This is the first of several bonus previews by playtesters of Dominion: Adventures, introducing the next Dominion expansion. This post is by WanderingWinder, prolific streamer. The community is discussing these new cards in the Adventures Preview subforum.
First, a couple of notes for clarity: You don’t have to play treasures if you don’t want to, but you DO have to spend all the $ you’ve collected over the course of the turn, including the money from the treasures you’re playing, the $ from this card, as well as any you’ve made from previous actions.
Full disclosure: I haven’t tested or played with this card at all, so this is an article of conjecture and of theory-crafting not one built from experience.
The first thing I noticed when I saw this card was that it was another way, besides Black Market, of getting treasures in play during the action phase. Now, some of the Black Market Combos – mostly draw-to-X variants, and Tactician, – aren’t “on” here. But some of them – Quarry+gainer, using Horn Of Plenty mid-turn – still do work.
Anyway, these are only fringe benefits – the pet tricks I love and relish, but not, I am guessing, the bulk of what the card’s work is. That, namely, is to turn cash into cards. Coppers turn into cantrips, Silvers turn into labs, and Golds turn into double labs, and all on a card which. This is, in general, an improvement in every case. And all of this is on a card which is a cantrip by itself. The drawback, of course, is that if you are using this to draw your deck, you are sapping some of the money out of that deck. Still, this really gets your draw going quickly, which is especially potent in the early stages of the game.
Most cards are fairly simple to play once they’re in your deck – you just play all your villages and non-terminals first, draw cards before non-draw, and go. But I expect this card will be very tricky to play during the mid- and late-game. You need to know exactly how much money to funnel into it to get the draw you need (need to know how much draw you need for that as well) while still making sure you have enough money left to buy what you need come end of turn. I also want to point out potential anti-synergies with Peddler variants (and Conspirator variants): it may look like this is non-terminal draw/sifting (and it is), and that cantrip-money-based decks seem to love that kind of card. Normally they do, but if you draw this card late in your turn, you might be forced into not playing it at all, because it would sap you of too much money. You can mitigate that some by simply feeding fewer/worse treasures into this, but it’s not as much of a pure success as it might at first glance seem.
Ultimately this IS a sifter, with a little bit of non-terminal draw thrown in. Discarding coppers with this is like cellar plus a card; more expensive treasures get you a little more.
What kinds of decks want this? Well, engines would prefer other sifters once they are running, since this one costs economy, but Storyteller does help a lot in getting them running, and this is generally a higher-priority issue. It’s worth noting that strong trashing will probably more or less obsolete the need for Storytelling.
Terminal draw Big Money will obviously not like this. The same is true of slogs, since unlike other sifters, this can’t get rid of non-treasures. Decks which are somewhere between money decks and engines – decks where treasure is good but you’d really like to play a key action or a couple of key actions very often – seem like ideal homes for this card. Those decks exist now, but they rarely get a chance to shine, being squeezed by often-more-powerful engines and often-faster Big Money strategies. Perhaps Storyteller will allow them to shine more often. In general, you want your payload to be something which is happening at the end of your turn, and not interspersed in the middle. Treasure has this quality, but it’s not the only thing. Many mega-turn strategies like Bridge and Horn Of Plenty don’t care about traditional money. They’ll work particularly nicely with Storyteller.
As for strength, I am going to guess that this card will end up being powerful, but $5 is a price-point with a high bar. Ultimately, we’re dealing with a situational card here, so on the right board, in the right spot, it will be something you want to jump on hard, but other times it will not have the impact required for its cost. In other words, the exact thing which is my favorite kind of card.