PerfumeShop: A True Runner Control Deck

Sometimes very simple cards lead your deck-building to totally new places. Such was the case for me when I opened Kala Ghoda and really took a good look at this card:

High-Stakes_Job

The math on this card is great! If Dirty Laundry is 3 credits for 0 clicks, then this card is 6 credits for 0 clicks. That kind of raw, numeric power cannot be ignored. If Eli 1.0 has taught us anything, it’s that potential drawbacks and conditions can usually be off-set enough to take advantage of good stats. Here were my thoughts on making High Stakes Job work:

  • This card is amazing when the Corp has 0 credits. The more aggressive we are and the more credit denial we play, the better it is going to be. Since our deck will be Blue (I’m not splashing a 3-influence econ card), we will obviously have 3 Account Siphon which is this card’s best friend.
  • This card works well with criminal derez effects even beyond the extent that they are denial cards. If you know what an ICE is, you can make your run considerably less High-Stakes.
  • We probably want an AI breaker. If we have to assemble a full or nearly full rig before playing this, it is probably not worth the effort over a more reliable economy card like Daily Casts (which is usually only 1-2 credits worse).

My mind at this point immediately went back to Faust Gabe. Perhaps this was the card to bring that deck back from its post-MWL grave. There is an obvious problem with this card in that deck though. When you play Faust Gabe, you either have essentially infinite credits, or very very few credits. Getting from 6 to 12-15 is not as interesting as for other decks. If I’m breaking for 0, why do I need 12?

There is another AI breaker though, one that has been mostly sitting on the bench lately while Faust enjoys its time in the spotlight. This breaker can definitely make good use of 12 credits:

Eater

Nom nom nom. The more I thought about it, the more Eater just made sense. Security Testing and Account Siphon weren’t going to access cards anyway. I thought “This is so cool, I can run for Security Testing into HQ as Gabe. If they let me in then I get 5 credits and if they don’t I can break with Eater, getting my money back and then some!” Then I realized something that should have been obvious. As soon as HQ is 4 credits or more for Eater (which is not at all hard to do), this is all a gigantic waste of time. If only there was a card that let Eater break all that HQ ICE for free…

Pheromones

That’s right. Pheromones. It was all coming together. Run HQ for free to gain 5 credits (and yet another Pheromones Counter), and Emergency Shutdown the Corp’s HQ ICE. Next turn High Stakes Job back in for ALL THE MONEY. I’m not sure I can even count that high (seriously though, you get 11 credits from 1 click).

I imagined what the Corp might do is just give up on HQ, rezzing a single small piece of ICE to stop accesses and just let me get my money, making my Pheromones useless. Well we can’t have that can we? What’s a good way to make use of 10-15 unused recurring credits during a run on HQ?…

Vamp

Now we’re talking. This is starting to look like a BigBoy deck. Here’s what I arrived on after this High Stakes Job, Eater, Pheromones brainstorming session (Thanks to SimonMoon for the brilliant name):

Meteor Link

Perfume Shop (45 cards)
Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional

 

Event (20)
3 Account Siphon
3 Dirty Laundry
3 Emergency Shutdown
2 High-stakes Job
2 Inside Job
1 Levy AR Lab Access ···
2 Special Order
3 Sure Gamble
1 Vamp ··

 

Hardware (3)
3 Desperado ◦◦◦

 

Resource (9)
1 Hades Shard ·
2 John Masanori
3 Same Old Thing
3 Security Testing

 

Icebreaker (6)
1 Breach
1 Eater ···
2 Faerie
1 Mongoose
1 Passport

 

Program (7)
2 Crescentus
1 Keyhole ···
2 Pheromones
2 Sneakdoor Beta

 

General Game-Plan: Slow the Corp down with Gabe’s built in early pressure, punishing them with Eater + Account Siphon if they make a remote play too quickly. Deny long-term economy and try to get as much free Security Testing money as possible. Once the Corp has properly sealed off their centrals, we will hopefully have Desperado, Eater, Security Testing, John Massanori, and Phromones out (or most of these pieces. We won’t always need them all depending on the Corp’s ICE spread). At this point we have total control. We can take 5 credits and a card every single turn. We can Emergency Shutdown whatever and whenever we want. We can Full-Value Account Siphon at will. Once a Criminal deck (especially Gabe) has control over HQ, the game unravels quickly for the Corp. At some point it is possible that the Corp is able to keep run-ending ICE rezzed on all relevant servers, but this should take so long that we can realistically have over 50 credits. At this point we can nail them with Vamp, Derez most, if not all, of R&D, and drop Keyhole to close the game.

Economy (16)

3 Desperado – Don’t play another Criminal console, even with the 3 influence penalty. This card makes absurd amounts of money. It is one of the only cards in the game that continues to make money even without you trying, which naturally makes it an even better fit for a Vamping deck.

3 Sure Gamble, 3 Dirty Laundry – Standard Criminal burst economy. These are necessary to pay the install costs of our rig and deal with early-game trashing.

2 High Stakes Job – Dirty Laundry on steroids. Once you get your Eater Security Testing engine online it can take a few turns to start turning a significant profit. This card catapults you into big-number territory and makes you an immediate threat. Sometimes the Corp doesn’t start with a Hedge fund and spends all of their money rezzing on HQ turn 1 or 2. This can let you drop a High-Stakes when the Corp is on 0, which speeds up your set-up a lot. Even though this is the card I started this whole brainstorm with, I only want to run 2 since it can be blank sometimes, and you NEVER want to draw multiples early.

3 Security Testing – Punish asset economy, force rezzes, and seriously milk HQ with Eater, all for 0 credits. Make sure you don’t play a Siphon/Vamp after declaring this on HQ (looking at you, Thebigunit3000 🙂 ). After Desperado, this is the best card to see in your opening hand.

2 Pheromones – This card is so funny. One of the Corp’s natural responses to Gabe is to pile ICE sky-high on HQ. Eater Pheromones laughs at this. Once you get to a certain point, the Jellyfish Army isn’t even worth purging anymore, since the unspent credits from the previous turn stay on the card for one more use even though the virus counters are gone! Unless they for some reason have porous ICE on HQ or refuse to shut off your Sneakdoor, this is typically not worth playing until you have Eater out (or another breaker that’s getting you in).

Denial (11)

3 Emergency Shutdown – I would probably play 5 of these if I could. When you are hitting HQ for a profit every turn, this card just feels dirty. One of the best answers to Gabe is a Tollbooth on HQ and 3 copies of this card shuts that plan down, literally.

2 Crecentus – Hey, it’s Shutdowns 4-5. The fact that this takes MU is annoying, but you can work around it (don’t play your 5th MU unless you are sure you need to). Front-loading the click is nice though. I find that it is often best to save these for your Vamp turn, letting you get genuine accesses in HQ after you drain them to 0. Crecentus is better than Shutdown for this because it saves you a click when it matters. Having this + Faerie out means no one will ever rez an expensive Sentry against you.

3 Account Siphon – Your goal with this card is not to pin the Corp on 0. Its best use is making remote plays. When the Corp goes for a score or a big economy play like Sundew or Breaker Bay Grid + Adonis Campaign, relying on Eater for most of our breaking is annoying. Account Siphon + Inside Job will get you into most remotes though. You almost always shake the tags from your Siphons. Only Float in match-ups where they have no punishment and Security Testing is less valuable (Against something like Greenhouse rush, for example), or if you know you can lock the Corp on close to 0 for a very very long time and close the game before your money dries up.

