Dan Knight's Guide to Combating Landslide

All credit belongs to our very own @Whizzwang!

Originally published at: http://gomorragazette.com/2015/12/04/slippery-when-wet-your-guide-to-beating-slide/
by Dan Knight

I recently met a fledgling meta group with a Landslide problem. They fear that the discovery of Landslide as a deck type by one of their players might kill the game for the group since a couple of people have stopped attending after playing against it a few times.

I can relate to this. When I first learned to play Doomtown: Reloaded, I had the misfortune of facing a Slide deck and immediately hated the experience. I asked a meta-mate of mine, the truly skilled Scott Wisely, what I could do about landslide. The advice that he gave me (and some of which is distilled below) took me to a Deputy win where I faced not one but THREE slide decks.

Since then, it has become a point of pride that I have NEVER lost a game against Slide in any competitive event. Admittedly, I do occasionally drop a game on a casual evening. That, however, is more a testament to the fact that “every card that makes a token” or “Check out my janky 10 card combo” isn’t really a good build to begin with.

When I mentioned my success to the new drifters, they were equal parts dubious and intrigued. I imparted some advice that seemed to help, and just the other day, one excited player messaged me about achieving a crushing victory against the same deck that almost made him hang up his spurs. He asked me to share my thoughts with the world in case they can help other groups.

Landslide. Love it or hate it, it’s a valid deck archetype for our beloved game. The very nature of how the game works and how you attain victory means that Deedslide, Landslide, Banditslide, or if you’re one particular UK player “It’s not Slide! Honestly it is isn’t!!” will always exist in some form or other.

What exactly is it?

Your typical “Slide” deck runs 20+ deeds and a lot of cheap cost, low/no upkeep dudes with influence.

Rather than get involved in a shootout like a real citizen of Gomorra, the Slide deck likes to hide and run away from fights while dropping out an insurmountable number of control points. Eventually a Slide deck wins by simply burying you under a mountain of blue chips.

Why is it a problem?

This is a tough one. At higher levels of play, Slide decks actually are not a problem. While a Slide deck can easily make the cut at most events, actually winning with one is difficult even for a skilled player. Slide decks take advantage of the unprepared. In the top cut of a major event, the other players are prepared for slide and will have tools to beat it. Add in the fact that there oftentimes there is no time limit at the cut stage, and the Slide deck can’t just run and hide for 45 minutes hoping to win at time. Using my Deputy win as an example, I had to wear down my finals opponent for a solid 2 hours. I never said beating Slide was easy, just that it could be done :slight_smile:

At local and casual levels of play, Slide can be (and is) a problem. Smaller play groups tend to be newer. They tend towards fun, janky decks and just want to laugh, drink some beer, make some men, and turn them sideways. A Slide deck can poison this light atmosphere as most casual decks are not prepared to handle a dedicated Slider.

How DO you handle it?

To answer that, we need to look at how a Slide deck actually works.

The Deed-Cash Snowball: The default victory path for a Slide deck is to vomit control points onto the board. The faster they can drop them the better, as they only need a single control point more than your influence to win. The easiest way to get Control is to drop Deeds. By extension, this vastly increases the turn by turn cash that the deck generates, meaning they can play more deeds, which make more cash, to play even more deeds… You get the picture. Couple this with the fact that a Slide structure generally wins lowball, and they have a lot of easy cash.

Cheap Influence: Slide decks want dudes with the best cost:influence ratio they can get. Irving Patterson, Randall, and Androcles Brocklehurst being prime examples. Low bullets, 2 influence, easily started in your initial posse. They need as much influence as they can get to stop you from winning by taking too many of their own deeds.

Shootout Avoidance: Slide decks don’t want to get involved in a firefight and will avoid them at all costs. Cards that send your dudes home, or save their dudes from a fight such as Make The Smart Choice, Pistol Whip, and Flight Of The Lepus are the main offenders.

Stopping Slide is all about disrupting the above core mechanics. Disrupt them enough, and you will win. I mentioned earlier that time is on the side of the Landslide player. In a 45 minute game, all they have to do is hold out long enough to win on tiebreakers. Most Slide games go to time. They do not win games quickly. Since time is your enemy you need the fastest disruption possible.

