Trash a Treasure card from your hand.  Gain a Treasure card costing up to 3 more; put it into your hand.

Assuming I've got both Copper and Silver in my hand, which is better to trash in general and why?

10 Answers 10


I'm going to have to disagree with Pat; I hate having Copper in my deck, and rather have a consistent deck of Silvers. Yes, it's nice if you get Gold - Copper - Copper in your hand, but Silver - Silver - Copper will buy the same amount. Once you start running out of Coppers (or if you only have a Silver in your hand along with the mine), then you can start upgrading to Golds.

It's kind of hard to answer this question in vacuum, because there are so many different possibilities that could make one answer better than the other; for example:

  • If you're running an early Moneylender, upgrade the Silver to Gold, and use Moneylender on the Coppers to really ramp up.
  • If someone is playing multiple Thiefs, I may not even bother with the Mine. Or if I do get a mine, I'll upgrade Copper to Silver since losing a Silver isn't as bad as losing a Gold.
  • 12
    I think you're right to point out that other opportunities to trash Copper make the Silver->Gold strategy more appealing, and ultimately the best option is determined by context. Commented May 11, 2011 at 4:49
  • 3
    With thief in play, if you upgrade copper -> silver, you throw away a rare opportunity for your opponent to help your deck (by trashing your coppper).
    – rrenaud
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 14:46
  • 3
    I would like to add that upgrading silvers to gold can put you in a situation where you have a mine+gold in your hand instead of having mine+silver leading to mine being a dead card more often.
    – Colin D
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 12:52
  • Hating copper isn't a good justification for a strategy. I understand the copper-hate, but this answer doesn't give any objective reasons to prefer one strategy to another. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 17:54
  • 1
    Another argument in favor of mining copper to silver first is that you will be less likely to see a hand where the mine is useless due to gold being the only treasure(s) in the hand.
    – kasperd
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:33

In general, my preference is to favor upgrading the silver to gold.

My rationale is that I am trying to scale the value pyramid to get to the useful values of coins (5,6,8 typically). With one gold I am likely to reach a good total coin value when the gold is drawn. With the two silver, I'm more likely to have two mediocre hands instead of one good one (if the two silver come in the same hand).

  • 1
    This is my preference as well, and if there happens to be Platinum in the supply, all the better. Commented May 11, 2011 at 4:47
  • 2
    +1: I think your answer essentially describes the flaw in LittleBobbyTables' answer, even though it was posted first.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 22:17
  • 5
    However, if you draw your mine again and you have only gold, you can't upgrade. Draw the mine again and have a silver, you can use it. This is why I generally choose to upgrade the lowest value.
    – Konerak
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 17:38
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    @Konerak if you are stuck with "only" gold, you're doing pretty good :-)
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 19:33
  • 2
    @PatLudwig, true! But I meant, in the current hand. Your next hand will contain the copper you didn't upgrade ;]
    – Konerak
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 22:42

If you have Platinum cards in play, your best bet is to mine Gold ($3) to Platinum ($5). This also applies to mining Silver to Gold so you have the Golds to mine to Platinums.

However, with Prosperity, you may also have other options, such as Silver to Royal Seal or Hoard. Like Gold, Hoard can be mined directly to Platinum, but it also gives you the opportunity to get golds by buying Victory cards.

For the others, most of the time you'll want to mine Silvers to Golds first. Here are just a few cards this applies to:

Trash Coppers:

  • Moneylender
  • Trading Post
  • Mint (to purchase)
  • Spice Merchant

Give Coppers to other players:

  • Masquerade
  • Ambassador

Play specific actions related to Coppers:

  • Coppersmith
  • Apothecary
  • Counting House

Silver/Gold work better with:

  • Mint (to play)
  • Herbalist

You'll want to mine Copper to Silver first if these cards are in play:

  • Saboteur (Silvers prevent other cards from being trashed)
  • Swindler (avoid gaining Curses)
  • Cutpurse (only discards Copper)
  • Forge (Copper is worth 0 for Forging)
  • Jester (Enemy gains a Silver instead of you gaining a Copper)

Don't bother with a Mine at all and concentrate more on action cards that give you money if one of these is in play with no defense cards:

  • Thief (Trashes up to 1 treasure, opponent has option to gain)
  • Pirate Ship (Trashes up to 1 treasure)
  • Noble Brigand (Trashes up to 1 Silver or Gold, opponent gains)

Noble Brigand can only steal Silvers and Golds, so mining to non-standard treasures or Platinums is OK.

