Armored Turtle: A well-tested Stirling deck v2

Erik_Twice 2022

There's people who think that Iain Stirling is a bad identity because it forces the player to play slow. That's a very shallow understanding of the identity.

What Stirling does is boost and accelerate already powerful strategies that are slower, namely rig-building and R&D lock in a Criminal shell. He improves the power of already good cards like Logos and the Interfaces and keeps all the tricks Criminals already had.

The foundation of the deck is very simple: : Get several recurring credits per turn, drop interfaces, attack until the Corp dies. It's impossible to shake off Stirling once he starts attacking and the game will be on our hands after a certain point, no matter how many agendas has the Corporation scored.

To get to that point, the deck attempts to slow the Corporation down: Faerie and Inside Job threaten servers from the beginning of the game and allows us to facecheck from safety. Tri-Maf can also greatly help to destroy economic assets and other dangerous cards like Daily Bussiness Show and all of them are useful later in the game to save some credits.

The main issue with the build at the moment are several underwhelming card slots with no obvious replacements. The underwhelming card slots are as follows:

  • Derez package: Great against Blue Sun, often overkill against Jinteki RP, dead weight that clogs your initial hands against NBN and HB Fast Advance. The economic power of Stirling is more than enough to hammer any R&D server I've seen, including my fairly extreme Midway Supergrid deck that I feel is the most taxing deck that can be built. Crescentus is better than Emergency Shutdown since you have no interest running HQ very often.

  • Sneakdoor Beta, HQ Interface and Legwork: You need HQ pressure, and a split of HQ Interface and Legwork seems best but Sneakdoor Beta, which is an amazing surprise, only works with the first one. Most games will be lost because HB drew a lot of agendas and R&D lock still allows them to win so this is an important problem.

  • Underworld Contact will probably be replaced by Data Folding once Order and Chaos is released. This liberates three slots which, again, have no cards I really want to put in them.

Matchups are very good from my (and other's) tournament experience, the deck is competitive right now if fairly unpolished.

Good matchups:

-Blue Sun -HB Glacier -Jinteki RP -Jinteki PE (Feedback Filter lol) -NEH (Quite surprisingly)

Bad matchups:

-Grail Fast Advance (Heavily Disfavoured) -HB Fast Advance (Disfavoured)

Decks that are slow or midrange are quite easy to R&D lock, specially if their biggest pieces of ICE can be bypassed by Inside Job. When you are earning five credits per turn and you only need to attack every other turn, there's simply no server that is hard to trasverse. This makes Blue Sun, HB Glacier and Jinteki RP fairly good matchups.

Jinteki PE can be very fast and there's always that one great Jinteki player that has so much experience that beating him is extremely difficult but Stirling's natural credit generation combined with Feedback Filter, R&D lock and three copies of Faerie makes it a fairly good matchup. I even considered taking out the Feedback Filter and play it in a more straightfoward manner because it can be kind of overkill sometimes.

NEH is, whatever couch Runners may say, a favourable matchup. Their ICE is not threatening and often pourous, their assets easily trashed by our recurring economy and they are forced to slow down that first Astroscript to avoid giving us enough money to R&D lock several turns faster.

Of the bad matchups, the new Grail decks are clearly the worst because you can't facecheck them without having all your breakers out. The deck relies a lot of Inside Job and Faerie and those are simply not very useful here, specially Faerie which has to be spent breaking Architect and brings all the Grails online again.

HB Fast Advance is also difficult because unlike NEH, its ICE is very solid and can bluff with its economy cards in a remote. There's nothing worse than having to worry about a possible 3/2 and spending clicks running into Adonis when you need to be playing resources.


-No Account Siphon?

I used to run three copies but like other options, I found it somewhat underwhelming. Great players won't be affected by it, specially given how little you run compared to other Runners and the credit gain is not huge, since you already have a lot of money and need the clicks to drop resources.

-No The Source?

The Source takes a lot of influence, a lot of card slots and doesn't work. The Corporation can simply advance an NAPD and offer you a choice between letting them score (bad) and stealing an NAPD for 7 credits and hitting your own The Source (Very bad). It also makes stealing agendas from R&D a pain and that's what you want to do most of the time.

-No Hostage?

