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Subject: So Cal Regionals 1st place runner deck rss

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Billy Martin
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The regionals in Pasadena last weekend had 35 participants. Lodan did an excellent write-up over here. I got 1st place in the swiss rounds and survived the elimination rounds to take 1st place overall as well.

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder

Identity:
Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional (Core)


Total Cards: (45)

Event: (21)
Account Siphon (Core) x3
Inside Job (Core) x3
Special Order (Core) x3
Sure Gamble (Core) x3
The Maker's Eye (Core) x3 ■■
Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus) x3
Forged Activation Orders (Core) x2
Deja Vu (Core) x1 ■■

Hardware: (6)
Desperado (Core) x3
Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead) x3

Program: (12)
Corroder (Core) x3 ■■
Yog.0 (Core) x1 ■
Ninja (Core) x1
Femme Fatale (Core) x2
Sneakdoor Beta (Core) x3
Crypsis (Core) x2

Resource: (6)
Armitage Codebusting (Core) x3
Compromised Employee (Trace Amount) x3

Influence Values Totals -
Anarch: 9
Criminal: 62
Shaper: 6

This deck is what I would call Your Typical Solid Criminal Deck. In a card-for-card comparison, it's probably not too much different from the Criminal deck you're currently playing. I wanted to talk about it because I think there is a lot to be said about how you play this deck, and I think there is some interesting reasoning for the small differences it has from your criminal deck.

I play on OCTGN a lot. I've been practicing with this particular deck lately, but I also play a lot of other criminal decks, and I've been playing many criminal decks since Netrunner was released. I've gotten pretty good at playing criminal. It's one of my favorite factions. Definitely in the top 3, IMO.

It is my opinion that if you take a deck like the one above and play it really well, then you will win all of your games except against the luckiest of corporations. However, it takes a fair amount of skill and experience to do so. In particular, you need to have mastered the following points:

1) Knowing when to run R&D and when to put pressure on remotes.
2) Knowing what possible threats await you on any particular run, and which of those are most likely.
3) Knowing when to draw cards and when to click for credits.
4) Knowing when the corp ought to have agendas in hand, and when they ought to have an agenda in a remote server.
5) Knowing when to accept tags from the corporation and when to avoid them like the plague.
6) Basic game mechanics and economy optimization.

If you can do all that then with this deck you should win probably 90% of games, and the games you lose will almost always be one of the following:

A) The corp manages to get all of their pieces together really early in the game and kills you with Scorched Earth in the first few turns.

B) The corp has a remote server with a cheap inner-most ice that you can't break because you never draw the breaker for it and you never draw Special Order.

There isn't really a whole lot you can do about either of these scenarios. It's just bad luck. All you can do is build your deck as well as you can to at least minimize the odds and the deck above does this without sacrificing the economic pieces that make it so strong in all other scenarios.

You will also lose to:

C) You screw up one of the six points above.

Mistakes happen and everyone makes them. This deck takes a fair amount of skill to play and is much more skill-intensive than a typical Noise deck. Sometimes it seems like Noise can be difficult because a Noise deck will present you with a lot of choices, but usually almost all of the options are good, so it doesn't matter terribly much which one you choose. I would say that to play Noise really well you only need to master point 2 and 6 above, and maybe a little of 4, but the rest your deck will decide for you and you should do alright. With Criminal and Shaper, though, you need to have all of the above down pat.

I've certainly lost a fair number of games as Criminal because of some stupid mistake. But whenever I lose with Noise I feel like it was because I was unlucky. During the tournament, there were at least a couple games I played against Noise players where they accessed or trashed quite a lot of cards from R&D, but they just didn't quite manage to rack up enough agenda points for the win.

Let's talk about point #1 which is when do you run R&D. I see beginner/intermediate players screw this up all the time. They'll be in a situation where they have a bunch of money and can get through R&D but it's a little expensive. Then they'll draw Maker's Eye and be like, "sweet! Now it's cost effective!" and hit R&D. Next turn I put an Agenda down and they no longer have enough cash to run it. Don't do this.

Your priority should be pressuring remotes unless you are sure the corp has no agendas in HQ. Even if you don't have all of your breakers, just by having a lot of cash you are putting pressure on remotes. Think about it from the corp's perspective. They have a remote with a couple of ice. It's early game. If the runner is broke, they can put an agenda down with impunity because in order to steal it, the runner has to first play the required breaker and second have enough money to get through. This is highly unlikely, particularly if they don't know which breaker they need. Compare to when the runner has a lot of money. Now the corp is nervous. They could risk the agenda, but the runner might have exactly what they need, so he can run the server to face-check the ice and then play either their Gordian Blade or their Corroder on the next click and get through. This is excellent pressure. Even if you don't happen to have both a Fracter and a Decoder in your hand, you can put this pressure on the corp just by having money. Don't give this up just for an R&D run.

