in light of a number of recent tournamnet reports, I would say that I was concerned about the impact of Decimator Array + Force Field.
The easiest solution to that was Phantom Fingers. Which meant to go with Hexes. And I could add Forget to turn off character abilities. then it was either Fearmongers or Outlaws for hucksters to use. I had never really used the Full Moon Brotherhood outfit before, but the ability to turn off traits, on top of all the negation that was already going on, seemed like a perfect match.
working with my playtesting accomplice @Laura, we bounce around some choices, some values, and some structures until we arrived at the deck in question. Even then, we threw in a couple of 11th hour changes.
Round 1 - Jason Pere - 108 Righteous Bandits
This followed on the heels of my promotion announcement, and Jason is one of our fiction writers, so it was good to meet him. It turned out he was running a straight laced Deed slide. While this game did turn out in my favor, it could have easily tilted the other way.
First turn I was able to attach Forget, and would continue to use Forget against the Agent Provocateur throughout the game. I booted Hamshanks, and used the Full Moon to blank Randall to deny him the extra card. I was able to assert early control over town square, but I was hard pressed to find influence dudes to secure his deeds while also bottling him in his home.
Final turn, Jason had nine deeds on his street (8 CP), I blanked Hamshanks, unbooted my home with Ambrose Douglas, blanked Jake. this left him with 4 influence (Randall, AP, and Hamshanks) I played Doris Powell, and was able to move her to her favorite deed, the Open Wound (great interaction of Open wound and Doris, who is a nurse in her art). with my dudes on several of his deeds, and 4 CP on Doris, Jason came out guns blazing, first with Jake, and then with Randall - and both went to boot hill with their boots on.
Round 2 - Derek McConnell - Eagle Wardens
Derek started out with the robust Enapay + Mariel Lewis, and I rightly guessed that I was in store for Kidnappings. I survived an early kidnapping by the grace of a Flight of the Lepus. Several times I would hit Enapay with the Full Moon Brotherhood in order to turn off his +2 influence, this both limited the cards he could draw with his home, and the influence that he could bring on kidnappings. Mazatl got the first Turtle Guard, and I knew that would be trouble. the next turn he moved Matatl to my Huntsman Society in order to attach a second Turtle Guard. I booted him with Leon, then sent everyone else over to execute the interloper. We both went all in. Unprepared shut down the Turtle Guard and I was able to present a legal Five of a Kind over his Full house. Between the bounty from the dudes and the card draw from a Full Moon target, I was able to put out enough CP to secure the game.
Round 3 - Steven Holder - Protection Racket
I was a little taken aback by Steven's choice (although it was a fixed plan) to keep the Fixer throughout the game. A little pregame Hoyle's deck mojo kept Steven hard pressed to find any deeds, and Leon was able to lock the Fixer down with impunity. Important safety tip was that you CAN use a Jael's Guile during a cheating lowball - it doesn't do much, but the hammer does smash a Fiddle Game. the pressure of the Fixer's upkeep and Full moon not allowing Clementine Lepp the opportunity to peacefully pour out drinks hampered his development, and I was able to secure the win.
Round 4 - Jevon Heath - Full Moon Brotherhood - with Reverend Grimme
I won first lowball, and seeing how his values looked, attached my Phantom Fingers first thing, this made his cost 1 GR (Grimme hates the spell mirror match). I lose Valeria to an early kidnapping. I revealed Cheating five of a kind to his cheating four of a kind. I had lowball, and I was feeling greedy to kill some dudes, so I hit him with It's Not What You Know. Then he plays Disarm, pops a spell, and I read the card to discover that it prevents all his casualties - so much for Greed being Good. End game I am able to Forget on the Ghostly Gun, then I run a kidnapping on him - I have five of a kind cheating, and he did not have a cheating resolution for me.
Round 5 - Joe James - 108 Drunken Masters
Joe's deck had a 108 different targets for me, and I didn't have a whole lot to push. late game, with a bunch on the board, I figured out my best play, and then took another one entirely. this resulted in me losing my Jael's Guile (faithful hound), and a shootout, when kidnapping Randall should have been nearly automatic. I also should have sen Rosenbaum's Glem on a suicide run to remove Longwei's trait.
and with that, on what would be my last ride, I was 4-1, and headed back to the cut rounds.
