Threat Assessed: Code Ligma (38th at Worlds 2022, 2-3)

RepoRogue 133

We have carried out the Threat Assessment and the results are in: code ligma, code ligma!

Our testing group struggled to land on any Corp we felt really happy about, so we all ended up playing a mix of stuff. I made easily the worst Corp choice of our group and was only carried to my placement by my excellent runner and getting to run in both of my 241s. I'm posting this less because its a deck worth playing and more because I want to share how I ended up playing Threat Assessment instead of Hard-Hitting News.

This deck started as an attempt to build a Seamless Launch + Drago + Boom combo deck. It occurred to me that if I'm already on Seamless Launch, I might as well play an aggressive agenda suite to capitalize on it. Self-Growth Program fits really nicely into a rush list, where it can be used to slow the runner down between rush attempts. The typical play pattern involves tossing an Endless EULA on the remote and forcing them to try to steal Bellona through it and a piece of gearcheck ice.

The original, actually pretty good version, can be found here. I went undefeated with this list at the GLC CO, ending 10th. You'll notice a few key differences between that good deck and the mess I brought to Worlds. Archived Memories was banned and I foolishly removed Hard-Hitting News. It would be easy to blame this deck's failures on my choice the night before Worlds to swap in Threat Assessment, but my post-mortem analysis is that this deck died when the new ban list dropped.

There are two reasons the loss of Archived Memories was fatal to this list. First, being a hybrid deck, it has a mix of tools, most of which are somewhat conditional, it is easy to draw a hand of six copies cumulatively of Seamless, Boom, HHN, and SGP and be unable to hold agendas. Sitting on a Bellona until the time is right to jam it is very important, so being able to discard two of those cards and keep them as options for later via Archived Memories was invaluable.

The second reason is that this deck is fundamentally about two things: 1) applying pressure to the runner, and 2) punishing their mistakes. While Archived Memories doesn't help much with the former, it is vital to letting you access whatever tools you need to effectively punish the runner. Without it, the deck ends up severely lacking agency and being far more subject to the whims of draw order. Unless Archived Memories is unbanned, or a similar card is released, I think this list is quite inconsistent and you should play either a more focused Seamless + Boom R+ or play NBN rush out of a different ID like Azmari or Acme. I didn't have the time to test a ban list compliant version of this list before Worlds, so I didn't appreciate how much losing AM ruined this deck.

That all being said, I don't want to underplay how bad of a decision it was to swap out HHN at the last minute. In testing I had noticed that it was basically impossible to land HHN against Boatshiko, which I expected to be the most popular runner. Her gaining 2 credits and a link at the end of her turn typically puts her out of reach, making the card borderline useless. Threat Assessment, targeting Boat, will almost always result in them putting Endurance back on the top of the deck. If they take both tags, they likely die to Boom, and if they dodge one with No Free Lunch, you can hit them SGP. The other reason to avoid HHN is the ubiquity of Misdirection in Shaper lists.

The theory was sound(ish), but I managed to play only two games against Boat runners on the day. Even if I had, Hard-Hitting News would have likely been better. MotionBlur piloted a somewhat similar but much better version of Seamless + Drago + Boom on the day. Play that deck instead!

12 Oct 2022 RepoRogue

I just realized that Quacktapus actually adapted and improved this list post-banlist and took it to 9th at Worlds. I don't think even with extensive testing time I would have ended up making the very clever changes they landed on, but I'm very glad someone made something of this idea even if I couldn't!