Battle of Wits: A Response to the Temujin Meta

“I basically only lose to trap decks when I run an Overwriter” -TheBigBoy 2016


Corp sucks right now. Runners are rich, fast, and difficult to score against. I set out to build a deck that forces the runner to interact in a way that they are not ready to. Here’s the list:

Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future

Agenda (9)
3x Accelerated Beta Test
2x Global Food Initiative ●●
1x Mandatory Upgrades
3x Project Vitruvius

Asset (7)
1x Aggressive Secretary
3x Cerebral Overwriter
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Operation (20)
3x Archived Memories
2x Biotic Labor
1x Blue Level Clearance
3x Green Level Clearance
3x Hedge Fund
2x Lateral Growth
3x Mushin No Shin ●●●●● ●
2x Neural EMP ●●●●
1x Restructure

Barrier (5)
3x NEXT Silver
2x Quicksand

Code Gate (3)
3x NEXT Bronze

Sentry (4)
3x Brainstorm
1x Vikram 1.0

Other (1)
1x Mother Goddess

If you can’t tell, this is a deck that plays Mushin No Shin over and over again until it wins.

A lot of people have made decks like this before, but they have all failed because:

  1. They include stupid other trap side-plans like psychic field and friends instead of just more money and ICE. This leaves them too poor to move fast enough or have any kind of back-up plan. These side-plans ARE NOT do-or-die for the runner like Mushin is. They can be solved safely by good players, especially if they have I’ve Had Worse in their deck.
  1. They use identities that aren’t Engineering the Future. This leaves you totally poor and, secondarily of course, removes a lot of the surprise value of the deck. If you do this out of Jinteki your ICE and money situations are both crap (Exception: Cortex lock is sweet, but we have Brainstorm for the same purpose).

Here is your plan.

  1. Secure centrals with cheap ICE or Brainstorms. You don’t want to lose traps or agendas out of HQ or R&D. The more cards the runner see/trashes, the better deductions they can make later.
  1. Mushin-Advance to 4 (for net 0!) something. If you have to choose between 2 agendas your priorities are: Man-ups > Vitruvius > GFI > ABT. If you only have Overwriter then just Mushin that. If you have Overwriter AND an Agenda then Mushin the Overwriter if the agenda is ABT (the least good one to score) and otherwise just shuffle up the cards or use to decide (unless you know your opponent and have a read obviously).
  1. If you score Man-ups you are obviously on easy street. Just FA to the easy win while piling ICE on your centrals to buy time. If you get a Vitruvius then you want to jam it up to 7 advancements for the 4 counters. You can use these to recur more Mushins, recur biotics for the FA win, recur Neural EMPs to machine-gun a runner who runs an Overwriter later or does something dumb, or even just recur some money if you get siphoned and need to dig out. If you get GFI out then you can just biotic twice for the win. Just turtle up, Mushin traps (or are they…), and eventually win because you have 3 archived memories. If you get ABT then leave it down until you have a Jackson or 1-2 Archived in hand and then fire away! You don’t have a ton of ICE, but even 1 ICE is something if it’s free.
  1. If your first Mushin is a triggered Overwriter, congratulations! All you have to do is survive until you draw 1 Neural EMP and 1 Archived Memories (or 2 Neural, or a Neural and a Vitruvius counter) and then the runner is dead! Surviving when you have a bunch of EtR ICE and the runner is on 1 hand-size is usually not that hard.
  1. 50% of the time your first Mushin will fail, that’s OK. The worst thing that could have happened is that now the runner has 2 points. Just Archived Memories your Mushin and try again. ALWAYS WAIT A TURN SO YOU CAN ADVANCE TO 4. 4 Brain damage basically guarantees the Neural-Archived-Neural win at some point, whereas a runner CAN STILL WIN WITH ONLY 3 BRAIN DAMAGE. In fact, waiting a turn can bait an HQ run into a Brainstorm since the Runner will want to knock out your Mushin target.

Card Explanations:

Win Conditions (14):

3 Mushin No Shin: Removing skill from the game since H&P. Basically all reasonably-minded skilled players hate playing against this card. There’s a good reason for that. When the runner has infinite money this is the only tool left in your arsenal. AWLAYS ADVANCE TO 4!

2 Biotic Labor: This is how you close the game if you get a couple Mushin’d agendas out. You can also use this to get to 4 points so that all your Mushins threaten the GFI-win. You don’t need 3 copies because you can recur these in a lot of ways.

2 Neural EMP: This is how you win once the runner has 4 Brain Damage.

3 Archived Memories. Counts as more copies of any of the above cards. This is really your next biggest power card after Mushin. It’s so flexible and cheap that it makes you wildly consistent.

