四郎 星子 (5-0 and 4-2, 5th and 20th @ CBI)

Kikai 1068

Results

5th and 20th at 2022 Circuit Breaker Invitational

5-0 as piloted by Jinsei

Wins against Huggernaut on Thule, TBU3K on R+, Janktivist on R+, Analyzechris on R+ and Cardboard on NEH

4-2 as piloted by Kikai

Wins against Benhamill on Sportsmetal, Jai on R+, MotionBlur on AgInfusion, and Tradon on Sportsmetal.

Losses to Tzeetchling on (NEXT) Asa, and Rongydoge on R+

Tournament Afterthoughts

This deck is very good against the field. The two losses were entirely down to piloting misplays on my part (punished by excellent play from my opponents).


Premise

The rise of AgInfusion (with Nanisivik Grid) makes Hoshiko an appealing runner choice, because we can play Hippo to mitigate their ID ability, and also because we can break a fair amount of their ICE with our face. Endurance and Botulus save us from having to install our actual breakers (which are mostly bad).

The most obvious starting place was Bridgeman's Tugboat list from worlds 2022 (itself an adaptation of an NWE list), but Deer showcased further refinements as part of the Fite Nite event and made some really very compelling improvements.

The last piece of the puzzle, and the thing that turns the AgInfusion and R+ matchups from "favoured" to "strongly favoured" is Labor Rights. This idea was stolen directly from the Process, who were also testing Hoshiko, and, indeed, who won the tournament with a similar list (which I believe is also based on Deer's improvements).

Matchups

Strongly favoured vs AgInfusion

Strongly favoured vs R+

Can be a bit of a coinflip against Sportsmetal (but that's Sportsmetal for you)

We didn't test it against End-of-the-Line Ob (even though we knew that we should have done). I'm sure that it's probably fine, although Pinhole Threading opens us up to Hard-Hitting News, so we might be in a bit of trouble if the Corp draws "the nuts".


Card Choices

Raindrops Cut Stone encourages us to run against unrezzed ICE early. If the Corp decides to pay valuable credits to rez the ICE, then we get free draw, and we have a rezzed botulus target. If they don't, then we get to access a card (and a hoshiko flip). Personally, this exchange suits me, even if it means gaining one less credit than we would from Dirty Laundry.

The Twinning gives us a way to sweep HQ, ideally on the same turn that we first establish our Stargate lock. This is important in faster matchups, such as against Sportsmetal, rush Azmari, rush Ob and The Outfit. Mystic Maemi is important for supporting this line.

Labor Rights allows us to recur high value cards, which, in a meta full of Drago Ivanov, Nanisivik Grid, Dr. Vientiane Keeling and Manegarm Skunkworks, means Pinhole Threading. We tested the change from Gachapon to Labor Rights exactly once before locking in. In this one test game, against R+, I played Pinhole Threading 7 times. This allowed me to play it speculatively (without waiting for Drago to be rezzed or advancement counters to be placed), and to completely lock the game in my favour. It was a similar story in the tournament. That being said, 3x is possibly excessive for a card that we don't want to see early.

Citadel Sanctuary is, perhaps, unecessary, but it synergies with Hoshiko Shiro: Untold Protagonist, and gives us a security blanket against all sorts of shenanigans. Particularly, it protects against End of the Line, which is potentially important, as we are not playing No Free Lunch. In many matchups, though, it becomes fodder for moshing.

Notable Exclusions

We could play No Free Lunch, but Deuces Wild can be paid for with Mystic Maemi, and it is more broadly useful.

We are not playing Daily Casts, because it is always a risky card to install against R+. Instead we rely for our economy on Liberated Account and Fermenter, which are much safer to install in that matchup.

Deer's Fite Nite list includes a single Hush, which is a neat card with more applications than is immediately obvious. In the end, though, it is a difficult to justify it's inclusion over Botulus or Fermenter.

Alternatives

I see Gachapon as a direct alternative to Labor Rights. I find it difficult to explain why. They are achieving very different things, but in the exact same way. They both filter our deck: one by recurring the cards that we want, the other by removing the cards that we don't. You might think that that would mean that playing both would lead to better consistency, but I think it would most likely destabilise the whole deck. In any case, Gachapon is good for those matchups where we need to find our key pieces quickly (such as against SportsMetal), where as Labor Rights allows us to keep control of games that can otherwise get out of hand (such as AgInfusion and R+). In the end, I think that the marginal edge that Gachapon would give us over Sports is more than made up by being able to recur approximately a million pinholes against R+ and AgInfusion.


Piloting

Look to get a hoshiko flip on turn one (by running and accessing a card). Turn two don't run, just set up, and let hoshiko flip back over. Turn 3, we run. Turn 4, we setup. We should try and maintain this rhythm of flipping hoshiko back and forth every turn, at least until we find DreamNet . A savvy corp player will take advantage of this by baiting us into running on our off turns. My advice is to be disciplined about this, especially in the early game. One pro tip for the mid game, Stargate does not trigger Hoshiko (it does not access cards), so we can Stargate every turn (and get a boat counter every turn) and still maintain our flip rhythm (by accessing cards only every other turn).

We should run aggressively against unrezzed ICE, but we should also be smart about it. Against HB we run first click, so that we can click through FC3. Against AgInfusion we run whenever we have junk in our hands, because losing it to net damage is more valuable than discarding. Against R+, we run whenever we have enough of a credit advantage that we can afford to pay through IP Block and Turnpike traces (and still be ahead).

Once ICE is rezzed, we can choose whether to botulus it or not (based on how easy it is to break otherwise). Installing botulus on unrezzed ICE is to be avoided, although it is sometimes necessary. When we do this, we are not only telegraphing to the Corp which server we intend to attack, but we are also giving them the opportunity to respond.

Often, our credit pool will look healthier than it is. It's not unusual to sit on 30 credits+, but those credits will quickly disappear if we are ever forced to install and break with Black Orchestra or MKUltra. We should try and avoid using these breakers if we can.

When working out whether to break with endurance or with an actual icebreaker, we can consider each boat counter to be worth roughly 2 credits. Supporting endurance by installing botulus on high strength ice with 3 subs is a smart play.

Lines vary from matchup to matchup. Broadly speaking, the plan is to lock the remote with Endurance and Botulus, then lock R&D with Stargate. As long as the remote is locked, we can prioritise trashing ICE over agendas. Once agendas are built up in hand, we can steal them with a Twinning sweep.

Sometimes Endurance and Stargate will both be in the bottom 20 cards of our deck, and we will have to scrap over agendas anyway that we can. #AnarchProblems


3 comments
16 Jan 2023 Diogene

Great write-up! Congratulations on your placement in the tournament! Thanks for sharing!

16 Jan 2023 Jai

Excellent writeup. Our R2 set was some of the most nerve-wracking netrunner I've played in a long time. Always great to play and exchange ideas with other players from around the world!

18 Jan 2023 Kikai

Thanks @Jai! I enjoyed our games as well.

It was very clear to me in the Loup vs R+ game that you knew exactly what you were doing in that matchup. I felt completely outplayed.

I'm glad that our second game was more of a challenge!