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Militia, an Attack card.

Attack is a card type. An Attack is a card intended to hinder the player's opponent(s), either by making their next turn worse in some way, or otherwise weakening their deck. However, not all Attacks are equal, and while some can be quite devastating, others can range from mildly annoying to borderline beneficial to other players, depending on the circumstances. Most Attack cards are Action cards. There are no special rules relating to Attack cards; they are simply a useful label to have so that other cards (mostly Reactions) can refer to them.


[edit] List of Attack cards sorted by expansion

[edit] Overview

Attacks are often a crucial component of an engine strategy: an engine deck can take longer to build than an unimpeded Big Money deck; but an engine that frequently plays Attack cards can slow down an opponent's deck-building enough to make engine construction competitive. However, since they attack the opponent, strong Attack cards often have relatively weak (or even no) direct benefits to their owner's deck, slowing down deck-building from that direction as well.

Not every play of every Attack card will adversely affect (or even affect at all) an opponent, and some cards which can be used to hurt an opponent, such as MasqueradeMasquerade.jpg and Ill-Gotten GainsIll-Gotten Gains.jpg, are not Attacks. The fact that "Attack" is a card type becomes relevant in that certain cards have specified interactions with Attacks. Most of these are Reaction cards that can be revealed when an opponent plays an Attack to have some effect that usually mitigates or counters the adverse effect of the Attack; the main exception is SquireSquire.jpg, which has an on-trash ability to gain an Attack.

All Dominion expansions have at least two Attack cards. The greatest density of Attack cards is found in Cornucopia, which contains three Attack cards out of 13 Kingdom cards plus FollowersFollowers.jpg, an Attack–Prize. The lowest density of Attack cards is in Prosperity and Hinterlands, which have only three Attacks out of 25 and 26 Kingdom cards respectively. In Hinterlands, the non-Attack curser Ill-Gotten Gains takes the place of an Attack card; in Prosperity, Donald X. Vaccarino deliberately kept the number of Attacks low in order to make it easier to construct decks that can buy ColonyColony.jpg, and to compensate, Prosperity has a large number of non-Attack interactive cards.

[edit] Kinds of Attacks

There are 6 basic kinds of Attacks; some Attack cards belong to two of these categories. Donald X. Vaccarino explained 4 of them here in depth, including how to defend against them; the other two were speculated on here.

[edit] Handsize attacks

Handsize attacks reduce the number of cards you have in hand on your next turn, thus reducing the range of options available to you on that turn. The majority of these make you discard down to 3 cards, and the victim chooses which cards to discard; thus multiple plays of such handsize attacks don't hurt the victim more than the first one. These include MilitiaMilitia.jpg, Ghost ShipGhost Ship.jpg, GoonsGoons.jpg, MargraveMargrave.jpg, MercenaryMercenary.jpg, FollowersFollowers.jpg, and Sir MichaelSir Michael.jpg. UrchinUrchin.jpg makes you discard down to 4 cards. MinionMinion.jpg is a variation that makes you discard down to 4 cards, but you can't choose which card to discard, because you discard your whole hand and draw 4 new ones. PillagePillage.jpg is a one-shot where the attacker chooses the card to discard; and TaxmanTaxman.jpg forces everyone to discard a particular Treasure. Some handsize attacks can make victims continue discarding cards on multiple plays: TorturerTorturer.jpg stacks if the victim does not wish to gain a CurseCurse.jpg; CutpurseCutpurse.jpg and BureaucratBureaucrat.jpg target CoppersCopper.jpg and Victory cards respectively and on repeated plays can continue reducing your handsize as long as you have the targeted cards in your hand; SoldierSoldier.jpg is stackable, but only until your opponent is down to 3 cards in hand.

The strongest counters to most handsize attacks include MenagerieMenagerie.jpg, which is more likely to grant +3 cards in smaller hands, and Horse TradersHorse Traders.jpg, which increases your handsize again once your next turn starts.

[edit] Attacks that trash your cards

Trashing attacks usually trash one of the top two cards of the opponents' decks, directly combating their deck-building efforts. Donald X. Vaccarino has described it as challenging to create trashing attacks that aren't too random in their degree of effectiveness and don't totally ruin players' enjoyment of the game. This is accomplished in various ways: trashing can be restricted to Treasure cards (as in BanditBandit.jpg, Noble BrigandNoble Brigand.jpg, Pirate ShipPirate Ship.jpg) or to a certain price range (KnightsKnights.jpg, RogueRogue.jpg, WarriorWarrior.jpg, and GiantGiant.jpg), or the Attack can offer the victim a replacement for the trashed card (SaboteurSaboteur.jpg and SwindlerSwindler.jpg).