This pressure is particularly important for Gabe because if the corp feels like they can't put an agenda in a remote then those agendas will build up in HQ. Then when you draw Sneakdoor or whatever you need to get in there, you'll be able to steal them.

So when should you run R&D? The correct answer is, you should run R&D when you really don't want the corp to draw an agenda. This is true when there is a really strong remote server that you can't get into right now, or when the corp has fast advance capabilities. This is the perfect time for a Maker's Eye because that can buy you a lot of time to get your things together and put pressure on that remote.

Often there will be times when the corp really really does not want to draw an agenda. Recognize these times. It's when the corp has no way to score it, and especially when they already have an agenda or two in hand, and they're really hoping you don't get that icebreaker you need to hit HQ. If the corp would hate to draw an agenda, then it doesn't much matter if you steal it from R&D since you're probably going to get it eventually anyway. If the corp is spending a lot of effort defending HQ and doesn't have a remote and doesn't have fast advance, then you don't need to run R&D. Of course, if it's completely undefended then run anyway, as you might as well just for reconnaissance (though in this scenario you've probably already won as long as you don't fuck up badly).

Now let's talk about point #5 which is when do you take tags? This is a very interesting question that nobody really addresses. I would say like 90% of players I play against act as though having a tag on the corp's turn at any point in the game is an auto-lose. Man, it just isn't. You don't need to be that afraid of tags. Yes, they can be dangerous, but they are also very expensive to remove and having a strong economy is critical. Sometimes it's better to just be tagged.

Consider the common scenario where the corp has a Data Raven on HQ. If you try to run it without taking a tag, that will cost you at least 3 credits to get past the trace and on top of that you have to spend another click and 2 credits removing the tag. That sucks. Compare to the situation where you have 20 tags already. Now you can run HQ for free and get 3 credits per turn and the corp can't hide agendas from you. That can break the game wide open and it is very hard to lose in that situation.

Be aware of the risks and play accordingly. If you can keep 4 cards in your hand on the corp's turn, then no matter how many tags you have Weyland can't win unless he has two scorched earth in hand AND at least 5 credits at the start of their turn. You only need to watch out for that while you walk through their Data Ravens and Hunters and Shadows and steal all their agendas. If you are running HQ every turn you should be at least vaguely aware of how many Scorched Earth they have. If it's only 1, then keep 4 cards in hand and hope you draw Plascrete before they draw a 2nd Scorched. Keep them broke with Account Siphon and pressure. Draw a lot of cards until you get Plascrete.

If you are playing against a typical Weyland deck, and you have the following on the table: Corroder, Yog, and a Plascrete Carapace or two, and they don't have any Agendas scored, then you have probably won the game. What ice do they have in their deck that can stop you? Caduceus maybe? Hadrian's? That's about it. When you can run anywhere for free there isn't a lot the corp can do to win.

I could probably write an entire post on this topic and maybe I will if the discussion focuses too heavily on this but for now I should move on because I haven't even gotten around to talking about the deck or the tournament yet!

The Deck

The first thing I'm going to say about the specific list above is that if I were going to cut anything from it I would cut Compromised Employee, and if I did cut it I would replace all three with another economy card such as Easy Mark or Infiltration. The deck above has a LOT of economy cards and this is the KEY to making it win so often. You want to have a ton of cash on hand at all times to keep pressure on the corp's remote servers so they can't score anything. Meanwhile you build up your rig and keep the corp as broke as possible.

One thing I thought long and hard about right before the tournament was if I should take out Ninja and replace it with a third Crypsis. My reasoning was there is only a handful of ice where Ninja is significantly cheaper than Crypsis at breaking. Those ice are Rototurret, Neural Katana, and Ichi 1.0. In the end I decided to keep Ninja and I'm glad I did because there was a lot of Rototurret at the tournament and I Special Ordered for it a time or two.

This reminds me of a question that comes up in deckbuilding which is how many of a particular card should you play? My answer is this:

3 copies of cards you want in your opening hand or you want to play as many times as possible.
2 copies of cards you want to draw at some point during the game.
1 copy of cards you want to draw in the late game, or cards you usually don't want to draw but occasionally want to tutor for.

Compromised Employee is a card you really really want in your opening hand and it kind of sucks to draw late game, so you should be playing either three copies or zero copies. It can be a devastatingly powerful economic engine, and the reason I play it here is because it combos so well with Emergency Shutdown. I'm not just talking about the extra credit you get when they re-rez the ice. Mostly, it's that while Emergency Shutdown handles large ice for you, Compromised Employee helps you against decks with just a lot of cheap ice.

