I Chose Evil - 1st Place Gencon 2017 Evil Is A Choice

published Aug 21, 2017 | | |
Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet

Prodigy 695

This deck was meant as a political statement, so for that reason alone I'm glad it did well to get the attention I wanted. And combined with the name of the tournament "Evil Is A Choice", my choice was clear: display the worst qualities of my least favorite card in the game: Showboating (and to a lesser extent, Nicodemus Whateley), which happens to be even more potent with the help of Ezekiah Grimme. I apologize a thousand times to my opponents who had to suffer through what was probably a frustrating match.

Looking at the list, you can see it is clearly a control style deck which seeks to spread out, curse, and outmaneuver the opponent until they are overwhelmed with control points either 1) they cannot hold (due to all the various hexes) or 2) they cannot contest (due to showboating). I don't need to go into the details of the deck much beyond that. Suffice to say that if the opponent does not multiple run spot removal (or doesn't draw any) then this deck is basically guaranteed to win.

This Friday tournament was a very long day, with 8 games overall and one loss. No surprise that the one loss on the last match of swiss was to the only opponent (@Harlath) who played more than 1 spot removal. He also happened to be playing Yagn's Mechanical Skeleton which is also a weakness of this deck. Drawing the single Phantom Fingers was much easier with Grimme, and it helped a bit, but it wasn't enough when he was running Maggie to grab them up fast.

All the other games went exactly the same way: get a bunch of red cards on the board and overwhelm/outmaneuver the opponent until you win. I was particularly amused at some opponents expressions as I would cast paralysis mark and puppet on my own Jake Smiley, or Forget on my own Popescus, just to increase chances at a Grimme pull or a showboating. At times it felt a little bit like slide, but this only runs 12 deeds with control points, so it certainly isn't, at least in a classical sense. Most games I didn't even play any dudes, since blood curse, phantasm, shadow walk, and puppet can easily help to keep control of deeds.

It's all about the Showboating : what I think is the most un-interactive and "evil" card in the game. I can literally sit at home, cast hexes, gain CPs, and win while the opponent sits helpless. To be fair to the card, most games I only got around 3-5 CPs with it, so I don't feel it is overpowered or unfair: simply incredibly unfun to play against. I've spoken out against Nicodemus Whateley many times, and in theory he at least has to be at an in town deed, but when you play Maza Gang Hideout or The Whateley Estate it becomes un-interactive. Nicodemus at least requires another card to have un-interactive, while Showboating can do it all by itself.

Long story short, I think cards that let you gain CPs should have serious limits, and/or require some sort of interaction. I realize one tournament cannot (and should not) spur bannings or errata, but I hope this is one important data point to use as ammunition to get Showboating changed.

Ezekiah Grimme

This tournament, however, was about the new Legend cards, so let's talk about Grimme. It is true that he fed into the Showboating strategy very well, but I could have easily used the original version of this deck that used conditions and still done very well. Grimme was absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I can't say anything for the other Legends, as I avoided shootouts at all costs, but I certainly got a lot of games in with Grimme.

I didn't have the chance to proxy and test Grimme beforehand, so like most everyone else, it was just theory crafting beforehand. The extra cost of hexes is a serious concern, but at least in this deck it was minimal. I was considering taking my blessed deck and simply adding Grimme, but the added cost for miracles would have been far too heavy. This 4R deck has no upkeep, can use the home for income, and can easily secure income from at least 1-2 deeds using the hex shenanigans. I was happy to pay 3 GR for a blood curse, and many of the other hexes are 0 cost to begin with, so the extra cost was almost never a concern for me.

The ability to use Grimme to essentially grab an extra hex once per turn was massive. Because of the nature of the deck, I was casting lots of spells every turn, so his first React, Boot ability was what I found myself using the most. I'd guess 2 out of 3 times I used him was his react, and the Noon, Boot ability was used only after all my spells were cast and nothing ideal was found. Sometimes I'd even pull a spell or two and have the chance at the React, but I would pass knowing the Noon ability was there to potentially find an even better spell. This allowed me to churn through a massive number of cards each turn by 1) usually playing out most of my hand, 2) using the 4R home ability, 3) casting a ton of spells, and 4) using Grimmes Noon ability. That gives me a TON of chances to get my puppets, phantasms, and blood curses into play, which were the 3 power spells that won games.

I did end up playing against another 4R deck with hexes. I always tried to get my spell on the table before them, so while it made for interesting strategy, rarely did either of us play a spell the other already had in play. I can't remember that happening, or if it did it was only once and not very consequential. It's not something you can help, so if you play an opponent using the same spells as you, the only thing you can do is try to get yours out first.

Overall everyone in the tournament, including me, seemed to have a lot of fun and played in a very fun and competitive spirit of the game. Pinebox put on 2 fantastic days of Doomtown, with amazing prizes and an exciting announcement. Couldn't have been a better way to celebrate the return of our favorite game!

Thanks to @Jaythejester who helped me strategize different decks around Showboating. I originally wanted to go with a completely all-in showboating style deck, but after talking with him and looking at the options, I ended up going with a more well-rounded, consistent deck instead. If you want to see just how truly bad showboating can be, however, he is the man to see!

Aug 22, 2017 jaythejester

*snicker... *snort... hmmm ha, ha ha hahahaha Haaaaa hahah. *GASP HAAAAAAAAHAHAHOOOHOHAAAAaaaaaa!

Aug 23, 2017 Harlath

Congratulations on winning, playing with a sense of humour and piloting a technical deck well. Doc Holiday is a great choice for a Legend card and ties in well to the upcoming stories being set in Tombstone.

Sympathetic to your point about Showboating. This is helpful additional evidence on the card and I like that you distinguish between raw power (normally "only" 3-5CP via showboating) and negative play experience.

It is only fair to note that unlike (some? all?) of your other opponents I had the advantage of having played against this deck already in a pre-GenCon throwdown. Packing Yagn's Mechanical Skeleton and being able to fetch them with Maggie Harris helped keep me in the game for long enough to find some of my 4x targeted kill (3x Run 'Em Down! and 1x Kidnappin'). I've reviewed other decks on dtdb/live at the event and it seems various other players were slightly lighter on jobs/forced callouts (too light?), I'll have a firmer view here as more decks are posted.

Glad you enjoyed Ezekiah Grimme and I agree that the original The Fourth Ring home is a good complement as it helps offset the extra cost of spells/Grimme himself with its 19GR and ghost rock generation.

Pleasure to meet you and put a name to a face. :)

Jan 30, 2018 Prodigy

I forgot to mention this, but this list had a typo of one card: Nicodemus Whateley should be 2 copies, and Jia Mein (Exp.1) should be only one copy. That was a remnant of my 4th Ring Conditions deck that I based part of this deck on.

And you know, it's more evil that way...