Killing Time v1.2

Jashay 697

A highly taxing Stronger Together deck that I've been working on. The basic idea is that the bioroids cost far more for the runner to get through than they do for me to rez;

Over half the ICE costs 4 or less to rez. Half the ICE has a strength of 5 or higher. Chimera, and occasionally Wormhole, are the only bits of ICE you can face check without consequence

The idea is simple: The runner will have to spend a high amount of or to get into your servers. You can use your upgrades to make life even worse for them; nothing is as frustrating as spending a whole turn and a bushel of to simply bounce off with no effect.

Changes

More agenda changes: NAPD Contract found its way in; looking back I'm not sure why I ever took it out. It combos incredibly well with the taxing nature of the deck, and with Utopia Fragment. (In theory. I've yet to draw the Fragment, ever!) I've gone for 2x2x2x on ABT, NAPD and Vitruvius as a test run; I expect I'll end up with two lots of 3x. Not sure whether ABT or Vitruvius is the one to keep, though.

I remain convinced that Eve Campaign is not for this deck. The 2 per turn was just too slow in a deck where all the ICE costs 3+ to rez. (Except Chimera). The Private Contracts are doing well in their place; this deck seems to need burst economy more than low trickles.

I've taken out the Successful Demonstrations and replaced them with Subliminal Messaging. That may seem to run counter to what I just said about burst econ, but it is working quite well. SD worked well against the more gung-ho runners, but more often than not I was finding that people would sit back a bit, make sure they had enough credits to get through the ICE they could see and then run first so they could break the nastier bioroids that way. This massively undermined my ability to use SD.

Subliminal Messaging, on the other hand, thrives on that sort of behaviour, and I've gotten to a stage a couple of times now where I was playing one per turn in a cycle. It's probably the closest thing to a free in the game.

ICE-wise, I've dropped to 2 Ichi 1.0 and gone back up to 3x Eli 1.0. The early turns are this deck's weakest time, and Eli 1.0 is a far better stopping choice.

I'm still on the fence about the Chimera. It's the last word in equipment checks, but the 2 every time is an unpleasant drain on the deck. It is effective at keeping people out, though, which is something this deck sorely needs in the first few turns.

The other big change is Inazuma for Wormhole. Even though Inazuma is fantastic, this was a great switch. One forces you to face all the subroutines of the next ICE, but the other can make you face any subroutine on the board. It works so well here; you get the powerful bioroid subroutines without their weakness, and it's on a very high-STR package to boot.

I think Heimdall 2.0's Do 1 brain damage and end the run has to be my favourite, but using Ichi 1.0 and Markus 1.0 are also powerful options. And of course, it's a very solid ETR if it needs to be. Given the strength of the subroutines you can leverage, most runners will not re-run Wormhole after the initial hit unless they are able to break a STR 7 Code Gate, which gives you a nice window to work with.

The downside is that people I play against have come to expect any advanced ICE to be Wormhole, so I often lose a bit of the surprise factor.

How to play

The ICE is all pretty taxing, but for the most part it is also porous; the runner can get through if they really want to. This leaves you vulnerable to first turn Siphons, Maker's Eye, etc. If you get a Chimera or Enigma in the opening draw (33% chance), you should prioritise that on HQ. Caprice Nisei on HQ is also a fair play if you're expecting early pressure from Lamprey, Siphon, Wanton, etc.

Once you've got two ICE stacked on each central you can breathe a little easier. Even the two cheapest bioroids (Viktor 1.0 and Eli 1.0) will make for an expensive server that cannot be entirely clicked through. What you will see a lot, though, is people clicking through one Bioroid and breaking the other. Dissuade them of this by making liberal use of Caprice Nisei and Heinlein Grid. Feel free to use them sacrificially; your ICE can probably carry you on its own in the later game.

The timing of the ELP is one of the trickier things for this deck. If you play it early it will slow the runner down, but it is also the time you are most vulnerable to Legwork/Maker's Eye, which are not affected by ELP. I think generally speaking it should be played when you have two ICE on HQ and R&D, but use your judgement.

