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Subject: Below the pile is very weak? rss

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I dug up some old discussion about the strength of below the pile effect. There was a post there that I think nailed why this card is weak, and apparently even the designer overestimates the strength of this card. He and many players erroneously think that below the pile allows you to play a strong card more often (by returning it back to the deck), but it doesn't, because it will miss the next reshuffle. You will end up playing the card you put below the pile exactly as many times per reshuffle as if you didn't use this ability at all. Here's the quote:
Glamorous Mucus wrote:
friedemann wrote:
2. I really use the below the pile card very often. I use a card, like +2 cards and then put it back under the pile to use it later again. I think it is very powerful.

Like the original poster, I also think this ability is weak. The bottom card of your deck will usually miss the next shuffle - unless you end a fight immediately after drawing that card. And if you're using it on a draw +2 card, you will never end a fight immediately after drawing that card. Either way, you're going to see the card once during the next run through the deck. I don't see how it makes a difference whether you see it at the beginning of the run or a bit later in the run.

Sadly nobody went back to support or counter this point in that discussion. But seeing how it doesn't let you reuse a card more often, it's just a much weaker version of exchange (and it doesn't even have an x2 version).

Thoughts?
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Mark L
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Actually, the card you put below the pile will be reshuffled if you end the fight where you draw it without drawing any subsequent cards, as the other poster said, and that's not particularly uncommon in my experience. And if you put the +2 life card at the bottom it's even worth spending a life to draw it after you've won (or given up on winning) the fight.

A guarantee of getting a valuable card twice this time through the deck and a chance of getting it again the next time anyway? Sounds good to me. I mean, it's certainly not the best card in the game but it's better than some.

And note that if you copy this ability you could send 2 cards to the bottom, making it more likely that you'll get at least one of them in the next shuffle.
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David Jones
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xipuloxx wrote:
if you put the +2 life card at the bottom


This.

Remember that card draw and plus life cards trigger immediately and you get to keep the effects even if you bottom, exchange, or destroy the card. If you can get three bottom effect either through multiple copy or duplicate powers, its possible (although rare) to actually cycle a +2 life card through the deck three times before a shuffle.
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It also allows you to know exactly what the last card of your deck is.

Send an aging card to the bottom along with a destroy card
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Dave Moser
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As is evident from all of the previous posts, one of the key advantages of this card is flexibility. It just has lots of good uses. And it even got a little better after the rules change that ends the game after the aging cards run out. If you’re cycling too fast, you can use below the pile to slow down a bit.
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Interesting, especially the triple +2 life combo, sounds crazy, but it could work. I'll try playing around with +2 life and bottom of the deck to see if I can not miss a reshuffle. Thanks for the tips, I think I can appreciate having this card in the game a little more now, just for the amount of potential uses it has, even if they are all individually unlikely.

Another niche use is when you're fighting pirates. You can often see that you will finish your deck once, but there is no way you will finish it twice, especially if there's only 1 pirate left. So bottom of the deck can guarantee 2 uses of a card, while normal draw can only guarantee one. (Although it doesn't seem like being killed by pirates is a common occurrence, but it least it will help you with the score.)

Then there's also returning excess fighting cards that you don't need to win a hazard, but I've yet to have such opportunity.
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Mircea Pauca
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I had a major change of opinion, exactly for the reason first stated.

Sending a card to the bottom is an extra use of that card ONLY if no more cards are drawn (so there's no shuffle). So impossible to use +2 cards that way, and possible to use +2 life or 0destroy etc. only in a special rare case. Hard to arrange even with the special 'ideal shuffling' hypothesis, very hard with normal randomization.

Else it's only a more restrictive exchange1 (replacement on left side only) and a bringing-forward of a card use (from somewhere in the next pass to the end of this pass), Which still can be marginally useful.

Overall these cards fell Below my pile of preferences ;-) Close to 0phase-1 or 0life1.
 
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Mircea Pauca
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There is still a combo where Below-the-pile adds an extra use of 0/life+2: if it is Exchanged to the discard pile just after use and before the shuffle.

This does not work with 0/cards+2. Thanks to Nic for pointing this out!
 
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