The Kingsford Agenda - A tournament report
This past weekend the awesome IQ games in Huddersfield held “Maria’s Callout” an end of year Doomtown bash with some extra special prizes. Every participant received a copy of a custom UK Gunslinger token with the winner not only walking away with a one of a kind Maria Kingsford playmat, but the dubious pleasure of having their likeness used on a token card next year.
The Huddersfield Meta is probably one of the strongest in the UK so I knew I had a fight on my hands if I wanted the swag.
I originally built a massive troll-you deck using phantasm, puppet and Steele Archer Exp (in a casual “fun” game before we started I was about to cast my 6th puppet before Scott conceded). While it’s bonkers good fun to play, it has a really REALLY weak start and rolls over to a turn 1 kidnap. Not good.
I needed something that could shoot, hold out against slide, and defend itself early while it set up. In the end I went for a Straight Flush 108 Worldly Desires deck.
Key Deck Decisions:
Worldly Desires. I LOVE this outfit. While it’s an excellent ability for a shootout hand, it’s power comes from the fact you get 6 cards to build lowball. It helps to stop you cheating, it saves Jokers, and most importantly, it helps you win lowball and play first. - Over the course of the day, it saved 4 Jokers as I opted to discard them and keep slightly worse hands, it also made lowball a nightmare for all of my opponents.
108 also come with some of the cheapest mobile influence in the game. I was fairly certain I’d have to play at least one game against Landslide so I wanted lots of cheap useful dudes with influence to help beat it. The final version of the deck ended up with 10 possible starters for my posse.
Settled on my faction and outfit I needed to choose what to include. I opted for a Hot Lead Flying deck to get some legwork out of Xui Yin Chen and Yunxu Jiang (both count as value 7)
As I would not be starting them in every game, I decided to avoid Kung Fu actions and instead went for a lot of low value shootout actions. At the point where you’re running 3, 4, 5, 6 of clubs, you may as well go all in on a Straight Flush build so I did.
Straight Flush decks are hard to make work. Without enough stud in a shootout you can miss it more than you hit it. Since I was running Hot Lead Flying I had a good get out clause if I missed the Straight and could only Flush. Against a Full House or 4 of a Kind, there’s only a 1-2 rank difference with a flush so you can easily sacrifice Benjamin Washington as a trigger to throw Hot Leads around. I was also heavy on a single value - 3s. Going heavy on one value meant I could also stretch to my own Full House on a bad draw.
As my entire deck needed to be 6 or lower in value to make sure I could always hit 2 casualties for the HLF my usual go to removal card was not available to me (Kidnapppin’). I instead dropped to 2 Coachwhips and added a pair of Ambush (this would prove to be the tournament winning decision of the day). I thought long and hard about removing the whips, however it’s not a bad option. If your opponent sees a whip that’s often enough for him to not cheat, or at least make him check your discard pile frequently to check how many are there. If you’re only running two, that fear is there for half the game - longer if they don’t check your discards on the reshuffle.
I also went for 3 ofs for a lot of cards. While 4 copies of things like nunchucks would have let me see them early and allow me to engineer my entire deck to a 2 or less for Hot Lead, the fact I wasn’t planning on starting Xui Yin in every game meant an early chuks wasn’t always going to be beneficial. I also wanted an out for Pistol Whip so I had to include a single Stakes Just Rose.
On Ace I normally run Establishin’ Who’s In Charge for some cheeky Control Point gain, however I wanted to try something new against Slide. I was running Hustings so they’d have to be booted at home to avoid fights and Civil War let’s you force a booted dude out. I think I played 3 Civil Wars all day and never once managed to get 2 booted dudes with it. I still think it’s a solid option, but needs something else to go with it to get them booted.
Round 1: Karl “The Slide” Walsh - Den Of Thieves
Karl plays Slide almost exclusively. So when he dropped Den of Thieves I was a bit confused. Could he actually be playing a shooter? This made my starting posse much more difficult to choose - I opted for Xui Yin + Yunxu for fighting / hot lead action. Benjamin to remove turn 1’s upkeep, Xiodan Li, Jake and Randall. I normally wouldn’t bother with Jake and start Asakichi Cooke against a shooter for the mobility, but since it was Karl, and knowing his love of Slide I went for the 7 influence start,,, just in case.
