Critique of how Hot Lead Flyin' and Paralysis Mark errata handled

I’d like to start off by saying that, overall, the Doomtown Reloaded team(s) have done an amazing job with resurrecting my favorite game. I’ve even had the pleasure to sit down to a game or two of Classic with some of the designers and feel as though they really understand the game and have not only managed to keep all of the flavor but to make the game simply better and funner to play. Well done!

It is for this reason (ie. that I hold the Doomteam in high regard) that I wish to express my concern over the recent errata. And it is because I am invested in building the community around the game (specifically the Berkeley scene) that I decided to come out onto the forums and express my opinion in a respectful way. I would invite other community members to like my post if you agree with my critique, and/or to generate discussion below.

In short, I feel the errata to both Hot Lead Flyin’ and Paralysis Mark were too heavy handed. I feel as though two prominent strategies, roughly “Lose2Win” and “Control,” as embodied by these two key cards, were not only removed from the top tier (a good move), but removed from competitive viability altogether (a bad move). Overall, I think this hurts the game in two major ways. One is that it hurts the biodiversity of the game. Two is that I feel it alienates the player base.

Now before people jump on me for defending, of all things, HLF and PM (!!!), let me explain to you the kind of player I am. I do not like to play HLF and PM in my decks. I think the cards were both overpowered, and that errata was necessary. I identify as a “Toolbox” player, which means I am happiest in creating and playing decks that play around dominant strategies (such as “Lose2Win” and “Control”). Its a playstyle preference. So, the personal interest here for me is not in seeing my own deck(s) fall to shambles, but in seeing those of some of my my best opponents do so. I believe there are many people on this forum who had to go home and deconstruct their decks and start over from the ground up (a negative play experience - and I don’t believe two wrongs make a right btw). A personal anecdote: One of my players, new to the game these 3-4 months, recently fell into playing his own interpretation of a classic Fourth Ring Control deck - a deck and playstyle he now finds he really likes! And suddenly, a week before the Outlaw tournament, the errata essentially backwards eliminates all the time and thought he put into constructing and learning his deck. And as the organizer for the scene, I am left with something to say like “Well how about try out another playstyle and hopefully they won’t errata that any time soon.” As a consequence, I believe another solution than the one rendered is not only possible, but better for the game as a whole.

I want to talk more about the “biodiversity” of the game. And here, specifically Paralysis Mark. Prior to the errata, which, despite what I’m going to say here, was generally agreed to be necessary in some form, many new cards were introduced into the cardbase/environment that either worked as a hard or soft counter to PM. For example, Yagn’s Mechanical Exoskeleton (hard counter), or Mugging or Tusk (soft counters). I think that this was a very good design direction undertaken by Doomteam that was undermined by the handling of the errata. As a consequence, we have yet to see how the ecosystem will respond with “Control,” a dominant predator, being suddenly and forcibly (and dare I say unnaturally!) removed. And so, because my critique of how the errata was handled is qualitative, so is my critique of the post-errata ecosystem: the game will lose some of the delicious robustness that a better handled errata could have been able to sustain.

Secondly, and more importantly, is the impression this leaves on the player base - not sure here whether to emphasize the “new” players or the “seasoned” players here, for they equally suffer - that any card>deck>strategy has, by virtue of the precedent this errata sets, to be suddenly and instantly rendered unusable, without an attempt to first bring it on par with other cards>decks>strategies. This is a missed opportunity! Imagine the difference the dedicated “Lose2Win”-er or “Control”-er would feel if, instead of hammering HLF or PM with the errata, there was an errata that diminished the power of the card more slightly, coupled with the good work Doomteam has already shown to put into introducing hard and soft counters (or other work arounds) into the cardbase. It would be a lot harder to cry foul in such a case.

