Endless Waltz v4 (1st place at 3 Store Championships)

Cerberus 4654

Variations of this deck have helped me win 3 Store Championships. I am very convinced that this build is tier 1, especially in a world where fast advance is more common that glacier. The more decks there are with 10+ agendas, the better this deck will be.

I wrote an article on Leela, which is here : http://netrunners.co.uk/articles/the%20endless%20waltz%20-%20leela%20patel.html

This was from a few months ago and I feel the build is much stronger now.

The Ability

I have found this to be useful in every game; however it varies how useful it is from game to game. In the games where you are able to score an early agenda it sets back the corporation’s board state and often gives you an opening on another server, sometimes this snowballs and you score multiple agendas in short succession totally destroying the corporations defences resulting in a quick victory. These situations often feel like you are playing core set Gabe and if the corporation has a poor start you totally roll over them.

The Economy

The economy in this deck is one of my favourite things about it, firstly there is a lot of it, and I always prefer decks with lots of economy. Generally one of the most common mistakes that I see new players making when they are deck building is to not run enough economy because they want the cool cards.

It also has the Desperado and Security Testing combo, Desperado on its own is a great card that makes running much more economical, but with Security Testing these two cards are an economy engine of their own against any deck with open remotes like the ever popular NEH. This combo however struggles against glacier builds because when they are able to lock down their servers your economy dries up, and it is for this reason that the deck also runs Kati Jones, which is an ideal card against glacier decks which are slow and plan to score out of a remote, as having a full rig and a lot of credits will allow you to deal with most situations. This means that the deck has answers to both glacier and asset spam decks which is important since the strongest decks currently are NEH (asset spam) and RP (glacier).

Tricks

It wouldn't be a Criminal deck without some tricks. The key things that I wanted in the deck were cards to take advantage of Leela's ability, therefore it has Account Siphon and Legwork for open HQ. For R&D it seems sensible to also have the burst multi access which you can keep in hand and use when the corps defences have suddenly disappeared. However I felt that being able to threaten an R&D lock was much more important in the current meta and so I went with 3 R&D Interface, as these are a constant pressure for the corporation once they are on the board, especially when combined with Inside Job and the fact that Ice is often bounced back to hand. Emergency Shutdown is also a great card for Leela as you want derezzed cards so that they can be bounced back. I feel that some Leela builds go too over the top on getting cards that combine with her ability, for example running Logos, Emergency Shutdown and Cresentus. I think that it is sensible to have cards that combine with abilities, but you only need so many, it is actually the Account Siphons, Legworks and R&DI which are combining with her ability, as they are taking advantage of the window her ability opens.

Breakers

This is one of the areas that have changed the most in the deck. For a long time I was running 2-3 Cerberus Rex as my decoder of choice along side a Passport, but there were a few games where the corp was able to use up my Rex and create a scoring opportunity, or I would want to make repeated runs against HQ or R&D through a Quandary and without a Passport this wasn't feasible. Therefore I added in a Zu, and it has done work every game, having a decoder that is useable in all situations and doesn't get used up is essential for continuous pressure. I do however want to apply early pressure and that is why I am running 3 decoders, Zu, Passport and Rex.

Barrier breakers are plain and simple. 2x Corroder, I did test with Lady and Clone Chips but it was never worth it and it suffered from the same issues that Rex did.

Killers is another area that I have recently made change. My original list was 3. Faerie, 1x Femme, 1x Mimic and 1x Garrote. Garrote is only ever there as a safety net, so you have some ability to break large sentry ice without using disposable breakers or paying a lot of credits using Femme. However I basically never installed it, and after seeing others drop it and be successful, I took the plunge without any testing, and didn't need it once at all in the SC.

Lets talk match ups...

Weyland - The most popular ID right now is Blue Sun and Leela can do some real damage against BS players who are not used to her ability. With them and her bouncing ice it is possible to clear most of the board after a score / steal in close succession. Generally I think this is a good match up, especially decks that are running lots of 1 pointers such as Hostile Takeover and Posted Bounty.

NBN - The most popular deck at the moment is NEH AstroBiotics, and Leela has a great match up against it. It certainly isn't perfect, but that is a tough ask against the most dominant corp deck, it definitely has all the tools to beat NEH. Seeing Desperado and Security Testing early is great against this match up, but early pressure is key, as an early score can allow for some devastating attacks.

Jinteki - PE is probably a good match up for this deck, if it is a Cambridge style deck anyway. Leela has less to fear from double advanced cards as her ability means she can return them to hand, Decks with lots of small agendas also mean her ability triggers more often. RP is in my opinion one of the toughest matches however, because they score very few times, their agendas are hard to steal and therefore create that snowball effect that Leela loves and because the first agenda will often be a Nisei. I've yet to lose to an RP deck with Leela, but I do feel it is a tougher match, and I think I'd definitely go to 2x Sneakdoor if there was more in my meta.

HB - This is probably the faction I have done the least testing against, just because it is not popular in competitive play however. In the limited testing, I have found that Leela did well against FA variants but struggled against glacier builds. This fits in with my general view of the type of meta that Leela is good.

