How to Siphon Noise

Welcome to Corp hell.

In this article I’m going to give a primer on the scummiest, meanest, and cheesiest runner deck I have ever played. Interestingly though, it is actually very difficult to pilot well. Once you understand how to wield this black-market weapon, you will find that you win almost as many games by concession as you do by points.

Here is the list:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/272iQmSCGTyqd9iWC

Siphon Noise (45 cards)

Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire

Event (12)

3 Account Siphon ···· ···· ····

3 Deja Vu

3 I’ve Had Worse

3 Sure Gamble

Hardware (2)

2 Vigil

Resource (8)

3 Data Leak Reversal

2 Joshua B.

3 Same Old Thing

Icebreaker (7)

2 Corroder

2 Crypsis

3 Knight

Program (16)

3 Datasucker

3 Gorman Drip v1 · · ·

2 Imp

3 Lamprey

2 Medium

3 Parasite

For many of you it will be clear that this deck is quite clearly a modernization of Steven Wooley and Sam Suied’s Anatomy of Anarchy deck, updated with Lamprey, Vigil, and I’ve Had Worse.

General Game-Plan: Don’t let the Corp play Netrunner. Do whatever you have to do to land an Account Siphon. Once you nail them with one, each successive Siphon will be easier, leading to a brutal snowball effect.  Float all the tags. The deck only has 3 kinds of cards in it, Economy cards, Cards that land Siphons, and cards that lock the game down once the Corp is broke. Don’t show your intentions until absolutely necessary. Act like a regular Noise deck with a bad draw until you are ready to unleash your assault of terror (not a hard story to sell, since you will mulligan almost any hand that has no Siphon, which is about 80% of hands.)

Card Explanations:

Public Enemy #1

3 Account Siphon: This is your primary economy card, your primary denial tool, and the hallmark of the deck. Never shake tags, even against decks that you know have tag punishment. The best card against you is Closed Accounts, and the decline of Criminal has sent that card straight into everyone’s binders. Any time you can go for a 4-5 + credit siphon, slam it down. Make sure the Corp cannot rez assets to deny your money. Trash naked remotes before you go for it. If they protect their unrezzed econ assets, wait for the corp to rez them and go trash them after you Siphon and they can’t rez the ice (they usually won’t hold them unrezzed if they protect them.) If the Corp is REALLY wily and holds assets unrezzed for an extended period (perhaps a SanSan), you may have to wait until they are rich to hit the first Siphon, giving you the money to trash everything and go back in for another.

Cards that Land Siphons

2 Corroder – If HQ is guarded by a cheap binary barrier, this is your way in. Against a Criminal player, the Corp will often no-rez their HQ ice to play around Siphon. As Noise, there are a lot of factors that encourage the Corp to rez (Datasucker, Lamprey, and a more subtle point I will discuss later). You often don’t want to waste parasites on Ice walls and similar trash, and Wraparound is a popular card, so Corroder is a smart include. There are quite a few games and match-ups where you will just chuck these, but that’s usually because you’re smashing the Corp so hard that you don’t need them.

3 Knight – This is your cheap early-game guaranteed Siphon. If the Corp opens Ice-Ice-Hedge fund. You can credit, Knight, Host Knight on HQ, Siphon, for the most devastating runner opening in the game. Whether they rez or not, they get wrecked. You either get a 15 credit swing, or a smaller swing that 0’s them out (unless they have a Tollbooth or something else huge there, but this is not common, especially against Noise, and at least they are still broke in that case). This is also your (janky) answer to Architect and your (less janky) answer to Lotus Field. Paying 4 for Architect sucks, but if you are getting 10 back, it’s OK, and there is no deck-space for Mimic in here. Architect is usually on R&D anyway, and by the time you have to break there it you may have 30 credits. Efficient breakers are a crutch anyway :P.

2 Crypsis – This card helps against players who keep protecting HQ with unrezzed ice even after you are rich. It also lets you convert your riches into the win in the end-game. It’s also a virus, for what that’s worth. I’ve tried Eater here, and you are welcome to, but without Crypsis I’ve had some games slip through my fingers where I’m rich but I get locked out in the end-game. You also often ditch this guy early game and he’s smoother to get back with Déjà vu when you need him, since you can get something else back too.

3 Datasucker – This card encourages rezzes and enables blowout Parasite plays. In the late game you want 2 of these out to make Crypsis + Medium reasonably efficient for closing the game. This is probably the next best card to see in your opener after Account Siphon.

3 Parasite – This is your solution to cheap non-barriers on HQ, as well as R&D ice that the Corp manages to rez before you break them. If you have easy sucker counters, then hold your parasites for the surprise Siphon play, otherwise just slap them on HQ and let them eat away. Many players’ response to Noise Parasiting HQ is to play faster, establishing a remote right in the window where you plan to break them. This plays right into your hands.

Cards that abuse a Corp with no Money

3 Déjà vu – These usually either get back a Siphon or 2 Parasites, depending on the situation. Against open HQ turn 1, Siphon-Déjà vu-Siphon wins you the game. Disgustingly enough, open HQ turn one is not that uncommon of an opening against Noise. The ultimate feeling of runner justice is this sequence:

NEH player – Install SanSan, Sweeps, Ice R&D.

Noise – Trash Sansan, going to 0. Siphon-Déjà vu-Siphon, going to 16 credits.

NEH player (0 credits) – “Well this Astro is less good now…”

3 Same old thing – These are Account Siphon 7-9. Sometimes it is OK to play this when tagged as a credit drain, but if the Corp has somehow dug themselves out of the ditch, it can be better to wait until you can use it in the same turn. Some players will not even trash this when given the chance, which is a mistake, but we’ll take it.

2 Medium – This is your main late-game win condition, but you often will not need it. It is critical against Butchershop. They are very easy to get to 0 credits, and half of their ice does nothing to you (nice Data Raven). However, Traffic Accident is terrifying and once you get on top of this deck Medium helps you wrap up the game before they can fire the kill-shot. This is also your answer to a rezzed Architect or Lotus Field on R&D, since this deck cannot afford to pay money for single accesses of R&D.

3 Lamprey – When the Corp cannot rez on HQ, or has no ice there. This card keeps them on 0 and then takes their turn to purge it away. This is the best follow-up after you Siphon to 0 and the Corp clicks up to 3. It’s really nice that regular Noise also plays this card now, as it used to be a bit of a tell. This card also helps you force stingy players to rez on HQ in the early game, helping you get in for your first Siphon. Keep in mind that this card triggers before siphon, so if they have 5 or fewer credits you will get 2 fewer than you should, which is bummer. On the other hand, it helps 0 them out if they have more than that, so it’s OK.

