|At the start of your turn, +1 Card, then put a card from your hand onto your deck.|
City Gate is a Project from Renaissance. It lets you swap out the top card of your deck for a card in your hand at the start of your turn, but does not increase your hand size.
- First you draw a card; then you put any card from your hand onto your deck.
City Gate is a cheap, useful Project; although its impact is rarely decisive, it’s often worth buying for the flexibility it adds to the early game and the reliability boost it can provide later on.
City Gate generally does the most work early in the game when your deck consists mainly of stop cards. When this is the case, the ability to see six cards rather than five at the start of your turn and decide which one you want to topdeck for next turn can be very helpful. The effect is similar to that of Save and its ilk, allowing you to transfer a small amount of excess payload (e.g. a Copper) to your next hand, or to spike a large amount of for an important purchase, e.g. by lining up five Coppers in order to buy a Treasurer. City Gate can also help with shuffle management in these early-game situations: if playing a draw card this turn would trigger an undesirable shuffle, you can topdeck it for next turn instead. In a similar way, it can also be useful for managing early terminal collisions. Careful deck tracking and consideration of the cards you know to be appearing in your next hand is essential to get the most out of City Gate in these scenarios.
In most games, this function of City Gate applies only at first, since it’s almost always desirable to add draw and remove stop cards as early as possible; once most of your hands contain at least one Action that isn’t a stop card, you’ll consistently draw the card topdecked with City Gate rather than saving it for your next hand, meaning that City Gate usually has a much lower impact in the later stages of the game. It’s therefore usually best to purchase this Project early or not at all, and it can be a reasonable opening. In particular, buying City Gate on turn 2 or turn 3 tends to be good. Buying it on turn 2 gives you a chance to play your turn 1 purchase on turn 3, buy a useful card, and trigger a shuffle with both of those cards at the start of turn 4 (assuming your turn 1 purchase wasn’t a stop card); buying it on turn 3 can help ensure your opening buys don’t bottomdeck. However, these options must be weighed against the missed opportunity to add a useful card to your deck. Buying City Gate on turn 1 is usually unwise because it will cause you to reshuffle before buying a card on turn 2, drastically reducing the likelihood of playing your turn 2 buy on turn 3.
After the early game, City Gate can continue to play a similar role if there are strong junkers such as Witch or if the Kingdom encourages a money-based strategy (perhaps because it’s very lacking in draw). More commonly, its function shifts towards one of reliability insurance as you move into the midgame. The extra search space at the start of your turn can be of real benefit when playing with a somewhat unreliable engine, e.g. one that depends on Shepherd colliding with Victory cards, or on finding both a village and a terminal draw card when there’s only weak thinning. Even with an engine that functions quite reliably in general, City Gate might occasionally salvage an unlucky dud hand.
City Gate can also provide a small power boost to effects that care about the top card of your deck, e.g. Vassal or Mystic, since you can topdeck a known card before playing the one in question, guaranteeing a hit. However, the utility of this is limited in practice, since you only receive the effect once per turn, and can only make use of it at all if you happen to have drawn the relevant card in your starting hand. In the same vein, City Gate does allow you to extract full value from Piazza by topdecking an Action card at the start of every turn, but the overall effect is not a particularly powerful one for the total price.
|At the start of your turn, +1 Card, then put a card from your hand onto your deck.||November 2018|
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