|Type(s)||Action - Attack|
Each other player gains a Curse.
 Official FAQ
- The Curses come from the Supply and are put into discard piles.
- They are given out in turn order, which can matter when the Curse pile is low.
- When the Curses are gone, you can still play Witch for +2 Cards.
 Other Rules clarifications
 Strategy Article
Original article by schadd
If you ask your grandma who played Dominion a lot, way back when, to tell you about Witch, she'll say, ah, Witch. The greatest money card to ever do it. Absolutely dominates any game without chapel, and dominates most games with it, too. And you'll be like, grandma? I think you might need a bit of strategy help and/or medication. But no—she's just from a different time, and I would say her description is pretty accurate for first edition base: curses were so horridly sticky and annoying back then. And one might be tempted to say, well, it's not first edition base anymore, get with the times; however, your grandma's experiences still illuminate an important point about Witch that is surprisingly easy to let oneself forget: in a board with weak trashing and weak engine stuff (or weak engine players, perhaps—I don't mean to speak ill of your grandma but pretty much nobody was a good engine player back then), Witch-BM will kinda crush anything, really hard. Cultist-BM, even.
Witch teaches one of the ugliest lessons to the early dominion player: curses and other types of junk are way worse for your deck than you would think, and once you have even 5 curses the game starts to feel like trying to operate a loom in the middle of a swamp while getting attacked by mosquitoes that keep saying the word "moist" in the voice of a celebrity you don't like. Let's think of it this way—Laboratory is a card that essentially means, when you draw this card, draw 2 cards instead. Note the price tag on that card: 5 big ones. That's pretty expensive if I do say so. Curse has essentially the opposite effect as Laboratory: every time you hit in your deck, you draw, uh, 0-ish cards instead of 1. That means that every time your opponent plays a Witch, you have to buy an entire Laboratory to counteract it, sorta kinda. And lastly, it gives -1 victory point, which adds up. Adds up to 10 that is, eventually. Which is a lot.
 Engine Vs. BM
So why does Witch turn boards into money boards instead of engines, absent trashing? Shouldn't curses hurt both of them the same, costing one card whenever you draw it? Well, it turns out that engine and BM have different detriments from losing one card, illustrated by the following graph, comparing engine and BM towards the end of the game.
BM is orange, engine is green.
The only thing, really, that matters in BM is how much money you get in each hand. Curses hurt, sure, but they only hurt linearly—that is, if you only have 4/5 or 3/5 as many cards as you usually would, it only hurts your expected money by about 1/5 or 2/5, which often means you can still buy something that will help you. However, in engine, you will typically need to have a specific arrangement of cards in order for your turn to work out the way you want it to. if you're building your deck right, usually your deck will be (approximately usually more or less) 50% devoted to drawing itself and the rest is payload; if your starting hand has a sufficient amount of the 50% that draws then you'll typically be able to draw your whole deck, but if it doesn't, you oftentimes can't do anything of use. Because of how probability works, having 4 or 5 goods cards gives you a way better chance of getting an ideal arrangement than 2 or 3, so a curse will hurt your chances of buying a bunch of stuff more than it does in big money.
So, Witch tends to bring about a non-engine environment more than most cards do, and Witch-BM will beat pretty much any single-card non-engine strategy, even Rebuild. However, here's a bombshell: most games with Witch on the board nowadays are engines. What!? There are two key reasons for this:
- trashing is good, and
- engines are really, really good.
First, trashing. One of the least ugly (and in fact, very pleasant and clean) lessons that is taught to the early Dominion player is that trashing is really strong. You have probably encountered that notion at some point yourself, dear reader. Receiving curses will always hurt you (using the Dominion definition of "always", which means "about 99% of the time"), but it also increases the potential value of your trasher since it has more stuff it can trash. That's a weird way of putting it, I suppose, but that's what the benefit is. If you trash a curse, the -VP and (future) damage to your draw are totally neutralized. Do note, however, that this is very much not the same as never having received the curse.
Secondly, engines. I dunno if you noticed, but in the graph I claimed that engine will at some point be able to end the game if you draw 5 good cards. And before that point, you can like double the output of your deck if you can't end the game. At present, there are so many good action cards that trying to play those a bunch of times instead of treasure cards is very often the right thing, Witch included.
 In Closing
I think the most important takeaway is that Witch is a very strong card
witch which has withstood the test of time. I would very much hesitate to say that trashing counters it—note that if you played a Witch, and your opponent played something like Trade Route that trashed the curse and did close to nothing else, you net drew one card and they're down two cards. That's still really good for you. Unless your opponent would rather have an extra curse to trash (e.g. in the cases of Forager and Altar), you are attacking them pretty meaningfully in addition to drawing cards for yourself. While Witch-BM, where Witch is most dominant (it's pretty much the best BM card), is fading away, Witch is still super powerful in an engine environment. I feel that it's somewhat easy to confuse Witch's elegance and simplicity with being boring and outclassed by other cursers, and I feel that it's also somewhat easy to forget or miss the benefit it still has even if you don't drown your opponent in junk like other cards sometimes can. Witch is probably my favorite attack and there's a reason this configuration is what appeared in the first set.
In a Dominion League match between myself, a mediocre and okay Dominion player, and Mic Qsenoch, the best or almost best Dominion player, where we both agreed to include Witch in every board, Witch was somewhere between a strong ancillary card to a central part of the game throughout. Mic notes at the end that "this match didn't have Witch skipped at all...Witch is a good card, we found out here, today, for the first time."
- Middling, weak or no trashing
- cheap villages such as Fishing Village and Village
- Trash-for-benefit once the curses are empty
- a 5/2 opening split
- absurdly good trashing such as Chapel , Donate or Cemetery will make Witch ignorable in the presence of powerful cards
- Gardens, Tower and other things that make curses not as bad (or beneficial)
 English versions
|+2 Cards. Each other player gains a Curse card.||Dominion 1st Edition||October 2008|
|+2 Cards. Each other player gains a Curse.||Dominion 2nd Edition||October 2016|
 Other language versions
 Secret Historybut didn't draw you cards. It quickly shot up to 5, then gained the penalty of "pay one ." That's how much people hated Witch. It stayed like that until around when development started. When I started doing more testing of the main set cards (as opposed to expansions), it was obvious that Witch was weak. First it lost the penalty, then gained +1 Card, then +2 Cards. It costs ; there is some tough competition there.