3 Data Leak Reversal – The Corp will trash this. Just drop it down click 4 after you Siphon them and they will have to Credit Credit Trash. Noise with a running DLR is unacceptable and will close the game in archives very fast especially with Joshua B. If you are on game point and losing control of the game, you can also use this to get 2 mills that are hard to prevent, letting you steal games that you should lose.

2 Joshua B. – Similarly to DLR, the Corp will trash this card. Some players will feel the pressure and let this guy stand though, which is amazing for us. Dropping this and 2 DLRs in the same turn with the Corp on 0 credits is hilarious.

2 Vigil – Wooley’s original deck had Grimoire, and the Reina version had Deep Red. Vigil is perfect for this reincarnation of the deck. When the Corp is broke, it is impossible for them to keep their hand-size down, giving you 5-click turns for the rest of the game. This card also helps immensely against Butchershop, keeping your hand-size up and digging for your I’ve Had Worse.

Imagine you are a Corp with 0 credits staring down this board, and fight the urge to concede:

Siphon_Noise

Economy

Most of your economy comes from Account Siphon, but these cards are here to get you the funds you need to land your first one.

3 Sure Gamble – Gives you the early game burst you need to kill unrezzed assets before you siphon. Also makes Knight less painful to use the first time.

3 Gorman Drip – Sometimes the Corp can duck your Siphon, leaving you both broke. This card gives you the edge as you both click your way out of the poor-house. Also, you can often cash these in for 8+ as the Corp is forced to Credit-Credit-Trash your tag-me resources.

2 Imp – Kills Crisium grid and pesky econ assets like Pad Campaign. I would like to run 3 of this, but I can’t find space, and sometimes it’s a dead card. 2 credits is not insignificant for this deck to pay. Imp also trashes meat damage operations, which can save your life.

3 I’ve Had Worse – Essential against meat damage decks and Personal Evolution. It cycles away in match-ups where you don’t need the protection. Here is one of my favorite sequences I’ve had with this card:

Jinteki RP turn 1 – Celebrity Gift showing Cortex lock as only ice. Ice HQ. (12 credits)

Me (Noise) – Datasucker – Run HQ. The Corp gives me a funny look and asks if I’m sure. I say yes and take 3 damage, discarding 2 IHW, drawing to 7 cards (including a Siphon). Click 3 Account Siphon, discarding another IHW (drawing another Siphon). Click 4 Account Siphon, leaving me with 24 credits and 2 cards and him with 0 credits. He never had more than 5 credits for the rest of the game. Sorry!

Obviously not realistic, but still a good story 😛

Conclusions:

This deck takes a lot of practice to play well. The deck gets much weaker once your opponent knows what’s going on, so you need to make sure it is too late for them to do anything about it once they are wise. That said, even if they know what you are doing, they still need to draw the right cards at the right time to stop you, and that’s even assuming they know the lines of play that beat you in the first place (which only very seasoned players will). I’ve won some hilarious games with this deck playing people for the 2nd time who triple Iced HQ and then lost because I’m Noise and they scored out too slowly.

The biggest question I get with this deck is why Noise instead of Reina (or even Whizzard or Quetzal). The obvious answer is to make for a better surprise, since the lines of play that beat standard Tier 1 Noise builds are terrible to take against this deck (open or lightly defended HQ and/or an early scoring remote). However, even if you ignore this advantage completely there is another great reason to pick Noise. Here is the underlying theory that motivates this choice:

Siphon Anarch wants to provoke rezzes on HQ to enable Parasite, inform the Siphon play, and prevent the Corp from ducking the Siphon by paying for Ice. The old counter to this style (especially against the Reina builds) was to hold your HQ ice unrezzed for as long as possible and use Jackson to dump your agendas so you can give up HQ accesses while you set up your defenses and economy. Noise puts alternative pressure on Jackson with his R&D trashes, forcing the Corp to hold their agendas in hand and therefore rez on HQ, playing into your plan. Additionally, Noise helps the Corp agenda flood once they are broke for the same reason, letting you cash in your Lamprey runs for points. Finally, this deck can sometimes run out of gas if you are really unlucky on accesses and cant find more siphon recursion or denial cards to keep the lock on. When that happens, it usually means the game is waiting for you in archives :).

I played this deck to great success in the last Mead Hall League, losing only a handful of times over a 10 week league. I told everyone that each week I was going to mix up which Noise I was bringing, and then just brought this one nearly every week. I felt like it was OK to write up the deck here, since I think it has terrorized enough people and I should probably stop bringing it.

I don’t think this is a Tier 1 caliber deck, but it’s hard to say since it is pretty unexplored. Give it a try and see what you think! Piloting it may require a big mindset change, so be ready to struggle your first few games while you get the hang of it. Your opponent will be struggling once you do…

…or you can just throw this down any time someone complains that Noise is non-interactive.

I didn’t realize it until now, but I think one of the money-sounds in the background is the same sound OCTGN makes when the Corp clicks for credits. Extra appropriate 🙂

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How To Professor

We all did a double-take when we first read The Professor. We looked through our binders and saw that there just weren’t enough programs to splash to make him worth it. We all thought that EVENTUALLY the day would come when enough are out to make his ability worth it…

Now is the time.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a Tier 1 deck, but it is a good deck. You should have no trouble winning in your local scene with it if you are a strong player. Additionally, it has quite the learning curve, so give it some time if it’s not working for you. I’m 7-2 with it in my local league (Mead Hall, Minneapolis), and both losses were to NEH decks sneaking out the game winning agenda in a naked remote in a 6-6 game (my personal weakness; those losses were not the deck’s fault, but mine as an imperfect pilot.) (EDIT:I have mis-remembered. One loss was in this manner, the other was to a Midseason after greedily choosing not to Imp an accessed agenda when I knew Midseasons was in his deck. Obviously a misplay)  This deck has done quite well for me on OCTGN as well, but that often doesn’t mean much.

