Size Distortion

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Size Distortion: a recommended set from Dominion

Size Distortion is a recommended set using only cards from the Base set. It is focused primarily on cards that affect deck size, containing several gainers, trashers (including cards that offer both effects) as well as a method of gaining victory points by having a larger deck. It introduces players to some slightly more advanced strategies than that found in First Game, containing several Attacks and interactions between kingdom cards.


[edit] Cards

[edit] First Edition

Cellar.jpgChapel.jpgFeast.jpgGardens.jpgLaboratory.jpg Thief.jpgVillage.jpgWitch.jpgWoodcutter.jpgWorkshop.jpg

[edit] Second Edition

Artisan.jpgBandit.jpgBureaucrat.jpgChapel.jpgFestival.jpg Gardens.jpgSentry.jpgThrone Room.jpgWitch.jpgWorkshop.jpg

[edit] Artisan

Main article: Artisan

A card costing $6 that is a powerful (though terminal) gainer: it can gain anything costing up to $5 and put it either on your deck, or into your hand if you top-deck a different card.

[edit] Bandit

Main article: Bandit

A card costing $5 that is a trashing attack, that targets your opponent's Treasure cards and gives you a free GoldGold.jpg when played.

[edit] Bureaucrat

Main article: Bureaucrat

A card costing $4 that is a gainer which lets you gain a free SilverSilver.jpg, and puts it on top of your deck so you can use it next turn; it also slows down your opponents by making them put a Victory card from their hand back on top of their deck.

[edit] Militia

Main article: Militia

An Attack costing $4 that is a handsize attack, making opponents discard down to three cards in hand. It is also a terminal silver, giving +$2 but no +Action.

[edit] Mine

Main article: Mine

A card costing $5 that is a trash for benefit card applying only to Treasures, allowing you to trash your CoppersCopper.jpg to gain SilversSilver.jpg and trash your SilversSilver.jpg to gain GoldsGold.jpg, gaining the upgraded treasures directly to your hand for immediate use.

[edit] Moat

Main article: Moat

A dual-purpose Reaction card costing $2: when played, it gives +2 Cards, and if it is in your hand when an Attack card is played, then you are immune to the attack.

[edit] Remodel

Main article: Remodel

A card costing $4 that is a flexible trash for benefit card which allows you to trash a card from your hand, and gain a card costing up to $2 more, thus improving your deck.

[edit] Smithy

Main article: Smithy

A terminal draw card costing $4 which gives +3 Cards, allowing you to obtain an increase in handsize, but not giving any +Action.

[edit] Village

Main article: Village

A card costing $3 which gives you +1 card from the deck and +2 actions, allowing you to play more than one terminal action each turn.

[edit] Workshop

Main article: Workshop

A card costing $3 which is a gainer, allowing you to gain cards without buying them; though it is limited to cards costing up to $4.

[edit] Strategies

Building on the First Game, some additional mechanics and strategies are on show in Size Distortion. This kingdom introduces the possibility of CursesCurse.jpg entering the game, and an alternative Victory card. As the title of the game would suggest, many of the cards and strategies deploying them depend on manipulating card size, trashing cards and gaining (or forcing your opponents to gain) cards mid-turn.

[edit] Big Money

Main article: Big Money

In this kingdom, the most likely choices of Action card to buy that will assist with playing a Big Money strategy are:

  • BanditBandit.jpg is clearly the best option here, gaining a GoldGold.jpg every time it is played;
  • BureaucratBureaucrat.jpg is also a possibility - however, it only gains SilverSilver.jpg, and since both it and Bandit are terminal, there is a chance both will clash on a turn.

Notably, both of these cards also have an Attack component, one or other of which may be more effective depending on the strategy deployed by your opponent - if they are gaining valuable Treasures, Bandit's trashing attack is useful for slowing them down; conversely if they are gaining a lot of GardensGardens.jpg then BureaucratBureaucrat.jpg is likely to hit them and force them on top of your opponent's deck more often.

Cards that it is probably unwise to purchase if attempting a Big Money strategy are:

  • GardensGardens.jpg relies on having a very large deck to be effective (until you have 40 or more cards, it is essentially no better than a slightly cheaper DuchyDuchy.jpg and without deliberately buying a lot of cheap cards your deck is unlikely to reach that size;
  • WorkshopWorkshop.jpg: since this only permits gaining cards up to $4, the only card you are likely to want within that price band is SilverSilver.jpg, but there will come a point where having too many Silvers becomes a hindrance since you would rather be drawing GoldGold.jpg in their place, because in order to buy a ProvinceProvince.jpg, four Silvers are required in a hand of five as opposed to three Golds (or two Golds and a Silver); and
  • ArtisanArtisan.jpg: this can gain cards up to $5 as opposed to Workshop's $4, but that only enables the gaining of action cards, crucially not GoldGold.jpg and if you already have a terminal action in your deck then Artisan is likely to cause further clashes.

