House of Many Dead Men v2 - 2020 Gencon Marshal Winner

published Sep 21, 2020 | | |
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Derived from
House of Many Dead Men - 1st place OCTGN & WI Peace Keeper 2 4 0
Inspiration for
None yet

Prodigy 636

The list I took to an undefeated record in the online Gencon Marshal badge event. Check out the 'derived from' for plenty of thoughts that I don't need to repeat here.

I saw alotoaxolotls tweaked my original list a bit and played it in a couple of earlier online events, so I wasn't originally intending to play this in the gencon event, but I saw he wasn't playing in either the Ranger, nor this event, so I tweaked it last minute to submit my decklist shortly before the deadline. For an event with 2 hour games, this deck could not be better suited (and online making for instant-shuffles helps too). While it has its weaknesses, it's ability to power through bad match-ups is hard to overstate. It has all sorts of tools to plug those weaknesses, and the sheer volume of card cycle (usually 5-6 new cards in hand each round), plus the home ability, means you can often find anything you need very quickly. Then later on, you use those tools to set up your DMH hands, and it's a very difficult beast to face.

Some noteworthy changes from the original:

1) Changed out miracles, #onward proved pretty awesome, as it not only shuts down Sun in Yer Eyes and a host of bullet-reducing abilities, and paves the way for Xui Yin Chen, but also stops opposing Outgunned, and even Point Blank in certain cases if you are able to cast 2 of them for +2 bullets to all. I kind of wish I'd kept one cheatin' res miracle, but they proved to never be needed when I'm constantly at rank 11 (they can get a cheatin rank 10 all day long for all this deck cares!). An occasional This'll Hurt served anti-cheatin well enough, but it was a concern in a couple of cases.

2) More, and varied dudes: this proved crucial more than once. Steven Wiles is certainly the best 8 of clubs for this deck, but sometimes he gets aced, or sometimes you want more than one 8 of clubs on the board, and sometimes you just need to run [some vigilante justice(/en/card/07002) on Fred Aims or someone that invaded your home early in the game! I love having a toolbox set of dudes with a full suite of Hired Guns

3) Less OoT deeds, more deeds with CPs and with higher values to succeed more pulls. Still has enough OoT deeds to really pull in whatever money is needed, plus having those extra CP was key to forcing opponents to spread out, and once the eventual TS fight came, they were in a dangerous position of either giving up a bunch of CPs to defend the TS, or to not have dudes to help win the TS shootout.

4) Rumors instead of Reserves. More CPs meant a real risk of getting blown out turn 3-4 as they take mine over, and before I'm able to get a permanent Xui Yin Chen or T'ou on the board. Of course Wiles helps here, but Rumors would help ensure I made it until my Inf was built up. This was never intended for a surprise win, as there really aren't enough CPs in the deck for that to happen in most cases. Rumors also served as a fantastic way to use my deeds that opponents sat on (especially The Joker's Smile) without needing a dude there.

The only big mistake I regret making in deck building was taking out Virginia Ann Earp. She was in a recent iteration, but foolishly was removed to add another deed. Calling The Cavalry isn't as much of a pain as cards like Force Field, since CtC isn't nearly as reliable/steady, but it's still nice to be able to shut it, and all hand rank bumping down.

Game 1 vs Trey (HangedMan) with Regulators w/ Raven

His Maggie got horses out fast, and I started putting out deeds about 1 a turn or so. So did he, he had a decent income, hired plenty of extra influence. Once it got to the point of him having 6 CP (5 CP + Raven), the chess match began - ultimate chess match of all time. Tons of movement was required to get my influence spread out, and he had 2 Mustangs plus Jon Longstride, plus Morgan Regulators, plus Hellstromme Plant #9 for a crazy amount of movement! I was just barely able to match it with the help of my home, amazing grace, Asakichi Cooke, and Daomei Wang. Because of that, each turn took very long, and this would be my one timed-win, as toward the end I was degenerated enough and was winning shootouts, but did not have time enough to seal a proper win.

G2 opponent dropped :(

G3 LastWalter with (Harlaths?) Regulators

We both good solid economy deeds out early, and our economies both exploded. He sat on all in town deeds for much of the game (except Maza Gang), but my out of towns just fueled a lot. Somewhat early on the chess started, and he had to use all his dudes to sit on both his and my deeds, but he didn't quite have enough. Eventually around the 50 min mark he Run 'Em Down! Asakichi, who fought solo, and wasn't saved because of a failed pull on Arielles Lay On Hands. That was the only dude I'd ever lose, I think. From then on every shootout hand of mine was a DMH, due to Wiles, T'ou, Xui Yin Chen, other studs, plus a host of draws, often pulling 15 or more cards into hand. His CtC enabled another rank 11 as well, but Arielle saved that one. The big fight in the TS went 2 or 3 rounds, but was cut short when he cheated and my THiTM bumped him from a rank 8 to a rank 2, making him down by 9 and only 4 dudes left in the shootout. He got good economy, maneuvered well, but didn't find enough early forced aggression.

