One of the many things I love about Doomtown is that at any average sanctioned event, even high-level tournaments, you will find a healthy respect for both the competitive and fun aspects of the game. Everyone has different definitions of fun – some people really like the chess and outmaneuvering an opponent, while others see decks that avoid shootouts as not fun. In the end, however, the existence of slide, control, and a hundred varieties of shootout decks all come together in a delicate and intricate balance. You might not like it when people play slide, but the game would look and play very differently without it. I’m one of those folks that usually prefer not to play slide, fortress, or similar decks, but I’m glad they are played.
However, sometimes you have to choose evil, even if your intentions are good. When I picked my deck for the 2017 GenCon ‘Evil is a Choice’ event, I went about as evil and dirty as it gets: Showboating + Nicodemus Whateley + Ezekiel Grimme. Grimme was a brand-new evil, while the other two have since been errata-ed or banned. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who recognized that evil cocktail! The deck, my thoughts, and a tournament report can be found here:
I was fortunate enough to win that event, along with the great of honor of naming an upcoming Legend. Going into the event I had no plans for the ‘what if’ of winning. So, while taking the event was a pleasant surprise, I didn’t have to think too long to know what card I wanted to see: Doc Holliday. There is no cooler dude in Tombstone!
I was also in the unique position to not only name this card, but also playtest it when the time came. I have to be honest: my first impression of this card was that it seemed rather uninteresting, and not something I really looked forward to testing. If you are having similar thoughts as you first look at this card, saddle up and delve into the options with me.
Doc marks our second spell-based Legend. Unlike Grimme, however, who can support a more passive or controlling archetype, Doc Holliday is all about shootouts. Not only does he demand shootouts, but he also decrees that your spellcasters actually join the posse!
As long as you remember the shootout ability can use any spellcaster, and is not limited to your own posse, then the trait and ability are rather straightforward. With that, let’s explore some ideas with this relatively cheap (1 ghost rock) Legend. My first thought for this Legend was hucksters + shotguns. Hucksters are no stranger to the low-value hex + shotgun builds, especially with the supporting cast of cards like Corporeal Twist, Nightmare Realm, and several shootout-oriented Sloane hucksters. These decks directly benefit from, without modification, by Doc, as long as you have at least one huckster with a rating of 1 or higher.
Also note the 4-bullet maximum on your dude targeted by Doc. This Legend allows for a reliable way to hit that ceiling every turn, whereas without Doc it’s more difficult to find a 3-bullet dude to attach the shotgun to. Add a bullet catcher to your starting posse like Darragh Meng, and you can reliably turn literally any dude into a 4 bullet, shotgun-toting terror! For Fearmonger possess, using a combination of Zeb Whateley-Dupont and Valeria Batten, with the shotgun on Zeb, gives you another consistent 4 bullet dude. Combine that starting gang, run out of The Sanitorium, and throw a single Corporeal Twist onto your huckster to reliably shotgun value 7 dudes! Despite being a 6-card combo, you start with 4 of them in play.
Outside of shotgun, the ability to dynamically raise bullets when you need them once each turn is not to be underestimated. Throughout playtesting, I often failed to see a shotgun, but was always pleasantly surprised to get an extra card or two in my hand from bumping up my stud. Law Dog Blessed decks can use the extra bullets to great effect with Father Tolarios, using his 2-skill rating to either buff another main shooter, or turn himself or Padre Ernesto into a solid 2 bullet stud. First Peoples have great starters in Black Elk and Eva Bright Eyes, and combined with a favorite starting shaman of Enapay, you have a reliable 3 or 4 stud, respectively!
Beyond simply drawing more cards into your shootout hand, there are plenty of other uses in cards like Outgunned, LeMat Revolver, Point Blank, or any other host of cards revolving around bullets. This Legend is not particularly complex, but there are lots of interesting options that it can open up, and if you give it a try, you’ll find it’s more fun than it might seem at first glance.
Speaking of casting spells, check out this fantastic upcoming hex! High value, 1 ghost rock, easily passes its own difficulty, and some potent effects – you can’t ask for much more in a spell.
Unlike Doc Holliday raising bullets on a dude, who can potentially have their bullets then lowered, this hex will throw “phantom” bullets into the mix. Once successfully cast after choosing an opposing stud dude, for example, that one bonus stud will be there come shooter-choosing time, no matter what else the opponent does the rest of their shootout actions (assuming the dude stays in the shootout, or doesn’t get changed to a draw). Now imagine having two or three of these, and you can see the potential this card brings to shooty hex decks. Cards like Longwei Fu and Auto-Gatling have proven their power over the years, and Malison is sure to join their ranks.
However, there is an interesting choice when considering the second part of the ability: do you choose the stud in the opposing posse to get a better shootout hand, or do you choose their dude most likely to take casualties to cash in on that permanent influence? It will depend on how confident you are, and the situation on the board. Unlike Longwei Fu and Auto-Gatling, this doesn’t guarantee a stud bonus unless the opponent has a stud, but to make up for it you have the interesting choice with a potential permanent influence gain.I’m a big fan of shooty hexes, and very much looking forward to this card that offers several interesting choices.
This interesting card fits somewhere between a targeted removal and a chess-like maneuvering action. With your unbooted stud in the town square, you can move any dude from anywhere in the game to join you. For dudes with more control points than your dude, which are always problematic, it’s a forced callout. For other dudes, they either have to accept, or go home booted. In that way, if you have the upper hand, you can bring dudes from out of town, or other hard-to-reach locations, and send them straight home (assuming the opponent also agrees that you have the upper hand).
By itself, this card is certainly interesting, albeit only works with the help of your unbooted stud in the town square. However, when you combine this card with the likes of Rope and Ride, We Got Beef`, and especially Full Moon Brotherhood, then you can do some fun and devastating things with your call out.
This is another card that a wise opponent will have to watch out for if they see 10’s, and always keep in the back of their mind while maneuvering around town. It also makes a great one or two off-value splash, to surprise your opponent at the most opportune time.