Hostage only has two good targets: The Supplier and Mr Li. You'll probably draw one of them, and you don't need the other so it's not specially useful.

-No Keyhole?

Keyhole doesn't allow us to R&D lock and leaking a couple agendas exacerbates the HQ problem pointed out above. After testing, I went back to R&D Interfaces. Having only one copy is also an issue.

-You are wrong about NEH. NEH is impossible to beat.

That's not a question :)

14 Dec 2014 Captain

It is a similar list to something that I am playing right now. I ended up ditching the global sec / underworld contacts for a slightly different economy package. I think mr li isn't that good and that earth rise hotel will be better in this deck when it drops

14 Dec 2014 Vimes

The ideas in this deck get me pretty giddy. Iain has always been one of my favorite runners thematically and psychologically, but I never had the cajones to use him or liked his popular builds because they seemed a little all-in (Keyhole). I'm pretty new to Netrunner but I'll be playing this deck a bit and if I come up with any observations I will let you know. Until then, thank you for posting this.

P.S: You mention a Midway taxation corp deck. Could you please post or message me that one? It is one of my favorite cards but I am trouble doing what I want with it in a deck.

14 Dec 2014 Vimes

Perhaps Bribery will be a good inclusion once The Source hits, a less click-intensive Running Interference?

14 Dec 2014 Erik_Twice


I'm writing a long primer on that Midway deck similar to other decks I've built before but I still haven't finished it so I cannot link to it. When I'm done I'll try to drop a link but here's a slighty outdated list here:

Take out the Interns and a replace the Executive Retreats and Accelerated Beta Test with better 5/3s and 3 copies of Project Vitruvius.

Bribery only affects the first piece of ICE on the server and the main reason why Running Interference is so interesting is how it affects a whole server and can completely wreck it if it's big or the ICE defending it is very expensive. It's also cheaper despite costing an extra click since you would need an average of 6 or more credits to get a similar effect with Bribery even if it affected the whole server.

15 Dec 2014 Oisin

No plascrete?

16 Dec 2014 Erik_Twice


Stirling is fairly rich and you can quickly match Weyland's credit pool, so I don't think protection against Scorched Earth is worthwhile. You can always find a slot for a copy of Crash Space or Decoy if you really want to, though.

17 Dec 2014 razhemnet

Dumb little question, but I assume the E3 is for bioroid ice? None of your breakers actually sinergize with it.

17 Dec 2014 Erik_Twice


It is indeed for Bioroids, but feel free to take it out because by the time it becomes useful you are rich enough not to really care about having to break an Eli. There should be better uses for that deck slot.

20 Dec 2014 Two_EG

Totally agree with Keyhole. It can't lock R&D and this is very critical against FA. Anyway, using influence for 2 R&D interface, Feedback filter, and corrder is same as my Iain deck.... though, what I think is...

Hostage is always good. It can't be a dead card. 2nd-3rd Mr.Lee or Supplier is MORE dead card. With 3 hostage, you can put only 1-2 of them. And you can use 2nd-3rd hostage for some less valuable cards(Tri maf, Underworld) anyway.

I think HQ interface is better than legwork for Iain. You want to run HQ continuously against NBN anyway. And HQ pressure can force corp to score some agendas.

And finally... why not 3 Logos?

20 Dec 2014 Erik_Twice


The thing is, the extra cost of putting Underworld Contacts or Tri-Maf into play with Hostage is high enough for me not to want to do it. I mean, you are paying one more click and one more extra credits, that's at least two more turns of UC having to do its thing and you are aiming to get them online one turn earlier with The Supplier so I'm not fond of it.

Still, feel free to try it out for yourself, I might be wrong. ;)

I used to run one HQ Interface, one Legwork but in practice I never used it. I barely used Legwork, either but you need at least one copy to tutor with Logos.

And talking about Logos, chances are you won't play it until you area fair bit into the game and you'll easily be able to find one of your two copies by them. It's also an expensive card and playing three of them means your opening hand might easily get clogged with two, which is awful.

24 Dec 2014 dmipgoz

I have a lot of program, why did you take Access to Globalsec instead of dyson mem chip ?

24 Dec 2014 Erik_Twice

It's cheaper and you don't really need the memory.