[edit] Engines

Main article: Engine

Contrasting with a Big Money deck and its one or two choice Action cards, an engine aims to buy many Action cards and chain them together each turn. Every successful engine will likely need several components, breaking down into three key categories:

  • Villages, that is to say cards offering +2 Actions (or more);
  • Something allowing you to draw more cards (most typically terminal draw since you will already have sufficient Actions); and
  • Some sort of payload, i.e. something that you are aiming to play as frequently as possible in order to achieve an effect that cannot be achieved by Big Money - this could be + Buy, it could be playing a gainer to acquire more cards, it could be an Attack - as you go on in Dominion and play with more expansions, the possibilities become (almost) endless.

The typical engine strategy is therefore going to consist of playing +Actions to enable more terminals to be played, playing +Cards to increase handsize and maximise the chance of drawing the payload, and then playing the payload, with the aim of all of that being to leave enough $ to eventually start to buy ProvincesProvince.jpg (perhaps, with +Buy, more than one in a turn).

In this kingdom, the most likely choices of Action card to support an engine strategy are:

  • VillageVillage.jpg, an absolute must for its +2 Actions and the fundamental part of any engine; and
  • SmithySmithy.jpg, for its handsize increase (MoatMoat.jpg will work too, clearly it draws fewer cards but is cheaper and has a defensive benefit);
  • your choice of payload (as to which, see below).

In terms of the less important cards for engine players:

  • CellarCellar.jpg is probably going to be less of a help to engines - of course deck cycling is useful, particularly to avoid Victory cards later in the game, the idea with an engine is to render much if not all of your hand playable in any given turn, which should lessen the need to discard and re-draw cards because of terminal clash and you would typically be aiming for a big enough handsize to be able to work around Victory cards; and
  • MineMine.jpg may fall lower down the pecking order if your engine is using cards to produce +$, leaving you less reliant on Treasure.

[edit] Payload Strategies

Any of the following could be used (alone, or in combination with others) as a payload for your engine:

  • MarketMarket.jpg, whose +Buy is likely to be very handy;
  • WorkshopWorkshop.jpg, which especially if bought early on can gain VillageVillage.jpg and SmithySmithy.jpg to build up your stack of engine pieces much more quickly;
  • MilitiaMilitia.jpg, to provide +$2 towards buying other cards as well as slowing down your opponent through its strong handsize attack; and
  • RemodelRemodel.jpg, which can upgrade your engine pieces throughout the game (e.g. turning your starting EstatesEstate.jpg into VillageVillage.jpg or SmithySmithy.jpg, MoatMoat.jpg into SmithySmithy.jpg, or VillageVillage.jpg into MarketMarket.jpg, as well as being a very useful endgame card for converting as much of your deck into VP when you anticipate the final turns arising (it can turn any $3 or $4-cost card into a DuchyDuchy.jpg, and most notably can convert GoldGold.jpg into ProvinceProvince.jpg). Choosing the right time to pull off these exchanges can often be the difference between winning and losing - too early and you risk stalling your engine, too late and your opponent may end the game before you get the chance.

[edit] Cantrip Rush

It is worth noting that three of the cards in this kingdom are cantrips, that is to say offer at least +1 Action and +1 Card (thus replacing themselves): VillageVillage.jpg, MerchantMerchant.jpg and MarketMarket.jpg. In addition to this basic ability, each of the cards offers a different incremental benefit:

Since cantrips are "invisible" in one's deck in most cases, one simple strategy is also to simply buy as many of them as possible for the incremental benefits they provide. Of these benefits, +1 Action on its own is of no use (hence why VillageVillage.jpg should be combined with an engine strategy. However, each of MerchantMerchant.jpg and MarketMarket.jpg can, in theory at least, be used to build up a deck solely by buying as many copies of those cards as possible (perhaps with some supplementary Villages or terminals).

  • MerchantMerchant.jpg's benefit is reasonably marginal, however it is cheap to buy, and gain be gained by WorkshopWorkshop.jpg - so it may be possible to gain a large number of them and play several in a single turn for a large $ benefit when playing a Silver.
  • MarketMarket.jpg is more expensive, but gives the same $1 regardless of whether you have a Silver to play, and also gives +1 Buy to enable the purchase of multiple cards in one turn.

