Frog off, Keeling! (16th, 30th EMEA)

lostgeek 3625

The best trojan frog that we could shake out of Midjourney The best trojan frog that we could shake out of Midjourney

After spending many days being unhappy with all the Runners that I could come up with and planning to go with a panic Reg Hoshiko if I didn't find anything that suited me, I decided to just jank for a short while and see where that leads me.

Origin story

The main question for all Runners in a post-rotation world is: How do you afford to actually install all your breakers before using them? Bin breakers made it very easy to postpone that install cost and my best tempo Corps actually abused the 4 cost of Paperclip to maximum advantage.

While I disliked Engolo in the previous meta, I felt now might be its time to shine. So the easiest and knowingly incorrect choice was to build it in Kit, which I did as a first step. Leaning on Pelangi to make Engolo your main breaker and your only breaker in many games. Hermes acting as a fancy DZMZ Optimizer (which was not part of the deck until the last minute) that punishes fast Corps a bit, allowing you time to catch up.

After a few test games, it was clear that Kit was actually doing most of the heavy lifting, leaving your Pelangi starved for value too often. Together with the harsh influence restriction, going over to one of the 15 inf IDs made sense.

Lat sounds awesome until you actually play with it and realise that often the draw you get is actually replaced by the credit you click for to stay at the correct number of cards in hand (if you do not get bitten by a timely Spin Doctor rez). Also in the games where you'd need the draw the most against rush decks, they'll go down to low cards in HQ, leaving you struggling to keep up.

So where to go? Tāo can be fun especially with Hermes, but ended up not giving enough value. So.. why not Arissana? Sure, we're not playing many Trojans. One copy of Ika and two copies of Pichação in conjunction with the Deep Dive win condition... but, so what? Self-modifying Code and Pelangi can do a pretty good trojan impression, getting installed by Arissana when you need it most and activating Simulchips on the way.

Bringing the deck to the NWE crew (the testing team I'm in) resulted in cutting my pet cards (my sweet little Spec Work) and adding in the DZMZ Optimizer to relax the tight MU situation.

Gameplay

The deck has two main modes: The happy path and the sad path. Both lead you to deploying a Deep Dive to win the game on your own terms.

In the happy path, you mull into Earthrise Hotel + Career Fair + Daily Casts + Paladin Poemu, install all of them and roll from there, drawing into more draw and more money. At some point in the first turns drawing SMC + Overclock to put out a Engolo and start putting up single access pressure. At some point you decide that you've had enough and just win by Deep Dive.

The sad path struggles to keep up enough econ and draw and ends up spending many clicks drawing for cards, while the Corp quickly gets up to 5 points. Luckily now you're done drawing the cards that don't help you and start drawing the good stuff. Install some Environmental Testings and tick them up for a ridiculous burst of money and options and start rolling. Fast-advance is blocked by Clot. Slow-/never-advance is blocked by Hermes. With Legwork and Deep Dive you can almost guarantee a steal that bounces the agenda back into HQ and give you another turn to win. Or in some cases you just do everything at once, diving deep and contesting the scoring remote in the same turn.

Time to Combo

The Deep Dive turn includes a lot of Shaper skateboard tricks. The maximum amount of clicks you can get is like this (against non-Ag Infusion):

  • Install two Pichação in the turn prior to your combo turn best through Simulchip.
  • In the combo turn run on the Pichação server taking a Pichação back into your grip, gaining 2 clicks.
  • Install the Pichação on another run on a different central, gaining another click
  • Run the final server
  • Fire a total of two Deep Dives with a total of 3 clicks giving 3 accesses. Either win because you already stole something earlier in the game, or simply find 3 agendas in these Deep Dives.

Of course in many games you do not need the full amount of clicks, but can steal agendas also in other ways.

Conclusion

The deck feels like the best Deep Dive deployment engine in the meta right now and was great fun to pilot. It went 9-5 in total played by @percomis and myself. Great thanks to all our opponents and huge shoutout to NWE for being a fantastic group of friends and giving great support!

4 comments
20 Aug 2023 JackMade

That turn was unreal. Well done and thanks for the shoutout!

20 Aug 2023 Havvy

I'm liking this just for the Environmental Testing

20 Aug 2023 AugustusCaesar

very hype to see this do well. I was on a similar idea in my internal testing, but settled on bringing hermes freedom instead.

20 Aug 2023 percomis

Putting two Pichacao on an easy to break ice has to be one of the best feelings in the game currently. This deck is a Deep Dive machine.