TLDR: I built my deck to counter what I guessed the meta to be and it worked well and was really fun to play. I lost in the final to a decktype I knew would be hard for me to deal with because I'd not brought the tools to deal with it due to those meta choices.
I had an absolute blast with this deck in the name-a-card tournament. It went undefeated to finish top of the table in the swiss rounds and then all the way to the final, where it stumbled due to facing off against a decktype that I knew was a bad matchup. Sadly, none of my games but the final (which was still a good game) were recorded, but I felt that every match was a fantastic, fun game of Doomtown with lots of movement, plays, counter-plays and sneaky tricks.
I neglected to take notes throughout the event so I apologise for any errors and omissions in this write-up, it’s been a long tournament, overlapping with two others in which I’ve faced some of the same opponents. This may be a blessing as this write-up has ended up quite long!
So, what was my thinking behind the cards in this deck?
I reviewed the kinds of decks I’d be likely to face going into an online event, based off observed meta-trends and knowing particular players with well-defined decks or styles would be taking part. I concluded that to have a decent chance of success in games if I ended up facing those opponents I’d need a varied bag of tricks and counters that would work well against their various strategies. My general take on the meta was that build-up spell and gadget decks were still popular, and that there would be more aggro decks than usual as players looked to counter them (in addition to the usual suspects such as Khudzlin’s Rabbit Fu and Shekky’s Des Row). I was looking for something that would defend well against early attacks while having some ways to deal with attachments like Decimator Arrays, Sidekicks and spells, and also counter hand-rank manipulation like Calling the Cavalry and Force Field. That was a lot of things to consider!
I wanted to try something a bit different to my usual Law Dogs and Anarchists for this event. I’d been having fun playing around with a gimmicky First Peoples deck in the online Savage Lands series league, so I looked again to that faction for something a little more straightforward. I ended up building my starting posse around Mariel Lewis. She has a strong send-home ability that I felt would be useful against decks looking to rush in and attack me early on, while continuing to be useful in later turns when I went on the offensive myself. Alexander Sequoia was a must-have dude. His influence helped support Mariel, and his trait and ability were useful for helping to cycle cards from my hand and chess games and town square control respectively. Wei Xu was the third dude I wanted in my starting posse, specifically due to his trait. If anyone attacked me early I’d have seven influence in the shootout so I was pretty much guaranteed to be able to use Mariel. Ghost rock was starting to look a little tight at that point, so useful anti-meta options such as The Mixer and Virginia Ann Earp couldn’t be included. I went with Willa Mae and Henry Moran to round out the posse. Both are extremely cheap bodies that do useful things but are also expendable dudes in shootout situations, and I was going to need bodies to help with attrition games, particularly against decks with lots of Sidekicks, casualty reduction or hand rank boosts.
With the starting posse in-place I began to look at cards that would help me achieve my counter-meta plan. First on the list was Mugging. It’s a good Job for going after attachment-heavy decks and still useful against others less reliant on their goods. I figured that any attachment that hits play is going to do so because it’s helpful so it would be to my benefit to remove them if the opportunity arose. The secondary effect of sending the dude home booted also meant it could be an effective force-fight to evict dudes from my deeds, and could have niche uses like expelling Clementine Lepp from her saloon. I went with Mugging over Kidnappin’ and Curse of Failure because it boots attachments before the shootout, which would be key if I faced a Decimator Array hand rank manipulation deck, Legendary Holster or similar. At the risk of being weaker against control and landslide decks, I didn’t include another dude removal job. I figured setup decks would fight to defend the attachments central to their strategy, and aggro decks would bring the fight to me, so I could get away without one. I did decide to include a copy of Allie Hensman as she often encourages fights by her sheer presence due to the pressure she can put on opponents, and she’s a great help in games against passive decks that I lacked other tools for.
Twos also had some other useful cards to help my strategy. Campbell and Hatch Billiard Parlour offered protection against hand rank manipulation and more. Peacemaker would preserve Mariel’s stud bullets against cards like Sun in Yer Eyes, Faster on the Draw and Hattie Delorre, while Bluetick brought casualty soak and a sometimes-useful movement trick. I didn’t feel like the other First Peoples dudes on the value particularly helped my game plan, but Xiaodan Li and Luke the Errand Boy could be borrowed from their respective factions at no extra cost to help with attrition and Olivia Jenks brought good value bullets and influence. Building using a low value can be a risk, but I had Mugging as a tool that would help deal with opposing Shotguns and Soul Blasts. I rounded out the value with a couple of useful deeds. I doubled up on Pettigrew’s Pawnshop, as seeing it early can get you a lot of returns from its trait, plus it’s often a deed opponents will fight for control of – a good thing when not bringing any force-fight cards.