The Deck

Here is my current list for The Professor:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/5bAfH6hCTvncawTgr

Professor: the 32-influence Special (45 cards)

The Professor: Keeper of Knowledge

Event (6)

2 Scavenge

1 Stimhack ·

3 Sure Gamble

Hardware (8)

2 Astrolabe

3 Clone Chip

2 CyberSolutions Mem Chip

1 Plascrete Carapace

1 R&D Interface

Resource (9)

1 Aesop’s Pawnshop

2 Kati Jones

3 Personal Workshop

3 Professional Contacts

Icebreaker (7)

1 Cerberus “Lady” H1

1 Corroder – –

1 Cyber-Cypher

1 Faerie – – –

1 Femme Fatale –

1 Gordian Blade

1 Mimic –

Program (15)

1 Cache –

1 Clot – –

1 D4v1d – – – –

1 Datasucker –

1 Djinn – –

1 Imp – – –

1 Medium – – –

1 Parasite – –

1 Pheromones – –

1 Scheherazade –

3 Self-modifying Code

1 Sneakdoor Beta – – –

General Game-plan: Spend the early game building money and setting up long-term economy. Try to stay at a level where you can threaten single-rung remotes with SMC, but it can often be wrong to pull the trigger on actually going for the steal (except for an Astro, obviously). Use good early-game runner techniques to keep the Corp somewhat poor and slow them down. Face-check, but don’t bother spending money for accesses. Get your Parasite working on expensive ice that the Corp has overextended economically to get up. Trash econ assets, but again don’t break yourself to do it (Example: make them rez ice to protect that Eve Campaign, but then just leave it). Draw a ton. Hopefully you have Professional Contacts to smooth that out, but still draw a lot if you don’t. Late-game lock the remote, and dig with Medium. In summary, this deck plays somewhat like an Anarch deck but with a bit less disruption and with quite a bit better tutoring and recursion.

Card Explanations:

Economy

3 Personal Workshop – This is probably the most important card in the deck, although you don’t NEED it like a stim-shop deck might. You will spend a lot of time drawing with this deck and it’s really great to set all of your definitely-need-this-later-but-not-right-now cards on it. Since you will have things on it all game, it also gives you 1 credit per turn, which is not to be overlooked.

2 Kati Jones – This is our long-term economy. You generally only want to start paying real amounts of money (more than 2-3) for breaking ice once you have her going. Pretty self-explanatory; use her every turn once she’s out. If you are really bad with your money you can play 3 of her, but 2 has been enough for me.

3 Professional Contacts – This card has great synergy with Workshop. This resource trio sets the rhythm for your game once you have them out. Draw 2 with Pro-Con, put 1 on Workshop, load Kati are your building turns. That’s 2 cards and 6 credits per turn, which is on par with, or better than, a turn on Opus.

1 Aesop’s Pawnshop – This card is not an engine in this deck, but more of a value card. You can plop this down mid-game and sell 3-4 things with it which is a great deal for 1 credit. It also can help get stuff in the yard to reload with Clone Chip, which has been relevant for me quite a few times before. You can also drop this fairly early if you draw a couple disposable programs (maybe a burned out Imp and a Pheromones that’s been purged) and it can really smooth things out. Finally, in the super late game this card can make you serious money while you start selling pretty much everything to make those last couple clutch runs. All in all, if you see it then it’s usually a bit better than a Gamble eventually, but there’s no reason to run more than 1.

3 Sure Gamble – Standard economy card that is especially great in Pro-con decks.

1 Stimhack – If The Professor had 3 influence, I would play 3 Stimhack. This card is amazing with Personal Workshop, SMC, and Clone Chip. I honestly think that in every matchup you gain at least 10ish percentage points just by drawing this 1-of. It’s a massive blowout every time I draw it and I wish I could have more. Oh well!

Tutors and Recursion:

3 Self-Modifying Code – “Search your binder for a program and install it, paying it’s install cost”. Obviously this card makes our deck work. You have your binder in your hand at paid-ability-speed. Amazing.

3 Clone Chip – The best target for this are SMC, Parasite, and temporary breakers. Try to use these for things you want to use over and over, and not just to get stuff out of the yard that you had to discard early while digging. We have Personal Workshop to take some stress off Clone Chips so we can abuse Parasite and SMC more with them. Don’t forget that if you have nothing to put on a Workshop you can save a buck by putting your Clone Chip on it. It’s like you’re Kate! (Not really…)

2 Scavenge – I had 3 of these for a while because of how strong and cheap (free) this card is, but it’s just a bit too awkward and hand-cloggy early game. It is quite good with all of our temporary breakers. I have Scavenged a Sneakdoor for a D4v1D before, which is hilarious when you look at the influence values of those cards. This is the card every Noise player like me is jealous of but can never find the influence or slots for.

Memory

2 Astrolabe – This helps us dig and is nice and cheap. Pretty self-explanatory. Playing a big console in The Professor is a mistake, since you want to spend your money on sweet programs.

2 CyberSolutions Mem Chip – Oh how I hate this card, but you really need it to have your almost-full rig, an SMC, and a Parasite out. Just slap it on the Workshop and pull it off once you need it. It is really nice in Clot match-ups though. You can leave your Clot on the Workshop with 1 counter and use this is a place-holder so you aren’t forced to install the Clot early. If you draw one of these early without your Workshop, feel free to chuck it, but NEVER chuck both unless you know for sure it’s going to be a fast game. You will regret it.

Breakers

1 Lady + 1 Corroder – Go get whichever one of these is strongest for the match-up or situation. For Wraparound, Ice Wall, Wall of Static, Spiderweb etc. on R&D you want Corroder and for Elis and chunky stuff you will not have to break repeatedly you want Lady. It can be wrong to use too much recursion on a Lady. If you’ve Scavenged it for the 2nd time you maybe should have been using Corroder and spending that recursion on Parasite to save money. Choosing which of these to get is one of the tougher choices in playing this deck.

1 Cyber Cypher + 1 Gordian Blade – Honestly this Gordian could be a Zu.13, but I wanted to use my alt-art Gordian and they really are not that different (this is actually the reason!). Feel free to use Zu.13 instead. When I had Zu.13 there were times I wanted Gordian and Vice-versa, so it just depends on your meta. Cypher is nice against Lotus field and for early remotes. It’s also good with Scavenge. 70+% of games I just use Cypher, but when you need the more permanent option, it’s really nice to have. If you don’t have an alt-art Gordian, then run Zu.13, but I’m a sucker for pretty cards :D.

1 Mimic – Kills Architect, and sometimes bigger stuff if you’re lucky and draw your Datasucker. Other low strength sentries should eat a Parasite if possible.

1 Femme Fatale – Deals with massive barriers, Tollbooths and other things you can’t afford to pay through more than once. It also breaks Ichi 1.0 if you REALLY have to, and D4v1D can take care of the big scary stuff. Hopefully you never have to install this, but it needs to be in the deck just in case and it has won me many games.

1 Faerie – Having this card in a non-Criminal deck is NUTS. If you draw this early, being able to deal with an Architect face-check without having to blow 7 credits on an SMC for Mimic is HUGE. This also lets us not run Sharpshooter, since Faerie is pretty much strictly better. Faerie + Clone Chip is sweet. Putting this on Scheherazade makes me smile.

1 D4v1d – Deals with the big stuff that you don’t have to break repeatedly: Grims, Oversighted Curtain Walls etc. That 4 influence…feels good! If you are getting really big digs on R&D for cheap because of it, feel free to blow a lot of recursion on this.