This proved to be the correct play as lowball round 1 immediately revealed a Slide-of-Thieves deck. This was a fun take on slide. Using Den to add bounty Gina, Makaio to move it to Fred, to ramp influence that hides at home while he drops deeds.
Which is exactly what he started to do. Unfortunately I took every deed he played early and a turn 3 Hiram Capatch meant even Xiodan and Ben could prevent production during upkeep.
Karl answered with 3 fancy new hats on a Clementine Lepp hiding at a Pearly’s Place and at that point it was just a waiting game for the Ambush. Clem died first after 3 or 4 turns, closely followed by Fred for the win.
Round 2: Kirsty - Abrams’ Crusaders
Kirsty is a regular at the IQ events and always plays something fun. The evening before I’d been running around with a Tlaloc’s Furies Crusader deck turning Erik Samson into a beast so was really happy to see him drop out on the other side of the table.
Having played a few games the night before testing a couple of ideas, I knew what Kirsty would be doing - make weapons, use sword of the spirit, smack you down. This made my starting posse pretty easy to choose. Xui Yin, Yunxu, Hiram, Benjamin, Xiodan and Asakichi Cooke. Hiram jumps in as an extra higher value dude to try and force 3 casualties for HLF and Cooke offers mobility.
Despite playing two aggressive shooter decks, this game ended up going to time. I saw zero deeds all game, Kirsty saw no weapons and stopped dropping deeds after the second one when she realised she couldn’t defend them properly. Samson came into Town Square early and I used the opportunity for an all in 6 man beat down using Xui Yin to make ALL THE STUD! Erik sadly shuffled off from this mortal coil swiftly afterwards as Kirsty has to cheat or a decent hand and gets a Bottom Dealin’ for her efforts.
Prior deck knowledge helped a lot in this game unfortunately for Kirsty. Since I knew her only real answer to cheating was consecration, which didn;t see play and Lepus, all I had to do was make sure I had 4 guys in any shootout and just throw cheating hands. Even so, the lack of control on the board meant I had to wait out for time to claim the win.
Kirsty being an honourable lady chose the valiant way out at 44 minutes. Realising the deeds were lost to her, we settled it with an all in both sides brawl. - Sportsmanship award for the day goes to the Lady who went down swinging.
Round 3: Phteven Horsely - Eagle Wardens.
Steve has been trying to get a warden deck to work for a long time now and it’s pretty close to top tier. I really didn’t want this game. HLF and tokens DO...NOT...MIX. There just too many irrelevent dudes on the table for HLF to make a difference.
I opt for a Randall, Xui Yin, Yunxu, Benjamin, Xiodan, Cooke start for this one. I need Randal to help keep up with the EW card draw, and this time I’m using Cooke to move someone in and out of my home just to cycle a card for the same reason. I need to draw as fast as he is.
After me badgering him constantly about how amazing Marcia Ridge is in a starting posse, it felt good to see he had taken that on board and there she was. Unfortunately this is actually bad for me. I now have a fight on my hands for Town Square.
Leaving me with no alternative I send all 6 of my dudes into Town as fast as I can, but not before Xui Yin gets a Nunchuks.
A couple of deeds appear on both sides but nothing to write home about, realising that I have shit him out of the Square, Steve’s back is against the wall. Unable to draw though his deck and activate the Buffalo Rifle, Totems at home combo, Steve got impatient and started a fight. Despite having all four 3 of clubs in my bin making a straight flush unlikely, I drew into a Joker. This didn’t help against a Five of a Kind and Benjamin took the hit. This opened Steve up for a 3 casualty HLF and it was over from there.