[edit] Attacks that give you junk

Attacks that add undesirable cards to opponents' decks hurt an opponent by weakening the turns on which they draw those "junk" cards, and by slowing their deck cycling. The majority of these distribute CurseCurse.jpg cards and therefore are referred to as cursers; these include WitchWitch.jpg, ReplaceReplace.jpg, TorturerTorturer.jpg, Sea HagSea Hag.jpg, FamiliarFamiliar.jpg, MountebankMountebank.jpg, Young WitchYoung Witch.jpg, FollowersFollowers.jpg, SoothsayerSoothsayer.jpg, Swamp HagSwamp Hag.jpg, GiantGiant.jpg, and CatapultCatapult.jpg; the on-gain effect of Ill-Gotten GainsIll-Gotten Gains.jpg has the same function as these Attacks, though it is not itself an Attack card. Dark Ages does not contain cursers; instead, its junking attacks are Looters which distribute Ruins: MarauderMarauder.jpg and CultistCultist.jpg. Noble BrigandNoble Brigand.jpg sometimes distributes CopperCopper.jpg. A few junking attacks can distribute a variety of junk cards, including Curses under some circumstances: AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg, SwindlerSwindler.jpg and JesterJester.jpg.

[edit] Attacks that muck with your deck order

Deck order attacks attempt to ensure that weak cards are left on top of an opponent's deck, or strong cards are discarded, weakening their upcoming hands and denying them opportunities to play their best cards. BureaucratBureaucrat.jpg, Sea HagSea Hag.jpg, Fortune TellerFortune Teller.jpg, and Haunted WoodsHaunted Woods.jpg specifically try to put bad cards on the opponent's deck; SpySpy.jpg, Scrying PoolScrying Pool.jpg, RabbleRabble.jpg, OracleOracle.jpg can make them discard whatever good cards are there while leaving bad cards behind.

[edit] Attacks that make other players' turns worse

Turn-worsening attacks, though not addressed in his Guide to Beating Attacks, were mentioned by Donald X. in his Seaside preview. Until Adventures, there weren't really any Attacks that fit this category and not any others (obviously, a handsize Attack usually makes a player's turn worse). Attack-Durations and tokens make this category possible.

The main example here areBridge TrollBridge Troll.jpg and {{card|Enchantress}; they don't make players discard, trash their cards, or give them junk, and they do nothing to their deck, but they certainly makes their turns worse. RelicRelic.jpg also fits here (as well as RaidRaid.jpg, though it is not an Attack); rather than making a player discard directly, it prevents players from drawing in the first place. This can either make their current turn worse if they have draw cards, or their next turn if they do not.

[edit] Attacks that lower other players' score

The only Attacks that lower opponents' scores in Dominion are cursers, though their effect as junking attacks is usually more important than the fact that Curses are worth negative victory points. Donald X. has said he's tried cards that lower scores directly, e.g. like a reverse MonumentMonument.jpg, but they "fluctuated between being too weak, too strong, and too much work to deal with."

[edit] Defending against Attacks

The most direct way to defend against an Attack is with a card that lets you ignore its effects: MoatMoat.jpg, LighthouseLighthouse.jpg, or ChampionChampion.jpg. However, these cards are not always in the kingdom, and Moat is usually considered rather weak, while Champion is rather tricky to acquire. As such, countering Attacks usually requires more nuance. Handsize attacks can be handily combated by Menagerie or a draw-to-X card, junkers can be thwarted by a heavy-duty trasher or a protective WatchtowerWatchtower.jpg, trashing Attacks can be countered with gainers, and deck-order attacks can be mitigated by sifters. All of these are embodied in Jack of all TradesJack of all Trades.jpg, which Donald X. has revealed he designed as an "after-the-fact Moat." A number of different counters to specific Attacks have also been found.

[edit] Trivia

[edit] In other languages

  • Czech: Útok
  • Dutch: Aanval
  • Finnish: Hyökkäys
  • German: Angriff
  • Polish: Atak

Dominion Card types
Basic types ActionTreasureVictoryCurseCurse.jpg
Multi-expansion special types AttackDurationReaction
Single-expansion special types PrizeShelterRuinsLooterKnightReserveTravellerGatheringCastle
Non-card types EventLandmark
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