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Marshal 2020 Online Winner - No Law But God's Law

Description by the author: JPridgen89 59

My deck for the 2020 Marshal's Badge Online Round-Up tournament. An updated version of the deck I always play all the time. Added in the new Anarchist grifter leaving me with 0 starting ghost rock. I'm banking on the fact that 0 upkeep will let me get the economy in action even if I don't start out as hot. Also removed a few of the more expensive deeds and dudes to minimize dead draws on day 1.

for a writeup of the deck's strategy and general build check out this previous version of it https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/3272/no-law-but-god-s-law-rangers-finalist-grifter-article

Tournament Report

Game 1: Caelreth's Desolation Row - After resisting a quick kidnapping successfully, I managed to move my whole posse into town square so that I could oppose the Des Row job and deny the opponent dudes at private locations to target with kidnappings. I managed to win a few early fights and take control of the board. The ending came probably as a bit of a surprise to my opponent, after they booted down all of their dudes to run a Des Row job I didn't oppose, I played Doris Powell and managed to put 3 CP on her with Walk The Path/Asakichi Cooke and jump past their influence for the win.

Game 2: NoChildren64's Des Row - again I tried to take to the town square quickly and had good luck with early aggression. The opponent was unlucky and had a hard time getting down any deeds, and with me opposing the Des Row jobs their economy was pretty tight. Managed to get out a Bai Yang Chen to camp on their home and threaten Maza Gang Hideout, and almost lost big on a Curse of Failure sneak attack to attempt the win. Game ended up being a lot closer than it seemed, especially since even with 2 days of 8 card hands, I managed to not draw the final deeds I needed to get the CP over the top of their influence. That gave them enough time to get some bounty stacked on Silas Aims (safe in maza gang hideout), and play Sloane, but not with enough time to combat my CP before time.

Game 3: Pablo Castillo's Morgan Cattle Company - Opponent got a very quick start getting two solid out of town deeds down on day one, and managing to run Maggie's job to get a mechanical horse. Combine that with a force field and it looked iffy. Day two things started to turn around, with an Epidemic Lab giving me a little momentum and drawing the opponent into a fight to control the deed, where my handful of unprepareds seriously pushed things in my favor. After a few heavy losses on their end I was able to consolidate my control of the board. Lowball the next day the opponent drew a cheatin' hand, and I used Moving Forward to grab The Whateley Estate, putting them in check. They managed to play out one more influential dude, but I was able to get out Doris Powell and manipulate her around town until she had 2 control points on her and was sitting safe at Whateley's. Then I moved 5 influence worth of dudes to Whately's, and with 4 CP and 5 influence safe on the spot, there was no way for the opponent to come back by the end of the day.

Game 4: Alotoaxolotls81's House of Many Faiths - HoMF mirror match! I knew that my opponent's deck was a DMH deck that aimed to set up for a bit and get to the point where it could fire off constant consistent DMH draws, so I tried really hard to put a lot of pressure on early while I felt I would probably be able to shoot out more effectively. An early Curse of Failure went unopposed, and after a day 1 with no deeds, I managed to fire off a lowball Moving Forward to pull out a Whateley estate. I managed to get my opponent to get into a couple of shootouts which all ended up with me coming out on top, and I parked a Bai on his home to keep the pressure on and my hand full. The last two days I managed to run out a whole string of deeds and threaten the win, and pulled off a couple final shootouts at the opposing home to secure things. I never pulled anything worse than a 4oaK, and my opponent never got to pull off the DMH, even if it took a little luck on my part for that to happen. Win for me.

Game 5: Shekky Ducky's Desolation Row - a deck I have been up against before and for the most part been beaten down pretty hard by. I knew coming in this would be a really tough matchup, since the deck runs a lot of interaction and can shoot very well very fast. In the past I've had trouble keeping stud on the board against Sun In Yer Eyes and other cards like that. Historically I rarely win lowball against this deck, but in some kind of miracle I won lowball both days, which was definitely a huge swing in my favor. I pulled Onward Christian Soldiers in my opening hand, a card I added in to the deck specifically for this sort of matchup, so that helped too. With that working for me, I opposed an early Des Row job and managed to deny the bounty and ghost rock and move the majority of my dudes to TS. turns out the Onward was super key, because right after shecky reentered town square and started off another shootout, firing off two sun in yer eyes and a straight flush that ended up beating me by 6(!) I aced three dudes but luckily didn't lose any influence. Luckily I managed to make the day not a total wash when I won a small shootout for control of a carter's bounties I played. Day two I won lowball again, and drew Bai Yang Chen and a "Twilight is Upon Us" to shore up my shooting game. After some heated shootouts in town square, where I pulled a couple of full houses and 4oaK, I was finally able to whittle his influence down to just Ramiro Mendoza, who put up a good final fight but finally went down himself. I feel like my des row approach of taking town square and fighting early paid off, but I can't help feeling that the huge bit of lowball luck really swung things in my favor. Really fun game, Onward Christian Soldiers and Bai Yang Chen MVPs

