Today, we move to the second part of the the Gunslinger’s path - Passive Landslide. While this may not seem very gunslinger-esque, understanding this deck type is crucial to getting the most out of DTR. In particular, it emphasizes the main aspect of the game that can be tough for newer players to grasp, mainly how exactly do you use dudes and deeds to win the game. The nice thing about passive landslide is that it takes this to the extreme so it becomes very apparent to the players. Going forward, I’m going to be referring to passive landslide, as we’ll cover different types in the future. The key takeaway though that newer players should focus on, is how to manage dudes and deeds to win the game. With that said, let’s begin!
What is a “Passive Landslide Deck”?
To begin with, there is no exact definition of landslide. That said, most landslide decks generally share some of the following traits:
First, they look to advance their win condition (overtaking their opponent’s influence with control points) by playing deeds. That’s not to say other aspects don't bleed into it, but this is the primary win condition.
Second, they tend to focus on avoiding shooting, or only shooting in very strategic circumstances. A passive landslide deck will do everything possible to avoid shooting, or at the bare minimum, going to resolution. This isn’t to say that landslide decks don’t get into shootouts, but more so that landslide decks rarely are looking to win by comparing hand ranks.
Third, landslide decks tend to really focus on winning lowball, which means they will generally run pretty loose.
Fourth, they are looking to maximize the impact of influence and minimize the impact of bullets. This will be covered further down the line.
How does a “Passive Landslide Deck” win?
Landslide decks, as alluded to previously, focus on using deeds to overwhelm their opponents. In particular, they focus on dropping enough deeds to overwhelm their opponents by making it so they can’t take control of all the deeds being dropped. A passive landslide deck takes this to the extreme and looks to maximize its output of deeds to drown its opponent without having to do anything else. To be clear, there are some variations, which may be covered in the future, but focusing on passive landslide makes for a better learning experience. As a note, the most common type of deed for a landslide deck to play are 2/1/1 deeds which means 2 costs deeds that provide 1 production and 1 control point (for example). In addition to this, most landslide decks will play some out of town deeds to provide them with more difficult to contest income.
This is usually coupled with two things that comes with dropping deeds, which will be expanded upon later. First, dropping lots of deeds results in a strong income generation machine for the landslide player. The key here is that a landslide player seeks to use this increased income to further play more cards. Second, the landslide player needs to front load their influence. What this means is that a landslide player is usually looking to maximize the amount of starting influence in order to “tank” the control points they are allowing the opposing player to take. Remember that deeds can be taken over by an opposing player if they have more influence at the deed than the owner (the person whose deck the deed came from) and if the opposing player controls your deed, they get to the count the control points on the deed for themselves!
What are the strengths of a “Passive Landslide Deck”?
Landslide decks come with some particular strengths that can be difficult for newer players to see at first glance, so let’s go through them in depth.
First, landslide decks (and in particular, passive landslide) are looking to “break” the costing of dudes. How you ask? By making you overpay for bullets. This is the most important part of landslide to grasp, so let’s go through this carefully. First, let’s look at someone who is a very “efficient” dude (in terms of what they provide to a player), Barton Everest.
Barton Everest provides a ton of value to a Sloane player. A 2-stud with 1 influence for only 4 ghost rock and 1 upkeep is very strong. This is a dude who can take over deeds by himself, and with only minimal support, and can provide you a great stud bonus when making shootout hands. Now, here is the rub, how important is the 2 stud aspect of Barton if your opponent is never going to get into a shootout with you where you compare hand ranks?
In essence, a passive landslide player is basically trying to obviate the 2 stud bullets of Barton and reduce him to just a 1 influence dude (after all, his bullets aren’t going to help you if you never use them!). Now, is paying 4 ghost rock and 1 upkeep worth it for a 1 influence dude? Most people would argue probably not. Especially when you consider you could get 1 influence at 1 less ghost rock and 0 upkeep that with someone like Lawrence Blackwood. Keep this in mind that if you are piloting a passive landslide deck, and your opponent overloads on dudes with big bullets (and big costs) they are hamstringing their ability to fight you where it really matters, control of deeds.
Second, I’ll refer to what @Whizzwang refers to as Deed-Cash snowball in this article (which is another excellent resource regarding slide and I would consider a must read in addition to this article!). In effect, by playing lots of deeds, a landslide player can generate a lot of ghost rock to then play more deeds, and it quickly snowballs from there. This is a positive feedback loop that can be extremely overwhelming as it can be really difficult to combat an opponent who seems to have endless supplies of ghost rock.
Third, a landslide deck gets the advantage of forcing your opponent into having to make a hard read. I’ll cover this briefly, but I'd recommend reading the companion article as it covers some more stuff in-depth. In short, there is a very limited window when a player opposing a landslide deck has to make the decision about whether an opponent is playing landslide. If the player is too passive, the landslide player will simply jump on the opportunity and drown them in deeds. If the player is too aggressive and tries to camp deeds against a deck that can shoot, it can leave them in a terrible position as well. As a note, this is generally less of a problem in large tournaments as players will quickly figure out who is playing landslide after the first round, but then you have the dubious honor of having to beat landslide knowing it’s coming, which also is not always easy (just easier then not knowing it’s coming!)
