Character Name: Greygory Deck.
Inspired by: Gregory Peck, western actor who starred in films like Big Country.
Life Points: 4.
Ability Type: Neutral.
Ability: "At the start of his turn, he may draw 2 characters at random. He has all the abilities of the drawn characters." However, the Notes card included in Wild West Show specifies (as well as the WWS FAQ) that "The only valid characters are those from the basic game" [i.e. Dodge City, The Bullet, and other Wild West Show characters are excluded]. The amount of abilities Greygory Deck has do not compound (2 more a turn), but rather the 2 he possesses can be swapped out for another 2 at the beginning of his turn. The Notes card states, "At the beginning of your next turn, you decide whether to keep the characters or to change them. If you choose to change them, you must change both of them." So Greygory Deck first opts whether or not to keep his current 2 abilities at the beginning of his turn. If he opts to swap them, he must swap them both out. However, he does have the opportunity to draw them both again, as the Wild West Show FAQ states:
Q1. When Gregory Deck opts to change the characters whose abilities he is using, does he set aside the character cards whose abilities he was using, or does he shuffle these cards back with the rest of the others so that he might potentially draw them again?
A. Gregory Deck must mix these character cards in with the others, and then randomly draw 2 (which could also be those he just discarded).
Activation: At the beginning of his turn, before his drawing phase, but after resolving Jail and Dynamite. It also activates at the beginning of the game (regardless of whether it is his turn or not), as the Notes card explains: "This ability also applies at the beginning of the game."
Special Considerations for the Combinations drawn from the Basic Game Characters: The Wild West Show FAQ specifies how to resolve certain ability combinations that might throw you off when it comes to Gregory Deck:
Q31. What happens if the abilities of original game characters drawn by Gregory Deck contradict one another or influence a similar aspect of the game, such as how to draw during a drawing phase?
A. If the two skills are in absolute conflict, Gregory Deck picks only 1 of them to use (he does not get to draw another character). If the conflict is not absolute, then combine the abilities. For example:
1) If the 2 characters drawn are Jesse Jones and Kit Carlson: You can take a card from the hand of a player (using Jesse Jones' ability) and then see the first 3 cards from the deck and choose the second card that you wish to draw.
2) If the 2 characters drawn are Jesse Jones and Pedro Ramirez: You have the choice of drawing your first card from the deck, a player's hand, or from the top of the discard pile.
3) If the 2 characters drawn are Kit Carlson and Black Jack: Look at the top 3 cards of the deck, select 2, and show the second one you selected. If it is red, draw a third card from the deck.
Cards enhanced by Greygory Deck's ability: Depends on the abilities he copies.
Cards less powerful when played against Greygory Deck: Depends on the abilities he copies.
Cards more powerful when played against Greygory Deck: Jail; besides this, it depends on the ability he copies.
Good roles for Greygory Deck: All.
Characters that counter Greygory Deck well: It depends on the abilities he copies.
Characters that Greygory Deck counters well: It depends on the abilities he copies, but on the whole he will always be better than his copycating partner, Vera Custer.
2-player value: Excellent; he does not have the copycatting constraints that Vera Custer has in being only able to copy from the living characters in play, nor does he have the 3 life point disadvantage. He can swap out his 2 character abilities for ones that are more valuable during 2 player (get rid of Vulture Sam's for instance).
General Strategy as Greygory Deck: Greygory Deck is the most OP of the Wild West Show bunch, gaining a distinctive advantage over other BANG! characters by always possessing 2 character abilities. While these are from the basic game alone, there are still very powerful abilities and combinations that he can be dealt. Furthermore, when he is in a scenario where his current set of abilities is not particularly useful, he swap out those abilities for 2 random ones. Pretty crazy! He also lacks a lot of the downsides of Vera Custer. He has 4 life points, making him far less defensively weak, and giving him a strong advantage when copying 3 life point character's abilities (Paul Regret, El Gringo). Second, he doesn't have to copy abilities from those living in play. Thus, he doesn't have to worry about the 2-player showdown. He doesn't have as good an ability to choose the ability he copies (Vera Custer can directly select one), but he does have a bigger pool to choose from than Vera Custer. He gets 2 abilities; she gets 1. When Greygory Deck is put in Jail, he retains his 2 character abilities. When Vera Custer is in Jail, she lacks an ability until her next turn. Vera Custer has no ability at the beginning of the game making her an easy target for early game aggression; Greygory Deck starts with 2 character abilities at the beginning of the game. Vera Custer's only real benefit is being able to copy non-basic game character abilities if non-basic game characters happen to be in play. Doesn't sound fair, does it? Well, it's not. It's wild.
Strategy for Gregory Deck is more sporadic due to not only the abilities he copies, but also by the fact that the abilities dealt are random. Of course, at the beginning of the game he will want to try to gamble and get defensive abilities (Paul Regret, El Gringo, Jourdonnais, Lucky Duke, Sid Ketchum, Bart Cassidy; Calamity Janet's is also useful) or neutral abilities granting greater card accrual or selection (Black Jack, Kit Carlson, Pedro Ramirez). Abilities of these types will give Greygory Deck some time to build a hand and get good offensive and defensive blue/green cards in play before bullets start flying. Whether or not to transition from the character abilities he currently has depends much on his role and the position of his allies. Typically, once the defensive base is in place, he should try to transition to more offensive and offensively capable abilities (Slab the Killer, Suzy Lafayette, Willy the Kid, Rose Doolan, Calamity Janet, Jesse Jones). The player elimination bonus of Vulture Sam would be particularly useful at this time as well. If he has expended a lot of cards or is hurting, making a gamble in hopes to transition back to defensive abilities isn't a bad idea either. Try to remember your gambling probabilities: 4/16 original game characters are clearly offensive, 6/16 clearly defensive, and 6/16 neutral. Of course, these probabilities change when there are characters from the base game already in play. He should pay very close attention to how that can affect his chances of getting a nice setup.
Playing against Greygory Deck: Since Greygory Deck's abilities are randomly dealt to him, he is a difficult character to anticipate. He may choose to swap out his abilities and end up with a far better or far worse combination when it comes to helping him complete his goals. Despite his sporadic nature, since he possesses 2 abilities at all times he will be a very powerful ally or enemy. Make sure that you do not weaken him too much at the beginning of the game (he could be your ally), but do give him some pressure to reveal his role. That way you can no if you should be spending any of your time on him. Once he is determined to be your rival, play close attention to the abilities he possesses at any given time, and form your strategy against him based on those abilities. This requires a lot of familiarity with the base game characters, so make sure to read those character cards, and the character guides I have written about them if you have the chance.
Jail can always be a useful card to play against Greygory Deck, in making it likely for him to be unable to swap out his abilities for a round. This hang up can work out somewhat nicely when Greygory Deck needs to transition to a new set of abilities to accomplish his goals (or stay alive), or if he has been randomly dealt a very non-complimentary setup.