Finally, as no critique is worth it’s salt without at least an attempt to offer a solution, I’d like to brainstorm some “alternate errata” material for HLF and PM that might be more of a middle ground, in order to address the concerns expressed above. I don’t offer these as the best and automatic solutions, more of a jumping off point:

Adopt TYWM’s bullet restriction
Make it a Resolution with a cost
Failed pull risks additional casualty
Casualties issued cannot exceed casualties sustained

Cannot hit townsquare
Huckster must be unbooted
Failed pull risks booting huckster
Spells become unique to attaching dude/deed

In conclusion, I just wanted to vent my frustration over the errata in a respectful way, and hope any discussion this creates remains board-appropriate and civil. And while I do concede that we will likely see a different spread of cards>decks>strategies in the immediate near future, I still lament doubly: that this was at the cost of removing two interesting strategies that keep a “Toolbox” player like me ever on his toes, and, fear that whatever replaces HLF and PM as the next “powercards” be similarly handled in a way that dissuades people from getting into or sticking with this great game.


Hey Jordan, thanks for your critique!

My initial reaction to the card errata was actually a feeling of joy. Coming from Netrunner, where they rather create new cards that counter the too powerful existing cards, than change the existing cards, I was really happy when I saw that AEG went a different route. I even prefer having cards getting nerfed so much that they won’t be worth putting into my deck (which is not the case here), rather than me having to include counters for those cards in all of my decks just in case my opponent runs those powerful cards.

Having these cards nerfed will open up more design space for the team. As a rough example, they can now create more cards that boot opposing dudes, without them having to worry about “What if players include Paralysis Mark and this new Boot a Dude card? That would be too strong.”

Such errata might mean that some strategies aren’t competitive anymore, but then again this won’t have to stay that way. I’m sure the designers were aware of those two strategies, and they either didn’t want Doomtown to be won that way, which I don’t think that’s the case, or they will come back with different cards that will re-allow those strategies, but in a less overpowered way.

I am very happy that AEG admits that some cards have flaws and that they are willing to change that. Whereas with Netrunner I always felt like the FFG designers were too “proud” or “stubborn” to change their already existing cards. After 3 and a half years, since Netrunner has been released, they have only changed one card so far. In addition to that they created a Most Wanted List, putting all overpowered cards in the same pot, instead of changing the too powerful cards one by one (one of the cards - AstroScript - being extremely overpowered in many player’s opinions). The way FFG handles that with Netrunner makes me much more “anxious” of new cards being released because I know that FFG doesn’t like to nerf their existing cards. So if they make a mistake by releasing a too powerful card I will have to live with it or wait forever for the team to realize that they need to change it.

Also I had a similar problem with Netrunner, that one card was released and my whole deck was ruined. Sometimes that’s just the way it is with these card games. In the case of Doomtown, with Control and Lose2Win, this didn’t happen through new cards being released, but by old cards being weakened. My biggest fear with these games is that I will find a strategy that will break the game. Thus I prefer the route that AEG takes, that instead of releasing plenty of counters, they simply nerf the card. It raises my trust in the designers, as I know that should there ever be a strategy that’s too powerful, then AEG will nerf it.

I respect your opinion though and I think I understand what you mean. I haven’t played with HLF and PM enough to be able to judge whether the change was too heavy or not. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision by the designers, and I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they will come up with cards that re-introduce those strategies.


Just a quick note that while the errata was announced a week before the relevant Outlaw tournament (think it’s Great Maze on the US West Coast?), it isn’t effective until the 1st of June, which is one of the good things about the way the errata was handled.

Obviously doesn’t help your player long term if they feel a crucial tool has been removed, but thought I’d post this here in case you spotted the message before today’s tournament and were able to warn your player that there’s still time for his control deck to have a glorious last hurrah at full power! :smile:

Will try to type fuller thoughts later, but wanted to flag the timing of the errata in case this had been missed and helped saved someone’s deck for the tournament.


I can offer some perspective here:

  1. the OP is one of my oldest Doomtown friends an a mentor for me in Classic. I welcome him to the GG forums and his voice on all matters Doomtown. Trust me, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone, anywhere who has a deeper passion for the game, new and old.