The Fun Part: Other Programs

1 Cache – This is an interesting one. I stuck this in because I needed more Scavenge-bait, but it’s really nice to have around. You can Clone-Chip it out at the end of a run for NAPD money in a pinch, it can make a nice buck if you draw the 1 Pawnshop, and Workshop and/or Scheherazade make it more reasonable on its own. Feel free to cut this, as it’s a bit of a filler card, but I’ve liked it so far. Sometimes you are spamming Parasite, you want to Scavenge it back, but you have nothing you want to trash for it. This card is great for that. (FLEX SLOT)

1 Clot – This card really helped make The Professor more viable. You are still not great against NEH, but this card certainly helps. Stick it on Personal Workshop and let it sit there with 1 counter. You have pretty much the maximum number of enablers for it so why not! I suppose if your Meta doesn’t like Astroscript Pilot Program you could cut this. (FLEX SLOT)

1 Datasucker – This is just a money/efficiency card, but it also combos with Parasite and Mimic in the usual way. Datasucker makes your early-game pokes WAY stronger and is a boon to see early, but I wouldn’t ever SMC for it like some dedicated sucker-based shaper decks would.

1 Djinn – I wanted just a little more memory and this card also searches for the 2 best programs in your deck (Parasite and Medium). I have been looking to cut this card though, as I find myself discarding it a lot and not really missing it. Feel free to experiment with this slot, but you can’t really go wrong with more Parasite-tutoring. (FLEX SLOT)

1 Imp – Excellent economy and disruption card. Unless you can trash something super sick like a Biotic Labor, I would try to save this for pricy installed cards you need to blow up. Eve Campaign, SanSan City Grid, Daily Business Show, and Pad Campaign are good targets. If you have the Pawnshop or a Scavenge you can burn through this more liberally to sell or trade in its shell. You can also use Imp to amplify the strength of your Medium digs.

1 Medium – This is your primary win condition. Prioritize your parasites on R&D and end the game with a big-dig or R&D lock. I used to have an Incubator in here to help with really slow games, but it didn’t come up enough. If your Meta has tons of Glacier (especially Blue Sun, against which it is hard to abuse parasite), you can add the Incubator back in one of the flex slots.

1 Parasite – This is the best card in the game and the best program in our deck. Search for this card. Don’t be afraid to blow all your Clone Chips on it. Kill the R&D ice (or anything that cost them a lot). To give you an idea of how serious about Parasite I am, I once gave a Corp 20 credits from Targeted Marketing on Parasite to kill 2 NEXT Silvers on R&D. I won that game.

1 Pheromones – This is a new addition to the deck that I put in for the Incubator. It’s nice to charge up with Sneakdoor, and generally makes hitting HQ more reasonable. The REAL use of this card though, is to get 4-5 counters on it and then every turn bounce off or jack out of HQ, spending your recurring credits on Personal Workshop (Hilarious). Eventually the Corp will get sick of this and purge, and you can just pawn or scavenge it. I put this card in as a bit of a joke, but I’ve been quite impressed with it so far. Still, it’s not crucial. (FLEX SLOT)

1 Sneakdoor Beta – I have won games by getting all my points with Sneakdoor. This card is a blowout when unexpected. If you SMC for this you can get 4 runs instead of the 3 that the Criminals get with it, often for free. Many corps will respond to your big bank account and massive rig by devoting 4+ rows of ice to R&D, leaving Archives ready to plunder. Don’t break yourself to try to grab points with this early unless you KNOW they are flooded from how they are playing. Save it for the big moment.

1 Scheherazade – If you have read my Regionals report on Stimhack, you know about my love-affair with this card. This card makes you so rich! Put your SMC on it for a buck. Put the Lady you search for on it for a buck. Scavenge the Lady for a buck. Putting Sneakdoor Beta on this is just silly in all the right ways. You have SMC and Faerie to protect this from both Destroyers and Power Shutdown. SO GOOD!

Misc. Cards

1 Plascrete Carapace – Standard silver bullet. Especially good with workshop since you don’t have to actually pay for it until you know you need it. (FLEX SLOT)

1 R&D Interface – Feel free to put in more of these for some of the flex cards if you want. This is a Medium alternative when our memory is tight and is also a bit more effective if we can’t get in repeatedly and the Corp stays on top of their purges. I can see anywhere from 0 to 2 of these being pretty good (FLEX SLOT)

Notable Excludes

Magnum Opus – Memory is tight and Kati fits our plan better. Including this card is a blunder that A LOT of Professors make.

Nerve Agent – This deck is really light on HQ pressure, but Nerve is not the answer. It’s good with Sneakdoor but otherwise too expensive to use. I like the Pheromones better.

Lamprey – I do LOVE me some surprise Lamprey to force those rezzes, but this just isn’t quite enough of a dedicated Parasite deck to make this card worth it.

Random trash programs – So many people put silly cards in their Professor deck (Copycat, Hemorrhage, Disruptor), just because they can, and they really want them to work. The Professor is a good-stuff deck, not a jank-party.

Atman – I’ve tried this card at 4 counters to help supplement Mimic, but I never really needed it and it’s expensive to get out. I wouldn’t fault you for trying it, but it kind of overlaps awkwardly with the rest of the suite.

Faust – I haven’t tried this card yet and I’m meaning to. You end up with a lot of duplicates in your hand that you don’t need and Faust can convert them into Pseudo Inside Jobs. My guess is that the situations where this guy really bails you out are pretty rare, but feel free to give him a shot! He is quite good with Pro-Con I think, but he does clash a bit with Workshop, so I’m torn.

Final Thoughts

Give this deck a shot! When you first play it, have the deck-list with you so you know what your options are. If you know you are not good at managing early-midgame economy then cut some of the fancier programs and Flex Slots for some Daily Casts to help you get by. I haven’t needed them, but I am more comfortable in low-econ games than most, and the card is certainly acceptable (if quite a bit overrated). It took me quite a long time to get good with this deck so be patient!

In Summary: Here is the song for this deck and my favorite rig to date:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHLqmczOeXg (Get it? It’s a pun…)

2015-07-19_2118

The CT Litmus Test

What makes a good Corp deck?

