My intention going into this event was to play a deck that used a bunch of newer cards. I wasn’t decided on a theme, so I was specifically looking at dudes, since your starting posse often determines what the rest of your deck can do. After reviewing the various options I settled on Entrepreneurs. Often you'll see decks in the faction that are centred around Gadgets or Horses (sometimes even Gadget Horses), and maybe the occasional dudes and deeds landslide. One thing that several of their dudes from recent expansions do is improve your deeds, or get bonuses when defending them. However, these dudes don't easily fit into the common archetypes as their values don't align with what those decks typically play. I wanted to play those guys.
Takahashi Jinrai looked like someone I could build a starting posse around. Jinrai’s Job makes your deeds more productive, allowing you to ramp up faster if you can defend your investments. I needed to play deeds to make use of that, so Morgan Cattle Co. seemed like the best home to go with. That meant starting Irving to get a 2GR discount on building deeds. Those three cards could combine nicely: Play a deed cheap with Irving, run Jinrai’s job to beef it up, and have Irving join the job posse to make a GR and go home safely afterwards. This meant I could look at pretty much any deed as a good investment that would pay off quickly and give me a strong economy. This could have been the foundation of a simple dudes and deeds landslide, but I had to consider opponents moving into town square early and opposing the job. If it didn’t happen on turn 1, then it would be more likely from turn 2 onwards, meaning that I’d have invested a lot in a combo I couldn’t use if I didn’t draw a suitable deed straight away. Therefore I had to have some ability to shoot. Since I’d be fighting at my own deeds in this scenario, I could make good use of Aunt Lou. I added Jen for more stud that would also persist when I moved away from my street, and then Willa to round out the starting posse and provide an emergency eject button for shootouts gone bad. This would let me build deeds, defend them early and then transition towards being more aggressive in the mid-late game.
With the idea of a strategy in my head I knew I wanted Make the Smart Choice and Pistol Whip in my deck, and I liked the look of other cards on those values so that locked in twos and fives as the core of the deck. "Handsome" Dan, Mr. Baird and Johnny Brocklehurst all supported my plan in some way. I could include "Aces" Radcliffe and Jack McCall too to add some shootout help. The deeds gave me a nice mix of efficient deeds and deeds with good effects but low production that I could make better through Jinrai. I wanted to be playing deeds to generate production and control points, while also being reasonable at shooting. I didn’t want to go with too tight a structure as I wanted to be winning lowball more often both for the first action and the GR. I ended up with a three value structure, but kept it relatively loose. This let me add more deeds than if I’d committed harder to a 3x16 shooting build, with the idea that I’d play the off-value dudes and deeds at the earliest opportunity, both strengthening my board state and my deck structure at the same time. Sevens ended up as my third value as they provided a couple of good, cheap dudes, some more deeds that Jinrai could boost, some Cheatin’ Resolutions, and the all-important Kidnappin'.
For the off value cards, I included Eli Leatherwood and Deadwood Dick as they’re newer stud dudes with good influence. For my deeds, The Joker's Smile is always helpful, Baird's Debt Collections combined well with the deck strategy, Pat's Perch provided out of town money and both Circle M Ranch and Hellstromme Plant #9 were efficient with good abilities and the Ranch keyword, which mattered as I had the Cattle Market. I would consider swapping Pat’s Perch for Clanton Ranch in the future to add another Ranch. I included the Iron Mole because as a Gadget and a Horse, it would activate both of Jen’s traits, but playing it wasn’t a priority. I only invented it once in six games, and that was when I had Diego Linares available to make the pull as there was no risk of him failing. While on the topic of Gadgets, the Electrostatic Pump Gun is only there so "Aces" has a Gadget Weapon to retrieve. Coachwhip! made the cut to increase my number of Cheatin’ Resolutions. I added Establishin' Who's in Charge because it fit the deck theme, and Hired Guns to help get the right dudes when I needed them. However, Establishin’ only got played once and Hired Guns not at all. I think I’d drop both for future games in favour of a Pinto and another Kidnappin’. Both are useful cards that would also strengthen the deck’s ability to shoot without affecting the chances of winning lowball too much.
Despite only six of my deeds being eligible for boosting with Jinrai, in all but one game I drew one of them in the first turn or two and was able to get a good economic base set up in any case thanks to the Morgan Cattle Company and loose structure providing regular lowball wins. Funnily enough while Jinrai is the focus of the deck and great for the first few turns his importance drops once you have some deeds out and so I never committed hard to defending him when he was targeted by jobs – he actually becomes one of your more expendable dudes and can be used to bait opponents.
Here’s a quick summary of things I remember from my games. I really should take notes for these month+ long events!
