The Crescentus Clutch (v1.5)

Circadia 2771

Yes, I’m the douche who took a Reina Headlock deck to a regional. My rationale was to see if this deck could perform as well in a field of top notch players as it has been performing online. I think my second RP opponent summed up the general feeling on the day after using two Nisei tokens just to stop the Lamprey-lock: “don’t apologise man! It’s a really good deck. I just hate playing against it.”

This deck went 6-0 in the Swiss at the London Regional (57 players I believe), against the following matchups: Gargarin Deep Space (with Sea Scorch), EtF (Troll Heinlein Grid), EtF (click tax), Jinteki RP x2, and NEARPAD. It lost due to time against the same Gargarin deck in the losers’ bracket of the top 8 cut (my opponent and I both agreed the game could have gone either way, despite him being up 6-2 when time was called!) Very happy with the performance overall, although time was a serious factor in all games. I definitely need to look at a faster corp deck if I take this to future tournaments!

Card Choices

I’m sure you all know the basics of the Lamprey/Crescentus Headlock deck so I’ll just comment on some of the key changes I’ve made.

Symmetrical Visage x2 - a god send for this deck with the amount of drawing you do, and how economy reliant it is. Probably MVC of the deck.

Singularity x1 – I hate having no remote pressure (Knight doesn’t count because everyone double ices their remotes!) This card is fantastic against anyone who is setting up a mega-remote server, and bypasses Ash – who is everywhere at the minute.

Scrubber x2 – One of these was not nearly enough for me given how hard asset economy shuts this deck down. It’s one of the easiest ways to win the economy war and given my matchups, I was ecstatic to draw these fellas every time

Vamp x3 – nothing was worse in testing than having money, Eater, Keyhole, Crescentus and Clone Chips, but no Vamp to actually start the damn lock. I upped the count to 3 to protect against that scenario.

The Almost-Includes

Clot – this deck has a good matchup against Fast Advance because of the swingy nature of their economy and their lack of answers to the lock once it starts. Clot was not doing much in testing and with no way to tutor Visage was a much more attractive include.

Queen’s Gambit – I wasn’t lacking for economy in any of my games, not sure this was needed. I’m also terrible at hitting naked Beales with it, so it’s gone.

Knifed – Wonderful card against Eli, Wraparound and Ice Wall, but played so little in testing that I felt there were better options. It’s possible that Knifed could saved me in my final game against Gargarin where the Ice Walls were doing serious work, but Parasite is also a good answer to Ice Wall so I’m unsure.

Thoughts on the day

Asset economy is king in the current meta, outside of Blue Sun. I think volumes that even against such a meta, this deck holds up extremely well. It’s super-important to kill asset economy if you want the lock to stick, but with that said, sometimes the best way to achieve it is to go overboard on cash and wait until after the Vamp to kill the PADs and the Eves, especially if they are defending them with ice. The standard rule of “every ice protecting a PAD campaign is one less ice on centrals” is less significant against Headlock where you only have 6 chances to derez each piece of ice.

More problematic are cards like Capital Investors and Melange Mining Corp, which do need to be killed on sight if you are to win the economy war. Mostly running and derezzing the ice is enough to get through and trash it, but Knight and Singularity will do in a pinch.

I discovered over the course of the day that the Vamp end-game play is sometimes not necessary. If your opponent is on less than 10 credits, just running R&D or HQ and derezzing the ice with Crescentus is usually enough to get them down to 0. It’s a good way of working around the Nisei tokens in an RP deck (leading to the above scenario of the Nisei tokens being used to stop the Lamprey-lock as opposed to the Vamp.)

This deck does serious work against anyone relying on Caprice to protect them (and she was present in 4 of the corp decks that I played against). Reason being is that it’s almost always in your best interests to bet 0 (barring match point). Them betting 1 or 2 is akin to them self-Lampreying and (assuming you’ve derezzed the ice on the way in to the server) on the next run they pretty much have to bet 0.

Finally, for anyone wondering, yes Clot was prevalent. At least 3 of my opponents discarded it against my Foundry deck (which went 3-3 in the Swiss and 0-1 in the cut). However, there was no Fast Advance that I could see, so I imagine those Clots might get cut from many players decklists. We live in interesting times…

Huge thank you again to all of my opponents, and apologies for subjecting you to this (especially Alex, my second round opponent who had to face two Reina Headlock decks in a row!) And of course congrats to Zach on the win =)

20 Apr 2015 dormio

So you were always ok on credits? Lucky Find is a great boost, but no Day Job and only one Liberated? I always tend to underestimate how much econ I'll need, so I'm just wondering.

