A while ago while reading, I read about the King’s Court-King’s Court-Goons-Goons-Masquerade combo it was stated to be very powerful, and I was wondering why it was considered as such.

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    Can you please provide some more information about the cards such as the text and abilities of them? Providing that information will help others answer the question without having to go do research on what each of the cards does.
    – Joe W
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


The combo is what is known as a "pin", although the biggest problem with it has been somewhat fixed in the 2nd version of Intrigue, which changed how Masquerade works.

For reference, the three cards are (using their 1st edition wordings):

King's Court: You may choose an Action card in your hand. Play it three times.

Goons: +1 Buy. +$2. Each other player discards down to 3 cards in hand. While this is in play, when you buy a card, +1VP.

Masquerade: +2 Cards. Each player passes a card from his hand to the left at once. Then you may trash a card from your hand.

This only works in two-player games. First, you get yourself to a point where your deck consists solely of 2xKing's Court, 1xGoons, 1xMasquerade. Then:

Play a King's Court
  Choose King's Court
  Play King's Court (1st time)
    Choose Goons
    Play Goons 3 times (opponent discards down to 3 cards)
  Play King's Court (2nd time)
    Choose Masquerade
    Play Masquerade (1st time)
      You have no cards to pass
      Opponent passes you a card
      Trash the card
    Play Masquerade (2nd time)
      You have no cards to pass
      Opponent passes you a card
      Trash the card
    Play Masquerade (3rd time)
      You have no cards to pass
      Opponent passes you a card
      Trash the card

Note that playing Goons means they only have 3 cards in hand when you play the Masquerade, so you wind up trashing all of the cards they are holding and they start their turn with an empty hand. At some point, you end up trashing your opponent's entire deck, leaving them unable to do anything but purchase Coppers and Curses. You can choose to push the game to end by buying a couple of Estates (which will net you Goons points, and you can then pass the Estate to the opponent, get it passed back, and trash it) or just leave your opponent powerless and incredibly annoyed.

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    Great answer (better than mine), but might be worth mentioning that you don’t have to have only those 4 cards. You can also have any number of cantrips.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 1:06
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    I suppose you can, but it's easier to present just the core of the pin, I think. Otherwise we could go into the variations (like the ones that use Bureaucrat, or Cutpurse, or Prince). Technically you can have a second Goons in there too, or something else to play to use up the extra KC slot (as long as it's played before the Masq, of course).
    – ConMan
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 5:03
  • "First, you get yourself to a point where your deck consists solely of 2xKing's Court, 1xGoons, 1xMasquerade" -- I wonder how realistic it is to do this before the opponent can stop you. You need to buy three cards at 7, 7, 6; and have enough time to trash the rest. Then there's at least the Goons that your opponent can use to prevent you from having all those four cards in hand at the same time, and Masquerade they can use to give you additional garbage and possibly trash one of your key cards if you're forced to give one of them away...
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 11:12
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    You say this has been fixed in the second edition. Would you mind adding how?
    – JAD
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 12:32
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    @ilkkachu If I remember correctly, it was considered quite realistic; to the point that if those 3 cards were on the board, the winning strategy was likely, but not definite, to be a race to set up that combo. However, it was definitely even more effective against an unsuspecting opponent who had not seen the combo before. Keep in mind that KC+Masq can trash 3 of your starting cards all at once. And you don't have to be in a hurry to set it up (unless your opponent is going for it also). You could take all game to do so; even if your opponent has bought 6 Provinces in the meantime.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 13:51

One thing to note is that Masquerade was updated for second edition Intrigue. Originally, if you had no cards in hand when it was time to pass cards; you simply didn’t pass one, but you still received one. In the new edition wording, if you don’t have a card to pass, then you don’t receive one either.

On first edition, the idea was that you could use this combo to lock an opponent out of the game completely. It worked like this:

You use Masquerade’s trashing to rid your deck of all of your starting cards. You make it so that you are able to draw and play every card in your deck... this works whether your deck is nothing but the 4 mentioned cards, or if it also contains several cards such as Laboratory or Village.

When you only have those 4 mentioned cards left, you play them. KC #1 lets you play KC #2 three times. The first time you play Goons (or Militia). This leaves your opponent with 3 cards in hand. The second time, you play your Masquerade. This leaves you with 0 cards in hand, or in your deck, or in your discard. So you pass nothing and get a card from your opponent. Trash that card no matter what it is. Then Masquerade is played a second time; do it again. Then repeat for the third time.

The final result is that your opponent had 0 cards in hand, and 3 fewer cards in their deck.

On their turn, they can’t do anything except purchase a Curse or Copper if they wish. On your turn, you do it all again.

This completely locks them out of the game. They can’t do anything at all for the rest of the game; and unless there was already an empty pile, they can’t end the game by buying Coppers and Curses. Eventually, they will have 0 cards in their deck, while you have a good deck and lots of VP from all the Goons you used.

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