I think it’s a clear indicator that I’m playing the same deck when my goto image for my posts is the same dude over and over.
Headed off to Huddersfield with my Hucksters deck, and enjoyed a number of games where spoiler alert I didn’t do too well. I do feel like the excessive work I did on selecting my starting posse paid off though, I don’t think I could have had a better selection of dudes for what I was going for (and I’ve specifically not said “for the deck”).
Round 1 – Original Law Dogs
It’s never good to see Wendy at a starting dude when I need to be able to move around. No deeds hit the table, and with his grafter booted he moves his 3 other dudes into the town square.
Once he boots the two that aren’t went to his outfit ability I decide to just go for a shootout, I’m sure I can out shoot him. Wendy sends Marion home, but I use Stakes to get him back in as a stud.
He plays that shootout action that punishes cheating. I get my cards and can put together a Legal 4 of a kind. He on the other hand can only manage a two pair, wishing he hadn’t played that shootout action. All his dudes other than his 0 influence grafter are now gone, and two turns later I draw a deed.
Round 2 – Regulating Morgan
I get down a deed, use protection racket there and play a doggie. My opponent kind of wants to play goods, and doesn’t like to see the mechanical skeleton eating dog.
I also quickly get out the Legendary Holster. But my deck is stacked so much that I don’t win lowball very often, and when I don’t he might start a shootout and negate the Holster (don’t think I got to use it once). I eat some skeletons, but unfortunately he’s running pinned down and it’s not what you know. Which actually means I sometimes lose a shootout by 1 rank, and my lead shooter is gone.
It seems to take an age for me to draw enough control points, and with him not playing deeds my outfit can’t give me any.
When I eventually draw enough control points to force him out, time is looming. I decide to go for a Mugging on one of his dudes which would take 2+ influence off him, and essentially means he won’t be able to win. The thought that I can just sit around and win at time enters my head, but that doesn’t seem like a cool thing to do, and I’m there to have fun, not win at all costs.
Turns out the Mugging doesn’t go well, there’s two rounds and I can’t manage better than a legal Full House, I couldn’t even make a cheating 4 of a kind, either round.
He boots my final dude with influence at home to prevent me blocking him taking enough of my deeds for a win.
Round 3 – Eagle Wardens
He plays a General Goods Store, and the Buford I played to cycle my hand somewhat moves over there, actually feels quite tense as I wonder if I can pull it off, but he manages to trigger Protection Racket, and gives me enough money to get my own deed.
What follows however is a combination of Kidnapping and Mariel, meaning my dudes are being killed automatically due to a lack of influence. Unfortunately the first dude picked off was my Marion as day 2 I tried to ninja the Goods Store to get a cheaper Holster.
Last game I couldn’t get deeds fast enough, this game?
Actually another game where I played the Legendary Holster, and it was pretty much just negated by my opponent.
Round 4 – Regulating Morgan
I think this is the most “normal” game for this deck, as his starting dudes go in to the town square, and with 2 copies of Mirror, Mirror I know I’m going to be able to shoot better. So I wipe out most his dudes.
I start to apply pressure by playing deeds, and build up with some expendable dudes etc.
Eventually I have too much control on the board, and he’s forced into trying to shoot me but can’t, and ends up getting hit by another legal 4 of a kind.
Round 5 – Sanatorium 4th Ring
My opening hand is trash, two deeds I can’t afford, 2 dogs. I slap down a Mirror, Mirror, and nothing much else. He’s playing tons of conditions and spells, none of which really worry me, but I am worried that I can’t actually do anything.
I think it’s day 3 where I move everyone into town to try and defend against more Fiddle Games, and do so. I destroy him in the shootout, but apparently “The Law Goes Underground” means he just goes home so I’ve accomplished very little.
Eventually he plays a Condition Job which I defend, and since I have no studs my hand isn’t great, but he’s got +3 hand rank at least, so I just fold.
He even asks me if I was waiting for something since I played 3 cards all game, obviously confused how a deck that does nothing had made it to the 2-2 position. Unfortunately, my deck had screwed itself, and my opponent not playing deeds and me never winning lowball, I just couldn’t do anything.
Was a great day. I did leave before time was called for round 5 since it’d take me a good hour and a half to get home, and with a 2-3 record I wasn’t getting any top prizes.
I don’t know if it’s the amount of Gwent I’ve been playing, but I still keep thinking I’d be tilted or salty after a 2-3 record, but I’m not. I had a lot of fun, I’m quite happy with the deck, and I just came away with ideas for deck changes and really looking forward to the next one. As usual, talked to some cool people, and as usual it’s good when someone’s impressed with my deck idea.
The cards in the deck work, the premise works, and the starting posse works. But I still went 2-3, so what’s the problem?
Even though not having a deed broke me in game 5, I felt it’s absence in most games. I think if I were to run Protection Racket again, I need to start 4+ ghostrock, or a deed. When looking at my starting posse there was consideration for Ol’ Howard and Clementine, and really I should have looked at that more.
My main concern on that front is that if I’m spending so many of my starting dudes on that, can I apply pressure if they hit 3 deeds? I’m unsure if the answer is yes, no, or simply that people will still avoid playing 3 deeds, either because that’s a crazy thing to do for a lot of decks, or if it’s slide I can just outshoot them anyway.
The Legendary Holster did pretty much nothing all day. It was a 4 cost waste of time really. If I drop the Holster I can alter my draw structure possibly, although I think 2/3 is really strong anyway, meaning I’m switching the 4s, and to be honest the 4s were strong.
I do think forcing a 3 Draw dude in my starting posse didn’t help, since I often felt in a poor position when I didn’t draw any of my “make this dude a stud” tools. But that probably just means Barton, which is a bit disappointing really. There was 1 instance of Jose’s bullets being reduced meaning I could have failed a Mirror, Mirror but I succeeded, but if I drop the Holster and 3 Draws, I could start Emilia instead.
Finally, I had two games where my lack of control points really hurt me. I essentially started and stuck with Sloane due to the control point generation, it’s what I played in classic, and the original Sloane outfit is essentially a copy of a classic card I once built a deck around. So I’d quite like Allie in my starting posse from now on. I think the decks I make favour quick games, and I need more pressure against slow opponents. Historically I might go for Kidnapping and similar, but Allie is also great at that.
I think if I were to play the exact same deck today, I’d go with a different starting posse. Without even putting more thought into it, looking at my long spreadsheet, the 8 choices I was comparing, 2 stand out right now:
Jose Morales, Ulysses Marks, Antheia Pansofia, Darragh Meng, Allie Hensman
Essentially breaking up the influence and bullets from Marion across Ulysses and Allie (although Allie can’t use the Holster) this is pretty much exactly the same apart from my “back up” shooter wants to generate control in the town square and my influence isn’t great at defending itself.
Emilia Vivirias, Pancho Castillo, Clementine Lepp, Ol’ Howard, Darragh Meng
With 2 upkeep and losing lowball my net is 0 per turn. Getting out a Jokers Smile and having 3 upkeep my net is 1 per turn, making the opening economy on this actually better. With this I’m actually running a 3 stud, and my huckster is a stud. This devalues Bowie Knife I feel, and might actually push against having 3’s as a strong value in the deck, which if I also changed the deck would give a lot more options.
Even looking at Jake Smilie options, something like:
Jose Morales, Samantha “Sammy” Cooke, Jake Smiley, Darragh Meng, Allie Hensman
Might have been a strong option.
This has been a long post. Not sure when I’ll look at my deck next, but the focus continues to be low value spells, with Mirror, Mirror being one of, if not the top, favourite cards in the game.
Thanks for reading this far if you have, hope you enjoyed the post!