Den of Hucksters (7-0 OCTGN)

published Feb 29, 2016 | | |
Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet

Prodigy 695

I started off in the OCTGN doomtown league with what I thought was a great Den of Thieves deck. It was a typical Milt/Makaio/Barton build, and after I lost my first game I decided I didn't care about placing high, and pulled out this deck. I had low hopes for it, but I've played 7 games on OCTGN (4 of them in the league, 3 outside of it) and so far it's undefeated. The 4 OCTGN league opponent decks included the Abrahms Crusaders, gadget, slide, and a typical 4R deck so I've been very pleasantly surprised at the range of decks it has beat. Obviously 7 games is not a lot and there are always variances, but that also the point of this deck: screw random variance of shootout draws - let's just guarantee our hand rank is high no matter what we draw.

That was the original idea: saying 'screw it' to high stud ratings, with the theory being that if I can just get one or two stud rating going into a fight, I will skip on shootout actions (except for blood curse) and simply go for bumping up my hand with resolutions. There's a massive amount of hand rank manipulations in this deck and it makes for absolutely crazy swings in shootouts.

Den + Barton, of course, means the first shootout of every round is +2 hand rank, and future ones an auto +1. Between the Hex Slingin (super star of the deck), It's Not What You Know, and Devils Jokers, we have a whopping 9 extra hand rank bump up cards. I was considering playing around with builds including LeMat Revolver for more ridiculousness, but I've moved on to other experimental decks at this point.

The point is, this deck wins shootouts like no other I've seen. Combined with the dirty tactics of your typical hex deck (p-marks and blood curse) and you have a very versatile, and shootout competent deck. I hate hex decks, so you are a dirty, awful person if you play this (ha! just kidding! or am I?) but at least it's not 4R so there's some redemption there.

I don't think I need to describe the strategy too much - just make sure if you're going against a shootout deck that you have at LEAST one of the hand rank resolutions in your hand. Otherwise if you have to sit hiding at home (I hate doing that when playing sloane!) then hopefully you have some monte banks to help, and unlike 4R you can guarantee +1GR from you home ability even if you're forced into hiding at home with all your dudes. The only other major consideration is to be careful with your grifter - you only start with 1, so if you lose him it's not the biggest deal in the world for shootouts but the GR income lost can hurt. Antheia is always the first to be killed off, followed by Travis - the loss of influence any other way just isn't usually worth the +1 GR and hand rank bump a turn.

I've tried huckster Des Row and huckster Original Sloane decks so far, and for whatever reason this one is kicking the most ass by far. There are some changes I'd consider, like finding room for Soul Blasts, but like I said before I've moved on to other decks. I'd be interested to see what changes work best from anyone playing a similar deck.

Mar 01, 2016 InvertedGuard

This is awesome!

Mar 22, 2016 InvertedGuard

Did you ever feel you needed Kidnappin' or something similar?

Mar 22, 2016 Prodigy

I didn't, because my paralysis marks and blood curses were enough to deal with the gadget and slide decks. That was only 2 games, though, so I haven't tested this deck enough to really know for sure. I'm testing a moderately different version of this deck currently that I think will have a side effect (ie: not on purpose) of being better vs slide, so kidnappin's will be needed even less.

Every card with value lower than 8 will fail blood curses (unless it's a shootout, and Antheia Pansofia is in the posse and you pull a club) and while that's not really a big deal, typically, it's still something that needs to be considered.

Mar 22, 2016 InvertedGuard

What sort of changes have you been testing? Benny McGill is always great for me.

Mar 22, 2016 Prodigy

I wish Benny had an influence because that ability is awesome - I just can't sacrifice an influence point to add him to the line up. This type of deck cannot go head to head vs any aggressive decks until you get some p-marks/blood curses/soul blasts, etc, and that little bit of extra time to build up can be quite valuable. I see Benny as better against slide/stay at home decks, but those kinds of decks are not usually a problem. The aggressive shootout decks (especially those with heavy cheatin' punishment) are the problem, so Benny doesn't help where I feel help is most needed.

If you really wanted Benny, I would switch out Travis for Rico, then switch out Antheia or Wilber for Benny. At least you'd keep the influence totals that way.

Also, as far as Kidnappin's go here's something I forgot to mention: whenever you have off value clubs, your long game will suffer. As you play deeds, hexes, etc, you are losing your on-value cards and worsening your draw structure, and keeping those off value Kidnappins (which never go away) will make your draw structure worse and worse over time. Sometimes it's worth it (like I think it is with Hex Slingin'), but that's another thing to keep in mind.

I will post my new list probably in a couple of weeks, but one change along these lines is that it has Hex Slingin' on value - for just that reason.

Mar 22, 2016 InvertedGuard

That's a good point about the clubs. What are you playing at Jack of Hearts?

