After battling through swiss with a 3-1 record, I emerged victorious at the end of the top 4 games at the Tombstone series event at the Random Encounter cafe in York. With a turnout of 14 players it was a successful first event for the venue.
Following on from the deck's performance at Hartlepool a couple of weeks ago, I felt that the core strategy of the deck worked - quickly throwing down CP with big deeds, Establishin' Who's in Charge and Allie Hensman, then defending them with the Legendary Holster. I decided that to expand the deck, I'd focus first on expanding my choices for dudes and deeds. Looking through the available sets, I decided on two saddlebags. The first was Bad Medicine. I went for this because I wanted the excellent Willa Mae MacGowan as my fifth starting posse member. She's only 1 GR and is incredibly useful for getting out of a shootout gone wrong, or rescuing Irving after he boots to build a deed only for my opponent to play a movement ability to threaten him. She's also available as one of the promos from this event series! This saddlebag also contains The Orphanage, a deed that is not only on-value for my deck, but has a very useful ability that synergises with my general strategy. Bad Medicine also added extra value by including Arnold Stewart and Luke, the Errand Boy, two low value Morgan dudes who could fit right in to this deck. Bad Medicine also provided Mugging and Hawley's Rose as options, but I felt that my existing cards in those slots were too important to swap out.
The second saddlebag was The Curtain Rises. My main reason for this was that I wasn't happy with my deed options at 2, and I wanted the 2nd Bank Of Gomorra. With the saddlebag also including The Highbinder Hotel, useful for hit 'n' run Holster attacks and escaping to safety after using my home ability among other things, it seemed like a good choice. With the two expansions I'd succeeded in achieving what I wanted - a fifth starting posse member and more choices for dudes and deeds.
I decided that to make room for the fifth starting dude, Steven Wiles would have to go. While he's a very useful dude, him being in the deck increased the chances of a failed Legendary Holster pull and I didn't want to swap out any of the other off-value cards. Micah Ryse and Lawrence Blackwood made way for Arnold and Luke. While Arnold has a higher initial cost than Lawrence, he provides influence without upkeep. Luke is a nice cheap dude who I can happily discard to cover a casualty, and I don't think I ever played Micah who is quite expensive for an out-of-faction backup stud. I dropped both copies of Gomorra Parish for two copies of the 2nd Bank - this added another 2CP deed, and with two copies I was more likely to see it in my hand. This was useful as to make room for The Orphanage and The Highbinder Hotel I decided that the Bank of California and the 1st Baptist Church were my least useful deeds at their value and would have to go. With the 2nd Bank, Town Hall and Establishin' Who's In Charge I figured I'd still have enough targets to get good value out of The Orphanage.
Game 1 vs Russell's Morgan Regulators
It turned out Russell was employing a similar strategy to me, as we both got an early Allie Hensman and Legendary Holster in to play. From then it was all a matter of who won lowball, with us both dancing into town square and clearing space to grab CP with Allie depending on who got the initiative, while also building up. A play error by Russell ended up with Irving Patterson getting involved in a shootout adjacent to my Shotgun-wielding Jon Longstride, who safe from Russell's Holster, booted into the fight and blasted Irving away. With CP building up from both Allie and deeds hitting play this increased the pressure. Next turn would prove crucial though, as I hadn't seen any other dudes with influence so it could all swing the other way very quickly. I wasn't feeling confident with a 2 pair in lowball and Russell looked like he was going to get a high card, but his last card revealed made his lowball hand a straight. Initiative made my job of limiting his movement with the Holster and Shotgun a lot easier, and despite attempts to take deeds with a Chasuble-wearing Allie I was able to secure the CP I needed.
Game 2 vs Dave's Morgan Regulators
I had an okay starting hand but decided it could be better so used Travis and drew into a worse one. I had a very slow start to the game, with Dave getting several turns to build up a frightening array of Gadgets. I eventually got a deed and the Legendary Holster in play and decided to force Dave into action by moving into town square with Allie. I couldn't contend with the amount of hand rank manipulation though and was whittled down over several shootout rounds.
Game 3 vs Steve's Gateway to Beyond
This game saw a lot of deeds hit play on both sides of town and plenty of movement between deeds. The Orphanage was useful here to squeeze more money out of the 2nd Bank early on, while also keeping its CP low. I was able to grab a few CP with Allie and again got the Holster into play which aided in my defense of my street. Bluetick's movement ability proved extremely useful in this game, both letting me use Clint Ramsey to chase Steve's dudes off my deeds and also later for moving Clint from my deed to town square to start threatening Steve's deeds. The game ended up going to time, and while I had the lower influence at that point I controlled most of the CP on the board which brought my combined total to 15 vs Steve's 13.
Game 4 vs Jamie's Fourth Ring
An early Orphange + Establishin' Who's In Charge meant the deed's ability boosted its own production. Jamie decided he didn't like that and moved to take control of The Orphanage. He saw 3 Blood Curses early on which had me worried, so I played Olivia Jenks to keep my influence at a healthy amount at the cost of my economy. This proved useful as Jamie then played The Undertaker. I made a move to reclaim The Orphanage but the Blood Curses limited my shooting and I had to sacrifice Willa Mae to escape a punishing shootout. Next turn I pushed into town square to try and deal with the hucksters slinging spells from afar. Bottom Dealin' reprised its game winning role from Hartlepool as Jamie revealed a Cheatin' hand which was replaced with a two-pair causing heavy enough casualties that he was in trouble, as he'd booted away from my Orphange to provide backup in the shootout and I had an unbooted dude who could take over his Undertaker. Fortunately for me he didn't have any more dudes in hand, and while his booted Micah Ryse could boot his hex to move to a deed, Olivia Jenks would be able to contest and control it thanks to her higher influence.
Top 4 Cut
Semi Final vs Robert's Law Dogs
Irving Patterson fell victim to an early Bounty Hunter, but I managed to replace his influence early on with Olivia. Some deeds were played and movement occurred, but I'm afraid I can't recall the specifics. My Peacemaker proved its worth in this game, protecting Clint Ramsey's bullets from the fists of Hattie DeLorre. The game was decided in a town square shootout. After Thunder Boy got the Sun in His Eyes Robert had no choice but to reveal a Cheatin' hand, earning Thunder Boy a Coachwhippin'.
Final - Rematch vs Dave's Morgan Regulators
I had a far better start this game, building an early 2nd Bank which encouraged Dave to attempt an early attack on Irving without all his Gadgets. Irving survived and helped me build up my economy with out of town deeds. Dave spent all his ghost rock on Gadgets and a Cattle Market, but with all his dudes booted Jon Longstride moved over to cut off his production. I had some luck in lowball which meant Dave's economy didn't get going as fast as he'd have liked, prompting another attack on the 2nd Bank. I had expendable dudes that I could trade as casualties for Decimator Arrays. Next day I got a hand full of shootout actions, so when Dave went on the attack again things didn't go as well as both his studs got hit with Sun in Yer Eyes. Jen survived the carnage, booted home then Regulated back into action for another attempt at the bank. I still had a Make the Smart Choice in hand, and ultimately Jen chose poorly, staying in the fight but not getting a good enough hand.
I think that the changes definitely helped the deck, with the new cards proving to be useful on several occasions. I'm actually not sure what I'd do next to expand the deck as it clearly works! I've got a month now in which to decide if I add to this deck and play it again, or if I take a look at the cards I have available and try something else instead.
|Jun 10, 2018 Harlath|