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An opening consists of the cards purchased in the first two turns. The starting deck of each player usually consists of 7 CoppersCopper.jpg and 3 EstatesEstate.jpg or Shelters. Therefore, under ordinary circumstances, if your first hand has 4 Coppers, your second hand will have 3 Coppers, and vice versa. This is called a $4/$3 or $3/$4 split, respectively. A $5/$2 (or $2/$5) split means you have a first hand of 5 Coppers and second hand of 2 Coppers (and vice versa). In an ordinary kingdom, players receive $5/$2 or $2/$5 splits 16.67% of the time.


[edit] Openers

An opener is a card that a player buys on their first or second turn. Some cards are better openers than others. Trashers and cursers tend to be good openers, and opening with a SilverSilver.jpg or a terminal Silver is also usually a good idea in order to build up buying power early. Some cards, like MoneylenderMoneylender.jpg, CoppersmithCoppersmith.jpg, or BaronBaron.jpg, are usually either bought as an opener or not at all, due to their interactions with cards in the starting deck. Usually, VillagesVillage.jpg are poor openers because there are no terminal actions in your deck at first.

[edit] Unusual openings

If BakerBaker.jpg, from Guilds, is in the supply, players begin the game with an extra Coffer, allowing openings of $6/$2, $5/$3, or $4/$4 if the Coffer is spent immediately. BorrowBorrow.jpg gives a similar effect, by letting you "steal" a card from your next turn for +$1 now. Events in general, particularly in combination with the cards listed below, can produce many weird and varied openings. D-costing cards also mess with opening strategy. TaxTax.jpg forces the player to spend one $1 on their second turn.

In games using Shelters, certain Ways can result in unusual openings, as NecropolisNecropolis.jpg can be played to produce $ or have other effects. GoatGoat.jpg, PiousPious.jpg, or Peaceful CultPeaceful Cult.jpg can trash Overgrown EstateOvergrown Estate.jpg, drawing an extra card.

Heirlooms Cursed GoldCursed Gold.jpg and PouchPouch.jpg give $3 and +buy, respectively.

Some cards with on-buy or on-gain effects can also alter the usual $4/$3 or $5/$2 split when bought on the first turn:

  • Noble BrigandNoble Brigand.jpg: When bought by your opponents on their first turn makes you discard the top two cards from your deck, resulting in various possible unusual openings.
  • Nomad CampNomad Camp.jpg: Goes on the top of your deck, which can result in a Nomad Camp/$5 or Nomad Camp/$4 split.
  • InnInn.jpg: Can be shuffled into your deck and if so will likely be drawn next turn, giving you a $5/$3 split.
  • MandarinMandarin.jpg: Puts the five Coppers you played back on top of your deck, giving you another $5 turn before you reshuffle, turning a $5/$2 opening into a $5/$5/$2 opening.
  • StonemasonStonemason.jpg: Allows you to gain two extra cards if you overpay when you buy it, meaning you can gain more than the usual one card per opening turn.
  • DoctorDoctor.jpg: Allows you to trash or discard cards from the top of your deck on-buy; so buying it on your first turn with $4 or more can change the makeup of your second turn in various ways depending on what is trashed.
  • MessengerMessenger.jpg: Gives each player an effective extra $4 to their opening per player that opens with it, with the caveat that they may not get to choose which card they get, and it may miss their reshuffle.
  • Lost CityLost City.jpg: If another player opens with it, causing you to draw a card, it can completely change your $ output on your opening turns.
  • VillaVilla.jpg: Lets you pick up an additional $1 or $2 with it, depending on your split.
  • ForumForum.jpg: If you open $5/$2, you can pick up a $0 card with Forum.
  • GuardianGuardian.jpg: If you gain Guardian in your first turn, you can spend an additional $1 in your second turn, which turns a $2/$5 opening effectively to $2/$6. This can also turn a $3/$4 into a $2/$5 when there is an early $5 card that is more desireable than the available $4 and $3 cards.
  • Den of SinDen of Sin.jpg: On a $5/$2 opening you can buy and play den of Sin, triggering a reshuffle of your starting 5 Coppers on your second turn, effectively getting a $5/$4 with guaranteed $3+ on your third turn.
  • Night WatchmanNight Watchman.jpg: On a $4/$3 opening, you can buy a Silver or a terminal silver on the first turn. Then buy and play a Night Watchman on your second turn, triggering a reshuffle of your cards from the first turn. Discard the Estate if it is in the top 5 cards, which will guarantee $6 on your third turn and an early reshuffle at the end of your third turn. This effectively gives you a $3/$3/$6 Opening (or $4/$3/$6 in the presence of terminal silvers such as MilitiaMilitia.jpg)
  • ImporterImporter.jpg: With many allies, it can change the opening since it gives 4 Favors when starting the game. In general, having any game with a Liaison card can also change up the opening slightly since you start with 1 Favor, though there are less chances to do so than with Importer.

With Baker, Lost City, Borrow and PookaPooka.jpg (which comes with the Cursed GoldCursed Gold.jpg Heirloom) in a game, it's possible to field $11 on an opening turn. If you go 3rd or later, the two players ahead of you buy Lost City, you have a Cursed Gold and you buy Borrow, you can get $7 in your hand at the beginning (with Cursed Gold), add $2 by drawing 2 Coppers from the Lost Cities, and you buy Borrow, it is possible to get a Colony on your first turn.

[edit] Examples of strong openers

[edit] Examples of strong openings

According to, the top 20 openings (pre-Dark Ages) are as follows:[1]

  1. MountebankMountebank.jpg / ChapelChapel.jpg
  2. TournamentTournament.jpg / AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg
  3. GovernorGovernor.jpg / Chapel
  4. MintMint.jpg / Fool's GoldFool's Gold.jpg
  5. Tournament / Chapel
  6. WitchWitch.jpg / Chapel
  7. CaravanCaravan.jpg / Ambassador
  8. Tournament / MasqueradeMasquerade.jpg
  9. WharfWharf.jpg / Fool's Gold
  10. Witch / Fool's Gold
  11. UpgradeUpgrade.jpg / Chapel
  12. VaultVault.jpg / Chapel
  13. Hunting PartyHunting Party.jpg / Chapel
  14. Trading PostTrading Post.jpg / HavenHaven.jpg
  15. MinionMinion.jpg / Chapel
  16. Witch / CrossroadsCrossroads.jpg
  17. Mountebank / HamletHamlet.jpg
  18. LaboratoryLaboratory.jpg / Chapel
  19. Mountebank / Native VillageNative Village.jpg
  20. Mountebank / Haven
  • Only three openings were $3/$4.
  • Most $5/$2 openings were Curser/Trasher or Booster/Trasher.

[edit] References


Deck archetypes Big MoneyComboEngineRushSlog
Strategic concepts CollisionCounterCyclingDeadDuchy dancingEndgameGreeningMegaturnMirrorOpeningOpportunity costPenultimate Province RulePayloadPinPiledrivingReshuffleSilver testStop cardSplit advantageStrictly betterSynergyTerminalityTerminal spaceThree-pile endingTurn advantageVictory pointVillage idiot
Rules Blue dog ruleCostDeckGameplayMaterialsNo Visiting ruleStop-Moving rule (previously Lose Track rule) • Supply (Kingdom) • Triggered effectsTurn
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