Lanri / 藍日 (Worlds 3rd place corp deck)

tmoiynmwg 6143

Performance

  • Won a 9-person GNK tournament the week before Worlds. Won against Gabe and Exile; timed loss to Kate.
  • Went 2-2 at the FFG winter tournament. Wins against Kate and Noise; losses to Whizzard and Andy.
  • Went 6-1 during Swiss rounds. Wins against Gabe, Kit, and 4 Andys; one loss to Andy.
  • Went 2-2 during double elimination. Won against Andy twice; lost to Andy twice.

Background

Everyone knew that Blue Sun was going to be good. The identity had received immense hype since it was spoiled, and for good reason: it lets you pull off dozens of different combos, make silly amounts of money, and invalidate many of the most powerful runner tricks for getting past ice. Even if I didn't build decks for every new identity (and I do), I knew I had to give this one a shot and see if I could pioneer an utterly broken Blue Sun deck for Worlds.

When Up and Over came out, I threw together a first draft and took it to a store tournament in Burbank. The deck was a crazy mishmash of synergies that I wanted to try: The Root, Elizabeth Mills, Amazon Industrial Zone, Off the Grid, Architect...

Somehow the deck went undefeated and I ended up winning the tournament. It was obvious that Blue Sun had potential, but the deck certainly didn't feel broken yet. It lacked a coherent strategy, and I could tell that it would be hard-pressed to handle a better-prepared runner. I made a few edits to the deck before shelving it to re-explore other corp options.

About a week later, after a rather disappointing performance with my pet Tennin deck, a friend mentioned a popular new Blue Sun deck on NetrunnerDB. I looked it up and found Keystone 2.0. ItJustGotRielle had written an engaging and insanely detailed writeup about the deck - if you haven't read it yet you should definitely check it out!

Seeing Keystone and its author's enthusiasm about the deck pushed me past my deckbuilding block. The list managed to present a proactive strategy while maintaining plenty of Blue Sun trickiness. In my quest to find a non-NEH deck to play at Worlds, I applied the experiences I had with my previous Blue Sun deck in tweaking Keystone. The next weekend I took the new deck to another small tournament and managed to win. This deck, I decided, was my best choice for Worlds.

Strategy

Until Order and Chaos is released, Weyland's card pool remains quite shallow compared to the other factions. Furthermore, Weyland is fundamentally different from the other top corp decks right now. It can't match the raw speed and non-interactivity of Astrobiotics, the hellish taxation of Replicating Perfection, or the murderous uncertainty of Personal Evolution. Those decks all have a single-minded game plan, and they execute it very, very efficiently. What, then, can Blue Sun offer?

To answer that, there is another question that every competitive player should ask themselves: what does this faction do best?

Right now, no card defines Weyland as much as Archer. Archer is a crushingly powerful card with few answers. It allows you to set up a super quick and safe remote, or to singlehandedly shut down a central for most of the game. Unfortunately, Archer comes with baggage. You need easy-to-score agendas, which implies Hostile Takeover, which implies bad publicity, which makes NAPD Contract and a ton of ice much worse. You also want Power Shutdown to counter the most common answers to Archer, Faerie and SMC for Sharpshooter. Power Shutdown in turn implies some amount of recursion, almost all of which costs influence. But despite these major drawbacks, I believe that Archer is currently too important and powerful for Weyland to give up.

The second defining card for Weyland is the infamous Scorched Earth. Scorched offers the most reliable alternate win condition in the game, a 2-4 card combo that can win you the game no matter how bad your board position might be from an agenda-scoring perspective. Scorched Earth implies a reliable way of tagging the runner, which also costs influence. But Scorched is also an essential addition to Weyland right now. After all, it is far easier to score agendas when the runner has to spend many clicks to secure a credit advantage or to find and play Plascretes.

Weyland currently lacks the focus or inevitability of NBN or Jinteki, but it offers the flexibility to choose a different path to victory in each game. You also have an unparalleled ability to gain many credits in a short amount of time, which is something that gives you a lot of versatility as well. A good Weyland player can advance agendas very quickly, backed up by the double threat of program trashing and flatline. If the runner can stymie one plan, you can always switch to a totally new angle for victory.

