Here’s my deck from the online Ranger event. It was fun to play and worked well enough; a 3-2 record in swiss saw me make the cut only to fall victim to the fickle nature of the shuffle in the quarterfinals, losing a crucial shootout that looked heavily in my favour (a fair result since it was a rematch versus my round 1 opponent, who had won that first game).
I wanted to play with some of the newer Legends for this event and the Gencon Online one. Doc Holliday seemed fun, and was one I hadn’t used much before. I also wanted to try out a Melee Weapon deck with Shan Fan Showdown. Looking at my options, a Law Dogs deck using Father Tolarios to grab Miracles and Mystical Melee Weapons seemed the way to go. Tolarios’ skill of 2 was high enough to be worth running with Doc Holliday, and a Fury or two in play would boost it further.
To spice things up even more I decided I wouldn’t rely on old favourites and so didn’t have Phil, Tommy, Thunder Boy and Hattie in the deck. I left Amazing Grace at home as well; it’s a bit too good. For their replacements, I went with Johnny Brocklehurst as his ability works nicely with the Law Dogs home, reducing the number of dudes you need to boot to place bounties. By using it on Agent Provocateur I wouldn’t be booting out an otherwise mobile dude to spread bounties for Tolarios to exploit. After a couple of turns I expected I’d have a dude to replace her with, and this was often the case. Her immobility only really hurt me in the quarterfinals, because I couldn’t seem to draw a dude at all to replace her with. Padre Ernesto de Diaz was a solid choice as a backup Blessed and stud. Consecration was my go-to card for Tolarios on the first turn as I could give it to Ernesto and he’d have a Miracle he could boot to use his trait without losing access to its ability. His trait provided me an essential card at the right moment a number of times throughout the tournament.
Unlike my deck from the name-a-card event, this deck isn’t particularly clever and well thought out. I built it in a hurry, and there were a couple of weird interactions I had to work around as a result. If I used Shan Fan Showdown, I wouldn’t have the safety blanket Get Behind Me, Satan! provides for that shootout. This didn’t end up being a problem in my games, but it was something I had to be aware of. The other was Doc Holliday and Bounty Hunter. I’d put the Hunters in for more force-fight options. I was quite light on deeds with control points and heavily invested in cards that did stuff in shootouts, so they were definitely a good pick for later turns once Tolarios had done a bit of setup. However I couldn’t use them the same way I would in a regular Law Dogs deck to pick off isolated dudes, as thanks to Doc’s drawback they suffered a -2 stud penalty when fighting solo. I added some Pintos to the deck so I could have a Blessed ride in to remove the penalty in the event I needed to snipe a dude. I feel I should also mention Forsaken Hound here. It doesn’t get a lot of love, but worked well in tandem with the Bounty Hunter callout. Preventing an opposing dude from fleeing after the first round proved very useful. The downside to Bounty Hunter versus a removal job is that you often don’t see the dude you were after removed as a casualty, and your opponent can then run away after the first shootout round to save them if things aren’t looking good.
On the note of being light on control points, I included a copy of Sentinel to help in that regard. Against a passive opponent, or when I wasn’t drawing my deeds with control, I could have Tolarios repeatedly grab it and slowly accumulate extra control points that way. I should really have included a copy of Erik Samson as he’d be perfect for the deck, but I realised that a bit too late. Sheriff Eli Waters wielding Jael’s Guile is great at playing whack-a-cheater.
I’d probably swap the one Rapier for another copy of the Hound. With Tolarios being able to grab the Furies and the Guile I didn’t feel I really needed it. As I often had multiple on-table Cheatin’ Resolutions in play early I’d switch one of I’m Your Huckleberry or Ricochet for Erik Samson, because I think he’d work really well in here.
Game 1 vs. DirkPortly’s No Law But God’s Law (House of Many Faiths/Grimme)
Much like our clash in the name-a-card event, this was a tense two hour epic with plenty of movement and skirmishing. With time approaching one of my dudes (sadly can’t remember who) got into a fight with one of his Blessed out at the High Stakes Haven. If I won the shootout, I’d have won the game, so it was an appropriate venue. However the shootout resulted in a tie. The result reduced DirkPortly to zero influence, but I didn’t have many deeds under my control and my only remaining influence was booted in town square. He had quite a few control points so while our control and influence totals were tied after time out he had the greater winning margin. A truly unusual finish!
