|Draw until you have 7 cards in hand, skipping any Action cards you choose to; set those aside, discarding them afterwards.|
Library is an Action card from the Base set. It is a terminal draw-to-X card, meaning it provides +Cards (up to a limit) but no +Action. Its ability to set aside Action cards acts as a weak sifting effect.
- You look at cards one at a time, putting each one into your hand or setting it aside, until you have 7 cards in hand; then you discard the set aside cards.
- If you shuffle in the middle of doing this, you do not shuffle in the set aside cards.
- Only Action cards can be set aside. You are not forced to set aside Action cards; that is just an option.
- If you already have 7 cards in hand to start, you do not draw any cards.
Other rules clarifications
- If you have 6 or fewer cards in hand and your –1 Card token is on your deck, you'll remove the token and will draw until you have 7 cards.
- If you set aside any Action-Reactions that care about being discarded (such as Village Green or Trail), you resolve their Reactions after you finish drawing.
Library is a draw-to-X card: that is, rather than drawing a fixed number of cards, it allows you to continue drawing until you have a specific number in hand. Library’s drawing power is therefore dependent on your hand size: it draws more cards when you play it from a hand of few cards. This gives it a different set of advantages, disadvantages, and synergies compared to more typical draw cards such as Smithy. The ability to skip past Action cards also provides some flexibility and sifting, although the fact that Library is terminal and cannot sift past Treasures or junk makes it difficult to use without strong support. It works best in engines with good thinning, Action-based payload, and abundant villages, and you’ll usually look to add a Library after you’ve started preparing your deck by thinning. In the absence of these supporting effects, it’s usually not worth using Library to try and draw.
When using Library (or more generally any draw-to-X card) as your primary draw, your approach to various archetypes of cards changes. Generally speaking, Action stop cards become much more attractive, as their biggest disadvantage (that they don’t draw) is less of a concern because playing them first then allows your Library to draw more. Library therefore works well with villages that don’t draw cards (e.g. Festival)—while you lose some reliability compared to Village, you lose no drawing power overall. It also negates the downside of discard-for-benefit cards; for example, discarding with Artificer leaves you with a smaller hand size, but playing Library afterwards voids this downside. Additionally, if you can decrease your hand size any other way (e.g., by first playing a payload stop card such as Vassal or a trash for benefit card such as Remodel), your Library can draw even more cards. Treasures, on the other hand, are much worse payload with Library, since they can't generally be played until the Buy phase, so they are stuck taking up space in your hand (although some cards change this, notably Villa and Black Market). For the same reason, trashing your starting cards (e.g., via Chapel) can greatly improve the efficacy of a draw-to-X deck, although it’s sometimes possible to use sifting effects such as Cellar as a substitute for this. Library also partially counters discarding attacks such as Militia. The flip side of this is that there is a hard limit on your hand size if you are just using Library for draw, so multiple copies don’t stack unless you can decrease your hand size between playing them (similarly, using Throne Room to play Library is much less desirable than using it to play Smithy).
The option to skip Action cards when drawing with Library is rarely very impactful, because these are usually the cards that you most want to draw and play. The effect is occasionally useful, however: it may allow you to skip useless Action cards such as Ruins, avoid terminal collision or drawing Actions dead if you have limited remaining terminal space, or sift through your deck for a key card that you specifically want to play, such as a village, Attack, or Traveller.
External strategy articles
Note: Article(s) below are by individual authors and may not represent the community's current views on cards, but may provide more in-depth information or give historical perspective. Caveat emptor.
|Draw until you have 7 cards in hand. You may set aside any Action cards drawn this way, as you draw them; discard the set aside cards after you finish drawing.||Dominion 1st Edition||October 2008|
|Draw until you have 7 cards in hand, skipping any Action cards you choose to; set those aside, discarding them afterwards.||Dominion 2nd Edition||October 2016|
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