Remake is a powerful early game trasher that lets you turn your Estates into something useful (Silvers, if nothing else) while getting those pesky Coppers out of your deck — two things you normally want early in the game. However, there are some special situations in which Remake can be useful for much, much more than that.
The most important part of Remake is the “exactly $1 more” clause. If there’s nothing that costs exactly $1 more than the card you’re Remaking, you simply trash it. That’s a great thing when you’re using Remake to trash a Copper or a Curse (sorry, Poor House lovers). However, it also means on many boards that you can’t use Remake to get to Provinces, because a card costing $7 won’t be there. And you can’t plan on Remaking anything into a Colony if those are on the board.
Remake has two powerful advantages over other cheap, early game trashers.
First is that you are gaining something. The strength of this is not immediately apparent, but there are very few cards in the game that allow you to thin your deck and improve it at the same time. And those tend to be very strong: see, e.g., Masquerade. At worst, Remake lets you Remake your Estates into Silvers. At best, you get wonderful Actions like Menagerie and Fishing Village. (More on Menagerie later.)
The second is that unlike Remodel and Bishop (both of which also gain you something with the trashed cards), you get to trash two cards with it. Early in the game that’s wonderful — if you bought Remake on Turn 1, and draw it on your next shuffle, there’s an excellent chance your hand looks like Remake-Copper-Copper-Copper-Estate, and you get to trash an Estate for a useful $3 card, AND remove a Copper from your deck, AND remove an Estate from your deck. If you’re lucky enough to draw two Estates with Remake, it’s time for your happy dance, since you get to remove two dead cards from your deck and replace them with two good cards. That’s a very very powerful turn early in the game. (If you draw Remake and four Coppers, no happy dance will be forthcoming, but usually the best move, as usual, is to trash a couple of Coppers while probably wishing you had a Steward instead.) Of course, regardless of what you drew, you’re probably doing nothing with the remaining two cards in your hand — but that’s the downside of almost all powerful early-game trashers anyway, and not a huge deal since your Remake hopefully gained you something.
In a Big Money setting, Remake is decent enough to turn those Estates into Silvers while slightly pruning the Copper out of your deck. The problem is that once you’re done with Estate removal, Remake itself can become a dead card in your hand. (You can’t trash Silver or Gold into anything useful, and if you’re doing it right you bought the Duchies about the time you actually need the points anyway and don’t want to turn them into Gold.) Another light trasher/upgrader (Remodel is great for this) can help remove that Remake and maybe turn it into something useful. On balance, turning Estates into Silvers and removing Coppers is a useful but not terribly exciting move. As mentioned above, Remake can remain far more useful in a setting with a card like Bank or Expand (or another $7 cost card) — in these instances, Remaking a Bank into a Province late in the game can be a game-decider.
In an engine setting, Remake is far more useful. In the early game, instead of turning your Estates into Silvers, you can potentially turn your Estates into valuable engine parts like Villages or Menageries, letting you save time and focus your buying power on the other parts of your engine. Just remember to save enough Copper to buy those other parts. Mid-game, you can turn those cheaper engine parts into better ones. A typical example: a hand of Remake-Village-Silver-Copper-Estate. You could “go fish” with the Village, but it’s probably better to Remake your Estate into a Village, your Village into that Smithy you always wanted, and buy another Village with the remaining $3 in your hand. We removed an Estate from our deck, replaced it with a Smithy, and added a Village as well. That’s even better than just buying a Smithy and a Village in one turn, because we’ve also removed the dead card (the Estate) from our deck.
In general Remake is most strong when there are good $3 cards. Fishing Village, Village, Oasis, Scheme, Warehouse are all great cards for Remake, and you rarely have to worry about having too many of them. But Menagerie is the king here, because Remake’s trashing happens to be one of Menagerie’s great enablers by killing all your duplicate Estates and Copper.
Trashing two cards each turn gives Remake some problems, similar to what you would see with Trading Post where you don’t have two cards in hand to trash, and similar to what you might also see with a Steward where playing the action only leaves two cards from a five card hand. So Remake is improved in the early game by having cheap useful cards in the kingdom such as Lighthouse or Haven to buy with your 2-card hand. Remake is improved in the mid game by larger hand sizes that give more choice of Remake targets. Remake can be improved in the end game by having $4 cards in your deck that can be trashed for Duchies (sometimes other Remakes).
Remake is far worse for shelter games, which goes back to the point about the strength of its openings being the silver/component gain, not just the trashing of the garbage. With shelters, you get to remake them into $2 cards, which are often just not as exciting as the $3’s.
Remake can do well with cards that can mass $4’s, particularly those that don’t need +action: Talisman and Ironworks can supply a steady supply of Remake fodder. To be worthwhile you need a really strong engine, something to slow down the other guy, or some other power $5 combo (e.g. Remake/Talisman/Venture can quickly bounce you up to Provinces and let you nab the odd Duchy at endgame).
A few miscellaneous combos with Remake:
This one is extremely fun. Take your $5 card (let’s use Torturer as an example for maximum fun). Remake it into a Border Village. Border Village lets us gain a card costing less than Border Village. Hey, look, my $5 card costs less than Border Village — I think I’ll gain a new Torturer. Presto, free Border Village, albeit at the cost of not using our terminal action. That cost isn’t so bad, though, because we probably had colliding terminals anyway, and now we have a Border Village so we won’t have that problem next time.
