Fighting Magic with Science: Morgan Cattle crashes the circus

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Welcome back to Gomorra! Since we last checked in, a whole passel o’ dudes got sent to Boot Hill, courtesy of Mr. Hawley and the Fourth Ring’s minions. At Gencon, the circus put on a show led by David Hammond and Nick Glazer that overwhelmed Gomorra’s defenders. Here is a typical Clown Control deck that took down a sheriff event in the Weird East. Even cyberspace isn’t safe from the Fourth Ring’s machinations as Gozik soul blasted his way through the Gazette OCTGN tourney. As one tourney season ends, it is time to beat back this oppressive force and reclaim Gomorra from the Circus’ grip.


Before entering battle against the Fourth Ring, know thy enemy. Paralysis Mark, Soul Blast, and Blood Curse are the unholy trinity of hexes that they use to defeat their foes. Paralysis mark boots your dudes, leaving you into bad board position. Blood curses either lower your bullets and influence during noon or your dude’s bullets during shootouts. Soul blast aces your dudes or gets their huckster out of a bad situation.


Another common Fourth Ring strategy deemphasizes hexes and sends forth abominations to control the town square. The Brute, Paggys, Tyxarglenak, Smiling Tom, dearly departed Bobo, and Ringmaster Ivor Hawley are the usual performers. Raising Hell and Soul Cage ensure that abominations arise from anywhere, even Boot Hill.


A quick summary of how the 4th ring takes over Gomorra.

  1. Booting multiple in-town dudes with Paralysis Mark, the Oddities outfit ability, and/or Leon Cavallo. This locks down opponent’s movement and/or allows the circus to snipe dudes at will.
  2. Using spells and/or actions that reduce your influence while raising your dude’s influence with the Oddities outfit trait.
  3. Gomorra Parish, Undertaker, and Buried Treasure allow the Circus to ace their own dudes and gain even more production.
  4. Shadow walk augments Fourth Ring Huckster’s regular movement.

One can fight fire with fire, but today, I’m certainly not fighting hexes with hexes. Instead, stand back everyone, while I try (Mad) Science. Let’s start by bringing out Quaterman, a Gadget dude who can’t be booted or have his bullets reduced. Next, counter the Fourth Ring’s penchant for influence reduction by wearing a Fancy New Hat. These hats also work wonders for making those difficult Science pulls. Haberdashery aside, Mad Science can invent a Ballot Counter that uses ghost rock to up the influence on an attached dude. Remember that influence cannot win games, it only prevents losing and thus living to fight on tomorrow.


Mobility is one of Doomtown’s key concepts. Countering the Fourth Ring’s many ways to boot dudes is thus paramount in defeating them. Pharmacy, Missed!, and Louis Pasteur are a trio of Queens that offer different mechanisms for unbooting dudes. The French scientist is particularly clutch since as long as you have ghost rock, he’ll be happy to unboot any nearby dudes. Quaterman’s trait negates any of the Fourth Ring’s booting shenanigans.


Telepathy Helmets ensure that when bullets start flying, you keep those precious stud bullets. If you don’t win lowball, pay the ghost rock to look at your opponent’s hand and see what tricks they have. Once again, Quaterman demonstrates its versatility by also preventing any of the Circus’ bullet changing or reducing tricks.


Go on the offensive with weapon Gadgets such as Flamethrowers and Holy Wheel Guns. Both add bullets, while the latter is easy to invent and docks their dude a bullet while targeting abominations. Stoker’s Sabre and Rapier increase a dude’s value, making them harder to boot and also provide conditional bullet boosts. Force fields share a value with flamethrowers, but for the right amount of ghost rock can force tie hand ranks and an opposing casualty.


Morgan Cattle Company and the Law Dogs tend to favor Mad Science more than the other two core outfits. Janky players can attempt Sloane Science since Roderick is a drifter, while Kyle and Elander are both cheap to play out of faction. Booting to invent imposes a non-trivial tempo hit upon the intrepid Mad Scientists. Packing a few Kidnappins’ or Bounty Hunters (if playing Law Dogs) can cripple or slow down Fourth Ring by taking out a key huckster right out of the gate. Fuel your economy via Reserves and/or Buried Treasure.


