The Grail is Yours: 1st place Stoke-On-Trent GtG Store Champ

Circadia 2781

"Mr. Howard? Priority message from downstalk. It's about the AstroScript Pilot Program."

Jackson tutted. He turned away from the shelving in the corner of his office, where he had been artfully posing the latest Bioroid action figures from NBN's Toys and Tech department. (This was the latest in a long line of co-operative ventures between Haas-Bioroid and NBN, spearheaded by Jackson. He was an especially big fan of the cute Eli 1.0 figurine.)

"Thank you Shirley" Jackson said, striding over to his desk and switching the intercom off. He checked his vidscreen, and tapped the blinking red light to pull up the priority message from Broadcast Square.

Jackson's face contorted into a grimace. Some runner (identity unknown) was trying to shut down the launch of the AstroScript Pilot Program. The Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center's efforts to protect their flagship project had stalled; not even imported Biotic Labor could get it back on track with the runner riffling through their servers with impunity.

The message was addressed to all heads of departments, requesting a concerted pooling of resources to ensure the Astroscript went off without a hitch. Jackson walked to the window of his office, halfway up the beanstalk, the so called Midway Station Grid. His nimble mind flitting through the possibilities. He stared up at the moon, where, this time tomorrow - Mercer willing - the news of the world would beam down to the denizens of Earth 24/7.

Overworked. That's how Jackson felt, and the idea struck him that that he needed to inflict that feeling on the runner. Overworked, overtaxed, overmatched. Firstly, he needed something that packed a punch, and this new Grail ICE that the other mega-corps were waxing lyrical about might just be the ticket. Normally NBN couldn't wield the influence to import such heavy-hitting defense, but maybe the surprise factor for any unready runner was worth burning a few bridges here and there.

Jackson smiled as the thought of rerouting the ICE through his own office at the Midway Station Grid came to him. The extra routing time from Earth to halfway up the Beanstalk would play havoc with any runner expecting the ICE to be hosted Earthside. With all the runners resources tied up in just dealing with the supercharged Grail ice, that would free up a couple of Shell Corporations to shovel money towards the completion of the AstroScript Pilot Program. Or, in a pinch, they could divert the runner's attention away, wasting resources while the Program proceeded anyway.

What's more, Jackson mused, with the runner so overtaxed just on rifling through NBN's R&D, that may give them an opportunity to showcase the Astroscript at a launch party in the SanSan City Grid, where all the right people lived. A big event to show up the runner's pathetic attempts to disrupt this glorious innovation, this pinnacle of human achievement. Maybe make it a big news event, announce it as if it were Breaking News? No, too simple. What they needed was a tie-in to give away, little moon models with NBN's logo plastered all over them, to really make the SanSan City Grid party go wild. A hastily pushed through License Acquisition would take care of that.

Hurrying over to his vidscreen, Jackson hammered his ideas down into a brief message. As an afterthought, he added "weak to virus disruption of R&D & codegate focus. Consider importing Cerebral Static for a bit of extra buzz?"

He sent the message and flipped the intercom switch. "Shirley? I want to make an announcement on a program tomorrow regarding the status of the AstroScript Pilot Program. Free up some scheduling on an early evening talk show, would you?"

"Certainly Mr. Howard. Would The World is Yours work?"

Jackson smiled through his teeth. "Perfect."

This is a deck that began it's life as the "Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow" ( We all knew that the tourney at Stoke would not feature O&C cards, so I wanted something that would really overwork Andromeda and PPKate with Lady (and hopefully put some pressure on Noise), and this deck seemed to offer that.

A few playthroughs with CrimsonWraith's excellent original gave me some ideas for a few amendments, as I wanted to step up the idea of overtaxing the runner, and the must-trash nature of SanSan City Grid fed right into that. With SanSans doing work, License Acquisition seemed like a good fit and it really pulled it's weight at the SC, granting me two rezzed SanSans in a couple of games, demanding that the runner either blow all their cash to shut them off or find their points in R&D before I could.

The deck went undefeated in 5 rounds of swiss (against 2 Kate, 2 Noise, and 1 Andromeda) and undefeated in both rounds of the top 4 cut (Andromeda x2). It's weakest matchup is probably Noise or Kit, hence Cerebral Static, but I didn't get to play it in either Noise matchup (it was my first milled card in one game!) and I still eked out the win, which speaks to the strengths of the deck.

