|Trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing up to.|
Altar is an Action card from Dark Ages. It is a trasher which can trash one card at a time, and a gainer which can gain you cards costing up to - very nice when you can play it often to transform your junk into expensive actions!
 Official FAQ
- You trash a card from your hand if you can, and then gain a card whether or not you trashed one.
 Other Rules clarifications
- Neither step is optional.
 Strategy Article
Altar has been discussed on the forums by DG, RD, and others.
In a way, Altar plays a bit like an Expand and a lot like a Remodel. Trash out bad cards for good ones. If you can trash out slow cards for fast cards, the Altar will be played more often and can refashion your deck. Cash in at the end by trashing for Victory cards, in this case for a Duchy. So how does it differ?
An Altar can be put into quite a poor deck, perhaps one filled with Curses, and immediately trash out rubbish for good cards. This is different from the stepwise improvement provided by a Remodel or Expand. Whilst a Remodel or Expand can trash mid-cost cards for something better, the altar should always trash out junk and should therefore avoid terminal collision.
The biggest problem for an Altar comes from the high cost of. Gaining Duchies in the final turns is handy but not enough to justify buying the Altar and you simply might not be able to afford the Altar in the early game, so it needs to be played repeatedly in the mid game to make a difference. Thankfully -cost engine cards often do pay off and can drive the repeated play of key cards like an Altar. This suggests that the Altar needs good action cards at cost 4/5 in the supply to drive an engine deck, and this is indeed one of the best uses for an Altar. Its most effective use is to gain your big engine piece while spending your small amount of coins on the - piece until you can consistently draw your deck and play the Altar every turn. Then use it to keep gaining engine pieces while acquiring some source of money to start buying Victory cards. The beauty is that you just need to hit once and then don't really need any money until you can consistently draw your whole deck.
So what helps get you an early? Here are a few contenders.
- Baron looks fantastic. Use your engine to help connect Baron to Estates later even if you start trashing them, and it provides +Buy for your engine.
- Quarry looks strong too. If you want to prioritize engine building over an economy then you might really need some help hitting , especially on Altar turns.
- Mining Village looks plausible enough. It can be an engine piece, and you probably won't feel as bad about trashing your first one to buy the Altar as you would in a game with less card gain.
- Count and Death Cart look good. These decks will implode pretty quickly on command (especially Death Cart).
- Mandarin is an interesting question. It slows your opening down when Altar needs speed. On the other hand it would enjoy an engine game, and if you want Altar it's likely because there's something else interesting at which you might happily buy on turn 2 after Mandarin.
On the flip side, Altar seems to be rather in competition with a card like Horse Traders, which provides a legitimate alternate road to hands but doesn't really help hit . I can't think of many other cards that help you hit but not (well, Feast and University) but I'm sure they exist. Obviously Altar also tends to compete with strategies that don't involve building a strong conventional early economy at all: Chapel, Potion, etc.
The Altar shares some of the same properties as other actions that gain cards up to a printed cost. It is improved with Bridge and more notably Highway. It can repeatedly gain the same card from the supply each time it is used. This allows it to create extreme decks heavily skewed towards a strategy and the Altar can certainly create extreme action engines - for example, Highway engines. Altar can gain Highways, and with only three Highways in play, Altar can gain Provinces.
- Cost reducers: Bridge, Highway
- Ways to get Baron, Quarry, Mining Village. early:
- Engines with pieces
- Other cards which get you to Feast, University, Horse Traders :
- Lack of early economy, such as due to Potion or Chapel
- Cheap multi-card trashers (Chapel, Remake, Steward).
- Big Money
 English versions
|Trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing up to.||Dark Ages 1st Edition||August 2012|
|Trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing up to.||Dark Ages 2nd Edition||September 2017|
 Other language versions
|Japanese||祭壇 (pron. saidan)||手札1枚を廃棄する。コスト以下のカード1枚を獲得する。|
|Korean||제단 (pron. jedan)|
|Russian||Алтарь (pron. altar')|
 Secret History