A Trashing attack is an attack card which trashes other players' cards. These cards have a complicated history due to major balance issues. The most obvious trashing attack is "Each other player trashes the top card of their deck." However, this has three problems, all of which have been pointed out by Donald X. Vaccarino:
- First, it can often be weak by trashing weak cards.
- Alternatively, it can be very random, trashing good cards for some, but bad cards for others.
- Finally, it can cause a strange game where no one can get anywhere because they only have 5 cards and anything they buy gets trashed.
So, this has lead to various solutions to get around the problem. The most direct variant is Saboteur which looks for a card costing at least to trash and allows other players to choose a replacement whose cost is at most less than the trashed card. This eliminates the weakness, decreases the randomness and eliminates the strange game state. Another card which gives players a replacement is Swindler, which allows the attacking player to choose a replacement for the trashed card at the same cost. Locusts also falls into this category when the trashed card is not a Copper or Estate, and allows the player to choose a lower-cost card to replace it.
A different solution is to only trash a certain price range of cards. Knights, Rogue, and Giant only trash cards in the range of - , and if more than one card is eligible for Knights or Rogue, the victim chooses which card to trash. This solution also eliminates the weakness and weird game state, and does a better job at avoiding randomness in the attack than Saboteur does. This avoids the need for a replacement as Saboteur provides. Warrior and War take this to the extreme by only trashing cards that cost either or .
Finally, there is the trash attack which targets a type of card; namely, Treasure. Thief, Bandit, Noble Brigand and Pirate Ship all trash a Treasure card from the top of opponents' decks and Thief and Noble Brigand allow the attacker to gain the trashed card. This still has a random factor, but it does avoid the weird game state. Also, a big problem with Thief and Pirate Ship is that the attack trashes Coppers which is usually beneficial for the opponents. This is avoided in Noble Brigand.