This was the deck The Cackler brought to Tombstone. I originally thought I'd play The Cackler in one of the side events, but Lapp suggested doing it for the main event instead. That turned out well for me, I doubt I'd have done so well with some of the other decks I'd taken!
If you're familiar with my decks, you'll recognise this one as a tweaked version of the one I played at GenCon 2018. The overall game plan remains the same. Avoid shootouts, build up hexes and deeds, move around town (and move opponents), until you have enough control points to win. It's full-on Doomtown chess. Because the deck doesn't really shoot instead use Blood Curse, Rumors and Puppet to lower your opponent's influence. Rumors is a killer card. Hold onto it until the turn you can snatch a victory and then play it on dudes booted away from home.
So what changed from last time out and why? Papa Marias replaced Valeria Batten in the starting posse. I didn't really care for Valeria's stud bullet, and while having Huckster 1 was nice, my other starting Hucksters were all zeroes. Papa is one ghost rock cheaper and has an ability that is perfect for the deck's game plan. Plus, with all Hucksters being equally skilled there's less temptation to attach more powerful spells to one over the others - spread out hexes makes it harder for your opponent to decide who to prioritise with spot removal.
Angela Payne and Jia Mein dropped from the deck. Throwing down full houses in lowball and losing out on ghost rock and initiative was one thing that threw me in the top eight game at GenCon, so I was looking to trim some cards from 10 and Q. The deck contains several expensive dudes, who can slow you down early game if you draw them too early. Those two were the least useful of the dudes I had, plus were both on values I was looking to cut. Removing them weakened the draw structure and lessened the chance of a bad play hand. The deck starts a good amount of influence (seven counting Jake, Popescus with two Hexes and Ambrose), plus several of the dudes remaining in the deck have two or more influence, so I wasn't worried on that front. Leonardo "Leon" Cavallo was added to the deck. While his low value risked failing spell pulls, I was removing some other low values elsewhere and Leon's ability was a good fit for the deck.
Deeds also saw a slight shake-up, again because I wanted to trim some cards from 10 and Q. Out went Carter's Bounties and Grimoires & More, to be replaced with Old Marge's Manor and Hellstromme Plant #9. These provided similar economy value and control points while also being on high enough values to not fail my spell pulls.
With Gadget decks seemingly not proving as popular in the USA as they are back home, I dropped one of the Phantom Fingers from the deck. Soul Blast was also cut. While it's a strong Hex, it also provided temptation to get into shootouts to use it, and having a single copy as a defensive measure didn't feel worthwhile enough when I looked at the other options. Two copies of Paralysis Mark and one Fetch were added instead. Paralysis Mark helps with the chess gameplan, not only by booting opposing dudes but by increasing the threat of a Huckster with the spell on an opponent's deed. Without the spell in my deck, opponents could usually safely move any dude to challenge my Huckster for control of a deed, forcing me to move or be called out next play. With Paralysis Mark they would need to either send in a high value dude or two lower value dudes to achieve the same effect - possibly even dudes with influence to reclaim control of their deed. Fetch was included to attach to Micah Ryse. It would either get used in lowball to grab a useful card, or be the spell I booted to use his ability instead of another more useful Hex.
The event itself was, like every Doomtown gathering I've been to, played in good spirit and was a load of fun. One of the best things about travelling is meeting new players and seeing the cool and crazy decks they bring to the table, and my opponents in tombstone didn't disappoint.
Round 1 - Stefan's Morgan Regulators
This looked like, and was, a Regulators Gadget deck starring Chuan "Jen" Qí and Yagn's Mechanical Skeleton. I had to play this carefully early on as this is a tough matchup for this style of deck thanks to the influence boosts and Yagn's shutting down a lot of Hex-y tricks. Seeing Puppet early defined this game for me, plus Stefan's eagerness to get into shotouts even when it was his own brainwashed dudes making the callouts. He made one crucial error, opting to discard a Yagn's-wearing Diego Linares when he had a Pedro also in the shootout. That influence loss enabled me to wrap the game up shortly after by playing out deeds.
Round 2 - Dan/Ledgerman's The Sanatorium
This was a tricky deck to deal with. He started with a good amount of influence and with his home he could boost it further. He also had Arnold McCadish to save dudes taken as casualties, so I had to play around that and boot Arnold before I could use Takin' Ya With Me to snipe his influence. To make things even more complicated, I also discovered he had ...It's who you know to start fights even when booted. This was a long game with a decent size town built up on both streets. I was holding onto both copies of Rumors for a long time before the opportunity to just squeeze a win came along.