Getting some economy is more important than getting a quick score. A lot of the time you only really need a single bioroid to protect an Adonis Campaign, and you don't usually need anything to protect a Private Contracts.

e3 implants are your bane, but ELP really helps, and Heinlein Grid laughs at it. In such cases, it's worth going three deep on a server. Technically Markus 1.0 can nail them, but I won't lie, it's unlikely.

The Future?

This incarnation of the deck feels more polished when playing, but it still suffers in the early game. More solid ETR ICE would allay this, but at the same time it detracts from the highly taxing nature of the deck. I'm not keen on the Chimera, but they are highly effective. Just a little draining.

I have considered Crisium Grid, as it would be yet another upgrade I could use to defend against early aggression. On HQ, it would cheerfully stop Account Siphon, Wanton Destruction, and other such effects. It could also be used to slap the current fad of Eater MaxX decks.

But actually, I'm not too worried about the Eater matchup. Getting through the two cheapest bioroids would cost Eater 9. Any clicks they spend are less they can use for Wanton Destruction and Keyhole runs. Also, MaxX only has about 10-15 turns to win or die, so any run where she wants to waste half a turn clicking though a bioroid is fine by me. Obviously needs testing though.

Something I found with Wormhole is that I had a lot of opportunities to land Brain Damage, and the deck in general tears through the runners . With those two facts combined, I'm thinking of making an alternative deck with Ryon Knight and Defective Brain Chips to do some serious damage. Could be good!

4 comments
8 Feb 2015 Oisin

Very cool. Nice job. What about Melange Mining Corp. in place of Private Contracts? While it costs a turn, it is great burst and pretty much forces a runner to waste a turn running through your scoring server gauntlet.

8 Feb 2015 Jashay

Thanks! Glad you like it.

I did try it, but it all links back to the early porosity of your servers. If they're determined and willing to spend clicks, you probably can't keep them out of R&D or HQ on the first turn unless you got a Chimera and/or Enigma. If they see the Melange Mining Corp. as an access, they'll trash it, no questions asked. PC costs a significant amount, particularly for early game accesses, so they'll often leave it alone.

Also, if you really need cash before you've fully fortified (a common occurrence), you can install a PC naked, or behind a single bioroid, and unless the runner is really flush (or running Imp), it'll probably still be there next turn. It's far trickier to get a Melange Mining Corp. to survive in the early game.

Late game, Melange Mining Corp. would be better, but this deck will often need the money in the early-mid game, as you'll need to be making deeper servers than is standard to keep runners out.

Basically, I've gone for early economy safety over late economy power.

22 Feb 2015 pants on head

I think False Leads are a must...maybe even as a 3-of. A scored False Lead means the runner cannot realistically run any server with a Crisium Grid, which opens up huge scoring windows.

23 Feb 2015 Jashay

I thought so initially, but I didn't find them that great here. Perhaps if I had a third Heinlein Grid I could have squeezed more use from them.

The issue I had was that forfeiting the agenda for a scoring window was almost always counterproductive; I must have been able to get three counters on an agenda to score False Lead. Forfeitting them to allow myself to score Gila Hands Arcology is profitless. Scoring Accelerated Beta Test, Project Vitruvius or NAPD Contract in the window is a +1 shift in score, which I could have obtained by scoring one of those agendas in the window in which I scored False Lead. The only decent positive that can come from the window is scoring one of the 3-pointers. Also, I really, really hate sacrificing agendas for anything.

The Heinlein Grid synergy is powerful, no doubt. But False Lead is far less use outside of that case. Interestingly, the effect is sometimes achievable with things like Experiential Data and Corporate Troubleshooter.

Overall I prefer the Gila Hands Arcology, as you can never go wrong with more money. If I ever get an econ setup that I'm happy with, though I might switch back to False Lead, but to be honest, even then I think Chronos Project, Bifrost Array and/or Director Haas' Pet Project would be better choices.