1 Vamp – This is the nail in the coffin. This deck paralyzes the Corp, putting the game in stasis while you make a huge amount of money and Pheromones counters, until the right moment when you Vamp into a remote run or Vamp into several turns of free Keyhole runs. Since you have 3 Same Old Things you can fire this early to bust a remote if you get a chance and can still have it when you need it later. Even though the deck only has 1 of this card, and it is a huge part of your strategy, you only need it at the very end of the game, and by that point you have usually drawn most of your deck.

2 Inside Job – When you can’t actually access cards most of the time, it can be nice to get into at least trivial remote-defenses. This card, sometimes combined with one or two of your actual breakers, is a good way to deal with Crisium Grid on HQ as well.

Icebreakers (8)

1 Eater – The Centerpiece of our rig. You only have 1 copy and basically no recursion for it so DO NOT GET THIS KILLED OR NET DAMAGED. People actually run Swordsman now. It’s a big deal. Sometimes you can’t or shouldn’t afford to play around it but if you have time to, DO IT. If you see the Corp drawing relentlessly and then finally putting an ICE on HQ, there is a good chance that it’s a Swordsman. Get a Faerie or Mongoose out quickly if there is any reasonable chance of running into the card. It is usually better to be safe than sorry.

2 Faerie – Protects your Eater from Swordsman and protects you from Architect Face-checks against HB. This may seem weird, but if you run into an early Komainu it can sometimes be better to lose your hand than to use your Faerie. Decks with Komainu often also have a Swordsman or even two, and without your Faerie you may not be able to run for a long time.

1 Mongoose – Your permanent Faerie as far as Swordsman is concerned. I’ve been super impressed with this card. It’s not great as a main breaker but as an AI support card it’s WAY better than Alias. This is very often part of your final rig since Swordsman can crop up out of literally any deck.

1 Breach – Wraparound is annoying. Even with Breach it is probably the single best ICE against this deck. Once you get the Breach out it is nothing, but the Breach is often totally useless otherwise so this is a big pain.

1 Passport – Turing on HQ looks silly once you play this. Passport is also just a great breaker by itself. Breaking HQ Enigma for 1 with a 1 credit install cost is great. I love when I draw this naturally and they start with a small Code Gate on HQ.

2 Special Order – I started with 3, but this proved unnecessary. It turns out that Inside Job, Emergency Shutdown, and Sneakdoor Beta can still get you pretty far with no breakers and by the time you need your Eater or your specialty breaker you have usually drawn one of these or the program itself.

Card Draw/Recursion (6)

2 John Massanori – We don’t really make unsuccessful runs, and we make a run every turn. John is literally as strong as possible in this deck. You’re basically taking 5-click turns once this is out. Make sure that you use Eater to finish runs when you have this out (unless they are crazy expensive). Not having to deal with the tag is a big deal, and you’ll get your Desperado credit back as well.

3 Same Old Thing – Use this on Account Siphon, Emergency Shutdown, Inside Job, Vamp, Levy, or even a High-Stakes Job if you really need to. This card is super flexible in this deck and I am never sad to see it.

1 Levy AR Lab Access – It’s kind of strange. I originally had a Déjà vu for emergency recursion but I found my deck ran out a surprising amount against players who just refuse to do anything but pile ICE on centrals. I’m not super sure about this slot. It has totally saved the game for me a few times, but is usually dead. I could see cutting it (maybe for a 2nd Eater) but I know the deck would take a hand-full of auto-losses if I did. Having this in your deck also lets you leverage John Massanori to play aggressively against PE, so that’s a nice bonus.

Win Conditions (4)

1 Keyhole – Don’t be in a hurry to play this (except against rush decks, against which you can feel free to go nuts). When you drop this you probably cannot play a Sneakdoor for the rest of the game, and that’s a lot to lose. It’s usually best to wait to play this until the Corp is basically out of the game and winning is a formality. This card just gets it done quicker than anything else and actually works with Eater, unlike other multi-access.

1 Hades Shard – Some people try to get clever and lock you out of archives or lean on a protected Jackson. This card ends their shenanigans. This also gets you free wins against IG sometimes, which is a deck a lot of people are toying with right now.

2 Sneakdoor Beta – This is also an economy card, but I put it in this category because it’s actually one of the main ways I end up getting points. If I know they are holding agendas (nothing has come out of HQ but ICE for a while), I’ll take their money, shutdown archives if necessary and then hit them through Sneakdoor a few times. This is also a way to assassinate early HQ upgrades like Crisium Grid and Caprice Nisei.

Eater_Gabe

Final Thoughts: This deck is very funny, and I really enjoy playing it. That said, it’s a long way off from being totally competitive. Wraparound out of a fast deck is a massive pain, pop-up on R&D makes you sad post-vamp, pop-up on HQ can feed the Corp a lot of money, and once someone starts an Astro train you don’t really have much recourse besides going all-in on your one Keyhole. The Astrobiotics match-up aside, this deck is far from a joke. I really like how it makes you think creatively and really assess the type of game you are in. Should I use shutdowns now to slow down the Corp, or should I save them for after the Siphon/Vamp? Should I not let the Corp rez remote ICE so I can get in after I zero them out, or should I force all the rezzes so they are poor and I can devastate a central with a Shutdown? I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Contact me any time in the comments here or on the Stimhack forums or Slack channel with your thoughts.

-TheBigBoy

Aside: The Edward Kim deck from last article has evolved into the post-MWL monster that is Cutlery Whizzard (which apparently will now be called “Dumblefork”). As I write this, it is considered the best Runner deck in the game by many of the highest caliber players. Remember that it began with a binder-dig and an unplayable ID? Fun decks that you build don’t have to be competitive right away. Stick with them over a long period of time and let them evolve. Don’t give up on a good idea just because it’s not perfect against the currently established decks. After months of persistence, you never know what you might end up with…

 

…Of course, if the idea sucks you should probably bail on the deck. Make sure the idea is good 😉

Update: Since writing this, the need for a Levy has proven to be a fluke. I have removed it to upgrade the Breach to a Corroder and for 1 Akamatsu Memchip. The Memchip has been great for making the Keyhole transition much less painful in the super lategame.

A One-Armed ICE Feast: Smashing Servers with Edward Kim

I build a lot of decks. I think experimenting with new ideas and seeing what does and does not work about them is a great way to get a better understanding of Netrunner. My deck-building process usually starts with the binder. I flip through the pages of un-played cards looking for hidden gems or synergies. About a month ago, a few cards stood out to meCutlery

Anyone who plays a reasonable amount of Netrunner probably got excited about these cards when they first read them. Here’s why I think now is the time for a heavy-Cutlery deck:

  1. ALL THE BIOROIDS. Eli 1.0 and Ichi 1.0 get wrecked by these cards. Forked is probably the single cleanest answer to Ichi 1.0 in the entire game. Arguably the strongest Corp deck right now (HB Glacier) plays 3 copies of each of these.
  1. The prevalence of Cyberdex Virus Suite and ways to recur it (and rez it for free) has made Parasite and Datasucker far less reliable than they have ever been. You just can’t run in to blow up an Assassin with Datasucker counters and get hit by a CVS. Also, Datasucker counters are just hard to get in the first place nowadays.
  1. Global Food Initiative has slowed down the game a lot. A slow game makes ICE destruction more powerful and more important.

