[Review] IOUF - The 108 Righteous Bandits

It’s two more weeks before the Faction Pack named “Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force” is officially released, yet I’ve already played with the new cards extensively, both on OCTGN and IRL using proxies, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned about new factions. First, the Kung Fu guys, and the Shamans will follow shortly after.

  • The 108 Righteous Bandits

The Outfit card itself has nothing to do with Kung Fu or Techniques, it could belong to any faction, which can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing. For the introduction of the new faction I’d prefer something that would accentuate its signature mechanics, yet in the long run it’s a good thing that this outfit doesn’t bind the faction too much to one specific playstyle.

This outfit gives you extra mobility. It generally gives you more options for how you can use your dudes to contest deeds and isolate enemies, makes it easier to use abilities that require booting a dude as a cost (Pistol Whip, Point Blank, Wendy, Xui Yin Chen), and lets your isolated or paralyzed dudes escape from dangerous situations.

A more noticable effect that actually changes the rules of the game as we’re used to playing it is how it affects Out-Of-Town deeds. No longer can Irving safely build a Jackson’s Strike using the Morgan outfit ability. No longer can Philip annoy you by going to the Blake Ranch and forcing you to send your own dude away to contest it back. Well, they can do it, but it’ll be a suicidal mission, because with this outfit you can send a 0-influence chump to that out-of-town deed, then follow with your big stud - unbooted - and call the soft draw dude out. Mmmm, delicious. And after the callout your stud still boot to move back in town, either to contest a deed, or home / to town sqaure to get ready for the new day. Sure, you could do this before too, with Railroad Station, Surveyor’s Office, Shadow Walk, and Walk The Path. But now you can do it every turn, and your opponent knows about it.

Overall, I’d say that the outfit card and cheap low-value dudes (Ben, Xiao, Daomei) form the second main theme of the new faction (besides Kung Fu): lots of dudes that can be anywhere. And I can’t say which theme is more important. For example, the added maneuverability is much more annoying to the Clowns, who don’t care much about the kung fu shenanigans.

  • Benjamin Washington

The Grifter doesn’t know kung fu, but he is a very important part of the “108 sneaky bandits” aspect of the new faction. His Grifter ability sets the tempo of a generic Green deck: start with a strong posse to immediately put pressure on the opponent AND a lot of money to buy deeds to support your economy in later turns. Discarding a card to draw a card is very useful by itself, and if you save 1-2 gr in the process it’s just great. But really, very often you have at least two cards in your starting hand that you won’t be able to play on the first turn, so discarding two cards, drawing one, and saving up to 4 gr is a very powerful grifter ability.

Thankfully, the Green faction has many dudes with 2 upkeep that you’d want to start: Xui Yin Chen, Bai Yang Chen, Abuelita Espinoza. Heck, you can start all three, pay no upkeep for them on the first turn, buy a couple deeds, and only have to pay 3 upkeep on turn two and on. Only, you really have to play aggressively right from the start. If your opponent manages to scare you away, you’ll likely have to discard a dude or two due to financial difficulties. Oh, and Flight of the Lepus can totally ruin your day =_= This is why I think playing 4x Pair of Six-Shooters is very important: it allows you to counter Lepus about half the time (if you won lowball on the previous turn, and both you and your opponent are cheatin’ now, you can use the Six-Shooters to make your hand legal).

Overall, I think this little guy will be a staple and a cornerstone of Green decks in the foreseeable future.

  • Xiaodan Li

Another cornerstone, Number Six is just that, a body to initiate callouts and soak casualties for the always affordable price of only 1 gr. It might seem unimportant at first, but really it’s a bunch of little things like this that, in my opinion, define the faction more than Techniques. But hey, this guy knows Kung Fu too, and his combined value of 3 is enough to succeed pulls about 60% of the time in an A-2-3 deck. Give him Nunchucks and he becomes solid and reliable. But I wouldn’t do that, he usually goes down pretty early.

