by Anders ‘Suzy309’ KernelĀ 

So you want to join the Circus, do you? Well, I cant blame you. We have magical hexes of incredulous power, we have clowns with hammers and knives, we have freaks of nature and a potential cannibal! So welcome to the Circus! Oh, did I mention clowns? We have lots of clowns

4th Ring offer a variety of deck possibilities from high value shooters over abomination attrition to movement and board control. Whether you are an returning Whateley fan from Doomtown Classic, a control player or you just like to play with monsters, 4th Ring has something to offer you. I’m going to wet your appetite by talking about some of the deck types that you’ll find in the Circus and some of the key cards for our great faction.

Control… With a Bang?!?

One of the first deck types for 4th Ring was a control deck which is winning by lowering your opponents influence using Blood Curse and Rumors and controlling your opponents movement with Paralysis Mark and Phantasm. These hexes has the double effect of letting you isolate your opponents weaker influence dudes so you could call them out, without those pestering studs to protect them. The more trigger-happy versions of the deck are often packing a heavy amount of Unprepared and Hex Slingin’ ensuring a devastating hand rank manipulation, if your opponent should force you into a shootout.

Other cards frequently used in these decks are Shadow Walk, one of the absolutely best movement cards of the game, often combined with Soul Blast for a quite devastating effect in a shootout or just used for controlling opponents deeds, without having to walk over a contested town square. Another addition are the game winning Puppet hex. While costly at 2 Ghost Rock and often hard to use, this hex is game winning when used to take control of your opponents stud or just taking the last influence from her, after you have her dudes booted all over town. The choice of having Soul Blast and Puppet in your deck however, also brings the risk of failing your Hex pulls, so be careful how many you bring and always keep track of where they are!

The values often used for these decks are high: 8, 9, 10, J and Q which are the values of the hexes and actions mentioned above. If you feel frisky, or just want to remember the old ways, you can include the old family estate to bring back jokers or hexes while also bringing more options for booting your opponents dudes. If you do so, I’d recommend also bringing our very own femme fatale, Avie Cline. Those two combined makes for a great house of horrors! Starting posses for these decks often include Leon as an indispensable but expensive control dude, Valeria as a good huckster and cheap stud and Freddy to get that starting hex you need, if you don’t have it in hand. Oh, and don’t forget your all around great General Store for those hex sales! A stable in most 4th Ring decks. The home used for these decks are the original 4th Ring – still one of the strongest homes in the game as it gives your economy a boost, while at the same time giving you card draw!

Here is a prime example of a 4th Ring control deck, by Gozik:

An abominable good time!

What is scarier than a clown? A dead clown returning from Elephant Hill to rip your gizzards out, that’s what! So that is exactly what we have! The second kind of deck I’ll talk about today is the abomination (or abom) deck. An abomination deck often builds on the idea of winning the game by attrition in shootouts. Simply put, we’ll just keep bringing them abominations back into the fray till all your dudes are plain dead.

To do so there are 3 important cards. The first is Raising Hell which is straight out of the base set. Use this cunning little trick to either get your favorite critter back from the dead, or ace your Harvester from the hand and bring it in via the hex. It can bring both firepower and great attrition value, if used on the Brute. The second card is the very popular Soul Cage. Using this card in lowball or in a shootout where your opponent decides to cheat, can bring the even the biggest abomination to the table such Smiling Tom or The Ghostly Gun. That last one could then be used to manipulate your own shootout hand, just a little trick to get by, if you need it. The last card is our very own Ringmaster, Ivor Hawley himself! Ivor feeds on the fear created by all your abominations, living or dead and thus becomes cheaper the more darling creatures we have out. If that isn’t enough, he’ll even bring some back from the grave when he comes, a nice combination with Freddy and a hex or just to pull a few Pagliaccio back into the game. There are few abom decks that doesn’t have at least one Ivor in them these days.

Now, the normal starting home of an abom deck is The Oddities of Nature, which makes sense as it gives our aboms some much needed influence on town square. However, they still lack that influence for taking over your opponents deeds! To mitigate this, why not give Tyx a Fancy New Hat? Or you can always use Hawley’s Rose to make a good first impression. Another good influence option is to bring Karl to your starting posse, often combined with Freddy, Tyx and a few Pagliaccios. Just remember only to bring abominations to the table if you want to keep his influence around.

An important choice when building an abom deck is whether or not to use hexes, which will also influence your values for the deck. Normal values for an abom deck is 2, 6, 8, 10, Q and K, with a hex heavy deck focusing on the higher values. That gives us access to some wonderful actions as Takin’ Ya With Me and Buried Treasure to ace your own abominations, but also Point Blank for those big studs to use. Remember to bring your own Undertaker to take advantage of the thriving business you will create at town square, and if you run 2s, why not bring a little Bottom Dealin’ as a surprise for your opponent.

Here is a typical efficient deck from mplain, Abominable:

A mystical condition!

Aside from hexes and clowns, the circus can also offer a variety of curios and mystical conditions! With dudes as Valeria and Dabney it is possible for the circus to dable into the arts of mystical gadget creation, offering a wide variety of possibilities as Jack-In-A-Box, Holy Wheel Gun and even a Clown Carriage to ease the transport of our fragile friends. The new Devil’s Six-Gun is also a mystical gadget – perhaps suitable for creating a 4th Ring straight flush deck or just oulling Jokers in when you need them. Talking about mystical, Junior is always happy to help us get what we need. A great card is the Stone Idol, which not only makes our hexes easier to cast but also giving us the possibility of using cards as Forced Quarantine. Speaking of diseases, a plague struck Gomorrah recently, and those lost to it often returned into our service known as The Blighted, a great way to boost our abominations! To kickstart all of that it would be wise to bring Jia Mein, perhaps with a Festering Grasp to threaten your opponent.

Here is a deck by Doomdog showing some of the fun you can have at the circus with the gadgets at hand:

I hope this has given you an intro into one of the finest factions in Doomtown. As we get closer to the Kickstarter the 5th of September more and more cards are revealed that will inspire new and terrifying decks for the 4th Ring. I hope to meet you in the tent. If not, watch the shadows…

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