I've played Fourth Ring since the beginning, but this was the first time I really delved into control elements now that Phantasm showed up. The idea is to control the table as much as possible with Paralysis Mark and Phantasm. When you can't do that, a Shootout can go in your favor as long as they don't knock your huckster out of the fight.
I didn't encounter Unprepared at all. It would likely spell a bad day if I had. Fortunately, Hex Slingin' doesn't care if your spell is booted or not. This deck was able to control the landscape so well, it barely ever got into shootouts. I was prepared for shootouts and only got into one at the end of the day versus a Sloane deck.
I would be happy to add a worthwhile job in the deck to help target and remove influence chumps from the table. Knowing that this deck won't fight often and will likely "fix" hand ranks after the fact, It may not need to be as rigid with values in the future.
Here are the games I played. I'm not a master of detail. When I'm in the game, all I'm usually thinking about is how to play, not how I'll tell the story later:
First game vs. Oddities of Nature - I played against one of our frequent winners in the first round. He had grown up on Sloane, so Oddities was still new to him. On the second turn, he ran a Meet The New Boss and left only one dude unbooted. I booted his remaining dude at home and took his deed. Along with the one's I already played, it was enough to beat his 3 influence at home with a couple Blood Curse.
Second game vs. Deed Slide - I knew he would avoid fights as often as possible with Pistol Whip and Make the Smart Choice, so I cycled most of my resolution cards out as often as possible to try and find more dudes and deeds. I was able to take his influence manipulating deeds; The Mayor's Office and Yan Li's Tailoring. Between those two and some Blood Curse I was able to reduce his influence low enough that I could take many of his deeds to win the game. If he tried to bring anyone out to fight or oppose, Phantasm pushed them back away.
Third game vs. Classic Sloane - This guy seems to have an uncanny ability to pull Straight Flush against everyone. I tried to avoid fights but held on to a few resolutions just in case. I played the whole game waiting on a Kidnappin' that might ruin my day. Strangely, it never showed. I pushed Barton Everest away as much as possible to keep him out of potential shootouts. We finally got into one fight with Valeria Batten and The Brute versus Angélica Espinosa and Jake Smiley. Valeria got kicked out and I got to draw five cards off the top with 1-draw. Luck was on my side and I was able to win the shootout, taking his key Jake Smiley out of the game. I was able to sit on his deeds for the win.
The final standings for the eight-man event were: 1. Fourth Ring Control 2. Morgan DeedSlide 3. Oddities of Nature We didn't get to see The Arsenal or the Morgan Gadgetorium all other Outfits were represented.