Let's Play a Game: 1000 Spiky Shells

shanodin 686

Coming at Netrunner from a background of years of Magic: The Gathering, I approached Netrunner deck building as I would M:tG deck building - start out by figuring out your win conditions. As a NR newbie, I thought that making a deck with 2 win cons (scoring and flatlining) seemed like a good option. And so was born my own Jinteki: Personal Evolution build. It's gone through a multitude of builds, and I take bits out and add bits in on a regular basis. This is the build I took to the Manchester UK regionals though, where it won 4 of 7 games - sadly any match where my corp game went to time was a write off since the runner can always pull a few points ahead before I get the win or kill. With longer rounds I think it would have definitely been 5-2 and with a splash of luck possibly even 6-1 (there was one game where I was soundly thrashed by the Manchester SC winner).

I'm sure you all know the general idea behind a 1000 cuts deck (make the runner's life awkward with attrition) and a shell game deck (is it an agenda, is it a trap? By the way do you like my 8 remote servers, betcha can't face-check them all!), so I'll go into some of my particular choices, includes and excludes.

Notable Includes

Cerebral Overwriter
My favourite trick in this box full of tricks. One of my favourite Netrunner noises is the one a runner makes when they've got their full hand and their Deus X, and in they go to trash your Shell Corporation and the trap is not the Project Junebug they were expecting, but this guy. If they've seen that trick before then it just becomes a high-level security for your Shell Corps, because the fear is real.

Jackson Howard
Let's face it - Jacko is good enough to put in any deck, simply because of his capacity to combat flooding. In this deck, he refills your hand after you've slapped down 3 installs, but mainly he keeps The Future Perfect out of danger. When you draw TFP you have a lot of options but if you're facing down a rich and confident runner then sometimes you just want to ditch it into archives. Another of my favourite Netrunner noises is the little gulp the runner makes when about to access R&D after you've just Jacksoned back the 3 Snare! they thought they didn't have to worry about anymore.

Psychic Field
This one-of has been questioned a few times as just not being as good as other traps, but I put it in to mitigate a play habit my regular opponents started to notice. When putting down a trap, I would tend to always advance it immediately (don't want to waste a trap if they check it with no advancements!) whereas if I was trying to score a 3/1 I'd tend to play it and not advance it until next turn (don't want to waste a click and a credit to advance an agenda they might steal!). So in goes the Psychic Field just to mix it up a little (though I now try not to be quite so predictable!).

Scorched Earth
Runners make a very funny face when they decide not to bother clearing the tag from Snare! and you come and burn their house down. If they happen to access the Scorch then they waste a click and 2 creds to clear a tag every time, and that's nearly as good as being able to burn down their house.

Shattered Remains
Runners are sad when you smash up their consoles (especially if they need the extra mem and now have to trash a program too). It's also nice to be able to get rid of Feedback Filter if it turns up.

Swordsman
Aww, you thought Eater/Keyhole would keep you safe from Snare and Fetal AI? Sorry to disappoint you!

Conspicuous Absences & Almost Includes

Neural EMP
I actually took this out at the last minute to put in an extra Junebug and an extra Shock!. In testing it just hadn't been pulling its weight. I pretty much regretted removing it from the get-go at Manchester, missing out on several kill-opportunities it would have given me. No idea what cards slots it would occupy though...

Pup
Almost made it in because of how good it is early game but Cortex Lock has kinda stolen Pup's thunder in terms of early game nastiness.

Hostile Infrastructure
I wish I could have kept this in, it works so well with all the 0-to-trash traps the deck is packed with. However, having to protect it and find the 5 creds to rez it made it totally useless as I was never able to get any use out of it.

Hokusai Grid
Same story as Hostile Infrastructure really. Who has the card slots?? Though to be fair it was nice to drop a pair of these on HQ and R&D to make them less appealing targets.

Paywall Implementation
A matter of card slots again, and influence. What would I take out for it?

Diversified Portfolio
Tested it but in the end it never gained more than 4 or 5 creds and it actually led me into making bad play decisions so as to maximise its value.

Sweeps Week
Considered it, since the runner will always be trying to stick on max cards in hand to avoid the Ronin, but it usually ended up performing below par. Too much influence to be worth it.

Playing the Deck

The most fragile part of this deck is the economy. Celebrity Gift more than pulls its weight but can only be played at the right time (with at least one Snare in hand, preferably).

Gila Hands Arcology really helps out and scoring one early can make a huge difference. Once you've got some taxing ICE in front of R&D (like a Cortex Lock and a Yagura) you should be quite happy to sit back and gain your 3 creds for 2 clicks each turn while the runner goes to pieces over whether or not to run that 3 advanced remote.

The ideal scenario is to get a Shell Corp down on a 3+ advanced Overwriter behind a Komainu or a similar set-up. Otherwise, clicking for credits while the runner works through their deck and shortens their life in the vain hopes that having a full rig will keep them alive. Hint: it won't ;)

I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this deck people, as it's my first true Netrunner love.

4 comments
26 Apr 2015 ouroborosglyx

If you're worried that it's obvious when you install a 3/1 because you don't advance it, then... advance them? Including a one-of Psychic Field seems like a bad solution. Why sacrifice a card slot when you can just slightly alter your behaviour?

26 Apr 2015 shanodin

@ouroborosglyx as I mentioned, I am trying to alter my play, but old habits are hard to break :)

27 Apr 2015 Popeye09

A good little routine if you have both advanceable traps and agendas in hand is to take one of each and shuffle them facedown then install, advance, advance one of them. If you don't know if it's an agenda or a trap, you can't give anything away!

(Once you start doing this a bit and the runner knows that you are prepared to gamble, you can obviously do it with two agendas or two traps if you wish to keep the runner on their toes! The process of shuffling tends to stop people trying to "read" you though and revert to playing the percentages instead.)

You can obviously do the same thing with 3/1 agendas and non-advanceable traps (without the advancing bit!).

27 Apr 2015 ouroborosglyx

Pretending to randomise choices to throw people off is an interesting strategy. I played against someone at the Manchester regionals yesterday who rolled a dice for psi-games, but I'm almost certain she wasn't actually using the roll. It definitely confused me the first couple of times though!