State of Gadgets

So, let’s start some discussion going. What do you all think the state of gadgets is by SB4? Can they be competitive? If yes, using what kind of cards. If not, what do you feel is missing to allow them to do so?

I’m getting ready to toy with LD Science myself. I think they’re very powerful now and Zoe has me interested in a whole new style of playing.

I keep meaning to build a science deck. Currently a lot of my gadgets are being borrowed by a friend who’s trying out a clubless Morgan deck. It still needs a lot of tweaking as it hasn’t done well in the two games its featured in. I think I’ve only played against one other science deck, though I haven’t been to many events recently and they got a decent boost with Faith & Fear so it’ll be interesting to see what’s being played now

I’ve been playing Morgan Mad Science since I started the game (between Double Dealing and EDS).

I absolutely love cranking out wild inventions, and I’m mostly clubless (just enough for a legal 4 of a kind, and to slot in actions that I really need.

Once I finish updating my deck on doomtowndb, I’ll link it in my profile.

I think gadgets are getting better with each saddlebag, and Fancy Hat is going to let my QUATERMEN strut around town like they own the place.

If you like clubless you’ll be very happy soon :wink:


I can tell there’s been some cards that effectively act as clubs in some way or another (having Cheating Resolutions on Quickdraw Handgun, for instance).

I’m definitely excited to hear that I could go, if not clubless, more toward it as time goes on. :smile:

I think gadgets are there for Morgan I have been seeing the gadgeturium lately with an effective build that is geared towards shootouts and deed slide as a second winning condition. For law dogs they need something I feel I just don’t know what it is.

Feel free to post the build if you have it :wink:

For Clubless, I like to use some of the Hearts cheatin’ tech - Pair o’ Six Shooters, Quickdraw Handgun - e.g. make sure there is SOME punishment for cheatin’.

I’ve also considered packing 1x or 2x of Cheatin’ Varmint or This’ll Hurt in the Mornin’ as ‘acceptable risk’ cards.
They will fail ‘if a club’ pulls, but high enough to make other gadget pulls.


I’ve had a modicum of success running an Arsenal Gadget Shooter on 6/7/8 that I call Dawg Gun Science. Don’t think Frontier Justice will shake it up much, maybe try to squeeze in the Jail and a copy of Legal Instruments, but it’s already really tight.

The Recursive Motion Machine would be a good help for economic purposes, so I might toy with dropping a HWG or 2 to try them out…we’ll see.

One of the biggest weaknesses I see with Gadgets from a shooting perspective right now is the lack of really strong Shootout actions. There are some with decent actions…but they often just don’t really compare with what I can bring if I pack Clubs and a lot of the good shooting Gadgets are not on-value with good Shootout actions. HWG/Faster on the Draw being one of the few exceptions to date. You also have the obviously downside that your opponent more readily sees all of those actions coming.

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I posted it in the deck list section, so feel free to critique it there!

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@Darguth, is The Arsenal’s ability useful in that build? Why don’t you play Law Dogs instead? Heck, why don’t you play Morgans instead?

A.) Yes, the Arsenal’s ability is quite useful. It’s a great ability actually, it makes the deck significantly more mobile and aggressive without having to spend more deck-building space on mobility and aggro cards.

B.) I pack 2x 8C Bounty Hunters. Those are about the only thing that requires someone to be Wanted in the deck, which is all the base Law Dogs Outfit helps you with. The Arsenal is better than the base outfit in almost any circumstance where you’re running Science out of LD. Until we have more wanted-hate to build a non-Arsenal deck around.

C.) I’m not playing MCC because they are completely different playstyles. Shooter Science out of the Arsenal is about mobility and aggression with gadgets supporting your already good/cheap LD shooters. Shooter Science out of say the Gadgetorium is about focusing on gadgets to turn your relatively weaker dudes into combat wombats. It’s a much more “grind 'em down over the long haul” strategy than LD typically run.


A) Are you referring to “call out while booted” ability, or “call out a wanted dude” ability? Could you describe how the former helps you? When do you use the latter more often, after they initiate a shootout in your location, or after you use The Evidence?

B) I honestly always thought that 4x BH is all the wanted-hate you ever need. Coupled with Coachwhips, Point Blanks, and Takin’s, it can be outright devastating, and it’s useful both against turtling and aggro decks.
How do you fare against Control Clowns and Landslide? You only have 2x BH and 2x Evidence to get them, is it usually enough?

