GenCon 2017 Top 4 Law Dog! (Old-Fashioned Law-Dogs, 4/2/SF)

published Aug 23, 2017 | | |

Redgar 147

So, I'm writing this report from memory, waitin' for the plane. There may be errors and ommssions in my recollect'n, and I should probably keep a notepad at the table for post-game memoirs... but I already take up more than enough real-estate at the rates the 108 are chargin' these days, and I'd rather play more friendlies with my opponents.

One thing I'm darn sure of, though: Doomtown is great, Doomtown players/organizers have been superlatively good eggs in my experience, and PineBox and Pinnacle are heartily invested in tryin' to keep this big happy family playin' cards and imbibing beverages for many years to come. Now remember to get yer posterior over to the Kickstarter September 5 to keep this train rollin'! :)

Part One: Deck Design Discussion.

The sharp-eyed out there might notice this shares the same chassis as my Euros 2017 T8/Top Law Dog deck. This version is definitely iterative, rather than revolutionary, but the changes turned out to be important. In particular:

-1 Legendary Holster. Some say the first cut is the deepest, and for this deck it was (at least emotionally if not numerically). A main premise of the original deck was staying low to Holster troublesome dudes, and I was invested in making it work. The Holster was also the link to my first real Doomtown deck (Holster Clyde). In game, the Holster solved problems and served as a closer if a game went long. It also inspired fear and helped control the board from the moment it was attached. Without tutoring or multiple copies, however, it also did not reliably hit the table. (I was disappointed that, in the lone Euros game where it ended up in hand at all, it arrived before my economy started rolling and I accordingly had to discard it.) Plus, when you get right down to it, the Holster was/is a 'factotum' for a rather nasty Manitou, and I feel like Law Dogs oughtter be leadin' the charge to put that bad hombre in the ground, permanently, and not encouragin' such evil. My angst was soothed quickly enough, though, as opening up my values by ditchin' the holster meant I could comfortably run run:

+2 Unprepared I discovered in the last local #Halifax Doomtown meetup that both Peacemaker and The Mixer caused some pretty serious problems for my Euros deck. While Mugging solves many problems, those two are not included. While the Holster in theory cuts through this knotty problem, as noted above getting it into play was not reliable. The only real questions, therefore, were whether I would run 2 or 3 Unprepared and what cards I'd be cutting to make room.

-2 Inner Struggle. The struggle is real, as I discovered to my chagrin on day 2. This change left room, however, to replace one of the two copies with an alternate cheatin' resolution that packed a harder and more immediate punch. This turned out to be the right call, in the form of:

+1 Bottom Dealin'. This tournament's MVP, a little Bottom Dealin' saved my bacon in one match, closed out another, and gave me a chance of winning the T4 matchup against DesRow. The inclusion of another 2c also tightened up my structure a little, which isn't a bad thing most of the time.

The rest of the changes were essentially helpful tweaks:

+1 Cookin' Up Trouble, -1 Shiny Things. While the theoretical ability to lock down someone with 2 bounty for an Ol' Fashioned Hangin' sounds good on paper, in practice I found it rarely worth the opportunity cost over running another club. Shiny Things rarely eliminated the need to bait/outmaneuver my opponent to isolate the mark, and in the the one or two games where I isolated a dude, I felt as though I could have just run the job on that dude anyway given how play unfolded. Switching to Cookin' Up Trouble gave me a solid advantage in one match, seeing t1 or t2 that my opponent had no shootout actions or jobs. Running only x1 and playing a fairly fast deck, I didn't expect to see it often, so despite the small sample size I unreservedly think it was the right call.

-1 Abram Grothe, +1 Lucy Clover (Exp.1). 5 cost, 1 upkeep for a 2 stud 1 influence deputy isn't bad. 5 cost, 1 upkeep for a 2 stud, 2 influence deputy is better. Lucy helps me avoid or recover from influence reduction, and can be a useful bounty-pusher if Constance Daughtry isn't around. Though Lucy's ability is conditional, this deck tries to stack bounty on dudes; by the time you draw/play her, she should be a stud all the times that it matters.

+1 Peacemaker. Sun in Yer Eyes can be rough, especially if you only have one stud in the fight. While Faster on the Draw is usually enough, I wanted to have a backup or permanent option. It also tightens my 2's, and balances out the suits to hopefully reduce cheating.

-1 Lucinda "Lucy" Clover. The Ace value wasn't relevant with Holster out of the deck. While I like Lucy, paying 3 gr more for 2 stud bullets trade I think the deck can usually make. I needed to cut something to tighten up with Peacemaker, and she was the most expendable card (especially with the XP version in the deck)

Part Two: GenCon 2017 Main Event Report!

Is probably never coming, sadly. :( Got home, crashed. Woke up today, then crashed again. Fought mild con/plane flu, and worked. :( Many, many good games. Great opponents. Much fun. Such Doomtown. Robert broke my heart. ;-)

Aug 23, 2017 Harlath

Great to see you again and congratulations on taking T8 at Euros and then T4 at Worlds. You're a good example of some who is a skilled player and deckbuilder while still playing the game in a fun spirit. Really like to see how decks evolve too.