Fourth, a landside deck is generally geared around winning lowball by having a very loose structure. As the converse to the 16x3 deck that basically forfeits lowball, a landslide deck thrives on winning lowball. This means they will look to be getting 4 ghost rock per turn from their outfit (if you also roll in the ante from lowball) and can get the first shootout action during shootouts. Resolution isn’t really as big a deal in landslide as they don’t want to risk having to shoot.
What are the weaknesses of a “Passive Landslide Deck”?
First, landslide decks are abysmal at shooting because of the combination of maximizing the impact of influence, and not having a stable draw structure to help win lowball. As such, actions like jobs (Kidnappin', for example) can be particularly effective against landslide because they can do severe damage to the landslide player.
Second, since landslide has to put a lot of deeds on the board, it ups the amount of control points on the board. As such, a dude like Allie Hensman (Basic) can be absolutely debilitating to landslide as she racks up control points in town square unopposed to overwhelm the landslide player while you’re taking over their deeds as well. Remember, land slide is looking to give up the shooting part of the game which means they have to forfeit control of certain parts of the board (not in all instances, but to a certain degree in the early game.)
Third, similar to 16x3, landslide basically has a very linear game plan and can’t really be changed easily. This means that if people are bringing counters to fight your landslide deck, you’re not going to have many options in terms of making a strategic shift.
What should I learn playing a passive landslide deck and/or playing against a passive landslide deck?
Glad you asked! The key here to get a better feel for the movement aspects of the game and the importance of managing influence and control points. Many players sometimes worry about what happens if my opponent takes my deeds early?! Well, the answer is actually not much unless they get enough control points on the board to overwhelm your influence. While it can be tough if your production is being blocked, remember you’re still in the game and have options. In addition, this is why it’s usually a good idea to include some out of town deeds in the game which are tougher to contest OR some 0 control point deeds, which don’t carry the inherent risks of putting control points on the board (on the flip side though, 0 control point deeds won’t provide you a way of closing out the game because they don’t give you control points!)
In addition, it will really emphasize the challenges of movement and positioning because the board is naturally growing as you play more deeds. Remember, choosing the right deeds at the right time to play is critical. Many times, you’ll have to wait to play more deeds since you’ll want to put more influence into play. This is fine, as your goal is to eventually overwhelm your opponent (remember you’re playing the long game!) Ultimately, this will hopefully emphasize the chess aspect of DTR (similar to how 16x3 decks emphasize the shooting aspect!)
I do want to bring up some of the key cards for landslide outside of dropping 2/1/1 deeds. Pistol Whip sees plenty of play in landslide as it an effective way to tell people to get off your lawn. However, one of the bigger staples is Rumors. This card is a powerhouse in landslide, especially if the landslide player plays multiple copies in a single round to finish you off! Fool Me Once... can be a very brutal card if it goes off as it can give the slide the player an abundance of cards to play. Dude wise, usually you’ll find dudes who maximize your influence while keeping upkeep down. There are some standouts like Androcles Brocklehurst who is effectively 4 ghost rock for 2 influence with 0 upkeep once you factor in his ability (he is even stronger when combined with Johnny Brocklehurst as he can be a ghost rock generator!) Doctor Brian Foxworth (a call back to the first GenCon winner Brian Fox!) is capable of providing decent influence and passing through town center, which can make it difficult because this means you’ll have to chase him to a deed in order to shoot him. Mustang is also a common card which allows a slide player to use a Pistol Whip and then get a dude back home safely after being booted.
Fighting against landslide takes various forms. For starters, I recommend the guide that Dan Knight made which can be found at this link as it endorses a very common (and effective) way of dealing with landslide. I’m going to take a more macro view and lessons you should hopefully take from the match-up.
There are some key cards to consider when fighting slide. First, as mentioned before, jobs can really ruin a slide player’s day as they will have a limited ability to contest them. Kidnappin’ still remains a crucial card as it allows you spot remove troublesome cards (like Clementine Lepp or Androcles Brocklehurst.) I personally like Election Day Slaughter as it tends to permanently remove dudes and targets town square, which means you don’t have to worry about a slide player actually opposing it with a convenient Pistol Whip since they’ll have to (usually) boot into town square to oppose it. Other jobs like those from the Judge (Basic or XP1) can also cause havoc. In fact, you’ll find that removal jobs in general can solve A LOT of problems in DTR
Another method of dealing with landslide is to use cards that maximize their impact against slide outside of just being cheap influence. For example, while Allie Hensman (Basic) is amazing in 16x3, I think she’s equally powerful against landslide because she is free control points for you that a landslide player will have a difficult time contesting due to their inability to shoot effectively AND their usual lack of bullets. Another solid dude to consider is POST-A-TRON. While he is a stud with no influence, he can generate 3 ghost rock per turn for you (2 if you consider his upkeep) while he is out, which can give you a strong economy which you don’t have to worry about too much. Another dude who can be brutal is Hiram Capatch. While his trait may be unassuming at first, do not be fooled, he is an absolute monster against landslide. He can turn your 0 influence dudes into production blockers, which can be devastating to a landslide player. Your opponent will still get the control points, but without the production from deeds, they will be extremely limited in their ability to pump out tons of deeds quickly.