  • Daomei Wang

Steven Wiles is dead, meet Daomei Wang! Well, ol’ Steve is not going anywhere from the game, of cource, but Daomei is really something. One less bullet, two less influence, and +1 initial cost - all that for FOUR less upkeep, which makes it very possible to keep him around in the mid-to-late game. Although tou wouldn’t really want to keep him if you drew another copy (or Hired Guns), his comes-into-play ability is AMAZING! You just used your outfit ability and your opponent thinks that it’s now safe to move a dude booted to a deed? Nope, your bag is still full of surprises. Nasty surprises with guns and kung fu. Yeah, just like lil’ Xiao, this guy has a combined value of 3, so he can put your techniques to good use, if you happened to lose the heavy hitters. His biggest weakness (as compared to Steven) is that he dies easily to Shotgun and Soul Blast. But that won’t stop players of all factions from running him in DMH builds, he’s a perfect filler for a deck that wants to keep Spades in the draw structure. Thankfully his ability only moves Green dudes around, otherwise it would be a nightmare if it worked on anyone.

  • Randall

First, let’s get it out of the way: you draw exactly five cards at the start of the game, NOT up to your maximum hand size. So, the Storyteller doesn’t really combo with Ben the Grifter. Then, it’s not quite easy to have three guys in one location when you’re playing a very aggressive deck that wants to put pressure on the opponent and deny them income from deeds. Randall is a perfect filler for a deck built around 2’s, and I even put him 1-of off-value if I’m playing Hired Guns, as sometime in the mid-to-late game i’ll probably want some cheap extra influence.
I also found that he’s a rather good starter vs. Clowns, in that matchup I don’t really want to have Xui Yin Chen around as she always ends up paralyzed and cannot do anything (unless I have Rabbit’s Lunar Leap), and I still have to pay her 2 upkeep every turn. Randall helps me build up in the early game, saving me money and providing cards. Although he’s very vulnerable to Soul Blast, so starting him might not be a good idea if you’ve got a lot of shooty clowns in your meta.

  • Longwei Fu

Ol’ Geezer, I’m using him as a filler mostly. His Kung Fu is strong, but not much stronger than Miss Chen’s, and she’s so much scarier in a fight. Unless she gets Pistol Whipped before she can use her ability, in which case Longwei is actually better. But I tend to win lowball due to playing low values, so it’s not usually a problem. Other than Pistol Whip and similar effects, I can’t really think of a common situation when I’d start a big fight and keep by stud with influence at home. Well, I could be starting many small fights with my 0-influence draw dudes and have an edge, but it seems too risky. Tell me if you’ve had any success with Longwei as a starter.

  • Xui Yin Chen

I mentioned her several times already, now we finally get to taking a look at the Anime Girl. Well, what is there to say. She’s strong. Really strong, in a deck with six starting dudes. In a wall-to-wall fight, I can easily get to draw 12-14 cards. First turn first click she goes to the town square, and now that Desolation Row player has much less incentive to run the job. Sure, he can neutralize her with Suns or Pistol Whip, but what to do about the other four or five studs? (The correct answer is: play Nightmare at Noon)
Naturally, she’s at her best if you win lowball often, that’s why I think it’s important to delute your draw structure with enough off-value cards. The outfit ability helps to move her around unbooted, and if your opponent managed to outmaneuver you, Rabbit’s Lunar Leap can really save your day. Oh, and that influence bonus that her ability provides might be useful if you’re fighting at a deed and bring Hamshanks or Yunxu Jiang along. Overall, she’s a very strong starter that requires a lot of care to be effective. Very effective. And very vulnerable to Paralysis Mark, unfortunately.

  • Natalya

The Wailing Dead are actually nice people if you get to know them, as T’ou Chi Chow said. I honestly don’t think you can convince your opponent of that. As I said, a Green deck wants to put pressure on the other player and deny him income while maintaining a stable economy to pay for its own dudes. Well, Natasha really helps with that. Spend all your money on goods and deeds, send her to Jackson’s Strike or Blake Ranch, and put your opponent in a silly situation when you’ll get money regardless of who wins lowball. She’s perfect for contesting out-of-town deeds, and she’s one of the few Green dudes who can weild Shotgun effectively. I didn’t try to start her yet, preferring Hiram Capatch and a bunch on 0-influence dudes instead, but I wish I did every time my opponent plays an out-of-town deed. If you had success starting her, please let me know.