Campbell and Hatch alone wouldn’t be enough when dealing with hand rank manipulation, so the next card on my list was Magnum Rounds. It’s great at stopping Force Field, LeMat Revolver and Hex Slingin’, and with my deck starting to coalesce around low values I imagined I’d often have the lowball edge against Calling the Cavalry Horse decks to beat them to the play. Against opponents without such cards it could still be discarded for an extra bullet. Being free it would be easy to cycle out of my hand, keeping the ratio of cards left in my deck in balance and even turning a profit with Pettigrew’s in play. Threes also provided Sun in Yer Eyes, essential for dealing with aggro decks and Gadgeteers with high bullet-rating studs. Yan Li’s Tailoring was doubled up on as an efficient deed with a useful ability, and Notary Public and The Orphanage made the cut for being cheap deeds with useful abilities. Tawodi was an attractive in-faction option, her job providing a way to bring a useful toolbox dude or deed into play. The in-faction Shamans didn’t offer much, but there are lots of other great dudes on three to choose from. I went with Ramiro for more stud, and Lawrence for his ability to squeeze another control point from a deed.
My deck was looking pretty light on stud bullets, so while fours had a lot of cards I liked, I went with fives for my third value. With several two-bullet draw dudes in the deck Pearl-Handled Revolvers were too useful to turn down, plus “Mahogany” Jackson and “Suitcase” Lee came with stud bullets of their own. Christine Perfect joined as another cheap body to help with the attrition game or threaten with a Revolver. Charlie’s Place was in, as like Yan Li’s it’s efficient with a good ability. Hart’s Tea Shop provided another attachment control option and I’m Your Huckleberry a good Cheatin’ Resolution.
With three values chosen and distribution being 14/14/12 (not counting Alexander) I felt I had a deck that could handle itself in a shootout while having room for a few useful off-value cards that would hopefully hit play early on or show up in lowball hands and not shootout ones! Allie was one of these cards, and was joined by The Joker’s Smile because it’s nice to have ways to get your Jokers back in circulation after use. A pair of Inner Struggles was added to increase the number of Cheatin’ Resolutions. It’s a nasty one that gives an edge in every shootout on a turn it’s booted, and a little unfair since it can trigger in the Gamblin’ phase when opponents typically have no control over the hand they reveal. I’d considered this when building the deck. Henry Moran would give me another chance at a legal lowball hand, plus I’d decided to run with three clubs on each value so as to reduce the odds of revealing a cheatin’ hand as the game progressed and the deck degenerated.
One of the cards on fours that I wanted was Faithful Hound, so I included a copy. The hound is another tool for dealing with Gadgets and Sidekicks. With my deck containing mostly low values chances of successful pulls were high. Enapay offered a lot to the deck, supporting Mariel with lots of Noon influence and a stud bullet, so he got a spot. Finally I added a General Store. The idea behind including the store was that I had a few pricey goods and I envisioned spending a lot of time in the town square, so the ability would be nice to have, and it would combine nicely with the Pawnshop. As things played out most games I didn’t feel like I really needed the Store and would probably swap it out for something like the Clanton Ranch. Being a low value deed, it wouldn’t jeopardise Faithful Hound Pulls (this thankfully never happened), while still providing an economic benefit. A second Faithful Hound would be another option, as the good dog proved to be really useful in the games it hit play.
With the start of the event being over a month ago now, I can’t actually remember why I chose to use The Spiritual Society. It may have just been the best fit after I’d finished the rest of the deck. It definitely proved actively useful with the additional card draw and occasional booting of dudes. It also had passive benefits such as the threat of booting deterring opponents from moving to locations I controlled or them leaving dudes in town square to deny me the extra card when they would arguably have been better placed elsewhere. I think the deck would also work played out of The Office of Ancestral Affairs and maybe even the original Eagle Wardens outfits.
As mentioned earlier, I felt every game I played in this event was a great example of Doomtown and a load of fun to play. I wish I could go back in time and record them all! My memory isn’t perfect but hopefully this is a fairly accurate account (where I actually remember some of the game!)
