This article was written by vsiewnar
Reading into the card
Wish is a strong card that is often worth satisfying the exotic condition printed on Leprechaun: you need to play it as the 7th card to gain a Wish (and a Gold). Generally, Wish is the more preferred of the two. However, let us first look at some of the implications of this exotic condition that we divide into 3 parts:
- Necessary (action) cards
- Deck control
- Surplus Actions (different from action cards)
The first implication tells us that we need to have the prerequisite action cards in your deck before even dreaming of gaining a Wish. The simplest example of this is that you need to first have at least 7 actions (one of which is Leprechaun) in your deck. As a trivial example, you need to have 6 Vagrants and a Leprechaun in your deck before you can gain a Wish.
However, there are a few action cards that allow treasures in play (e.g. Storyteller) during the Action phase which often makes Wish gaining easier. Villa also deserves mention here because of its unique ability that gives the player enormous flexibility for putting cards in play.
The second implication suggests that you also need enough control over your deck to be able to play Leprechaun as the 7th card. Deck control here refers to the ability to both find Leprechaun and to play it as your 7th card. Trashing obviously improves your deck control by both decreasing its size (making finding Leprechaun easier) and increasing the chance that you play 6 cards (and no less or no more) prior to Leprechaun. Thinner decks gain Wishes easier; consider the case where your deck consists of only 6 Vagrants and 1 Leprechaun.
There are other contributing factors to deck control such starting with a large hand (e.g. via Tactician), saving cards for future turns (e.g. Haven, Save) and sifters (e.g. Warehouse, Forum). It is worth noting that even with trashing and having the necessary action cards in your deck, there are some decks that may not have much control over when you play Leprechaun. Examples of these can be found in Herald stacks or decks that use Golem.
The final implication with the 7 card condition is that you often want to play more than 7 cards per turn. For example, you don’t want to forgo playing Laboratories to play a Leprechaun. The way to circumvent this restriction is to create extra Actions (not action cards) prior to the Leprechaun play. The simplest example for this is to play a Village (+1 Card, +2 Actions) prior so that you can play your Leprechaun as the 7th card and continue your turn.
Satisfying all 3 of these implications often means that you will generally be able to gain Wishes and make good use of them.
Tips to gain Wishes
Some action cards are more useful than others when gaining Wishes. From the first implication above, we can construct an example with Storyteller. Using 2 Storytellers with 2 treasures on each one opens up the window for gaining Wish. We only needed to buy 3 action cards here (2 Storytellers and 1 Leprechaun) instead of the usual 7.
Duration cards can be helpful for gaining Wishes since they stay in play for 2 turns. However, if you have too many Duration cards in play, it can make Wish gaining tricky or even impossible. Consider 7 Hirelings in play as a purely instructive example that makes Wish gaining impossible. On the other hand, 2 Caravans both increase your opening hand and give you a head start on playing Leprechaun as the 7th card. Similarly, most Reserve cards can be used to help make Leprechaun be played as the 7th card by calling them at the right time. On the other hand, cards that disappear from play like Madman, Encampment and Wish do not contribute to the number of cards in play. This property can also be helpful in Wish gaining.
There are instances when you may want to use Leprechaun as a Gold gainer. One instance is that the board simply does not have a better strategy on it. Another instance that comes to mind is to quickly get out of debt on a Donate board since most Hexes do not negatively affect you soon after buying Donate. In general, Hexes do not hinder decks as badly when you have good deck control.
However, surrendering to the whims of the Hex pile will often be to your detriment more times than not and you should be prepared for the worst (Poverty, Delusion, Envy are often among the worst) if you plan to consistently play Leprechaun for only Gold.
- You should only buy or gain Leprechaun for Wishes when you are quite sure that you can gain Wishes with it and not before. This often means satisfying at least the first 2 implications above.
- Using Leprechaun only for Gold gaining may not be as glamorous as it sounds unless you are very well prepared for the Hexes.
- Wish is a strong card and often worth the trouble.
Time for Wish
Time is an extremely important resource in Dominion and it is measured in turns. When we play, we try to do as much as possible in as little time (turns) as possible. Gaining Wishes often requires a few turns of setup both through buying action cards and increasing your deck control i.e. it is a time-intensive process. Consequently, fast strategies such as those involving Rebuild, Governor or Butcher may simply outpace your attempts to build a deck that gains Wishes consistently.
In games where there is enough time to gain Wishes, you will probably find yourself in either the mid-game or the endgame. During the endgame, you will probably use your Wish for cards with an immediate payoff like Duchy or Gold. During the mid-game, you will probably wish for cards that will give a greater payoff than Duchy or Gold over the remaining time left in the game. Examples of these are gainers (e.g. Artisan), attacks (e.g. Militia, Jester) or cards that help consistency (e.g. Village, Smithy).
There is also the issue of the Gold injection into your deck everytime you play Leprechaun. As you may know if you have played with decks that use Jack of all Trades (Silver injection) frequently, the treasure flood needs to be addressed. You can either build your deck with enough draw or trashing to account for the extra Gold or be prepared to deal with an increasingly inconsistent deck that will stall on treasures (ideally Golds). Dealing with an inconsistent deck isn’t necessarily bad; however, it helps if you are able to anticipate this and plan accordingly.
An additional drawback of the decrease in deck consistency is that it makes less likely to gain Wishes in subsequent turns. Even if you are able to draw all of the Gold from Leprechaun, you have to deal with a deck that is becoming increasingly large. This means that finding your Leprechaun to play as card 7 becomes more difficult. Using cards like Forager or Butcher for trashing the Gold seems to be the best way to deal with the Gold flood if you want to maintain your Wish gaining consistency.
Gain and play
In general, Wish is a very good card and needs the exotic condition on Leprechaun to balance its power. Wish highlights the strength of gaining and playing a card in the same turn which is regarded as a powerful ability of Dominion decks. In most cases, it is possible to gain and play the Wish in the same turn which is an even stronger effect.
Wish is powerful for a couple of reasons; the first is its flexibility. Wish can be used whenever you opt to use it mostly because it does not cost an Action to play. It can be used at the beginning of your turn to ensure that you have a full turn. It can be used midway through your turn to ensure that you make it through the rest of your deck. It can be used at the end of your turn to gain whatever you feel best (attacks, gainers, points, treasure etc.).
The second reason is that the gained card from the Wish is immediately put into your hand for use; you don’t have to draw the card from your discard pile or even from the top of your deck i.e. you don’t have to spend any additional resources to put the gained card into your hand.
You usually gain only one Wish per turn barring Throne Room and its variants. This means that Leprechaun will usually gain at most 2 cards when thinking about ending the game on piles.
A final note on Wish is that cost reduction makes it possible to gain Provinces or even Colonies.
- Assess whether there enough time to build a deck that gains Wishes. If you can, you may find yourself in either the mid-game or the endgame with some Wishes.
- The Gold gain affects your deck’s consistency which includes your ability to consistently gain Wishes. Trashing the Gold is the best remedy.
- You usually only gain one Wish per turn so it is easy to track the number of gains both you and your opponent have.