Original Article by Polk5440


Cultist junks decks faster than any card in the game, and dealing with the onslaught of Ruins is extremely difficult, making Cultist a very strong card.

Cultist’s abilities strongly incentivize building a “Cultist stack”, a deck that buys primarily Cultists and no other Actions. First, playing a Cultist does not let you play other Actions after, except for other copies of Cultist. This pushes you to have lots of copies of Cultists to chain the draw and attack and not have a lot of copies of other Action cards, which you would not be able to play if you drew them. Second, while playing a village would enable playing Actions other than Cultist, it’s usually hard to reliably start your turn with a village in hand in a strong junking game. This further disincentives including Actions other than Cultist. Third, the game could end quickly on piles (Cultists, Ruins, and something else, like Duchies). This reduces the amount of time you have to build a more comprehensive deck.

Night cards, Treasures, and Events cannot be drawn dead, and some of these cards can push against adhering to a pure Cultist stack strategy. For example, Ghost Town or Save can help you consistently start your turn with a village; a reserved Coin of the Realm can allow you to play Actions drawn dead; Lost Arts can give Cultist an Action token. Even so, Cultist’s potent ability to chain the drawing of cards and dealing out junk remains powerful.

Sometimes Ruins can be cleaned out or ignored. Strong trashing can allow a recovery from the Ruins deluge and enable you either to transition from a Cultist stack to a controlled engine with Cultist as a source of draw or to build a different engine entirely. Additionally, unlike Curses, Ruins are worth 0 VP and are themselves Actions. That means building decks that rely on Vineyards or Gardens to score is more viable in the presence of Ruins than other type of junk. However, transitioning from Cultist into a Village-based engine can be difficult to pull off, and viable alternative VP is not always available, making it necessary to play a Cultist stack instead.

Finally, while the on-trash benefit is rarely a good reason to buy Cultist if you are not going to buy it for its primary abilities, it can be an added benefit in kingdoms where trashing plays a role.

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Chapel is the second-fastest way in Dominion to purge your bad cards (only surpassed by Donate), and with a cost of $2, can be bought in the opening along with another fairly good card. Trashing cards in Dominion is really, really good; you almost always want to trash your ten starting cards and any junk your opponent gives you in order to play your best cards more frequently and make your deck more consistent. Even in the face of the most powerful junking attacks in the game, you shouldn’t have a problem staying on top of your deck with Chapel on your side.

If you want a Chapel, you want to open with it and hopefully see it on turn 3 or 4; in almost every case, you’ll want to play the Chapel and trash your entire hand. Even if you’re just trashing Coppers and no Estates, this is almost always the best play because with these four cards out of the way, you’ll be able to line up your Chapel with the rest of your starting cards more quickly. The main exception to this is if you drew the other card you opened with — though this problem can be sidestepped by opening with a strong cantrip, which also reduces the odds of not seeing your Chapel before turn 5. The brief tempo loss you take from sacrificing a whole turn just to trash four cards will quickly become worth it when you’re playing lots of good cards each turn because you don’t have bad cards to get in the way.

After playing your Chapel for the first time, you may want to be a bit more judicious about keeping a Copper or two around — make sure you think about having enough money in your deck to buy what you want each turn, as long as drawing your last one or two Coppers isn’t a huge pain — you may even find yourself planning one or two turns ahead, which is a luxury you’ll get much sooner with the trim deck Chapel gives you.

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Original Article by 4est, adapted for the blog by Polk5440

The original article is being discussed in this thread.


Archive is an odd card. As a sort of mash-up of Caravan, Haven, and Gear, Archive can provide duration draw, keep junk cards out of the shuffle, and set up your next turn all in one package. In decks where it’s not realistic to otherwise draw all of your cards consistently, Archive can humbly step in as a quiet yet versatile hero.

Archive can draw cards, but similar to Caravan, it only increases your handsize on its duration plays. As a nonterminal action, Archive’s draw requires no village support, so multiple Archives stack very easily giving you larger hands and greater control and flexibility over the cards in your hand at the start of your turn. However, in kingdoms with a lot of powerful draw, Archive may be more of a hindrance than a help. Smithy draws three cards for you to use now, but of the three cards Archive sets aside, one will not be played until next turn, and another of them will not be played until two turns later. Thus, in slim and powerful deck-drawing engines where all your cards could be used every turn, Archive is less useful as pure draw.  

Archive’s set-aside ability both helps you see bad cards less often and good cards more often. Archive does not remove cards from your deck permanently; however, in kingdoms where trashing is weak or unavailable, Archive’s ability to set aside cards can be used to hold cards like Coppers and Victory cards out of the shuffle helping you get to your good cards more often.  With multiple staggered Archives, you can get a large percentage of your cards set aside, making your deck behave as if it was much thinner, providing surprising control. Conversely, if Archive sets aside a card you do NOT want to keep out of the shuffle (you want to draw it!), it may be better to put it into your hand immediately rather than let it remain set aside.

Archive’s ability to seed your next turn and help prevent duds is quite powerful.  This often occurs unintentionally — Archive sets aside two Villages so you take one and leave the other for next turn — but you can use this ability to set up a big plays later.  Archive also works well in money-ish decks by smoothing your price points, very similarly to Gear — if Archive turns over Gold, Copper, and Estate, with $7 in hand, you can take a Copper, buy Province, and leave the Gold for hitting $8 again next turn.  

So much of Dominion is learning how to work with what you’ve got.   Archive doesn’t draw like Smithy or trash like Chapel, but it can really help out your deck in kingdoms where there otherwise isn’t good trashing or draw.  

