The Week of the Reckoning is a series of articles focused on the four Servitors who serve as the first Legend cards for Doomtown: Reloaded. These articles are written by play test team members and are meant to be a guide to the strategies the Servitors add to the game.
by David Hogg
If you choose to ally with Jasper Stone, you’re taking the side of Death. In the Deadlands RPG, Stone is the meanest gun in the Weird West, serving as Death’s Right Hand and The Reckoners’ trouble-shooter. Heroes who repeatedly foil the Reckoner’s schemes will receive a visit from The Deathly Drifter, and it won’t end well for them. It isn’t for nothing Stone is known as ‘The Hero Killer’.
In Doomtown Reloaded, Stone encourages you to take perhaps the most direct path to victory. If you kill all your opponent’s dudes, they can’t contest the game. However, Stone prefers besting his victims in one-on-one duels. This is reflected in his traits and abilities. Except at home only your shooter contributes to your draw hand bonuses. Once you choose your shooter they get a nice two-bullet boost for forming draw hands if they’re opposing the dude Stone has targeted for death. If the targeted dude is aced at any point during the Shootout, your shooter gains a permanent control point and an extra bullet. Stone doesn’t come cheap either – he reduces your starting stash by two Ghost Rock. However when Tales from the Epitaph releases this sting can be lessened with help from Agent Provocateur.
When it comes to building a deck, Stone favors fast, targeted aggression. You’re probably going to want to build a tight three-value deck for early shootout consistency to support that. Plus you need to ensure you have a way to encourage your opponent to fight before they’re ready. This could be through running removal jobs or enforced callouts such as Kidnappin’ and Bounty Hunter (though note that if you’re using Bounty Hunter you’ll need dudes other than the Gunslinger token in your posse to benefit from Stone’s ability), or quickly building up control points through use of cards like Allie Hensman and The Sloane Gang.
Stone also favors stud dudes, as getting more cards to choose from for your draw hand means you’ll have a better chance of winning the shootout and acing Stone’s target. Even though only your shooter gets the bullet bonus and contributes to draw hands, going into a fight with a single stud dude is a risk as your opponent might have brought “Wendy” Cheng or Mariel Lewis, or be holding action cards such as Sun in Yer Eyes or Pistol Whip that can seriously ruin your plans. Having multiple stud dudes in your posse increases your chances of having one to select as your shooter. Weapons that protect or grant stud status such as Peacemaker and Pearl-Handled Revolver can be a real boon, as can ways to bring dudes back into your posse or prevent them from leaving in the first place such as the Horses Pinto and Pedro. The action card The Stakes Just Rose does both these things!
Clever targeting with Stone’s ability can also maximise your gains from it. Rather than choosing the dude you really want to kill, look at your opponent’s posse and think about who they’re likely to ace first if the shootout doesn’t go their way. Willa Mae MacGowan is a prime target, as are other cheap, influence lacking dudes. As you’re looking for aces rather than discards, increasing your winning margin is also worth looking at. Outgunned and Calling the Cavalry are both ways to boost your hand rank and have good synergy with cards that work well with Stone.
You can use cards like Shotgun and Legendary Holster to ace Stone’s target. As these happen before shooters are declared, the shootout will need to reach Step 2 for you to get the permanent control point and bullet bonus. This means your dudes need to stay around for, and survive, the entire shootout. With Stone’s target gone you won’t be benefitting from the extra two bullets for draw hands either! Acing effects that occur during the Resolution step may be a safer bet. Using Coachwhip! on a Cheatin’ opponent will ensure you hit your target if you stay legal. As the shooter’s bullet bonus lasts until the end of the round, if they are unbooted and a stud they can cause some real pain with Point Blank. Unboot those studs with Missed!
If you play aggressively, sending multiple dudes into shootouts or on jobs, you might not want to play too many deeds with control points as you’ll have a harder time defending them. If your plan works you’ll soon be eliminating opposing influence and gaining control points from Stone. Thus look for on-value deeds that provide efficient economy first and foremost and maybe consider doubling up on one or two deeds that work best with your deck on each value.