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:
GRNDL (49 cards)
GRNDL: Power Unleashed
1 Corporate War
1 High-Risk Investment
3 Hostile Takeover
3 Oaktown Renovation
3 Project Atlas
3 Snare! •• •• ••
1 Anonymous Tip •
3 Beanstalk Royalties
2 Fast Track
3 Hedge Fund
3 Power Shutdown
3 Scorched Earth
1 SEA Source ••
3 Ice Wall
2 Wall of Static
Code Gate (5)
1 Lotus Field •
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:
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.
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.