First round of the Cut, I was facing Steven Holder and his working from home Protection Racket jobs deck.
this game was more work than our meeting during the swiss. Steven got a first turn Cliff's Saloon, and the Fixer is much more intimidating when liquored up. But again, the Fixer and Leon did their dance. And I hit the Fixer with the Full Moon Brotherhood a number of times to keep him from joining fights with The Stakes Just Rose. Plus you cannot use Cliff's to gain stud in an adjacent location you do not control (like town Square). My economy got flowing with an early Baird's, so I was eventually able to support Avie Cline to go sit on deeds, Clint Ransey, and Doris Powell. I played Lost to the Plague on Clementine, so that she could not boot for money, since I was using Full Moon to keep the Fixer from moving. The end game had Jake Smiley cover the High Stakes (so I wouldn't feel the pinch), booted Avie and Booted Fixer on my Flint's Amusements. Rosenbaum's golem caught the last dude moving out of Steven's home and booted him before he and Clint ventilated him with a cheating four of a kind.
Next up - Brandon Schulte - Also Full Moon Brotherhood
Brandon's deck is super aggressive, starting Ambrose, Tattoo'd Man, Agent Provacateur, Valeria, and Jake Smiley. Lucky for me, Brandon did not find a first turn Its What you know or Kidnapping. he did walk a Tattoo'd Man into my home though, which was nerve wracking. After Tattoo went home to get more spells, I was able to boot Valeria and Full moon her before going all in, and the Full Moon kept her from retreating with the Highbinder Hotel, net money, plus one less influence / huckster. Tattoo got a shotgun and a Corporeal twist, which was not exciting for my jake, Black Owl, or Valeria. But my money was flowing, and I got to get Tyx into play to get something going. Brandon gunned down Tyx and got a CP for it. I also did not expect the Inner Struggles from Brandon, and I got hit with a second one on turn 4. Turn four my Jael's Guile meant the Cheating was not an option for Brandon, and I was already in two Inner Struggles, so I had to play big hands. Jake ran out to my Jackson's Strike to protect himself from Full Moon Brotherhood (he was critical influence). Turn five I lost Leon to a tattoo'd kidnapping, but I was happy to have Tattoo out of the way at home. I discover that you cannot use Full Moon Brotherhood on a dude at the same location (the strike), so I call out Jake with Clint Ramsey, and lose. But I have enough money to put out the Hellstrom plant, I use the tax office on Dulf Zug, rendering Brandon Penniless, Boot Dulf with the Nickel Night, and walk Valeria over to his Mausoleum for the win on control.
The final - the rematch versus Joe James and the 108 Drunken Masters
we decide upon best of one untimed game. Since we went to time the first time, I was afraid of being there for two hours. My opening hand was super weak (Flight of Lepus, Lost to the Plague, Bairds, Hellstroms, and the Oriental). I got two deeds out on the opening turn, figuring that Joe's low influence on dudes would allow me to produce money to get me out of this spot. But Buford Hurly threw a party on my Bairds Saloon, and a Baiju Jar made Luke the Errand Boy the big man on my Hellstrommes Saloon. I wnet to fight Luke off of my deed, but I did not anticipate that the Sun would be in My Eyes, nor that I would only get a 2 pair. The game continued on for two more turns after that, but for all intents and purposes the game was wrapped up after those two first turn shootouts.
Overall I am happy with how the deck performed. it had just enough tricks. Never got to use No Funny Stuff on anyone. Nor did I face any gadgets or mystical goods to draw a card off of Phantom Fingers. I would have like to have some more / better cheating punishment, but the values did not make that in the cards, so to speak. There was a Disarm in the first draft, but that got cut for a second Kidnapping, and I have to defend that choice.
Hat's off to Joe James (Prodigy) - a tight deck structure with disposable dudes supported by Longwei from home is a good plan. Almost like my deck from 2017, sort of....