  • Hamshanks

Hellspawn are nice people too. The Red Orge protects his friends from harm, in a similar way as Tyx, with a twist. He works only in locations you control (not in the town square), and only if he is unbooted (so you need to be careful with movement, and the second Paralysis Mark or Unprepared will get through). On the other hand, he protects from some abilities that Tyx is powerless to stop, like Wendy, Blood Curse, and [one] Paralysis Mark.
Overall, his usefulness is limited in that he doesn’t help you in major shootouts in the town square, and fighting wall-on-wall at deeds is rather uncommon. Still, he’s cheap influence with kung fu and a useful trait. I wouldn’t start him, but I’d put one in my deck, even off-value maybe. Or, start him in place of the Anime Girl or Randall in a matchup vs. Clowns, he provides less influence but at least he doesn’t die to Soul Blast as easily as the Storyteller.

  • Hiram Capatch

The Barber clearly isn’t much of a fighter, but he’s actually vital to that “put pressure on your opponent” strategy that I talked about earlier. Starting a bunch of cheap 0-influence dudes like Ben and Xiao might leave you without an ability to deny income to your opponent, and #denial is a very important part of early agression. If your opponent doesn’t want to fight you in the town square and potentially lose his dudes to your strong kung fu, but instead focuses on building deeds and setting up economy, you might be in trouble. The Barber won’t let this happen though, when he’s in town square he makes all your chumps control deeds during the upkeep phase, which is when it actually matters in the early game. As I said before, out-of-town deeds pose a certain problem though. It is also worth noting that Hiram has a high enough value to trigger Hot Lead Flyin’.

  • Yunxu Jiang

The Braided Warrior is very similar to the Red Ogre, in that he’s cheap influence with kung fu and a trait that is useful in a fight at a contested deed. At home too, but if you’re fighting at home with a Green deck then something weird is happening. He’s at his best when fighting alongside Miss Chen. The value buff helps to succeed at Techniques and Hot Lead Flyin’ and also protects weaker dudes from Shotgun and Soul Blast, while the bonus bullet powers your own Shotguns. There are better dudes to start, but keep one in the deck, he might be of use later on.

  • Abuelita Espinoza

This is a weird one. If you start her along with a couple other 2-upkeep dudes and Ben, you cannot afford to fall back in the early turns, or she’ll bankrupt you. Flight of the Lepus will wreak you hard. It’s just too risky for my taste. Keeping one copy off-value in the deck seems fine, but that’s the fourth dude i’m saying this about, keeping them all might harm your draw structure and pulls too much. I didn’t find a place for her in my deck, but if you had success with her, tell me about it!

  • Bai Yang Chen

Raiden is the heavy hitter. You can’t put pressure on your opponent without a 3-stud or two. 2 upkeep for 0 influence seems silly, but if you camp him at your opponent’s home that’s 3 stud bullets and +2 cards per turn for 1 upkeep, which is one hell of a bargain! Yes, card advantage is a thing. Your opponent might not realize that and leave Raiden alone, since he’s not making any immediate harm by just standing there at their home. But the benefit those extra cards will give you is huge. He also knows kung fu, which is mostly relevant in that he can suddenly appear anywhere using Rabbit’s Lunar Leap. Oh, and he’s one of the few dudes who can make good use of a Shotgun without the Zhu Bajie shenanigans. I start him in all my Green decks.

  • T’ou Chi Chow

The King. Looks suspiciously like the late Sheriff Dave Montreal stat-wise, but thanks to the reduced cost he will hit the board much more often. And when he does, he’ll definitely make an impact. First, he counters Paralysis Marks. Second, he unboots after Kidnappin’ and Pistol Whip. Third, it’s generally very annoying for your opponent that you can move dudes around and unboot them, breaking all established rules.
Just like the Outfit and the Grifter, the King has nothing at all to do with Kung Fu, but boy does he contribute to the whole “108 Inglorious Bastards” aspect of the faction… I mean “108 Sneaky Ninjas”… you get the idea.


