by Dave “Doomdog” Hogg
The Weird West isn’t a safe place. If the outlaws don’t get you, then one of the many unspeakable horrors that prowl the night probably will. The lives of those sworn to uphold the law and defend the peace aren’t easy, that’s for sure. In Doomtown Reloaded, the Law Dogs outfit is home to the lawmen and women of the West, including Sheriffs, Deputies and the various townsfolk who support them in their duties. As this is the Weird West and sometimes a simple bullet isn’t enough to deal with a problem, the Law Dogs also have support from Blessed characters (dudes gifted with divine powers to fight against the darkness creeping into the world) and Mad Scientists (inventors using the power of ghost rock to further technology).
Why Play Law Dogs?
If you like the Shootout aspect of Doomtown, chances are you’ll like the Law Dogs. The faction is home to some of the best shooters in the game, backed up by some impressive support dudes, goods and actions that work well with their themes. Law Dogs builds are often thus aggressive decks that are either constantly on the attack with access to multiple jobs and forced call-outs or else using their strong shootout presence to hold the Town Square and play an area denial game. There are plenty of different avenues you can take when deck building to add a twist to the shootout-focused approach to keep your opponents guessing. This shootout strength also means that the Law Dogs are well placed to benefit from the Legend Jasper Stone.
Upholdin’ the Law
In game, the Law Dogs have a number of themes, and they frequently overlap so the cards can find use in many different decks. The main one is interactions with bounties. The Law Dogs base set Outfit provides a reliable way to place bounties on dudes to enable these effects, while The Arsenal allows aggressive play against wanted dudes for decks using Miracles or Gadgets. Supporting them are dudes that can place bounties on opposing dudes, such as Andrew Burton and Stewart Davidson. There are several dudes within the outfit who gain bonuses when facing wanted dudes in shootouts, such as Wylie Jenks or “Thunder Boy” Nabbe. Other dudes can impose penalties on the wanted dudes themselves; Hattie DeLorre and Vasilis the Boar are good examples. The bounty interactions aren’t all shootout-reliant. Dudes like Father Tolarios and Dr. Dayl Burnett can remove a bounty from an opposing dude to gain a powerful effect, Clyde Owens is an aggressive dude great for chasing wanted dudes around town or attacking them at home and Elmore Rhine may make wanted dudes think twice about occupying your deeds. Both versions of Judge Harry Somerset start jobs that target wanted dudes, and there are decks built entirely around this ability.
In addition to the dudes, there are a number of other cards that interact with or generate bounties that are definitely worth looking at for a Law Dogs deck. Deeds include B&B Attorneys, which can increase the bounty of an already wanted dude or reduce the bounties on your own dudes (beware as opponents can also use this if they control B&B Attorneys!). The Gomorra Gazette, when used in conjunction with bounty-generating abilities, can provide a nice boost to your income. Gomorra Jail rewards you with control points for bringing in wanted dudes alive.
Goods you may want to consider include Bluetick, a Sidekick that helps you chase down wanted dudes. Dog’s Duster provides some nice bonuses, and also enables your dude to call out wanted dudes hiding at home. Combine them with Tin Star and there’s no escaping the law. The Evidence can add bounty to or remove it from dudes.
Actions provide ways to attack wanted dudes with Ol’ Fashioned Hangin’ and Bounty Hunter, while Tresspassin’ and Framed add to your options for increasing bounties on dudes. Too Much Attention can boot a wanted dude, so is a great surprise card that can disrupt an opponent’s plans or be used to set up a callout that can’t be refused.
Another theme is effects that reward you for revealing a legal draw hand when your opponent reveals a Cheatin’ draw hand, or that just punish an opposing Cheatin’ hand. The Justice in Exile Outfit’s bounty generating trait operates along these lines. Philip Swinford and Tommy Harden are other good examples of this type of effect. Philip’s trait can trigger in both the Gamblin’ phase and during Shootouts, even when he isn’t in the posse. Card cycling is a powerful effect, and during a shootout against a Cheatin’ opponent it can really pay off if you draw into a Cheatin’ Resolution action that you can then play! Tommy can give your opponent headaches during shootouts when they can make a higher ranked Cheatin’ hand than they can a legal one, as his trait can cancel out the rank advantage. Many decks will be aiming for Full Houses and Four-of -a-Kinds, ranks seven and eight respectively, so he can easily swing a shootout from a loss to a win, or break a tie. Decks wanting to take advantage of these anti-Cheatin’ effects will want to bring plenty of cards that inflict penalties to opposing dudes’ bullets, or remove dudes from shootouts. The fewer cards your opponent has to form their draw hands with, the more likely they are to be forced to cheat.
