This post was written by Seprix with a little help from the Dominion Strategy blog team. We’ll be publishing more overviews of Renaissance cards over the coming months; if you’d like to contribute, check out the Articles section of the Dominion Strategy Forums.
Recruiter is a $5 cost Action that draws two cards, trashes a card, and then supplies as many Villagers as the cost of the card trashed. Bearing strong resemblances to Masquerade in both similarity and power level, Recruiter is already considered to be one of the strongest cards in Dominion.
Firstly, Recruiter has a leg up on other $5 cost trashers (Junk Dealer, Upgrade, etc.) by virtue of drawing an extra card, which provides both more flexibility in trashing as well as cycling. If Recruiter draws Copper and Estate in the early game, it could be thought of as providing a virtual coin, much like Junk Dealer. However, unlike Junk Dealer (and most trash-from-hand cards), Recruiter does not decrease handsize, which is a valuable trait.
As if that wasn’t good enough, Recruiter is also one of the best Villages in the game. Playing a Recruiter and killing an Estate provides two Villagers, which can be distributed to mitigate collisions and play more aggressively. The effect can be likened to a more flexible Encampment. If Recruiter has more expensive cards to trash throughout the game, it can serve as the primary source of extra Actions for a deck.
Playing with Recruiter
In the same vein as the other $5 trasher variants, if the opening trasher cards are weak enough, it is often a winning play to gun for hitting $5 and buying a Recruiter. Quite often (but not always) it is correct to pick up two Recruiters, one to trash for Villagers and one to trash Coppers. How Recruiters are used and how many are gained depends on the type of deck built.
If there are no other Villages, Recruiter is indispensable in providing that support. Extra gains are going to be important in fueling the Recruiter fire, and gainers that provide high cost fuel such as Gold gainers are the absolute best at this. In a pinch, Recruiters themselves are quite fine as fuel, and once most of the Coppers are gone, a Recruiter can be tossed into the Villager fire. In fact, it may end up being the correct play to buy multiple Recruiters just for blowing up, for the extra reliability. After all, Gold doesn’t draw cards, but Recruiter does.
Recruiter is not really a draw card in itself, and should not be used as primary draw, but only as a supplement. The forced trashing from an increasing number of Recruiters makes multiple plays very dangerous in the long run, despite the lack of hand decreasing. A notable exception is Fortress, which provides both great draw and is practically a soft Champion with the amount of Villagers that can pile up!
Recruiter does a poor job of gaining Villagers with cost reduction, and does not play very well with cards like Highway and Bridge Troll. On the other hand, this defect can sometimes be mitigated with topdecking effects such as Star Chart or Scheme. In addition, if the board contains Shelters over Estates, Recruiter is not as effective in the early game, although this is not too much of a concern in the later stages of the game. If Recruiter was going to be bad in the late game with Shelters, it was going to be bad with Estates anyways.
Recruiter is a versatile card that provides several effects that by themselves are good, but added together make for one of the strongest cards in the game. If you see Recruiter on the board, it is almost never wrong to pick one up. The earlier you do, the better.