Here is a Morgan Science deck that has an 8-1 overall record as well as a 2-1 record versus Fourth Ring. It uses some, but not all of the above ideas (hey, you try cramming a bajillion ideas into a 52 card deck). It is an 8-J-Q build, the same values used by many 4R decks. Hey, I said I wouldn’t fight fire with fire, I never said I wouldn’t draw structures with draw structures… Kyle and Louis can invent Telepathy Helmets and Quatermans without risk of failure. Other than the starters, these two gadgets are the only cards that fail Flamethrower and Bio-Charge Neutralizer pulls. That is 6 out of 52 cards that I consider an acceptable risk of invention failure, considering their overall purpose in this deck’s game plan of retaining mobile influence and firepower.



@Whizzwang used this build that featured some of the above ideas:


QUATERMAN is such an amazing card against control.

Blood Curse / Paralysis Mark / Phantasm are straight up dead cards against him. - He’s a little prone to Soul Blast which can be a nuisance so if the clown decks in your area are partial to a bit of aggro, 10s for Unprepared is a good option.

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A couple of weeks ago when messing around with gadgets, I decided to write this. Then all the Gadget wins and good placing this weekend. Made me a lot more energetic since it seems we as a meta are starting to “meta” which leads to interesting ideas.
@Whizzwang soul blasting a quaterman I’ll take that all day because they left your influence alone and took out a dude you can reinvent.

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Yeah, but I get quite attached to the little dudes. Also - If they’re running SB the chance of failure on Para Mark goes up considerably, so it’s win/win if you’re happy to let the robot cop it.


In practice, do you find that the increase in value from a Rapier or Stoker’s Sabre actually helps stop Paralysis Mark? Since control decks are typically running pretty high values anyway to make their pulls, a +1 or even +3 to the difficulty seems like it would only rarely make a difference. Perhaps on a dude who is already J/Q/K that bit of an edge is just what you need, but (perhaps this is just my local environment) it seems there are often a fair number of lower value dudes running around where the value increase isn’t really going to matter.

The added value does help a little, but you are right that those decks do counter with high values. In practice games you stick the rapier or saber on your high value dudes because it does create a fail chance. But with Louis he can be booted and unboot your dudes at adjacent or same locations which nueters PM and oddities ability, so it becomes more of a chess match. One addition that is a meta call is if opposing player is very aggro and comes to your deed to do call outs throw a Too Much Attention to slow their movement down, because they will become wanted. Also in Oddities builds they lack influence except in Town square so throw a few rumors to lower influence once they hit your deeds.

For me, the Rapier on a Qbert gets him out of shotgun range from most threats so it’s not a bad call however not really relevent to anti-4R.

I find that anything on 10 value or higher they can have a hard time trying to paralyse - Your typical 4R control deck starts Valeria and Leon - Both Huckster 1. They have a few 8’s and 9’s in their deck so a rapier on an 8 value or higher dude can be a nuisance - pop it on a 10 or higher and you’ve got some decent wriggle room. Stick it on Jacqui and they need to pull a King to get her AND she’s now a pretty beefy 4 stud when she defends.

Here’s the Gadgetorium deck I’ve been playing around with the past few weeks. It’s done well in testing, though my local playgroup is mostly Morgan and one Fourth Ring at the moment and we tend towards long, manoeuver-heavy multiplayer games; I imagine when up against a dedicated shooter with lots of ways to initiate shootouts it’ll have a far greater tendency to fail completely, but it does well against control, mostly thanks to the Quatermen.

It builds a strong economy by borrowing a couple of tricks from deedslide: William Specks helps build things cheaper, and Androcles Brocklehurst sues dudes who tresspass on your property. Recursive Motion Machines and Auto Cattle Feeders are free to invent so can earn you money with the Gadgetorium ability and then continue to provide income/save on upkeep for your Quatermen. As long as you can keep your influence safe, you can build up your street quickly and generate the rock needed to bring the more expensive dudes into play.

Quatermen are your enforcers and your bullet-catchers. They have Rapiers for protection against Shotguns and occasionally extra bullets in fights. Speaking of fights, it’s best to start them when you have Nightmare at Noon in hand and a low-bullet stud or two to hit with it. Having Flight of the Lepus in hand also helps.

If you can take control of the Town Square, Louis Pasteur comes into his own, enabling you to keep on making chess moves as long as you’ve got the ghost rock (and you should have a lot of ghost rock). Old Man McDroste likes hanging out at the R&D Ranch, or can be used offensively to cut off your opponent’s income and ruin their influence (nobody takes you seriously when there’s a crazy, smelly old prospector dancing around you :smile:).

EDIT: Link updated now I’ve published the deck.