Back to Basics (2nd at Hartlepool Tombstone Event)

published May 28, 2018 | | |
Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Building on the Basics (York Tombstone Winner 10/06/18) 4 2 1

DoomDog 931

With the new Tombstone event season kicking off, once again I was faced with the question of what I should play. A lot of the fun ideas and things I'd like to try right now will have to wait until Too Tough To Die releases, so what to do in the meantime? One thing I've often noted is that how many of the cards in the Doomtown base set still see regular play and are solid options at their value, in contrast to some of the other LCGs I've played where the base set cards have largely been superseded or outclassed by more recent releases. This set me wondering - how well could a deck built out of a single base set hold up today? So was my gimmick for the Tombstone series decided. I would start with a deck made from one base set, and for each event I attend I would 'unlock' two Saddlebags or a Pine Box expansion (or a Pinebox expansion, as TCaR is legal) to modify the deck with for the next event.

As fate would have it, I'd recently been playing around with single base set deck ideas as I have a friend who only owns the base set (until the Kickstarter stuff arrives), and he wants to get in some games with base set only decks to help him get familiar with the cardpool. I was looking to do something with Morgan, but unfortunately their base set Mad Science game is very limited. Looking at the starting posses I could put together, I decided I could go one of two ways. Horse chess or Low Values with the Legendary Holster. I've played with Horses many times before, so why not give the Holster a go?

I was able to start three dudes with two bullets, so to avoid regular failed pulls that limited me to A, 2 & 3 as my main values. Looking at the Morgan dudes, the only low value one available was Irving Patterson, and he was pretty much a required starter. However not all was lost, as with Clementine Lepp, Olivia Jenks and Ramiro Mendoza I had some decent drifter options to start things off. Looking to the other factions there were a bunch of worthy dudes I could add to the Morgan payroll, including Sloane's Allie Hensman - a one-woman win condition. Getting her set up in town square with protection from the Holster would be a good way to put pressure on an opponent. I also included a single copy of Steven Wiles, because he's such a great utility dude and still causes people to quickly change their plans once he hits the table. Here he has the added advantage that he isn't on value so is completely expendable and can happily be sent charging into a shootout on his own, something your opponent still has to respond to.

The goods and deeds largely picked themselves - you don't have that many options in the base set. I included the higher value out-of-town deeds to help with economy.

The actions available to me were all good choices that fit well with the style of deck I was building. Hired Guns to grab useful dudes from the discard pile, Establishin' Who's in Charge to pump up the CP of my relatively few in-town deeds, while also providing a way to move a booted or out-of-town Irving back home to safety if I could get away with it unopposed. Bottom Dealin' remains one of the nastier Cheatin' Resolutions as long as you're not running 3x16. Make the Smart Choice is incredibly versatile here, letting me boot a dude with my home, or boot Allie in town square for a control point then safely escape if called out, allowing hit 'n' run Holster or Shotgun attacks, getting important dudes out of a shootout after getting hit with tons of shootout actions, or even play it on an opponent's dude! Sun in Yer Eyes and The Stakes Just Rose are still two of the best shootout actions in the game. Finally, as the deck was light on Cheatin' Punishment, two copies of Coachwhip! rounded things out.

Due to some clashing schedules, only five of us made it to the event so we played round robin. In addition to my Morgan Cattle Co., there were two Dens of Thieves and two Law Dogs decks.

Game 1 vs Ste's Den of Thieves

This was over very quickly. I built a Pony Express, Ste equipped a goods, I then used Pony Express to discard a card and drew a Bottom Dealin'. This proved to be game winning as Ste's next play was to run Election Day Slaughter with his three dudes with influence, leaving both booted grifters behind. I opposed with Clint and Travis, Ste cheated and felt the wrath of the Bottom Dealin', wiping his influence from the table.

Game 2 vs Jay's Den of Thieves

This one wasn't over quite so quickly. I managed to get some deeds built and the out of town economy set up, but Jay's aggressive slucksters saw Travis and Irving leave play early on. Just as it looked like I was in trouble, I refilled my hand and drew Olivia, Phil and Tommy, and thanks to my economy I could get them all into play and get back in the game. The game was decided in a town square shootout, after the ticking Allie Hensman clock forced Jay to attack. Allie Made the Smart Choice to protect herself and her stack of CP, and Bottom Dealin' (the bane of Den of Thieves decks) was again the star, wiping out Jay's posse when he had no option but to cheat.

