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Subject: How to beat the Witch rss

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Greg Jones
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I don't like to play the Witch. So I play a lot of games where I end up with 10 curses. (No matter how many players, you typically get 10 curses before they run out. N players, (N-1)x10 curses, each Witch play gives out N-1 curses. That's 10 Witch plays before they run out. Moats can change that.) I've gotten pretty good at playing against the Witch without fighting Witches with Witches. Here are my strategies.

Moat

Start with the obvious one, but not a very good one. One of the biggest advantages you have against the Witch is that the Witch is not a very good card, for the person who plays it. Especially when there are no +2 actions cards, a lot of times they'll play the Witch, and draw 1 or 2 action cards they can't use. By buying Moats, you clog your deck with the same disadvantage (fortunately, you at least get them cheaper). But I will go for the Moat if there are Villages or other ways to get 2 actions to spare. Still, I usually wait until I happen to draw 2 coins or have an extra buy that divides nicely between 2 and another amount.

Militia

Now to start with the start. The first way to defend against the Witch is to prevent your opponent from getting one. The Militia can deny them that 5-coin turn. Not forever. Eventually they'll get it. But the longer you go without curses, the better. Your deck will have better acceleration at the start. As drag racers know, early acceleration is the best kind, since it boosts your speed for every turn after.

Chapel

This is especially true with the Chapel. If you can shrink your deck or get card-draw combos going before curses start coming, you can often trash the curses as fast as you get them. If your deck gets clogged with curses, you can tend to draw hands like curse, curse, Estate, Estate, Copper, and no Chapel.

If the Witch is in play, I almost always buy a Chapel on the first or second turn, even if I have to spend a 3-coin turn on it. Waiting until you already have a fat deck with a lot of curses, and then trying to make up for it by buying several Chapels is not very effective. You often draw only one curse with each Chapel, which is almost not worth the action it costs to play the Chapel. Reducing your deck so that your Chapel comes often, and dealing with curses as they come is better than falling behind on them.

Remodel

If there is no Chapel, the only way to get rid of curses is Remodel. Like a late Chapel, it's not very effective, since it only gets rid of one at a time. You should only buy it if you plan to use it for some other purposes besides converting curses, like a full Remodel strategy, or at least a plan to convert leftover Golds to Provinces in the late game.

When you Remodel a curse, you might have no other option than to get an Estate. That's a 2-point net gain, but it doesn't do anything for the play value of your deck. A better option early in the game is to Remodel to a Moat or Cellar.

Cellar

Speaking of the Cellar, another strategy against Witches is to use cards that let you avoid unuseful parts of your deck. The Spy is another that lets you do this, and also, if there are more than two players, and other players also have curses in their decks, the Spy can make sure they usually have a curse on the top of their deck when their turn starts. The Chancellor can also help you skip curses if they come up in a lucky order. None of these strategies are terribly effective, and I wouldn't rely on them exclusively if I had an alternative.

Gardens

Of course, if you can't beat 'em, use 'em to your advantage. 10 more cards in your deck means each Gardens is worth a point more. But this isn't automatically effective. You need some other cards in play that tend to help a Gardens strategy.

Bureaucrat

Another strategy is to bulk up your deck as you would if you're playing for Gardens, even if Gardens aren't in play. The more cards in your deck, the lower the percentage of them are curses. You can use Bureaucrats to build up a lot of Silvers. If every hand you draw 4 Silvers and a curse, you're still doing pretty well. A Workshop can also help increase the number of useful cards in your deck relative to the number of curses, if there are good 4-cost cards to be had. Cards with +buys are good, but it probably isn't to your advantage to buy extra Coppers unless it gets really bad. Even with curses in your deck, your average card is still probably better than Copper. Use +buys to buy a couple good cards, like a 3 and a 4, a 2 and a 5, or a 4 and a 4.
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Cory Duplantis
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The best way to beat a Witch, is to simply build a fast deck. Don't try to make a deck that can cycle your whole deck or anything, just try to get a lot of money as fast as you can. Two or three +Card cards are helpful to draw, but that is really it. It depends on the setup obviously, but I RARELY actually buy a Witch. The reason is, is the power is just not a useful as I think it could be. The only time I would probably play a Witch is when I can get multiple +Actions (Village, Festival, Mining Village, Shanty Town, ect) and/or when Throne Room is in play. TR + Witch is pretty harsh, but with Throne Room in play it is very easy to make extremely fast decks. I hope this helps, if not, I can try to go into detail about it.
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Greg Payne
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Worth adding that there are a few cards in the expansion that are good for this:

Upgrade (keeps your deck flowing and allows you to just flat-out trash them)
Saboteur (make them lose the Witch)
Swindler (ditto)
Minion (either make them discard it, or cycle past it)
Secret Chamber (when in your hand, it's worth $1)
Anything else that lets you trash cards
Anything else that will disrupt your opponent's hands

Of course, with the expansion, there are more cards that throw Curses at you, and most or your above ways still apply. Cellar is good against an opposing Torturer (take the Curse in hand, then discard it and see an extra card). Moneylender may be useful against an enemy Swindler (by giving them less Copper to hit).
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Jeff Wolfe
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Lardarse wrote:
Worth adding that there are a few cards in the expansion that are good for this:

Upgrade (keeps your deck flowing and allows you to just flat-out trash them)
Saboteur (make them lose the Witch)
Swindler (ditto)
Minion (either make them discard it, or cycle past it)
Secret Chamber (when in your hand, it's worth $1)
Anything else that lets you trash cards
Anything else that will disrupt your opponent's hands


Swindler is also good at getting more Curses out so they run out sooner.
 
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Greg Jones
United States
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jeffwolfe wrote:
Lardarse wrote:
Worth adding that there are a few cards in the expansion that are good for this:

Upgrade (keeps your deck flowing and allows you to just flat-out trash them)
Saboteur (make them lose the Witch)
Swindler (ditto)
Minion (either make them discard it, or cycle past it)
Secret Chamber (when in your hand, it's worth $1)
Anything else that lets you trash cards
Anything else that will disrupt your opponent's hands


Swindler is also good at getting more Curses out so they run out sooner.


I have played on BSW with some of the expansion cards, including the Swindler. The Swindler actually works in your favor even if you don't have it. There are a fixed number of curses to go around. If the Swindler hits a curse on your deck (and doesn't decide to replace it with Copper), the curse is trashed and a new one replaces it. The number of curses in the supply is diminished without increasing the number in your deck.
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