Roughly 1 hr 30 minutes

G4 zenarchist Full Moon Brotherhood + Hank

I had a somewhat slow start, and facing Mason Adler I knew would be an uphill battle. All my 3 starting blessed are within Mason range, so that was very scary. My main plan was to dig as hard as I could for Pedros and Lay on Hands (both would save me vs Mason) while building up my economy. zenarchist didn't immediately start going crazy with Mason, fearing I'd just join with my low grit dudes and deny him any stud (which is extra bad for his SF/straight draw structure). He did run the job a couple of times, acing Ariele and a Stevie who wandered too far away from the protection of his buddies at home (went to one of zenarchists deeds). But eventually I found a pedro to take my Father Diamond out of range, and while I did have Gabriel Prior hired and he was easily targeted, I did start building up the studs in Xui Yin and T'ou. Each turn Wiles was either hired, or stayed on the board once my economy was enough, so thats when I finally started shootouts. First against his solo Mason on my deed. First round of the shootout he used Red River Roulette (fun card!), then next one he used Takin' Cover and Comin' Up Roses to make himself into a SF rank 9. So after two rounds of my DMH in a row and still no dead Mason, he fled.

The game was getting late, and I filed into the TS for the next shootout - if I could clear him out of there I might be able to then walk into his deeds for a win. We both had tons of stud (I think he was drawing 10 or 11, and I was drawing the same plus 5ish redraw). Each of the 3 rounds I managed a DMH, but one of them required a joker (which thankfully I was able to keep cycling back in my deck due to Jokers Smile). The other 2 rounds I ended up discarding a joker, having made DMH naturally. After the first round he was down quite a bit, but used Red River Roulette. The 2nd round he got to a cheatin rank 10 (increased to 2 casualties for him). The next round he was down 4, and taking out Mason that pretty much ended the game not terribly long before time would have been up (just inside the 10 minute warning).

We both had great economy most of the game, mine just took a little longer to get up initially (I decided to play out one of my Jacksons Strikes to speed things up, sacrificing a small bit of my DMH potential, but it ended up worth it, and something I would do in most future games). He mentioned he should have given the bowie knife on travis over to Mason to be able to more safely run his job, and that would have spurred me into fighting earlier than I would have been comfortable with. I did have a Lay on Hands ready to rescue a Mason target, but that fails about 25-30% of the time so it would have been risky. Toward the end of the game I really don't even need the blessed, but they are nice to have to use the home with to help ensure DMH, at least the first round of the shootout.

1 hr 50 mins

G5 Shekky's Des Row

Luck saw a Lost to the Plague turn 2 for me, which bought me all the time I needed to build up economy and tons of dudes. Also luckily for me, he didn't see any of his (2?) kidnappins or who knows what other jobs in his deck, except for a late game Heist. Avoiding shootouts at all costs likely left him with a clogged hand of clubs and no good way to cycle them.

When the time was right, I used Hired Guns for the Judge Harry Somerset (Exp.1), planning to take out his Fred and win the game on the spot. Before I could run the job, however, he played Sloane (Exp.1), and while I was still in a good position it wouldn't be an immediate game over if the Judges job was successful (which it was, with my DMH to his flush, vs the lone Fred who was a 2 stud thanks to my Cliff's #4 Saloon).

The next turn was just an action or two of using the home and setting up my deck for the next job to target Sloane herself. After using Onward, I was able to use T'ou to unboot my Xui, and Shekky called gg at that point. With me drawing 17 cards in hand (and only 22, 23 cards in deck), there was basically no chance I'd ever miss a DMH.

Shekky did well denying as much income and building up CPs as quick as he could, but without Allie it was a very uphill battle. His Nightmare at Noon, which he played in the first shootout, was a real threat, especially if he was the Winner and got it off before my Onward Christian Soldiers, but I always had at least one 3-stud in the fight, who could subsequently become protected from further bullet shenanigans by Onward.

1:20 mins ish

Top 8 Zenarchist Full Moon Brotherhood + Hank

Certainly the most terrifying rematch - Mason is just so good against my deck. I'd rather face a Judge deck any day, at least I can get those dudes back with Hired Guns. Not against Mason! My biggest nightmare scenario would be finding no Pedros and him getting a turn 1 Bowie Knife for Mason.