There are also a few specific tracer ice that this deck has a hard time with: Viper, Ichi 1.0, and Caduceus. A Compromised Employee makes each of these a credit cheaper to run though which is kind of a big deal. In the case of Viper and Caduceus, multiple Compromised Employees can make them a lot easier to get past.

As I said before, one thing the Typical Solid Criminal Deck sometimes loses to is an inner-most cheap ice you don't have a breaker for. This is usually an Enigma or a Rototurret. Having two Crypsis helps solve this problem. In previous criminal decks, those slots would be Peacock instead, so that I have three copies of each breaker type and something that can deal with Tollbooth. However with Emergency Shutdown, Tollbooth is actually kind of a blessing for this deck. The amount of economic damage to the corp that comes from shutting down a Tollbooth is so great that it generally negates its raw stopping power.

Yog is just fantastic. It's no surprise to me that all of the top 4 decks in the OCTGN tournament run Yog. I wish I could have more than one copy but influence is pretty tight and you can Special Order for it. The reason Yog is so powerful is that nearly every corp deck has 3 copies of Enigma and putting Enigma in front of HQ is a very very common play. With Yog you can get through free and make 3 credits for a click.

Corroder. I feel like just about every criminal deck should have three copies. It works VERY well with the tempo of a criminal deck, and here's why: Almost every corp deck will have three Wall of Static and three Ice Wall. Therefore, in like 99% of games, at least one of those will be in front of R&D, or HQ, or the inner-most ice on a remote server. So once you draw Corroder you are now able to get in somewhere. You want to draw this ASAP. Also, since it only costs 2 credits to play, you don't mind if you lose it to an Archer or a Rototurret, so playing it doesn't really decrease your aggressive abilities. If you only have two copies though, it might be a while before you draw the second one so you have to be a lot more careful not to lose it. Also, you really want to use Special Order to get Yog so having to waste one to find Corroder is a bummer.

Plascrete Carapace. Three copies. As I explained above, Scorched Earth is one of the few things this deck fears. The fact that it is useless against Jinteki or HB is of no matter because you should be able to beat those decks anyway. I should also note that having dead draws is not so terrible as runner. You are often digging for something (like a breaker or an Account Siphon) so having cards you can discard without feeling guilty is not so terrible. As should be obvious, this is the card of choice for countering Tag 'n Bag because it lets you ignore tags completely which Crash Space and Decoy do not do.

Emergency Shutdown is a key card for this deck. In the old days, a good criminal deck could be stopped by just having a lot of really big ice. If you don't draw a lot of agendas at the beginning of the game, then eventually the criminal deck sort of peters out and he can't run your huge remote anymore nor can he really get into any central servers easily. Today I don't really feel like that road to victory is viable for the corp because the runner can take away a huge amount of tempo from the corp just by shutting down a single big ice. It costs a lot to rez all that ice just once and you also have to pay to advance agendas and such. Getting away with an early MMC is very difficult against criminal unless you have a lot of cheap ice in your deck.

Infiltration. Zero copies. And yes, this deck misses Infiltration. During the entire tournament, I had to allow two agendas to be scored when I could have stolen them because I couldn't afford to risk them being traps or running the remote for nothing. It happens, and it's unfortunate, but it doesn't happen often enough to really lose games, so I decided not to play Infiltration. Also, RE: Satellite Uplink. I don't like it. It's a dead card if you don't need an expose, while Infiltration gives you back the credits you gave up to draw it. Honestly you don't really need Infiltration that often but it's worth playing because in the situations where you do need it, it is very important. It's the perfect expose card: There for you when you need it and not-useless when you don't.

Theoretically this deck could run into some trouble if the corp gets an Aggressive Secretary late game and trashes some expensive stuff like Femme or Yog. However, in practice I just don't see this much. I think this is partially meta, as people just don't play many traps these days. But also, I think it is partly because of the pressure that the corp faces against Criminal. Since HQ gets hit a bunch, if you draw a trap early then the runner can just trash it, so you really have to get it at just the right moment for it to work. It's a hail mary play, and it can work, but I don't consider it enough of a threat to give up Compromised Employee and all the economic benefit it provides.

The Maker's Eye. Three copies, and this completes the Criminal's threat abilities. It's a very powerful late game card that can get you those last few agenda points. Also, HB fast advance is scary good, and you must be able to put pressure on R&D if the corp has fast advance capabilities in hand. You could consider Notoriety instead, but it's about the same number of expected agenda points with fewer runs, and, more importantly, it prevents the corp from drawing agendas for a little while. You really don't want to draw this early in the game so I am sort of breaking my rule about how many cards to play by including three copies but given that I expected to see a lot of HB fast advance I figured it was worth it since it's a card I want to play as many times as possible if the game isn't over quickly. Having only two copies is fine though if you want to use your influence elsewhere (perhaps a Stimhack or another Yog could replace one Maker's Eye). As I explained above, knowing how to properly time your Maker's Eye runs is critical.

