The Marshall event at the UK Games Expo was meant to be the first in-person event with the new Weird West Edition base set cards. Unfortunately delays due to the pandemic and the global shipping situation meant that the new edition cards hadn't yet shipped. The decision was taken to go ahead with the event as a Weird West Edition one, but allowing proxies of the new cards. I had some ideas, but my printer wasn't playing along. I didn't want to hand-write cards on scraps of paper, so I decided to see what I could put together with the existing cardpool (the Weird West Edition tournament format includes all the sets released by Pine Box Entertainment) and cards that would be reprinted in the new base set with no functional changes.
3-5-7 Sloane Gang is pretty much the classic Outlaw deck from the early days of Reloaded, and it was something I could easily put together with the cards available to me. The only changes I'd really look at making to this deck with the full Weird West Edition cardpool would be to swap Seth Bullock for Baker Andrews, drop Cheyenne Club down to one copy, get rid of Crystal Palace and add two Sherman Mortgages. I'd probably have ended up going with Cattle Market or Hunter Protections over Ike's Place too.
This type of deck is what's called a Control Blitz deck - one that aims to generate lots of control points quickly and force your opponent to do something to stop you. The game plan is to move into town square early on and sit there generating control points with Allie Hensman and The Sloane Gang, while also adding deeds to your side of the street. Because the plan centres around booting dudes in town square, leaving them vulnerable, the deck also needs to be ready to fight, hence the stacked 3 value structure (15-15-13). The starting gang has one 2-stud dude in Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz, and effectively another in Jacqueline Isham, since hopefully your opponent will feel forced to call you out thus activating her effect. Unless your opponent has a hand full of shootout actions early on, this should give you a decent chance at a legal full house or better. The action cards and goods are focused around getting you more studs and removing dudes and bullets from your opponent's posse in a shootout.
My off value cards were a couple of Cheatin' Resolutions, Pete Spence, and General Store. The Cheatin' Resolutions took me up to 4 Cheatin' action cards, which I feel is the bare minimum for a shootout focused deck. This is however supplemented by the LeMat Revolver goods in this deck. Off value Cheatin' Resolution actions can catch your opponent by surprise if they end up in your play hand before they hit the discard pile, and once they're in your play hand you tend to keep them there until needed so they hopefully won't be showing up in your shootout hands as often. Since the deck ideally wants to keep all its dudes in town square, I went with Pete and the General Store as a way to get Pearl-Handled Revolvers and LeMats onto my dudes without them needing to move to a deed and risk being picked off by a job while on their own.
My first game was against Andrew D, who had also brought a Sloane Gang deck. We each had a two stud dude and Jacqueline in our starting gangs, so neither of us wanted to make the first callout. This led to an odd first few turns as our dudes sat in town square staring each other down as they did their thing. I decided to open hostilities when I drew my second Pistol Whip. Removing Andrew's studs from the fight caused a loss of influence that forced Ike Clanton to leave home and try to avenge his fallen comrades or lose the game. Ike was no fighter though, and was mercilessly gunned down as he ran into town square.
My second game was against Dan V's Spiritual Society. Dan's deck also wanted to control town square early on, had plenty of stud and critically Mariel Lewis and more influence than my dudes. I opted not go go for town square early on and started building up deeds while my dudes stayed at home. My economy got off to a faster start, and after a couple of turns I was able to hire Dave "Slim" Gorman who let me start being more aggressive. Lots of skirmishes occurred around town. While my deck drew well in shootouts, often giving me a 4oaK to Dan's full houses, he made good use of You Had ONE Job! to keep his dudes alive for another day and the game went long. The most memorable incident was a shootout where I had a cheatin' full house and he had a cheatin' 5oaK. He reduced my hand rank to two pair via It's Not What You Know.... I played Bad Beat which replaced his hand with a legal pair, and as his newly revealed hand was legal he played You Had ONE Job! to save his dudes. Looking back at the cards I'm not sure this was technically correct, but it didn't matter in the end. With time getting close I started booting dudes over to Dan's deeds, and he started moving dudes to mine. I felt I was comfortably ahead, but an attempt to evict Speaks-With-Earth from my Charlie's Place went badly and Mariel called out and sent home another of my dudes from one of Dan's deeds which swung things back to looking level. We both passed just before time was up, and counting up influence and control totals we were equal but I had more control points. Dan had missed my Willa Mae on his deed, and could have booted a dude there to retake the deed so this could have easily gone the other way.
My third game was against Chris E's Law Dogs, and while the Law aggressively pursued Allie Hensman with Bounty Hunters lady luck was on the Outlaws' side. Despite two shootouts in which my bullets were reduced by Sun in Yer Eyes and Hattie DeLorre, I ended up with a legal 4oaK and then a legal 5oaK thanks to my Jokers showing up at the right time. Pistol Whipping the Gunslinger in one fight, and Pinning Down Marshal Caves Callarman in the other meant that the casualties hurt even after the Gunslinger was aced in the second fight. The Law had to keep fighting despite losing their best shooters but couldn't match the Outlaws. Allie and her control points survived to win the game.
The event was smaller than expected due to several players not being able to make it for various reasons, and that was enough to leave me top of the standings to take the badge!
Thanks as always to the folks at Pine Box Entertainment for keeping the game going and sending over promos and a badge for the event. Once the Weird West Edition cards finally do arrive we'll get a few more UK events organised, hopefully I'll see a few of you there :)