Dark Ages Preview #3

This is the third preview by Donald X. Vaccarino, introducing the next Dominion expansion: Dark Ages. The community is discussing these new cards in the Dark Ages Preview subforum.

Dark Ages Preview #3

Squire is the complement to Steward that you always knew I’d make. Okay maybe you didn’t figure that one out. You get a choice of three things that Steward doesn’t get you, plus $1 in the bargain. It’s a pretty nifty $2, just for that. And if he gets trashed, then you get an attack, any attack on the table. You can Remodel a Squire into a Remodel and a Familiar.

A major theme of Dark Ages is upgrading, whatever that means. Actually I think I can explain it: it’s, turning cards into other cards. Some cards turn other cards into other other cards, like Graverobber does, but some cards turn themselves into other cards, and Squire is one of those.

Hermit is another. He’s normally content to just trash certain cards and gain some Silvers or something. But if you don’t make enough trips into town, he loses it. He goes mad. And then he blows up one day in a fit of card-drawing. Which is my way of saying, well it’s all there on the card. That stuff.

Hermit turns into Madman, a card that isn’t in the supply. You can’t buy a Madman; if you want one, you have to get a Hermit and then not buy something. And then you only get it once! Somehow it’s worth the trouble.

Turning a card into a specific new non-kingdom card requires a pile of ten of those cards. Yes do you really need ten, I know. But you do. And well how much of the set wanted to go to that stuff, rather than say new kingdom cards? So in the end I just did two of those. Now you know one of them.

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28 Responses to Dark Ages Preview #3

  1. clb says:

    Double your hand size with the +actions to support it? That sounds like a lot of fun! Sort of like a tactician – don’t buy something this turn, on a later turn, double your hand size.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Putting aside what the cards do for one minute…. I have to say the art on the cards in dominion has come a long long way…. these look absolutely fantastic!

    Now if only we could get a couple of the cards (that shall not be named) from the earlier sets refitting the whole game would look amazing. Oh look, that thread again.

    • Lenoxus says:

      I haaaate to ask, but… what thread? What are you even talking about? Dark Ages doesn’t involve any sort of reform to the look/wording of Dominion cards, does it?

    • Lenoxus says:

      Oh, I see. Huh, I don’t even notice much difference.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Geez, I’m glad I’m not one of the original Dominion artists.

  4. Lenoxus says:

    Finally, a card that returns itself to the Supply! … that I always knew Donald would make 🙂 Granted, it’s not a “real” Supply, but it’s still something.

    Hey, the way Hermit “turns into” Madman will help with my Pokemon retheme of Dominion JUST KIDDING

  5. Lenoxus says:

    I assume that the “lose track” rule with Throne Room: Mining Village applies to Madman as well? So if you TR or KC a Madman, you get +4 Actions, but you merely double rather than quadruple your (remaining) handsize. Thus, you would actually need two copies of Madman to pull off handsize-sort-of-quadrupling, though the net effect would be slightly less impressive than true quadrupling. (Suppose that Madman is the only card-drawer in your deck. If you begin your turn by playing Madman, then another Madman, you would end up with 14 cards in hand. Not too shabby, but hard to pull off.)

  6. aaron0013 says:

    Wow! Graverob trash a squire into a mountebank then gain a mountebank. That is one cool card!

    • dor says:

      You can’t Graverob Squires because they cost less than $2. This is probably why this clause exists.

      • dor says:

        … less than $3, that is.

      • Lenoxus says:

        Huh? When you use Graverobber to trash a card (or to “upgrade” it, if you prefer), it can be any Action card at all, regardless of cost. Conversely, when you use Graverobber to retrieve a trashed card (or “resuscitate” it), it can be a card of any type, so long as it costs no more than $6 and no less than $3. (So I guess Potions-costing cards are right out.) The two restrictions apply to different choices, never to the same card at once.

        However, if you intend to use Graverobber twice so that that card you upgraded is returned to your deck, then the card in question has to pass through both hoops. You could play Throne Room: Graverobber to improve a Mountebank into a Province (putting it in your discard pile), then retrieve the same Mountebank from the trash (putting it on top of your deck).

        • aaron0013 says:

          Thanks Lenoxus…….I was getting worried for a minute! It can be confusing which option is being discussed.

  7. rakunk says:

    I’m loving the other 2, but squire seems almost overpowered for a $2 card, given that there’s no limit on what kind of action card you can gain.

    Start squire/remodel, then, with a bit of luck, you can gain a possession on turn 3 without ever buying a potion? Scary stuff.

    • ftl says:

      Possession is NOT an attack card, fortunately!

      • rakunk says:

        For some reason, my brain read “action”, not “attack”. Thanks for setting me straight.

        • Lenoxus says:

          I did exactly the same thing! I wondered a little why Donald used Familiar as an example rather than, say, King’s Court, and figured it was because it made sense to use a Potion-coster as an example Action, that Squire really did mean “any” Action.

