I was banking on a Mint strategy, trying to enhance my gold production with a production doubler and a colony outpost, which effectively gave me an additional gold resource patch in addition to my doubled two. Unfortunately, I got the doubling production house out late and suffered a successful arsonist attempt by Van on my Mint (allows a 1:1 exchange of all gold). While powerful, the Mint is also extremely expensive (6 resource for no VPs & 1 commerce symbol) and my failure to defend against Van's arsonist meant that it took me quite awhile to get the Mint up and running again. Nonetheless, there seems to be some potential with this strategy and I will look into getting up and running earlier in the game.
Van on the other hand managed to rush to the 5th settlement again with the help a good rolls on the event and production dice. Her brick doubler building further enhanced her ability to build roads and settlements. But her killer card this time round was the Treasure Fleet which gained her 3 additional resources each time the Year of Plenty was rolled instead of the usual 1. Coupled with her Toll Station which gave 2 gold resources during the Year of Plenty, that meant a total of 5 free resources each time. I made a mental note to include a couple of Pirate Fleets in my deck so as to combat that advantage as well as the commerce advantage she derives from her trade fleets.
Being the victor, Van got to choose one card from my deck as her reward. Her choice was Merchant Outpost which allows her to leech off production from 2 adjacent resource patches in my principality. While a powerful card at a low cost when utilized early, at least it doesn't penalize me (except for a lost building spot) and can be removed when 6 commerce points are gained.
For my next deck, I have decided to remove all cards from the Wizards and Dragons expansion deck as it takes far too long to put them in play. Furthermore, I find building space tight especially when I'm restricted to only 4 settlements. Hopefully, I'll be able to improve on my 0-2 record against Van in the tournament format.