The Crusade (Exeter Store Champ Winning Corp)

Cerberus 4856

I have taken this deck to two tournaments so far, and it has gone undefeated in both. It is a lot of fun to play, and feels like less of a grinding tax deck than pure RP with ELP, instead it is great at opening scoring windows. Using Grail net damage or program trashing hits, fear of Grail without a full breaker suite, cool Excalibur plays etc.

I started testing this RP Grail deck to see if the concept was any good, so that I could consider adding Excalibur (at the time The Source wasn't out in the UK) What I found was that the Grail suite significantly helps the early game situation, since the runners do not want to run without a full breaker suite once they see some Grail Ice. This stops the standard play of drop a Killer and run, which puts all your servers under pressure and means the runner can threaten your asset economy. Once the RP drip economy is online it is a devastating deck, and I have found that the Grail Ice allow you to get to this stage much easier.

Agendas - Standard RP agenda suite, you want the agendas to be difficult to steal. Nisei MK II is a devastating card that can win you games if it is scored. I believe that 3 Future Perfects is correct for this deck as you only want to score 3 agendas to win.

Economy - Standard drip economy of Mental Health Clinics and Sundews, getting these online and protected is key to success. I am running Medical Research Fundraiser instead of Celebrity Gift because I do not want to reveal if I do, or do not have Grail Ice in hand, however I need early game burst economy to threat the expensive ice. In a lot of games if you can get your drip economy going there won't be a need to play this card, but it is definitely needed for early game. Melange Mining Corp is another card to try in its slot, but it needs to be defended and makes your R&D more porous.

Ice - The Grail suite has really been extremely good, the key is to keep Lancelot in hand unless you need Ice on the board, this is because Runners will not run without a sentry breaker against RP, however they will run without a Barrier and Code Gate breaker, which will allow you to hit them with program destruction using Merlin and Galahad. It is also worth noting that Net Damage done by Merlin will often have a significant game impact, killing key cards and in some rare cases flat-lining the runner. Excalibur - This gets a special mention, as you can have some amazing plays with this card. There is the obvious one of putting it on archives, so there isn't a cheap server to use to bounce across to the remote. However I have found that runners expect that and so in fact put it on another central, this often catches people out. My favourite trick though is to put it on the scoring remote, as a failed Psi game, lost Ash trace or if you have a Nisei MK II scored means that you are definitely safe if they cannot break or bypass it.

Many runners will take time to set up because they do not want to run without a full breaker suite. This will mean they play breakers and draw a lot, I have found that this creates scoring opportunities that are not normally there and getting out the first Nisei MK II can win you the game.

Criminal is this decks best match up, which is good because of how strong Criminal is right now. I've also been testing this against Stealth Andy and it has stood up remarkably well, though its definitely not an easy match. Shaper is also a good match up, though the Parasite recursion can hurt, it is definitely manageable since they need to do a lot before they can run, as long as you can keep your ice on the board. The 2x Interns help with this a lot, as well as getting back Sundew or Caprice if needed. In fact Interns has been a key card in this deck, and made an important difference in most games. Noise is likely a worse match up, as he always is for RP due to the Parasite recursion, though hopefully the Grail impact will lessen that. I've not tested enough to know yet in all honesty.

In the tournaments I played this against: Andy Sucker x2 Silhouette Katman PPVP Kate x2 Chaos Theory Turbo Rig Chaos Theory Blackmail Andy Stealth x2

25 Jan 2015 lpoulter

Thanks for posting. What's with the grim??

25 Jan 2015 lpoulter

Makes no sense to me with 3 lanecots and Napds?

26 Jan 2015 Cerberus

@lpoulter it was just Mimic hate. It was a test and a failed one. I forgot about the bad pub in a double elimination game (again)

26 Jan 2015 lpoulter

Fair enough would love to get some mimic hate into my decks not sure in there. Not sure it's a viable option if your not weyland. Although grim works quite nicely in tomazs tennin.

26 Jan 2015 v01d

It's a very interesting deck! I have a few questions, if you don't mind:

26 Jan 2015 Cerberus

@W/MUTE solid questions - I've not tested ELP in the deck so it is hard to comment too much. From experience with the deck though, you always want a Caprice or Ash in your scoring remote, it just makes everything that much safer. I'm therefore scared of dropping the Ash because of how critical it is. Eli isn't critical at all, but Jackson allows you to draw enough ice to have some on the board and some in hand, I think he is a key card in this deck more than most.

In regards to MRF, it has been performing very well, though I am still testing to see if Celebrity Gift causes me any huge issues or not. The problem I have had with Celebrity Gift to date is if I don't have any Grail, that makes them more confidant since there is no chance of a barrier trashing a program, that knowledge is very important. I'm testing it more, as well as Melange Mining Corp, this is a big burst of economy, and can force an early run on ice that the runner isn't ready to deal with.

I'm very sold on Grail RP being strong (same with Grail NEH).

27 Jan 2015 IonFox

What about swapping eli and a jackson for 2 daily business shows? I find that they usually tend to help your draws out a lot.

27 Jan 2015 Cerberus

@IonFox I think I need to keep the ice number the same but could drop an Interns for one and replace Eli with something. I will test and see.

27 Jan 2015 AsteriskCGY

Markus has been notable for a central bother, but I see Eli doing wonders on any remote. Especially great for sundew protection.

27 Jan 2015 Ajar

ELP is insane in RP. Definitely test it. It does compete for the Ash slot, but the cost/benefit ratio has been consistently better for me.