          After your comment, I was going to argue in Squire’s defense that Possession is really not quite as strong a card as people assume (its power is mostly psychological) so maybe Squire isn’t as crazy as it sounds; even getting a turn-three King’s Court isn’t super-duper crazy (maybe).

          I suppose the misreading of “Action” for “Attack” is because Squire is the first card-gainer that only gains Attacks (while some previous cards, like University, specifically gain Actions), so our minds just fill in “Action” for us.

          Anyway, does this tell us that there won’t ever be a $6 of $7 Attack? I assume (hope?) so. Then again it would only be paired with Squire once every billion games or so.

    • ftl says:

      There is a limit on what kind of action card you gain, it has to be an action-attack. So, no King’s Court or Possession. You could still get a Goons though, that’s pretty badass.

    • psygnosis911 says:

      Possession isn’t an attack, so that wouldn’t work. However you can bypass the potion requirement for familiar which is pretty crazy.

    • Thanar says:

      You cannot gain a Possession from trashing a Squire because Possession is not an Attack card. So it’s not quite so scary.

    • Bugle says:

      Possession isn’t an attack card, so no you can’t. The best you could get is goons.

      Incidentally, Squire is probably sickest with watch tower. Open Watchtower/whatever. Draw watch tower turn 3 and buy Squire, trash it, get a free goons, put it on your deck for turn 4.

  8. ozyx says:

    I’m probably missing something obvious, but why the “If you do…” clause on Madman? When wouldn’t you be able to return a card to the supply?

    • ozyx says:

      (Or “pile” in this case, since it’s specifically not in the “supply”.)

    • WanderingWinder says:

      When it is being duplicated by Throne Room or King’s Court (for the second and third plays, there is no card to return, because it has already been returned).

      • Or, to put it another way, because you cannot successfully put a “copy of an action” in any pile (supply/trash/deck). Just like, when you Throne Room a Mining Village, you don’t get credit for “trashing” the copy. This is actually slightly different than the rules for token creatures in Magic: tokens can’t exist in any zone other than the battlefield, so they cease to exist if they enter the graveyard, but they still do get put into the graveyard from the battlefield, triggering any triggered abilities that trigger on a creature dying. (Years ago I emailed a magicthegathering.com author to correct him on this, when I was wrong!)

  9. chris says:


    If it stopped at +2 Actions, +$1 for $2, it would be a pretty decent card. The other options and the on-trash effect make it even better in some situations (the latter only takes effect if there is a trasher and an attack on the board, but something like Graverobber/Squire -> 2 Cultists could be pretty neat). Also, lots of attacks are terminal, so having some cards that can be played as villages when you want to is pretty useful.


    Initially it can only trash Estates (or something like Feodum), but if there are cursers or looters on the board, or Dark Ages cards with a good on-trash effect, it might have more longevity.

    The ability to look through the discard pile for trashing targets is pretty strong, but the fact that the hand is also available keeps it from having the Counting House problem that it’s useless right after a reshuffle.

    Since it’s a terminal, you may want to gain villages pretty often, if there is a cost <=3 on the board. Of course, if you're going to drive some of your hermits mad, you may want to gain other hermits, because once a hermit goes mad, he doesn't come back. (Unless you rob his grave, of course.)


    Once again, the cheapest card is the most interesting, but this time there's a twist: despite its printed cost, Madman is actually almost as hard to get as a Prize and even more explosive (Prizes aren't oneshots). The low cost really just makes him super allergic to Swindlers.

    I assume the "if you do" clause is there to prevent TR/KC madmen, which would be, well, insane. But there's still plenty of supercombos with Madman: Tactician, Apprentice (cultist preferred, but any victim with a decently beefy cost will do), Native Village… even Wharf is pretty impressive. Oh, and Scrying Pool in the right deck. Of course Caravan, Lab, Alchemist, Stables, and Hunting Party don't hurt either. Or you could just play your Madman, follow it up with a terminal draw like Smithy or Embassy, and hope you draw another Madman. Whoever said this was the Johnny expansion sure wasn't kidding.

    Tactician is also noteworthy because a turn where you're discarding your whole hand will probably be a good turn to not buy anything and drive your hermit mad. You'll need villages, though, since Tactician and Hermit are both terminal. Forge, Chapel, and Remake can all result in buying nothing, but again, terminal.

    Hates discard attacks and Ghost Ship, of course — although they reduce the cost of spending a turn to go mad, unless it's *really* close to the end of the game you pretty much have to just discard the madman and hope you get a full turn later, because it would be such a waste to reduce him to a mere Trusty Steed. (Speaking of Trusty Steed, I wonder if the Secret Histories will eventually reveal that its gain-four-silvers clause was originally written with Feodum in mind, before the vagaries of fate swept them into separate sets.)

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