Luck-based

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Wishing Well, a luck-based card.

Luck-based cards are cards which have an above-average reliance on luck for their effects. Due to the nature of Dominion, there is a certain amount of luck involved with any card - when it comes into your hand, when it is able to combo effectively - but these cards incorporate luck or randomness as a feature. There are three broad categories.

[edit] Naming cards

Also called "guessing" cards, these cards feature the wording "Name a card." The player is required to say the name of any card, including those not in the game of Dominion, and then the effect of the card proceeds based on the choice the player makes. As a general rule, keeping close track of your deck aids in the use of these cards, but there will always be an element of luck, as the deck is shuffled randomly. As such, cards that either inspect the top of your deck or stack your deck to begin with help immensely.

  • Wishing WellWishing Well.jpg - the archetypal naming card; without a keen knowledge of your deck, this card is essentially gambling - if you win, it's a LaboratoryLaboratory.jpg, if you lose, it's a vanilla cantrip
  • MysticMystic.jpg - a Peddler variant on Wishing Well
  • RebuildRebuild.jpg - the least luck-involved naming card, as it will still always hit a Victory card. On the other hand, the outcome of a single Rebuild play often makes the difference between winning and losing, and Rebuild is thus considered a one of the most luck-based cards.
  • DoctorDoctor.jpg - the trashing Wishing Well variant
  • JourneymanJourneyman.jpg - when you "lose" with this card, you still draw 3 cards, but "winning" can mean skipping over several unwanted cards, netting a much better draw
  • GladiatorGladiator.jpg does not require a player name a card, but instead to reveal one from their hand. Gladiator's effect depends on whether or not the player to their left can reveal a copy of it.

[edit] "Line-'em-up" cards

These cards' sole (or at least primary) effect depends entirely on matching it with a specific other card. In contrast to the naming cards, which have luck built into what they do when played, "line-'em-up" cards have luck built into how they appear in your hand. And unlike the randomness of combos coming together, these cards are essentially dead in the water without this specific other card. As such, strategies with them typically involve sifters or cards that can carry other cards from turn to turn, such as HavenHaven.jpg or SchemeScheme.jpg.

  • BaronBaron.jpg - without an EstateEstate.jpg in hand, this is just an Estate gainer
  • CourtierCourtier.jpg - wants a card in hand with the most types possible
  • Treasure MapTreasure Map.jpg - the most notorious "line-'em'-up", it is useless without another Treasure Map, and is worded in such a way that Scheme should never be used to help it
  • ExplorerExplorer.jpg - without a ProvinceProvince.jpg in hand, this is just an expensive SilverSilver.jpg gainer
  • TournamentTournament.jpg - while not a dud without a Province (until everyone else has one), it can't fulfill its primary function without one: acquiring Prizes
  • Fool's GoldFool's Gold.jpg - without another Fool's Gold, you paid $2 for a Copper
  • UrchinUrchin.jpg - while any Attack will turn it into a MercenaryMercenary.jpg, it usually ends up being another Urchin, particularly if Urchin is the only Attack in the kingdom
  • CultistCultist.jpg - powerful enough when it doesn't line up, hitting a Cultist chain makes this one of the strongest $5 cards
  • EncampmentEncampment.jpg - returns to the Supply if you don't reveal a GoldGold.jpg or PlunderPlunder.jpg
  • LegionaryLegionary.jpg - doesn't Attack if you don't reveal a Gold

It could be argued that Death CartDeath Cart.jpg, Throne RoomThrone Room.jpg variants and trashers are also "line-'em-up" cards, but the first two only need to line up with a card type, rather than a specific card, and trashers really face only the normal luck any other card faces. Nonetheless, all these cards are helped by the same strategies as the listed "line-'em-up" cards.

[edit] Deck-random cards

These cards reveal cards from your or an opponent's deck, and produce an effect based on what's revealed. This ranges from just determining what card is gained, to determining how much of a vanilla bonus to bestow, if at all. Again, barring deck inspection or stacking, this is rather random, and these cards tend to be on the weak side. Digging cards are not included, as they seek out a specific card or card type, whereas these work with whatever's on top of the deck. Cards in italics have been removed.

  • VassalVassal.jpg - does best in Action-heavy decks
  • ThiefThief.jpg - can fail to produce the desired effect (stealing Treasures) if they are not revealed
  • SwindlerSwindler.jpg - perhaps the most powerful on this list, it always has the desired effect, and can even give out CursesCurse.jpg - the randomness comes in which card is replaced
  • TributeTribute.jpg - a kinder version of Thief that almost never fails, though certain outcomes are more desirable
  • Pirate ShipPirate Ship.jpg - a Thief variant
  • HarvestHarvest.jpg - with some work, you can stack your deck to maximize your yield, and in general in mid to late game, it gives at least $3 anyway
  • JesterJester.jpg - a Swindler variant that doesn't trash
  • Noble BrigandNoble Brigand.jpg - a Thief variant that can also junk
  • VagrantVagrant.jpg - a Wishing Well variant with a card type clause instead of naming
  • IronmongerIronmonger.jpg - whichever bonus your deck yields is usually welcome
  • KnightsKnights.jpg - another Swindler variant that doesn't give your opponent a new card
  • RogueRogue.jpg - almost identical to Knights when it Attacks
  • DoctorDoctor.jpg - its overpay option
  • HeraldHerald.jpg - does best in Action-heavy decks
  • WarriorWarrior.jpg - another Swindler variant with a very narrow cost range for trashing
  • MagpieMagpie.jpg - likes decks with a fair amount of Treasures
  • GiantGiant.jpg - whether it curses or trashes depends on the top card of each opponent's deck
  • PatricianPatrician.jpg - likes decks with expensive cards
  • Chariot RaceChariot Race.jpg - whether it gives +$1 and +1VP.png depends on what is revealed from the decks of you and the player to your left

The Promo card Black MarketBlack Market.jpg somewhat falls into this category - it's dependent on a completely separate deck made especially for it, but which cards it reveals for you to buy are completely random, and there's no way to inspect it before playing the card.


Attacks CurserDeck inspection attackDeck order attackHandsize attackJunking attackTrashing attackTurn-worsening attack
Buy/Money +BuyCost-reducerDisappearing moneyOverpayPeddler variantTerminal silverVirtual coinVirtual +Buy
Cycling Deck discarderDeck inspectorDiggingDiscard for benefitSifter
Terminality CantripNon-terminalNon-terminal drawSoft terminalTerminalTerminal drawThrone Room variantVillage
Other Alt-VPBasic cardsDuration drawGainerLuck-basedNon-Attack interactionOne-shotSplit pileTop deckerTrasherVanilla
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