That's about it really. The rest of the deck is pretty standard. Deja Vu is a pretty common Criminal splash. It's good because of all the amazing events in this deck. Usually it gets back an Account Siphon or an Inside Job, but sometimes it gets a Maker's Eye. FAO is a fantastic card particularly against Archer as it can be expensive to face-check that before shutting it down. However I feel two copies are enough. You don't need it in your opening hand, and it isn't critical to your overall economy.

The Tournament

The above deck went undefeated throughout the tournament. My corp deck, which was an HB deck with fast advance and a lot of cheap ice, lost only one game, which was in the final swiss round against the only criminal deck I played against. So many Noise players. With luck, I was able to put them all away, though there were a couple games where I probably should have lost because the runner got to see like 15+ cards from R&D through accesses and trashes. The guy who came in 2nd in Swiss was also playing Criminal/HB.

It was 4 rounds of swiss followed by a cut to the top 8. After doing so well in the swiss rounds, I was convinced that I had used up all my luck and that I would be eliminated in the first round. Luckily, I won the coin flip in the first two elimination rounds, and my Criminal deck won 7-0 against a Weyland deck and then 7-0 against an NBN deck, and since I was higher seed that meant I auto-advance. Though, in the first match, I didn't realize that until partway though the 2nd game so we ended up playing until I scored an agenda which was kind of tense because I had a lot of agendas in hand but couldn't score them because I didn't have enough money. This deck tends to go 7-0 when it beats Weyland, but all of the HB decks I played against managed to score at least one agenda against me. Take note of that, folks.

The final match was against Workshop Noise and HB. He won the flip so he got to run first. I was able to fend his deck off pretty well with my HB deck just with a lot of ice on a remote and a lot of ice on R&D, so even with many Parasites he wasn't able to get much access. I got a SanSan rezzed in that remote and he was just never able to get through so I just kept drawing cards until I got my agendas and then scored them one after another until I won. He got 5 agenda points through trashing about as many cards as you would expect to have to trash to get that many points. It wasn't a terribly long game.

I don't really remember the final game, except that it was my criminal against his HB. I felt like I had it in the bag after winning as corp. He was playing fast advance, I believe using Trick of Light in addition to Biotic Labor. I know he managed to score an agenda or two, one of which was a Beta Test which he did do (as he was kind of on the back foot and he needed something big to get back into the game) and that trashed the match-winning agenda into archives. I ran and scored my third 2 point agenda for the match win.

It was a lot of fun to play competitively face-to-face. I missed OCTGN automatically handling stuff like gaining a credit for Compromised Employee and Desperado. Some of the people I played against I think had more tournament experience than I did and they were really good at remembering stuff like that and would even remind me to take a credit so I don't accidentally cheat. It was a great group of players and a good experience all around!

This post is crazy long.
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Alex Rockwell
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This post is super awesome! Going to comment when I get time.
 
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Grant Cain
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Thanks for all your insight! I enjoyed reading! I do hope we get away from HB being the almighty powerhouse though and Gabe in tourneys.
 
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Orange Devil
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I think I might have some idea about that HB corp deck
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Billy Martin
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There is one thing I forgot to talk about in that ridiculous long post and that was the most memorable game of the tournament. It was the 1st round eliminations and I was playing against that Weyland deck. This game was super tense because BOTH of the above mentioned loss scenarios almost happened to me in this single game.

First, he gets a remote going that is Enigma behind Data Raven. The perfect anti-criminal remote. Of course I don't have Yog and I don't have Special Order, and he puts down a something and advances it twice. Fuck.

If it's a Project Atlas things could go downhill very quickly here, but luckily he leaves it the next turn so either it's a trap or a Posted Bounty. On the following turn I guess he got tired of hoping to draw into Scorched so he just scores it without using the ability (though if he had the 2x SE that would have been all she wrote).

He puts another thing out to test the waters and I STILL can't run there so he scores what turns out to be a Hostile Takeover. Then finally I draw Crypsis so I can put a stop to that but he puts an Archer on that server as well. He plays a card in the server and advances it. I need to get in there.

I play Inside Job. He rezzes Archer, so now I have to deal with the Data Raven. I left a click for removing the tag but I only have one crypsis counter so he runs the trace, spending nearly all of his credits, such that if I beat the trace I won't have enough to break Enigma. Clever. I have to let the trace happen because otherwise I'll be really behind economically and he has a very very strong remote. At least now I can ignore tags for the rest of the game (and conveniently enough the only defense on HQ is another Data Raven). I steal his Project Atlas which is crucial.