Many Law Dogs dudes have the Deputy keyword. While this in itself has no in-game effect, there are several abilities and traits that reference it. Faster on the Draw is a strong Shootout action that gives extra bonuses to Deputies so is often found in Law Dogs decks. Zoe Halbrook‘s Mad Scientist skill is increased by the number of Deputies at her location, Rafi Hamid can move Deputies into shootouts at Government deeds and Erin Knight can move your Deputies into her posse. Abram Grothe has a very strong ability that unboots all Deputies at his and adjacent locations – great when used in the Town Square. The Abram’s Crusaders Outfit gives bonuses to Deputies with Melee Weapons and Miracles attached, and can also give any dude the Deputy Keyword.
Finally, there are a couple of Law Dogs dudes that interact with deeds that have the Government keyword. The aforementioned Rafi Hamid is one, and Constance Daughtry is the other. Constance is incredibly useful with the Law Dogs Outfit, especially when at a Government deed. There are a couple of other interactions with the Government keyword worth mentioning. Notary Public is a deed that, when booted alongside a Government deed, can add a bounty to a dude. Legal Instruments is a goods that when attached to a deed gives it the Government keyword and provides influence and value bonuses to Deputies at that deed.
Here is an example of a deck that makes use of some of these cards and themes, piloted to the top eight cut at the 2017 World Championship by kollatt. By focusing on adding bounties to dudes and constantly attacking through jobs and Bounty Hunters it keeps the pressure on its opponent and aims for a quick win.
Keepin’ God’s Peace
The Blessed act primarily as support for the main Law Dogs cast. Rev. Perry Inbody has a great ability that affords your dudes extra mobility, Father Tolarios searches your deck for key Miracles and Mystical Goods, and Riorden O’Lithen and Ebenezer Springfield can spread Bounties among opposing dudes. Others are more aggressive in nature. Erik Samson and Abram Grothe are both at their best when fighting with Melee Weapons, while Deborah West is great for running jobs.
The Blessed are the only dudes that can equip Miracles, a spell type that is less direct than Hexes and Spirits but that offers some powerful buff and casualty reduction abilities. Onward Christian Soldiers not only strengthens your dudes’ bullets, but also protects them from being modified by opposing card effects. Get Behind Me, Satan! and Shield of Faith keep your dudes alive in Shootouts, enabling you to outlast an opponent due to attrition or survive a bad hand. Lay On Hands is there for when the casualty reduction isn’t enough. Walk the Path is a versatile movement spell, able to be used to outmanoeuvre opponents during Noon or bring backup into Shootouts. Amazing Grace provides bonus influence, protection from influence reduction and enables your Blessed to refuse the next call-out without going home booted, which is great for getting past a busy Town Square. Of note to the Law Dogs are Confession, which can add bounties to dudes, and Fiery Rhetoric, a job that can give your Blessed control points equal to the number of opposing wanted dudes in play.
Using the abilities of Father Tolarios and the Legend Ezekiah Grimme, you could build a deck that runs one or two copies of lots of different Miracles and get the relevant ones for your matchup in to play quickly.
Here is an example of a deck using Blessed that also made it to the top eight cut at the 2017 World Championship piloted by prodigy. It brings a variety of Miracles and makes use of Father Tolarios to search for the best one to help deal with whatever situation it is faced with.
We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Gun
The Law Dogs’ Mad Scientists are few in number, so like the Blessed they are best used in a support role. Both Zoe Halbrook and Janosz Pratt have particular interactions with Weapon Gadgets – Zoe can only invent Weapons, while Janosz can ‘jury rig’ a Weapon Gadget from your discard pile in a shootout. Andreas Andregg and Mortimer Parsons provide solid stud bullets and influence but little interesting besides on the Mad Science front. Mortimer requires you to play legal in shootouts or he goes home booted and sets his influence to zero, which if you can absorb the influence hit can allow for some bold plays that you intentionally cheat to escape from. Drew Beauman can immediately invent a gadget without booting if your draw hand is legal and your opponent’s is Cheatin’, which can be useful for inventin’ twice in one turn. Dr. Dayl Burnett can also invent a Gadget without booting, and at a reduced difficulty, by removing a bounty from an opposing dude.
With two of their six in-faction Scientists focused on Weapon Gadgets, and with Weapon Gadget difficulties generally being in the mid range, giving access to some good Law Dogs support cards, Law Dog gadgeteers are best off focused on equipping their allies with big guns. Weapons like Auto-Revolver and Aetheric Shockwave Inducer are interesting choices for decks using The Arsenal Outfit, as neither needs to boot for an ability so can be used for the Outfit’s ability instead. This also makes them good candidates for use with with the Legend Darius Hellstromme. Hydro-Puncher is a Melee Weapon Gadget that could see use with Abram’s Crusaders. Also of note to the Law Dogs is the Culpability Scientizer. This crime-predicting gizmo works very well with The Arsenal and for setting up other cards that rely on dudes being wanted. However with a low value of three it may be risky to combine it with other, higher difficulty gadgets.
I couldn’t find any recent examples of Law Dogs Gadget decks on dtdb, so I’ve posted one of my own for you to take a look at that uses some of the things I’ve discussed above.