|Type(s)||Action - Attack|
Each other player either discards 2 cards or gains a Curse to their hand, their choice. (They may pick an option they can't do.)
Torturer is an Action-Attack card from Intrigue. Keeping with the "choices" theme in Intrigue, Torturer gives opponents a choice! They can either take a Curse, putting it in their hand, or discard 2 cards. Since it also gives +3 Cards, a Torturer chain can be a devastating strategy; if you are faced with one, remember that sometimes you need to accept Curses so you can get a turn with some cards still in your hand!
 Official FAQ
- If it matters, the other players choose what happens to them (and resolve that) in turn order, starting to your left.
- A player can choose to gain a Curse even with no Curses left (and thus not gain one), or to discard 2 cards even with one or zero cards in hand (discarding their only card if they have one).
- Gained Curses go to players' hands rather than their discard piles.
 Other Rules clarifications
 Strategy Article
Original article by theory
Probably the best-named card in all of Dominion. Like a true sadist, the choice that Torturer offers somehow manages to make the card even crueler, as you futilely discard hand after hand, hoping to avoid those Curses.
Torturer is only effective if you can play multiple Torturers on a single turn. Unsurprisingly, Torturer is therefore a card that depends heavily on “villages” (any card that gives +2 Actions). Without them, Torturer is a lousy card and not worth the in a 2p game. Even with villages, as CouncilRoom.com demonstrates, the price point of the villages greatly impacts the efficacy of a Torturer chain:
Sea Hag / Witch / Mountebank / Ill-Gotten Gains. Otherwise, pretty much your whole game is going to be buying Torturers/Villages and being the first to trigger the Torturer chain. The usual principle of Fishing Village being absurdly good in such decks remains./ / villages: There’s almost certainly not a better strategy out there than a Torturer chain. Depending on how quickly you can get Curses into play, though, you might be able to beat a Torturer chain by handing out many of the Curses first with
Bazaar, you don’t have that option. On the other hand, your villages are now way stronger. City is the best example, because when Torturer runs out of ammo the Cities get upgraded. Likewise, Bazaar and Festival give you money, which is critically important in a deck where you want as little Treasure as possible. I wouldn’t go for this combo with another Curser on the board, however, or in very fast-paced games.villages: This is a tough sell, first because your villages are now quite expensive, and second because it directly clashes with Torturer. In other words, with Fishing Village, you can get Torturer when you draw and Fishing Village when you draw less than . With
Nobles/Torturer, for instance, probably isn’t a winner. But Border Village is a very special case, since it essentially lets you grab both pieces of the combo at once. With Border Village, I like to open with a Torturer, get a Gold, and then start buying Border Village and picking up Torturer.villages: Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be at all sensible, because is just too much for a village.
Within the Torturer chain, the power of Torturer is really the +3 Cards. Without it, a Torturer chain is just a weaker set of Witches. But because it can draw so well, a Torturer chain will draw the whole deck repeatedly so you can Torture on every turn. You can’t do that with Witch without massive trashing.
When setting it up, your main focus is therefore to get your engine running as soon as you can. Torturer chains tend to have a runaway leader problem. Whoever is first to play the second or third Torturer in a row will deal a crippling blow to their opponent, thus impairing their own chances of setting off the Torturer chain. It is therefore very important that you buy as little Treasure as possible while building your Torturer chain; you only need enough Treasure to buy your engine parts; you can focus on getting the money for Provinces after you start playing multiple Torturers.
The best way to build your engine is to roughly balance the ratio of villages to Torturers, with slightly more emphasis on the villages than the Torturers (since a hand of 5 Villages is better than a hand of 5 Torturers). If you look at the “progressive” chart in the Fishing Village / Torturer card ratios graph (once CouncilRoom comes back online), you see the that the ideal village-to-Torturer ratios during the game are around one more Fishing Village than Torturer.
The handsize reduction attacks work well with Torturer, because you can force someone to discard down to three before making the discard-two-or-gain-Curse choice. If there are enough actions, it may be worthwhile to get two such cards, because you can force your opponent to discard curses if she's gained them from two Torturers. Likewise, Masquerade is a good play when your opponent discards, though of course not such a good idea when they chose to gain the Curse!
Lighthouse, as with most attacks, is the best counter to Torturer. Watchtower does too, but might get in the way of your own Torturer chain (and Trader definitely will). Tactician can help salvage a turn where you had to discard all your cards, since it gives you five more cards at the start of your turn. Plus, you can discard freely to the first Torturer if you were planning on playing Tactician on your next turn anyways. Just remember that you cannot discard down to a single Tactician in hand if you want to get the effect. Tunnel makes Torturer a real liability even after the Curses run out. The fact that Torturer gains to your hand is a somewhat subtle weakness: it makes it a bit worse than Witch because someone with Trading Post or other trash-from-hand cards can just trash all the Curses immediately without it ever entering the deck.
More generally, as alluded to above, attacks that give out Curses are a lot faster and more reliable than Torturer. Just like how Witch beats Mountebank, Cursing attacks tend to hurt Torturers more than Villages help it.
Barring those specific counters, I tend to take Curses whenever it doesn’t change what I was going to do on my turn. I don’t discard engine parts, but I will discard Treasure if there’s a decent chance I’ll draw enough on my Torturers to buy what I want. If I know that I’ll be hit again with the Torturer, then I’ll take the Curse. As the quote below suggests, if you’re discarding your hand every turn, then either you didn’t have much hope to begin with, or you shouldn’t have any any more.
Note that in multiplayer, Torturers become ridiculously, stupidly more powerful. Even without +Actions, you might get multiple Torturers played on you in a single turn. Without Lighthouse or other hard counters, I will almost always race for a Torturer chain while having little choice but to take Curses.
A final rules clarification: yes, if Torturer runs out of Curses to give out, then the attack is meaningless. You can discard if you want to, but you can also just choose to take a Curse (unsuccessfully). But don’t feel too bad for the Torturer: after all, he’s got a +Actions/+Cards engine set up in the meantime…
- Lighthouse, Watchtower
- Mass trashing from hand (e.g., Trading Post, Forge, Chapel)
- Sometimes Quest
 English versions
|+3 Cards. Each other player chooses one: he discards 2 cards; or he gains a Curse card, putting it in his hand.||Intrigue 1st Edition||July 2009|
|+3 Cards. Each other player either discards 2 cards or gains a Curse to their hand, their choice. (They may pick an option they can't do.)||Intrigue 2nd Edition||October 2016|
 Other language versions
 Secret History