Round 4: John - Gadgetorium
John and I sit down knowing we’ve both made the cut. So this game gets a little silly. I started the same as round 2 aiming for a huge casualty Hot Lead to end it early as John has a habit of going in heavy for shootouts. Sure enough there’s an early turn 2 brawl in Town Square. Shortly after sending everyone on his side of the table into the fight John can be heard to exclaim “ah crap, you’ve got that stupid Hot Lead daft card”... yes John… I do. Sadly it doesn’t really help as being that I’m safe in the knowledge I have made the cut I get bloodthirsty and stay n a fight I have no business to be in and get my ass handed to me
Semi Final: Scott Wisely - Desolation Row
Scott knows Des Row like the back of his hand. I know Scott’s Des Row like the back of mine. 3, 5, 7 and some off suit. This means shotgun, This means my low value main deck dudes are going to have a rough time. This game is a race straight and simple. I have to start as many high value guys as possible so Hamshanks hits the table as a starter. I hope he’ll save me from the Shotguns, however since he can’t be targetted by them to begin with, that hope is short lived. Xui Yin gets kidnapped early and I lose 2 influence, Shotgun takes out Randall and I’m down 4 inf by turn 3. Thankfully I have been saving cash and turn 4 I drop out Clem, Jake, Steele Archer and get it all back again. I can’t repeat what Scott said, but he wasn;t impressed. I was less impressed by the second shotgun and the pair of pintos to match. I can;t get involved in a fight…. ever. That is until I look at my hand, see a pair of pistol whips and a full THREE Hot Lead Flying. Its over. I just need him to call me out when I’m on the play. Scott obliges, the shotguns Pinto in and promptly get whipped home, Scott then has to eat 5 casualties worth of Lead.
The Final: Karl “Still Slidin’” Walsh
Knowing for sure that Karl is sliding I go for the 7 influence 0 upkeep start of Hiram (because he is just so much win against Slide), Hamshanks, Jake, Cooke, Randall, and Xiodan Li. Having seen what Worldly Desires does in Lowball Karl avoided using the Den ability for the first few turns, If I engineer my hand to high a pair and he wants to move up 1 rank with ability, as he hasn;t made it himself he is deemed to have the worst hand between us so he can’t win lowball. It also makes him cheat and he knows I have coachwhip to boot him down and give me targets for civil war.
This is an incredibly cash tight game for Karl. I see a couple of dudes, a Yan Li and a Mayor’s office so I can throw around a crazy amount of influence. Once again it comes down to how soon I can see an Ambush and the answer is 75 minutes of chess moves later. Karl ends up with a cheating lowball hand without the Den ability and Androcles finds himself booted on my side of the street (he was there after a check move from me last turn). Androcles dies a painful death and an Ambush on another 2 influence the same turn spells game over.
As if the card Gods were smiling down, I draw my first natural - non-Joker Straight Flush all day.
5-1 - Event Winner
I haven’t marked the starting dudes as there are 10 to choose from depending on the match up.
♠ Spades (16)
1x A Allie Hensman
1x A Benjamin Washington
1x A Clementine Lepp
1x A Jake Smiley
1x 2 Olivia Jenks
1x 2 Randall
1x 2 Xiaodan Li
1x 3 Asakichi Cooke
1x 3 Longwei Fu
1x 3 Ramiro Mendoza
1x 4 Natalya
1x 4 Steele Archer
1x 4 Xui Yin Chen
1x 5 Hamshanks
1x 6 Hiram Capatch
1x 7 Yunxu Jiang
♣ Clubs (24)
3x A Civil War
1x A Establishin' Who's in Charge
4x 2 Bottom Dealin'
3x 3 Sun in Yer Eyes
1x 3 The Stakes Just Rose
2x 4 Ambush
2x 4 Coachwhip!
4x 5 Pistol Whip
4x 6 Hot Lead Flyin'
♦ Diamonds (9)
1x A Pony Express
1x A The Mayor's Office
1x 2 Pettigrew's Pawnshop
1x 2 The Town Hall
2x 3 Hustings
2x 3 Yan Li's Tailoring
1x 4 The Extra Bet
♥ Hearts (3)
3x 3 Nunchucks
If you have any questions on card choices, thoughts etc, feel free to jump in the discussion below.