  • Shifu Speaks

Obviously, you only want to be playing this if you’re running a lot of techniques. The buff to Kung Fu will make combos longer and more reliable, filling up your discard pile serves the same purpose. Bonus influence might let you take control of a deed at Sundown, or help in a fight where Hanshanks or Yunxu Jiang are involved. Overall it’s not a very strong card, just a handy tool to make your Kung Fu a bit more reliable, and there will be times - many times - when it won’t really do anything for you, you’ll play it just to get rid of it.
But, what are your other options at A♣? Hired Guns obviously, but you probably don’t want more than a couple. Make 'Em Sweat should help in shootouts, but I find it too complicated to use as it requires booting your own dude. So yeah, put a pair of these in your A+2+3 kung fu deck and see for yourself how fun it is to chain combos.

  • Zhu’s Ferocity

This card is pretty good by itself. Almost as good as Faster on the Draw (in a non-Law Dogs deck, obviously). It cuts less bullets, but you can chain several on them for a greater effect. The trick is to have a dude with high enough Kung Fu rating, Xui Yin Chen or Longwei Fu. I’d say that I don’t have a problem with playing this card over Bottom Dealin’ or Make The Smart Choice.

  • Raking Dragons

Now this, this isn’t strong enough to compete with Suns or Stakes by itself. It boots a dude, which is useful to counter Wendy or Pistol Whip or Point Blank, but other than that it’s not a very proactive action. It sets up the stage for a finisher, either Zhu’s Reward or Shotgun. Well, yeah, Shotgun. That ol’ tested and true card is simply amazing when you can combo it with the Tao of Zhu Bajie, raising your dude’s bullets and lowering the opposing dude’s value. It’s not uncommon to ace Steven Wiles or Wendy! Only, if you don’t have Shotgun then the Dragons won’t scare anyone with all their Raking. Or if you do have Shotgun but your opponent has Unprepared, then after you’re done showing off with the c-c-combo, they’ll just jam the gun. Overall, this card is a necessary piece of the mechanism, but it doesn’t do much by itself. Suns or Stakes are just so much more useful and versatile overall.

  • Zhu’s Reward

This is the combo finisher, and it looks real strong on paper. In practice though, you will often end up sending away dudes that you actually wanted to kill - Jake, Irving, Lucy. And the cost to boot a dude is a big deal, at times you can play this but just don’t want to bother because it might make your board position worse. At other times though, you can desintegrate an army of harrowed 2-stud tokens, which is this card’s hour of glory. I went from playing 2x to only 1x in my Kung Fu deck.

  • Rabbit’s Lunar Leap

This, I believe, is the best technique released up to date. It’s not really any better than Stakes, and it’s much less versatile, but it frees slots for more Suns, which is very good by itself, and it works wonders when your Anime Girl got Pistol Whipped. I’m running 2x in my deck that doesn’t have any on the Zhu Bajie techniques, and I’m quite happy with it.

  • Nunchucks

+1 Kung Fu is a nice little bonus, helpful sometimes, irrelevant most of the time. The ability to cut pulls makes your own techniques and Hot Lead more reliable, and it can be used aggressively against enemy spells. Only, the spells that I really care about are cast outside of shootouts, and half the decks in the meta don’t run any spells at all. If I’m playing Tao of Zhu Bajie then I want to go 4x Shotgun to maximize its efficiency, and if i’m not using techniques then this card will be a dead draw in most games, so I’d still rather have Shotguns. It’s a nice option to have in the meta, but I’m not sold on it. Would be much more solid if it was A♥, 2♥, or 4♥.

And in the end, a couple decklists:

The 108 Kung Fu Masters With Shotguns

The 108 Regular Dudes With Suns And Stakes (and Shotguns)

The outgoing problem is the amount of Hot Lead Flyin’ vs. the draw structure.

Fear the Lepus!


Nice review, tnx! (Denial!)

I just leave my 108 deck here:

PS Yes, it does work.
PSS Any faction is better with paralisys mark.

Loved the deck, specially the 4xBuried Treasure, I also feel naked without them.

This was an excellent read mplain. The only question left to ask is: When do you get around to the Eagle Wardens!?


I’m gonna disagree on Zhu’s Reward. In practice, I’ve combo’ed into it after reducing the values of dudes other than my big target with Raking Dragons while reducing my target’s bullet’s with ferocity, then bam they’re stuck with a dude that can’t fight and that I want to kill. It’s just knowing about which techniques to use, against who, and in what order. I only run 2 in my 108 deck, and it has won me games.

That said, great post! Some pretty good thoughts here.

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