Plenty of people have tried to build “The Cutlery Deck”. Sadly, such a thing never really came together. People have run the occasional 1x Knifed or 1x Spooned to spice up their deck, but never seem to take the plunge. The community has seemed to decide on a few problems with these cards:

  1. You probably can’t destroy things for a while since you have to have the matching Cutlery event AND breaker for the ICE the Corp has rezzed. This means that you could have 1-2 of these events sitting in your hand for almost the whole game. Anarch is a faction that has to click to draw a lot so having effective brain damage is very annoying.
  1. If you play Eater (which came out in the same box as these events) to circumvent half of the puzzle, you inherit all of the problems that come with that card. I’ll not enumerate them here, but there are quite a few of them.
  1. If the Corp keeps unrezzed ICE in front of the ICE you want to destroy, it can mess up your plans.
  1. Cutlery takes up a lot of deck slots and always seems to be the 46th card that gets cut.

These are all great points, and from them we can draw some conclusions:

  1. Cutlery probably demands an AI breaker to get used in a timely manner.
  1. Cutlery is probably best in a deck that does not mind having some dead draws.
  1. Since they can’t be searched for in any way, Cutlery probably needs to be in a deck that draws a ton of cards.
  1. Since they eat up a lot of space, Cutlery demands a deck with high-impact, slot-efficient cards.

This leads us to a single conclusion. Sorry to be so redundant with the last article, but when good cards get printed I like to play with them:

Faust

Faust makes Cutlery very interesting. Who cares if you have to discard 3 cards to break something if you only have to do it once! I sat on this line of thinking for a long time, but couldn’t think of what exactly I wanted the rest of my Faust-Cutlery deck to look like. Then I saw another Binder card: An ID that gets absolutely no respect (and probably rightfully so).

Eddie

The community has a lot to say about Edward as well. Most Corps just play their operations as soon as they draw them, and when HB Glacier runs 3-5 operations, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to go with Mr. Kim. I asked myself, “What does being Edward Kim really do for you?” Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Against low-ICE kill decks, Edward is a huge nuisance. Scorched Earth, 24/7 News Cycle, Midseason Replacements, Neural EMP, and even Mushin No Shin are all cards that sit in HQ until the right moment, giving you plenty of chances to swat them out of the Corp’s hands.
  1. Against decks that have a typical number of operations, Edward has some nice synergy with Medium, essentially giving you a free Imp counter during each dig.
  1. Early on, your ID gives the Corp slightly more reason to rez on HQ. Maybe they only have 1 Agenda and would just let you in normally, but if they have an operation along with that, it may be enough to entice them to put the shields up. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I am of the opinion that forcing substantive ICE to be rezzed on HQ is one of the best things you can do early game as the runner.
  1. That Link tho.

When a lot of players see Edward, they try to maximize his ID ability to create some weird “Trash everything” theme-deck. They run jank like Gang Sign + HQ Interface, Hemorrhage, and Wanton Destruction, trying to blow up as much of HQ as possible, as if that is a primary path to victory (it’s not). This got me thinking that maybe the best way to use Edward’s ability is to just…not use it. Edward’s ability provides tiny blips of value throughout the game, but its biggest selling point is that you are REALLY hard to kill (especially with 3 I’ve Had Worse added in). Imagine that we could build a runner deck that is impossible to kill. What corners could we cut in deck-building?

  1. We could run really low-econ. Perhaps even with no sustained/infinite economy engine.
  1. We could run more aggressively.

…and most importantly:

  1. We could tech our ENTIRE 45 to beat OTHER prominent decks.

This was when my two thought experiments came together. What if Ed Kim is the home of the Cutlery deck? When I ran Faust Gabe into the ground, my worst match-ups were always kill decks, and when I went up to 2 Plascretes from 0 I started to lose too much in the HB match-up. I was ready to be invincible…

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/jne6KFsmsRxChpomf
EDDIE SMASH (45 cards)
Edward Kim: Humanity’s Hammer

 

Event (14)
2 Career Fair · ·
2 Forked
3 I’ve Had Worse
2 Knifed
1 Levy AR Lab Access ···
1 Spooned
3 Sure Gamble

 

Hardware (4)
2 Clone Chip ·· ··
2 Desperado ··· ···

 

Resource (12)
2 Adjusted Chronotype
3 Daily Casts
3 Liberated Account
1 Same Old Thing
3 Wyldside

 

Icebreaker (4)
1 Corroder
2 Faust
1 Mimic

 

Program (11)
2 D4v1d
2 Datasucker
2 Imp
2 Medium
3 Parasite

General Game-Plan: Use burst econ, Datasucker, Desperado, Parasite, and Eddie’s ability to threaten the Corp early and slow them down while you get Wyldside + Adjusted Chronotype online. Once you have Faust in play and are starting your turn with a 7-card hand, string together a chain of Cutlery events to tear down the Corp’s entire R&D (or remote server, if applicable). Use Medium to close the game, threatening Clone Chip + Parasucker to keep the lock going. If the Corp is playing a kill deck against which the ICE destruction + Medium plan is less relevant, Eddie’s ability and I’ve Had Worse should keep you safe while you carefully dissect them.

Card Explanations:

Economy/Efficiency Cards (17):

3 Sure Gamble, 3 Daily Casts, 3 Liberated Account – This is the standard modern Anarch Economy package. All of these cards are excellent and highly deck-slot efficient. However, they have something in common: They are terrible at getting you back from low credits. When you access that Jackson on 5 credits, think very hard about your ability to bounce back if you choose to trash. Also be careful about going too low for a Wyldside early on. Clicking back up can be a slow process…

2 Career Fair – This really helps mitigate the downside of Daily Casts’ and Liberated Account’s set-up costs. Our deck has 11 targets for this, so it’s pretty much never dead. This makes turn 1 Wyldside WAY better. You could experiment with Dirty Laundry as well if you have other plans for this 2 influence, but I like how unconditional, easy, and fast Career Fair is.

2 Desperado – So I had 6 influence left… With our AI breaker rig we don’t need the 2 MU of Grimoire, and Desperado is REALLY good when a server has no ICE. Desperado + Datasucker is also great HQ and Archives pressure. If the Corp lets you, feel free to farm these servers 2013 Andromeda style (Spoiler: They won’t let you). Along with Imp, Desperado makes our horizontal asset-spam match-up much better.

2 Imp – This was a late addition and really helps combat the principal problem with Anarch economy packages. This lets you trash that turn 2 Sansan or Pad Campaign without ruining your tempo. These are also the final nail in the coffin for Corps trying to kill us. Have you ever trashed 2 Scorched Earths in one turn? It’s funny. Imp also nicely synergizes with ICE destruction, since you can trash potential replacement ICE out of centrals, reducing or sometimes eliminating the Corp’s options.

2 Datasucker – These keep our Faust-usage efficient by lowering strength 3 and 5 ICE to even numbers. Also, even though Parasite-Datasucker is the weakest it has ever been, it’s still easily worth running almost in any Anarch deck.

