Desolation Row means heavy aggro, right? Run into town square, boot Allie, run the job, get bounties, monies and control(ies). Shoot anyone who gets in the way and Kidnap' those who don't. Laying down the home is basically saying 'get ready for a T1 murderblender'.
Well, that's not how we did things in this Desolation Row.
This deck ducked, weaved, cheated and ultimately stole the win at the first London Round-Up in quite some time.
I actually built this deck just before heading over to Tombstone back in late 2019, and it was intended for multiplayer. It's sneaky and opportunistic, looking to skulk around and slowly build up CP on dudes rather than go all-in on an early rush. We did start the multiplayer game but had to call it just as things were getting interesting. Since then it had languished in a deck box throughout the pandemic, not even making it onto my dtdb account until now.
As Weird West Edition cards are still a few months out, this event was using Old Timer format. I was looking at things to try that I wouldn't be able to play any more once Weird West Edition becomes the new standard, and sorting through my cards before the event I found this deck again. I'd had fun playing it, I'd never taken Desolation Row to an event before, and quite a few of the cards that make the deck work will be rotating out. I thought I'd bring it along and see how it did in one-on-one matches.
Here's a quick rundown of the deck's tricks:
Frank Stillwell is the most annoying dude in Doomtown. I love him, and sent him (just him) on a first turn first action Desolation Row job every game. Either he got away with it or my opponent booted dudes into town square to stop him and he ran away. Whenever there was a good opportunity to send him on the job, I usually took it. In later turns he was also good for booting over to deeds to cause a different kind of headache.
Frank running around town causing chaos created opportunities. Sometimes I was able to sneak Allie into town square to grab a cheeky control point, or get Lawrence onto an opposing deed. If a threat appeared, they'd follow their trusty hounds to somewhere safe. Sometimes one of my dudes would rob my opponent's deed, and sneak off through the Back Ways when security showed up. Once a few little crimes had been committed, those Blueticks and Back Ways also proved useful for getting past opponents to stir up more trouble. Destroying Evidence was another way to open up opportunities, or raising the notoriety of one of my gang members to become a controlling presence in the town.
Very rarely did I go looking for a fight, and when I did it was because I had Barton Everest to lead the way or a dude with a mean Pearl-Handled Revolver. Even then, I was trying to pick unfair fights. The deck has a shootout structure, but it isn't the greatest, so wading into a big town square fight early on isn't a good idea. It's also very light on Cheatin' Resolutions, which is another point against it for the 'paint the town red' approach.
I've only listed two starting dudes, because I built the deck with a few flexible options in mind depending on the matchup. Across four games I ended up with three different starting gangs (maybe four, I can't quite recall who I started in my first game).
Game 1 vs Andrew Davidson's The Sanatorium
Start: Ike, Frank, Makaio or Lawrence, Allie, Jake
I wasn't quite sure what to expect here, so I think I hedged with a big influence start. Andrew was playing Jia Mein Conditions, but ended up having a hard time finding hexes and conditions. We both ended up with a few deeds in play and my Outlaws danced around the town and ended up ahead. I managed to pick off dudes who had split up, and Jia's attempt to save the day with a Forced Quarantine fizzled badly with a straight to my 4oaK. Maybe trying to defeat the dudes known for wearing face coverings by unleashing a plague wasn't the best plan in hindsight.
Game 2 vs Dave Woof's The 108 Righteous Bandits
Start: Ike, Frank, Lawrence, Allie, Jake
I went with the big influence + Allie start because I was expecting slide from Dave. What I got was a T'ou Chi Chow-starting Dead Man's Hand deck. This was a massively fun chess game of cat and mouse as Chow ran around town trying to catch my wrong'uns. Crucially I managed to bring in more backup, while Dave didn't get any dudes with influence to stick in play other than Chow and Randall from his starting gang. The game went to time and we each had three control points but I had more influence.
Game 3 vs Dan Vandenburg's The Spiritual Society
Start: Ike, Frank, Allie, Barton, Willa
I'd played the Weird West Edition version of Dan's deck in the online Marshal a couple of weeks earlier, so I figured I should bring a stud as his deck could be quite aggressive. It didn't really help as Mariel Lewis and friends had me beat in influence so I couldn't attempt a big fight, and Dan wanted dudes in town square which made it hard to create space to do things. Barton tried to fight them all alone and won one round but couldn't last the distance. With the First Peoples closing on my home in preparation for an ...It's who you know callout I attempted to instead fight on my terms and launched a Kidnappin' attempt on Mariel with a bunch of draw dudes. While the fight was closer than I'd expected and went into a third round, my luck ran out there as it turned out Dan had been holding multiple Cheatin' Resolutions and most of my influence took a one-way trip to Boot Hill.
We'd decided on three rounds and a final, and due to how the head-to heads ended up I was second place and in a rematch with the undefeated Dan in the final.
Final vs Dan Vandenburg's The Spiritual Society
Start: Ike, Frank, Lawrence, Makaio, Willa
I decided I wasn't going to try and fight Dan's deck and instead try and build up a bit. Dan wasn't having any luck with deeds or with drawing cards that let him fight early. Meanwhile I got some Chasubles, cheap dudes and a stud gun alongside some deeds, and we started skirmishing. I managed to pick off Marcia Ridge in the town square after Pistol Whipping Steven Wiles who was playing bodyguard. That really helped me be a bit more aggressive as Mariel was less of a threat and I ran a couple of Des Row jobs en-masse to build up bounties and get more GR. Dan's economy woes brought the game to a bit of an anticlimactic end, as having borrowed from the bank for lowball and then lost, he couldn't afford to pay both Nathaniel Tuwikaa and Mariel and had to discard one of them. This left him in check on a turn I'd where also drawn a bunch of deeds.
With a win, a win at time and a loss I wouldn't call this deck particularly effective for one-on-one games, but it was still a lot of fun to play. The victory felt a little undeserved after Dan had just beaten me in the previous game to end Swiss undefeated only to lose in the finals rematch after his deck didn't get running.
Many thanks to Dan for organising the event, and the London playgroup for being great fun to play against. The online events have scratched the itch over the last couple of years, but they aren't the same as playing Doomtown in person. You miss a lot of the table talk, bluffing, and all the other psychological elements. Not to mention hanging out with friends! It was good to sling cardboard again.
|Mar 03, 2022 Prodigy|