When you gain this, put all Treasures you have in play on top of your deck in any order.
Mandarin is an Action card from Hinterlands. Mandarin gives + and requires you to place a card on top of your deck, which can be a benefit or a detriment depending on the situation. Likewise, the on-gain effect of placing all Treasures on your deck may or may not be helpful. As such, Mandarin is a very situational card. The on gain effect also allows for potentially unique openings, as you can get numerous Mandarins and another card before the first shuffle.
- When you play this, you get + , and put a card from your hand on top of your deck.
- If you have not cards left in hand, you do not put a card on top of your deck.
- If there are no cards left in your deck, the card you put on top becomes the only card in your deck.
- When you gain this, you put all of your Treasures from play on top of your deck in any order.
- You do not have to show this order to other players. you have to put all of your Treasures on top; you cannot leave some out.
- You only put Treasures from play on top of your deck, not unplayed Treasures from your hand.
- This does not stop you from having the coins you got from playing those Treasures; for example, if you have +1 Buy and play four Golds and buy a Mandarin, you put the Golds on top of your deck, and still have left to spend.
- Mandarin puts your played Treasures on your deck whether you gained it due to buying it or gained it some other way, although normally you will only have Treasures in play in your Buy phase.
Other Rules clarifications
Mandarin isn't a great card. But it's not so bad either. It's just highly situational. Saving a card for next turn might be helpful, but it slows down your deck cycling on average, which is bad in the early game. And the on-gain effect really slows down your deck. Still, the ability can be useful. You might consider buying a Mandarin if it makes it likely to get a Gold or Province next turn, depending on the stage of the game. And in strong engines that only need a card or two to kick off, Mandarin can really give you some consistency.
Openings: It's often tempting to look at the strange potential openings you can create with Mandarin. However, a/ / opening is often weaker than it seems at first. This is because it's not much different than opening / and then shuffling your gained cards right away to be played a turn sooner - consider that your opponent might get a / / opening, if we're counting the third turn. There are a few very strong / openings however.
- Hunting Party-Mandarin: Mandarin is a great addition to a HP deck anyway as you generally don't need all your HPs, so you can save one for later and can usually kick off your engine with just a single HP.
- Mint — The trouble with mint openings is that you generally have no income at all unless there is an especially strong card. Mandarin solves this problem by providing some to get you started.
- Inn - Inn solves the reshuffle problem. By buying a Mandarin followed by an Inn, you get to immediately shuffle those cards into your deck and play them. This turns the / / opening into a true / opening which is a significant boost.
Finally, there is one other trick which can be performed with Mandarin and Horn of Plenty. With a hand of Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, HoP, you can play the and use the Horn of Plenty to gain a Mandarin. All 5 treasures will be placed on top of your deck and you'll still have to buy a Colony. You can repeat this as long as there are Mandarins left in the supply. This also works with replacing the Platinum with any treasure which produces at least allowing you to gain a Province every turn. Here is a sample game which illustrates this.
- Lack of a strong combo
- Discard attacks