Mar 22, 2016 Prodigy

Just a couple of Forgets. It's one of my least favorite hexes, and I'd prefer the Rapier, but it makes great Hex Slingin fodder, and it's actually somewhat useful from time to time (plus it's 0 GR cost, which is nice).

I only have 9 J's total, with only 2 in hearts. Here, check out what I have so far:

It's great against non agressive decks, but when faced against aggressive decks and forced to stay at home, it still makes lots of money and can build up even with all your deeds being sat on. Even losing lowball with no deeds, minimum cash income is 3 GR. No 4R deck can achieve that (and not to mention start off with a 1 upkeep, 2 stud rock star at the same time).

So far I like it, but haven't play tested it enough.

Mar 22, 2016 InvertedGuard

Assuming you're still shooting well without Barton, I really like the look of that.

One card I've always wanted to utilise in shooty huckster decks is Mirror, Mirror.

Mar 22, 2016 InvertedGuard

Also, how are you finding the lack of consistency for the blood Curse noon action? Since your starting hucksters are both 0 skill.

Mar 23, 2016 Prodigy

Yeah this new deck is less about pumping your hand rank way up from cheating (you'll notice there's also no devils jokers). What it lacks in hand rank bumping via cheating, it makes up for with the 4 Soul Blasts, in theory making it even better in shootouts, but that's only in theory so far. There's no real way to get more than one or maybe 2 Soul Blasts in the deck on this page without changing a lot around. If I were continuing with this deck, I'd try to make that happen though. I do like the idea of Mirror, Mirror but I like even better the chance to send a dude home booted and/or acing them.

You are right about the blood curses, though, they will fail a little more than a third of the time. I'm ok with those odds, since it is not often that crucial, but after I play more games that might change. If so, maybe changing out Maria for Benny would be a good play. Originally I loved the idea of using Makaio Kaleo, Esq. to stack Maria in late game when I don't need the money any more, and acing dudes left and right with Soul Blast...

Lots to experiment with, be sure to update me with anything you try and see!

Mar 23, 2016 InvertedGuard

I'm going to put something together and test it tomorrow. I am wondering if one solution to aggressive decks could be to take advantage of Rico Rodegain somehow, maybe using Jacqueline Isham as an alternative starter or something similar.

Mar 25, 2016 InvertedGuard

My take, with (I think) a tighter draw structure.

Mar 25, 2016 Prodigy

I've used Jacqueline Isham in an Original Sloane huckster deck and liked it, especially because I would camp the town square and use the home ability, and have jackie there to back up whoever gets called out. I didn't test it enough to see if it worked well.

That version you posted looks better with Benny, and probably is better in shootouts overall. The downside I see is very few grifters (1, plus 2 Monte Banks), and not many hucksters. If Rico dies, you're probably screwed with the Den home ability. If one of your hucksters dies its not a big deal since you start with 2, so that is probably good.

On the other hand, even if Rico dies and you don't get a huckster, you can at least move bounty on and off Milt so you're getting an extra GR every other turn, so it's not a total loss by any means.

Mar 25, 2016 InvertedGuard

I want to play more Monte Banks but, even if I found space for them, more than 6 cards that miss blood Curse pulls feels like too many. I had really bad luck with only 6. I rarely let Rico leave home in the matches I played. I could see going down to 2 or 3 soul blasts, and playing 3-4 Monte banks but then I'd have to find another shootout Hex with 8+ value.

Maybe it's better to start with 2 grifters and 1 huckster, and then add more hucksters?

Alternatively the list above could start 2 hucksters and 2 grifters and forgo Monte bank altogether.

Mar 25, 2016 InvertedGuard
Mar 26, 2016 Prodigy

I like that list a lot. Any practice with it yet?

I would definitely not want to start with only 1 huckster. If you lose it, you have potentially a ton of cards clogging up your hand that you can't use, and it's almost game over at that point.

If you keep Rico at home safe, I can see that latest list working well.

Mar 27, 2016 InvertedGuard

I'm yet to test a Barton actually, I've only had the opportunity to play my Milt Benny version from above. I'm really not sure which direction to go. How do you find the economy in the Barton version?

Mar 27, 2016 InvertedGuard

So today I won a deputy event with this

Thanks for all the help, wouldn't have got there without you. My overall record with the deck is 9-1. A few observations:

This'll Hurt in the Mornin' was a little underwhelming, and clogged my hand too often. I think it would be better as a goods card with a cheating resolution.

I usually had too much money third turn onwards, which is OK, but the game I lost I could've done with some hand rank boosting.

The lack of an obvious expendable dude hurts vs aggressive decks.

I feel Unprepared would've been very useful.

This list addresses some of those issues

Mar 28, 2016 Prodigy

Nice, congratulations!!!

I agree that This'll Hurt is often not great, but we definitely need those on value 8 of clubs. Maybe a Rumors or two, instead? There aren't a lot of other great options.