Game 3 vs Graham's Law Dogs

My opening hand here wasn't great, but it did contain the Legendary Holster so I kept it, as I hadn't got the Holster into play yet. We both started a little slowly, with Graham building up several deeds and trying to avoid the holster. A Bounty Hunter was sent after Clint Ramsey to draw him into using the holster for the turn, but I failed the pull so reinforcements arrived via Carter's Bounties. I used The Stakes Just Rose to bring in Travis and hand ranks were tied, with Travis and the Gunslinger getting discarded. From there I retreated and the Dogs moved into town square in force. Despite an impressive showing in a shootout which saw Thunder Boy and Tommy aced with a Holster/Shotgun combo and Gang Yi whacked with a Coachwhip, I wasn't able to gain the hand rank advantage and lost Clint and the Holster. I didn't have the dudes left for an aggressive push for Graham's deeds, which gave him a chance to rebuild and come after me again with a Bounty Hunter, which I couldn't fight off.

Game 4 vs Peter's Law Dogs

An early Legendary Holster and Peter's incredibly tight deck regularly pulling full houses/4oaKs in lowball meant I was able to use the Holster-wearing Travis to control town square while I built up some deeds, also getting a Shotgun and Allie into play and setting up in the town square. I sent Jon Longstride with a Shotgun after Tommy Harden, but he was hit with a Pistol Whip. Luckily I had Steven Wiles in hand and he entered play, was traded the Shotgun and went to dispatch the now booted Tommy, matching hand ranks and taking down Thunder Boy in the shootout was an added bonus. This put Peter in check, so he had to go after Allie and her holster-toting guardian with what he had left. It wasn' enough to avoid a cheatin hand though and for the third time Bottom Dealin' finished the game.

A 3-1 record saw me to second place - Graham had matched my record, and had the head-to-head victory over me, so took the top spot. Honestly that went far better than I was expecting, MVP was definitely Bottom Dealin' which proved to be a very effective Cheatin' Resolution and a good answer to Den of Thieves. I felt like I had a very capable deck in my hands and I think there's a good core there to expand upon. I think my priorities for next event will be to get some more deed options and maybe a cheap fifth dude to add to my starting posse.

May 29, 2018 Harlath

Excellent report and a fun deck building challenge that shows what can be achieved with a limited card pool. That said I suspect a significant degree of player skill influenced the outcomes in your case!

Bottom Dealin' remains a great answer to Den of Thieves, which can otherwise often just cheat through the pain.

Game three reads like a real bloodbath and sounds like a fine match.

May 29, 2018 DoomDog

I think more than anything else it was having a Bottom Dealin' in hand when the Den decks were running jobs that influenced the outcomes the most!

As in any game, player skill is definitely a factor. Things like knowing when to accept a callout/oppose a job, picking the best time to play a deed or seeing the sneaky ways to make use of Make the Smart Choice alongside Irving Patterson to make a GR and then escape shootouts are all the kind of thing that comes with experience.

May 29, 2018 Harlath

Thanks! I'll confess that no amount of experience seems to sate my enthusiasm for shootouts/cheatin...

Will assume that the deck name is a reference to Major's failed attempt to move his government away from various scandals in the 90s. :P

Jun 02, 2018 Yo-Yo-Echo

Wonderful to see that the base set by itself (!) can be so competitive! I think that every card - right up to the beginning - should always remain a potential candidate for inclusion in players' decklists. As a very new player (so far playing only with cards up to Election Day Slaughter) I'd like to take my time learning the ropes, gradually buy all the sets in chronological order to get a sense of how it all unfolds, read the fiction etc. Getting into Doomtown simply wouldn't be such an attractive prospect if I had to skip 'obsolete' chunks and whole slews of cards that just don't make the cut any longer.

Jun 03, 2018 Harlath

@Yo-Yo-Echo - thanks for the feedback! The tactical movement and unusual deck structure of Doomtown (along with good balancing work from design) helps keep things balanced. For example, a new card might be great and an "auto-include" in another game, but in Doomtown you might leave it out if it is on the wrong value. Hope you enjoy discovering the game. The "New Players" category on the official forum has various articles you might find useful too. :)

Jun 03, 2018 DoomDog

@Harlath - yeah, a fine example of that is that I'm looking at adding 'Bad Medicine' for the next event as that gets me Willa Mae and The Orphanage (fifth starter dude and a good on-value deed for the deck), and possibly also Luke, the Errand Boy and Arnold Stewart to flesh out the on-value dudes. Mugging is in that expansion but clashes for space with Bottom Dealin' and Make the Smart Choice, two cards that served the deck very well and that I wouldn't want to swap out! Hawley's Rose comes with a similar problem, as I found both Peacemaker and Bluetick to be useful.

Jun 15, 2018 Antaiseito

Very cool challenge there Doomdog! That Doomtown does not feel like new packs make old cards/ideas completely obsolete but tries to broaden the available options is something i also love very much about the game.