I have confidence in the new team as well - even more than I had with the previous team - especially because of the "fans-turned-designers" narrative the shift seems to represent. And overall I feel the game is incredibly well-balanced - no small feat! - the turnout in Edinburgh (all outfits represented) testifying to that. But that's not to say that there isn't yet potential for even more growth. And so, I like to pair my praise with critique, with the short term goal of generating discussion towards the long term goal of realizing more of that potential.
Mostly, this "potential" strikes me whenever I set out to make a new deck - specifically, the search for a "viable starting posse" - defined approximately as "5/4/3/2/1" (5+ dudes, 4+ influence, 3+ starting rock, <2 upkeep, 1+ studs). I run into a few of the same walls every time - one of the most common is the reliance on Jake Smiley to bring a posse's influence over the 3-point mark, another being budgeting enough starting cash (assuming a loss at lowball) to be able to play more than one card out of my play hand (because: card-cycling is key).
Your mention of 2-cost dudes actually prompted me to do some more research, and here are those numbers.
Half of the twenty-three 2-cost dudes have 0-upkeep. Of those, only three (*but see below) have "virtual influence" - Ambrose Douglas, Jake Smiley, and Shizeng Lu - a trait or ability that affects the board state win condition (sundown influence for the first two, and Lu's unique "negative control points" trait). This makes them excellent options for inclusion in starting posses.
*(An argument could be made for Maggie Harris who can reliably fetch horses which activate influence traits (Buckin' Billy Ballard, Chuan "Jen" Qi, J.W. Byrne) - or similarly for The Brute and Pagliaccio when run out of Oddities of Nature... and let's not forget Allie Hensman and Travis Moone for "ramping control" and "opening options" respectively.)
Of those with upkeep, there are five that I consider to be starter-material - "Lucky" Sky Borne, Dulf Zug, Lucinda "Lucy" Clover, Marcia Ridge, and Rhonda Sageblossom - because they have at least 1 influence at 1-upkeep, plus either another point of influence, a cool ability/trait, and/or other stats/skills.
So my questions: Do you think the game could use more 2-cost (virtual) influential dudes?