Firstly, a big thank you to the staff at IQ Gaming in Huddersfield for running a great tournament. Superb venue, very spacious and well lit with lots of food and drink available in store. Very well attended (24 players?) and played in a good spirit - one opponent made sure to remind me that Angélica Espinosa can only join from an adjacent location, saving me from a potential play mistake and a second made sure I hadn't short-changed myself on my studs in the second round of a shootout (I think John "Aces" Radcliffe had become a stud, so I was in the unusual position of shooting better in the second round than the first). People were playing hard, but making sure there were no misunderstandings - ideal competitive atmosphere. My opponent in the final, James Sweetman, deserves a mention for being a good opponent and going unbeaten through five round of Swiss (including beating this deck) and two knockout matches before losing the final. Always feels harsh when this happens to someone, as it could easily have been reversed and I think he got a weaker hand in the final but managed to cling on for several turns with good humour and forcing the game as far as possible - never know when a mistake or lucky shootout will swing it! Excellent photos including a worthy winner of the best dressed competition here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.479199038914029.1073742534.167330556767547&type=3
I placed 3rd in Edinburgh with a Wendy Hangin' deck (uploaded at some point if I find the time), but at least had the compensation of my cousin taking first. Managed to go a couple of places better this time. However, this victory came at a great moral cost - for those hoping that the Desolation Row outfit means this isn't a huckster deck, I've got bad news: this is to some extent a Fourth Ring deck played out of a different box, getting access to a different suite of dudes and an outfit that gives more money/control points at the expense of the Fourth Ring's card cycle. The deck was cruelly dubbed "Red" Ring by some fellow Edinburgh players in honour of its Fourth Ring Pretensions, but that seems like a pretty iffy name to me... I think roughly 1/2 of the cut to top eight was Fourth Ring/Oddities, some shootier than others. My memory fails me, but I may have played one Sloane game followed by seven matches in a row against Fourth Ring/Oddities starting Leonardo "Leon" Cavallo. I'll confess to having some concerns over the strength of Paralysis Mark and Blood Curse, but if you can't beat them, join them!
Starting posse is the 5 highlighted or Benny McGill swapping out for John "Aces" Radcliffe if I'm expecting a strong shooting deck to oppose the outfit's job (I'll confess I didn't always call this correctly!).
MVPs: David Avery, who not only went 4-1 with the Arsenal but also let me catch a lift back to Edinburgh with him after I missed my train to play in the semi-finals. Our fellow passenger and Edinburgh deputy, Steve, actually knocked Dave out in the top eight (yet again with 4th Ring Control. Dave is a bigger man than me and hasn't succumbed to just playing control) before Steve and I faced off in the top 4, as the Edinburgh players knocked each other out in a vicious blood-letting. At least it helped one of us make the final! Nicodemus Whateley for winning two games, including the final. Booting out my opponent's best shooters with paralysis mark, then using Blood Curse and voting for Nic worked well.
Other Key Cards/Notes John "Aces" Radcliffe was added late in Friday night testing and was great, either starting or coming in to play in several games. He & Benny even helped in Low Ball when they weren't starting and never came up in a pull, my luck was in! "Aces" makes a huge difference (I used to start Marion Seville to generate ghost Rock from the job and no Jake Smiley) - using him to run the job keeps my influence mobile. If my opponent opposes the job, Angelica joins to give me a stud - if they use an action to reduce/remove her stud bonus, "Aces" takes over as a three stud. I am paranoid about taking part in shootouts without a stud but couldn't find high value stud preservation that fitted the deck until "Aces" saved the day. I normally run the job before attaching cards, sometimes using attached cards to set up the job (Paralysis Mark to boot out shooters at home). "Aces" works really well in a deck like this where a lot of your shootout cards are already in play rather than coming from your hand. Only after the job do I normally play cards - I'm probably most vulnerable at this point, as I often only have Angelica in play as stud until I've got in a second shooter. Thankfully nobody nailed me with a job/bounty hunter at this point.
Soul Blast was great as it lets me send home/kill the Brute/Freddy reliably, particularly once I got a few bounty on Maria Kingsford.
I toyed with adding two copies of Nightmare at Noon, but we were too tired to test its addition and I was worried about diluting the 16,13,13 draw structure. Considered Jack O'Hara as a cheap backup stud but decided to go with 2x José Morales to have an extra back-up huckster.
Very relieved not to run in to Shotgun all day given my values. I think Scott, my first opponent playing Sloane before an avalanche of Fourth Ring, was playing it but thankfully our game ended after only a few turns following a Soul Blast assisted opening shootout. Soul Blast was handy all day, particularly once I had Shadow Walk on Maria Kingsford too - it gives great board control and the combination let me threaten deeds and (reasonably) safely murder low grit dudes with the hex if I got them booted away from home.
Other main escape was avoiding cheating too much in Low Ball at key moments and drawing fairly low despite the draw structure. The exception was the second game where I was pulling cheatin' full houses while my opponent had a Soul Cage, but he had rotten luck (which he bore heroically!) with what was available to retrieve from his discard pile/boot hill. I didn't take notes so can't give him the credit he deserves, but as noted earlier I had lots of fun, considerate opponents.
|Aug 16, 2015 Harlath|
|Sep 12, 2016 Mixxathon|
|Sep 12, 2016 Harlath|