0 KATI JONES – We are abandoning long-term sustained econ, as per our advantage I cited earlier. All of our late-game breaking is done with Faust.

ICE Destruction (11)

2 Knifed – I don’t always see barriers, but when I do, they’re Eli. This is the most efficient answer to Eli in the game, and every Glacier deck runs 3 of him. Also, you can totally discard 3-4 cards for a Wraparound if it’s going to blow up afterwards. Sometimes you play against Blue Sun and use D4v1d + Knifed to kill a hard-rezzed Curtain Wall they were planning to bounce next turn. That wins the game.

2 Forked – Ichi 1.0 is the bane of runners these days, and Forked makes smashing Ichis your Day Job. Sadly you can’t kill Architect, and a smart and patient Corp who somehow knows you have Forked will shield their Ichi with one. One trick you can do is Fork the server and only break 1 of the Architect subs, allowing you to trigger the Forked on the Ichi behind it. This play is not always a good idea, but you should keep an eye out for it.

1 Spooned – I only have 1 Spooned because the only Code Gates right now that are great targets are Tollbooth and Archangel. You don’t run HB’s remote server more than 3 times typically, so using this on a Turing with D4v1d is not really necessary. The other Code Gates people run are usually pretty small and you can just Parasite them.

3 Parasite – You don’t want to use Cutlery on small, cheap ICE, but such ICE are exactly the ones that fold to Parasite. What’s left to say about this card? It’s still the best runner card in the game. It continues to take hits to its power-level as the environment fights back, but it still dismantles a Corp’s board and warps their play like no other card can.

1 Same Old Thing – This has to be in the deck for Levy security, but if the Levy is near the bottom of your deck or you have no chance of losing it, you can freely use this for the Cutlery event of your choice. Don’t discard this to Faust. I regret it every time I do, which wasn’t true with the Gabe deck. I wish I could find room for more than 1 of these. I had 2 before I added the Imps.

2 Clone Chip – You can also use these on D4v1d or Imp, but Parasite is obviously what these are for. A great trick is running an ICE with Faust, a Clone Chip and some sucker counters with no Parasites in the yard while the Corp has a Cyberdex Virus Suite. If they do not use their CVS before encounter you can discard the Parasite to boost Faust, sucker the ICE, and Clone Chip the Parasite to blow it up, all with no CVS window. #HBTears. Some players know this trick and will blow their CVS when you don’t even have the Parasite in hand!

Card Draw (9)

3 Wyldside 2 Adjusted Chronotype – These serve the purpose of the Drug Dealers in the Faust Gabe deck. You need click-less draw to not open scoring-windows too readily when you use Faust on R&D. If you start the game with burst economy + this combo it’s extremely hard to lose. Noise players should be familiar with this concept :P. If you don’t have burst, Credit, Credit, Wyldside Chronotype is a fine first turn. You may have to take 4 the next turn if you don’t draw a Daily Casts or Career Fair, but you’ll be set up far better than if you try to Click to draw into econ first.

3 I’ve Had Worse – The PE/Killteki Match-up is trivial with these + Levy, and since we want a bit more card-draw anyway, making our Scorched Earth match-up even more awesome can’t hurt.

1 Levy AR Lab Access – I use this in about 20 – 30% of games, but every single one of those would be losses if I didn’t have it. The look on the Corp’s face when you reload your Silverware-Shotgun is priceless.

Win Condition/Multi-access (2)

2 Medium – The best card for punishing a Corp with no ICE on R&D. This is your most relevant card against Fast Advance. If they can get up 5-0 you can still open R&D and lock them out. Because of Ed Kim’s ability not even Fast Track can save them!

Ice Breakers (6)

2 Faust – I started with 3, but I found that I always drew multiples before I even needed to play one. I cut one when I added the Imps and haven’t missed the 3rd. If you’re wondering why I seem addicted to Faust lately, I did some introspection and came up with this:

Aside: Some abstract theory stuff

Glacier decks have gotten to a point where even the most efficient breaker suites get taxed out in phase 3. You can have a full Anarch rig with ICE Carver and Net-Ready Eyes and an HB’s R&D could still be 8+ Credits. Runner sustained economy can’t keep up. Both Kati Jones and Magnum Opus are too slow and awkward. This leads me to believe that the solution to glacier is to focus your economy slots on Burst econ only, transitioning in the late-game into money-less breaking via Faust or Stealth. I plan to play pretty much exclusively with Faust or Switchblade suites until I feel this change.

1 Mimic – Architect is annoying. You can discard 2-3 cards to it for a while, but eventually you want to be able to pay 2 credits instead. You don’t need the Mimic in a hurry, but you do need it eventually, so 1 copy is perfect. Also, Swordsman is a card that some people think is playable.

1 Corroder – You don’t want to always have to Knife Wraparound. Corroder is just good enough that having one is nice value. Wall of Static is annoying for Faust. You would rather pay 2 credits than discard 2 cards a lot of the time.

2 D4v1D – This card + Cutlery wins you the game when the Corp rezzes big ICE. Tollbooth, Assassin, Ichi 2.0, and many others represent a significant investment for the Corp. Having them blown up for a few credits and some counters is heart-breaking.

Eddie_Smash

Final Thoughts: This deck is a blast to play. I’ve had very good success against Glacier decks and Kill decks. If I’m being honest with myself the Astrobiotics match-up is not amazing, but your 2 Mediums and 2 Knifed actually make big-digging them pretty reasonable, and I don’t think the match-up is worse than 40%. Is this the best way to play Edward Kim?  Probably. Is Edward Kim the best ID for this strategy? Maybe. You can play this shell out of almost any Anarch runner! Try it out of Whizzard if you want to really bury HB Glacier. Try it out of Reina to ruin Blue Sun’s fun or to add some econ denial spice to the ICE destruction, all while keeping your sweet, sweet 1 link. Try Valencia if you want Blackmail to scare off early scoring attempts, and get some help with trashing and running through Pop-up Windows. Try Quetzal if you…want to be a bird? Perhaps the best build is a Whizzard one that cuts the 2 Imps for 2 Plascretes. Take some of these for a spin and let me know what you think! Leave me a comment here, message me on the Stimhack forums, or tag me on the Stimhack Slack chat with any thoughts or questions.

Until next month, I leave you with this, the sound of glacier tears:

-Abram (TheBigBoy)

On Drugs and Devils: A New Breed of Aggressive Criminal

This article is a primer on a Criminal deck that I have been playing for quite some time (I built it the day The Universe of Tomorrow came out on OCTGN). Like most decks I champion, it has a vastly different play-pattern from pretty much any deck out there. You can win a lot of games with just its raw power, but with practice it can become truly terrifying and befuddling for your opponent.

Criminal is in a bit of a rut currently, as I’m sure you are aware. The community has been wracking their brains for quite some time to flesh out exactly what has toppled the Blue tyrant off of its pedestal. For more background on this discussion, check out these great reads:

Dave Hoyland: http://netrunners.co.uk/articles/perfect%20blue.html

El-ad David Amir: http://netrunners.co.uk/articles/imperfect%20blue.html

Here are some of the frequently cited reasons:

  • Too much influence tied down in Icebreakers.
  • No good in-faction card draw.
  • No good in-faction answer to cheap, taxing ICE like Eli 1.0 and Pup.
  • Dependence on Security Testing.
  • Running out of steam after the early game.
  • Getting locked out by surprise program trashing that out-ranges Mimic.