The next turn is uneventful. He has a Scorched Earth, but I have 4 cards. On the following turn I run R&D and see Scorched Earth. Fuck. Well all I can do at that point is Account Siphon which makes him flat broke and buys me time. He draws his game-winning SE and gains 3 credits. I of course draw frantically and manage to get Plascrete down just in the nick of time. He rezzes another Archer on R&D to prevent me from just completely blowing him out but I shut it down and there was nothing he could do from that point on. GG.
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Sohum Banerjea
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While I'd love to try and ignore tags like that, it sounds like, say, a Closed Accounts at that point would have been gg. (Or a CA at almost any time against your deck, it sounds like.) And then there's the good old PSF lock, which can basically ignore Plascrete if you've been helping to give yourself tags...

But thanks very much for the writeup and analysis, though! I learnt a lot
 
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Anthony Giovannetti
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Great post, and I think pretty dead on with looking at Gabe vs Noise.

I think one of the other factors that makes Gabe so good is how easy it is for him to just completely blow out the game. Generally Noise is going to concede at least some points before winning.
 
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Billy Martin
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sohum wrote:
While I'd love to try and ignore tags like that, it sounds like, say, a Closed Accounts at that point would have been gg. (Or a CA at almost any time against your deck, it sounds like.) And then there's the good old PSF lock, which can basically ignore Plascrete if you've been helping to give yourself tags...

But thanks very much for the writeup and analysis, though! I learnt a lot


Closed Accounts is one of the strongest cards in the game when playing against this kind of deck. You just don't see it very often. I think as the meta shifts more towards playing and beating this deck, you'll see CA splashed more.

Also, while it is very strong, a Closed Accounts is by no means a GG card against this deck. The way I leverage my economy against the corp is by not only having cash on hand to run servers but also keeping the corporation broke with Account Siphon, FAO, and Emergency Shutdown. I also trash assets whenever I can. Closed Accounts is strong because it evens things out. Now we're both broke. (Though the runner still has a substantial edge in this situation)

There was this one game, the semi-finals match, where I was up against NBN fast advance. His only defense on HQ was a Data Raven, and I had seen enough influence that I was not worried about SE so I just took tags against him. He was pretty broke and I worked to keep him broke while pressuring R&D. (he had two SanSan on the table and an Archived Memories in hand so I didn't want him having enough credits to fast advance). I had like 20 credits but I was careful to leave an Armitage on the table with 6 credits on it, and I had Sure Gamble in hand. If he closed my accounts, then I would just run HQ for 3 credits, Armitage, and Sure Gamble and be back in business. If he spent credits trashing Armitage that only digs his grave deeper as what he really needed was some ETR ice on R&D and enough money to rez it, and he didn't have either. And even if he did, I would shut it down.

Most people build tagging decks around the idea of a runner trying to remove tags and that works against most people. What they usually don't account for is how wide open they are if the runner ignores tags. Weyland decks, and most NBN decks, usually don't have enough good ETR ice, and if they have already spent a bunch of credits on Data Ravens that are now useless, they will be in a world of hurt such that even power tag cards like Closed Accounts and Psychographics aren't enough to survive.
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Billy Martin
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As for the PSF lock, 1) good luck scoring PSF if I can get into all your servers nearly for free, and 2) it isn't really a lock. If I don't have Plascrete, then I can still spend three clicks per turn drawing and one click running R&D, and I can score agendas that way while the corp can't do anything other than hit me with PSF. Unless your agendas are buried VERY deep you aren't likely to run me out of cards before I win.
 
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Mad Scientist Philip von Doomula
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This post is flippin' epic! Great job!!!
 
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Anon Y. Mous
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Christkid5 wrote:
Thanks for all your insight! I enjoyed reading! I do hope we get away from HB being the almighty powerhouse though and Gabe in tourneys.


Most likely NBN will be on top at the end of the cycle. Then Creation and Control gives a big boost to HB, but at the same time makes them a lot more interesting.
 
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Oliver
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This is probably in my top 3 best posts in the entire A:NR forum.
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Thx for that insightful post.
One of the best articles on Netrunner i've read so far.
I especiall like the Corroder part.
 
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Harrison F
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Awesome post!

I got first place at the Santa Clara regionals (34 players) with very similar sounding decks:

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/148019/item/2558818?commen...

One big difference is that I didn't play plascrete. I played against one weyland deck all day so that was probably the better meta call for our area (which is pure luck since I had no idea what our local meta is).

Your decks are probably better than mine as well
 
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Rogue Scribe
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Wonderful, thorough write up. I learned quite a bit just reading it.