Unprepared is probably better than This'll Hurt, but then you're changing your whole draw structure from 8's to 10's. How would you fit in the Paralysis Marks? I feel with a hex deck, it's a must-have. Especially an agressive hex deck without kidnappins, since you can use them to boot anyone who leaves home and then call them out.

I love that it had too much money later on, that's my favorite problem to have... : )

Mar 28, 2016 InvertedGuard

A list starting 2 hucksters can forgo Monte banks and play soul blast and paralysis mark as its off-value cards, with a 10-J-Q structure. Did you see the list at the end of the last post?

Alternatively I've been thinking that since the Milt version's economy is so strong, Cheatin' Varmint could be a good addition.

Mar 28, 2016 Prodigy

Ah, I missed that last list. That looks very similar to one of my original lists before I decided I didn't like 10's.

I think it really comes down to what you expect to play against. All these lists we've posted are tweaked for either stronger shootouts, or better economy, or unprepared for the opposing gadgets/hexes/etc. I think depending on what you expect to play against, one list will be a little better than the other, but they're all pretty good overall.

Mar 28, 2016 Prodigy

Also, I love the idea of Cheatin' Varmint, yet another rank manipulator!

Mar 28, 2016 InvertedGuard

In that case, one last list

The main weakness here is there isn't enough influence in the starting posse to avoid killing off travis as the first casualty in many cases, but he's the only huckster.

Mar 28, 2016 Prodigy

Man, I love it - 3 clubs, all have hand rank manipulation without having to be a cheatin' res. Love it!

I'd still kill off antheia or maria in most cases first, and you could feel less bad by starting with rico instead of travis.

If I were to play that deck, I'd probably diversify the deeds a bit, and maybe add another Q dude (like JW, or someone) but overall looks fun, and goes with the 'all hand rank manipulation all the time' theme that I originally started with. Maybe add back the devils jokers, just to keep that goin. It's missing Barton, but it adds those Cheatin Varmints which is fun.

Mar 28, 2016 InvertedGuard

The problem with starting Rico is that it, leaves no space for backup grifters, at least not without diluting the pull and draw structures more.

Having said that, I do usually have too much money anyway so I mainly relying the outfit to boost hand ranks, and cheating Varmint does that too. Maybe that means it's no big deal to lose Rico after the first couple of turns, if it happens.

I also like not having to cheat as much to win, I got pinned down by some Quickdraw Handguns on the weekend.

Mar 29, 2016 InvertedGuard

Or even this

Mar 29, 2016 Prodigy

Yeah, I do like that better - it's shooty enough that it can handle just about any aggressive deck after a turn or two of buildup, so the extra deeds will be nice to have and easier to protect.

It is nice, sometimes, to have the option not to cheat - quickdraw handgun is a good example, but at least against that we still have all our hand rank boosting. Vs something like coachwhip or Jael's Guile, though, it can be much more devastating since hand rank manipulation doesn't help there.

Maybe a good rule of thumb is without the milt/makaio combo, go for regular jokers to help a little bit with lowball, otherwise go with the devils?

I think the Den of Hucksters builds will blow any other shooty-4R hex deck out of the water, but I have yet to see whether or not it's better than 4R control.

Mar 29, 2016 InvertedGuard

As far as clown control is concerned, I've never lost to them with this deck or my old paralysis Row deck, and that's because they both played Benny McGill. Calling them out before they're ready is key in that match up. I'm disappointed my recent versions don't have space for him.

One interesting card, and potential solution to the above situation is Travis Moone (Exp.1). Playing him as the shooter means we can start 2 hucksters, 2 grifters and have a space free for a utility dude since we already have a 3 stud dude. For example:

Travis Moone (Exp.1) Rico Rodegain Benny McGill Antheia Pansofia Jake Smiley

Then, if the deck has enough money to Cheatin Varmint reliably play 9s, otherwise 10s. It loses some synergy with the home ability unfortunately.

Mar 30, 2016 Prodigy

I like the previous idea of just going with one grifter, over putting the Exp Travis in. If we keep Rico (or whichever grifter) safe, we should be ok, but even if he dies it's not a big deal.

Personally I'd much rather have the 1 influence with Barton or Milt, plus each of Barton/Milts abilities are waaay better than Travis'. I feel like the Barton build, and the Milt build each have something particularly special, way above just the 2 stud they provide.

Mar 30, 2016 InvertedGuard

You're probably right :)

Some small tweaks to the Milt list before I stop working on this deck

Assuming the 13/13/13 structure shoots well enough, I think this pretty much covers all the bases.

Apr 01, 2016 Prodigy

The best of all worlds, lots of hand rank manipulation, Barton, Milt, and hexes with a decent draw structure. I'm not a fan of putting in the Exp Travis over a couple of Monte Banks, but that's just a personal preference. Travis is good if you have cash, Monte Bank is better if you are behind and need to catch up.