26 comments
9 Mar 2015 Dydra

A few words:

First, congratz on all the wins. Was very interested to see someone saying that Leela is "tier 1".

Second, I read the bits of your write up, that I was interested in. However, I disagree about a few things. First of all about your NEH and Weyland summaries. Obviously you either play a totally different meta from mine, or you wrote that text prior O&C.

Third, that thing about new players not running enough econ, because they "want to play the cool cards". The truth is simple, a deck needs that much econ, as it needs to. I, personally, love making decks that work on low econ and I'm the 2nd best player in our country ... we are a small group ... but still that says something. There are people who for no reason, regardless of deck put always minimum 9 to 12 econ cards :) For me - that's funny :)

Fourth and last, I love how back to the basics this deck is ... Money, R&D lock and solid breakers. With a very sexy abillity to spice things up ... unlike Gabriel or Andromeda :)

9 Mar 2015 x3r0h0ur

Congrats on the wins Dave. I'm sure this deck is sick in the hands of someone who knows how to pilot it.

Do you find the anti-synergy with kati and day job to be an issue ever? I feel like I'd rather run john mas and another econ card instead of kati if I were slotting Day Job. Do you ever play Day Job with Kati in play? If so, because its faster money than Kati can give?

9 Mar 2015 CJFM

@Cerberus Great to see another win with your Leela!

10 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@Dydra thanks for the comments. What is it that you disagree with regarding my thoughts on the Weyland and NEH match ups? I will be honest and say NEH is the deck that this has lost to the most (especially earlier versions without the Zu) but I don't think that's a surprise considering its recent strength and popularity. It's still got a very high win percentage against the archetype.

In regards to economy, I think you likely have a skill I don't when it comes to making decks with low economy work. I feel a surplus of credits can prevent a bad run, unlucky multi card access etc from creating scoring opportunities for the Corp. I don't think every deck needs X economy cards but I do feel it is often the part of a deck that isn't got quite right.

10 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@x3r0h0ur Day Job isn't the perfect card for the deck as it has it doesn't work with Kati or Security Testing but I wanted another burst economy card and couldn't afford the Lucky Finds I'd been using in previous versions since I'd added the Zu.

I tested Bank Jobs and John M, both made my none glacier match ups better, but I don't feel this is where the deck needs help. I've rarely had problems with clashes though, if I have Desperado and Security Testing set up with a target, or Kati going, it's often not needed, but the games where the other economy is slow coming online, they are priceless.

10 Mar 2015 Dydra

@Cerberus, About the NEH and Weyland summaries ... NEH Astrobiotics or Weyland Blue Sun aren't by far the most common decks I've seen around after the big box came out. NEH Scorches and all the other Weyland IDs like Titan Fast Advance or Gagarin Tax is what I've been playing against the most in the last couple of month. Also about BS, I believe the strongest build for that ID at the moment is the one with Government Takeover in it and 3 x Punitive 3x Scorch ... However, I've seen that being played only once.

Might be just our meta though :)

I personally, as a player, wouldn't play a deck (NEH Astrobiotic for example) that hasn't changed for the past 2-3-4 months?

That's why I thought either your meta is very different (for people to run those on SCs), or it was regarding tournaments prior O&C. :)

10 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@Dydra NEH is still very popular here though variations are common such as NEH Grail, NEH with Space Ice & ToL. Blue Sun is stupidly popular, and I agree the pure kill deck is really strong, though I also rate glacier in BS too.

10 Mar 2015 IceRay42

I see this version runs without any card draw mechanics at all. @Cerberus have you felt the deck slow down at all with the removal of Mr. Li? I like the influence shift away from Lucky Find into Day Job (low credit total into high firing value is a tool this deck needs to get up off the ground), but my version seems to flourish with the inclusion of 2 or 3 Earthrise Hotels so that you can speed up a hair (or be more aggressive against PE decks).

11 Mar 2015 PaxCecilia

I think that "the most common decks" will simply vary from area to area. The top four in our latest store championship were piloting the following ID's: #1 NEH & Edward Kim, #2 HB:EtF and Ken Tenma, #3 Blue Sun and Quetzal, #4 Tennin Institute and Kate.

I love seeing winning decklists from Leela. I always thought Desperado would be a poor console choice, but obviously I need to rethink how to play Leela (I'm definitely one of those shitties using Logos, though recently I decided to try out Doppelganger). I will give this decklist a try soon and let you know how it goes :)

11 Mar 2015 PaxCecilia

PS if I'm short 1 Desperado, does a 3rd Kati or 3rd Legwork sound like a better sub? Or should I finally submit to 3-core master-race?

11 Mar 2015 PaxCecilia

Oh, it's a 46 card deck. Well. Nevermind I guess!

11 Mar 2015 Jandrix

Could you elaborate on how you feel about Logos Leela builds? I agree that Cresentus is a huge stretch but in my experience Logos has felt great.