This playstyle is not new; it is the same strategy that Supermodernism has long employed. But the Blue Sun identity pushes Weyland's versatility into hyperdrive. Rushing agendas is easier when you can liquidate the ice you rezzed to protect the agenda. Locking the runner out of icebreakers is easier when their Femmes, Knights, and Parasites are difficult to use. Flatlining is easier when you can always bounce your most expensive ice to land a trace.

Fair warning: this deck is not easy to pilot. Hardcore Weyland players had always claimed that Supermodernism was difficult to play well, and Blue Sun perhaps doubles the number of meaningful decisions in a typical game. I had played relatively few games with the deck before last weekend, and as a result I misstepped to some degree in almost every game I played. I managed to pull through in most cases, but on a few critical occasions luck could not salvage my mistakes. Because of this, I think that an expert Blue Sun player could be formidable indeed.

Card choices

Once I had decided to build a Blue Sun deck around both Archer and Scorched Earth, the remaining deck slots were incredibly tight. I'll go over some of the interesting card choices.

  • Oversight AI / Curtain Wall makes you about 13 credits in 2 clicks, which is analogous to playing 3 Restructures. There is of course the minor drawback that the runner can deny the combo by spending 11 credits and a click with a Corroder out; that result is typically about as good for you.

  • Midseason Replacements gets the nod over SEA Source because Blue Sun both amplifies the advantages of Midseason and minimizes its weaknesses. Being able to permanently tag the runner lets you crush their economy, means that you don't need your Scorches in hand when you land the tags, and allows you to triple Scorch through Plascrete. The finickier timing and increased cost are mitigated because Blue Sun is so good at getting a momentary credit advantage.

  • The Keystone agenda mix is awesome and I hardly changed anything. Smaller agendas are good for Midseason. Geothermal Fracking is a great agenda to score if you're having any credit issues. Priority Requisition is the best 3-pointer for the deck, because it typically gives a huge immediate benefit in a deck with 3 Archers and 3 Curtain Walls.

  • The biggest weakness of the Keystone list is its early inconsistency. I felt that without drawing the Oversight AI combo the deck would founder in useless combo pieces and overcosted ice. To alleviate this problem, I tried to add as much unconditional economy and cheap ice as possible without compromising the deck's strengths. Either Adonis Campaign (aka beanstalk-snare) or Private Contracts can singlehandedly keep you solvent. Wendigo is probably the worst card in the deck, but it's still a very cheap code gate that hates on Yog.0 or protects your Archer from Faerie.

  • No Hadrian's Wall. The deck already has a ton of ice that tend to be useless early game. Hadrian's Wall is pretty much always worse than Curtain Wall in this deck, and with the added economy I think 3 good Oversight targets (plus 3 Archers in a pinch) is sufficient. Hive takes its place as stellar early ice that can be sold and replaced later.

  • Data Raven is a really great piece of ice, as well as a second tag source. I ended up going with a single Data Raven over Lotus Field or Architect because it is one of the few ice that can tax Shapers well. Both Data Raven and Taurus are especially great in Blue Sun, because you can recoup their rez cost once the runner has been perma-tagged or stripped of hardware, respectively.

  • Ash 2X3ZB9CY was a late addition; I wanted to add another route to victory for the deck, and Ash is great at solidifying your remote and using your credit advantage to score agendas. However, I actually wanted to make a last-minute swap for Aggressive Secretary! Unfortunately I couldn't find a copy in time for the tournament. I don't think the swap would have affected my results, but I do think Secretary is the better choice. Secretary can just win you the game, can be bounced and replayed with Blue Sun, and forces the runner to always second-guess running your remote. Ash is stronger against Noise, but I feel that most Noise decks are already an easy matchup.

  • Archived Memories is just an excellent utility card. Recursion is great in this style of deck since you have many powerful operations in addition to assets that the runner will want to trash. I would love to play more copies, but Archived Memories does have a tendency to clog up HQ, which is already a serious problem for the deck.

Playing tips

  • Against Criminals, play around Emergency Shutdown by Oversighting Curtain Walls on HQ, or Archives if HQ is already well-guarded. Against PPVP Shapers without an Astrolabe sitting out, I tend to Oversight in an empty remote so that they can't Dirty Laundry it. Against Anarchs, try to Oversight behind a cheap annoying ice to play around D4v1d.

