In which David and Jon venture into the heart of the Maze - A Sheriff's tourney AAR

Originally published at:
Sheriff’s Tourney at Game Kastle, Santa Clara, California

July 11, 2015

by David Orange

Friday was a frantic night, for tomorrow the sun would dawn bright and hot over Gomorra. Well, Santa Clara anyways. Then again, real-life Silicon Valley is pretty much the heart of Deadland’s Maze, so it’s pretty much the same thing. One drawback – my local shop hadn’t gotten in their No Turning Backs and my team swag had yet to arrive. So while I could use DTDB to theory craft, I’m used to manipulating REAL cards, slotting them in and out of the deck in progress. And of course, I’d have to be ready for live-action come Saturday. Pinged my compadre Jon Del Arroz and was assured that I could have a Judge Harry Somerset XP, Jacqueline Isham, and a brace of Scoop Hounds. Discussed some more tweaks with local sparring partner John Nida, finalized the deck list and called it night.

Saturday, made one last tweak, and off to pick up JohnN. Fast forward through two and a half hours of “two deaf guys headin’ down the highway hollerin’ at each other. Arrived at Game Kastle and checked in while John snagged some grub at the chuck wagon, quartermaster Mickey D., presiding. I chatted with the T.O., Sky Sithbunkerd and reviewed basic floor rules, and verified the reporting of results and deck-lists.

Sky n SwagDavido n Carolyn - pre-tourney


We were early, but as it grew closer to high noon, I pinged JonD. Sure enough, he was on his way with Judge Harry aboard. What about JackieI and Alexis Mirges (nee Scoop Hound)? Oops, Jon forgot, and didn’t have extras with him. Raced to the front of the shop – business was brisk, and they had sold out of their NTBs. Good for them. Me, not so much. JohnViera came to my rescue and had the other two cards. So decklist good to go. Except. As I was tweaking in the morning, power went out. So I never actually got to PRINT out the dang thing. That means David didn’t have his homework ready to turn in. I type 60 wpm coz my penmanship sucks. So yeah, I had to scrawl the deck-list by hand and get it turned in.

Turnout was excellent with 16 players ready to sling it nine ways to Saturday. Apropos of nothing – Sheriff outdrew a Magic pre-release. W00t! My Lawdogs were ready to put the beatdown on the Sloaners of Desolation Row that had been terrorizing events far and wide. Turns out, so was nearly everybody else. The actual numbers were, wait for it… Go ahead, take a guess on outfit distribution. Would you believe, 1 lonely Morgan Gadgetorium, 2 Fourth Ring (1 base, 1 Oddities), and 3 Sloane (2 base, 1 Desolation Row). Yep, that leaves 10 more players. All of ‘em running base Law Dogs (no Aresenal). Guess the Law chased Sloane and her minions back to Soddum. All of which meant I could look forward to a Groundhog’s Day of dreaded Mirror Matches. Oh joy, oh happy, happy, day.

I’ll be interspersing pix of each of the four rounds with commentary on my matches.

Round 1: Ed’s dogslide

First up was the beginning of three straight mirror matches. I was expecting aggro, and for some reason sat the judge. Turns out, Ed didn’t want to engage. I was able to cover most of his deeds, and pick off a dude here and there. His Whateley Estate caused me to lose tempo. Eventually, I had to kill his Philip in the Town Square, but that left CA Tax undefended. I was prepared for that, but forgot that with no ghost rock in the stash, I couldn’t pay the bills (Ed had no upkeep that I could target). 0-1

R1-ShannonG vs. John V + SkyTO

Round 2: Ronn’s DMH Dogs
I won lowball, and saw aces n eights go by in Ronn’s lowball. That gave a heads up that some DMH was heading my way. While my strategy going in was to take down Desolation Row, Ronn played into this by going aggro. Based on his lineup, I started the Judge and was able to keep Ronn on the ropes via bullet reductions (mostly Suns n Unprepareds) and cheatin’ tech. 1-1

R2-ED*vsJV-ShannonGvs.ChrisL*-MDT*vs.ChrisH-JohnN vs. Don* R2-Josi * vs. JB - Carolyn* vs. KrisK - JDA* vs. DonG

R2-JonD* vs. Chrisantha R2-Davido* vs. Ronn R2-KrisK.vs. Carolyn*

Round 3: John’s 52 flavors of vanilla Lawdogs

I travel 130 miles with John, whom I play every week at the shop or our kitchen tables, and yep, we square off in a Major. Well, suffice to say, this pop quiz was definitely of the open book variety. I knew this was an aggro/Steve/Bounty Hunter deck, so engagement wouldn’t be an issue. I was able to win lowball, get the Wendy lock on town square, and actually get some econ/card draw going via Blake’s n Circle M. John knows his deck insidewaysoutways, but relies on surprise and head games as most folks don’t expect base set Dogs (e.g. fear cheating and later cards more than they should).Without the surprise, I knew that the big n scary Oz, was just a man behind the curtain. 2-1