As feared, no Pedro in my opening hand, and he equips Mason with a Bowie Knife first turn. Ariele is the day 1 casualty, and Mason eats Stevie day 2. Finally day 3 I am able to dig enough to find a Pedro, and the good Father is saved. (I imagine a hilarious scene of all my Blessed making a mad dash toward the donkey, with Mason hot on their trail and snatching them up one by one along the way. Finally Father Diamond hops on the donkey, and the big mean werewolf is scared off by its... stench?)

That buys me some breathing room to build up a bit. It's not long before his 2 CP Concordia Cemetery, another deed, and 3 of my deeds that he is sitting on puts me into check (6CP to my 5 Inf). I have no studs, so if the Fathers Amazing Grace fails, it's likely over for me as it's unlikely I'll be able to push him off a deed. When a play is missed I normally don't think twice about letting the opponent take it retrospectively, as happened turn 1 letting him use the cemetary after the fact, but perhaps that karma helped make my pull to keep me in the game.

From then on I dug for Xui Yin Chen (who was 1 grit away from Mason range), who hit the board next turn, and that was enough real breathing room to seriously build up. Lots of building up eventually led to me playing T'ou, and Mason immediately pouncing on him. Mason had a whole zoo following him, with a pedro and 2 kitties, and along with Hank to back him he had quite the casualty soak. I also had a booted Inner Struggle on me, and I feared a constant cheatin 5oaK. That's what happened, but luckily I had kept a This'll Hurt in the Mornin' in hand and bumped him down to 4oaK. A dead cat and a dead mule later, we went another round. My DMH to his SF meant only 1 casualty, which Hank soaked up to send Mason home.

Some chess and building up later, we started to get closer to time. I made my way with everyone into the town square to murder a poor, lone Travis. From there it was each of us doing some last minute maneuvering to take deeds (mostly him taking my deeds) and see where a fight might go. It ended up with a hail mary Mason job on T'ou, who couldn't face the unending DMHs.

Closest and toughest game this deck had ever faced, and with Mason being much more aggressive this time around it really slowed down my deck and almost won him the game. Well played by Zenarchist, and with so many things to keep track of (between Mason and all the dudes, both homes that had interesting interactions, lots of deeds, spells, etc etc) it was a mind-melter of a game.

Forgot to record the length of this game, but 1 hr 45 mins maybe?

Top 4: Tybar with Smith & Robards

Only knowing I was facing gadgets, I was very worried particularly about force field. Another big concern was "Dead" Billy Jonesy and Decimator Arrays for attrition, and I could be in trouble. My plan going into this was to get my economy going as quick as possible, and to make sure I dug for Lost to the Plague to slow down his economy via William Specks, for the eventual force field money denial. The only other way I could potentially lose is a big loss of Inf on my side and a surge of CP from him, so I'd always keep a Hired Guns or Steven Wiles in hand to protect against that. Other than that, I'd try to get at least some sort of bounty on his dudes, because this game was very likely to be about attrition, and The Judge would be huge in giving a disposable body every day.

Luckily for me I'd face no Dead Billy (in the deck, but never found), nor Decimator Arrays (not in his deck) - but I did face a T1 kidnappin vs my Randall (solved my bounty problem, I guess!). I let it pass, knowing I'd easily be able to Hired Guns him back in a turn or two (which took a few turns, but only because I got an Amazing Grace and wasn't worried about Inf - instead I put that money into deeds to heavily build economy). I'm not sure if it was lack of finding deeds, or lack of them in deck, but Tybar did not have much in the way of deeds and economy until at least mid game (it didn't help that I plagued his Specks on day 1, who eventually got another Plague and was discarded before the 3upkeep became too much).

There was a solid hour or so of build up, once or twice me flirting with accepting a shootout, before I was confident in my dudes on board and draw structure (and with tons of influence, money, and no worry about being in check I had all the time I needed). As usual, this deck doesn't make for great viewing matches, and as I've said in the previous versions write up, because of that it's not something you'd take to a friends house or a casual event. Just plenty of boring deck fixing, and building up, until the shootouts begin.

And then the shootouts begin, a new pain arises: attrition. With Tybars force fields, he can never really lose - money becomes his primary resource at that point to keep bumping up to my rank 11. An occasional Pinned Down takes out my Xui Yin + Pedro, but while my losses are more severe the first couple shootouts, they are more replaceable (via hired guns, and other more transient dudes like Wiles, & Doemei).

It's definitely a slog, but with my losses being entirely replaceable and his not as much, every shootout I get further ahead until eventually I run the Judges job on Jen (who has at least 3-4 bounty at this point from fighting on my deeds and the first turn kidnappin). In the end, even if he had enough money to keep up with my constant DMHs, he cannot keep up with a 1-1 trade of casualties. Of note on DMHs, I believe this was the first game where I had a single shootout hand I didn't get a DMH (legal full house instead) - and would be my only non-DMH shootout hand the entire event (save for the 2 times Mason ran his job on my blessed, which I accepted even at 0 stud 0 draw because they would be aced anyway, and I wanted cards in my discard).