  2. As a rules team member - I knew that the errata was forthcoming. My input is modest (editing/proofing/eyes on the page), but I agree that something needed to be done. There was MUCH discussion about 'nerfing two archetypes that are played BECAUSE they are powerful as well as some players ENJOY that playstyle (as the OP notes). The other viewpoint was that these two playstyles create NPE for new players. “I won the shootout, and MY posse is trashed”. “What is this 'chess game you talk about in Doomtown? Snails in molasses move faster than my dudes”.

At the end of the day, the ruling reflects an attempt to create more positive play experiences for a larger contingent of hte playerbase (and potential/new players).

  1. As a co-organizer of the recently completed Great Maze outlaw event (18 players from all over California and beyond), I had long discussions with my co-organizer. We certainly knew that the errata weren’t official until June, but agreed to take the lead in moving the meta, if not forward., then certainly in a different direction.

FWIW, that original 4R/PM player came up with a strong deck and fared well in the event. Still, I get that that not everyone agreed with or liked the decision. if we let the cards play as pre-errata, I am sure we would have seen a few of each HLF and 4R control decks that would have done well and gotten ‘not again’. Where there is a choice, not everyone will agree or like it.

We did have to make a decsions. It was ours to make, and I still believe that it was the right call overall.I believe the event was successful and that ALL players enjoyed the experience. I apologize to anyone who had a less than awesome experience at the event.


I think this sums up perfectly every issue I have with Netrunner in comparison to Doomtown. A friend and I were just discussing the differences and similarities this morning and this is perfect. And as another comparison to Netrunner, there are members in the community that are very alarmist when it comes to change. The latest cycle for Netrunner has introduced an unprecedented number of very strong Assets for the Corporation, which has completely morphed competitively viable decks for both Runner and Corporation in a huge way. A large portion of the community literally will not shut the fuck up about it, which is both tiring and frankly embarrassing. I’ve only seen a few particularly alarmist reactions to the Doomtown errata, and I agree that @jordan_caldwell was extremely respectful in presenting his opinion on the errata.

I think the fact that AEG is willing to look at problematic cards and archetypes and change existing cards rather than continuing trying to print new cards to combat it is a step in the right direction. Paralysis Mark and Hot Lead Flyin both desperately needed errata, because very few of the cards bring printed to combat them were really great at it, or far too specific that they couldn’t be used against other strong deck types. A lot of people are worried that, as is, the errata is too punishing. I don’t think we’ll know for quite some time, and I think the time for complaining is a few months ahead when we’ve all had time to digest the changes and really understand what they entail. Both cards are so different from their original versions that they can’t be played the same way, let alone just being dropped into the same decks as before. That impact will take time and testing to evaluate.


Thanks davido, particularly for explaining that you guys have boldly taken the plunge in to the post errata world. It’s nice to have a little sneak peek in to the future meta!

Obviously only one tournament, but interesting to see from Dtdb that a Clown deck with Paralysis Mark still did well. Glad to see it’s something slightly different, and hopefully early evidence that the errata is good for the variety of decks we see in the field.

Glad that the original 4R player in question still did well! :slight_smile:

Good to see the event went well and had a solid attendance.

Just want to pop in again and say that I’m really glad the discussion so far has been respectful and cool and about the issue.

Go us!


I have allways thought that PM was what would kill 4R Control at any Time, cause This card was the reason we didn’t saw many new cool stuff for Hexes.
Now , DT can do his amazing job anew and can’t wait to see the futur cool stuff they would provide us.

For HLF I think all was said previously: Nothing more sad than a situation were new players can’t see what was the point of This game.


Since i don’t get to play much recently i can’t judge about the effect of the errata.

Just wanted to respont to what bok said, that when i had to decide whether i wanted to go deeper into Netrunner i read a lot of articles about new cards and balance etc, and i got exactly that impression about the Meta:
That there are interesting and divers cards from the base set, that noone uses because it just has a totally better (cheaper AND more powerful and not much influence, too) counterpart in another faction, until there comes a specific counter to that card.
There was this sad feeling in multiple articles, that the game could be made so much more interesting, if some errata-changes would be possible.