Let’s solve some problems.

Here is the list:

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/JitsdJQNahez4khXn
Faust Gabe (45 cards)
Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional
Event (19)
3 Account Siphon
3 Dirty Laundry
2 Emergency Shutdown
3 Fisk Investment Seminar
2 Inside Job
1 Levy AR Lab Access ···
2 Special Order
3 Sure Gamble
Hardware (7)
1 Clone Chip ··
3 Desperado
2 HQ Interface
1 R&D Interface ··
Resource (9)
3 Bank Job
3 Drug Dealer
3 Same Old Thing
Icebreaker (4)
1 Breach
2 Faerie
1 Faust ··
Program (6)
2 Datasucker · ·
2 Parasite ·· ··
2 Sneakdoor Beta

General Game-Plan: Do the Gabe thing early game. Pound HQ for money until they rez. Use Bank Job, Dirty Laundry, Desperado, and Gabe money to kill any long-term economy the Corp tries to set up. The Yellow Man must die; Jacksons in HQ are Kill On Sight, usually even if it costs all of your money. You will be glad you did it later. Be relentless. For example, if the Corp rezzes an Eli 1.0 on HQ, click through it aggressively (click through pretty every turn if you have Desperado + another benefit such as Datasucker, HQI, Dirty Laundry, or Account Siphon). Once they lock down HQ, drop a Sneakdoor and keep slamming them. While you spend pretty much all of your clicks running and slowing down the Corp, Drug Dealer can hook you up with the cards you need to keep the pressure on, and Parasite can tick away at particularly annoying ICE. Once the Corp has turtled up and stabilized you should hopefully have at least 2-4 points. At this point you can drop Faust and go into Hail-Mary mode, using Fisk Investment Seminar and HQ Interface to get tons of very random accesses that are difficult for the Corp to interact with. It is VERY hard to get a remote established against this deck’s extremely heavy pressure, not even considering its Inside Jobs and AI breaker. The Corp will have no place to put agendas, bleeding points until they lose.

Card explanations:

Economy Cards (14 + ID)

3 Desperado – This can make you upwards of 20-30 credits in a game if you are playing correctly. It reduces the trash costs on Assets by 1, lets you click through HQ Elis fairly painlessly, and lets you check R&D for free accesses without losing Tempo. This is still why you play Criminal.

3 Sure Gamble – This is amazing in the first phase of the game, and often Faust food in the later stages. Sure Gamble -> Desperado -> Run HQ -> Drug Dealer is a great start.

3 Dirty Laundry – This card may be better than Sure Gamble in this deck. You often have a ton of cards and you make so many runs that this is essentially a click-less “Discard this: Gain 3 Credits”, which is obviously busted with Drug Dealer. Also combos well with Bank Job.

3 Bank Job – Sexy Bots, PAD Campaigns, and SanSans must die, and this is the perfect weapon for taking them out. With our strategy demanding multiple ICE on all centrals, the Bank Jobs are usually trivial to fire. They also combo nicely with Fisk Investment Seminar, since many corps will spam all the assets they draw to clear out their hand, giving you easy targets. When your Drug habit takes you down to 0 credits this is the perfect way to bounce back. Robbing a Bank because you need Drug money just feels so believable.

2 Datasucker – This makes breaking Architect and other 3 strength ICE with Faust palatable. It also lets us blow up big things with Parasite, although this comes up less often than in an Anarch deck. You’re not actually in a hurry to install this, since you don’t have fixed breakers that depend on it to function. If you have really pressing things to do it can be pretty greedy to spend a click and a credit installing this when you won’t really need that many counters.

Gabriel Santiago, Consummate Professional – A lot of people have tried playing this concept out of other Criminals, particularly Andromeda and Leela. The synergy between breaking for 0 with Faust and then getting 3 credits back is incredible. You can Dirty Laundry into HQ on 2 credits and come out with 8! That’s stupid. Gabe also forces rezzes like no one else, sometimes setting up blowout early game Siphons or double Siphons that win the game on the spot. One of the best things you can do in Netrunner is force the Corp to defend a server that they don’t want to care about, and Gabe does that better than any other runner.

Denial Cards and Disruption Tools (9)

3 Account Siphon – You know what’s better than getting 10 credits? Getting 13 Credits. Knowing whether to shake your tags or not is often a tough choice with this deck. Always remember that just because you plan to shake eventually doesn’t mean you have to shake right away. A play I often make when I feel myself losing tempo from my first Siphon is to drop 2 Drug Dealers and shake 2 Tags with Faust in play, going into no-money mode for a while. Other games I just spam Siphons and float a huge pile of tags, using Drug Dealers as more of a Tag-Me resource like Joshua B, except a bit better because you get a card back right away. Often times the Corp can’t stomach the tempo hit of trashing your stuff and you will just get to keep your toys anyway.

2 Parasite – For a deck that slows down the game by forcing rezzes, Parasite is perfect. This also gives you quite a versatile solution to otherwise quite problematic cards like a Swordsman or Turing on HQ. You usually don’t have to hold these for anything in particular, just slap them on whatever you see and let them tick away. Finding the time to purge a Parasite is next to impossible against Gabe. You can also blow up bigger ICE with Datasucker in the usual way, although beware of Cyberdex Virus Suite when making this play against a Sentry or Blue Sun.

2 Emergency Shutdown – Sometimes people think it’s a good idea to lock Gabe out with a turn 1 Tollbooth Rez on HQ. Inside job or Sneakdoor into Shutdown should teach them otherwise. Also, Account Siphon -> Emergency Shutdown -> Inside Job remains an incredible mid-late game remote busting play. Clicking through Eli on HQ, gaining 3, and then shutting down the Eli is a totally reasonable play in the world of Drug Dealer.

2 Inside Job – This is really a denial card at heart, but it does a ton of work in this deck. It locks out remotes, saves you cards on an HQ run you would make anyway, defuses Cricium Grids at minimum cost, and enables blowout early game Emergency Shutdown plays. This card is pretty much never dead, and I Same Old Thing for it even more than Account Siphon, which perhaps is a sign that I should have 3 copies. There are only 2 for now just because drawing more than 1 at once is usually not great.

ICE Breakers (4, that’s right, 4)

1 Faust – This is our centerpiece, the 3 credit 1 MU instant rig. Gabe has always loved AI breakers, from the Knights of old, to Timmy Wong’s Overmind at Worlds 2014, nothing says Tempo like a cheap-to-install AI. How about one that takes no credits to use? Having no fear of going to 0 credits really opens up a lot of awesome plays. You can always bounce back in just a couple clicks with a Faust-Fueled HQ run or a Faust-Powered Bank Job. As long as you have 1 credit, you can always run HQ and have enough credits to steal an NAPD. I could have 2 Faust in here, but then I would have to cut a Parasite, which is unimaginable to me.

2 Faerie – This deals with Archer, Swordsman, Tsurugi, and Komainu, which are typically a massive problem for Faust. The former is a great Shutdown target after you Faerie it and the latter three can eat a Parasite. It’s also nice to stuff early Architects. I could see running 3 of these, but I honestly haven’t needed them. You usually need exactly 1 each game, and often not right away, so 2 copies is fine.