What I like about it is that it is far less dependent on getting your Astroscripts at the right time. Sure, Astro wants to be the first agenda you score, but I was able to keep SanSans up and rezzed over a good number of turns far more reliably than I ever have before. That means I could score out Beales and NAPDs without feeling like doing so is going to set me back once I don't have the Fast Advance to fall back on.

9 Feb 2015 sruman

Great deck, thanks for posting. A few questions that come to mind:

  • How did you find the money situation? You probably never want to rez merlin, but I'd think you'd want at least 2-3 ice R&D / Archives / San-san remote to make the midways worthwhile. Ignoring merlins and pop-ups, the ice is still 4 creds on average, so 6 ice on 3 servers is 24 credits which is the same amount as from hedges and (non-andromeda) sweeps weeks. Not leaving much left over for rezzing the san-sans, midways, ice placement, and agenda costs. Am I underestimating the pop-up money or consistency of using shell corporation? On that one, where did you usually put shell corp? Central or the san-san server ( given it would be a 2nd or 3rd trash target after midway and san-san).

  • Did you ever close any accounts? I'm guessing that's just there for the (oh great) renewed occurrence of siphons and tag floating powered by eater and I've Had Worse?

  • how did you find the tollbooths? Always taxing for sure, but not really helpful with midway grid and costly, any thoughts on switching those out?

  • Given the runner list, I'm guessing didn't get by too many key-hole/ eater decks which are rising in popularity. Would you change anything to meta against that? Usually in NBN it's wrap-arounds and maybe a splashed crisium, but do not seem to be much room for either here (wrap-arounds for tollbooths maybe to go really hobo ...)

  • Was excalibur there as notoriety protection :)

9 Feb 2015 moistloaf

how the hell did you have enough money.... you are running 8 econ in a 44 card deck, and shell corp is awful early game

9 Feb 2015 Circadia

@sruman Actually Merlin was my favourite grail ice to have on the board, because its the most resilient to Parasite and is the biggest surprise for a runner who has just thrown down their sentry breaker.

Money in the deck is fine. You'll be clicking for creds a lot but the runner will be moreso, because once you're set up the tax on this deck is huge. Pop-Up Window does work as well, I remember I gained a lot of credits from it across all the games I played.

If I need money, Shell Corporation goes on whichever central server is the most taxing, and almost never gets trashed because of that. I find I'm using it less effectively than Kati because of the threat that it could get trashed, but it breaks even at 6 credits and everything after that is profit, which I'm fine with. Otherwise, Shell Corp can be used to waste the runners resource on a fruitless remote run, and then next turn you put in a SanSan or an NAPD.

I did not, no one floated tags against me, but they definitely did in testing which is why I put it in.

Tollbooths worked like a charm, no synergy with Midway Station Grid but they're uber taxing as is, so I don't mind.

I tested it against Eater decks and it held up alright, because Eater's 1c-1sub ratio is perfect for Midway tax. Good luck getting into R&D 10 times when its costing you 12 credits a run and you can't even access the Midway at the end of it. However, Order and Chaos wasn't legal at the event, so I dodged that particular bullet.

Excalibur is there to stop "I'll run archives for 4 money and 4 sucker token" turns!

@moistloaf I don't know how I had enough, but I did. Shell Corp is great early game. By turn 3 when all your central ice is online, you've got a good chance to start building up the credits.

9 Feb 2015 PaxCecilia

Is Closed Accounts included in the off-chance they're playing tag-me? Personally I'd love to have this replaced with an Anonymous Tip to build up a few Grail ice in hand, or another Shell Corporation. Regardless, it's a cool deck!

I'm thinking you might want Wraparound with these Eater decks everywhere. Taxes like crazy until they either play a fracter or D4v1d (and burning through D4v1d tokens with a 2 ice feels great).

9 Feb 2015 DAC86

Congrats on the win mate, I was 5th.

I would have been interested to see how my Chaos String Theory deck would have played against this deck. I don't think I would have had a problem with your ice unless you got me with a Merlin early.

10 Feb 2015 Grimwalker

Seems interesting but I'm worried about Cutlery rigs.