In this installment of Corp Deck-building I’m going to spew a lot of dogma about what makes some Corp decks work and not others. Strangely, I’m going to start with a runner deck-list:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/fcY2MkcEkiJkZipFG

CT Litmus Test (40 cards)

Chaos Theory: Wunderkind

Event (18)

3 Diesel

3 Legwork ·· ·· ··

1 Modded

2 Quality Time

3 Scavenge

1 Stimhack ·

3 Test Run

2 Vamp ·· ··

Hardware (8)

2 Astrolabe

3 Clone Chip

3 R&D Interface

Icebreaker (7)

2 Cerberus “Lady” H1

1 Femme Fatale ·

1 Mimic ·

1 Sharpshooter

1 Torch

1 ZU.13 Key Master

Program (7)

1 Clot ··

3 Magnum Opus

3 Self-modifying Code

CT Litmus Test Game-Plan: Get an Opus turn 1 no matter what. Mash the opus until you are rich (with a mulligan you can do this ~95% of the time). Build a super-efficient rig with multiple RDIs. Vamp them down with your huge bank if needed (mainly to deal with Caprice). Close the game with Legwork followed by R&D lock, assisted by Clot if necessary.

This runner deck is nothing spectacular. It functions and has a clear game-plan, but against a good Corp deck with a good pilot it should find itself just a little behind the curve all game. However, a Corp deck that is anything less than very good will get smothered. I called this deck CT Litmus Test because if your Corp deck loses to this it is bad!

In general:

When building a Corp deck, imagine an opponent who plays a turn 1 Opus + SMC and then clicks the Opus until they have 40 credits. If you don’t have a robust plan to win that game, your deck is bad.

Of course this is not meant to be taken literally. Opus is not super popular right now, but every good runner deck has a way to go “BRB getting rich”. Whether that’s Prepaid Voice-Pad, Aesop’s Pawnshop, Kati Jones, or tons of resources is irrelevant.

Let’s apply this rule to the 2 decks from the previous articles. If you can’t tell from the deck lists how each deck is supposed to play, go check those articles out. I’ve re-linked the lists here:

Argus: http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/fbmZShjmAiu8qydqx

GRNDL: http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/NG6AsoRDLBzZhLuFr

It turns out the GRNDL deck is the stronger deck, and it’s not close. Against our Opus-ing adversary, GRNDL is in its comfort zone, rushing agendas while the runner fails to set up their rig in a timely manner. Argus’s plan for this type of game is to mash its own economy asset until it can set up its dream server.  This results in a game state like this:

Argus_vs_CT_1 Versus Argus_vs_CT_2

Congratulations! That remote is on lock, nice job! Argus will get to 3 points here and then a Legwork followed by relentless R&D lock will close the game for CT. It turns out this Argus deck relies on its opponent doing one of 3 things.

  1. Taxing themselves out on centrals too early rather than building economy.
  2. Running through the Raven remote to trash econ assets.
  3. Messing up and floating a tag.

Remember from the first article in this series that if a Corp deck relies on your opponent doing something specific, or playing in a specific way, it is not good.

The GRNDL deck, on the other hand, although it has weaknesses, will win unless its opponent plays in a specific way. If the runner does not march towards one of their win-conditions (either 7 fast points on centrals, or locking your remote with a full, robust rig) without delay, GRNDL will leave them complaining about Hostile Takeover as if it was Astroscript Pilot Program.

Popular Archetypes and the CT Litmus Test

Let’s see how several popular archetypes deal with the endlessly Opus-ing Runner.

Replicating Perfection: Caprice Nisei invalidates the runner’s credit pool, while a Nisei Mk 2 counter (or another Caprice on HQ) takes away the Vamp answer to Caprice. This matchup is even better for RP decks that play Ichi 1.0 or Enchanced Login Protocol.

NEH Astrobiotics: Clot is not enough here. The Opus economy gets off the ground too slowly and the Astro-train leaves it in the dust. It is worth stating that the non-asset based NEH with 3 Shipment from SanSan is probably even stronger against this deck than the versions with Marked Accounts and Pad Campaigns, but both should smash it.

HB Fast Advance: I admittedly have not tested this match-up very much. I know that Ichi 1.0 is very annoying for the CT deck, as is an early SanSan behind ice. A rushy HB deck applies enough pressure that the CT deck should not be able to mash its Opus as much as it would like. However, if the HB FA deck has a draw on the slower side without an early-ish SanSan, I can see the CT deck stomping it. In general the HB deck should still be favored.

HB Glacier (with Caprice): Caprice in the remote and Cricium grid on HQ locks down the remote, meaning that CT’s best way to win is through multiple RDI’s. Since this deck plays terrible 5/3s, CT should be able to steal some wins here. This means that I think HB Glacier is significantly weaker than the above decks, but still a reasonable deck.

Blue Sun Glacier: This deck is hard to judge, since so few people can pilot it at even a passable level, but I am still skeptical of its ability to consistently beat the CT deck. RDI is strong against this deck, and it needs a big economy advantage since it does not have Caprice. Tons of Lady recursion to shut down Oversight AI-Curtain Walls means that advantage will have to come from Adonis Campaign, which is not bursty enough to keep up with CT, and also must be protected. I think this deck is not just difficult to pilot, but is actually bad. Sorry!

Blue Sun Murder: Punitive or Scorch versions of Blue sun have the same problems as the Glacier deck, but they also have several wasted deck slots, as their kill cards are worthless against Opus-mashing CT. Notice these decks also break our rule of not relying on the runner to do a thing. These decks are bad, and I think a rush deck such as my GRNDL deck is the best Weyland meat damage deck right now.

NEH Butchershop: Get your pitchforks ready. I don’t think this deck is good. My local meta makes fun of me when I say this but it’s really how I feel. This deck’s plan against CT Litmus test is not robust. You are not going to Midseason CT, and even if you do, you need to have your kill cards immediately as she will remove 2 tags every turn. She will trash all your PADs with Opus money and then climb out of reach. The best thing you can do is rush an Astro out, but without the dedication of an Astrobiotics deck, this is both harder to accomplish and less punishing once you do. This deck can never establish anything resembling a stable remote and by the time Butcher is on their 2nd Astro counter, CT will leverage Clot, Legwork, and RDI to close out the game. I think this deck is very popular and wins as much as it does because of it’s ability to routinely stomp players who do not understand what it is trying to do and what their win condition is.  I will say that the proactive plan of killing the runner with Breaking News is very strong and is this deck’s one redeeming quality, and it can get unbeatable dream-draws (tons of money, Midseasons, Breaking News and 2 kill cards very early) because of it. I don’t think that saves this archetype though. (Before raging at me, read the “About this Place” section of this blog 😀 )

Conclusions

Obviously there is more to Netrunner than beating a passive builder opponent, but the need for Corp decks to have a robust, proactive plan cannot be overstated. As long as your Corp deck has that, you can adjust its specific build to deal with the “unless” scenarios that you are losing to.

Up next

THE PROFESSOR IS TIER 1!

Now that I’ve got your attention…the Professor is not actually tier 1, but he is pretty good! Certainly better than people think.