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Monastery is a far more powerful trasher than it may appear to be at first glance. An obvious point of comparison is to how Forager plays in the early game. Like Forager, Monastery does not take an Action, trashes Estates for no (other) benefit, and trashes Coppers without hurting your economy for that turn. Where Monastery shines is that it allows you to trash without sacrificing any momentum (beyond drawing the Monastery) — you don’t give up economy, you don’t have to worry about drawing it dead, and it even trashes faster when used in tandem with gainers or +Buy.

Monastery’s properties allow for more aggressive openings than one would typically do with a trasher. Consider an opening of Smithy / Forager. Normally this is a bit risky – the Smithy could dead draw the Forager, wasting a shuffle’s worth of trashing. Since Monastery is played after the Buy phase, it can’t be drawn dead like Forager in this situation. In addition, you get all of the benefits of Smithy’s extra cycling and economy, leading to more frequent trashing and faster gains. This can quickly snowball into a very potent deck that trashes seemingly without effort.

The synergy with gainers such as Ironworks or Engineer are obvious – gain a card, ideally buy another card, use Monastery to trash twice as much as you normally could. But this synergy often enables even weaker cards such as Silver gainers which you may not otherwise consider. Squire is an interesting example, where it can gain Silvers early to give Monastery an extra trash, provide multiple Buys later for a similar purpose, and can even be turned into an Attack card if need be.

In games where you need to get very thin very quickly, opening two copies of a trasher is often wise, but that is usually incorrect with Monastery because if two copies of Monastery collide, you may not be able to gain a desirable card which sacrifices momentum. You do often want two copies of Monastery, but try to stagger buying each Monastery with buying more aggressive cards that draw or gain to keep things moving. The main takeaway from this is that you should adjust how you pace your deck when using Monastery instead of other trashers. Play to the strengths of Monastery, and you will be very glad you picked up this unique trashing card.

For more detailed discussion, you are welcome to visit the Dominion Strategy Forum thread about this article.

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Dominion Discord Available!

There is yet another place to talk about Dominion! Existing within the confines of the Internet is an public chat application called Discord that is massively gaining popularity. Discord is sort of like Skype, except it actually works. There are tons of servers with all sorts of interests, just an invite link away. You know, like Dominion.

Whether you have a Discord account or are interested in checking it out, follow this link to the Dominion Discord. You’ll have to sign in or sign up, but it doesn’t take too long, and it is seriously a really cool place to be. Nearly everyone from forum.dominionstrategy is there already, and the Dominion Discord is rapidly expanding in users. I’ll see you there!

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The 2017 Qvist Card Rankings

Want to know how strong the general consensus of any given Dominion card is? The Qvist 2017 Card Rankings are now here to provide you some answers! Started by Qvist, the Card Rankings have become a major staple of the F.DS community.

Here’s some interesting information. In case you didn’t know, Dan Brooks is the Champion of the 2017 ShuffleIT Tournament. (Watch the incredible games if you have the chance!) In this one podcast episode that may or may not have had anything to do with the blog, Dan Brooks reveals that he used the Qvist Card Rankings when he first started playing Dominion. He would buy cards that were high on the lists, and ignore cards that were low on the lists. While simplistic, it is a great place to start out, especially when first beginning serious competitive Dominion play.

I’m done hyping you up. Here are the 2017 lists, and for the first time written by members of the community besides Qvist:

Also, if you would like to look at even more information because you’re a total nutcase for Dominion, you could visit the Dominion Wiki to see how cards have fallen or risen over the years of polling. (note: some cards have fallen or risen simply by virtue of more cards being added to the pool.) Alternatively, you might also want to take a gander at Adam Horton’s Card Power Levels, which sadly does not include Nocturne because of the time of the polling, but is still very useful to read. However, those plan to be incorporated in the next list, and in the meantime you can read this, just the Nocturne cards discussed separately.

Hopefully all this reading holds you over until The 2018 Qvist Card Rankings. Whenever that starts polling approximately a year from now, there will be a post about it, prompting you to go and add your voice to the crowd!

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Dominion: World Cup 2018 Participants

This update is a bit late! Beyond Awesome has gotten busy with life, and so I take up the pen in his stead. The Dominion World Cup has been underway for a couple of weeks now. Before showing some sample games and results in the next update, I will display the entire list of World Cup teams and their members.

(A couple of notes: All players on the top of each Team are the Team Captains. For example, Markusin is the Team Captain of Canada. Alternates are players who either have busier schedules and cannot make it consistently, or are weaker. They may sub in games on any given week at the discretion of the Team Captain.)

Team Canada
vsiewnar (alternate)

Team Finland

Team France

Team Germany
drsteelhammer (alternate)
assemble_me (alternate)
Dangerous Dave (alternate)

Team India

Team Netherlands

Team Norway

Team Russia
Burning Skull

Team UK
AlexJRStone (alternate)

Team USA
Mic Qsenoch
Dan Brooks (alternate)
Titandrake (alternate)

Refugee Team A
Chris is Me
fiercelord (alternate)

Refugee Team B
Joseph2302 (alternate)

Congratulations to all who have participated in the World Cup, and may the best team win!

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2017 Holiday Kingdom

Here’s a board for the holidays, from Donald X. and LastFootnote.

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Dismantle English Promo Available on BoardGameGeek


The promo is now finally up and available for purchase on The cost is $5 + shipping.

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The Secret History of Dominion: Nocturne

The Secret History of Dominion: Nocturne

Original Article by Donald X.

While working on Empires, I tried out Boons. They were in the set for a while, but there was only so much space in the set, and something had to go. Boons were a nice chunk to remove and out they went. In July 2015, I put them in a file for some hypothetical future expansion, referred to as Boonies. A couple other cards went with them.
Continue reading

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