This will be the first of many articles highlighting the notable cards of Doomtown Reloaded and focusing on what they can do. Today’s cards will be the Hexes from the core box set. Learning and exploring every way to use each of the Hexes, like Raising Hell, can be a fine art. I’m here to help with that.
The first Hex sits at the lowest rank possible, Ace. This hurts the typical draw structure of a Hex-based deck by having a card that can’t succeed without a high-ranking Huckster. This Hex has to be one of the best available. With a successful pull, you’ll be sending the target home, if you hit that target by 6 or more, you’ll ace them instead. There are several ripe targets for this card. Allie Hensman is a great target with a total Grit of 3. Steele Archer and Ivor Hawley can hit a 3 even if they pull an Ace.
The real question is this card’s downside: If you fail, your huckster will be sent home booted, instead of the target. At first that seems like a major drawback. You could lose control of an important deed, but Soul Blast can also act as an “escape card.” There aren’t many ways in the game to voluntarily leave a shootout before casualties are taken – but Soul Blast can be used like this. If you use Soul Blast to target a dude with an impossible to beat Grit, Max Baine for example, then your dude will run home before taking casualties. This can also save you from an effect like Point Blank.
The upcoming Lillian Morgan will be able to use this Hex to run away if she is caught at a deed after using the Morgan Cattle Company to build it. You could even hit one of your own dudes to send them back home to safety.
Ace In The Hole
This is the only other current Hex that has a value that wouldn’t even pass its own requirement. Ivor Hawley or a Huckster targeted by the Morgan Research Institute could make it pass if you pulled a 3. Sadly, this card doesn’t have a positive if you fail and its value doesn’t fit into any current draw structure that would make sense for Fourth Ring. This card can be pretty powerful if you succeed, though. You can take a card from your play hand and put it in your draw hand. You have to ace a card from your draw hand as well.
That would probably be seen as a punishment, but there are two ways to make it work for you. First, you can ace a dude from your hand. If you control the Undertaker, you will make two Ghost Rocks.
Second, you can start using this Hex to ace cards that you don’t want in your shootout hands later. Do you want your deck to draw four of a kind more often? Ace any numbers that don’t fit. Combined with the Hex itself, you could be up to four and five of a kind in no time.
Shadow Walk is the Huckster’s version of a horse and it is the first Hex to have a value greater than its own target number. Shadow Walk has two purposes. You can use it during the Noon phase to move to another location.
Since this keeps your dude from booting, it will give him an extra move or a chance to boot for a spell such as the above, Ace in the Hole. Second, it allows you to charge into a Shootout. If you make the pull, your Huckster can come running in and take another Shootout play before your opponent even gets to respond.
A well-timed Shadow Walk plus Soul Blast can change the tide of a Shootout quickly. The only downside to this card is that it competes with Doyle’s Hoyle for the 10 of Hearts slot.
Blood Curse is probably the most useful Hex in the game right now. Just like Shadow Walk, it has a Noon and Shootout action available. It requires a 9 to succeed and can target a dude at an adjacent location for its Noon action.
This Hex can push the less confident away from town square or even change control of a deed by dropping your opponent’s influence below your own. Add Rumors to the mix and you could pull a surprise win by dropping all of your opponent’s influence in the same turn.
The Shootout action hits the opponent where it hurts. Hit their main shooter with a -2 bullets to keep things even.
The utility behind Raising Hell can be profound.
If you pass the pull, you get to ace a card from your hand. This card can be a dude. It can even be an abomination. If it is, it can be the same abomination that you raise from Boot Hill. Your opponent could think they have a great shot at winning until you ace a Bobo from hand and then bring him right into the Shootout.
Keep in mind that if you ace a dude for this card, you also get to make money off an Undertaker. You can also make 1 Ghost Rock from the Fourth Ring outfit if you pass the pull. This means you can make 3 Ghost Rock before even paying the costs to bring your abomination into play. There are only a few abominations in the game right now, but the Fourth Ring can bring back the likeness of Ivor Hawley and Tyxarglenak as long as they have the Ghost Rock for it. Just make sure you never have two copies of the same dude in your Boot Hill at the same time. Uniqueness rules prevent you from pulling one Bobo into play while the another is still sitting in Boot Hill.
A Quick Thought on Hexes
Most of the hexes can be put in a deck where the sole purpose is to get high pulls. Soul Blast and Ace in the Hole will go against that strategy by adding low numbers to your deck. It’s easy enough to build a deck that won’t ever fail a pull. Beware of Unprepared because it can shut down your Huckster completely and never forget the power of Tyxarglenak protecting your Hucksters.