The Wisely Method

For the fastest disruption, I heartily endorse the “WISELY METHOD.” At the most basic of levels, this essentially boils down to “Start 5 dudes with influence”. Sounds easy, however it’s hard to do without either over dedicating your deck or sacrificing some draw structure. That said, you should ALWAYS have 5 dudes in your deck that you can start if you fear Slide. Ideally, they should be on value for your deck. If not, 3 of them should be your normal starters with the extra 2 switching in when needed.

My personal preferred start is 4 dudes with actual influence plus Jake. This normally gives me a Sundown Influence total of 7 at the start of the game, meaning the Slide deck needs to find 8 Control to win while I have 4 mobile influence dudes to walk around and steal deeds. A quick glance through some decks on DTDB shows a lot of people starting 5 Sundown Influence. While there may only be 2 difference between those starts and my 7 influence start, that’s 2 extra deeds the Slide player needs to drop (1 if they want to risk dropping a 2CP Deed that you can take yourself). That difference could be as much as three, four, or more extra turns.

The Wisely Method is the best way to disrupt the Deed-Cash advantage of the Slide deck. Every time they play a deed, you move one of your dudes to it and sit on it. Placing your highest influence at their highest production. Don’t be afraid to boot and move and completely skip town square if you need to. The idea here is that you want to limit the Slide deck to just winning Lowball and their Outfit’s production for income for a total of 3 or 4 cash only (depending on their upkeep) per turn.

Crippling their economy in this fashion means at best they can only ever hope to drop a single deed every turn. If you have forced them to needing 8 deeds to win, you have just bought yourself 8 solid turns of play for yourself. With 20 or more in-deck deeds, their hand will also slowly clog, which by extension helps to disrupt their avoidance game as they won’t have enough shootout actions.

Deedless Play:

Never. EVER. Drop your own control point deeds against a Slide deck without a darn good reason. You may think they won’t come across town to take them since they have plenty of their own, however every deed you drop gives them somewhere else to hide, extra Control Points to claim, and plays DIRECTLY into their avoidance game. However, you can and should drop 0 Control Point efficient production deeds such as Blake Ranch, Jackson’s Strike, or Maza Gang Hideout. The Slide player cannot let you have uncontested income yourself as they cannot let you play out all your influence. By forcing them to sit on your production, you can drag their influence to where you want it and on your terms. If it’s stopping your production, it’s not keeping their Control safe. If they want to keep their Control, you get more cash. Worrying less about your own income and being content with just 2 cash per turn from your outfit leads to the next strategy…

Save THEN Spend:

For a typical Reloaded game, you generally want to play as much as you can as fast as you can. Weapons to help in shootouts, deeds to help you win, and more dudes to control the town. The complete opposite is true when opposing Slide. As long as you start with enough influence, you should not be in any particular rush to play cards. Play the slow game versus the Slide deck and pace yourself. If you are not in danger of losing then hold that dude in your hand until you are in check or until you need the influence to take a key location. ESPECIALLY if the dude has upkeep. Stacking up 10 ghost rock so that you have plenty left for upkeep after playing a dude fares much better than consigning all of your upkeep dudes to the same fate as Steven Wiles.

Spot Removal Is King:

Slide decks CAN’T SHOOT. They just can’t. Their structure doesn’t allow for it.This means that Kidnappin’, Ambush, Election Day Slaughter, Judge Harry. In other words, any card that summarily executes an opposing dude that also results in an automatic removal of influence. They either oppose and lose the shootout and take casualties, or they concede the job and a guy disappears. Start with their highest influence and work downwards, and you’ll soon find yourself saying “check” as you take over all their deeds unopposed. If you’re playing a shooter deck you should be running at least 4 copies of one of these spot removals anyway. In a meta where you see slide decks, I’d try and squeeze in a couple of extras.

Some people will try and tell you that this won’t work against the 108 Slide deck “Because Hamshanks.” Those people are wrong. If they want to hide behind Hamshanks, this involves stacking all their dudes in one location. If they stack, you take their deeds. If they spread to stop you Hamshanks doesn’t work. Crucial to this we have…

Time Your Plays:

Just because you have a Kidnappin’ in hand turn 1 does not mean you should play it. I have been known to hold a spot removal card for 10 turns until the exact right opportunity presents itself. You can still drop the occasional Control Point deed yourself. But do so only when they can’t take it and it gives you either solid production next turn, a power ability you can use immediately, or even that one point you need to put them in check. You need to play against Slide on their terms. If you try to force the issue and get impatient, then you have already lost. It’s impossible for a Slide player to prevent you from taking their deeds. They rely on you overextending and then dropping out more deeds to win. Don’t overextend, pace yourself, and remember that timing is everything.

