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 Unofficial FAQ (2022)
- When you play Sauna, you first draw a card and get +1 Action.
- You may then immediately play an Avanto from your hand. This does not take up one of your Actions, including the Action provided by Sauna.
- You can only play an Avanto this way directly after playing the Sauna, not if you played another Action card in between, even if you have a Sauna in play.
- When you play Avanto, you first draw 3 cards.
- You may then immediately play a Sauna from your hand. This does not take up any of your Actions, and Sauna will still give you +1 Action if you play it this way.
- You can only play a Sauna this way directly after playing the Avanto, not if you played another Action card in between, even if you have an Avanto in play.
- You can play Sauna and Avanto in alternation this way, taking up only the Action for the first of the cards you play.
- You can do this until you don't have the respective card in hand after playing the other.
- When you play a Sauna, you cannot immediately play a Sauna from your hand without using up one Action. The same goes for playing Avanto after Avanto.
- Once you have played a Sauna, you can trash a card from your hand anytime you play a Silver later that turn.
- If you play the same Silver several times, such as with Counterfeit (Dominion: Dark Ages) or Crown (Dominion: Empires), you may trash a card each time you play the Silver.
- You do not have to trash anything when you play a Silver.
- You can decide whether to trash a card every time you play a Silver, you do not have to decide once for the entire turn.
- When you have played several Saunas, or have played the same Sauna multiple time (e.g. with Throne Room), and then play a Silver, you can trash a card from your hand for every time you have played a Sauna. You can still decide to not trash a card each time.
 Other rules clarifications
In 2022, Sauna got errata to let its trashing effect not depend on the Sauna being in play, but rather be an effect of having played the Sauna.
Deprecated official FAQ (2016)
At first glance, Sauna/Avanto seems like an overpowering monolithic combo-- providing draw, a village effect, and trashing all in one. Indeed, at low to moderate levels of play simply buying Saunas and Avantos will often win if not contested; a deck that consists of several of both and exactly $8 in money will draw deck and be able to purchase a Province extremely consistently (further, once able to draw the entire deck, it can often trash all unnecessary cards for even further consistency). Likewise, if contested in a monolithic strategy, having 3 of the Saunas and Avantos can be a decisive advantage (you could also imagine simple extensions of this scenario, where Saunas are effectively the only village, or Avantos the only draw).
However, at higher levels of play and with recent expansions increasing the average power of a card, straight Sauna/Avanto is rather infrequently the best strategy available on a given board. The main reason is that, if uncontested, Sauna/Avanto is very slow to start up. Saunas are typically weak on their own, especially en masse, and the deck only begins to kick off once it has Avantoes. Versus a player ignoring the pile, a Sauna/Avanto player needs to spend $25 and 6 Buys (5 Sauna + 1 Avanto) to even acquire their first draw card. Those eight or so turns can be used to build an engine more smoothly, often containing gainers, +buy, and more efficient forms of payload that could Province sooner, double Province, or simply have endgame potential.
Another minor point is that the opponent can steal the Avantoes from you, and their deck will probably be better at gaining $5s than yours is. Some more minor but still important considerations include:
a) if you're truly going monolithic, you'll have to buy the 5th Sauna and uncover Avanto for your opponent, which will likely enable them to get three of the Avantoes;
b) supposing your opponent has built another kind of engine in the meantime, Avantoes aren't even that bad for them; even without the Sauna effect they are expensive Smithies.
Now, there are situations which mitigate many of the downsides listed above. The main case is when Sauna is the best trasher available, and you need to get 1-2 anyway to get your deck clean. At times, if both players do this, you might come close to uncovering the Avantoes, and it might be situationally useful to get Avantoes now that the opportunity cost has been lowered. Situations essentially like this probably describe the majority of situations in which top players against top players will get Saunas + Avantoes.
A second context is with a card that can gain extra actions, which will lower the opportunity cost of gaining several Saunas and maybe Avantoes, and also will help avoid the problem named above of having to uncover the Avantoes for your opponent. (Keep in mind, though, that you need the capacity to gain the Sauna and buy an Avanto with your remaining cards, which isn't always that easy. Also, your opponent could get a gainer to help build their engine, and then you might have to play this sort of endgame-y dynamic in order to try to be the first to get Avantoes).
In summary, monolithically going straight for Sauna/Avanto is often not the best strategy, but there are several factors that might make it more appealing, and if the Saunas start to run (or if you're against a person that goes for monolithic S/A anyway), you will often need to keep your eye out for opportunities to be the first to grab Avantoes. As such, the presence of Sauna/Avanto often induces some interesting strategy considerations on a board, even if ultimately no one even gains any Avantoes.
An occasionally important tactics note: if you have more Saunas than Avantos in your draw pile, and you draw both a Sauna and an Avanto, you should probably play the Sauna first. The situation is reversed if you have more Avantos than Saunas in your draw pile. This maximizes the number of likely free plays.
 Example Kingdoms
 Where Sauna is strong
|Example 1 [images]|
|Caravan Guard||Masterpiece||Trade Route||Village||Sauna|
|Landscapes and Additional Cards|
|Dominate||Way of the Monkey|
Sauna is good here because:
- The board allows for playing a large number of Bridge Trolls, which makes that the goal - trashing will help this deck become consistent faster
- Sauna is a better trasher than Trade Route - it is non-terminal and is not a stop card
- Avanto may not be uncovered here - there is plenty of draw with Wayfarer coming at a lower price and a player is unlikely to feel the need to have more than 2 Saunas for trashing
|Example 2 [images]|
|Landscapes and Additional Cards|
Sauna is good here because:
- The presence of Displace makes it likely that you will want to play multiple terminal actions each turn, which requires a village
- The other village here is Nobles, which is too expensive to be using exclusively when there are other options
- Using Sauna/Avanto chains for draw will lessen the number of villages here which need to be used for draw, which allows more payload playing
 Where Sauna is weak
|Example 3 [images]|
Sauna is not good here because:
- Recruiter and Pooka together provide ample trashing which Sauna will be slower than
- Port and Recruiter are both strong villages, so that aspect of Sauna is not needed
- Diplomat provides draw; however, Avanto will be better if an opponent takes the time to uncover it, but by then you should be well ahead from not using your buys on unnecessary Saunas
 English versions
| +1 Card
You may play an Avanto from your hand.
While this is in play, when you play a Silver, you may trash a card from your hand.
|June 29, 2022|
 Other language versions
Sauna/Avanto was the first Promo to be released under the second edition format.
 Secret History