Little over 2 hours, as we agreed to no real time limits, but I believe at any point beyond the 1 hour mark or so, I was well ahead on tie-breakers because this deck has stupid amounts of influence

Finals vs Blargg w/ Office of Ancestral Affairs w/ Doc Holiday (aka: Doctors Office!)

The only thing I heard about this deck going into it was he was running DMH, like me. I figured this might be a very long game if he didn't have early and consistent targeted removal, and that was indeed the case - this Epic transpired well over 3 hours (some time was taken to re-set up the board after the game crashed, and some breaks)! I will edit this when the youtube links of the game are up, but be warned of it's length!

I saw relatively early he was running a somewhat tight deck (certainly a whole lot tighter than mine). Me winning most lowballs in the first half of the game, plus his general lack of economy (not helped by a couple of Lost to the Plague on Tsintah), meant I had a big economic advantage. Since we were going 1 game untimed, I also had all the time in the world to build up since he apparently didn't have any targeted removal in his deck.

The first day was rather explosive for Blargg, as turn 1 lowball he hits 2 of my 8 of clubs (1 rumors, 1 This'll Hurt) with a This'll Hurt of his own, and without any money to pay for them, I permanently lost half of one of my DMH values! I thought that move alone may have been the end of me, and when he followed that with a day 1 Turtles Guard and a Sun-Touched Raven, I also thought my attrition advantage was gone as well. I was excited in hopes for Blargg to win this, and while that was a great start, I didn't intend to degrage the badge by not at least trying!

Some maneuvering to stop his OoT jacksons strike whenever possible, along with Blargg running a couple of Meet The New Boss, was most of the action for the first half, outside of the fun on day 1. Once my deck was mostly degenerated, and all my off-value dudes (and some on-value) on the table, I came out swinging - and thus started the attrition war. Tons and tons of TS shootouts followed, with me getting a DMH every time, and him getting them... maybe half the time or so? That alone was enough for me to come ahead in the attrition war, and each dude I discarded was either a A or 8 of clubs that I woud likely cycle back into the deck the next upkeep anyway (assuming I had some to play from my hand). Lay On Hands also helped once in awhile (when it didn't fail). Early on in the battle for TS I realized I could get a DMH every single turn, no matter what, since I was drawing my entire deck, so I hired Allie Hensman to continually put the pressure on and eventually force things one way or the other. She ended up helping in exactly the sort of situation I imagined I'd need her for, and eventually I just grinded it out.

I think Blarggs only real chance was to try and build up his economy as best he could, get his non-DMH values on the table, and try to match my rank 11 each round. I think that's probably what he tried, but it didn't help that he kept putting Sun-Touched Raven back in the deck for casualties, and overall his economy wasn't good enough until near the end. Tough situation for him, and not sure what other options he had - once my deck hits a certain point, only a very specific, limited amount of tools can combat it, and if you don't have those tools, you're out of luck.

Roughly 3 hours, or a bit more


I regret denying a new Marshal to be crowned, but as my original Marshal win required my top 4 opponent to drop, I always felt I was a faux-marshal to begin with. Blargg, and every opponent of mine were good sports despite playing against this filth, which is more than I could expect in this very competitive event (yet is the norm for the Doomtown community!). As always, very grateful for this and the other online events, and will be happy to drop from any top 8 of upcoming non-Worlds badge events for the foreseeable future.

As I've said in the previous version's write up, this wasn't a particularly fun deck to play against, and all the long games were draining to pilot/endure, so to reiterate: this is not a good deck for 55 min timed games, and it's also not a deck you should casually play against friends unless they know what they're getting into!

There has been a lot of discussion about DMH in general over on Discord, but I'm firmly in the camp that I don't think it's overpowered or unfair under normal circumstances - this 2 hour tournament time for games was likely the biggest factor in the recent successes of DMH decks in the online events. It's still something to keep an eye on, as of course it gets better over time as the A/8/J card pool expands. Perhaps that expansion is what is finally prompting people to give it a try, whereas previously it was viewed as 'not good'?. Curious to hear thoughts from others who took DMH to any of these recent events.

1 comments
Sep 22, 2020 Prodigy

Was asked a couple times why no Xiaodan Li. 2 reasons, one is the starting GR is just too tight. And 2, that means I have to take another card out, and there really isn't much wiggle room in this list, at least for its designed purposes. At most if I had to make any change it would be to take out one deed to add Virginia Ann Earp. Xiaodans cheap casualty body is just not needed in this deck.