2nd Place UK Games Expo Report

I’ll add the decklist later, I want to write this while it’s still fresh in my head.

The prep / journey:

I got home on Saturday evening and sat down to book my train ticket for Sunday morning, only to discover that there are ZERO trains that go South from Stoke-On-Trent before 11am. Even Gomorra after the storm has a better rail service than my hick town apparently.

At this point I am seriously disappointed as this will be my last major Doomtown event until probably September as we’re expecting our first child in the next 3 or 4 weeks. Thankfully I managed to find a coach that got me there on time. The catch? It leaves at 5am. I’ve just played through a gruelling 10 hours of Netrunner and I’m shattered. My love of sleep warred with my love of doomtown however eventually I decide that given the fact it’s my last hurrah, a 4am wake up will have to do.

So There I am, at 5am at Stoke coach station dressed in all my finery. A modern day sheriff in a swarm of hussies doing the stagger of shame after a heavy night on the Lambrini. Great start to the day.

I managed to get to the venue with some 2 hours to spare before the start which was great as I hadn’t built a deck. This is not unusual. There’s a joke in the UK that if I turn up to an event having already made a deck, the apocalypse is not far behind me.

F&F and FJ have really reshaped the meta so I wasn’t sure what to build. I knew there would be Desolation Rows so I made sure I main decked a Wendy and a couple of Pistol Whips for an alternate start if needed. I also expected to see 3 or 4 slides so I stayed true to the Law Dog decks I’ve been running the last few months and made a couple of changes.

The Latest version of the deck can be found here: Deckbuilder · DoomtownDB

The event:

20 players from all across the UK arrived to compete for glory. Sadly a couple of guys didn’t show so we just missed the UK (world? Non-Gencon?) Attendance record. The usual suspects were in attendance (minus Scott W who galantly took it upon himself to work at the expo and save us all from a beating)

The Field:

Oddities of Nature x 2
4th Ring x 3
Law Dogs x 5
Morgan x 3
Desolation Row x 7

Round 1: Vs Andy Wroe (Law Dogs)

I hate myself for writing this but Andy is a great player (He took down the London 23 player deputy) and he knows what he’s doing. Law Dog mirror is always interesting as neither side tried to cheat too much. Unfortunately, as skilled as Andy is his deck wouldn’t play ball, this was short and brutal, Andy’s only shootout action was a pistol whip, a joker and a couple of deeds in hand. It’s just downhill for him from there.


Round 2: Vs James Thompson (Des. Row)

OK, my first Des Row… let’s see if the Wendy tech works. I have played James only once before and he schooled me hard with a Legendary Holster deck. I start Wendy, Tommy, Jake, Burton. First lowball goes to me and I immediately action 1 move Wendy to town square to mess with the job, James moves a guy to TS so I move Burton in, Jame moves another guy in and I can sense that he’s panicked by Wendy and what’s unbooted support for the job, or wants to call out normally to soak the send home. Sadly every time he moves a guy in, so do I and we get involved in a Turn 1 TS brawl, I play a couple of SIYE and remove all the stud before killing 2 guys with a legal 5oak. James runs home to lick his wounds but can’t get back in the game.


Round 3: Vs Jimi May (Des Row)

Jimi arrived last and late. Citing a hangover having spent the previous evening until 2am in the bar. He’s won the last 2 though so apparently being hung agrees with him (Go figure, he jobs out when he’s stone cold sober). Jimi’s start is pretty high value which is a problem for my shotguns, I don’t Burton since he’s started Makaio / Milt so I’d just be giving him cash. In retrospect I should have dumped the shottie s my hand was really weak. I start Wendy again but Jimi is less scared, probably because he’s on the play with a SIYE in hand. Milt comes to TS, I have to call out to remove. He brings in Travis, SIYE on Wendy and I have no Faster On The Draw to fix it, I send Milt Home with Wendy, Angelica joins, I have nothing else and the world explodes


Round 4: Dan VandenBurg (Oddities)

Dan’s undefeated so I know this is a strong oddities deck, if I lose this I can’t cut and I really need another Carter’s Bounties for my playset. He’s starting Freddy, 2x Pagliaciciicioicicocicciao, Valeria and Leon so he’s hexing it up. This is a problem as Dirty Dogs likes to cheat… a lot so I’m going to have to deal with magical distraction, Hex Slingin’ and Probably Cheatin’ Varmint for the trifecta of rank shenanigans. He doesn’t Freddy and I get worried. I had a right to be as he lands double paralysis mark, one on each huckster on turn 1. I drop a Cattle Market in the vain hope that the extra value might stop the boot, it doesn’t. However I move a group of guys in and kick him out. Over the next couple of turns I drop an Androcles to keep his booting busy and pick off the 2 paggies and the freddy, I managed to not ace them so they get shuffled round and dilute hie deck. At the crucial shootout as we approach time I have to cheat to force a win and Dan drops magical distraction… only to have Freddy come back haunt him wiping out his posse.