C) What good/cheap LD shooters are you talking about exactly? Andreas Andregg and Mortimer Parsons? I’d say that Jen is no worse than any of them stat-wise, and she’s cheaper… If you were playing Wendy or Tommy I’d see your point, but as it is, well, yes Philip is great and I’d want him in Morgan more than anything, but he’s not exactly a shooter… Not unless you run like 4x Faster on the Draw.

A.) Well both, but mostly the former. Calling out while your own dude is booted is very powerful in terms of mobility and board position, even if your potential targets are somewhat limited. It really helps to control what your opponent can do with end-of-turn positioning.

Say an opposing Irving Patterson is stealing my Circle M. Ranch and I want it back. I move Andreas with a HWG over to reclaim it. Normally the MCC player could then potentially boot Irving away to another deed of mine, if for nothing else than to keep Andreas locked down somewhere (because I’d have to boot to go reclaim from him).

My opponent doesn’t have that option with the Arsenal in play. If he boots Irving to another one of my deeds not only can Andreas follow him there to reclaim it but he can also still call him out while booted. That has a really large impact on the game long-term actually, in terms of just board control and play advantage. My opponent is forced into a fight-or-flight decision much earlier than they would be against a non-Arsenal starter.

B.) Eh, no. The Bounty Hunter is great, don’t get me wrong, but most good decks can deal with them fairly easily. After the first couple of Saddlebags they just can’t do the heavy lifting they could upon release. I use them primarily as a softening-up tool. They go in to initiate an early-in-the-round shootout to flush out important actions before I send my other dudes in to the fights I really want to win. Also, remember Takin’ Ya With Me is pretty limited with BH because he’s treated as a 0 bullet rating for the effect because he’s no longer in play by the time the card checks for his bullet rating.

Sometimes they can get lucky and get some casualties, but that seems the exception more than the norm these days. Also, since basically no other viable wanted hate exists in the game anyone playing against LD will be prepared for what you’re doing (and build their deck to deal with it, because it’s about 25% of the decks out there).

On top of that BHers are expensive and in the faction with arguably the weakest economy. 2GR isn’t an insubstantial financial cost in addition to the costs you’d use for the LD Outfit (booting dudes with influence) or using something like The Evidence or Confession to add bounties. The new Grifter helps some, but he’s also a tough cost to swallow when running Science especially without packing Flamethrowers to overcome his draw rating.

So, yeah, BHers are good but I find the continued and less costly pressure of the Arsenal is better for LD Science at the moment then running more BHers and in the LD Outfit.

C.) Andreas and Mortimer are a part of it, to be sure. Look at comparable MCC dudes that are both studs and scientists. You’ve got Jen, Ghetty, Aimslee, and Pasteur. The latter 3 are all 7+ cost, so I don’t think they quantify as “cheap” shooters. Jen is certainly a great card but she’s also relies on the cost of the gadget to get above 0 (until which she’s really not a lead shooter). So she’s really effectively 4-5 cost or so.

She certainly narrows the gap between LD and MCC Shooter Science in terms of starters, but the rest of the line-up really isn’t there to back her up. As I said, LD Science uses gadgets to compliment existing dudes. MCC Science relies on gadgets to transform their dudes. I’m not saying one is better than the other–personally I think MCC Shooter Science is pretty good right now too–simply that they are different.

Another big part of it is Bounty Hunters. Despite what I was just saying above BH is still a good card (just not an end-all-be-all card). It provides you a quick and disposable 2 Stud very quickly. Sure, MCC could pack The Evidence and Bounty Hunters just as easily as this deck could…but it would be less effective. I have the Arsenal to fall back on to take advantage of that Wanted state even without a BH in hand. MCC can’t do that.

Another aspect of it is Faster on the Draw, which I find a really awesome card in general. Even the likes of Phil or Rafi can immediately become a lead shooter with that card, on top of the good debuff it provides. The unexpected nature of that swing is also a really potent tool, I might argue the most important part. This again is a card that LD–more or less–has exclusive access to using.


Wall of text warning.

The short answer to this question is no gadgets are not competitive against the current top tier decks.

The long answer is that there currently are not enough synergistic options in gadgets in the game. Which results in what i would describe as a lack of focus for gadget decks. At least in comparison with other heart based decks. For example most of the Gadget decks that i have seen in person and on the facebook group that have been successful have been an aggro deck that runs weapon gadgets. Which brings up a question for me as to if the gadget theme makes the deck “better.”

