best $6+ list, let alone is actually on the worst $6+ list.

    First of all (based on what you said in your best $6-cost list), Peddler’s weakness is not having the +buy, the same weakness you attribute to Bank. Obviously having Bank is far more valuable without a +buy than Peddler.

    With a +buy, I’m still taking Bank. I’d even go so far as to say you could base an entire strategy around getting Banks and buying two Colonies in a turn, which I’ve done on several occasions, rather than hoping to trash your Peddlers into Colonies, which needs a little more specificity with the other available cards. Having a +buy with Peddler generally means you’re making it free to pick up, but by that time, you’ve already got a decent Engine running, and adding a free coin doesn’t seem to matter all that much.

    Secondly , I’d gather that most of these cards can be made to look ridiculous in Province games (especially the Prosperity cards). So those comparisons are skewed. Using King’s Court to draw your whole deck can get you $20 just as easily, which would be just as comical without the +buy. In fact, Bank’s $7 coin value is much better than Peddler or $6-cost cards in Province games with Upgrade or Remake in play (albeit, specific circumstances). Where Peddlers shines, as you mentioned, is with cost interactions. But really, only Expand and Remake are the great cards to use with it. All the other trashers can be used for the same great benefits with Bank as with Peddler.

    Overall, I’d say Bank is a way better card.

    • jdotco says:

      Actually, only Expand gets the Peddler to a Colony, not Remake. But Theory made the same mistake in his analysis, so I’ll use that as an excuse😉

    • DStu says:

      I would say Bank is the potential better card (in extreme situations), but Peddler is more usefull on averge. Bank really shines if you have a reliable Drawengine that gives you also +Buy. KC+Wharf and play ever turn with 15 Cards, yeah, I will gladly take Banks.
      But you need all this, if you get a Bank in a turn with +Buy but not much other money, it’s wasted, if you get it in a turn with much other money without +Buy, it’s wasted. So not only the board must give you the +Buy, but it must also be in the hand where Bank shines, and with some other money. Without reliable draw this will not happen very often.

      In contrast Peddler needs the +Buy on the board, but not in the hand with the peddler. You need in in the hand where you have played some actions, but that will happen much more frequently and there are a lot more boards that support it than there are for banks. And you don’t have to spend nearly a Province to prepare it, just get some Cantrips for $3-4 and the Buy you probably want anyway, and you are done.

      • jdotco says:

        To me, though, you really should have a decent draw engine/+card, +action combo anyway just to make Peddlers free. Otherwise, you’re often splitting two buys on two $4-cost cards instead of one $6- or $7-cost card because you only managed a couple actions without the draw engine. So the odds of triggering either one seem to be similar, and I still think Bank has a much bigger potential payoff.

        Bank also would be invaluable in heavy trashing games, too, since you shouldn’t have too many non-treasure cards in hand, anyway.

        I dunno, I see both sides of the argument, but I’ve never lost a game because someone got a bunch of Peddlers and I didn’t. I’ve won games because I had a few Banks. But I guess that could be different for everyone.

  23. stephen.senez@gmail.com says:

    Anyone notice that Theory put his own icon as the worst +6 card in the game? Traitor!

  24. ddaann says:

    “But none of that matters when you play Golem with a hand of two Provinces, and it draws Trading Post …”

    At least in this case you get a Silver. With Remake would be even worse. 😀

  25. vidicate says:

    🙂 Obviously this comment was intended for the “Best Potion Cards” post.😉

  26. diiaann says:

    I have had some good experiences with Forge. In a game without a chapel, I really enjoyed being able to forge away a lot of my coppers away.

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