In fact, there are dudes who can even double up on both! For example, Antoine Peterson, can be an absolutely brutal turn of events for a slide deck. Let’s say you run an Election Day Slaughter (“EDS”), acing one dude of the slide player. You can then play Antoine to unboot the dude who just ran the job, get EDS back and run it again which can be very difficult for a land slide deck to manage!
A more in-depth conversation about deeds is required in regards to your own deeds. First as mentioned in other sources, you REALLY need to think about whether it’s worth it to play deed with control points on the board. The reason being that if your guys are all spread out on your opponent’s deed’s, they won’t be available to defend any deeds you put down. In addition, if you get in the situation where you have no unbooted dudes in town square, a landslide player can simply walk over to your deeds and apply some tough pressure on you. As such, be mindful of whether you can actually defend the control points you are putting on the board. Usually a much safer tactic as mentioned before is to play 0 control point deeds that can offer you production without helping the landslide player.
There are also some attachments (Hearts) you can consider. Attires can be very efficient ways to turn you 0 influence dudes into dudes with influence to take over deeds. Fancy New Hat is still a relative steal as it can turn any dude into a 1 influence dude to contest deeds. Even better, it comes with built in protection from a card that landslide loves to use, Rumors. Knight’s Chasuable can negate the impact of Pistol Whip’s since your dude would just end up at home unbooted and could walk back to where they needed to be, plus they get 1 influence. Spell-wise, Blood Curse can be absolutely brutal against slide decks as you knock out the slide player’s influence. Phantasm can pull out a booted dude into town square to then attempt to ace through a shootout. If you’re feeling extremely brash, you can try to Puppet a dude in the slide player’s home, and then use that dude and move him to take over a deed for, hitting your opponent in a nifty 2 for 1 package! Sentinel can give you a control point generation machine that sits in town square for you when combined with Father Tolarios and some bounty tech. Many Speak As One can give you tokens to take over deeds and block your opponent as well!
What are some example of Passive Landslide decks?
As before, I’ll provide a couple examples of passive landslide decks and see if you can spot some of the things we’ve talked about. As a warning, A LOT of people do not like playing against landslide, as it can be a taxing experience. However, it’s an important thing to learn how to fight against and consider in your deck building. As such, you’ll find some write-ups that won’t speak too highly about landslide. That said, think about the match-up and the key things you can do so you can beat landslide consistently! As a note, many landslide players will pack at least one copy of The Evidence in case they run into a Sloane player who is looking to stack bounty on Fred Aims and make a nearly insurmountable influence stick!
First up, we have a landslide deck from @Doomdog that tries to maximize the impact of Lula Morrgain XP1
Notice how the deck is running 29 deeds?! That’s right, that’s A LOT of deeds!. However, look more carefully at the dude selection. You’ll notice it’s not really based around shooting so much as maximizing the impact of influence. This gets back to what I was talking about earlier where a slide player is trying to hurt you by forcing your to overpay for bullets. Also, I would check the write-up as well!
Second, we have a newer landslide deck piloted by @jayjester that was used to take the most recent OCTGN league!
This deck relies on less deeds than the previous deck, but comes with some differences. First, the pilot is trying to spam deeds really quickly and isn’t looking to play as long a game as traditional slide decks. Two key gadgets are Disgenuine Currency Press (which allows Jay to make money via other methods than deeds) and Mechanical Horse (which allows Jay to attack deeds without having to go through town square.) It’s also really important. Once again, look at how the dudes in the deck are more about maximizing the impact of influence (and gaining control points through dudes) rather than shooting. One of the reasons I picked this deck, is it comes with a replay (you can find it in the deck write up on the DB) so you can see the deck in action if you want!
Conclusion and Next Steps!
Alright I hope this was informative regarding passive landslide. Landslide is a deck type that can be tough to overcome, but learning how to pilot it and play against it will make you a much better DTR player. Remember to think about the advantages and disadvantages the deck has and plan accordingly. One thing of note is that there are many variants of “landslide” (some even shoot pretty well!) so be mindful of this going forward. As a rule, it’s usually useful to have a slide deck in your testing gauntlet to see if your deck can has the necessary tools to fight against it. Sometimes the line between what is a slide deck and what is not can get pretty blurry!
Next time, we’ll talk about a deck that manages to leverage specific cards in effective ways, and gives another style of play that highlights how we can begin sitting between the two extremes we’ve already talked about, Legendary Holster Hit and Run!
If players in the community have their own takes on slide that they would like to share, please post them below so new players can check them out. Also if you have any advice, do not hesitate to share!
Cheers and I hope that helps!