  • 4
    Even if you don't have the opportunity to Mine a Gold into a Platinum, you want to Mine Silvers into Gold rather than Copper into Silver any time Platinums are in the Supply. The Gold->Platinum leap is the equivalent of getting to play your Mine twice on other cards. Commented May 18, 2011 at 20:56
  • Right. The counting house does make the Chancellor a little less useless :) Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 23:41
  • 1
    Updated this with a few new cards from Cornucopia and Hinterlands.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 15:36
  • @shujaa Way back when I first posted this, there were only 6 cards listed... but it kinda ballooned since then. That and it was the current rage back then to post images of the Dominion cards.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 15:49
  • This answer is a "go-to" for copper FAQ! Upvoted long ago. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:41

Statistically, the difference is in the variance of how much money will be in your hand. Assuming no other cards swaying you one way or another (and no Platinum), as other answers have pointed out, regardless of whether you upgrade Copper to Silver or Silver to Gold

  • the total money in your deck is increased by 1

  • the number of treasure cards in your deck is unchanged

  • therefore the average amount of money you'll have in your hand is the same in both cases.

However, the variance of your hands will be different. If you upgrade all your coppers to silvers, the money you draw in hand will be much more consistent than if you upgrade all the way to gold when possible. Keeping some coppers in your deck increases the chances that you won't draw any higher-value treasures -- and increases the chances that you'll draw 2 or 3 golds at once. If all your treasures are silvers, you'll only draw silvers.

It boils down to what distribution of hand values you want. If you want consistent 3-4-5 hands, do copper to silver first, but if you're okay with some 2 hands to also get more 5-6-7-8 hands, go all the way to gold. I'm sure we can all imagine card pools where you'd want to go one way or the other. If you're trying to get a Province or other expensive card (Witch, Goons...) ASAP, go for Golds. If there's 4-cost cards you want to buy several of (maybe Caravan, Bridge, etc.), go for Silvers.

In the realm of unlikely but possible, if you go to Gold first, you run a risk of drawing your Mine with a Gold or two, but no Copper or Silver to trash, but this is a pretty small risk, and you probably won't be unhappy with nothing but Gold in hand anyway.

  • 5
    In Dominion, you almost always want a more varied money distribution. The desire for a 5-2 split, a before second shuffle gold, and the steep utility increase from 4 to 5, and from 5 to 6 are more evidence. Further, the Tactician card even gains from this idea.
    – rrenaud
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 14:44
  • 1
    @RobRenaud Why do you want a 5-2 split? Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Pureferret you don't always want a 5-2 split, but a lot of 5-cost actions are quite a bit better than 4-cost actions (what Rob calls the steep utility increase from 4 to 5), and especially with some of the stronger attacks you want one ASAP. Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 18:50

If there's the Swindler around, then getting rid of the coppers is of first priority!

  • Not really. Trashing coppers will often help you by thinning your deck
    – Casebash
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 0:41
  • 1
    @Casebash: This is exactly what I wrote. It is even more useful to thrash the coppers when there's a Swindler. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 7:42
  • Actually, you are right. They can change your copper into curses
    – Casebash
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 11:59
  • 1
    A swindler has problems with the police? I never would have guessed... Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 17:07

The decision boils down to a few things, at least for me...

  1. extant gold, silver and copper ratio
  2. number of remodels in the deck

If I have a lot of copper, I mine the copper into silver.
If I have a lot of silver, I mine the silver into gold.

If I have a remodel, and am near the top of the VP race, having the gold to remodel into a province trumps having more silver.

Another consideration is whether or not there's platinum in play. If platinum is available, moving the silver to gold is more valuable in that it gives me gold to mine into platinum.


In a vacuum, I will always mine Copper to Silver before Silver to Gold. My reasoning is simple: if I have Mines, Silvers can be further Mined and Golds cannot. Since the short-term gain is one coin for that turn either way, I'd rather not dead-end myself by having a Mine with no actionable treasures later on.

Needless to say, the preference is so slight as to be a tie-breaker. Many other circumstances may change my strategy. E.g.:

  • I'll always Mine Gold to Platinum if the option is available, since the two-coin gain can have very useful short- and long-term benefits
  • Money Lender benefits from having Coppers linger a bit, so if I'm using them, I'll favour Silvers for Mining
  • Various other circumstances which other people have already commented on, and which there's no point me rehashing here

I like to trade my coppers to silvers early in the game so I have a more consistent set of resources. Later in the game, I prefer exchanging my silver for gold.


I'd do copper to silver, but I also don't usually buy mine if there aren't any other treasure cards available.


I would argue copper to silver before silver to gold. The copper to silver trade doubles the value of that card, while silver to gold is only a 50% increase.

  • 2
    I think your math might be statistically misleading. Either operation increases your total money in deck by the same amount. It could further argued that when you draw them later the copper will be a 100% increase in value whilst the gold 150%, meaning you break even if you redraw the mined card only once, but profit if you draw it twice. Of course my math there is just as spurious as yours.
    – aslum
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 15:18
  • 1
    Perhaps more directly, thinking in terms of ratios leads to the conclusion that copper to silver (x2) is better than gold to platinum (x1.67). But I think everyone here can agree that if you draw Copper Gold Mine, trashing Gold for Platinum is the only reasonable choice (it it's available). Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 22:10
  • I'm with aslum on this. Here's why: ignoring all other cards in the deck, I end up either with (A) a mine, a copper, and a gold, or (B) a mine and two silvers. So I have the same amount to spend, total, when I next draw those cards.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 2:05

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