  • Against Criminals, it's usually not worth it to place Curtain Wall as the outermost ice on a remote because of Inside Job.

  • Remember that your ability only works once per turn, so always think as far ahead as you can. I lost my game against Whizzard because I neglected to bounce my Enigma before scoring a Project Atlas. In two turns I had to rez another Enigma on R&D and ended up 3 credits short of double Scorch. On the following turn my opponent proceeded to Knight the second Enigma and win off of R&D.

  • Good runners will often realize that there is little point in facechecking your ice, and spend almost all their efforts at building up their own board position instead. If the runner starts doing this, you must react immediately or you will likely lose. Make the most of the time they give you by setting up and rushing agendas through; do not be overly afraid of having some of the agendas stolen. The earlier you can push agendas through, the more likely that you can force the runner into difficult decisions and open them up to Archer or Scorched Earth.

Summary

This deck is far from perfect. As demonstrated in my elimination games, it still suffers from many awkward opening draws. However, it is usually possible to draw through these woes with tight play. And equally possible are wacky draws where it is quite hard to lose; early Midseason-Scorch or triple-Oversight hands come to mind.

At the moment, I think this deck may lie just a little short of the top tier NBN and Jinteki decks. It still lacks the consistency of those decks, and a skilled and careful opponent will often be able to outmaneuver it. However, Blue Sun has one more advantage that I haven't mentioned: unpredictability. I believe that this is far from the only successful Blue Sun archetype out there (the Mushin Grid deck springs to mind), and it is difficult for anyone to navigate all of the possible angles of attack that your deck could possess. Add that to the pressure that runners are facing to be prepared for the other top corp decks, and I am positive that Blue Sun will be able to hold its own as a powerful corp identity for a long time to come.

Enjoy the deck, and thanks for reading!

21 comments
14 Nov 2014 Alsciende

Your description is amazingly well written. Special thanks for the links to the Supermodernism and Keystone decklists and the "Anatomy of Anarchy" article. Very few decklist descriptions provide links to other ressources!

14 Nov 2014 onedayyou

Awesome description!! Thanks Could you also publish your Gabriel deck, as a Gabriel fan would love to check your deck out.

14 Nov 2014 DrunkenGineer

In practice, how often did you use the click ability on Fracking? I ask because I feel like Corporate War could actually be a decent agenda for this deck, considering that unless you're trying to push it out while broke, you'll nearly always have a way to pull something back to your hand and reach the 7 credit threshold; this effectively gives you one Fracking token, immediately, without the Bad Pub.

With two Posted Bounty in the deck, have you gotten any flatline kills by forfeiting it and Scorching?

14 Nov 2014 DrunkenGineer

Oh, and have you considered Eliza's Toybox as a backup to your Oversight AIs? It costs you your whole turn, but it can't be denied and can rez an Archer in a pinch.

14 Nov 2014 Diegofsv

Amazin deck and description. Thank you so much. How do you feel about Shattered Remains?

14 Nov 2014 spags

Awesome deck, and great job! A great big middle finger to NAPD.

14 Nov 2014 echorust

Great job, Timmy! Thanks for the write up. Really enjoyed watching you pilot this deck at worlds.

14 Nov 2014 tmoiynmwg

Thanks so much for the kind words, everyone!

@onedayyouI'm working on it!

@DrunkenGineerI felt the same way about Corporate War at first, but in my experience the ability to score Geothermal Fracking while broke is huge. There are times when you have a brief scoring window but you just don't have an economy going yet. In that situation, Fracking is great while War is too slow. In addition, the ability to gain 14 instead of 7 is very important in a close credit race.

Eliza's Toybox in Blue Sun is definitely worth investigating. My initial assessment is that it's a bit too clunky for the high costs (and the runner can still deny you by trashing it).

@DiegofsvShattered Remains is a fine card for Weyland, but it probably belongs in more of an all-in Scorch deck. Cards like Remains and The Cleaners are iffy because they tend to be useless unless the corp has the Scorch kill and the runner is relying on Plascretes to protect herself. Advanceable ambushes are so hard to set off that, if I'm playing one, I want it to usually win the game on the spot. Aggressive Secretary is the ambush that can do that.

