Thanks to Dave Hogg for running the event – well attended (18 players), ran to time and good fun. A bumper prize kit, with the Sheriff Kit, OP Kit 7 and some of the host’s own previous prizes and cackler jokers thrown in! Plus some alt-art gunslingers. Dave even made the top four and then dropped out, a generous move. As ever, Doomtown players were a lively, fun bunch. Good to see four different factions in the top four (Original Fourth Ring, Desolation Row, Eagle Wardens and my personal bugbear, 108 Worldly Desires).
My cousin Mark went undefeated until the final playing his Fourth Ring (original home) condition deck. It's probably more interesting than this! I’d spent the whole train journey down trying to convince him not to play it – appalling advice on my part (suggesting the "insights" below aren't worth much?). Sorry! Even worse, he correctly advised me to play my Desolation Row deck – I was going to play Spirit Fortress, but thankfully someone else turned up playing Eagle Wardens. Thanks to him for the fine advice on what to play and for being an excellent testing partner (he won Edinburgh’s 2015 Sheriff). Somebody noted on Facebook it was a shame more of the UK player base isn’t on OCTGN to play online – I’m lucky to have a busy and high quality local playerbase, although maybe I’ll give online a shot one day.
This is an updated version of my Huddersfield 2015 Sheriff deck, with the 8s replaced by Ks due to the (sensible and welcome) Paralysis Mark errata. Blood Curse remains one of the best cards in the game and the move to Ks was eased by some fine new K deeds, Sloane (Exp.1) and Sight Beyond Sight. Even higher values than last time make Soul Blast a joy and mean Maria Kingsford can pass Blood Curse's 9 difficulty so I dropped Benny, albeit I missed the back-up huckster and forced callout.
I did have a slight concern that the move from six cheatin’ cards to only three would hurt, but there was only one shootout where I needed a cheatin’ card and didn’t have one. Soul Blast and Point Blank gave me the confidence to get in to a few shootouts even when I didn’t have Cheatin’ punishment, as I knew I would inflict significant fatalities and potentially end the shootout before casualties are taken, helping to minimise the risk of losing/tying to a cheatin’ hand.
Sight Beyond Sight is excellent, it helps check out your opponent’s hand and scout for cheatin’ resolutions and get rid of them. If you wait a turn after you’ve played it, it’s also a reliable way to turn John "Aces" Radcliffe in to a stud.
The new Fourth Ring home (Full Moon Brotherhood) is likely to be a significant problem for this deck as it shuts down Jake Smiley. Theoretically you can play around the Full Moon Brotherhood turning off Jake’s trait (they need to be adjacent) but probably I’ll need to revise the starting posse. Sorry I didn’t get all the names below and apologies for any errors in recollecting the games/names! Up at 6am in the morning to get a train down to York and back late. Other players very helpful with advice on where to get a taxi and which firm to use.
Cheers to Dave and Scott for fielding questions/linking to my 2015 Sheriff deck on Facebook, I’m afraid I’m not on it but happy to discuss here/on the Gazette. Sorry to all those hoping that this would be a low value Mirror, Mirror huckster deck. I feel Soulblast is a better choice for your low value slot and high values give access to Blood Curse.
Structure isn’t pure 16x3 to allow for Soul Blasts, a back-up huckster and a mildly weaker draw structure helps occasionally win lowball despite the high values. It does mean you need to count cards a little before getting in to shootouts at time/running the job. Nicodemus Whateley wasn’t the MVP that he was last time – had him in hand a few times but didn’t need him due to some games finishing reasonably quickly. Still worth including as a back-up huckster that’s on value and a control point boost.
Deck can be a little vulnerable to someone going after your sole starting Huckster. Don't panic - weigh up whether you can defend their job - you'll see from the report I successfully did this a few times. Other times you can let the job through as then they'll be booted to allow you to raise funds from a replacement via the home's job or recruitment drive.
Round 1: Den of Thieves, Scott
For once I was patient in the face of opponent’s shotgun/Bufford, rather than doing my usual trick of feeling frustrated and risking everything on a bluffed shootout. I eventually won low-ball and was able to take out Bufford (can’t remember if unprepared or similar gave me the security to run the job with Aces Radcliffe). Scott sent home Aces from one shootout to slow my economy, but from here I was able to gradually reverse Scott’s strong position. Got two Election Day Slaughters off in consecutive (?) turns, albeit one of them only ate a Travis Moone (basic), that plus some deeds, control points from the home and maybe a Blood Curse sealed things. 1-0
Round 2: Morgan Cattle Company, Dave
I got the home’s job off a couple of times, but was then outmanoeuvred by Doctor Foxworth (seized my Carter’s Bounty’s and I couldn’t call out the good doctor as he passed through Town Square to do his rounds) and a surprise Steven Wiles. Jake was Ridden Down after I’d used Aces and Angelica for an opposed Job shootout that I won. I thought I’d be able to bring one into any gunfight via Carter’s but was caught out by the Doctor hitting the table. I should have been prepared for this and hidden at home as I’ve been testing a Morgan Horse decks for weeks. Dave outplayed me. Dave craftily sat at one of my deeds – I didn’t risk the shootout for the sake of one ghost rock, feeling I had enough anyway – the 1GR I was missing turned out to be the GR I’d have needed to buy either of the two 7GR dudes in my hand and keep me in the game! From my experience against Dave in the past (see my losses to him in Birmingham Swiss & Marshall Semi-final), he’s good at doing the little details like this. 1-1
Round 3: Oddities, Forgot opponent’s name sorry!