Game 1: Win vs Neramoor’s Fort 51
I built Baird’s Debt Collections and boosted it up. Dave wasn’t having any luck drawing Gadgets so his dudes instead ran over to my street and several skirmishes ensued. What looked like a bad trade off in a shootout where I lost Deadwood Dick to his Henry Moran actually made a vital difference in the Election Day Slaughter he ran later. It was a must-win shootout for both sides, and he unfortunately could do nothing but cheat despite having the stronger posse going in. A Bad Beat later and he had to lose a big chunk of influence.
Game 2: Loss vs alotoaxolotls’ House of Many Faiths
After some early dancing around I thought I’d managed to get the advantage after Pistol Whipping Steven Wiles from a shootout leaving a bunch of low bullet draw dudes, but luck shined on him as he got a Dead Man’s Hand and I had to retreat through Willa. I kept pushing and completely forgot about Hamshanks' trait as for various reasons it hadn’t mattered all game until a late shootout where he prevented me repeating the Pistol Whip manoeuvre. With his stud still in the posse and the deck further degenerated the Dead Man’s Hand was a far more likely outcome that time and I suffered too many losses.
Game 3: Win vs NoChildren64’s Desolation Row
I managed to come out ahead in some early skirmishes, although Jinrai was lost to an Ambush (Irving showed up to help his boss, but after collecting his money he saw the guns arrayed against them and Made the Smart Choice, leaving Jinrai to his fate). My street grew and the pressure was on the Outlaws, who without any surviving studs invaded Shane & Graves Security for some protection. Baird’s Debt Collectors came calling and the Gunslingers were laid off, leaving Fred Aims vulnerable and booted as Jinrai’s enforcers showed up to enact vengeance.
Game 4: Win vs RSDoom’s Jonah's Alliance
Russell’s Hexes kept going by in lowball, while I drew a lot of deeds and kept up the pressure through constantly expanding the town, eventually outmanoeuvring the Outlaws who split up and were easy to pick off one by one.
Game 5: Win vs hehasmoments’ Bayou Vermilion Railroad
This game was a bit of an odd one as I didn’t draw deeds early on. I did however see Agent Radcliffe who helped wreak havoc with his Pump Gun, leading an early Kidnappin’ on Dabney Scuttlesby and helping me play an aggressive game. Jinrai unfortunately fell when a Wretched interrupted one of his investment meetings, but that meant it couldn't participate in any other shootouts. After some very close and tense shootouts (and the booted Wretched being aced to build a new one) the scientists of the nefarious Bayou Vermilion Railroad and their villainous ally Ivor Hawley were defeated.
Quarterfinal: Loss vs hehasmoments’ Bayou Vermilion Railroad
The rematch saw a more traditional opening turn. Adam moved Valeria Batten and her Magnum Opus Tenebri to a deed he’d played in order to use his home ability. I attempted a Kidnappin’ but this time it didn’t quite pay off. Willa and a Pagliaccio butted heads and were discarded, and I decided to flee. Valeria then booted over to my deed to use the home ability there instead. Next turn my hand was geared towards shooting (a LeMat, a Pistol Whip and two other Cheatin’ Resolutions). Jinrai chased Valeria away and then I decided to push my luck and play the hand I had. I aggressively went after Adam’s Circle M Ranch, hoping to starve his economy as with Dabney and new hire Margaret Hagerty his stash was low and he had a lot of upkeep. Ambrose Douglas and The Wretched came to defend the deed, and I Pistol Whipped the Abomination. However my draw hand wasn’t great. After discarding some cards and then drawing the same values the best I could do was a cheatin’ 3oaK while Adam’s 2 draw resulted in a legal 4oaK. To make things worse he had a Ricochet too! Jinrai was my only remaining dude and he couldn’t stop Margaret from taking one of my deeds.
|Mar 27, 2021 DoomDog|
Mar 30, 2021
Overall how aggressive would you say people were about sitting on your deeds? I would definitely think quasi-slide upon seeing the home + starting posse (or at least assume the worst, at first), but I could see some opening lowball hands to make opponents have second thoughts. Just curious how aggressive people were.
Mar 30, 2021
Yeah, it definitely looks a little bit like slide. Most games people were quite aggressive, moving onto deeds by turn 2 if not turn 1 (especially the games I got Baird's Debt Collections out early on). I'd split my first two deeds either side of my home and then pick a dude to bully in those cases, and keep building up the street whichever side had fewer opposing dudes on it.
Roberto Muratore is another one of "those guys", but I really wanted to run the twos. Fitting him in with enough Experimental Gadgets to make his ability worthwhile was just too tricky.