Several copies of these cards, combined with either Treasure or engine components, are also capable of forming a decent deck.

[edit] Openings

A wide variety of different openings are possible, depending on (i) what your starting hands are and (ii) what strategy you are attempting to play.

[edit] 4 / 3 split

  • SilverSilver.jpg/SilverSilver.jpg - the opening of choice for a pure Big Money strategy, but also maximises the chance of obtaining $5 or $6 on the first reshuffle.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/MoatMoat.jpg - if your opponent opens MilitiaMilitia.jpg, you may want Moat's defensive capability, but it is unlikely to be a better opening than simply fighting fire with fire and buying Militia.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/MerchantMerchant.jpg - this is a nice symbiotic opening if you are playing an engine / cantrip strategy, if a little luck-based - but if you can draw both in the same turn then your Silver is effectively playing as a GoldGold.jpg.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/WorkshopWorkshop.jpg - possibly a useful opening if your target is to gain as many $3 and $4 cards as possible.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/SmithySmithy.jpg - probably the classic opening for Smithy-Big Money, allowing you to realise the handsize benefit as soon as possible.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/MilitiaMilitia.jpg - this is typically a strong opening, giving exactly the same benefits as Silver/Silver whilst you only have a single Action, plus allowing you to attack your opponent.
  • SilverSilver.jpg/RemodelRemodel.jpg - a decent opening for an engine deck that aims to trash as many of your starting cards as possible.

The following are probably lesser-advised:

  • Opening with VillageVillage.jpg - the extra Action will definitely be useless on the first reshuffle since you will have at most one other Action - so save buying Village until Turn 3 at least.
  • Opening with CellarCellar.jpg - again, given you should be able to avoid terminal clash, Cellar can only skip past EstatesEstate.jpg, which is likely not worth spending an opening Buy for.
  • Opening with MerchantMerchant.jpg and not SilverSilver.jpg - Merchant without Silver is simply a +1 Card, +1 Action - totally invisible in your deck.
  • Opening with WorkshopWorkshop.jpg and another terminal Action - terminal clash is best avoided, especially early on. Having two Actions when you can only play one is both a waste of a card in your deck and a waste of the opportunity to buy something else you could have played.

[edit] 5 / 2 split

  • MarketMarket.jpg/MoatMoat.jpg - Moat gives some handsize benefit and Market some $, though not as much as SmithySmithy.jpg and SilverSilver.jpg in each case, but additionally Market allows you to cycle through an additional card each turn, and gives you +Buy.
  • MineMine.jpg/MoatMoat.jpg - this is probably a poor opening, as the terminals could collide, and relying on Mine alone to upgrade Treasures is likely too slow.
  • MarketMarket.jpg/CellarCellar.jpg - these two cards together will allow you to seriously mitigate the EstatesEstate.jpg in your starting deck and allow you to cycle round to newly-bought cards more early, but would probably need supplementing with Treasure fairly early.
  • MineMine.jpg/CellarCellar.jpg - slightly better than pairing MoatMoat.jpg with Mine since there is no terminal collision.

Cards $2 CellarCellar.jpgChapelChapel.jpgMoatMoat.jpg $3 HarbingerHarbinger.jpg • MerchantMerchant.jpgVassalVassal.jpgVillageVillage.jpgWorkshopWorkshop.jpg $4 BureaucratBureaucrat.jpgGardensGardens.jpgMilitiaMilitia.jpgMoneylenderMoneylender.jpgPoacherPoacher.jpgRemodelRemodel.jpgSmithySmithy.jpgThrone RoomThrone Room.jpg $5 BanditBandit.jpgCouncil RoomCouncil Room.jpgFestivalFestival.jpgLaboratoryLaboratory.jpgLibraryLibrary.jpgMarketMarket.jpgMineMine.jpgSentrySentry.jpg • WitchWitch.jpg $6 ArtisanArtisan.jpg
Removed cards $3 ChancellorChancellor.jpgWoodcutterWoodcutter.jpg $4 FeastFeast.jpgSpySpy.jpgThiefThief.jpg $6 AdventurerAdventurer.jpg
Combos and Counters Beggar/GardensChancellor/StashGuide vs MilitiaHighway/MarketMine/PotionWorkshop/GardensBishop vs GardensLibrary vs BishopLibrary vs MilitiaLibrary vs RelicMilitia vs Warehouse
Other concepts Vanilla
Dominion Products
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