A very early shootout, I think it took place in the second turn? I had two copies of “It’s not what you know” plus Blood curse and won after a war of attrition – I think we both used “It’s Not What You Know” in the first round, but my opponent only then had a soul cage left and I simply brute forced my way through that – he didn’t have the money for the other cheatin’ resolution I anticipated, so I risked high rank cheatin’ hands. I had the safety blanket of my second “It’s Not What You Know”, giving me confidence to stay in the shootout. The Ivor Hawley exp errata helped here, I was saved from Ivor’s react kicking in as he hadn’t entered play from my opponent’s hand. A control point or two was then enough to carry me home. 2-1
Round 4: Den of Thieves, Andrew?
A tough match that swung back and forth. As with the match against Scott I had to play around an early shotgun, waiting until I had an answer. Two Soul Blasts and a shadow walk on Maria eventually gave me significant control, acing an experienced Travis Moone at one point thanks to a high pull and several bounty on Maria. Winning an opposed Election Day Slaughter in the mid game made a big difference – I was opposed by one dude and managed to kill him (Milt Clemons perhaps?) and then inflict a further fatality from the job. 3-1
Round 5: Eagle Wardens, Kirsty
An interesting deck I hadn’t tested against – Showboating with easy Spirits. Lots of influence dudes with no upkeep. However, from lowball I could tell it didn’t have a strong shootout structure, so I was able to dominate Town Square and run my job for ghost rock, fuelling deeds, dudes and control points. I didn’t see any of my removal jobs, but CP from deeds, the home and my opponent’s deed helped (she wisely didn’t play many as it would have simply given me more control points). Kirsty had to advance Marcia Ridge in to Town Square to try to get rid of her upkeep, but she and few accompanying dudes perished to soulblast/resolution. Early Build & Loan helped grow my economy and CP strongly. In the end, I forced a gunfight at my Whateley Estate with my Sloane Exp and assorted back-up against a bunch of draws. I won by six ranks, so despite Turtle’s Guard I still managed to discard Jake Smiley and his +1 influence attire, kill Sarah M and send home Lydia for the win. In a long game, Blood curse helped chip away at my opponent’s influence. 4-1
In second place after the Cut to Top 4
108 Worldly, Jay? – Shotguns/Legendary Holster
Appalling luck from my opponent in the semi-final. He gets the hand he probably wants – an early Kidnappin' with a Shotgun on Ramiro Mendoza. Angelica Espinoza and Makaio defend the job, as they’re the only dudes I have out of shotgun range, although I feel reasonably safe of at least forcing a tie as I have “It’s Not What You Know” in my hand. My opponent’s nine cards are dross – three pairs and some off value cards to my full house or better. Very rough luck for my opponent, and a big swing as all the investment in to Mendoza, his shotgun and fee for taking on the job all fall away, while I gain the bounty for opposing the job and killing Mendoza.
A turn or two later and two soul blasts then wipe out opponent’s influence as he had to get in a shootout at his own deed despite having no studs left. I soul blasted Randall and Asakichi Cooke, inflicted one casualty at resolution and then for once had the wisdom to bail out, as I’d blood cursed my opponent’s remaining influence on Hiram Capatch and had a few deeds in play and a bit of control on dudes from running the job & private location shootouts.
Fourth Ring, Mark
Facing my cousin’s as yet undefeated Fourth Ring condition deck. As noted, I’d idiotically advised Mark not to play this – I feared it would struggle and he’d have a frustrating day. Don’t listen to me! This is a reasonable match-up for me, in part because the condition deck doesn’t have the surprise factor for me that it does for others (I've played against it a lot with a variety of decks, generally losing the first game against it with any given deck!), and also because Desolation Row makes a lot of ghost rock to pay for condition inflicted upkeep.
I lucked in to a Forced Quarantine and Blood Curse by around the second turn, getting rid of Leon (who had a Blood Curse and a Phantasm). Mark had presumably got a rough opening draw, as he'd had to use fun-time Freddy to dig for hexes.
After that, I had enough deeds to afford Sloane thanks to running the job every turn and a large discount on Sloane from spreading bounties around. A control point on her, Jake Smiley (from running Forced Quarantine!) and another from the box on Aces, plus a few deeds gave me a fairly quick win. 6-1
|Sep 12, 2016 Harlath|
|Sep 12, 2016 kirsty|
|Sep 12, 2016 Harlath|
|Sep 13, 2016 InvertedGuard|
|Sep 13, 2016 Harlath|