12 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@IceRay42 I keep going back and forth on draw, both Mr Li and Earthrise Hotel. There are cards I want in the deck more than draw currently, but I think that is simply a play style thing, it's rare I want to install my draw cards as there is always something else I'd rather be doing, so I ditched them.

@PaxCecilia if you don't have a 3rd Desperado I would add another economy card such as Kati. Let me know how you get on with it :)

@Jandrix Logos Leela builds are VERY different decks, much less aggressive often. If you are less aggressive you give up the chance for Leela's ability to snowball early game, where an early agenda pull sets the corps board position back significantly. I've won a lot of Leela games just from early aggression, and it feels similar to old school Gabe.

Logos definitely isn't bad in Leela, but it's only good if you see it early, it's not an economy card and so you need to add in more economy to your deck because of this. In my opinion people just go too all in on her ability, which isn't needed, you don't need to tutor a card AND bounce, it's cool, but often combos aren't as good as a solid deck with just breakers and credits.

I'm definitely not saying Logos is bad or that my deck is the best / only Leela build, because that's just arrogant and foolish. But I currently believe that a Desperado based aggressive deck is currently better than anything else I've tested or seen. Does this help? Thanks for the questions :)

12 Mar 2015 Jandrix

@Cerberus It did help. Thank you.

Ultimately I think desperado vs logos comes down to ones preferred playstyle. I think that even though it's built differently Logos decks can be plenty aggressive early. Desperado will keep the pressure up more consistently but will lack large burst opportunities that Logos opens up.

12 Mar 2015 PaxCecilia

Wondering if Day Job pulls it's weight? I'm thinking of dropping it for play tonight (love my Utopia Shard too much). Kati covers the long term economy alright, and Security Testing + Desperado + Dirty Laundry have a bit of anti-synergy with Day Job no?

12 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@Jandrix more or less, Desperado encourages you to be aggressive, check open remotes etc. One thing I like about Logos is the fact you don't need to dedicate as many deck slots to key cards or silver bullets. My concern with it (rightly or wrongly) is that if you don't see Logos early it can really hurt you finding those cards when you need them.

@PaxCecilia the deck needed a bit more economy (they were originally Lucky Find) and this is what worked best, but a Shard is definitely a good call. Be interested to hear how it goes in testing.

13 Mar 2015 IonFox

@Cerberus If I were to drop both day jobs for a utopia shard (yea I have to agree about the anti-synergy), what card would you recommend for the last influence? Or would you just stick with a single day job?

13 Mar 2015 IonFox

@Cerberus Also, what do you look out for in your opening hands?

13 Mar 2015 spags

Man, I hate this deck.

13 Mar 2015 johncraven

nice, try snitch, it's really good in Leela. allows you to run aggressive without forcing annpying ices to ne rezzed so you can bounce them later

14 Mar 2015 moistloaf

without Lucky Find it seems like this deck may rely on SecTest for a lot of economy. is that not the case? do you find yourself clicking for credits when SecTest is shut off? I grow more and more wary of SecTest as a fundamental economy card and like to include 2 as complementary economy. 3 Laundry and 3 SecTest seems like it could be rough against decks not playing asset economy.

23 Mar 2015 Rodge

@Cerberus Love this deck. After a few failed efforts with Leela builds, I took this exact build to a SC in Wicklow yesterday. It really does wonders against FA NEH. I lost once to NEH in the Swiss, but beat the same deck in the Top 8 as well as taking out two other NEH. It's only other defeat was to a HB glacier deck, which was just bad luck not finding my Special Order or Corroder - as . I do agree with your points of Desperado over Logos for the build you have here. I ran early and ran often, the 1 credit you get allowed me to pile through early game Pop-up Windows while I searched for early agendas. The only bad thing about this deck is, now that I've won and shared the list, I'm almost sure to be facing it myself in the future :)

23 Mar 2015 Cerberus

@Rodge thanks for taking the time to share your win. I'm really keen for everyone to see Leela as a valid ID, that in some metas is stronger than Andromeda. The more people win with her the better. Congrats on your win, would you make any changes?

26 Apr 2015 Horse85

Love the deck, been trying it out and had some success on OCTGN last night. Thinking about Doppelganger for the console, though. Just seems like a good fit for Leela, could be explosive. But it could also just kinda sit there, idk.

26 Apr 2015 Cerberus

I'd be shocked if Doppelganger is as good as Desperado, but test it and let me know. One of the key changes is adding in Symmetrical Visage to as the card draw.

27 Apr 2015 Horse85

The more I play with Desperado, the more I think you're right. Like Doppelganger could be explosive every now and then, but Desperado is just solid every game. I think there might be a build that could include Doppelganger and take advantage of it more.

I am gonna try Peacock instead of Zu. I mean if you think about the most popular code gates, probably Tollbooth and Enigma, Peacock is actually better for them. Costs 7 to get through a Tollbooth, while Zu costs 8 (although I guess Tollbooth should be Femmed anyway), and costs 2 to break Enigma while Zu costs 3 unless you want to lose a click. Freeing up 2 influence makes room for Lucky Finds over Day Jobs, or maybe Datasuckers to help out Mimic.