Deck-list and explanation next time!

GRNDL: The Game Plan

GRNDL: The Game Plan

Last time, I gave you a walk-through of Argus Terror, a meat damage deck that forces agendas through using tags and click compression. If you have not read that post yet, go back and check it out.

In this post I will walk you through a deck that is not for the faint of heart. Just remember that when you play it, your opponent is even more terrified than you.

Here is the list again:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/b3CHWnkWxZfBgF8WZ

GRNDL (49 cards)

GRNDL: Power Unleashed

Agenda (11)

1 Corporate War

1 High-Risk Investment

3 Hostile Takeover

3 Oaktown Renovation

3 Project Atlas

Asset (3)

3 Snare! •• •• ••

Operation (19)

1 Anonymous Tip •

3 Beanstalk Royalties

2 Fast Track

3 Hedge Fund

3 Power Shutdown

3 Restructure

3 Scorched Earth

1 SEA Source ••

Barrier (6)

1 Changeling

3 Ice Wall

2 Wall of Static

Code Gate (5)

3 Enigma

1 Lotus Field •

1 Quandary

Sentry (4)

3 Archer

1 Grim

ICE (1)

1 Chimera

The Game Plan: This is a rush deck. It plays all of the best early game ice and the most difficult to deal with destroyers. It will not be uncommon to spend the entire game with either HQ, R&D, or both wide open. If the runner wants to spend clicks for random accesses early in the game, it will only delay the building of their rig, which is their real win condition. We want to get a 2 iced remote down ASAP and start scoring, upping it to 3 iced when appropriate. 2 Fast Track and 1 Tip means that we are not very scared of R&D lock. If we have a secure remote we can use Fast Track to start a Project Atlas chain. In this deck Project Atlas counters very often search for Hostile Takeovers to finish the game. We have no Jackson Howards. Our answer to agenda flood is to just stuff everything in our remote. If our opponent gets a really good start gear-wise, they probably do not have much money, and we can hopefully catch them with a Sea-Source Scorched Earth kill. The 3 Snare! are great for potential kills but also serve as more rig destruction. A tricky player will hold Faeries or Self-Modifying Codes in hand so you cannot kill them with Power Shutdown, and a well-timed Snare! can dash those plans, as well as slow the runner down as they draw up and clear the tag. We will be so rich, and our ice is so cheap, that paying for our Snares will be trivial.

Ice Placement: Your first 3 ice should be 2 on your remote and 1 on the important central for the matchup. If you only draw 2 ice you will probably want to put both on the remote and roll the dice. If you ever find yourself on the back foot defending, you have probably lost. Enigma is a little bit better on the remote than the barriers since the runner will have less time to figure out a way in after they hit it. Try to save Archer and Grim for the remote if you can. Here is an ideal mid-game setup:

GRNDL_setup

Even with no agendas in hand, and R&D compromised, this is often checkmate. Next turn you can score Project Atlas with 1 counter. The turn after you can use your counter to search for another Atlas and Install-Advance it with another click to put more ice over the remote (maybe a Grim or Lotus field to make for an even tougher gear-check) or to make some more money. That Atlas locks up the game if scored, since you can use its counter to search for a Hostile Takeover for the win.

Agenda Spread:

3 Project Atlas: This card does triple duty in this deck. First, it lets us search for agendas when the runner is hitting R&D every turn. Second, it lets us put the kill combo together, sometimes totally taking away the runner’s ability to run. Finally, as a 3/2 it is great for rushing. If we are on 5 points we can draw twice on our turn and still slap it down ready to score for the game (it even looks like a Snare when we do this!)

3 Hostile Takeover: A 2/1 that makes us money is nuts for a rush deck. We don’t care much about the bad pub since it is not of much use to a runner who does not have the right breakers (although against SMC, Clone Chip, and Personal Workshop it can matter quite a bit). Some games I score 2 Project Atlas with 3 counters between then and win the game by searching up all 3 of these, all while keeping the Scorch threat alive. Hilarious. This card obviously enables Archer as well, which is an essential card for our strategy.

3 Oaktown Renovation: This rush style of GRNDL used to be very popular, but it is much less popular today. This is the card that made me want to try it again and it is the real deal. It is important to note than if you IAA this and get Vamped or Siphoned to 0 you can still score it out next turn (and be left with 3 credits afterwards). That’s great. It also feels amazing to score points without having to give up your economic advantage. In the old builds of this deck these slots were Geothermal Fracking. The Clicks to get the money off your Fracking make the deck a full turn slower a lot of the time, and in a deck as dedicated to the rush as this one, one turn can be the difference between a swift 7-0 win and an agonizing 5-7 loss. The Bad pub it gave you was also not great. You don’t want SO much bad pub that Femmes are breaking your Archers the hard way…

1 Corporate War: This slot could be a Fracking and I have tested them both. Sometimes the Corp War screws you but 90% of the time you get your 7 from it. I wish this could be something better but it’s the best we’ve got. Some people play 2 False Lead in this slot, but I’d rather get 2 points for 4 Advancements than 1 point for 3, and the kill possibility from False Lead never came up for me in over 20 games. This also gives us a deck slot for what it’s worth.

1 High-Risk Investment: BUT ABRAM YOU SAID NOT TO PLAY 5/3s!!! Yes, 5/3s are really bad, but there is a sweet incentive to play exactly one in this deck: Project Atlas. On 4 points with an Atlas counter and a secure remote you can search up your 5/3 and put the game away. Additionally, the effect of this agenda is CRAZY if you actually manage to score it earlier than that. Finally, our agenda options are so thin for the last 5 points that this is probably the best option. With NAPD out of the question because of Bad Publicity, we are not left with much. If Weyland gets another REALLY strong 4/2 like Oaktown, I could see going to 2 of that and 1 False Lead instead of this and the 1 Corporate War. When I give this deck to people to play, one of the first comments I get is, “UGH I HATE THAT 5/3!”

I totally understand…

Other Important Details: Eater in general is pretty awful for us. Eater-Keyhole with Bad Pub and no Jackson is a nightmare. Sometimes those decks can have a hard time getting into archives in time to beat the rush though. I have won several games with 7 points in Archives while the Eater-Keyhole deck dug for Hades/Cutlery/a real breaker. That being said, these match-ups are hard (They are even worse if the Eater player is running Singularity). Luckily many players who play these decks will not be experienced playing against a deck rushing this hard, allowing you to coast to a quick 7-0 win while they set up aimlessly. They are also probably screwed if they can’t find their Eater early. Sometimes they will be able to win by Keyholing 4 times a turn, but they choose not to because of Scorch fear. That is probably a misplay by them, but people misplaying against it is one if this deck’s greatest strengths.