I was in 4th place after swiss and our paths never crossed. I played HB/CT and lost to the runner up. For reference, the tourney field looked like:

14 HB (6 in top 8)
14 Weyland (1)
6 NBN (1)
1 Jinteki

12 Noise (3 in top 8)
10 Gabe (3)
9 CT (2)
3 Kate
1 Whiz


I was very happy with my HB deck (Precog version), though I think my runner deck could have been better prepared to beat the decks at the top. That could also easily have been user error. Will have to try your Criminal deck out and see how it feels.

Hope to catch you at more local tourneys. I feel like I could learn a lot from playing against you and the other runners I met there. Good group.

Thanks again for the write up.
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Pavlos Pavlopoulos
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Epic post! Sums up pretty much everything there is to know about a good Aggro Gabe deck + play. Just have one question:

Why no stimhacks?
 
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Fluff Da Sheep
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Very nice deck and very good explanations. I run with Gabe myself, but mine is very low on breakers (1 corroder, 2 femme, 1 crypsis) and has a virus suite (djinn, parasite, medium, deja vu). It works fine so far and it's very fun to play, but I imagine your deck is a lot more consistent, so I'll probably switch back to "standard" criminal sometime soon.

Some questions:
Why no E3 feedback implants? Is it a simple case of not encountering Ichi often enough to make it worth it? How do you efficiently clear Ichi, or do you just try to avoid him? I guess there's also Heimdall or Janus but I imagine Ichi is more common by far.

What are your thoughts on Nerve Agent in this deck? You put much emphasis on stealing Agendas from HQ (or rather, keeping the corp poor so Agendas pile up in HQ), or just knowing what the corp is holding, and it seems like Nerve Agent could make that a lot easier / less random to do.
 
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I dig it. I've taken to running Gordian Blade over Yog more recently but I don't run Femme in my deck so if I need to breaks something it's either Crypsis or one of my other 3. Considering Femme because I know how ridiculous that counter she has is.

How often do you find yourself needing the armitage? That's another card I recently dropped from my criminal deck. The difference being I've got 2 bank jobs, 3 easy mark and 3 infiltration. The flexibility of infiltration being "Okay, I need $ now, I know that's not going to be a trap, I'll take the $2"

I think the only other major difference, and this might just be a local meta thing, is that I run 2x Decoy vs. Plascrete. The cost of plascrete + the dead weight of 3 of them if my opponent has no scorched earth is too much I think. At least with decoy I can trash to avoid my Account Siphon tag if they're not playing scorched earth. Maybe crash space would function better in that capacity though. Thoughts?
 
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roguescribe wrote:
Wonderful, thorough write up. I learned quite a bit just reading it.

I was in 4th place after swiss and our paths never crossed. I played HB/CT and lost to the runner up. For reference, the tourney field looked like:

14 HB (6 in top 8)
14 Weyland (1)
6 NBN (1)
1 Jinteki

12 Noise (3 in top 8)
10 Gabe (3)
9 CT (2)
3 Kate
1 Whiz


I was very happy with my HB deck (Precog version), though I think my runner deck could have been better prepared to beat the decks at the top. That could also easily have been user error. Will have to try your Criminal deck out and see how it feels.

Hope to catch you at more local tourneys. I feel like I could learn a lot from playing against you and the other runners I met there. Good group.

Thanks again for the write up.


Those stats are interesting. I saw one Kate deck and one Criminal deck in the swiss rounds. Everything else was Noise. I played against the guy in the finals who played NBN, but I never even saw his runner deck so I don't know what he was playing. If you were 4th seed then you must have lost to Preston in the elimination rounds. Chaos Theory against his HB deck would have been a really rough match-up.
 
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kordan11 wrote:
Epic post! Sums up pretty much everything there is to know about a good Aggro Gabe deck + play. Just have one question:

Why no stimhacks?


Stimhack is a good card and it definitely has a place in Your Typical Solid Criminal Deck. For my list, I think I mentioned you could potentially drop a Maker's Eye for a Stimhack, but I decided the 3rd Maker's Eye was more important. Stimhack would make the deck's already strong economy that much stronger, but could potentially open up a hole against a fast advance HB deck. If they're playing fast advance you really need to put pressure on R&D and sometimes that is hard to do without Maker's Eye.

Also, in a tournament you might lose 7-0 with your corp deck. If you then have to face Weyland or NBN, then 3x Maker's Eye might be your only hope at stopping Hostile Takeover / Breaking News.
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fluffdasheep wrote:

Why no E3 feedback implants? Is it a simple case of not encountering Ichi often enough to make it worth it? How do you efficiently clear Ichi, or do you just try to avoid him? I guess there's also Heimdall or Janus but I imagine Ichi is more common by far.