Round 1 vs. Alotoaxolotls’ House of Many Faiths/Grimme
I recognised this as the Dead Man’s Hand deck that Alotoaxolotls had posted here following the Savage Lands Series league that took place prior to this tournament. I had some idea of what to expect from it, which is always a benefit when you’re not familiar with your opponent and their playstyle. While I’d faced Alotoaxolotls in previous online events, he’d been away from the game for a few years. Amazing Grace hit play early. That spell was one of the reasons I’d decided to include Mugging, and I successfully aced both copies, taking advantage of the Blessed dudes often ending up in town square away from their support thanks to the Grimme/outfit combo. I remember that this was a long game with a lot of back-and-forth, with me looking like losing at one point until I played the Olivia Jenks I’d been holding onto after waiting for Alotoaxolotls to move his dudes onto my deeds to put me in check. Faithful Hound chased away Pedros in shootouts, and I slowly whittled away at his dudes. We reached a point where playing Steven Wiles each turn was keeping him in the game, but eventually Steven got caught with the Sun in his Eyes and fell to the guns of Mariel and company. This game I saw both an early Pawnshop and General Store and the economy boost really helped, but this was the only game that happened.
Round 2 vs. Sliptide213/GunslingerAndy’s Morgan Regulators
This was another game where I had a good idea of what to expect, as Sliptide had been asking for help with refining the deck on the Doomtown Discord and I was one of the people who had provided advice. Perhaps an unfair advantage, but even without that knowledge I’d have expected a Calling the Cavalry deck based on the home and starting posse so I don’t think it would have changed how I played the game. This was a tough matchup as I didn’t see my answers to Calling the Cavalry or a Sun in Yer Eyes to help with shootouts early on, so I tried to avoid fights and instead went for manoeuvring around town, but that’s a difficult game to win when your opponent is playing Regulators. Thanks to my opponent’s bad luck on the draw I survived a Run ‘Em Down callout in my home that saw Mariel getting Pistol Whipped out of the fight, but it only cost him a couple of Pedros. As he stuck around in my home afterwards I called him out only for Mariel to get Pistol Whipped again and a Calling the Cavalry to get played! That shootout didn’t go as well for me and Willa was sacrificed to save my influence. A lot of skirmishing movement happened, but just as I was finally ready to try and take the fight to him with two Magnum Rounds in play and Sun in Yer Eyes and Huckleberry in hand, Sliptide decided to concede the game as he wasn’t feeling well. It was unfortunate it had to end early as I felt the game was just coming to a head. I’m not sure how it would have ended had we played it out so getting the win due to illness felt a little undeserved.
Round 3 vs. shekky_ducky’s Desolation Row
This time I was familiar with the deck and opponent due to having played several times in the past online and in person at Gencon 2018. Shekky’s Des Row deck is one of the toughest games you can run into as a deck reliant on shooting. The number and variety of actions that he has can completely ruin your posse’s chances. I feel I got lucky on that front in this game as I wasn’t subjected to the onslaught I was expecting. The first turn saw Allie head into town square and boot for a control point, and Ramiro and “Aces” move to protect her, while I sat back at home. Perhaps he didn’t think I was going to go for a shootout that turn due to playing passively, or perhaps he wanted to keep control of town square to deny me an extra card next turn, but I was surprised when he then sent Fred Aims to run the Desolation Row job solo. My main concern before the game was ‘how do I deal with Fred Aims?’, so having the opportunity presented to me I jumped all-in on the shootout and gunned him down. With his main source of influence gone there wasn’t much he could do to stop Mariel’s ability in shootouts and I swiftly took control of the game.
Round 4 vs. Harlath’s Law Dogs
I know Harlath well from many games in the UK tournament scene so I knew this would be a bloody game. An early Mugging attempt on Thunder Boy was set up perfectly for me to cause serious casualties but my deck betrayed me with a legal two pair being the best I could do, while Harlath pulled off a legal four-of-a-kind with a bunch of draw. Willa saved me there and we settled into a long and close game with plenty of skirmishing. Fortune favoured me in a critical moment when a Bounty Hunter attack with Law Dog reinforcements on some vulnerable dudes was fended off with a topdecked legal full house. Leaving Luke to absorb a casualty my influential dudes ran home and the game continued. I think this was another game where the Faithful Hound had fun chasing away Pedros. A lowball Inner Struggle really changed things in my favour, it seemed after it had been played Harlath’s deck could do nothing but reveal cheatin’ hands while I stayed legal. This let me play more aggressively and proved crucial in tipping what would have been tied shootouts in my favour when Harlath tried to evict my dudes from his deeds. Thunder Boy, Sheriff Abram Grothe and Wylie Jenks (!) all tried to recover the game but failed due to struggling with their inner demons.
