Killing Time v2.0

Jashay 696

A rework of a personal favourite of mine. Stronger Together is currently undergoing a surge in popularity due to the excellent Brain-Taping Warehouse.

The temptation with a ST deck is to maximise the gains from the class ability by utilising as many Bioroids as possible. But this will lead you into a number of problems. The first one is that your servers are upsettingly porous to begin with, which leaves you vulnerable to such machinations as Account Siphon, Legwork, and The Maker's Eye. The second is that while Bioroids are cheap for their abilities, they are not actually cheap. The cheapest usable Bioroid (Sorry Zed) costs 3, which is a full turn of clicking for credits. If you are forced to rez multiples, or get your money drained, you'll have a hard time catching up.

However, once you've got them rezzed, and in numbers, they are a complete pain. The identity only exacerbates this, and there are a slowly increasing number of annoying support cards.

Tl;dr: Your early game is weaker than most. Your mid to late game can be stronger.

Brain-Taping Warehouse is a massive help in this regard. Since runners will tend not to run on their final , you will often get a decent discount. Additionally, the rez-to-trash relationship is superb. You can install these unprotected, and the runner with either waste time and money trashing them, or probably help you by lowering your rez costs. And they stack. Excellent bit of design.

That alone doesn't entirely solve the issues. Once the ICE is rezzed, BTW does nothing. If they run first click and you rez Eli 1.0 for free, they can still Account Siphon you and click through.

Defences

So I've added some actual ETR ICE in the form of Hive and Enigma, and included Targeted Marketing, which will see you through AS easily. All have the additional advantage over, say, Crisium Grid, in that they are useful against all decks, more or less.

Most of the rest of the ICE is Bioroids, with the exception of Architect (always good) and Wormhole. It might seem like an odd choice, but the Bioroids offer an excellent selection of subroutines to choose from, and as such can't be ignored. A bit annoying when you get them in the opening hand, but I still like the size and flexibility they offer.

Both upgrades are defensive in nature. Ash 2X3ZB9CY needs no explanation, but Heinlein Grid is a little different. It seems perfect on paper, but it gets a lot of flak. I still hold with them because they remove options from the runner. It almost forces them to pay through all of the ICE, which is only to your advantage. Also, since it disincentivises spending clicks it synergises with Brain-Taping Warehouse.

Lag Time is handy, but it's keeping the spot warm for Defective Brainchips. There are potentially 10 sources of brain damage here, and if Heinlein Grid is kicking around when they hit, say, Viktor 1.0, they get stuck in a lose-lose: 2 brain damage, or all your credits? It forces the runner to tread very carefully, and slowing them down is only to your advantage.

Money

BTW is pseudo-money, but not a patch on the real thing. Subliminal Messaging is the closest thing to a free credit in the game, and you will often get to use them multiple times in a game due to the taxing nature of the ICE. Hedge Fund is standard.

Medical Research Fundraiser is an odd choice, I know... to be frank, if I had three more influence, they would probably be Sweeps Week. But as it stands, they give me 5 for one , and starting on 10 means I can rez any two bits of ICE (excluding the four largest). Generally it is the difference between getting a bit of ICE rezzed or not, and that's easily worth 3 to me.

Issues?

Despite all my patching, the early game can still be problematic. Eater with Wanton/Keyhole/AS can be hell if they get a good start, but once you hit mid game the multiple bioroids make it too expensive even for eater.

Reina is a wee bit annoying, but thankfully Blue Sun seems to have mostly put paid to her Rook shenanigans. But resource denial and rez cost increases do hit you quite hard.

Wormhole alternates between being a liability or being incredible, pretty much depending on when you draw it. I'm loathe to drop it, but the inconsistency can be bothersome.

It's not rush. I know it's silly to list it as an issue, but you won't perform as well against Noise Mill, which needs time, and super-fast decks like Chaos Theory Stimshop or that Au Revoir based one.

Thanks for reading, assuming you waded through that deluge of text. Criticisms, questions and suggestions welcome!

4 comments
15 Apr 2015 esutter479

As usual, Jashay, good stuff and great explanation! When I finally get off my Argus kick, the first thing I'm going to do is build up an ST! Just one question: Do you find that only one Architect is enough? Is it one of those gravy-when-drawn early things? :)

15 Apr 2015 Jashay

Thank you very much!

I keep see-sawing between one and two. It's one of those cards that almost forces an equipment check, in that people usually don't want it to fire twice. It also works fantastically on R&D, but it doesn't directly stop runs.

A variant of this has no Lag Time, but +1 Architect and Ash 2X3ZB9CY. It's solid, but getting starting ICE of Architect + Wormhole against an AS recursion deck is not something I want to repeat.

Any time I dabble with dropping the Wormholes, an Architect goes straight in. Two is really, really good, but I'm super-paranoid about including too much 'support' ICE

16 Apr 2015 slam0504
16 Apr 2015 Jashay

Of the two, I would almost certainly go for the Cyberdex Virus Suite. Can trigger from anywhere, can trigger off-turn... it's a significantly better option. Dropping Lag Time for Architect and Cyberdex Virus Suite could work.

However, the deck is actually pretty resilient to Viruses. Most of them run Darwin and/or Crypsis as their breakers, and whilst regular purges slow you down, they can cripple them. The high STR of most of the ICE here means you have a 2-3 turn window after a purge whilst they restock the Darwin.

The issue is more the milling effect. The size of your ICE counts for nothing; it only matters that you can get trashed cards back. Losing agendas to that, especially when there are so few in the deck, is painful. For those, I'd rather a third Jackson. Or a Cerebral Static!