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I just asked a question about whether to trash an Estate with Jack of All Trades or play a Witch to curse my opponents. The answer was a definitive "trash!", because Jack is so good at trashing that the curse wouldn't be effective at all at slowing the others. My question now is how good does a trasher have to be to make trashing a better move than Cursing?

I put a list below of (I think) all the action cards costing $5 or less that you can use to trash one of your own cards but don't give +Actions. Given the same set-up as in the previous question, which of these should be played rather than a Witch?

## Trashers
Ambassador
Bishop
Chapel
Island
Jack of All Trades
Masquerade
Mine
Moneylender
Remake
Remodel    
Salvager
Steward
Trader
Trading Post
Transmute

As in the other question, the other cards available are

$6: Harem, Fairgrounds
$5: Witch, Horn of Plenty
$4: Bureaucrat, Gardens, Smithy
$3: Smugglers
$2: Pearl Diver

It's early in the game, no opponents have a Witch yet, the both have 1 trasher, and your hand is

Trasher, Witch, Estate, Copper, Copper.
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I think the greater message to have taken away from your previous question is that Cursers are not very useful in games with good trashers...you shouldn't have had to choose which to play, because buying the Witch was not that great a move given that board, despite your 5/2 split. Jack is too good a trasher. It gets to look at not only the other 4 cards in the hand for trashing, but the next card in the draw deck, and the one after that, if you choose. –  swbarnes2 May 1 at 0:02
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2 Answers 2

What makes an early-game trasher powerful, especially against an opponent giving out curses, is determined mainly by two things: how many cards it can trash at once, and the benefit it gives.

Curse:

  • Develop
  • Island
  • Mine
  • Moneylender
  • Trade Route

Island fails to negate the VP loss when trashing a curse and gives no benefit when played. Trade Route likewise gives no benefit when played at this point other than the +Buy. Mine and Moneylender can't trash curses at all, so Witch away! And, well, we don't talk about Develop...

Trash:

  • Ambassador
  • Bishop
  • Chapel
  • Masquerade
  • Remake
  • Steward
  • Trading Post

Ambassador, Chapel, Remake, Steward, and Trading Post all trash multiple cards per play. Bishop gives similar trashing power in a multiplayer game. Your Witch is unlikely to be able to keep up cursing fast enough to hurt your opponents.

Depends:

  • Hermit
  • Jack of All Trades
  • Remodel
  • Salvager
  • Transmute
  • Trader

Hermit and Jack can't trash treasures, and the rest give little or no benefit when trashing a Copper. Now, of course your question specified that you have an Estate in hand. To me, playing any of these would be contingent on having that Estate. For Remodel in particular, the relevant things to consider are:

  1. Is there a 3 or 4 cost card that I really want?
  2. Is there a decent 2 cost card my opponents can turn that curse into?
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Thanks for the thoughtful answer and welcome to the site! –  Gregor Apr 30 at 21:23
    
With Hermit, as with Jack, it's so effective at trashing Curses that if your opponents have one then the Witch is barely going to have any effect on them. So usually trash is the correct option. –  user7129 May 1 at 17:23
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It would depend to me on what the other player(s) have in their deck. That would be a VERY important part of what would make me choose which one to play.

If no one else had a card like Jack of all Trades (something to trash cards with) then I would 100% go for playing the card handing out curses! It would serve to do two things. 1) Slows their plays down, and 2) Forces them to buy cards not in their original strategy. In doing this you force them to play your way, in which they are already behind your lead.

If 50% of the people had nothing to trash with I would still do it because I would have gained control over half of the table.

Less then 50% I would use the Jack of all Trades to trash the Witch. ;) At that point the curse is going to be no where near as effective as the Jack of all Trades. I would need to make ground on getting my deck slimmed down instead of trying to fatten up everyone else's decks.

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Thanks for the answer! The Jack case is discussed pretty well in my previous question, this one is focused on the different trashers, assuming your opponents have them. I agree that with Jack, probably Remake, maybe Chapel, the trashing renders the Witch near useless, but what if the only trasher is Remodel? I think I'd still Witch so just so they'll waste actions changing Curses into Pearl Divers and such. The question is where to draw the line between trashers. –  Gregor Aug 13 '12 at 18:16
    
Welcome to B&CG! –  Pat Ludwig Aug 14 '12 at 16:37
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