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Subject: [Deck] HB:ETF Sentry Tax rss

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Aleksi Laitinen
Finland
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The deck started off as a HB:ST experiment with lots of small bioroids, and it already felt pretty solid. Then I came to my senses, and swapped ST with ETF and changed some ice around. I've played about a dozen games with the deck, which is relatively many for me considering I only get to play on 2-4 days every couple of weeks.

The basic idea came from some decks very early this year, where the strategy was to make running as expensive as possible and use high trash cost economy assets in the safety of the runner being poor. I don't even remember the decklists for those, so this deck is built completely from scratch, and after several iterations, this is how it's ended up like.


Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future (49 cards)

Agenda (9)
3 Accelerated Beta Test
1 Director Haas' Pet Project
2 Project Vitruvius
3 Project Wotan

Asset (9)
3 Adonis Campaign
3 Eve Campaign
3 PAD Campaign

Upgrade (3)
3 Akitaro Watanabe ••••• •

Operation (5)
2 Closed Accounts ••
3 Hedge Fund

Barrier (6)
3 Bastion
3 Eli 1.0

Code Gate (3)
3 Viktor 2.0

Sentry (14)
2 Caduceus ••••
3 Hunter
3 Ichi 1.0
3 Rototurret
3 Shadow •••


Agendas

The number of agendas is as compressed as possible without sacrificing the ability to often score a total of 7 points as 2+2+2+1, 3+2+2, or 3+3+1 instead of 3+3+3 or 3+3+2. This allows as much ice and money in the deck as possible. Even though there are only 9 bioroids in the deck, Project Wotan seems the best choice for the three-pointer, as PQ would save 5 credits at best, and there might not even be unrezzed ice on the server you'd want to protect the most.

With 23 ice in the deck and only 9 agendas, Accelerated Beta Test has a pretty good chance at not backfiring. Depending on the meta, the third ABT can be swapped with a third Project Vitruvius in case of Noise/Imp/Demolition Run, etc.


Economy

The amount of money in the deck is as optimal as I've been able to construct based on the games I've played. If the Runner doesn't trash the assets, the flow of money is pretty insane. If the Runner does trash the assets, he is generally too poor to pound through the ice that you can afford to rez anyway. Imp is a devil, but a good strategy against it is to install the economy assets on the same mildly protected server one after another, so that the runner has to spend some money to get to trash them anyway.

Before I realized how amazingly Akitaro fits into this deck, I was using Pop-up Windows and Marked Accounts, which weren't too bad but not too great either; they took more deck space than the Akitaros for less of a benefit. I was already using Akitaros in the Stronger Together version of this deck, and when I switched to ETF, I thought I'd have enough money to take off the Akitaros for something like a couple of Tollbooths and a third Caduceus, but after further testing, I realized the economy wasn't as great to begin with as it should've been, so I put the Akitaros back.


Ice

The huge number of sentries is the key to this deck. Even with the most optimal sentry breakers, it always costs a lot to get through them: Caduceus is 2 with Mimic, Hunter is 1 with Atman, Ichi 1.0 is 3 with Atman, Rototurret is 2 with Atman/Femme/Mimic/Ninja/Pipeline, Shadow is 2 with Atman/Femme/Mimic/Pipeline... Eli 1.0 and Viktor 2.0 make it sure that the runner can't get away only having a Killer installed, and are pretty expensive to break as well. Bastion is not as good as I'd want, but I can't think of a better alternative—a few options I've considered are Viktor 1.0 (dies to Yog.0), Minelayer (sometimes does nothing at all), Viper, and Ash 2X3ZB9CY (too many tracers die to link).

I'll briefly mention Faerie and Deus X, because they let the Runner through pretty easily... once. However, once can still hurt if it's combined with The Maker's Eye and/or RDI. Parasite hasn't really felt dangerous since there is so much ice in the deck that you can easily replace the dead one. Maybe some heavy Parasite recursion could hurt a bit more.

The fact that there are Closed Accounts in the deck makes it a bad idea for the Runner to keep the tags from Hunter, Shadow, and Ichi 1.0, so he can only choose between three options: pay for the trace (lose money), pay to remove the tag (lose a click and money), or keep the tag (lose any potential resources and sometimes get hit by Closed Accounts). I had a third Closed Accounts at first, but they were just sitting in my hand most of the time. Two has felt like a good number, but then again, I haven't played this deck against self-tagging criminals.