20 Apr 2015 Circadia

Economy was never a problem throughout all 7 games - I mainly put this down to the inclusion of Symmetrical Visage, which I was lucky enough to get early on in most games. With so many cards devoted to gaining you credits, drawing a card never felt like a set back since I was also gaining a credit. A standard turn might consist of drawing a card (gaining a money), putting 3 on Kati, playing an economy event (if I had one) and drawing or installing part of my rig. You churn through your deck at this pace and gain mad bank while doing so.

The bigger issues was finding ways of shutting down their recurring economy whilst keeping my tools in place. Sometimes that was difficult, but ultimately manageable.

20 Apr 2015 Bartman

I was the NEARPAD deck, well played, was the only loss it suffered during Swiss. If only I had drawn my drip econ sooner I might have been able to hang on, ah well. Now to steal your decklist to make use of that shiny alt-art reina.

20 Apr 2015 SlayerCNV

never understood decks like this. How u play against a simple crisium grid in r&d\ HQ? Or both, at all?

20 Apr 2015 Myriad

Pretty Simply Slayer. Only 3 cards in this deck rely on the run being successful. You parasite the small stuff, crescentus the big stuff and apply constant pressure.

When they rez crisium, you either nuke the little stuff or derez the big stuff and rerun to trash. If that won't work, set it up with Knight or D4.

This deck does serious work.

20 Apr 2015 Circadia

@SlayerCNV, @Myriad said it. Against the RP player who got two Nisei tokens scored, getting a vamp off was just not feasible. So instead I just started Keyholing, he rezzed a bunch of ice and Caprice - I derezzed the ice and bet 0, he bet 1. I then just kept running R&D (no Keyhole to access Caprice) until he had no money left, so I trashed Caprice and that was that. This play is feasible against pretty much any opponent. The Vamp is just a precision strike, but you have options without it.

20 Apr 2015 laneford

@Circadia I was that RP player I think! Your deck was an absolute monster mate, very well played throughout. I think I had to use both the Nisei tokens to stabilise myself to get 3 credits to Celebrity Gift in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding.

At which point then I got Vamped.

Amazing deck. Just don't make me play it again!

20 Apr 2015 Kroen

What exactly do you do against Swordsman? Parasite it and wait 2 turns for it do die?

20 Apr 2015 Circadia

@Kroen Yep! If I thought Swordsman was going to be a thing, I'd put Mimic in. It hasn't been, so I'm happy without it.

20 Apr 2015 Circadia

@laneford Thanks man! You should know that those double Nisei tokens really threw me for a loop, it took me a good few turns to figure out an alternative route to victory. Given the success of the deck, it might just be making an appearance at Oxford (sporting shiny alt art!). We'll have to see :)

21 Apr 2015 camping

Swordsman is not a big trouble, you suck it once and then parasite it, with the 3 clone chips it's really not a problem to get one program trashed. I face planted an Archer last night with Midway behind and not enough credit, I lost eater and knight, still not a problem to recover from this ... Imo Swordsman is not really good to counter the deck. You can recover from a tempo hit !

21 Apr 2015 laneford

@Circadia Yeah seems appropriate it was a Reina promo this year

(makes mental note not to go to the Oxford regional)

23 Apr 2015 Meristem

This deck looks great! Can you comment on Vigil? It seem like Grimoire for the Parasite might be a good choice. How many cards would you say you drew with Vigil?

23 Apr 2015 Saan

As someone who has played this deck quite a bit: you draw so damn many cards with Vigil. The corp is always so poor, they almost always have 5 cards in hand because their entire turns is eaten away by clicking for credits. Grimoire wouldn't be as good, since you can usually afford the time for Parasite to tick down, and there's usually a not a whole ton of things with high strength that you'd even want to parasite anyhow, since those things you'd usually just de-rez with Crescentus. Plus, you'd usually rather use clone chips for Crescentus as well, making Grimoire even less good, since Parasite recursion is less of a thing.

24 May 2015 striatic

How do you deal with Turing. D4v1d on remotes, presumably, but what about on centrals? Parasite, presumably, but without Datasucker that seems problematic.