First, thanks to everyone who participated in the Greenhorn event and a special thanks to the veterans who so graciously volunteered to help us lowly Ranch Hands learn the ropes. Thanks too, to Pinebox and the greater community for being so amazing. Special thanks to @neramoor for taking time to help me along and @blargg for creating the amazing Rules Cheat Sheet, I referenced it many, many times.
This is the deck that ended up undefeated in the Greenhorn Tournament. Well that's not an accurate statement. I ran Entrepreneurs through the entire tournament, with the deck changing every round. My initial plan was to settle on a single faction and learn as much as I could along the way. I had obviously seen a few Entrepreneur decks on DTDB but I really tried to build my decks without directly referencing them. Learning to build a deck is a really long but very satisfying process, there were a few really key pieces of info that helped along the way that I thought I would share in one location for other new players:
Have a gameplan built around win conditions first and foremost. Conveniently, @LPF posted a video near the beginning of the Greenhorn event and it was absolutely critical in understanding this core concept.
Learn the archetypes: The Gunslinger’s Path series of posts on the Pinebox Forums were really helpful in understanding the different factions. More recently @Lapp consolidated the Strategic Primers for Greenhorns
Implement the 5-4-3-2-1 Rule: Five dudes, four influence (spread over at least three dudes), three ghost rock, two income, one stud. I was first introduced to this idea in the great video by Tom Ramirez.
Plus a few more: In addition to the 5-4-3-2-1 rule, @Ironcache added a few additional bullets to this list in a Discord conversation that I really liked:
Start a chump dude that you won’t mind losing in a shootout. (e.g. Henry Moran, Willa Mae, Xiaodan, etc.)
More nuggets of gold from Ironcache: A Doomtown deck has 46-47 (non-Joker) cards (2 Jokers also almost always the right call)...Of those ~47 cards, 40 on structure and 7 off is reasonable. The more on structure, the better you inherently punch, but the worse you lowball and potentially lose out on strong flexing options. That 40 could look like 16/16/8, 14/14/12, 16/13/11, or whatever. The closer you get to 16 for a value, the more you can rely on it in Shootouts. The 7 should be the best cards you can reasonably pick up (IE: preferable to not fail skill pulls) off your values that support your game plan.
@Tybarsunsong added... If you have cards that you always want to play, it's okay if those are off-value...because you'll want them out of your deck anyhow. It's one reason that you can start with a looser structure but can end up tightening as a game goes on.
Build decks and post them to the Discord for review. I posted a number of decks to have them dismantled (very kindly I might add) by veterans. I learned a lot.
Final note: In a review of one of my decks Tybarsunsong said this: “One thing I think about is how often I see a card show up in my hand and I stare at it, wishing it was a different card.” This really informed my deck building in a profound way. As I built, I never wanted a card in my hand that would be tough to play unless it was core to my gameplan. If a card can only be utilized in very specific circumstances it will “clog” your hand and be the default discard most of the time. For example, I was running K in one of my early deck builds and included Lillian Morgan (EXP 1). If I was lucky when she entered my play hand I would have 2-3 horses in play and maybe 1-2 ranches. In general I couldn’t afford the cost to play her and pay for her upkeep until near the end of the game. Moral of the story, include cards that you could play more often than not. I didn’t run many high cost deeds for this reason, and tried to include quite a few low cost dudes in my deck. I tried to keep my gadget count to a reasonable level because my posse would get saturated.
With deckbuilding aside, let’s talk about the tournament. I faced five different opponents across six different matches. Three Fearmongers decks, one Lawdog and one Outlaw. My decks morphed over time,
The key card in both of the two final matches was Run Em’ Down.
I found that the Entrepreneurs faction (gadget/horses) would yield many solid dudes as opposed to one or two mega-dudes, which I saw in many other decks. This lowered the risk of insta-losing the game as I could hose one dude and still have a viable posse. My general gameplan was to crank up influence via Yagn’s and Decimator Array and generate control via the S&R home ability and Epidemic Laboratory if I were to draw it.
In the final, Day 2 or 3 on my side of town, there were no deeds. Maggie ran her job and Irving (with two conditions attached) joined, booting both at home. Jen invented a Decimator Array (also had a Mech. Horse) and was booted at home. JW Byrne had a Yagn’s from day 1 and went to my out of town deed to cover. Diego invented a Hydro Puncher (in addition to the Yagn’s he had from a previous day) and so too was booted at home. Four dudes booted at home and one at an out of town deed.
On Teekay’s side of town there were no deeds, Henry had booted at home due to a cheatin’ Lowball hand and Ambrose had booted at home as well to cycle a card. Jake and Jia Mein were unbooted at home. Theo Whateley-Boyer booted to move to the out-of-town deed to press JW Byrne.
Two booted dudes and two unbooted dudes at home. One booted dude at an out-of-town deed.
I moved JW Byrne home booted. So all of my dudes were now booted at home and I had no GR left.
Jia w/ four curses and an attached goods moved into Town Square. Luckily I had a Run Em’ Down in hand and was able to move all three of my horse riders into TS booting Jia and calling her out. Jake joined from his side of town. I was able to draw into a legal 5 of-a-kind vs a legal Full House and the game ended shortly thereafter.
In the semis, Dren was running Outlaws and looking for a control point from Allie Hensman with all of my dude’s booted at home. Run Em’ Down ended the match in a similar fashion.
One last strategy comment that came up during a learning session with @neramoor. Regularly check the opponents discard with special attention to Cheatin Resolution cards. I am sure veterans do this as second nature and take note of all cards but for the Greenhorn it can be overwhelming trying to incorporate all cards in the mental database. So just try to keep track of CR, it will inform how aggressive you can be in shootouts.