1 Breach – Corroder is not enough better than Breach in this deck to justify cutting a Parasite for the influence. The primary use of Breach is to make Wraparound 0 strength, but it’s also great for HQ Spiderweb or Curtain Wall, both of which Faust hates and both of which it breaks for cheaper than Corroder! I’ve actually been pretty impressed by this card and use it to break things more than I thought I would (although still not that often).

Breaker-ish things (4)

2 Special Order – These are essentially 0 influence Fausts 2-3. They can also search out your Breach if they have Wraparounds. I suppose you could also get a Faerie if you really needed to, but I’ve pretty much never done so.

2 Sneakdoor Beta – Typically this card is used to get a few points early and then is overwritten as the runner completes their rig. Not in this deck! Our final 5-MU rig is Sneakdoor, Faust, Datasucker, Breach/Faerie/Parasite. Having Sneakdoor out all game makes the Fisk Investment Seminar Hail Mary plan twice as efficient, since you can run whichever server is the cheapest. It’s pretty funny when people triple-ICE archives. This can also be game-breaking early game with Emergency Shutdown, and can serve as a de-facto Security testing if the Corp has an ICE-light draw or over-commits resources to defending HQ proper. The more they defend against Account Siphon, the less they defend against Sneakdoor Beta.

Recursion (5)

1 Levy AR Lab Access – This gives you the peace-of-mind to YOLO throw away all your cards without fear of running out. Having this in your deck makes the PE match-up trivial to win, whereas otherwise it could be a bit tricky. Unlike in Prepaid Kate, you want to wait as long as possible before playing this. After the early game pretty much all of your cards are just Faust-Food, so quantity matters more than quality. Against NBN I pretty much never play this, against HB glacier it gets played about 60% of the time, and against Jinteki it gets played about 80% of the time (stupid The Future Perfect in HQ drags out the games). I don’t really have enough data against Weyland (sigh…such is the state of things).

3 Same Old Thing – Having 3 of these gives you Levy security and tons of options for what to recur. Remember that you cannot play Fist Investment Seminar with this. This essentially expands your hand-size for 0 credits, which is really nice. I probably recur Inside Job the most, since it is at its best at the very early and very late stages of the game, whereas Account Siphon falls off in the late game.

1 Clone Chip – This is our Swordsman/Marcus Batty insurance. I could just play a 2nd Faust, but I really liked the idea of a Faerie, Parasite, back-up Faust split-card. Mid-run Parasite-Datasucker kills don’t happen that much, but when they do it’s incredible.

Multiaccess – (6)

2 HQ Interface – This deck often makes a bunch of money and needs none of it to break ICE. Any extra money you have goes straight into interfaces to make you more efficient. This is better than Legwork in this deck because of the synergy with Sneakdoor Beta and the sheer number of times that you hit HQ.

1 R&D Interface – Many players will turtle up HQ and Archives with 3+ ICE and leave just a single piece on R&D. We need a card to punish this extreme case. This gets discarded a lot, but when it gets played it wins the game and is absolutely un-cuttable for me.

3 Fist Investment Seminar – OK, so this is not really multi-access, but it essentially makes your HQ interfaces do double-duty. This card is REALLY REALLY HARD TO USE. It took over a month to learn how to use it properly, and I’m a pretty quick learner. If you play this too early or in a bad window you can undo all of your hard work and essentially throw the game. The times to play this are

  1. Right before you land a certain Account Siphon, which will break the Corp and leave them on 7-8 cards in hand.
  2. Late in the game when you don’t care at all about tempo anymore and only about points, and you can hit HQ that same turn as well as the next for at least 2 cards each time.
  3. When the Corp Install-Advanced an agenda last turn and you smell blood (the blood-smelling is the part that takes practice)
  4. You REALLY need Faust food and it’s an EMERGENCY.
  5. You are trying to deck the Corp and are planning to play one of these every turn for the rest of the game.

By using levy to play this 6 times I have actually won a TON of games by depleting R&D. Sometimes the Corp FINALLY locks you out with something gross like 4 ICE on every central, but doesn’t have enough clicks to finish the game before you draw them out of cards. Usually the cause of this game-state is the Corp sitting on a protected Jackson that is hiding 6-8 points in Archives for most of the game. People who have tried this deck and cut this card are just lazy and need to play about 50 more games with it. (Note: This card is MUCH better against Glacier and is really bad against a scored Astroscript Pilot Program. In certain Meta-games it may be cut-able, but I found that doing so really cripples the glacier match-up).

Your nasty habit (3)

3 Drug Dealer – Without this card, this strategy would not be possible. You get money for accessing, you get cards from your money, and you use those cards to get more accesses. It’s a beautiful circle of life. Before you play Faust you can support 1 of these, and once you have Faust out 2 of them is ideal. I have had 3 before and it’s REALLY fun, but you have to be really committed to the 0-credits-for-the-rest-of-the-game plan to do that. This card is just incredible. In-faction Click-less draw with almost no setup cost is exactly what Criminal needed, and Faust makes the downside much less relevant.

Notable Excludes

Plascrete Carapace – I never play silver bullets until they are proven necessary. Until now I haven’t had much trouble out-moneying Scorch decks, but 24/7 News Cycle really changes things. If 24/7 Scorch is a common opponent for you and you want to play some of these you can cut some number of Same Old Thing, Emergency Shutdown, or Fisk Investment Seminar for them.

Security Testing – This takes a lot of Clicks to use, has anti-synergy with Sneakdoor (they already want to ICE archives), sucks without Desperado, and is way worse than Bank Job when you have to go Tag-Me. This deck doesn’t really need consistent money besides Gabe’s ability and Desperado, so tons of burst to set up quickly is better. This card is way worse in Gabe than in Andy, since getting it and Desperado online quickly is way harder.

Actual Breakers – Some people have suggested a Mimic and a Passport for this deck, but I haven’t found that I need them. Feel free to try them out, but they feel like they solve a problem that the deck doesn’t really have. The 1 install cost on Passport is intriguing, but when I’ve tested it I never installed it, and it quickly got cut.

Final Thoughts

This deck is amazing. It has been consistently performing for me both locally and on OCTGN, and I am getting better at piloting it and understanding its win-conditions in each match-up every time I play it. It is also SUPER FUN and dynamic. If you want to just pick up your deck and throw your cards at the Corp until they lose, this is your deck.

Faust_Gabe

Give Faust Gabe a try and let me know how it does for you. If you want to discuss the deck with me, you can do so here or in the Stimhack forums or Slack chat channel. Here are some questions to consider if you are looking to make changes:

  1. Does the deck want some more 1-of real breakers. Is it worth influence for Mimic?
  2. How many of the flex Criminal tricks should there be (Inside Job, Shutdown, Same Old Thing)?
  3. How often is it correct to float tags? Can the deck stay at 0-1 Plascretes safely? What should be cut for them if they are required?
  4. Is Parasite appropriate, or a crutch?
  5. Does the deck need more R&D pressure besides the 1 R&D Interface?

See you on OCTGN

-TheBigBoy

Exploring Parasite Abuse with Nasir Meidan

Parasite is a stupid card.

