|Type(s)||Action - Attack - Looter|
Gain a Spoils from the Spoils pile.|
Each other player gains a Ruins.
- First you gain a Spoils. It comes from the Spoils pile, which is not part of the Supply, and is put into your discard pile.
- If there are no Spoils cards left, you do not get one.
- Then each other player gains a Ruins. These come from the Ruins pile in the Supply, and are put into discard piles.
- Go in turn order starting to your left; each player takes the top Ruins, revealing the next one each time.
- If the Ruins pile runs out, players stop gaining them at that point.
Other Rules clarifications
Like Sea Hag and Young Witch, Marauder is a cheap attack which can be bought on a / opening and gives out junk. However, the Ruins it gives out are less damaging then Curses; to mitigate this, it also gives you a Spoils to boost your economy.
Slow attack? I think not!
Sea Hag is great as it can be bought in the first two turns and can deal Curses on top of other people's decks, putting the Curses "into play" very fast. While Marauder is the same $4 price as Sea Hag, it only gives Ruins and not on top of people's decks. Opponents will only get the ruins in their hands on their second reshuffle, which may seem like a long time away, but those ruins hurt more than you think. This is because Ruins, while still giving marginal benefits, are totally pointless in the early game. Great, I can play Ruined Market for +buy. Yay! (The exception being Abandoned Mine, since it can help players early on...ish). And without fast trashing, there is a good chance that the Ruins will stay around for quite a while. If they don't play the Ruins, it has the same effect as a Curse in their hand, which leads to the second point of why early Ruins are still very harmful.
At the start of the game, playing those action cards you bought is very important to get Golds or cards or whatever else they do. That leaves little time for playing ruins, even if they give you $1 extra to spend, or and extra buy to pick up...um... two Pearl Divers. Most of the time, Ruins are still just junk, so dishing them out early is a good thing. And Chapelling may get rid of them easily, but then your opponents are still left with Coppers or Estates that they didn't get to trash because of the Ruins.
There are other attacks that hurt more at the start of the game (Militia, Sea Hag etc...), but this is only half the card.
But...Spoils is just a Gold...
Yes, it is just a Gold, but it's not what Spoils is that matters, it's how you get it. There are two things which make gaining spoils from Marauder a great thing.
Firstly they help boost your economy, possibly skipping Silvers. Unlike Bandit Camp, you can't rely on playing Marauder every time it comes up, so turning the Spoils into real Gold is essential. But if you buy Marauder on the first two turns, then play it as soon as it comes into your hand, you're looking at a Spoils in your second reshuffle. Is that slow? That's the same as if you had just bought the Gold (Which would require some luck in pulling up 6$ on the third or fourth turn). Sure the Spoils goes away, but just play Marauder again and it's back. Once it's replaced with a real Gold, you can trash Marauder. Now you've got a Gold and your opponent has a bunch of Ruins. Even if you only manage to give him 3-4, that's enough to slow him down for a while, especially without a cheap trashing card.
Secondly, the "price" of the Spoils is important. Marauder costs $4 and gives you the equivalent of one Gold. $4 Gold is a great deal! It costs you an action to keep the Gold, but it gives your opponent Ruins in the process. Just like Bandit Camp is a $5 Gold which gets delayed, Marauder is a $4 Gold that is delayed and costs you an action. It's just a price you pay for how cheap it is.
How to Counter it?
The best way to counter the junk you'll get is heavy trashing. It's pretty lame I know, but other than Lighthouse or Moat, that's the best way to deal with Ruins so early in the game. You may want to keep some if you're going for a Gardens strategy, but in general you'll want to trash them. If there's no trashing, get a Marauder yourself. There is nothing more boring than playing a game with all 10 Ruins while your opponent uses his cheap Gold to buy the more powerful $5 and $6 cards. What I'm trying to say is don't look at Ruins and think "Oh, they're not that bad. They give me a little effect when I play them." Take them seriously, especially when they can be given to you so fast.
In the end, there are faster, better attack cards that can be bought at the start of the game. However, by buying Marauder you guarantee yourself a Spoils(Gold) in your second reshuffle, eliminating luck factor for getting $6, and you give (mostly) useless cards to your opponents. Sea Hag is better, but Marauder is up there in terms of starting cards. The important thing to lookout for is other Marauders, since then everyone will just have tons of Ruins and Spoils.
- Scheme, Sage, or fast deck cycling to play it more often early. (can skip the Spoils with Sage, but plays Marauder more)
- Marauder shuts down action-based cards like[[[Wandering Minstrel]] and Golem (even more than other junking attacks)
- Works with Counterfeit and other cards which combo with Spoils
- Vineyard, Gardens, Scrying Pool, and Death Cart decks welcome the Ruins.
- Cultist has more utility when it's not giving out Ruins.
- On an otherwise weak board, a very fast Big Money strategy such as Masquerade, Embassy or Wharf may be able to just power through the Ruins.
- Fast trashing may be too fast for Marauder's slow attack
- Your own Rabbles and Bishops and will have less of an effect.