  • Curses to your decision to include the extra Bottom Dealin'. I revealed my hand thinking "anything but a Bottom Dealin'" and I've got this, only to run face first in to a wall of pain.
  • Sorry I had to drop out at T8 and couldn't fulfil my hope that we'd meet again in the knockout rounds. The event was so well attended that a sixth round of swiss was needed which disrupted the schedule a bit (T4 was moved to Sunday morning, when I had events booked), so the morale boost from good attendance overcame the scheduling shift.
  • Cheers for the extra game after our rapid tournament match. Helped me test how my Sloane deck got on against top tournament decks/players.

Get well soon and well done again!

Aug 23, 2017 Prodigy

I really like this deck - very solid overall with possibly the strongest starting posse any faction can muster. The combination of Hattie DeLorre plus "Thunder Boy" Nabbe plus Tommy Harden is, in my opinion, the strongest trio of dudes a starting posse can reasonably muster.

Have you experimented with Willa Mae MacGowan instead of Henry Moran? I imagine he is there exclusively to help with income/lowball wins? Or is he a relic of a time past when winning lowball was far more necessary, since you ran Legendary Holster, and now might not be as necessary?

Congratulations on the strong finish, and for getting revenge against me in the top 8 in retaliation for our game the previous day :)

Aug 31, 2017 Redgar

@Harlath: Thanks! Likewise, it was great to rendezvous once more to exchange witty repartee over great games of Doomtown.

That's the trouble with secret rendezvous, I suppose: one has to be very specific about the terms and times, and neither of us specified that we'd meet again in the t8 of this year's event! Now we'll have ready dramatic tension hanging over our next meeting, so I trust the narrative will work itself out in the end... ;-)

@Prodigy: Thanks, and I concur. 4 inf, reasonably reliable 3 s + 1 s + 1d, a solid bullet reduction, and permanent cheating punishment all for 12gr 1u is a very solid package, especially for the Law Dogs home. It even leaves enough gr in the kitty for some flexibility in deciding the last 1-2 dudes depending on deckstyle (and occasionally even opponent). The start has some weaknesses (notably, low values and only 1 s 2 d in fights with no opposing bounty), but they can be covered through play and consideration of rough matchups (especially spells), so I'd classify them as vulnerabilities rather than inherent weaknesses.

It was a conscious choice to include Henry instead of Willa Mae, and I'm confident this was the right choice. Yer keen eye correctly noted that helpin' with income and lowball wins was his primary role, but preventin' Opponents' Cheatin' Punishment was just as important in some match-ups. While you are dead on the money in yer assessment that action priority is a bit less important for this deck than prior iterations, I note that the disruptive impact of winnin' extra lowballs against other decks that value the cash and/or action priority more highly shouldn't be underestimated. Because of my low values and slightly loose structure, the 'do-over' hand is rarely worse than the original, and I am well placed to be lower than my opponent even if we end up tie hand-ranks. This helps leverage Henry, in my (n?)ever humble opinion. ;-)

Stats-wise, he's an extra bullet. It is a small but important difference: the difference between 0-1 s, 1d and 0-1s, 2d can be game-winning, especially with a looser deck like this. (Henry wasn't in the fight, but it was a 0s 2d hand that pulled a crucial 5-of-a-kind against a brutal Judge deck r6 of Swiss). There is also minor synergy here with the Dead Dog Tavern, which is occasionally relevant (anecdotally, it came up at least once at GenCon, though I don't recall if it was a main event or casual match). He is also a 4 higher value, which isn't usually relevant even against spell decks but can occasionally introduce a little risk into marginal pulls, especially if you have "taken care of" your opponent's higher skill huckster(s) or shaman.

In terms of Willa Mae's ability, I actually think she would be a stronger contender if Legendary Holster (and/or Shotguns, and/or Point Blanks) were still in the deck. She helps you pump and run, which this deck can't do. She also helps you soak a tonne of casualties... but this deck should (key word) pull legal 4's consistently, cheatin' 5s reliably, and legal 5's or straight-flushes occasionally. If I pull a legal 4 vs. a Calling The Cavalry that doesn't cheat, I'm only soaking 1 more casualty by firing Willa Mae than I would have just acing Henry. If it cheats, or if I pull a SF/5-of-a-kind, then I'm no further ahead taking her as a casualty than I would have been just having dear ol' Henry take a dirt nap.

I will say that my Faithful sidekicks (and/or The Brute) are often overlooked (by me, at least!) as crucial to the shootout sustainability/survivability of this deck. Willa Mae MacGowan would help increase the safety of aggressive t1-t2 plays before you draw/pay for sidekicks, but most turn 1's I'm bootin' out people near home to throw bounties and protect my own deed(s). She may offer the occasional panic button for when things go horribly awry, but since this deck works best when you have some CP down and are generatin' ghost rock, losing that big probably spells trouble either way if you run before your opponent.

So, for this deck specifically, I'm convinced that picking our favourite hapless playtester was the... smart choice. I'd be interested in any dissenting opinions, however, as this is something I seem to feel surprisingly strongly about... which means I've probably overlooked something.

Thank you, too, for the great games (both days!), and your strong finishes in both events. I look forward to our next showdowns...