Strategy

Strategy is pretty straightforward: install the most ETR ice on one big remote and install the rest on centrals (with some ETR there, too). Most of my games I've ended up with 4-6 deep ice towers on R&D, HQ, and a remote, with the economy to keep them rezzed. Wait for the Runner to get poor, then install an agenda and score it the next turn. I'm not quite sure what happens if the Runner amasses money instead of runs frequently, but you'll hopefully get rich in the meantime as well, and can create even deeper servers. In panic mode, bait runs with Akitaros and assets.

While R&D lock is probably the biggest threat, it can be protected by a crazy ice tower, and while the Runner collects the money for the next run, you get to draw cards to break free. I used to play Anonymous Tips, but the situations where they'd be useful were so rare that I eventually got rid of them.

If you don't draw many agendas in early game, it's sometimes possible to only heavily protect R&D and a remote, and keep only a couple of ice on HQ and Archives just to deal with any nuances with Datasuckers, Emergency Shutdowns, etc. However, this obviously isn't viable against Account Siphon (and therefore Gabe).

As I pointed out, my number of games with this deck is not incredibly high, so there might be decks that beat it pretty easily; let me know if anything comes to mind!
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Jacek Wieszaczewski
Poland
Wrocław
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A1win wrote:
Project Wotan seems the best choice for the three-pointer, as PQ would save 5 credits at best. (...) R&D lock is probably the biggest threat

Maybe use Executive Retreat as your 3-pointer then?
 
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Aleksi Laitinen
Finland
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Project Wotan still has a good effect: at minimum, it's three less credits for the Runner, and at best it ends or delays a vital run with all three of the counters. I only say "R&D lock is probably the biggest threat" because I haven't played against many decks that have tried to R&D lock me, and most of those games I've won anyway. It's only those few games I've lost that have been due to some kind of an R&D lock or deep dig. I'll need to do more testing to find out whether Executive Retreat is a better choice, but it certainly is under consideration.

One weakness I forgot to mention is e3 Feedback Implants which makes Ichi and Eli rather cheap to go through. With deep enough ice towers it isn't necessarily game breaking, though.

Let me know if you have an idea what the best strategy against this deck is. I'd like to make sure the deck doesn't just appear good because runners are playing against it badly.
 
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Arto H
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I feel the deck has a bit poor early game to rush agendas. You need a bit cheaper ETR ice and some operation burst economy to reliable do that. And I feel the deck has a weak late game to not be able to push final points with Sansan or Biotic. I would like to see more focus on either of these, no it feels bit unfocused. Also Bastion and Roto seems to be only ICE you can reliable score Wotan in early remote. Both are bit expensive and you don't want to turn Roto without breaking a program. Ash instead of PADs is good to help with Wotan. The deck seems to go to endgame with lot of economy assets and taxing ICE on centrals though so Biotics make a lot of sense.

I get the idea of putting assets during end game to force runs but I don't think ICE are so expensive to break. Especially because you need big tower to remote and R&D to avoid R&D lock and you still need remotes to be safe also. Atman at 4 which is very likely will punch through from 12 ICE and 3 more with one sucker token. I would think of adding some Enigmas and maybe even some more expensive ICE to make running the remotes more of a loss to runner.
 
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Aleksi Laitinen
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Good call on Atman, I haven't actually played against a deck with them. The first version of the deck had a lot better ice composition against Atman but I've forgotten to keep an eye on it for a while. Maybe Enigma as the only ice that fails to Yog.0 wouldn't be too bad.

I really do want Ash in the deck, and I suppose I could give it a try by replacing the PADs with it. Edit: I just have a feeling that cutting off more money or ice will cause the deck to lose its tempo.

The deck almost always tends to go to late game, but I haven't felt that it's particularly weak there. You get insane ice towers that the runner pretty much has to break even if the ice don't end the run.
 
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Wesley Austin Kinslow
United States
Tennessee
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↳ Do one brain damage ↳ Do one brain damage ↳ End the run
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I only really like Project Wotan if you're using 2.0s whenever possible - usually in a HB "Big Ice" build.
 
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