Round 5: Vs Jason Handy (Des Row)

I know Jason from AGoT. A game at which he is much better than I. I start Wendy once again. Jason wins lowball and doesn’t run the job action 1 so I move Wendy into town square. Still no job so I reinforce Wendy as I have a pistol whip in hand. He comes in heavy for the job and I defend with a couple of bullet reduction cards taking ownership of town square. I sit there for a while and some targeted kill grabs the last couple of guys. Jason goes out swinging though and Jake Smiley charges the entire Law Dog posse in a blaze of glory.


That’s me in the cut and getting a Carter’s, mission accomplished. (As this is only a deputy kit the judges get to play, taking advantage of this all 3 of us cut :grin: The Stevie’s and One Good Turns were passed downwards as we have all managed to get a set)

Semi Final: Vs Karl “The Slide” Walsh (Morgan)

Karl is a new player, however not one to underestimate. He’s been playing the same slide deck since he picked the game up and is slowly becoming a very VERY good slider. However my deck is built for exactly this matchup - I switch to my 7 influence 5 dude start and take control of the game turn 1, Every time a deed arrives I occupy it. He’s on just his outfit for income for pretty much the whole game and as soon as I can force a dude drop with an upkeep it’s over. It took a decent 45 minutes to get the lock in as a Stevie turned up and decided to be a nuisance. However I saw Blake Ranch and a couple of 2 cash deeds myself so was dropping out a dude every other turn to stay on top of the minimal deeds that were popping up. Game ended at 45 minutes with me on 12 CP and 15 influence after I forced the Stevie to vanish giving me a 3 point swing. He held out admirably but I just swamped his deeds. Karl will definitely be a player to watch during the Sheriff season in the UK if he keeps this standard up.

Final: Vs Jimi May (Des Row)

I go for an inspired starting line up of just Wendy and Wylie. Both are 2 stud deputies, knowing Jimi is packing shotguns from our previous engagement I put all the low value chaff back in the deck. I also know he’s running SIYE so if I can draw a Faster On The Draw I’m effectively immune to them.

I don’t recall the exact sequence of events but it was filmed so I’ll try and get a copy. However Jimi gets a Charlie’s Place out and I take offence to his flagrant attempt to get even more cash from Desolation Row so Wendy and Wylie both set up shop in it. A fight breaks out and we are both fairly confident we’re going to roll it. Jimi’s pretty much all in with me and we’re off.

A flurry of 3 SIYE and 2 send home effects leaves us both with 2 dudes, all of which aere 0 bullet draws. I gegt lucky and win by just enough to take out Makaio and Angelica. I’m in a strong place. Jimi however finds cash AND deeds and threatens an early win against my 3 inf. No deed is forthcoming and I sneak into another turn… and my deck says NO.

Another Shootout with the WWW (Wylie Wendy Workhorse) And I’m happy taking on Milt, Travis and something else. Wendy does her thing, I get SIYE’d AGAIN so I’m down to 2 stud 1 draw and my deck gives me 3 pair and an off value… cool, I’ll redraw my one then and should FH. Not so much. I get the same off value back and I still have 3 pair. It’s over but not before I mess with Jimi’s hungover brain and try and blag a 3 pair shootout, he’s sadly having none of it. I only have 1 influnce left with no dudes and He’s got a 4 bounty guy worth 1 CP and a Deed. I probably should have pulled in my Ramiro + Shottie from across town to scare off the shootout but I was confident in my draw structure.

A very tense and insanely good fun final game deservedly won by Jimi “man of a thousand suns” May.


hahah omg that is so brutal!

Well done guys. I want to see the vids and pics :slight_smile:

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These Desolation Row decks sure seem fun to play against. All four games basically say that a major shootout in town sqaure on turn 1 decides the outcome, the player with more actions and a better draw hand wins the game. Kinda reminds me of the good old time when I was learing the game with pre-constructed decks. Back then I thought that this game was too random, but I was told that pro players don’t engage into all-in shootouts on the first turn :smile:


Congratulations and well done!