Game 2 vs. hehasmoments’ Don’t Want No Studs (Full Moon Brotherhood/Andrew Lane)
I’d played against this deck in the name-a-card event and so was aware of its many tricks, and wasn’t anywhere as near well equipped to deal with them as the previous event. However Lady Luck decided to favour me in this encounter and I drew well in several shootouts despite my studs losing their silver bullets. This saw me drive his dudes away from my deeds and gain the positioning advantage, eventually dispatching every last Fearmonger to boot hill.
Game 3 vs. TybarSunsong
Unfortunately this game fell victim to scheduling conflicts on his end so he conceded the round.
Game 4 vs. DrCthulhu (108 Gracious Gifts)
DrCthulhu’s starting posse, opening lowball hand and first turn plays all pointed towards a landslide deck so I played accordingly, tried to control his production as best I could and hoped to draw dudes. I read the deck correctly. I saw a couple of dudes with influence early on and some out of town deeds to keep my economy healthy. An early Kidnappin’ took care of Randall after Hamshanks wandered off to try and take one of my deeds. After a few turns I felt I was managing well enough to start fishing for Sentinel. A couple of extra control points from that, plus managing to take out a few more of his dudes thanks to drawing my force fight cards or jumping them when they were booted out of position eventually saw me to victory.
Game 5 vs Khudzlin’s Drunken Flushes (108 Drunken Masters)
I didn’t have a great opening hand for dealing with a deck I knew would very quickly start attacking me so decided I’d try and fight Khudzlin on the first turn, hoping to cause a casualty or two before his hand size rocketed and the Kung Fu became unmanageable. This didn’t go as well as it could as he had a couple of Faster on the Draws and we tied the first shootout round. I used Get Behind Me, Satan to prevent a loss and saw Xiaodan Li discarded. I should have left the shootout there, but I wasn’t thinking straight. Playing this game late in the evening, straight after a long game in the online Gencon event, certainly didn’t help me. Bai Yang Chen ran away and then came Lunar Leaping back into the shootout to Combo into Rabbit Takes Revenge, as of course after the first shootout round there were now a load of Kung Fu cards in Khudzlin’s discard pile. Oops. Tolarios got kicked into oblivion, and then next turn the Anarchists returned to Kidnap Padre Ernesto. With most of his dudes booted at home after the job I took a chance that he wouldn’t have more than one way to jump into a shootout left in his hand. I hired Ambrose and sent him to try and Kidnap Forster Cooke to give me a way back into the game. Unfortunately for Ambrose, Khudzlin had two Stakes Just Rose and a Lunar Leap left (and one to spare). Up against a full posse he was pummelled into the ground. Next turn the Anarchists came for Johnny Brocklehurst, and I conceded the game.
Quarterfinals vs DirkPortly’s No Law But God’s Law (House of Many Faiths/Grimme)
This game I drew Pinned Down a lot, a card that would have been great to have in the previous game. After a couple of turns of setup, some early skirmishing saw me eventually take out the Pinned Down Shi Long Peng. Thanks to DirkPortly drawing well across three rounds and using the Resolution on It’s Not What You Know... when I was winning I had to use Get Behind Me, Satan and lost a Forsaken Hound and Willa Mae to achieve that victory, but it seemed worth it. A shootout the next round saw Xiaodan Li fall to a Bounty Hunter with far less resistance, and the Anarchists retreated home giving me control over town square. I used Sentinel to grab a couple of control points while chasing DirkPortly’s dudes around town. I had a good economy set up but I wasn’t seeing any dudes in my play hand, which became a problem when he started to build more deeds. I felt I could just about hold onto things for another turn. I had Sentinel on Tolarios to let him move to a deed, chase away an Anarchist and return to town square, and a Pinto on Padre so he could ride in from DirkPortly’s General Store to help Johnny Brocklehurst defend town square without booting. Ernesto was called into battle after Master Shou advanced to challenge Johnny. With the Padre buffed up to four stud and Johnny providing a draw, against a Pinned Down Shou and his buddy The Tombstone Haint looking at one stud no draw, I was feeling confident as I drew my hand. All spades and clubs save for Pat’s Perch, and then no other eights. My one draw didn’t improve matters so I had to go with a cheatin’ four-of-a-kind. Amusingly DirkPortly had commented earlier that I would never need to cheat with my high-bullet studs. DirkPortly revealed a Joker-assisted legal full house, his Ricochet took out Ernesto and then It’s Not What You Know... made the round a tie. This took Johnny down too for the game. Checking my deck afterwards, of course the next card would have got me a legal full house and I’d have been able to negate the casualty from It’s Not What You Know... with Get Behind Me Satan, but ultimately it wasn’t to be.
Overall this was another fun tournament, thanks to my opponents for the great games and Pinebox Entertainment for running the event!