Decklist of the week

Blessed Dogs - Are We There Yet? 1st Place OCTGN League

Description by the author: Prodigy 270

The common phrase is: "Blessed just aren't there yet, they need more". Well, I think they could still use some help as far as dudes go, but overall I think with the addition of Blood Moon Rising, Blessed ARE there. Are they as good as the other top tier archetypes at this point? Maybe not quite, but they are good enough to be entirely capable of winning any tournament, and that's the only requirement in my book for the question of whether or not an archetype is "there".

This list took down a very competitive field in the most recent OCTGN league, but for more thoughts on that head to the pinebox forums (coming soon). For now, I will just go through the details of the deck.

Starting Posse:

This has been refined, originally starting Henry Moran instead of Hattie DeLorre. Henry was a remnant from when this deck sported Putting The Pieces Together, but since changing the draw structure to be more aggressive and removing PTPTs, Henry was no longer needed. Hattie wasn't added as a starter until part way through the semi-finals, but I knew right away this was a fantastic choice and since then she's been absolutely integral to the deck, creating a brutal combination with Tommy Harden. 2 studs, Hatties ability, and Tommys trait together make for a lethal combination for anyone trying an early kidnappin. During the semi-finals and finals, Hattie was an absolute star. Father Tolarios is, of course, the deck MVP. It is almost always worth opposing an early kidnappin against him unless you have no miracles, no shootout actions, and no cheatin' res in hand AND you fear someone getting booted out of the posse by pistol whip, etc. Rev. Perry Inbody could potentially be changed to Andrew Burton, but his blessed 2 rating and ability make him much more useful especially when it comes to Get Behind Me, Satan!. Jake Smiley is the only truly expendable dude - he is almost always the first choice for casualties. Substitute a Willa Mae MacGowan for jake if you don't expect to need the extra influence (remember you can also grab influence via tolarios for Amazing Grace), to get yourself another starting GR and an even more resilient shootout posse.

Unfortunately this bunch of dudes only gives us 1GR to play with, so we're starting with 2 or 4GR if we win lowball, which isn't very good. The other dudes and deeds in this deck reflect the fact that we will be somewhat cash strapped, at least until the #confessions get rolling. However, just getting one or two miracles with Tolarios turns these guys into a very capable shootout posse, and easily able to defend any deeds you put down.

Draw Structure:

This 14/13/13 structure is optimized to get legal full houses and occasionally legal 4oaKs. They will never want to cheat against you when you have Tommy, which leads to a lot of tied rank 7 and rank 8 hands. Takin' Ya With Me, It's Not What You Know..., and Get Behind Me, Satan! all work well to turn those ties into casualties for your opponents, and none for you. As I momentarily forgot during the last game of the finals, you can still use Takin Ya With Me even if you reduce your casualties to zero. At that point it's considered 0 bullets, and when you have Hattie you will always have a dude of theirs with 0 bullets, so it will almost always work.

...and of course the combination of Pinned Down and Takin' Ya With Me is absolutely brutal.

We have a total of 7 off value cards in the deck, all of which are searchable by Tolarios, so very quickly the deck gets thinned out and optimized, all the while very powerful miracles are hitting the board. Ideally you will only play one, or two at most of your on-value hearts, and only one of your deeds on each of the 3 values, which makes for an ideal structure to get legal full houses.

On the other hand, you have the option to cheat like crazy as well. If you have the combination of Get Behind Me + the 2 Tlaloc's Furies, you can safely risk cheatin' 5oaKs as long as they don't have coachwhip. If they do have coachwhip, search up your Shield of Faith. This probably won't happen too often, but it's nice to know for longer games you have the option to become almost unbeatable in a shootout as you constantly cheat, and you have ways to reduce a massive number of casualties up to 2 times per turn. Chances are your opponent cannot punish your cheating 2 times per turn, every turn. And if they also have cheatin 5oaK's, Tommy will put you one rank over them every time.

Other Cards:

While the other cards in this deck are pretty self explanatory, especially the miracles, you can see there is an emphasis on keeping your dudes in the shootout. 2 big weaknesses for this deck are 1) Getting your dudes sent home and 2) Unprepared. There isn't much to be done about #2, but with the Pintos, Walk the Path, and Dumbstrucks we will be keeping our dudes in the shootout against all pistol whips, Mariel Lewis, and rabbit-fu shenanigans. It also allows for a much stronger chess-game.

Even when hit with Unprepared (or Rabbit Takes Revenge), like I was many times in the semi finals and the finals, this deck can still shoot very well with the combination of its dudes and club actions/resolutions.

Really, there isn't anything this deck cannot do, especially if Tolarios sticks around. There is literally an answer for every single deck archetype that exists right now. The only single exception I can see is Spirit Fortress, in which your only answer for Nicodemus Whateley is the Judge Harry Somerset (Exp.1). The Judge isn't searchable, unlike all the other answers, so that is probably an unfavorable match up. I have a couple of revisions I have already made to this deck, which adds a couple of extra answers, but even then it will be a hard match up.

Changes:

I would immediately change both Dumbstrucks into 2x Pedro. I would also get rid of Fiery Rhetoric, and Reserves for x2 Bounty Hunter. Dumbstruck was really only about the necessity to keep dudes in the shootout, so Pedro does a better job, is much cheaper, and can be sacrificed for those pesky tied ranks where you don't have any of your other ways to reduce casualties. Bounty Hunter helps a bit with slide, fortress, and Allie Hensman when you can't find your Judge.

If you expect more shotguns, soul blasts, and legendary holsters, remove a pinto for another Shield of Faith.

Otherwise this deck is extremely solid and very fun to play. Go forth, and be blessed, my children!

PS. Special thanks to Inverted for helping me to have someone to bounce ideas off, and giving great ideas in return, to help tune this deck over the past weeks.

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