3 Cerebral Overwriter: 4 Brain Damage means you win. ALWAYS ADVANCE TO 4! Ok… if they already have Brain Damage then you can leave it at 3, but really you should probably have already won. Fun fact, in my testing I have 3 times made the play of recurring an Overwriter and then Mushining it in the same turn. For some reason it has gotten run every time. This is probably close to the top of the list of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a runner.

1 Aggressive Secretary: I wanted 1 more trap but was out of influence. I wasn’t sure about Agg Sec but it has already won me a few games. I had a game where both the runner and I were on game point and they ran my Mushin figuring that if they hit Overwriter they could hail-mary some centrals for a shot to still win. The Agg Sec blew up their rig and they were locked out forever. This is obviously way more situational than the Overwriter, but it can win the game in situations where you are SO far behind that the Overwriter wouldn’t quite be enough. Bonus points if you manage to Mushin this with all 3 Overwriters in the trash.

Agendas (9):

Ahhh, a 9 Agenda trap deck. That’s more like it.

3 Project Vitruvius: This is your core Mushin Target. 4 Vitruvius counters takes you most of the way to winning. It gives you Mushins, Biotics, and money for days.

3 Accelerated Beta Test: This card is at its worst in this deck, but we need 6 3/2s for our alternate win-condition and getting some free ICE happens fairly often.

2 Global Food Initiative: These make your density great and with Mushin you can actually score them. In theory you can also chain-Biotic this with a Super-Vitruvius although this takes 16 credits and I have only done it once.

1 Mandatory Upgrades: This is our alternative to having a 4/2. You can’t biotic this out but the upside of scoring it with Mushin is good enough that it’s worth having 1. Playing too many copies of this agenda is where a lot of Mushin players go wrong. If you don’t have 6 3/2s then scoring your Man-ups isn’t even that good.

ICE (13):

3 NEXT Silver 3 NEXT Bronze 1 Mother Goddess: We want cheap gear-checks to keep us safe while we find the first Mushin. These ICE also stop Criminal from totally running over you. NEXT Silver is a beast against decks without Parasite. You can recur these with your 3 Archived Memories if they die.

2 Quicksand: A recent addition to the deck. This is really nice against Medium and Temujin Contract. I used to have Vanillas but this has been just a little better. Feel free to swap for Vanilla if you feel poor.

3 Brainstorm: This card just wins games. Some logical players will stop respecting Architect after they see Green Level Clearance or Lateral Growth and just plow into this thing. A super common play is for runners to click 1 blind Account Siphon when they see a Mushin play, hoping that they can click through an HQ Bioroid or force a rez of an ICE expensive enough that they can run the Mushin. A 4-5 damage Brainstorm is just as good as a successful Overwriter (actually better because it sticks around to help out a bit). The Criminals are cutting their Faeires. Put one of these on Archives after they play a Security Testing or put a Temujin contract there and send them to the hospital when they “force” you to rez it. If you get a weird draw with a ton of money and the runner doesn’t have a sentry breaker, you can Mushin an agenda and put a Brainstorm on it. You get good stuff either way!

1 Vikram 1.0: More good value for slowing down Medium. I wanted one ICE that was a bit beefier and this seems like the best option. Feel free to try Assassin as well, but I tried both and Vikram was a tiny bit better and won the slot mainly because it costs 1 less. If you can, try to hold onto this until you can put it in a spot where the first sub isn’t blank.

Notice this is a lot of ICE for a Trap deck. We have room because we didn’t waste space on traps that don’t work against good players.

Economy (13):

3 Hedge Fund 3 Green Level Clearance 2 Lateral Growth: Easy Operation Money. 3 Lateral Growth was too many. You don’t have ton of stuff to install, but you have enough for 2 Lateral. Lateral and GLC are great because we have 8 ways to have Brainstorm money up on turn 1.

1 Restructure 1 Blue Level Clearance: These are a bit more powerful but harder to pull off. I just included one of each so that you can get a little extra situational punch, but not get clogged by cards you don’t have the time/money to play. I’m happy to see them whenever I draw them, but sometimes they take me a couple turns to play so I’m glad I don’t have more that would clog up my hand.

3 Jackson Howard: Great recursion and card draw that goes in every deck. Also helps you fire ABTs if you ended up Mushining one.

Final Thoughts: 

This deck is super powerful, but obviously can lose to anyone. You only need to succeed at 1 or maybe 2 Mushins to win, but sometimes the runner will guess right 3-4 times and you will lose. That said, the odds of the game favor you and as I practiced with the deck I found my decisions feeling less random and more calculated. This deck takes basically NO collateral damage from the hate-cards that players are already running. Employee Strike, Film Critic, Salsette Slums, Networking, Plascrete Carapace, Sports Hopper, and I’ve Had Worse all do nothing or almost nothing to affect our game-plan. The hate cards that we DO care about are useless against basically any other deck, making this the perfect time to put your hand on the table, look the Runner in the eye and do your best Princess Bride impression:

Hope you enjoy!