How does it work?
Essentially, Cursed Village and Storeroom are a complete engine in themselves – Cursed Village provides the actions and the draw, and Storeroom sifts and provides payload in the form of +Buy and economy. You start with a Cursed Village to get a 6 card hand with +2 Actions, then play Storeroom. Discard to draw cards to ensure you have at least a Cursed Village in hand, then discard everything except one Cursed Village (rarely, also a Storeroom) to get +$4 and +1 Buy. Then you can play Cursed Village to draw 6 new cards, repeating the cycle until you’ve got a ton of Buys and money.
In a theoretical two card kingdom, you’d open Silver / Storeroom, grab Cursed Village whenever you can, and then otherwise grab Storeroom, perhaps adding a second Silver if you’re having trouble getting Cursed Villages into play. It does take a little while to get going – this won’t win any races against Governor, but it’s flexible and resistant to greening. Because of this, the strategy can delay greening until the game state calls for it and win in the long haul. If your opponent starts to green too early, just be patient and let them choke on their stop cards while you sift past them.
Cursed Village followed by Storeroom for full draw lets you see up to 11 cards, making it quite easy to find your next pieces. Because of this large search space, it’s really no problem at all to discard excess Cursed Villages and Storerooms. If you’ve been disciplined about buying several Storerooms, you can discard down to just Cursed Village as you’ll most certainly see another Storeroom on the draw. Your deck ends up shuffling every cycle or two, so those cards you discard for benefit are seeding your next cycle.
There are a bunch of small upsides to this combo that make it work reasonably well. First, you don’t need to be very thin, though modest thinning can help with reliability. Another advantage to this strategy is that it is resilient to most attacks. Discard attacks help it out as Cursed Village draws more on the first play, thus allowing you to see more cards. Trashing attacks are cushioned by the junk cards your deck still has. Junking attacks can hurt after awhile, but the deck is somewhat more resistant to junking than many other strategies. One more small plus is that the Hexes which Cursed Village makes you take are very rarely a big problem – most of them don’t really affect you negatively except Deluded, Bad Omens, or War – and these won’t totally ruin your game necessarily either.
The strategy is helped with support but as payload it mostly stands alone. You can certainly add other terminal payload if the board calls for it, but I would consider another Village for each one of those – you really want to be using Cursed Villages for full draw and Storerooms for full payload, so any Cursed Villages you use to play that Monument or whatever are wasting the card’s draw potential.
What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
As emphasized before, this strategy is not the fastest, so you need to make sure you have time to set it up and keep it going. If something else on the board is better supported, particularly fast strategies, you’re just not going to have the time to get off the ground. The combo unsupported is just okay, not world-breaking or anything.
The easiest play error to make is to force awful shuffles. Remember that you should expect to shuffle about once every 1-2 Storeroom/Cursed Village pairs. This means discarding components for the coin benefit in order to make sure they are in the next shuffle. Once you are using the last of your Cursed Villages, you will want to keep careful track of your deck – you don’t want Storeroom to draw too many cards and force a terrible shuffle. Remember how many Cursed Villages and Storerooms you have to work with, and adjust your decisions as you reach the end of your supply of those cards. All of that said, keep in mind if you’re still buying Cursed Villages, a few of those Hexes mess with the top of your deck, so don’t be afraid to keep a card or two there. It pays off to keep track of the Hex stack and to note when those top-of-deck hexes have or haven’t shown up yet.
How do you support this strategy?
You do want to support this strategy with the other parts of the kingdom, it is certainly not a monolithic strategy and gets much better with certain kinds of support. Here are a few examples – these aren’t meant to be an exhaustive list, just something to get you thinking:
Scheme – Just one Scheme effectively guarantees this combo works out unless you have an extraordinarily fat deck (in which case, two will work) – topdeck Cursed Village, or Cursed Village and Storeroom.
Light trashing, especially nonterminal – Lookout, Loan, Forager, Raze, Ratcatcher… all of these things help. You don’t need to get extremely thin for this combo to work, so you buy fewer than you normally would, but having fewer opportunities to whiff and a smaller handsize for a Cursed Village play are both nice. Even terminal trash-for-benefit like Butcher or Replace can help.
Summon – Summoning a Storeroom guarantees a $5 hand at least, and if you manage to find a Cursed Village in that 10 card search space, you can start off your turn with $4, a Buy, and a Cursed Village ready to draw up.
Artificer – An early Artificer lets you topdeck a Cursed Village or Storeroom and then immediately draw it with a Cursed Village in hand, ensuring you get another cycle.
Tunnel – Get just one on the opening, and you won’t have trouble hitting $5 for Cursed Villages after a few shuffles. Tunnel / Storeroom almost guarantees a Gold gain early on. Don’t get too many Golds.
Alt-VP – These extend the game by giving you more sources of points, and your ample +Buys help with picking up multiples of Silk Roads, Dukes, Castles, etc. The strategy is at its best when you can green for an extended period.
Other sources of virtual Coin – Cursed Village works great with other virtual Coin sources, particularly if they also do something better than what a Storeroom cycle would do. Mystic is particularly nice since it is nonterminal and not a huge problem if it doesn’t draw.
Other Villages – These can be hard to incorporate as they usually compete at cost with Storeroom or Cursed Village, but splashing a Village in or two can help you incorporate other payload, making your engine more well-rounded.