When I played Noise to 2nd at MN Regionals, I had 3 Crypsis in my deck and no other breakers (unless you count the 2 D4v1d). I joked afterwards that I used him to break fewer than 10 subroutines in the entire tournament (6 rounds of swiss and 6 elimination games). When Faust came out I switched to 3 Faust…then 2 Faust…then 1 Faust 1 Mimic. The deck is still performing amazingly well, both on OCTGN and locally. I do use Faust more than I used Crypsis, but a lot of the time he just speeds up the inevitable, putting away games that I would probably win anyway. I am far from the only one having success with Noise right now. Depending who you ask he is either the best or 2nd best Runner deck right now (after Kate). I would argue that although Peddler and Faust added consistency to Noise, he was definitely Tier 1 before those cards were printed, he just took a bit more practice to play. This is because…

Parasite is the best runner card in the game, and Noise is the strongest deck that uses Parasite in an abusive way.

The best Noise players will tell you that they often win games without ever touching archives. It’s not the milling. It’s not the AI breaker. It’s not the Wyldside draw engine. It’s not the Pawnshop economy. All of these things are obviously strong, but Parasite is the real hero.

As an exercise, I set out to build the deck that abuses Parasite to the most disgusting extent that I could. I did this mostly as a joke and to prove a point, but the deck ended up surprisingly strong! Again, my goal was not to make the best parasite deck, but the most abusive parasite deck, maximizing the power of that single card as a thought experiment.

Let’s be clear. I’m not saying this deck is not without problems. It has a lot of problems, and I’ll discuss them after I explain the deck. This deck is very fun and very interesting to play, even if it is far from tier 1.

http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/JoapmhaSWH6ffMkLA

ParaNasir (45 cards)

Nasir Meidan: Cyber Explorer

Event (6)

3 Diesel

3 Stimhack · · ·

Hardware (11)

2 Astrolabe

3 Clone Chip

1 HQ Interface ··

2 Plascrete Carapace

3 R&D Interface

Resource (14)

2 Armitage Codebusting

3 Earthrise Hotel

3 Ghost Runner

2 Kati Jones

3 Personal Workshop

1 Utopia Shard ·

Icebreaker (5)

2 Atman

1 Cerberus “Lady” H1

1 Cyber Cypher

1 Sharpshooter

Program (9)

3 Datasucker · · ·

3 Parasite ·· ·· ··

3 Self-modifying Code

ParaNasir

General Game-Plan: Use the Nasir ID ability to put the Corp in a bind every time you run. Either they let you in and give you Datasucker counters and/or multi-accesses, or they rez ICE. If they rez you make money and then immediately slap a Parasite on it, repeating this process until the Corp floods out due to constantly having to shore up R&D, or until they cave, failing to defend R&D, bleeding endless Virus counters and accesses until you win. If the Corp manages to get a reasonable amount of ICE rezzed on R&D that you can’t kill, a Stimhack can fund an Atman that can efficiently slide you through. In the late game you have Atman + Lady efficiency and 3 R&D Interface, along with Kati econ to close out the game. Remotes are constantly threatened by Stimhack. Run into the remote with very little money, letting the Corp rez, making you cash, and then Stimhack in if necessary. Bravely face-check with no money all game. The more passively you play, the harder things get for you. When in doubt, get a sucker and run, run, run!

Card Choices

Cards that punish the Corp for letting you in

3 Datasucker – This card makes Parasite and Atman into hyper-efficient monsters. If you don’t have a sucker in your opener you should SMC for one the first time the Corp lets you in. Your late game rig will often have 2 of these out.

3 R&D Interface – This is your win-condition as well as early game credit-dump to enable your ID ability. Great synergy with Personal Workshop.

1 HQ Interface – If you draw this early it can provide some nice pressure, but otherwise this is used to clean out HQ if the Corp tries to turtle up and over-defends R&D. The synergy with Personal Workshop and our sheer volume of runs makes this stronger than Legwork in this deck. Some people have suggested Nerve Agent, but that card has memory issues and purging viruses is already strong against us.

1 Utopia Shard – More HQ pressure for 1 influence and a little bit of Scorch Protection as well. Nasir makes getting this into play for free very easy.

Cards that punish the Corp for Rezzing

3 Parasite – The earlier the Corp rezzes, the earlier you can get your Parasites ticking. The later they rez, the more likely it is that you can instantly burn their ice down with Datasucker counters and a Parasite off of a Personal Workshop, SMC, or Clone Chip. Always remember that you can Parasite up to 6 times with this deck, and you want to use them all every game. Be very aggressive with your first 5 uses, but then get stingy with your last one so that you’re not out of Parasites when you really need one!

3 Clone Chip – These are Parasite 4-6. Sometimes you have use these on SMC, but baby Hackson Joward (the savior of Runners) cries every time you do.

Nasir Meidan, Cyber Explorer – This ID makes you tons of money over the course of the game if you are built to abuse it. Remember that if the Corp rezzes a Pop-up Window or Pup you can instantly kill it with Parasite mid-run to not lose all your money! For those who have not played Nasir before, you have 2 windows to spend your money. You see the ice and then can spend your credits before you lose them all (on paid abilities but NOT to break subroutines). You then encounter the ice (hopefully with 0 credits) and gain credits equal to its cost. You can then spend that money to break the ice, or just bounce off having made a profit. Nasir makes it REALLY rough for the Corp to rez very expensive ice, which is precisely the ice that will not instantly fold to Parasite, which is why our plan fits this ID so well. Sometimes rezzing a Curtain Wall or Susanoo-no-Mikoto against Nasir is game-losing, which is great news for a Parasite deck.

Breakers

2 Atman – This is your primary breaker. Some games you will have these at 2 and 4, sometimes at 3 only, sometimes at 3 and 4, and sometimes at very strange numbers.  Figuring out the right Atman number(s) for each game is a very fun puzzle and very rewarding when you get it right! When I first built this deck I had a standard breaker suite, but the more I played it, the easier I found it to get Datasucker counters (people REALLY don’t like giving you money), making an Atman suite extremely efficient. For a while I had 3 Atmans in the deck, but I never needed 3 out at once, so I dropped it down. I’ve been amazed by how many ICE suites you can just slide right through with a Datasucker or two and an Atman at 3, after having blown up all the small ice with Parasite.

1 Cerberus “Lady” H1 – I originally had an Inti here as the Wraparound hate card, but Lady has been excellent. Often the Corp’s only strength 4 ice will be Eli, and this can save you an Atman. Lady + Stimhack also answers Oversight AI Curtain Walls. Lady is just a great breaker, and it gets even better when you don’t completely depend on it and instead just use it as an efficiency tool (in the same way that my Professor deck does).

1 Cyber-Cypher – I got sick of getting stopped by Turing, and this breaker is great for R&D tunnel vision. It also gives us a Lotus Field answer when we don’t have a Stimhack to pay for our Atman 4.

1 Sharpshooter – I hardly ever use this, but when I have it’s turned certain losses into certain wins. Some people try to punk you with Archer and friends, and it’s nice to have an out.

Consistency cards

3 Self-Modifying Code – This searches for Datasucker and Parasite primarily. It CAN search for Atman with Stimhack money, but I’ve found that I usually draw those by the time I want them, and you can still Stimhack them out using Personal Workhop.

3 Earthrise Hotel – This is great card draw for Nasir. It helps you empty your credit pool and saves your clicks for running and loading Personal Workshop. You are too poor to use burst draw like Quality Time.

