This article was written by werothegreat and edited in collaboration with the Dominion Strategy blog team. Be sure to check out the blog next week for previews of the upcoming Dominion expansion, Dominion: Renaissance!
Feodum, like its counting Victory card brethren, is a rather niche card. In a few instances, it can be worth a staggering amount of VP, vastly outweighing Provinces; however, it is also often ignorable, and can sometimes be worth nothing at all. There does exist a middle ground, though, where it can be treated like a pinata full of Silver, or where it can help add a few tie-breaking points in a sloggier game.
If Feodum is on the board, quickly run through this mental checklist:
- Is there a way to gain Silver very quickly?
- Is there a way to gain Silver more slowly?
- Is there a way to trash Feodum?
Let’s look at each of these individually.
Feeding the Feoda
The time Feodum shines brighter than a supernova is when there is a powerful Silver gainer. Masterpiece and Delve are the cream of the crop here, letting you buy multiple Silvers per turn. Also noteworthy is Raid, which has the added benefit of hurting your opponent, though it does require you to gain a few Silvers the hard way first. All of these are helped by any kind of strong draw: Masterpiece and Delve want as much $ as possible to spend on a Buy, while Raid wants you to get as many Silvers into play as you can.
If you find yourself in this optimal situation, your aim should be to empty out the Silver pile as quickly as possible, picking up Feoda along the way (assuming your opponent mirrors). In this specific combo instance, winning the Silver split is more important than getting more Feoda (though if you don’t get any, you’re screwed); if you get 27 Silvers and 3 Feoda (27 VP total), that will beat an opponent with 13 Silvers and 5 Feoda (20 VP total). If your opponent goes for Provinces instead, emptying the Silver pile isn’t strictly necessary; you just need enough to make sure your Feoda give more points than their Provinces, so make sure you actually grab Feoda before the game ends!
In a Masterpiece game, ideally you want to finish with a three pile ending: Silvers, Masterpieces, and Feoda. However, if the Masterpieces don’t quite run out (or you’re using an Event gainer), your deck jammed full of Silver is perfect for buying Provinces, and can easily end the game conventionally.
If your opponent doesn’t try to mirror you, you’re looking at a maximum of 8 Feoda worth up to 13VP each – more than Colony! In such a case, run down the Silver and Feodum piles as quick as you can while your opponent dawdles trying to get Provinces. Do not buy any Provinces yourself until you’ve secured enough VP to trounce them.
The Middle Ground
Unfortunately, most Silver gainers are not as dramatic as those mentioned above. However, that doesn’t mean Feodum is down for the count! In a game with Bureaucrat or Squire, while emptying the Silver pile entirely is unrealistic, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to have 10 or more Silvers by the end of the game. In such cases, Feodum becomes a cheaper Duchy, and another option for three-piling. While it’s no longer the star of the show, it can still be a nice supplement to your main VP from Provinces.
If you’re aiming to use Feodum in this way, try to get your Silver gainer early. Not only do the Silvers help your Feoda, they also, as previously discussed, make buying Provinces easier.
Some Silver gainers can also trash. Jack of All Trades, Hermit, and Amulet can also fill this middle ground role, but don’t mind if you get a Feodum early, just to trash for the Silvers inside. Jack and Hermit are better for this, as they can trash and gain Silver at the same time. In such cases, if you’re uncontested, the Feodum pile is unlikely to empty, so you’re not really losing any VP, as you can always just pick up another one, now worth 1VP more!
A word of warning, though: in a lot of these cases, there’s usually something better to do on the board than just slowly trickle Silvers into your deck, so keep an eye out for faster or more productive strategies.
In junking games, particularly with Cultist, the game can be extended significantly as players wade through Ruins or Curses. In such cases, you might end up buying 12 or more Silvers throughout the course of the game, making Feodum particularly attractive as the game drags on. In these cases, try to keep track of how many Silvers you think you’ll have by the end of the game; if it’s at least 9, start buying Feodum over Duchy, and keeping adding more Silver as you can.
Popping the Piñata
But what about trashers that don’t gain Silver? Mass trashers like Chapel and Donate see Feodum as an early game boost; in this case, you don’t really care about the VP, but the 3 Silvers are very nice. Working with only a single card trasher is a little risky, as it’s harder to line them up, but with Remodelers like Upgrade or Remake, or trash for benefit cards like Salvager or Bishop, it can be worth it, especially since a popped Feodum provides three more pieces of fodder for later use. Upgrade can actually get a significant amount of VP from Feoda, as it can convert Estates into Silvers, Silvers into Feoda, and Feoda into more Upgrades.
Trader is an interesting example: it can generate a lot of Silvers for Feodum, but requires fodder to do so. Popping open a Feodum gives you 7 Silvers, while Tradering a Silver gives it back to you with two more. It’s not quite as reliable as Masterpiece or Delve, and you need to make sure you don’t trash too many Feoda, but it can be very potent, though you may still want to supplement with Provinces.
If you have a single card trasher that doesn’t scale, like Forager or Trade Route, it’s probably not worth the trouble. An exception would be Ratcatcher, as it’s cheap, and a lot easier to line up with a target.
Being able to trash a Feodum on gain can also be quite nice – Watchtower and Salt the Earth are prime examples, essentially letting you pay $4 for 3 Silvers, and a little bonus.
Feodum provides a decent defense against trashing Attacks, particularly Knights. If it gets hit, you still get 3 Silvers, which then in turn are preferred targets of the Attack, keeping your more valuable cards safe.
At first thought, it might seem like Treasure Hunter would be a good Feodum rush enabler, but it can be pretty easy for your opponent to play around letting you gain lots of Silvers with it, and Feodum and Silver are both prime targets for Warriors.