The Real Power Behind The Throne (not a draft deck!)

PeekaySK 7807


So, I have this friend who loves janky ideas. He's been dreaming about building a neutral-only corp deck for a while. Late one evening, he says:

"The card-pool for a full neutral corp deck is there, all that's missing is the identity"

To which I tell him: "How so? Just build a stack of all reasonable corp identities and draw a random one before each game!"

He loves the idea, and does so. We play a game, and while it actually isn't all that bad for him, the deck is pretty easy to play against because I know he's only running neutral stuff.

So, that got me thinking: There's four corps in the game, right? And the average corp ID has 15 influence - that can't be a coincidence! All we need to do is build a deck that only uses neutral agendas, then uses 5 influence worth of each corp's cards, then construct a "crypt" (tip of the hat to VtES here) stack consisting of a reasonable selection of corp IDs that have 15 influence and no abilities detrimental to the concept to draw from before each game... so, definitely no Custom Biotics and probably no Cerebral Imaging, for instance. This sounded so awesome to me, it'd be shame not to attempt.


Turns out, neutrals are really good at economy and even have a reasonable ICE selection. So, just splash some ways to leverage that into actual winning conditions, some potentially nasty surprises, and you should be good to go. Now, there's plenty of ways to go about doing it, I'm just providing a sample decklist specific to my particular player preferences. You even have a decent amount of flexibility as far as the agenda selection goes - there are no neutral 3/2 agendas, but there's plenty of good 3/1s, and the 4/2s and 5/3s usually range between "decent" and "awesome".

It needs to be said that if you attempt to build a deck like this yourself, you should probably start with a consideration of how you want to spend your rainbow assortment of influence, and then build the neutral part of the deck (particularly the agendas) according to that. For instance, here I'm opting for fewer larger agendas, which I'm aiming to push through with a combination of traps, Ash, Caprice and Utopia Fragment. But you could conceivably make a flatline deck without too much effort.

Incidentally, despite being neutral, the Grail Suite has anti-synergy with the concept, because it leads to a lot of wasted influence.


The name of the deck refers to the idea of the corp ID stack - that the deck is a beast with many faces, and you never know which one you'll be playing against (or as, for that matter). I used "The Shadow" for this particular list, because thanks to Alsciende's great work here, that way the list completely shows all influence used, making it easy to check. You can build your corp ID stack to your liking. Here's my particular selection, as I only chose reasonable picks (so, no Nisei or ST with a total of 1 Psi-game and 1 Bioroid, for instance):

If I wanted perfect symmetry, I'd replace Tennin with NEH - that way, each corporation has exactly two identities in the running, even though some instances of the setup will have wasted influence. Tennin also has a bit of anti-synergy with the PADs, so it might be a good idea to either swap it out, or ditch the PADs if they turn out to be unnecessary.


My only regret is I can't take it to a tournament without locking myself into one identity for all rounds!

Love the concept? Build one of these yourself a give it a spin! Just don't forget to draw an ID before you take your first turn. For extra dilemmas, include the ID draw in your mulligan decision :)

9 Jan 2015 cmcadvanced

Oh but grail ice would only be influence in a non neutral deck, and you know that seems legit :D

9 Jan 2015 aermet69

Great idea!

9 Jan 2015 Snowcub

Should anybody be interested, this was the very raw prototype i tried originally:

10 Jan 2015 DrunkenGineer

If I wanted perfect symmetry, I'd replace Tennin with NEH - that way, each corporation has exactly two identities in the running

I'm counting 4 Jinteki IDs, and only one each of NBN and HB.