PBE has been releasing some interesting new big dudes: High cost but only 0 or 1 upkeep. With 2 Influence, they can carry a lot of weight in your starting gang. For the two major events this summer, I decided to see how well I could do with decks starting one of these. For the Ranger event I used a deck built around Johnny Ringo, found here, while for GenCon I chose Mason. Both of these dudes really want to get into shootouts alone, so there were several similarities between the two decks. Both decks use Hank as an extra way to try to keep the lone dude alive. Beyond that, both decks are built for Straight Flush, using low-value clubs. A lot of the clubs are also the same in both decks.
For the Mason deck, I went with just one value at 16 and almost everything else clubs. Beyond a few Dudes and Deeds, almost everything else is there to either make Mason a stud, or to keep him alive. 4's and 5's are key values for the Actions. Shiny Things turns on Mason's job, and Takin' Cover is great for keeping him alive since he can generally spare a bullet - I would have included more of both if they didn't share a value. Hiding in the Shadows is also important when sending a solo dude into shootouts.
The deck is meant to be very aggressive - there really is no Plan B here.
I haven't kept notes from the games, so especially the early games are a bit fuzzy, but I do at least remember some highlights:
Game One vs teekay, The Fourth Ring
Unfortunately, teekay had to drop from the tournament before we managed to arrange a game.
Game Two vs Antaiseito, Abram's Crusaders
My opponent started by using Andrew Burton to put a Bounty on Mason. With Hattie DeLorre in his starting gang, this was probably the right move, since she would be able to remove all bullets even from Mason. However, my starting hand included a Hiding in the Shadows and a Bad Company, so I powered up Mason and went after Hattie with my 8-stud dude. Hattie ended up discarded as a casualty. Then there was some maneuvering around, I think the rest of his dudes might have been too low grit for Mason's job. Eventually, I believe Steven Wiles got hired, but Mason went straight for him, and he ended up discarded as well. Shortly after that I, had control of enough of the town for a win, though I don't recall exact details.
Game Three vs. Deputy Melnyk, 108 Gracious Gifts
I don't recall much from this game. I think I eliminated two of his dudes in an early shootout, but then lost two of mine shortly after? My deck really doesn't handle losing dudes that well, and I believe I was facing Amazing Grace, so I soon lost any chance of controlling the town, and thus lost the game.
Game Four vs. prodigy, House of Many Faiths w. Ezekiah Grimme
prodigy's DMH deck takes a while to build, with all his dudes sitting around in his home. This situation is of some concern to Mason, since if an opponent opposes his job, but doesn't bring his highest-grit dude, Mason will be left with just 5 draw. So I spent some time searching for back-up ways to make him a stud. Early on, I was able to run the job on Stevie Lyndon - unfortunately, it was unopposed, meaning I was later unable to use Bad Company when I drew that. Later, I was able to catch Arielle Moriah alone when she had ventured over to one of my deeds. After that, the game proceeded with me squatting on deeds while prodigy slowly played out his non-DMH cards. When we finally got to fighting, we went through two shootouts, a total of five rounds, where he revealed a DMH each time. The first shootout was Mason alone. Red River Roulette saved me the first round, then a Takin' Cover and SF meant Mason survived to run home. Then came a Shootout in Town Square. Once again, the Roulette got me through the first round, then a cheatin' 5oak meant I could get away with just acing Travis. But by then I was out of tricks, and running wasn't an option, so the 5th DMH meant I lost my dudes and the game.
Just after finishing the game, it occured to me that after the first Mason job, I had attached the Bowie Knife from my hand that had been meant for a back-up stud option to Travis, in order to use my opponents Circle M Ranch. Then, somehow, I had forgotten that I could have just traded it later - that would have let me run the job more often, I don't know if it would have let me win, but at the very least it would have let me lose while following my own game plan.
Game Five vs NoChildren64, Desolation Row
Most opposing dudes here were too low grit for Mason's job, so instead some time was spent building up. Silas Aims (Exp.1) was hired by the Outlaws, to join his brother, and both of them got some bounty on them. Eventually, all the opposing dudes banded together to Ambush Mason. I gambled by using a Pinned Down on a dude with Influence, rather than Silas who was the big stud, and got lucky by getting the dude discarded in the first round. Next round, I lost by 2 ranks, discarding Mason and another dude, and then disengaging. However, since all the Outlaws were now booted at home, with only Fred and some one-inf dude keeping my opponent in the game, I hired Androcles Brocklehurst. He promptly ventured into the street, to inform Fred Aims that the Full Moon Brotherhood does not consider proof of past wrong-doings to be a credible source of Influence. Since the Outlaws had gathered a large stash of Ghost Rock, I was worried that some big dude would show up to cause more trouble, but noone was around, so I won the day.
Quarterfinals vs. prodigy, House of Many Faiths w. Ezekiah Grimme
In this rematch, I got a Bowie Knife straight away, so I was able to run the Mason job quickly. Arielle and Stevie Lyndon were the first targets. They both opposed, which I was happy to see, since it meant that I got bounty for potential use with Bad Company, and my Concordia Cemetery benefitted from the acing of the two dudes. However, on the third day Father Diamond aquired a Pedro, meaning his grit got too low for the job, even when he used both Amazing Grace and House of Many Faiths. So, a long mid-game followed, where we were both getting more cards into play. I squatted on as many deeds as I could, while hoping to find one of the few cards in my deck that would have allowed me to put more pressure on my opponent (Shiny Things, Hustings or even a Yan Li's Tailoring to give Father Diamond that one last point of grit). At times I was close to having enough CP, but I never quite got there. And for a long time, I was ahead on the tie-breaker. But eventually, prodigy's deck was thinned out, and he sent all his dudes into the town square to murder a lone Travis. At this point there was about 10 minutes left on the clock. We both passed, and the next day saw the inevitable fight just before time was called, that I inevitably lost to an unending stream of Dead Man's Hands.
Looking back, I should have probably started the fight at the 10 minute point. I didn't, because I had drawn mostly deeds that turn, rather than shootout actions, and there was an unbooted Xui Yin Chen in Town Square, with about 8 to 10 other dudes. On the other hand, going to the next day meant that my opponent could start moving dudes to my deeds, changing the tie-breaker in his favor. Also, I actually had two booted Inner Struggle, and prodigy had two or three of his 8 of Spades dudes in play. And I didn't necessarily need to win the fight, just to keep it going long enough to get to time. Starting the job early would still have been risky, but my odds might have been better - but really, it was a long, tense game. These things are easy to see afterwards, not so much while the game is on.
|Sep 22, 2020 DoomDog|
|Sep 22, 2020 zenarchist|
|Sep 22, 2020 Prodigy|
|Oct 30, 2020 db0|