14 Nov 2014 Diegofsv

Thanks @tmoiynmwg...and congratulations...you did awesome at Worlds.

14 Nov 2014 skaterforsale

Excellent deck and excellently played on your part this weekend! This single-handedly makes playing Weyland exciting for me again and that really means a lot. Maybe I'll get a chance to play against it tomorrow ;]

15 Nov 2014 SpiderMurphy

Great deck and very well piloted at Worlds! It was awesome watching you play. This is very inspirational, I've gotten into Weyland before but I'm psyched to play Blue Sun. Thanks!

15 Nov 2014 Thike

Hey Timmy, great job and nice meeting you at worlds! (This is Keith.) Looking forward to giving this version a go.

16 Nov 2014 thebriarfox

So Wendigo turned into Sagittarius the second ATR came out, yea?

16 Nov 2014 thebriarfox

More to the point. -1 Adonis, -1 Wendigo, +1 PriCon, +1 Sagittarius ?

16 Nov 2014 tmoiynmwg

That seems like a solid version to try! Adonis really is very good, so I'd be disappointed to cut it. Data Raven might be a better card to swap out.

16 Nov 2014 ItJustGotRielle

@tmoiynmwg I sat in the cold on a park bench for most of an afternoon/evening watching your games- I recognized the deck style after seeing your first opening hand on the steam, and tuned in on the edge of my seat (bench) to your last game. Fantastic job! I've never seen anyone play Weyland so well before, ever, with the consistency you did. Obviously I didn't know anything about you, but I went from "Cool, this guy brought a Blue Sun deck to World's!" to watching your games with my wife and explaining to her at a thousand miles a minute all the decisions you were making and why, what cards you were probably looking for, how you needed to play the matchup... anyway.

Just want to say thank you for taking my deck and giving it the extra boost. Very few players "get" Weyland, and you're right, piloting these combo-centric decks is no easy task, but it's very rewarding and interactive, but I could see first-hand that you have the mind for it and knew exactly how to get control of the board ASAP. Once again, great job! I switched up to your deck (proud of myself for building it exactly based on what I saw on stream/memory :P) and I can already feel the play potential becoming more streamlined. I went with 2 Adonis instead 1 along with a PriCon for consistency (having cash asap let me be more liberal with Jackson digging for early board control cards) BUT when ATR came out I dropped Wendigo/2nd Adonis for PriCon and Sagittarius. I was trying Rotorurret as a non-Davidable destroyer, which really hurts the decks potency, but Sagittarius has the bonus of not dying to parasite instantly, being more taxing, and giving the one-two punch to a face-checking runner, so I'll see how that goes.

Are you on reddit? I'm DonTankMeBro there and I'd like to touch base with you every so often about your continued progress with the deck, if you decide to stick with it a bit longer. Once again, congratulations on an impressive display!

16 Nov 2014 thebriarfox

I second the kudos.

This thing is a ballbuster.

Personally I prefer the hard threat of the Data Raven, but ymmv. Glad to see we're on the same page otherwise.

17 Nov 2014 echo/

Great writeup, I've been looking at other versions of Blue Sun but I could never shake the feeling that some games you'd draw hands full of expensive ice and without an Oversight AI just stumble horribly. The independent early game econ cards here really seem like a really sensible choice for the deck, and the rest of the design looks solid. I'll definitely be testing something like this soon :).

17 Nov 2014 tmoiynmwg

@ItJustGotRielle Thank you for sharing your Blue Sun deck! If I hadn't had your list as a base I doubt I would have done nearly as well. I just went ahead and made a reddit account with the same username, feel free to hit me up. And I'm going to bookmark your reddit thread about me so that I have something to read if I ever get depressed. :-P

And I think that there's still a lot more space for Blue Sun to play around in, even before O&C drops. In addition to Sagittarius, Executive Boot Camp, Snatch and Grab, and Daily Business Show all seem like promising cards in the new pack for Weyland. These are exciting times!

17 Feb 2015 vdude

@tmoiynmwg Do you still think the agenda suite is good with the bad pub and Valencia around?

18 Feb 2015 tmoiynmwg

@vdude Valencia will give you bad pub no matter what you do, so changing the agendas wouldn't help that much. Try slotting in Elizabeth Mills and/or Executive Boot Camp if Valencia is giving you problems.