Are we going to get errata reprints?

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God I hope so!

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I would assume we would get them in coming Saddle Bags. Or maybe we get all 3 at once in the next Pine Box?


I can’t teach people to play the game using cards printed in the core set. That is embarrassing to me.

I can see how it is awkward to say “well, the card SAYS that, but it really should say THIS”. I understand where people are coming from on that view.

However, I feel like it is missing the bigger picture.

1- How often do they actually errata a card to be entirely different from what is printed on the card, instead of clarification? Extremely rarely. How many cards have they done that to? That’s a question I honestly want to know, because I can only think of the recent 2 cards of PM and HLF but are there more? If so, there can’t be very many.

2- Clearly PM is not ‘unplayable’ as many predicted - the first first Outlaw event that had the new errata had it’s winner using a PM deck. Time will tell if that was a fluke, but I would put money on more high level decks using PMs still.

3- I think it’s a badge of honor to teach this game to a new player and say “Well, this card SAYS this but it actually should say THIS. See, once in a very great while when a card becomes unbalanced in a way that makes the game no longer fun or as competitive, they will take selective action to fix things. This is very rare, and they truly listen to the community. You can count on this game being fun and having a healthy competitive meta for many years to come, unlike many other games.”


I 100% agree with Pr0digy.

I would hate to tell a new player “Well this card is kind of overpowered but if you include card XYZ, which is not included in the Base Set, in your deck then you can easily counter it.”

@KujakuDM: You could just not use Hot Lead Flying to teach the game. :smile: It’s the only Base Set card that was really changed in the way it works.
An alternative would be to use HLF the way it is printed while you teach the game to a new player, and if that player enjoys Doomtown so much that he keeps playing, just tell him after a few games that this card now works differently.

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In future printings, are the cards changed to match the new text? I assume not based on what I purchased, but it’s possible I just got an older printing

They typically throw in a set of any cards that have had their wording changed. Considering how big of a change it is for PM and HLF, I am pretty sure they’ll toss 4 of each in one of the next sets.

At the risk of being annoying, or worse, inciting Fiery Rhetoric, I’d like to clarify my critique, for I feel as though, based on the discussion this last week (above), it may have been falsely polarized. Hopefully, this will continue to generate discussion of the respectful, civil, and on-topic type!

Two positive things that Doomteam has done that cannot be understated, in my view, is they have taken a two-prong strategy with respect to maintaining the ‘meta health’ of the game by: 1) printing new counters, and 2) creating retroactive errata. These are two very solid moves in the right direction! (As pointed out by several posters above).

So, my critique, responding to the replies above, aims at changing the focus from “all errata good” vs “all errata bad” to something which is more of a “grey area” to capture or ask: What approach to making errata is best for the game as a whole?

And here I expect a true variation of opinion; which, this being a forum of impassioned-yet-respectful players, adds value to our game.

I wrote about Paralysis Mark above, and generally agree with the sentiment above that, despite PM being inextricably married to the multifaceted issue of the dominance of “Fourth Ring Control” in particular (which is a large and contested issue unto itself outside the intended scope of this thread), that only with the passage of time and tournaments will we be able to judge the errata in a better light. That said, I’d like now to discuss Hot Lead Flyin’.

Imagine being back at the drawing board for creating errata for HLF. The problem it creates in the game can, I think, be roughly summarized as the two-part “HLF undermines a fundamental aspect of the game (Shootouts) and consequently creates negative play experiences.” I think, without expanding that sentence into an essay (which is totally possible!), that this identifies the essential problem. From there, one could consider an errata with a sliding scale, aimed at proposing the dialing back of HLF’s game-power by gradiation. Consider the alternative texts:

Idea #0 - No Change
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty.”
(This is the original text)

Idea #1 - Casualty Limit
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty, not exceeding the number of casualties you took this round.”