Ichi is very common and really annoying and I would like to have E3 just to deal with Ichi, but it isn't worth the card slot. In pre-Cyber Exodus I would always run 2 copies of E3 in Criminal because not only is Ichi annoying but big ice HB decks were a serious threat. Today, Emergency Shutdown is a much better answer to Heimdall, and Janus is about the worst ice you could have against this deck.

fluffdasheep wrote:

What are your thoughts on Nerve Agent in this deck? You put much emphasis on stealing Agendas from HQ (or rather, keeping the corp poor so Agendas pile up in HQ), or just knowing what the corp is holding, and it seems like Nerve Agent could make that a lot easier / less random to do.


I don't think Nerve Agent is necessary. This deck is more focused on economy, and Nerve Agent is expensive. You run HQ for the 3 credits. Accessing cards is just a bonus. Nerve Agent might save you from some really terrible luck on accesses, but that's about it. The corp can't reliably store agendas in HQ against Gabe, and that's all you really need to pressure them into putting them into remotes where you can steal them.
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jhmanufacture wrote:

How often do you find yourself needing the armitage? That's another card I recently dropped from my criminal deck. The difference being I've got 2 bank jobs, 3 easy mark and 3 infiltration. The flexibility of infiltration being "Okay, I need $ now, I know that's not going to be a trap, I'll take the $2"


Armitage Codebusting is one of the most important economy cards in the deck. You find yourself clicking for credits a lot, so the click-cost of Armitage is not really as much of a drawback for this deck as it is for, say, Noise Workshop. It's definitely better than Easy Mark for this deck.

I don't like Bank Job because I feel it is a dead card against Weyland, and it often doesn't work against HB. Although, as Hollis points out in his article, you can think of it less as an economy card and more as an FAO for small remote servers. I get that. But I'm not even playing 3x FAO, so there is clearly no room for Bank Job.

jhmanufacture wrote:

I think the only other major difference, and this might just be a local meta thing, is that I run 2x Decoy vs. Plascrete. The cost of plascrete + the dead weight of 3 of them if my opponent has no scorched earth is too much I think. At least with decoy I can trash to avoid my Account Siphon tag if they're not playing scorched earth. Maybe crash space would function better in that capacity though. Thoughts?


As I explained above, Plascrete is better because it lets you ignore tags. Without Plascrete, Data Raven becomes this monster of an ice that is really hard to get past, and you can't even hurt the corp that much by shutting it down.

If your opponent has no scorched earth then why are you dropping your Account Siphon tags? Decoy is a card that lets you avoid being tagged. If you don't need Decoy, then you don't need to avoid being tagged, so you don't need to worry about Account Siphon tags.

The only conceivable situation where you might play Decoy/Crash Space over Plascrete is if you are playing expensive resources that must not be trashed. I have an Ice Carver criminal deck that I built for fun which does this. That deck isn't very optimal though. What I should do is replace Ice Carver with Datasucker and then I won't have to worry about being tagged.
 
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Quote:
and the games you lose will almost always be one of the following:

A) The corp manages to get all of their pieces together really early in the game and kills you with Scorched Earth in the first few turns.

B) The corp has a remote server with a cheap inner-most ice that you can't break because you never draw the breaker for it and you never draw Special Order.


How about another option:
The corp plays cheap central server ice that generate money when you run them, and your early runs arent lucky. This lets the corp gain an economic advantage, counter the Criminal resource denial strategy, and build sufficient defenses. I find that things like Popup and Shadow are often best to defend centrals early against criminal, because if they run through them and dont hit, your getting a huge benefit.


Quote:

Let's talk about point #1 which is when do you run R&D. I see beginner/intermediate players screw this up all the time. They'll be in a situation where they have a bunch of money and can get through R&D but it's a little expensive. Then they'll draw Maker's Eye and be like, "sweet! Now it's cost effective!" and hit R&D. Next turn I put an Agenda down and they no longer have enough cash to run it. Don't do this.


Yes! You run R&D mostly when you dont want the corp to draw agendas. If you would like for more agendas to appear in their hand, dont waste time on R&D. Definitely dont give them the leeway to score because you wasted resources on R&D.

Running R&D is better for control runners. If you dont want to have to deal with a corp trying to score before your rig is set up, R&D hits are much better.



Quote:

Now let's talk about point #5 which is when do you take tags? This is a very interesting question that nobody really addresses. I would say like 90% of players I play against act as though having a tag on the corp's turn at any point in the game is an auto-lose. Man, it just isn't.


This is a huge point! I think that we can break runners down into two categories: Resource-based economy runenrs, and non-resource runners.

A resource based runner (Wyldside, Pawnshop, Workshop, etc), has problems if they are tagged because they lose their economy. These runners benefit from link and tag avoidance. They kindof need to treat all tags as death.

