Terminal draw cards—Action cards that increase the number of cards in hand but do not provide +Action—can be a core component of both engine and Big Money strategies. In Big Money games, terminal draw cards can put large numbers of Treasure cards in hand and increase buying power; in engines, when supplied with sufficient villages, terminal draw cards can provide the large handsize necessary to line up cards and execute combos. In both cases terminal draw aids deck cycling, helping new buys get shuffled into the deck sooner.
The chief danger of terminal draw cards is their ability to draw other Action cards dead—i.e., to draw them without sufficient Actions remaining to play them.
List of terminal draw cards
Cards providing +3 cards or more
- Dominion: Council Room, Smithy
- Promo: Envoy
- Intrigue: Nobles, Torturer
- Prosperity: Rabble
- Hinterlands: Margrave
- Dark Ages: Catacombs, Hunting Grounds
- Guilds: Journeyman
- Seaside: Wharf draws only two cards on the turn when it is played but two more on the next turn as well.
Small draw with filtering
These cards only provide a total of +2 cards, but allow some filtering or sifting to help you draw the cards you want.
2 cards as vanilla bonus
These cards' principal functions are something other than terminal draw, but they provide +2 cards as an additional vanilla bonus in order to ensure the cards' effects are balanced and competitive with other cards at the same price.
- Dominion: Moat, Witch
- Intrigue: Masquerade, Steward
- Seaside: Ghost Ship
- Prosperity: Vault
- Dark Ages: Cultist, Sir Destry
Wharf, from Seaside, arguably could be placed in this category as well.
Young Witch, from Cornucopia, is not usually thought of as a terminal draw card in that it gives +2 cards but also discards two cards, causing a decrease in net handsize; however, of course it can still draw other Action cards dead. Similarly, Mercenary, from Dark Ages, gives +2 cards but also trashes two cards.
Three terminal Actions draw up to a specified handsize. These are especially useful against handsize attacks or other cards that can reduce handsize between turns, and in engines with handsize-reducing components such as Festival and Hamlet.
- Dominion: Library—up to 7, making it similar to a Smithy variant in Big Money
- Prosperity: Watchtower—up to 6, making it like a +2-cards effect in Big Money
- Hinterlands: Jack of all Trades—up to 5, making it not a handsize increaser (though still useful for other reasons!) in Big Money without attacks