Avoidance Plays And You - Overcoming Their Cowardice:

I mentioned above that Slide decks like to avoid shootouts, they do this by using cards such as Make The Smart Choice and Pistol Whip. Playing around these can be difficult and takes practice to get right.

Make The Smart Choice - An action card that sends their guy home and gets them out of the shootout. This is only really useful to them if they have a booted guy who finds himself stranded and called out. Anyone else can just refuse and run home. You tend to see this card more in MCC Slide as it’s a great save for them after they have used the Outfit ability to lower the cost of a deed. If they have one and they flee, it’s not a big deal, that’s one less dude that’s defending a deed. It’s also straight up USELESS against spot removal jobs. If they flee a Kidnappin’ with it, the shootout ends and is deemed successful anyway so they still lose the targeted dude.

Pistol Whip - This one can be a nuisance. It’s a card that lets the Slide deck go moderately on the offensive. They call out your solitary dude and then send him home. This is by far and away one of the hardest game decisions to make. Do you accept the shootout with 2 guys and have him not play it so it can be used later, or do you send in your solo dude and force their hand? You’ll generally find that their Grifter is the dude throwing this around as they have 0 influence and it’s not a major loss if it goes wrong for them. Personally, I prefer to just let them send my dude home. They need to boot to use it and I can always send that second guy on afterwards to kill them anyway - or force them to Make the Smart Choice on my terms. Pistol Whip is also quite effective at foiling your removal tactics. Playing Bounty Hunter to kill a guy is less impressive when the token gets sent home because he has no back up.I alway send two dudes on any removal play.

Other Common Problems:

Clementine Lepp - Clem is a fantastic starting dude for Slide. As soon as they get a saloon (and they are probably running one of each plus an additional Union Casino) she gets more influence and is nearly impossible to shift. Clementine should be target number one for spot removal. Committing 3 Influence to her saloon to take it from her is too much of an investment for you in the long term as you’ll most often need to use 2 dudes to do it. Influence bumping effects can help here, but they’re only really a speed bump for the Slide deck, Clem needs to be got rid of as soon as possible. By the way, if you’re a Sloane player, Ulysses Marks is a great answer to Clementine.

Hamshanks - While I have mentioned that he isn’t the ultimate answer to kill jobs, he is a nuisance in the early game. A 108 Slide deck that starts Hamshanks is safe from a lot of your removal plays if they keep their dudes together. This becomes harder to do as the game goes on and you can force the spread of dudes by tempting them to encroach upon your own deeds. As I mentioned above, dropping your own deeds is a high risk play. It is worth thinking about if Hamshanks causes you problems. He becomes particularly nasty if he sets up shop in Clementine Lepp’s saloon. He has influence himself, so hitting him with your first removal after offing Clementine isn’t a bad play. It’s just not as effective as hitting a 2 Influence Dude.

Union Casino - The huge cash potential for Slide can leave them with a LOT of excess Ghost Rock. The Union Casino gives them a secondary way to gain Control Points and put the extra cash to work. It’s not unusual to see a Slide deck running an additional copy of this deed. Bottom line, you cannot afford to pay for the ability so don’t even try. Good Slide players won’t pay enough to clearly win. They’ll use the effect to choke your economy. If they only pay 4 ghost rock, don’t be fooled into spending anything to stop them. Your cash is tight enough already.The only time I would ever pay for this would be to stop myself being in check if there was absolutely no other way to stop it. Since it’s already a 3 production deed, you should squat on it and take control as soon as it hits the table. The only real issue you have is if Clementine sets up shop here. Since she’s public enemy number one anyway, they should only be able to get one or two uses of the effect and will lose those control points when she dies.

Rumors - This isn’t really a problem card, just more of an inconvenience. Your primary reason for aggressively taking control of opposing deeds is income denial. Rumours doesn’t stop you doing that. It can be annoying, however, if used to swing control of a deed with an ability that they want back (see Union Casino above). Late game it can also potentially give them the winning control point. As long as you are careful not to over extend your dudes around town, you should be OK.