Round 5 vs. hehasmoments’ Full Moon Brotherhood/Andrew Lane
While hehasmoments is another player I know from the UK tournament scene, his decks are often creative and devious and I wasn’t sure what to expect until I saw his starting lineup, and even then I knew it would be a tricky game. I don’t believe he’s posted it here before and is currently playing it in at least one other ongoing event so I won’t go into too much detail. It’s a really cool deck and I had to think a lot about doing things in the correct order to come out ahead in shootouts. Ultimately a play error decided the game. hehasmoments sent The Grey Man home following a shootout but left a booted dude behind. This allowed me to move to the location with a dude The Grey Man would have sent home and issue a fatal callout. This was yet another game in which Faithful Hound proved to be a very good boy indeed!
Quarterfinals vs. DirkPortly’s House of Many Faiths/Grimme No Law But God’s Law
This was a long and tricky game, as an early Walk the Path and Carter’s Bounties effectively shut down my usual shootout control tricks with Mariel. Despite this being one of the more recent games and a really intense one my memory is sadly failing me for much in the way of details. Having played two similar games against it in the space of a couple of days due to also being drawn against him in the Ranger event definitely doesn’t help! Hopefully DirkPortly reads this and can add some more comments.
Semifinals vs. hehasmoments’ Full Moon Brotherhood/Andrew Lane
This played very similarly to round 5. The tipping point was following a shootout at one of my deeds. I’d left my dudes there booted to prevent one of his dudes from walking over and taking control. He sent Christine Perfect not to that location to fight them, but to his own deed where she bought a Shotgun. hehasmoments marshalled some backup then used her ability to move to Mariel’s location and lower her value into blastin’ range. That’s when I played the Mugging that had been sat in my hand, an unbooted Alexander rushing in from my home and gathering up the posse at the deed to fend off the invading Fearmongers. That shootout went poorly for hehasmoments and he couldn’t recover from there.
Finals vs. ironcache’s Protection Racket
Ironcache had made the very cool decision to take advantage of this tournament allowing you to change up your deck between rounds to play one of each faction, revolver style. He had Outlaws left for the top cut. From past conversations on Discord I guessed I’d be facing a hex control deck, but that didn’t particularly help me because I knew if he was going to hang back, avoid fights and influence my dudes with hexes then I’d have a hard time against him. As it was, things went off to a pretty good start with a couple of successful Muggings taking out three Blood Curses and a Phantasm. I actually did really well in limiting what his hucksters could do. What caused me problems was his deck having a really strong economy, while mine was a bit slow to get going. He was able to play a succession of dudes and quickly amassed a considerable amount of influence that without any direct removal jobs or at-home callouts I had difficulty reducing. A big town square shootout did occur, in which I traded the likes of Luke, Christine and Willa for several dudes with influence but he still had plenty left despite that, and soon reinforced. I drew Tawodi and, not willing to risk many dudes due to needing to cover deeds, sent her out to run her job with just Xiaodan Li as backup. My intent was to grab Allie Hensman if successful to at least give me a chance at cranking up the pressure. ironcache opposed and unfortunately all my heroic duo could manage was a cheatin’ full house. I imagine that ironcache hadn’t drawn a good legal hand and it was the booted Inner Struggle that forced him to cheat big with a five-of-a kind. Between that and an It’s Not What You Know, my I’m Your Huckleberry stealing Jimmy “The Saint” still didn’t leave me with any dudes left for a second round. We skirmished a bit more but after playing for over an hour and a half, it was clear that with that ploy failed I was never going to challenge his high amount of influence and would lose at time, so I conceded the game.
This tournament was an absolute blast to play in and it’s been great to see competitors from across the globe squaring off against each other online. I’m amused that final was similar to the Tombstone final with a counter-meta deck against a Hex control deck, but interesting that both players were using different factions to the players in that game (and it wasn’t me piloting the Hex deck). Many thanks to pr0digy for running the tournament, and also to Pinebox Entertainment for moving their big events for this year online - I wouldn’t have been able to make most of them in person even if times were normal so I really appreciate the opportunity to play more Doomtown.
|Aug 10, 2020 ironcache|
|Aug 10, 2020 ironcache|
|Aug 15, 2020 jordan caldwell|
|Aug 15, 2020 DoomDog|
|Aug 17, 2020 Neramoor|
|Aug 17, 2020 DoomDog|