A big early Vamp can be terrible. Hold your Beanstalks against these decks to recover. Oaktown is your friend here. Getting Vamped and then going Beanstalk Install Oaktown Advance leaves you with enough money to rez an Ice Wall and Enigma on your remote if you have to.

Don’t look for Scorch kills, just take them if you see them. It is usually incorrect for the runner to play around Scorch too much, since they will just be handing you the rush win. The package is just there to give you some dumb wins in games that you really should lose otherwise, and to make the runner install a Plascrete or hold I’ve Had Worse, slowing down their rig-building.

Good Power Shutdown targets are: SMC, Faerie, Datasucker (to turn of Mimic), Net-Ready Eyes (if you drew the Lotus field or Changeling), Clone Chip, Zu.13, Cyber Cypher, and Corroder. Don’t Shutdown a Plascrete unless it will 100% get you a kill. 3 cards in the yard is too risky.

I have not played any games against Faust yet, but I imagine he could be a pretty big problem. Hopefully you can get an Archer up, since it takes 5 cards for Faust to break. Maybe don’t over-advance your Atlases and have them actually be Snares (Joke).

Quetzal is also SUPER annoying. Hopefully you draw 2 barriers to put in a row. A Quetzal with an early Yog.0 when your ice is Ice Wall + Enigma is a great way to lose very very fast. Oh well, them’s the breaks.

Against early Parasite + Medium digging you may have to blow a Destroyer on R&D to stop the bleeding. You can race most things, but Medium is not one of them. Lucky this kind of digging usually sets the runner’s board and economy way behind, letting you score out of your remote behind basic ice. Sometimes the runner will die to Snares doing this also. OOPS!

If you have 0 points, no agendas, a Fast Track, and a scoring window, it is often correct to draw for agendas rather than play the Fast Track. You will want that Fast Track to finish the game and with no agendas in hand your odds of drawing one should be pretty good. You can use the Fast Track to search for Atlas if you are super rich, but scoring Atlas as your first agenda can be a bit of a financial liability. Anonymous tip is great here. The Tip will also convince a lot of runners to waste time in HQ in situations where there is nothing there (except Snares)

Against Kate you may have to give up your first agenda. If she plays SMC + Clone Chip and runs your 2 rung remote, rez the first of them to make her burn the SMC and then Power Shutdown the Clone Chip on your next turn and go for another score. If she has yet another one that early in the game you can complain about how lucky she is (and hopefully Scorch her :P)

It is usually wrong to waste time installing Snares. You will rarely get a kill that way, and they do a lot of work punishing HQ runs. I have won games with installed Snares, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it. Sometimes I will put one down when I don’t have an agenda and am on game point, just to maybe get a lucky kill if they surprise me and can get in. When choosing between installing an agenda and a Snare, just go for the points. Be brave!

This deck has no assets (except Snares) or upgrades to make it have the most resilient R&D possible. Corporate Troubleshooter could be great, but I feel like he will just get trashed out of centrals for free every time. Jackson Howard is not necessary. We never want to discard agendas and we have Fast Track and tons of redundancy in our ice. Jackson is a turn slower than Anonymous Tip and every turn of speed is critical with this deck.

Give this deck (and the Argus deck from the last post) a chance and see what you think. Hopefully you can see from these write-ups (and from playing the decks) that even though these are both Scorched Earth decks, they are totally different strategies.

Feel free to drop questions/comments about either deck here and I will do my best to respond to them! In the next post I will talk about which of the decks has been stronger for me overall and why.

Argus Terror: The Game Plan

Before revealing which of our decks from last time has been more successful, we’re going to break down what’s going on with each list, starting with Argus Terror.  I will try to sell you on each deck before revealing which is stronger and why.

Here is the list again:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/ZkZZLr4SdSLysJCFr

Argus Terror (49 cards)

Argus Security: Protection Guaranteed

Agenda (11)

2 False Lead

3 NAPD Contract

3 Oaktown Renovation

3 Project Atlas

Asset (8)

3 Capital Investors

1 Ghost Branch •

3 Jackson Howard • • •

1 Melange Mining Corp

Operation (13)

3 Beanstalk Royalties

3 Hedge Fund

1 Midseason Replacements ••••

3 Scorched Earth

3 Traffic Accident

Barrier (5)

2 Meru Mati

3 Spiderweb

Code Gate (3)

2 Enigma

1 Lotus Field •

Sentry (9)

1 Caduceus

3 Data Raven •• •• ••

3 Hunter

2 Shadow

The Game-plan: Use very taxing early ice to secure a powerful economy asset. Dump clicks into that asset and use early game operation economy to quickly build a remote with multiple pieces of tagging ice (hopefully ravens). Use the click-compression created by that ice, possibly a scored False Lead, and the Argus ability to create situations in which it is impossible for the runner to steal agendas that we try to score without ending their turn tagged. If they runner does manage to break this stranglehold and score, they have hopefully spent enough money to get hit with a Midseason Replacements (possibly searched for by a Project Atlas counter). With 3 Scorched Earth and 3 Traffic Accident, killing a tagged runner should be trivial, often even with a Plascrete Carapace installed.

Ice Placement: Hunter on HQ or R&D early is brutal. 1 cost for a tax of at least 2 credits and usually 3 credits is great. Shadow has a similar effect, and is stronger against a runner who goes tag-me from turn 1 (perhaps a player who lands an Account Siphon and then plays a Plascrete Carapace), but loses effectiveness against Mimic and Parasite. Meru Mati goes on HQ obviously. It can be tempting to try to secure an early Capital Investors with it, but if the runner has an early fracter this can be a game-losing error. Spiderweb is better for this, since trashing a Capital Investors behind a Spiderweb is a 5-credit hit (or 2 lady counters, which is also significant). That should be enough to buy time for a 2nd ice on that server for the next Asset. Additionally, you will be happy that Spiderweb is on your remote when you go to score. Data Raven is amazing on R&D, but we really need it for the remote, or our deck will struggle in the late game, so avoid using it there. The code gates can go wherever they are needed, and are your flex-ice and Account Siphon defense. Your endgame setup hopefully looks something like this, with Enigmas and the Lotus field replacing whatever of the non-Raven ice is necessary based on your draw:

Argus_Setup

If the runner cannot break a 4-strength sentry, this remote server is a 9 credit tax that leaves the runner with 2 tags. If they can (with say, Atman-4), it is still a 5 credit tax that gives 2 tags. R&D is a sufficient 5-6 credit tax, as is HQ (with the Argus ability also somewhat helping to defend against central multi-access). The runner actually needs a substantial back-up fund as well if they cannot break the ravens. If you can boost the trace to get a power counter for anything less than all your money, you can usually ride that to victory. Even if you do not have the kill cards in hand, and would not boost the trace, the runner does not know that.