Flight Of The Lepus - Easily the most annoying Lowball cheating resolution card the Slide deck can play against you. Unfortunately, if you cheat in lowball there is nothing you can do about it. Sending 3 of your guys home unbooted doesn’t sound too painful as they can move back into town during Noon. If those dudes departed from their high production deeds, then alas all your hard work camping on their production falls apart. A Lowball Lepus is a 6-9 Ghost Rock gain for the Slide player as they can clear out 3 deeds. There are a couple of options available to you to counter this. The 108 Worldly Desires let’s you modify your Lowball hand, as does The Extra Bet. These options are so niche they are probably not really worth considering and just loosening your draw structure slightly should enable you to avoid repeated Lepus shenanigans. That, however, is a whole other article on deck construction.

A note on Rico Rodegain:

Aside from bearing a passing resemblance to UK legend Jimi May, Rico is one of the best weapons to counter Slide. I have tried to avoid mentioning specific answer cards and “must haves,” but Rico is just so good he is worth considering in every deck as a single copy. He’s a grifter with an influence which is good enough by itself. Even better, he lets you specifically alter you starting posse AFTER you see your opponent’s hand AND starting posse. Scouting for Slide is getting more and more difficult. Against Morgan, anyone that starts the original outfit probably runs slide. 108 Slide is darn near impossible to guess straight up as there are so many options for their original Outfit. Rico is a fantastic answer to this since you don’t have to guess. If you suspect Slide you start Rico and double check before committing.

Sample Slide Killer:

Here’s an updated version of the deck I was using in the Deputy season. It uses cards up to Dirty Deeds and still holds its own against most decks. It wasn’t specifically built to beat slide, as it is a DMH shooter that uses kill jobs to force fights. It nevertheless does use everything I mentioned above to varying degrees.

  • It starts with 7 influence in Sundown. • Uses Rico to fix setup if it turns out your opponent is not slide. • Runs 7 spot removal cards (3 Kidnappin’, 3 Bounty Hunter, Judge Harry exp)
  • Has variable starting dudes (can start Wendy, Judge, Wylie) where needed
  • Has lots of 0 control point with income deeds
Outfit: Lawdogs - starts with 5inf + Jake, 4 Gr, 1 upkeep, 2 income

â™  Dudes (15)

1x A Allie Hensman 1x A Andrew Burton 1x A Jake Smiley (S) 1x A Lucinda "Lucy" Clover (S) 1x 2 Philip Swinford (S) 1x 3 Tommy Harden (S) 1x 7 Androcles Brocklehurst 1x 7 Rafi Hamid 1x 8 Judge Harry Somerset (Exp.1) 2x 8 Steven Wiles 1x 8 Wylie Jenks 1x 9 Xiong "Wendy" Cheng 1x Q Rico Rodegain (S) 1x K Abram Grothe (Exp.2)

♣ Actions (15)

4x A Civil War 3x 6 Faster on the Draw 3x 7 Kidnappin' 1x 7 Pinned Down 3x 8 Bounty Hunter 1x 8 This'll Hurt in the Mornin'

♦ Deeds (13) 1x A Pony Express 1x A The Mayor's Office 1x 7 Blake Ranch 1x 7 Cattle Market 1x 7 Maza Gang Hideout 1x 8 Circle M Ranch 1x 8 Cooke's Nightcap 1x 8 Lula's Exploit 1x 8 Pat's Perch 1x J California Tax Office 1x J Huntsmen's Society 1x J Jackson's Strike 1x J Undertaker

♥ Goods (9) 4x A Pair of Six-Shooters 3x 7 Pinto 2x 8 The Evidence

Jokers (2)


Needs an update since some of the cards have received changes and Slide can be a little more shooty these days. I’ll see what I can do.

For the record. STILL undefeated against slide in competitive play /flex


Remember folks:

@Whizzwang is champion tier


What is the definition of “Slide”?

In Poland (for example), I think it was 16+ deeds (or about one third of your deck)…

There’s no real solid definitive build for it. A game plan based around dropping as many deeds as possible as fast as possible is about it. The cheating res that fetches a deed means a deck can still slide and run less deeds