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Inventor is the new hot Bridge-Workshop hybrid from the newly released Renaissance expansion. Inventor does two different things: it gains a card up to $4, and reduces the cost of all cards by $1 afterwards. Let’s see how good that is on its own in different situations and how you can put both of these abilities to their best use.
Playing a Single Inventor
In decks where you can only expect to play one Inventor per turn, Inventor functions like a Workshop that also gives you +$1. If you have a source of +Buy, it can be even more efficient. In a “single terminal kingdom” that’s going to be pretty rare, but hey, maybe you got Inventor from the Black Market. A Workshop with +$1 attached for $4 doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all. The downside of a Workshop is often the lack of economy on the turns you play it. With Inventor you don’t sacrifice early economy as much and still get the powerful gaining effect.
Luckily, Inventor can do even better when you play it more than once, because the gaining part synergises really well with its own cost reduction. The second Inventor play is already much more valuable than the first, because $5 cards are some of the most powerful cards in Dominion. With every Inventor you play, you will be able to gain a more expensive card than before. In many kingdoms, there won’t be a $6 or $7 card that you want to gain though, making the 3rd and 4th play somewhat equal to the second in power level.
From the 5th play onward, Inventor is able to gain Provinces.
Megaturning with Inventor
Unlike Bridge, you usually cannot rely on just Inventors as your payload for a megaturn style deck. Playing 7 Bridges can empty the Provinces, while 7 Inventors will just gain 3 of them. So for a megaturn you will either need to play even more Inventors (which will be really hard if the pile is at all contested), or find other cards to supplement your deck. Ideally, extra buys paired with good economy work will make the most of Inventor’s cost reduction.
In practice, I find Inventor decks work out a bit differently than one might expect. Because gaining $4 and $5 cards is so strong already, your deck will improve more quickly, and you will be able to empty the Provinces over 2 or 3 turns more easily than trying to gain them all in one turn.
Inventor gaining so many cards will also naturally drain the piles, making a 3-pile ending much more likely. Keep in mind that Inventor can gain Duchies a lot faster than Provinces, so maybe you want to 3-pile with Duchies instead if the situation calls for it.
- Throne Room variants (stacks the cost reduction like Bridge)
- +Buys or other gainers
- Cantrips or Villages you don’t mind gaining extra copies of to enable big Inventor turns