Thoughts at the end of swiss: 5-0 so really good run for me so far. The CP pressure from Doris and The Whateley Estate have felt very strong, and I haven't felt too strapped for GR despite my impoverished start. The new grifter makes it much easier to work towards the ideal starting hand with at least one miracle and one cheap deed to get things started. Early aggression has been consistently powerful, which is usual with 16x3 style decks, but I've been impressed with how easy it is to get a joker engine going late game too. Really happy with how the deck has been playing.

Quarterfinals: Rematch against Pablo Castillo out of Morgan Cattle Company, this time he knew how powerful my early-game shootouts are and opted to try and play a bit of the avoidance game, getting out a bunch of out of town deeds and horses to give him a really strong movement game. The town ended up expanding out hugely on both sides. I found myself in the rare circumstance were the opponent could oppose Whateley Estate since he had so many mustangs that he could just move freely even if he had to boot his dudes. After a while, Amazing Grace managed to just give me the influence advantage and helped to grind things out, and finally the game concluded at time. It's hard to say who would have won if we had kept playing until a real winner had emerged, but it was a really fun game to play

Semifinals: Match against Sauronsbeagle Des Row. He managed to take town square day one with a decent amount of power. I went out and opposed him immediately, maybe jumping the gun a bit, but did force a couple casualties out of the situation. After a back and forth shootout, I lost Xiaodan and Cooke and had to run home (Though I took out a Willa and one other dude in the process) It didn't feel like things were going to go my way after that loss, but I got two days of lowball consecrations off, which gave me the bullets I needed to fight back. That mixed with a well-placed unprepared on Marion Saville and I was able to turn a shootout in my favor and take town square. After that I was able to spew out a slew of deeds, and despite not having much ability to refresh the dudes I had lost, Amazing Grace and the influence from HoMF kept my head above water and I was able to pull out a win. The final play of the day was a desperation run of the Desolation Row job to get the final GR to play another influence dude, but I succeeded in opposing it and killing Allie Hensman, stopping the chance for a final comeback!

Finals: Long back-and-forth match against Deputy Way's Den of Thieves! Really fun game. I came into it assuming that Max's deck would probably shoot better than mine just because of Ringo and the propensity to play a bunch of shootout action cards. I felt confident that I could probably take control of a larger board, so I played very conservatively with my shootouts, maybe to a fault. Managed to make a few pretty large play mistakes that mostly came from not reading cards entirely (Like Seige of the Orphanage) but in the end, with a bit of help from a serious CP spike via Moving Forward -> Whateley Estate I was able to take over the board. Father Diamond also really showed his value as a really strong movement piece late in the game. Not going to go into too much detail on this one since it was recorded and you can watch it here https://youtu.be/YoiXKKV_efY

Final Thoughts: The deck played really well. I think a combination of the tweaks I've been making to it and my own experience with piloting it came together and lead (with a good helping of luck) to my win in this tournament. The biggest strength of the deck in my opinion is just the ability to play or discard the whole hand every turn and draw plenty of cards to replace them. It makes it really easy even with less combat interaction than other decks to get your hand to a shootout-ready state.

Yasmine and The Tombstone Haint, both relatively recent additions, really put the deck over the top when it comes to early shootouts. Pistol Whip, Sun In Yer Eyes, and Unprepared lead to the biggest danger of blowouts in early shootouts, but Onward Christian Soldiers managed to shore that problem up at least a bit. The deck also benefitted from having some more focused win conditions like Doris Powell and The Whateley estate, which stopped me from having to go long against DMH and Straight-Flush decks which can get to the point of consistently outshooting me in the long game. As always, Scattergun repeatedly proved it's value in a meta full of casualty reduction via sidekicks, and Amazing Grace acted as a very powerful late-game control piece. I found myself not playing it in fast games, but in ones that went long it was very powerful.

The economy of the deck was something I was worried about going into the tournament, since a previous version really suffered from starting He Fang, while this one made the risky decision of starting with 0 extra GR. Turns out Upkeep is way more of a burden than starting with 0, I found that by cutting 4 cost deeds and 5 cost dudes, I didn't feel too restricted by economics in any game. Overall the power of the starting posse was absolutely worth the GR, with 5 influence on board, 2 stud dudes, and 2 draws with bullets, it gave me a lot of versatility in how to play the early game.

Super long writeup I know, so thanks for reading! Feel free to give me any comments or suggestions on the deck or ask me any questions about any of the cards I included!

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