3 Diesel – You empty your hand a lot and are broke a lot, so 3 cards for a click and a card at 0 credits is a good deal. This is also a very linear deck where our best cards are VERY important, meaning the fact that Diesel is a cost-efficient but slot-inefficient card draw option makes it perfect for us.

2 Astrolabe – Your late-game rig often needs 5 MU and this card somewhat helps combat Asset spam, something that Nasir can struggle against.

Efficiency/Economy Cards

3 Stimhack – This gives you 9 credits for 0 clicks. That’s a good deal if you weren’t aware. This is how you pay for your Atmans and your late-game Hail Mary triple RDI runs. Use these REALLY aggressively. Pop them off as soon as you feel the game slipping away. Also, you never want to discard a Stimhack to a Stimhack, which is even more reason to use them ASAP. Remember that you need to have a way to spend the 9 credits at paid ability speed if they have unrezzed ice, since the 9 credits are technically in your credit pool.

2 Armitage Codebusting – This is the best runner card for getting you from broke to not-broke is the least painful way. Your Atmans will often make R&D 3-4 credits in the midgame, which means clicking Armitage 2-3 times should get you in. These should keep you afloat until you get your Kati going for late game.  A lot of corps will rez naked Adonis Campaigns and such when you are poor, and this helps you clear those out.

3 Ghost Runner – Even though we are not running stealth, this card is CLUTCH. If you were not aware, you keep these credits when you lose all your money to Nasir. You often enter servers with 0-2 credits and these can save you on NAPDs, The Future Perfect, and key trashes. They also prevent the Corp from locking you out by putting a cheap piece of ice in front of a server, and they are a real life-saver when you are just a couple credits short at the end of a really long run with a bunch of Nasir triggers. Be careful spending these! They are precious! It’s better to use them 3 times when you are 1 credit short of what you want to do than 1 time when you are 3 credits short.

2 Kati Jones – When R&D is all rezzed in the late game and you have Parasited as much as you can, Kati gives you the money to get those last few accesses to close out the game. It’s also ok to drop Kati and start loading her early if you have to deal with a lot of Assets.

3 Personal Workshop – Host your Interfaces, Parasites, breakers, and Clone Chips on here. This is your primary money-dump and lets you run with more than 0 credits in your pool without being wasteful. Be careful about putting Atmans on here too early! You don’t want them to automatically install when you’re not ready (unless you will want one at 0 anyway, in which case go ahead).

Tech Cards

2 Plascrete Carapace – Nasir doesn’t build credits, and our economy is built on Stimhack, so tag-and-bag and Punitive traces are terrifying! However, no one is playing SEA source right now which presents an interesting possibility. We can replace these slots with Film Critic which protects us from both Punitive and Midseasons, and also helps against NAPD and Future Perfect, taking a lot of stress off of our Ghost Runners. When Film Critic comes out on OCTGN I expect to make this switch and the deck should become much stronger because of it.

(Edit: I wrote this article the day before going to league night with the deck. I saw a decent amount of Sea Source so the Plascrete vs. Film Critic question is still up in the air. Sadly, my current stance is that Plascrete is necessary, which is a bit of a bummer.)

———————————

Problems

This deck is very powerful, but every deck has issues. Here are some of ours:

Cyberdex Virus Suite – This shuts off archives and sometimes this can be blown mid-run to lock us out. Bummer. I haven’t lost a game to a big cyberdex play yet, but the card has been really annoying.

Dedicated Net Damage decks – Personal Evolution and The Brewery decks are hard match-ups. Use good anti-PE tactics (run all the Mushins) and hope for the best! You can put in a Deus Ex if you want, but I’ve found it’s not worth it. The card is just too dead the rest of the time and these decks are not common enough to warrant it. Don’t play your Stimhacks unless they’re winning you the game. Interestingly there is a brand of PE right now that uses uncorrodable tactics instead of much flat-line threat, and our match-up against them is actually pretty good!

SanSan City Grid – What a pain. 5 Trash is hard and you may have to blow a Stimhack to get rid of this if they get it online early. Late game hopefully your Parasites and RDIs lead to an R&D lock that lets you not care about this card as much. The Astrobiotics match-up is a bummer in a lot of ways.

Tagging Ice – Data Raven and Gutenberg are really annoying. Oh well, they suck for everyone. Admittedly, these will get even more obnoxious if I cut the Plascretes for Film Critic.

Ice rezzed without a run – Whenever the Corp uses Oversight AI, Accelerated Beta Test, or Executive Boot Camp to rez something, we miss out on a bunch of money. This doesn’t completely hose us, but it is a big speed-bump. The Blue sun match-up is kind of interesting. If they don’t draw an Oversight relatively early our ID completely stomps them, but if they do, we can get locked out of suckers and fall behind really fast.

What I learned about the game from playing this deck

Parasite is a fun-killer. It is important for the game as a solution to otherwise very problematic ice (NEXT Silver, Komainu, Tsurugi, Pup), but it comes with a lot of collateral damage. When I played against Tier 1 decks with ParaNasir, I had iffy results. RP was ok if I could get early momentum, and was probably the best of them for me to deal with, but all varieties of NEH, and the Asset-Heavy versions of HB ETF were awful. However, this deck had disgusting win-rates against anything but the best decks, even when played by strong players (strong being defined by my metric of: “I recognize this player’s name from the Stimhack forum or from videos, and he/she seems pretty smart”). Greenhouse Rush? Stomped. NEXT ICE HB? Stomped. Blue sun vegan? Stomped (mulligan for Datasucker). Parasite is the fun-police.

One thing we all love about Netrunner is that we can go through our binders to build a fresh and interesting deck and, as long as we have a clear path to victory (see the last article), the deck will have a pretty good shot against decks that our friends build in a similar way. ParaNasir, Tag-me Siphon Anarch, and other super linear Parasite-abusers destroy casual play. It’s the for-fun archetype that stomps other for-fun decks with disgusting consistency while not really having a chance against most competitive decks if they have any idea what you are up to.

Final Thoughts

My wife was curious one day about how to play my Noise deck (http://netrunner.meteor.com/decks/6cdScADY9ipc8hZMb), so we played some games with me playing a pretty standard HB FA deck. I got up 6-0 and then in the course of 2 turns she killed all of my R&D ICE and double-medium dug for 7 points all at once. I was laughing and asked, “Isn’t that cool!?!?” She said, a bit sadly, “That felt dirty, and not in a good way.” I asked why and she said “I didn’t play an ice-breaker for the whole game. That’s stupid.”

I love Netrunner, and I LOVE Parasite, but as someone who has caned it over and over for his entire Netrunner lifespan, I can honestly say I think it would be good for the game if both Parasite and Clone Chip had been printed at 3 Influence. The combination is just too efficient, to easy, and too game-warping. You should have to give up a lot to put it in your deck, and right now you don’t.

I’m heading back to work as a high-school teacher this week, so I will be updating a bit less frequently. I’m going to shoot for once a month. Thanks for reading! I’ve had some people tell me they’ve really enjoyed playing some of the decks I’ve posted here and that means a lot, as I put a lot of time into building and grinding games with them. If you ever have questions for me about them or any of the ideas I’ve posted, just drop a comment. See you on OCTGN (TheBigBoy).

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 🙂

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…)

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