|Type(s)||Action - Attack|
|Each other player reveals cards from the top of their deck until revealing one costingor more. They trash that card and may gain a card costing at most less than it. They discard the other revealed cards.|
Saboteur is an Action-Attack card from the first edition of Intrigue. When played, it makes all other players reveal cards from their deck until they reveal a card costing or more, and then makes them trash that card; as a consolation, they may gain a card costing up to less; the effect is like a reverse Remodel.
Unless it can be played every turn reliably, it is fairly weak, since its attack can often hit easy-to-get cards like Silver and since it gives no direct benefit to the player who plays it. It was removed from the second edition of Intrigue.
- Each other player turns over the top cards of his deck until he reveals one costing or more. If a player needs to shuffle to continue revealing cards, he does not shuffle in the already revealed cards.
- If he goes through all of his cards without finding a card costing or more, he just discards everything revealed and is done.
- If he does find a card costing or more, he trashes it, and then may choose to gain a card costing at most less than the trashed card. For example, if he trashed a card costing , he may gain a card costing up to .
- The gained card must be from the Supply and is put into his discard pile, as are his revealed cards.
- Costs of cards are affected by Bridge.
Other Rules clarifications
- Saboteur forces other players to trash their own card; the player who owns the card being trashed is the one who trashes it and gets any on-trash benefits.
Before it was removed, Saboteur was a trashing attack which was usually weak for a number of reasons:
- It does nothing for you on the turn you play it. This means it compares unfavorably with cards like Barbarian and Knights.
- It is terminal and costs , which means that it generally has a high opportunity cost.
- It can help your opponent by cycling past their junk cards that cost or less.
Thus, for Saboteur to be worth gaining, a high proportion of the cards it could potentially hit need to be worthwhile targets. In other words, you’ll want to consider two factors: the impact of trashing particular targets, and the probability of Saboteur actually finding those targets. Against a deck with many Silvers or cheap cantrips, for example, it is unlikely to find a good target and do much damage. Good targets for Saboteur are generally Victory cards and key Action cards which are expensive or impossible to replace. For example, trashing a village can permanently harm your opponent’s deck if there are none left in the Supply. Expensive Victory cards such as Province and Colony are also ideal targets, as the net reduction in can be fairly large.
Saboteur is thus most likely to be valuable in the midgame in an engine which has achieved deck control, has extra terminal space, lacks access to better payload cards, and is opposed by a deck with few bad targets. Under these conditions, you can aim to play your Saboteur each turn, hoping to achieve a swing either directly (by hitting your opponent’s Victory cards) or indirectly (by hitting enough key cards that their ability to score is reduced). Saboteur is a good target for Throne Room variants (which can allow you to play it multiple times while using up less terminal space), and synergizes with certain deck order attacks, such as Scrying Pool, that allow you to manipulate the top card of your opponent’s deck.
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.
Other language versions
This is one end result in the quest for a working version of "each other player trashes the top card of their deck." That concept, as I have previously mentioned, has three problems: 1) it's often weak, trashing Coppers and Estates; 2) it's too random, sometimes trashing one player's Copper and another's Province; 3) it can lead to a weird game state in which everyone only has 5 cards left and can't get anywhere, which is cool if it just happens once ever, but bad if it happens every time a particular card is on the table.
Saboteur solves all of those problems. It can't hit Coppers or Estates; it has a much more even effect on your opponents; and the weird game state is much harder to achieve. And all it took was lots of tiny text!
Second Edition Removal