Additionally, all of this ice is relatively inexpensive. We achieve this significant tax without having to rez an 8-cost tollbooth or advance clunky space ice.

Agenda Spread: When most people build an Argus deck, they either include a huge amount of 1-point agendas to get the maximum number of triggers out of their ID, or go for a big-moment deck with a Government Takeover and 3-pointer build. For this deck, we are just running the agendas that are actually good.

2 False lead: This enables our kill and forces the runner to run on click 1, letting us keep easy tabs on their credit total and rig progress as we look for scoring windows.

3 NAPD Contract: We are playing no bad publicity because it is awful with trace ice and taxing servers. This opens up NAPD contract as an option. Have you ever stolen an NAPD against Argus? It isn’t fun.

3 Project Atlas: These let us search for our 1 Midseason Replacements if the runner gets frisky on our remote or lucky on a central at the right (wrong?) time.  We can also search for more agendas when we have scoring windows, kill cards, or even my personal favorite: the 3rd data raven to make the most irritating server ever.

3 Oaktown Renovation: Although it is the least flashy, this may be the most important agenda in the deck. In fact, this deck would probably be unplayable without it! Oaktown lets you seize scoring windows to get points without giving up the tempo that gave you the window in the first place. It also works exceptionally well with Midseason Replacements for obvious reasons.

NO 3-POINTERS: If you are new to deck building or not an advanced player, there is one critical rule you must follow. If you learn anything from me, learn this:

Never ever ever ever put 5/3s in your deck.*

*Except for The Future Perfect**

**Actually not even that one. More on this another time

Not even considering their anti-synergy with the Argus ability, 5/3s are a HUGE liability in centrals and are very hard to score. The deck space they give you does not make up for all the ways in which they suck. I would rather put a 5/2 NAPD Contract in my deck than a 5/3. Go ahead. Go on Stimhack.com and look at the tournament winning decklists. Count the non-TFP 3-pointers. You’re welcome.

Other Important Details: This deck also benefits from runner fear (hence its name). Many of your early score attempts could be stopped by the runner but, due to their great expense, would leave the runner dead to Sea-Source or Midseasons + single Scorched Earth (the runner is almost always is forced to take the meat damage from Argus after remote runs against this deck). Even though we only have 1 tagging operation, the runner does not know that, and this fear can help get that all-important first False Lead and/or Project Atlas scored. If the runner calls the bluff, at least they probably spent a lot of money, giving us a window to hopefully try again the next turn (or actually land the Midseasons if we drew it).

If we are on game point, but the runner has a full rig and roaring economy, our singleton Ghost Branch can be a life-saver. A 2-advanced Ghost Branch behind 2 Ravens guarantees a tagged runner, leading to some hilarious “uh-oh” moments. Try to Install-Advance-Advance your NAPD contracts early on so that this IAA play does not stand out as strange. Runners will assume you are “donating” an NAPD and will begrudgingly run it every time.

In many decks where it is important to get your ice on very specific servers, the early game can be a challenge. However, between our ID ability, early trace ice, NAPD contracts, lack of 3-pointers, and runner fear, we should be able to meander through the early game with at most 2 points given up. On the other hand, I have had 0-link runners face-check 2 Hunters/Shadows on turn 1, leaving them totally broke. Games that start this way are often trivial to win.

Final Strategic Note: When playing a Meat Damage deck, keep this important fact in mind:

Your primary objective is to score 7 points. The purpose of your kill cards is to protect your agendas indirectly.

Don’t get obsessed with looking for kills. It is hard to get runners to run through Data Ravens when you have 0 points.

I encourage you to give this deck a try and see what you learn from playing it. In the next post I will do a similar breakdown for the GRNDL list. We will then compare the experiences and decide which one is the stronger option.

When I post lists, I’ll try to add the music I usually play them to. This is very important ;). Here is the track for both of these decks:

A Journey into Corp Deckbuilding: Introduction

Building an original corp deck that actually wins games can feel futile. It can be quite the challenge getting those pesky agendas into your score area, let alone keeping them out of the runner’s! Many players struggle to build functioning corp decks because they do not create for themselves a clear path to victory. They build decks on a foundation of “if” statements rather than “unless” statements. An example:

“If the runner runs through my taxing centrals, I will get a scoring window”

Versus:

“I will have a secure remote unless the runner plays Vamp.”

Statements like the first often appeal to the aspiring deck-builder, and rightfully so, one of the biggest mistakes that an intermediate runner makes is overextending on centrals. Statements like the second, on the other hand, make players doubt themselves, diluting their deck with contingencies for edge cases.

Here is my dogma to accept:

A deck that is reliant on the runner doing a thing will be less successful than a deck that relies on them not doing a thing.

Let’s look at some lists for a concrete example.  These decks have a lot in common but one has been MUCH more successful for me than the other. Try to guess which deck is the winner and which deck is the loser.

(Note: If you want pop-up images for the cards, just follow the meteor links for the decks)

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/ZkZZLr4SdSLysJCFr

Argus Terror (49 cards)

Argus Security: Protection Guaranteed

Agenda (11)

2 False Lead

3 NAPD Contract

3 Oaktown Renovation

3 Project Atlas

Asset (8)

3 Capital Investors

1 Ghost Branch •

3 Jackson Howard • • •

1 Melange Mining Corp

Operation (13)

3 Beanstalk Royalties

3 Hedge Fund

1 Midseason Replacements ••••

3 Scorched Earth

3 Traffic Accident

Barrier (5)

2 Meru Mati

3 Spiderweb

Code Gate (3)

2 Enigma

1 Lotus Field •

Sentry (9)

1 Caduceus

3 Data Raven •• •• ••

3 Hunter

2 Shadow

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/b3CHWnkWxZfBgF8WZ

GRNDL (49 cards)

GRNDL: Power Unleashed

Agenda (11)

1 Corporate War

1 High-Risk Investment

3 Hostile Takeover

3 Oaktown Renovation

3 Project Atlas

Asset (3)

3 Snare! •• •• ••

Operation (19)

1 Anonymous Tip •

3 Beanstalk Royalties

2 Fast Track

3 Hedge Fund

3 Power Shutdown

3 Restructure

3 Scorched Earth

1 SEA Source ••

Barrier (6)

1 Changeling

3 Ice Wall

2 Wall of Static

Code Gate (5)

3 Enigma

1 Lotus Field •

1 Quandary

Sentry (4)

3 Archer

1 Grim

ICE (1)

1 Chimera

If you had to bring one of these decks to a small tournament, which would you choose and why? Post your answer in the comments and I will publish my own views shortly.