Idea #2 - Money Limit
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, you may pay 2 ghost rock. For each 2 ghost rock you pay, the winner takes 1 casualty.”

Idea #3 - Dude Limit
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty, unless their posse has more dudes in it (before taking casualties) than your posse.”

Idea #3.5 - Bullet Limit
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty, unless their posse has a higher combined bullet rating in it (before taking casualties) than your posse.”

Idea #4 - Reversal Risk
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty. For each dude you have (still in the posse) with a value lower than the pull, you must take 1 additional casualty.”

Idea #5 - Functional Change (Equal Ratio)
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude discarded as a casualty this round with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 additional casualty. For each dude aced as a casualty with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 2 additional casualties.”

Idea #6 - Functional Change (Lower Ratio)
“After you take casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull. For each dude you discarded or aced as a casualty this round with a value higher than the pull, the winner takes 1 casualty.”
(This is the May 1st 2016 errata text)

First Note: Headline
The above ideas are independent of assigning the “Headline” trait to the action. This could be another gradient of change. The impact of this change would allow any other Headline to be a hard counter. (For the record: this change is already a part of the May 1st errata, as may be pointed out)

Second Note: Cost
The above texts (with the exception of #2) are independent of giving the action a non-zero cost (for example: 3 Ghost Rock). This could be another gradient of change. The impact of this change would add another requirement to playing the card, and allow “Income Denial” to be an effective counter-strategy.

Third Note: Resolution
The above texts are independent of changing React into Resolution. This could be another gradient of change. The textual change would go something like replacing “React: After taking casualties for losing a round of a shootout, pull.” with “Resolution: If you lose this round of the shootout, after taking casualties, pull.” The impact of this change would allow cards like A Slight Modification and No Turning Back as hard counters, and furthermore require the HLFer to preemptively play this card before the Resolution window closes, potentially allowing cards like Cheatin’ Varmint and It’s Not What You Know… and Willa and Theo Whateley and others (other Resolutions that directly affect board state) to be soft counters.

The ideas presented above, along with the notes below them, represent a significant number of compromises between the initial card text (Idea #0) and the May 1st errata text (Idea #6). There is A LOT of creative space between Idea #1 and Idea #6. And arguably, we could enact a similar brainstorm for PM.

And so, my critique, or the reason I created this thread, was to ask why such a course (with respect to errata) either wasn’t taken, or if it was, why the reasoning wasn’t presented (yet?) to explain why the errata was so darn-awful heavy-handed. As of now, I stand by considering this a lost creative opportunity. With respect. Thoughts?

With all due respect, I think you’re thinking too much. You present a number of interesting ideas, which could have been suitable solutions to the perceived “problem”. However, the designers, play-testers, and rules team do not operate in a vacuum.

They felt the need to make a decision regarding balance concerns. They issued errata, based (I assume) on good intention, knowledge of the game, and logistical limitations. It does help to reign in the perceived problem. Other problems will inevitably crop up.

We could argue/offer alternatives 'til the cows come home, but I believe they acted prudently.

Now looking ahead to The Curtain Rises - I see an interesting environment. Hopefully new themes will find traction, and much fun is had by all!

Just a quick thought, after re-reading the old and the new HLF:
Isn’t the new HLF errata effect in some situations better than the old one? With the errata’d card I can just send a high value guy, some cheap dude like Shizeng Lu, into a shootout and my opponent gets a guaranteed casualty, no matter whether I lose or win and no matter by how many card rank differences I lose. This wasn’t possible with the original HLF.

Unless I oversaw something, HLF is now a more reliable (I’m not saying stronger) card than it was originally, and it now works even with only one dude in my posse. With the original HLF I had to still have dudes in my remaining posse in order for it to work, so I needed at least two dudes in a shootout and even then the opponent’s casualty wasn’t guaranteed.

Thus, maybe the intent with the HLF errata was to alter its purposes/applications, and not to make it weaker (which of course was the case with PM).