But the non-resource based runner, the guy with only Armitage and Compromised Employee, DOESNT CARE. He only cares if you are going to Scorched Earth him. So this criminal players SHOULD play Plascrete, because it allows him to ignore all tags, nullifying a ton of some corp's power and making some ice irrelevant, and account siphon even better. With a deck that requires resources, you dont have this option. So I find that these decks dont really need Plascrete very much. But Plasrete is amazing in a non-resource runner deck.







Quote:
Yog is just fantastic. It's no surprise to me that all of the top 4 decks in the OCTGN tournament run Yog.


YES. The fact that it costs $0 to break what it breaks is fantastic, especially for poor Criminals. Some people worry about what it cant break. But those things you Shutdown, or you simply go elsewhere, or you break with Crypsis. Yog totally nullifies some of their ice. Thats way better than letting you pay a bunch of money to get through any.

Quote:

Corroder. I feel like just about every criminal deck should have three copies. It works VERY well with the tempo of a criminal deck, and here's why: Almost every corp deck will have three Wall of Static and three Ice Wall.


This is maybe the biggest thing to learn from this post, for me.

It fits my experience. As corp, playing against criminal, SO OFTEN my early defense plan hinges around a Barrier ending the run (for example, Ice Wall on HQ early. Or on remote behind a popup or something as Inside Job defense). If they drop a corroder I am very sad.


Quote:

Infiltration. Zero copies. And yes, this deck misses Infiltration.


I agree. For criminal. I find Infiltration important in Shaper because its so focused on being able to get through any remote server. But I cant fit it into the other factions, and they dont seem to need it as much.


Quote:

The Maker's Eye. Three copies, and this completes the Criminal's threat abilities.


Yes, I find his important in order to have pressure on each central server. I tried medium and it is too problematic on criminal MU, and its too hard to get in three times lategame. Maker's Eye gets you 3 cards right away.
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Great write-up and congrats!

I'm starting to like Compromised Employee more and more in Criminal. I used to think it was better in big rig Shaper decks, but the anti-trace credit becomes very useful against two of the most problematic ICE for your breaker suite, Viper and Caduceus.

With Plascretes against tagging ICE, Corroder, and Yog, the only non-trace early game ICE(4 or less) that cost 4 or more to break are Chum and Neural Katana. Although annoying, none of these except Chum + Enigma actually keep you out of a server.

I do believe you're understating the skill it takes to truly pilot Noise. If Noise has a great draw and the engine going, then 2), 4), and 6) may be all that is required. But, for the games where Noise does not get the optimal draw, (no Wyldside, no Workshop, or neither), 1), 3), and even 5) can all be relevant.

Noise's major mistakes tend to be technical in nature. Not saving enough money to stimhack a remote, miscounting during a run, or mismanaging his many triggers.

Noise's strategic mistakes tend to be more subtle and less punishing, but require more experience to really understand. (What server to pressure for future Parasite targets, when to trash Wyldside.)
 
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jopejope wrote:
kordan11 wrote:
Epic post! Sums up pretty much everything there is to know about a good Aggro Gabe deck + play. Just have one question:

Why no stimhacks?


Stimhack is a good card and it definitely has a place in Your Typical Solid Criminal Deck. For my list, I think I mentioned you could potentially drop a Maker's Eye for a Stimhack, but I decided the 3rd Maker's Eye was more important. Stimhack would make the deck's already strong economy that much stronger, but could potentially open up a hole against a fast advance HB deck. If they're playing fast advance you really need to put pressure on R&D and sometimes that is hard to do without Maker's Eye.

Also, in a tournament you might lose 7-0 with your corp deck. If you then have to face Weyland or NBN, then 3x Maker's Eye might be your only hope at stopping Hostile Takeover / Breaking News.


Fair enough! I do play both 3xMaker's and 2xStimhack. What I don't play is Deja Vu, Yog and the 3rd corroder. You, OD and my experience have convinced me about the 3rd corroder I think.

But the stimhack is VERY strong here, just because it strengthens a strategy you talk about. When you draw a stimhack, you can actually start spending some more money on setting up and hitting centrals, thus inviting the corp to place that agenda in the remote. Experienced players will account for it, but even they can't keep waiting until they're sure you're not holding one cause if they wait forever they'll just get flooded. It can also help kill that SanSan/beat that Ash without leaving you on low credits.

I do agree about the meta considerations. If you're expected to be flooded with HB/NBN FA then it won't be very helpful. I still would feel naked without at least one though.

Edit: And what I forgot-> it's killer against Weyland. Grab that atlas before they overadvance it. Grab that 3-pointer before they can score it. Kill the MMC without opening yourself to SEA source. And weyland is still definitely up there.
 
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