It seems you folk have very itchy triggerfingers! Then again - it does save time :smiley:

Love that Freddy punished Dan and your last bid for a three pairs hand seems perfectly legit to me!

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When I was reading the report,initially I was a bit surprised that so many games were decided so quickly, but then I thought that if you don’t have a lot of experience playing against Desolation Row it is very easy to make a decision of getting into shootout on turn one, especially when your starting play hand is either very good or bad. In fact I think you often don’t have a choice. With bad hand you might feel that if you are not going to do anything, the game quickly will be beyond your control, with very good starting play hand you take a chance of shutting down your opponent quickly.
There are quite a few decks that can end a game quickly or are “snowball-y”, starting with 5 (or more) influence helps a bit when you play against them, but usually at the price of quality of your starting dudes or very poor economy (low starting gr and income). This is why I was so happy with a hat and conditional influence on a few of the dudes in the last SB, I hope we will get more cards like that soon, more dudes and goods (hopefully not only attire but also some guns and horses) should help with dealing with aggressive decks .

Well, it was Dan’s decision to oppose every first turn job in every game, so I don’t think it is about the lack of experince playing vs. Desolation Row. He specifically mentions tech-ing Wendy against it, he was expecting it. Seems to me it was his concious decision that opposing the first turn job is the best way to beat Desolation Row. So I think we can actually state that on a pro player level, games can often be decided in the first turn shootout, just like in newbie/learning play.

Desolation Row is actually slower in accumulatung control points than the base outfit. Playing against the latter, you could wait for several turns and then outpace it economically. There’s this deck that potentially has 10 influence on the first turn, I guess it could work pretty well against base Sloane.
But Desolation Row can bring even more pressure after several turns, if you let them do their jobs unopposed. It can outpace you economically. So I’m not sure if this plan would work here.

Could you explain specifically how you think conditional influence and Hats will help in this matchup, playing against Desolation Row without opposing their early jobs?

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I think the thing the distinguishes this is that for newbies, all games end in the first turns shootout, because they cannot judge their chances appropriately and they tend not to leave a losing battle.

But top players can certainly get into a first round brawl as well, usually if they think their chances are good, or if they’re bluffing. But the difference is that they know when to quit.

Then again, Dan doesn’t know when to quit and will often stay in a fight with a 2-draw Sloane solo against a whole posse :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with mplain that Desolation Rows matchups are not very intresting. All-in first turn shootout is bad thing for game imho, it removes tactical component from the game and makes game result very random. Of course you can affect it with deck building, but still games determined only by starting hand are not very intresting. I’m pretty disapointed that game meta degenerates to this stage.

(Pretty much of all this things can be said about most OoN decks. They just lose if they cannot take square turn 1, and this forces them to go all-in turn 1)

I moved a post to an existing topic: A Desolation Row Meta

Because you don’t know exactly what values it’s running compared to say Law Dogs (pretty easy to guess it’s running 3 / 8 / ??) you have to consider anything.

Law Dog starts are low value. Normally A A 2 3 ? (Burton, Lucy, Phil, Tommy) If the Des Row starts low cash you need to make sure you can keep the shotguns off the table. You HAVE to oppose the first job.

Wendy to TS throws off a lot of Des Row players. They now have to overcommit to the job to get it through. If they don;t Job as their first action you can move another guy in and hold a Pistol Whip, now they need at least 3 guys in there.

TS T1 is your best defence.

In the final game I actually let the job go off a couple of times, I threatened TS with Wendy and then let the 2 man team take it, I was happy to send a couple of guys home booted to let him claim rock as I didn’t have any shotgun fodder.

I play very aggressive decks. 4 Kidnaps, 4 Bounty Hunters, 4 FotD, 4 SIYE. I’m built for a T1 shootout and will happily jump in if I have the tools to do it.

The final was insane. Jimi and I had clearly decided we could win a T1 shootout with our hands and the resulting flurry of shootout actions ripping both sides apart is testament to the fact that technically we were both right. We had incredibly good hands, they just pretty much negated each other.

In summary. At the “pro level” (I hate that term) T1 shootouts are not common, however they do happen more than you would think. Especially if a deck like mine gets called out and I can overcommit with a hand full of reduction.

The deck I ran is here: Deckbuilder · DoomtownDB

I have marked all the viable starting dudes as starters so ignore the illegal deck warning. One of the key things to this deck is the incredible flexibility in starting line ups it has. I don;t think I started the same guys in more than 2 matches