R3-ChrisH* vs. ShannonG

We went more for the ‘people angle’, but here is an ‘in-game’ shot of a crucial match:

R3 JosieSGvDonGDR*

That is Josi’s Sloane Gang on the left, and at the right is Don’s Desolation Row attacking the town square. At this both were at 2-0. Don would would win this match, and lose in round 4 to eventual champion, Jon Del Arroz. Josi would rebound and defeat Ed in round 4.

Round 4: Justin’s Go-Go Gadgetorium

Justin was pimping in the sleek Gadgetorium deck that he brought to Gencon. It was another aggro deck, so I was well prepared. I again sat the judge, and went after him. Well, he got a Mech Horse on Jen, and a Bioneutralizer on Elander, so that wasn’t the start I wanted to see from him. I tried to sandbag him with Bobo and Philip, as I had both a Quickdraw Handgun out and a Coachwhip in hand. Justin, to his credit or divine luck both drew well and simply would not cheat. His CA Tax locked me out of playing a Steven-Bobo combo and I simply couldn’t lock down his Carter’s bounty. It went to time and I played Judge Harry and needed to take over a deed. No probs, except that Justin had just enough GR to fuel the Mech Horsey and take over my deed. And taxing him wouldn’t lead to a discard, so thus it ended. 2-2
Finish: 2-2 and 8th – middle of the pack, and middle of the 2-2 crowd.

Round 4 segued into announcing the standings and awarding the swag…

Standings and other good stuff:

  1. Jon Del Arroz – LD (4-0)
  2. Donesh Gillan. –TSG: DR (3-1)
  3. Josi – TSG (3-1)
  4. Justin –MCC:G (3-1) (2-2?)
  5. Mark Taylor – LD (3-1)
  6. Ed Su –LD (2-2)
  7. Chrisantha – LD (2-2)
  8. David Orange – LD (2-2)
  9. John Nida – LD (2-2)
  10. Ronn Santos – LD (2-2)
  11. Chris L. – OoN (2-2)
  12. John Viera – LD (2-2)
  13. Carolyn – LD (1-3)
  14. Chris Holm – LD (1-3)
  15. Kris K. (4R)
  16. Shannon Gainey – TSG (0-4)
Some notes: While there were only 3 Sloane variants, they placed out of proportion to their numbers with Don’s DR build taking 2nd, and Josie copping the bronze with a base Sloane Gang outfit. It was a well-balanced tourney with not a whole lot of difference between 2nd – 5th (3-1) and 6th – 12th (2-2). So a victory or defeat here or there could have considerably altered a player’s fate. Thanks again, Sky and Game Kastle for hosting an amazing premier event! (and yes, John and I did make the long drive back to Sacramento and beyond…)

Chump n Champ JDA Sheriff


Congratz, Jon! :slight_smile:

Was not starting Tommy in fear of Shotguns a good call? Did you see many of those?

Kamikaze Dogs are tier 1, no questions, but how come there were only two 4R players at this event? This is something I just cannot understand about UK and US meta.

Nice to see the lone Gadgetorium taking the 4th place :slight_smile:


I think everyone had heard about how Hellzapoppin’ Desolation Row was. So the collective decided to meta against DR via LD aggro/bounty/cheatin’ tech.

I’ll add captions at some point.

Well done Jon!

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Thank you for the write-up David and well done Jon!

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10 Law dogs, 3 Sloane, 1 Morgan (lonely Morgan), 2 4th ring, that’s a definite meta shift against Sloane. What was your MVP if any card stood out to you? What would you change in your deck if anything? Great write up with pictures. Thanks David.


While I finished middle of the pack, my Rock Stars were Sun In Yer Eyes and Faster on the Draw.
I ran a ‘soft shooter’ of two key values: 6’s & 8’s stacked 13 each (vs. 16x or the dreaded 3x16), so my typical hand was a full house (legal or cheating).

Standing toe to toe against a hard shooter would be idiocy, so the gambit was lots of bullet reductions, Wendy/Pistol Whip, etc.

Runner-up: Winchester Rifle - the added bullet plus another add, plus Sun recovery is very versatile.
I really liked a Winchester on Jacqui Isham - her ability is great defense, but a Winchester gives her nice stud-muffins on offense as well.

The one scoop hound never saw play. I’d add a make ‘em sweat or two or more cheatin’ tech or more mobility.
I also need to get comfy with when to start or sit the Judge.

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Congratulations, well done!