This works with, really, any good $5 card, but is especially effective with terminal drawing $5 cards like Torturer and Rabble. This is a powerful trick that lets you quickly build a strong engine.
The other side of this trick comes in the late game, when that Witch or Torturer has run out of curses to give, and you really don’t need it any more. Remake your Witch into a Border Village, and instead of gaining a Witch back, gain a more useful card late in the game – a Duchy. Remaking a pair of Witches as a late game surprise to grab an extra 6 VP can be a game-deciding move, and an opportunity worth looking for.
Remake trashes your Curses, but Remake can also trash your Cursers. Cursers often are somewhat meaningless after you run out of Curses. Remake can turn them into much more useful cards after they have outstayed their welcome, and is especially good for the $4 Cursers (Sea Hag and Young Witch), which can become Duchies.
Haggler lets us gain a card costing less than the card we just bought. That’s a nice ability in itself. If nothing else, in a Big Money setting, we can buy a Gold in the middle game and gain another Haggler. Well, that’s great to a point, but at some point you’ve got four or five Hagglers in your hand and nobody can get a word in edgewise and the next thing you know you’re wondering why you have to take a Copper with that Silver you just bought. Remake can solve this problem nicely — turn those extra Hagglers into Gold.
More seriously, in a setting where Haggler helps you pick up less valuable engine pieces, Remake is great at turning them into better pieces quickly, and adapting your deck. Finding yourself a little low on actions? Remake that Smithy into a Festival.
Hoard is a wonderful addition to most decks — who doesn’t love to gain a Gold every time you buy a victory card? The downside to this benefit, of course, is that sometimes we find ourselves without enough money to buy something good, and find ourselves looking at $5, or maybe $6, and wondering whether we should really be buying that Duchy so early in the game. Remake says “wonder no more” — splurge on that Duchy, gain the Gold, and later turn that Duchy into something useful. Maybe a Dr. Zoidberg? No, silly — maybe another Hoard.
Similarly, in an engine with +Buy, it’s easy to use Hoard multiple times in a turn, and Remake the less useful VP cards — into more coins if nothing else.
Highways (and other cost reducers)
We touched briefly on the idea that trashing a Copper or a Curse removes them from our deck because there aren’t any $1 cards to gain. Well, I lied, sort of. Highways change that rule, reducing the cost of all cards — but not to less than $0. That means that it’s possible to turn any card — yes, even Colony — into a $1 card with enough cost reduction. Now, if you can play 10 Highways in a turn, you probably don’t need my help to figure out what to do — but let’s look at a more typical situation.
In a typical midgame setting, we’ve built a deck with a few Highways and not a lot else (because we’ve used Remake to clear our some of the chaff from our deck). Let’s say we can get two of them into play. Now both Estates and Coppers cost $0, and cards (like Silver) that used to cost $3 now cost $1. Remaking our Copper will now give us a Silver, or another $3 card. So will Estate, but that didn’t change much. Still, turning the Coppers into Silvers is a pretty good thing — that’s comparable to Expanding two cards at once.
With four Highways, we’re really in business. Copper and Estates cost $0, but cards that were $5 now cost $1. Like, say, Highway. Well, I don’t know about your, but Remaking a couple of Estates into a couple more Highways is a great use of eminent domain as far as I’m concerned. Highway + upgrading cards can really snowball quickly for this reason.
With seven Highways (and we can see how we might get to seven Highways quickly), now Provinces cost $1. It’s a fairly simple matter to play a pile of Highways, toss a Remake jauntily on the table with two Coppers, and get a quick 12 VP. Oh, and then buy a Highway or something with the $0 you have left.
One special danger with this trick is worth noting though: ONE Highway can be detrimental to your Remaking efforts. It doesn’t help with Estates, because all the cards that cost $1 more than Estate still cost $1 more than Estate — but now Estate itself costs $1 more than Copper, and that means Remaking your Copper will just throw an Estate back in your deck that you don’t want.
I’ve used Highway in these examples, but Bridge can work as well in principle. Bridge and Remake are both terminal actions though, so if you want to try these tricks with Bridge you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a source of actions available.
Remake your first Fortress into a $5. Your Fortress pops back into hand. Remake the same Fortress into another $5. Your Fortress pops back into hand. Note that Remake works with Fortress, but Mercenary doesn’t.
Make a thin deck. Spam the other guy with ruins. Remake out the ruins in your own deck. Then remake two cultists into golds and draw them now. This works extremely well in engines where you can line up double cultist shots and have the +action/+buy to take advantage of your new golds and +6 cards.
You can pick up 3 silvers easy and start dumping copper. Once you get Gold/Silver/Silver, you can trash down with Remake or Bishop and eventually Bishop the Remake, buy a Province. From here on out you have a solid golden deck.
Open Remake/Market Square. Remake Estates into Market Squares. Burn Coppers for Golds. Use Market Square’s cantrip +buy to take advantage of heavy Gold hands to either make a simple engine or to get some strong late game pay outs (e.g. Province + Duchy or Duchy + Duchy).
Turn your Coppers and Estates into Rats, and Remake the Rats into strong $5’s (e.g. Venture, Laboratory, Festival/Library).