I feel like it is very difficult to run a mixed bag gadget deck. Its fairly easy to say run a deck that runs flamethrowers and Holy Wheel Guns, but its a lot harder to run a deck with flamethrowers Holy Wheel guns and teleportation devices. In addition running any of the non weapon or shootout gadgets requires you to build an entire deck around them. And the wants and needs of one gadget do not often match the wants and needs of another. For example a deck that runs a gadget like Teleportation Device doesn’t want clubs but a weapon gadget deck generally would want clubs to back up the weapon gadgets in shootouts. So despite the obvious benefit of having alternate ways of moving people in a shooting deck, it is difficult to run these two types of gadgets together.

If we compare this to hexes or even blessings these examples become even more apparent. I can run shadow walk and bloodcurse in the same deck and their ability to compliment one another in and out of shootouts makes them very good together. Which is why a hex based shooting deck and a hex based control deck have a similar foundation backed up different support cards.

In addition a personal gripe i have with gadgets is that more often than not they do not create unique gadget deck only plays and are in many ways very comparable to standard goods, which i personally feel they shouldn’t be. The fact that Holy Wheel Gun which is a fairly agreed upon standard in gadget decks often amounts to no more than a bullet bonus is frustrating when you compare it to hexes blessings or even regular goods. Values aside, It is difficult to make an argument for HWG over say peacemaker, especially when another gadget telepathy helmet is also a very popular gadget in aggro gadget decks.

As I have mentioned i think gadgets are too broad in scope, at least this early in the game. Where all hexes focus on negative impacts for your opponent in and out of shootouts, often in very unique ways that are not obtainable through other means, Gadgets focus on very minor effects which can be obtained through the non gadget good pool. I feel like this lack of focus on a central battle plan whatever that may be is what makes gadgets lack the competitive strength of other heart based decks.


A) The situation you describe mostly applies to Landslide, i believe. Shooty decks will gladly get into a fight, one-on-one or otherwise, and they can actually set up a trap for you - after all, they know you can call out while booted, so they can lure and isolate one of your dudes and then Kidnap them. As for Clowns, The Arsenal’s ability might be useful in that matchup, but then again they have even more mobility, and they can shoot pretty well.

B) You use Bounty Hunters to weaken the enemy before a major shootout, but they can also be used in a situation you described above - when you lure a dude out to a quite corner and mug him. BH also lets you outmaneuver enemies, forcing studs to boot to protect an influence dude. Then again, I got kicked out of the League by a BH deck that aced my dudes with Coachwhips and Takin’s (every other posse still has 0-bullet influence dudes like irving and Lucy, and if not, you can always use it off Steven Wiles).

C) I’m not sure why you compare dudes that are both studs and scientists. You got Andregg, I got Jen. You got Mortimer in your deck, I got cheap dudes to carry Flame-Throwers right here in my starting posse, and some Quatermen on their way. My point is, your starting posse is not any more aggressive than mine, and playing Mortimer or Wylie Jenks later in the game is not exactly “applying pressure right out of the gate”. I can’t quite see how your game plan is any different from mine, you too are going to spend the first few turns mostly gearing up - Adregg and Philip aren’t all that intimidating by themselves.
I hear your point about different styles of gadget decks, but I fail to see how it applies to this particular deck you linked to above.

In regard to Faster on the Draw, I’ve been using it in Morgan to great effect, so I disagree with the way you put it, saying that Law Dogs have ‘more or less exclusive access to using it’. Sure, in LD it does even more, and turning Philip into a 2-stud can be critical - sometimes - but not as critical as say in a Rafi Hamid + Legal Instruments deck that kicked my butt recently without any gadgets :wink:

I’d like to say that this is a great conversation we are having, and I’m glad that we now have the grounds to have such discussions :smile:

P.S. For reference, here’s my deck: Gadgetorium 6+7+8


Yeah, I’m lovin’ the quality of the discussion :slight_smile:

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Don’t have time to delve into all of the points, but I definitely disagree with this one. Board control is important to almost all (not all, but almost all) decks. Not just Landslide.

I also disagree that most shooter decks would “gladly” engage a 0 Draw Irving Patterson with a 3 Stud Andreas. Even shooter decks need to pick their battles. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to call out your opponent for it to affect the game. Knowing that you can might be enough to affect play.

Lastly, I don’t hold a lot of weight to the hypothetical “they can trap you” counter-argument. That’s true for literally any deck, essentially. Any deck can try to bait you. The Arsenal isn’t any worse in that regard. That all comes down to board awareness and smart play.

What I mean is that a surprise is always better than an open threat. In that way Bounty Hunter is better than The Arsenal’s ability, and any anti-cheatin’ action is better than a Quickdraw Handgun. They can make a move when you have an action in hand, or they can hinder when you actually don’t. But when they know what you have, they can play around it and outmaneuver you. I laid traps like this for my opponents more than once, so it’s not all that hypothetical for me :smile: