Current Meta: Why Law Dogs?

Howdy folks, wanted to start a discussion on what players see environmentally about any current issues and trends leading us towards the big events at GenCon 50. Here’s what I’m seeing in the Epitaph results and questions I have.

Law Dogs: most represented and have won 5/9 events reporting in. What is currently making them top tier and do you think the story prize of leading us into Tombstone has any effect on player choices?

Morgan: Regulators is a powerful home with built in meta and is our next highest total representing faction and wins. Is Calling the Cavalry too powerful or are there ways to play around it?

Sloane: representing the mid to lower tables at European Championship and about same results in Epitaph, what would they need to push them back to pre Rico nerf status?

Fourth Ring: Full Moon Brotherhood is represented the most of the events as faction of choice. What do they need to do to counter the top decks?

108: Even post WD ban they’re being played out of both other homes. What have you found appealing in exploring the other homes that are now finally seeing play?

Eagle Wardens: Currently only 3 players reporting in for the series, what are they missing or what is not appealing about them?

Thanks for your feedback everyone!


Good idea for a topic. Quick (?) thoughts:

  • LD: massive upgrade from Blood Moon Rising, so some combination of pent-up demand from people who wanted to play them before but found them too weak and the story prize? They’re fairly heavy on interaction too so they can feel a bit “fairer” to bring to an event than a Hand-rank manipulation monster? Vanilla but efficient.

  • Morgan: I think Calling the Cavalry is a bit too powerful (which I why I played it at the Euros!). Outgunned is a much more balanced example of hand-rank manipulation. Regulators is a great home that offers extra studs, movement, unbooting and built in slide/Spirit Fortress meta.

  • Sloane: there were two Sloane decks in the T8 at the Euros (one Des Row high value Hucksters, the other Protection Racket) and another two at 9/10, so I think there are Sloane decks out there that still work. Perhaps if we’d had time to cut to T8 at the Euros and one had won the event that would have encouraged more people to play them? I still think original Sloane home and 3/5/7 for Town Square CP blitz can work - it is very risky. I should probably try this in online matches to test my theory.

  • Fourth Ring: really pleased to see Full Moon Brotherhood well represented - it was losing out to other 4R homes in the last few AEG era tournaments. FMB’s popularity has a knock-on impact - you need to have a back-up plan if you’re starting Jake Smiley (this is one of the things that makes me less likely to play my Desolation Row High value hucksters). Might like to see a 3GR 1 Influence Huckster for them - Sloane, MCC and EW all get a 3GR skilled dude with draw bullets. Epitaph gives them a new huckster, but it will still be a long time since they’ve had a new Huckster with influence. The above all said, they’ve won at least one event and posted good finishes at others (including T4 at the Euros.) and can already post pretty strong starting posses.

  • 108: glad they’re still seeing play post the justified Worldy Ban and putting together some good results. In Edinburgh I was impressed with the movement the original home offered @forkbanger’s Kung-fu deck - it was nice to see that there’s more to their options than just a “KF home” and “Other home” even ahead of any replacement home Pinebox provides later.

  • Eagle Wardens: I think they’re still really strong (top 4 at Euros with Spirit Fortress) but really suffer from the fact that their two strongest options (Spirit Fortress and uninteractive Showboating) are hilariously tedious to pilot and play against. Who wants to turn up to celebrate the continuation of their beloved game and play one of these decks? This probably restricts them to larger “serious business” events. Their “Road Blockade” decks are powerful and a bit more interactive. Hard to know what to give them, as any tools given to them risk boosting Spirit Fortress/Showboating decks. Minor knock-on hit from the resurgence in FMB popularity hurting them by turning off their traits? Enapy and Zachary are hurt by losing their traits as are a number of marginally less popular EW dudes (in particular Jim Cheveyo and Mick Aduladi, two of their quasi studs).

OCTGN in particular will be interesting, with the caveats that games there tend to be played slower but run longer and that players can change their decks between matches. All that said, it will be a large tournament alongside the Euros and Gencon and helpful for evaluating the game as both a fan and playtester.

The above is all with my “fan” hat on, views subject to change during any playtesting and as further evidence comes in! When the facts change I change my views, as Keynes supposedly said. :wink:

Minor other thought - quite a few straight flush decks were doing well which is a pleasant surprise to me. I wouldn’t have called this. All hail Comin’ up Roses. :rose:


Law dogs gained startable starters. Father Tolarios is crazy good for just about any strategy the Law dogs want to put together.

1 Like

True, Father Tolarios does allow for effective toolbox decks , much like Rico did for Sloane.

Tolarios is a very good dude, but he doesn’t seem to be a feature of any of the winning LD decks as far as I can see. That said, he was a key part of the LD deck that won the previous OCTGN tournament.

For playing against LD, lots of the recent successful decks seem to feature low value dudes (still a feature of typical LD starting dudes like Tommy Harden and Philip Swinford), so Shotguns and Soul Blasts should help.

EDIT: from a recent dtdb update it looks like one of the Epitaph winning LD decks is a blessed deck with Tolarios, same one as linked above. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Law Dogs - finally a strong starting line up gives them a chance to pull out their power houses

Both blessed and Shootie are strong - gadgets not there yet but improving

Morgan - Strong home is what makes them - nothing here another faction couldn’t do as they still suffer from the concept that they are an economic powerhouse so their dudes tend to cost more to get the same stats - CtC well I hate the amount of hand manipulation so I’m biased but there are two EASY counters 1) play a headline before they do 2) ASM - other counters include eating horses and sending horse dudes home

Sloan - more support for their cheating builds would be good - the main problem with Sloan is if you give them too much Allie just wins games - she probably needs banning and then you can really power them up shootout wise if they cheat - sluckster is there

4R - weird situation- they feel a VERY strong faction - look st the toys they have - you can make decks that you obliterated one second and the next all the damn dudes are back! However they need something

108 - are broken - way to much cheap influence and easy studs - people need time to think about them since WD banning but wait - they will be back

EW - spirit bordem fortress is still a thing - Vince keeps proving it - yes he would rather win than have the opponent enjoy the match (at tournies) (he’s also a great mate of mine I’ve known him for years) EW need a decent buff BUT you have to change at least the home and maybe some cards before you can

1 Like

I don’t think Calling the Cavalry is too powerful at all. That card gets a lot of unjustified hate.

In my opinion, its the Morgan Regulators home that is too powerful. It simply does too much with virtually no downside. I’d like to see Regulators get some kind of nerf, maybe reducing starting GR by 1 or removing the “make your dude a stud” part of their ability.

EDIT: Also, expressing a similar sentiment as @Neramoor below - I have found during deck building for Morgan decks that any deck that can work out of Stables or the Base home usually just works better out of Regulators. That’s when the red flags were raised for me on this home and they haven’t gone down.

1 Like

Based on todays London result I’m increasingly coming to the view that all Morgan decks play better out of regulators.

With regards the wider meta I think Harlath has a point about eagle wardens. They haven’t gone away they are just super tedious and I suspect a number of people are making a conscious choice not to play them to try not to put off new players.


So why is regulators better than stables? 1 stud more is cool as well as the hampering of influence when facing non-shooter decks - but card draw wins games?

Regulators helps with the movement game- you can pressure a deed, then Regulate back to town square to support somewhere else. You can commit dudes to a job, then Regulate back out afterwards to hit them again. It’s great for positioning, and it’s influence cap can make turtle decks come out and plaaaaaay-ayyyy.

Other thoughts-

Law Dogs Bounty Hunters allow you to hit any wanted dude, anywhere, and use of Point Blank can guarantee casualties- unless your opponent wants to use his cards and actions dealing with a token you don’t care about. Thunder Boy is a huge boost, Father Tolarius is useful, Hattie is bonkers.

Morgan Regulators is an amazingly good home, Calling the Cavalry is very silly. Robot and meaty horsies are both good, with Yagn’s offering protection for your shooters and Pinto/Roan/Mustang giving more movement and shootout power.

Sloane Good but dull? You put all your eggs in an Allie Hensman shaped basket, and hope nobody brings a Shotgun. Protection Racket lacks the ability to get away from deeds, so your dudes end up stuck in deeds, booted, Desolation Row can lead to a turn one murderfest which can go very badly wrong for you. Sloane have a problem with Full Moon Brotherhood, too- their lack of influence on starting dudes mean they really want Jake Smiley, but FMB can turn Jake’s trait off.

Fourth Ring Both Fourth Ring and Full Moon Brotherhood are very good outfits, hexes remain great. They have some poor matchups (Law Dog Bounty Hunters booping their hucksters, Regulators ignoring their send home and being too big (with Yagn’s) to Soul Blast and having too much influence to Blood Curse and some good matchups (Sloane Gang).

108 Righteous Bandits The bones of over six million people are interred in the Paris catacombs, and the 108 Righteous Bandits own more bones than that. One great outfit, one okay outfit, dudes with ridiculously good abilities and costs, great influence and shooters, a discard pile that acts as a hand for shootout actions, amazing movement. 108 Wordly Desires was stifling the other homes because it gave more money and won lowball and made you better at shooting so you didn’t need to do much with your actual deck.

Eagle Wardens Do you like Spirit Fortress and not really interacting? Because that’s what the Wardens do. They can do other things, but they are worse than Spirit Fortress, so why? It’s a shame, because they have interesting dudes and effects and themes, but they are strictly worse than Spirit Fortress. Adjusting Totems to one per name per deed gives everything else room to breathe, I guess, but that might not be a change Pinebox is willing to make. Maybe more attire-based dudes and actions? I’m down for Fanfare for a Well-Dressed Man being Here Comes the Cavalry for attire.


Good summary of both the environment and the strength of the Regulators home, @forkbanger. Stables really shines with specific decks (e.g. Legendary Holster/Shotgun, allowing you to move in and ace somebody without your opponent getting an action in between) but Regulators is better for a broader range of decks. Stables isn’t bad (and has now won an Epitaph event!) but if Morgan were only allowed one home then Regulators would be their best bet.

Top “The Warriors”/surf pop references too. :wink:

Almost meant to note that Shotguns/Soul Blasts (etc) aren’t just good against low value Law Dogs good - they’re good for killing Bounty Hunters too.

Stables is a stronger home in a LH / shotgun surprise deck, regulators more generically powerful


1 Like

I have lots of thoughts on these topics, but I will just save them to one right now:

Eagle Wardens and spirit fortress: The ‘totem fortress’ could potentially be a really interesting and fun archetype. There’s really only 2 cards making the match up the epitome of a Negative Play Experience: Nicodemus Whateley and Showboating.

Errata should always be used very sparingly, of course, but for the love of god please errata Nicodemus and Showboating to cap any control points to any dude (Nico himself, and showboating dudes) to 3 at most (or whatever number makes sense).

As some quick thoughts from someone who only plays in his local meta,

Regulators is a great outfit mostly because it doesn’t require any legwork to reap the benefits. You don’t have to invent every day or use horse movement, in fact Regulators can turn stationary horses like Pedro and Yagns into a powerful movement tool. I find this similar to 108 Righteous Bandits and Den of Thieves; every deck can benefit from the respective abilities and they don’t require specialization (like 108 Drunken masters) or risk over extension (like Protection Racket).

For Calling the Cavalry, I find that the best way to counter a CtC deck is to run horses (since CtC will increase both side’s hand ranks). I wonder if this creates the meta-loop of “Everyone runs CtC > I need horses to counter CtC > Regulators will let me run horses > I should run CtC to boost my deck’s power > Everyone runs CtC” .

As for Law Dogs, I find that their various archetypes (Bounty Hunting, Blessed, Gadget) are all viable (maybe not gadget yet) and rewarding in their own ways. On the flip side, Eagle Wardens feels like an up hill battle if you don’t make a fortress. I would love to see them use totems as a means to take opponent’s deeds (Raven would also like this) but that always takes a bigger risk then just sitting back and casting spirits.
Design could always make Plasma Drill decks more powerful, those are a great way of messing up an opponent’s Fortress if you can afford the costs.

Also, having experimented with the spoilers from TftE, I think we are going to see 4th Ring and Sloan Huckster decks come back in a big way this time next year. Ezekiah Grimme lets you play with a lot more toys and I can see every deck running Sight Beyond Sight with him after he comes out.