- For example, you could discard three Victory cards to draw six cards.
- In games using Shepherd, replace one of your starting Coppers with a Pasture.
Other rules clarifications
- If drawing causes you to shuffle, you will shuffle in the discarded Victory cards. And if you discard a Tunnel and gain a Gold, the Gold will get shuffled in.
Shepherd is a sifter and non-terminal draw card whose effectiveness scales with the number of Victory cards you can collide it with. While this makes it less reliable than cards such as Laboratory, it can still be effective as supplementary draw, or in conjunction with certain supporting effects. Generally, Shepherd increases in relevance if it is easy to trash your Coppers and build an engine despite keeping your Estates, and when your alternatives for draw are somewhat lacking.
Your ability to collide Victory cards with Shepherd is generally dependent on a few factors:
- You need to have a sufficient number of Victory cards in your deck. In most cases, this will simply mean not thinning your starting Pasture and Estates, and that Shepherd is difficult to use in games with Shelters. Because gaining Victory cards for the sole purpose of increasing your Shepherd draw can have the counterproductive effect of causing duds, these starting cards will often be enough for the early and midgame.
- You will want to minimize the number of non-Victory stop cards in your deck. Thinning your Coppers is often the best way to do this, but this also means that Shepherd generally works better with Peddler variants payload than it does with Treasures or cards such as Bridge. Additionally, junkers such as Witch can greatly reduce Shepherd’s effectiveness.
- Effects that manipulate the size or contents of your hand can greatly affect Shepherd’s viability. Often, this means relying on another source of draw. An increased start-of-turn hand size is very effective, as offered by Duration draw such as Enchantress or other effects such as Way of the Squirrel. On the other hand, handsize attacks can make it difficult to draw much with Shepherd. Other effects that can be useful include more general-purpose sifters such as Forum, and those that can guarantee Victory cards or Shepherds are in your hand at the start of your turn, e.g. Church or Cobbler.
When to add Shepherds mostly depends on how effective they are likely to be. In the early game, because Shepherd is unlikely to collide with many Victory cards, it usually functions as an high-variance sifter, and thus is mostly only worth opening with if your main priority is finding and playing your other opened card, such as Page. In the midgame, once collisions are more likely, you’ll generally want to add Shepherds (and occasionally Victory cards such as Estates) such that you can consistently collide each Shepherd with several Victory cards. Once you start greening, it is worth noting that Shepherd will continue to function well relative to many other draw cards, and that your deck control is less likely to deteriorate than normal.
With Shepherd, you want to pay special attention to when a reshuffle is triggered: triggering a reshuffle with mostly discarded Victory cards in the discard may be very detrimental and dud-inducing, especially if that shuffle does not contain a Shepherd. While you’ll usually want to avoid triggering such shuffles, occasionally you can attempt to seed them to your advantage. For example, using an effect such as Scheme, you can ensure your next starting hand has a Shepherd after triggering a shuffle of all Victory cards. More generally, as you approach the end of your shuffles, it’s a good idea to use deck tracking to know where your remaining Shepherds are. If your discard pile is mostly Victory cards and Shepherds, triggering the shuffle is likely a good idea. Alternatively, if you know the last few cards contain a Shepherd and one or more Victory cards, it is often preferable to leave those cards there, because doing so will increase your chance of a good starting hand on the following turn.
Shepherd’s presence in a Kingdom additionally means that you start with Pasture, which generally serves two roles. First, it’s an additional Victory card in your early game deck that Shepherd can collide with. Second, it provides a source of alt-VP, essentially making Estates worth 2 . Whether this matters or not is dependent on your scoring alternatives. If, for example, the Kingdom offers the ability to buy multiple Provinces a turn, Pasture’s might not matter. Alternatively, however, in Kingdoms without additional gains or alt-VP, the fact that Pasture with three starting Estates is worth 6 (equal to a Province) may make keeping your Estates and drawing with Shepherd more appealing.
Shepherd can synergize with a few other types of effects:
- Effects that reward you for Victory cards in your deck generally work well alongside Shepherd. For example, you can often use use Baron for payload or Crossroads for draw.
- Dual-type Action-Victory cards can serve as both useful Action cards and Shepherd discard targets as needed. This might include cards such as Mill, or Estates in the presence of Inheritance.
- Workshop variants can allow you to scale up your draw cheaply by gaining Estates and Shepherd. A particularly notable example is Groom, which acts as a cantrip when gaining a Victory card.
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
+ 1 Action
+ 1 Aktion
(pron . hitsujikai
|Russian||Пастух (pron. pastukh)|
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