Round 3 - Zach/Jordan Caldwell's Let's Cook
Unfortunately this game my deck didn't really get going. I drew mostly deeds, which isn't very helpful when you're up against Protection Racket and Raven as they can easily turn an attempt to landslide to victory against you. When I played a Blood Curse it was swiftly removed by Mugging. Zach's economy exploded and it wasn't long before I was having to try and deal with both The Fixer and Sloane herself. Without the tools to disrupt his gameplan and unable to challenge in shootouts, there wasn't much I could do to stop Zach from taking the win.
Round 4 - Victoria's Morgan Gadgetorium
Victoria's deck looked really interesting, starting both POST-A-TRON and Sister Lois Otwell - Blessed and Gadgets out of an Entrepreneurs home isn't something I'd ever seen before. I was worried that this was going to go a similar way to my previous game after seeing a lot of deeds in my first two hands, but then the Hexes showed up. Puppet again proved key as I was able to steal Kyle Wagner and his Bio-Charged Neutralizer and start a couple of fights. With that and Phantasm to control the board I felt more confident about playing all those deeds and ultimately built my way to victory.
Round 5 - Tom/Mad Pip Madestro's Protection Racket with Jasper Stone
Tom's was a really cool Johnny Ringo tower deck, and he played aggressively from the start. My deck was back to giving me hexes so I was able to start forcing moves and dancing around town, getting rid of Buford Hurley by Puppeting him and sending him into a shootout, but Tom's Bowie Knife thwarted my plan to have Buford take a dude with him. Tom's economy was impressive, as every time it looked like I'd dropped his influence low enough a new big dude would show up, including the likes of Alice Stowe and Sloane. Unfortunately the upkeep got to the point it was hard to sustain, especially with me trying to choke his economy, and Alice was discarded. Sloane booted at the California Tax Office for Protection Racket and I played Old Man McDroste who reduced her influence to zero and retook the office, putting tom in check. Marion Seville (Exp.1) hit play to try and save the day, but after he moved to town square I noticed Tom had spent his last ghost rock on hiring him and so the taxman came calling and Marion fled town.
A 4-1 record saw me to third place in the swiss standings, qualifying for the cut the next day where I faced a challenging opponent in the quarter finals.
Quarterfinals - Charles/TybarSunsong's Greateast (Trade) Show on Earth!
I knew this deck could cause me problems with high Entrepreneur influence, Yagn's Mechanical Skeleton and Decimator Array. Thankfully I saw a lot of hexes early, which really helped things along as I was able to negate the Yagn's with Phantom Fingers and keep moving Charles' dudes to where I wanted them with Phantasm. A combination of Rumors, Blood Curse, Puppet and Nicodemus Whateley ultimately sealed the game, which you can watch here.
Semifinals - Laura/nicolesumner's 108 Gracious Gifts
When I saw the home I thought this might be similar to Kamacausey's GenCon winning deck, which would cause me real problems with Amazing Grace. However it turned out to be a more straightforward aggro deck. Laura played against the previous version of this deck and quickly figured out what she was facing. After an initial turn one Kidnappin' on Micah, she was digging for more jobs to get rid of my Hucksters before more hexes hit play but unfortunately didn't find them. On my side the Hexes flowed and I was soon able to take control of the game for the win. You can watch this game here.
Finals - Lee/LPF's Law Dogs
Lee had an interesting starting posse - Thunder Boy, Lucy, Willa, Henry and Jake. This gave him plenty of starting ghost rock which he used to immediately start sending Bounty Hunter hunters after my hucksters. When this continued on day two, I changed tack and started to play more aggressively in response and take more risks. You already know the result, but if you want to see how this quick and bloody game ended you can watch it here.
This was a great long weekend, and Tombstone was a perfect venue for Doomtown. Thanks to the Pinebox crew for organising the event, and everyone else who attended for being great company away from the gaming tables and challenging opponents across it! Last but not least, I have to give a special mention to my MVP of the weekend, the breakfast bar at the Lookout Lodge and its supply of Yorkshire Tea! Without it I almost certainly wouldn't have been anywhere near as awake and on my game in the mornings :)
|Nov 02, 2019 jordan caldwell|
Nov 03, 2019
I have been eagerly waiting to see what this deck was all doing. All kinds of nasty little tricks, it seems. Nice. Admittedly I got inspired before I'd seen this to continue an old theme of mine and one which narratively makes even more sense now that I've seen this! If I make it to York in a couple of weeks time, I know what I'm packing. :) And congratulations once more! I was also inspired to pick up a copy of The Cackler to catch up on that story while I was here too. Glad I did.
Dec 04, 2019
Thank you so much for sharing your decks and strategies! Being a casual player, I find your write-ups most enlightening and fun to read. And seeing the deck in action in the videos is also very helpful.
Dec 05, 2019
Thanks! It's always nice to hear that people enjoy the write-ups and find them helpful.
Cool deck name!