Leela - Endless Waltz v5 (Sheffield Regional Winner)

Cerberus 4174

I've published variations of this deck before, but I wanted to post this up now that this deck has won me a Regional event, as well as 3 Store Championships and numerous GNK's. I truly believe that this Leela build is tier 1, and want to spread the word. At the Regional, Leela went 9-0 throughout the day. I'm really proud of this deck :)

If you've read my thoughts on Leela before the below is just a repost of them, but is important for people new to the deck.

I wrote an article on Leela, which is here : http://netrunners.co.uk/articles/the%20endless%20waltz%20-%20leela%20patel.html

This was from a few months ago and I feel the build is much stronger now.

The Ability

I have found this to be useful in every game; however it varies how useful it is from game to game. In the games where you are able to score an early agenda it sets back the corporation’s board state and often gives you an opening on another server, sometimes this snowballs and you score multiple agendas in short succession totally destroying the corporations defences resulting in a quick victory. These situations often feel like you are playing core set Gabe and if the corporation has a poor start you totally roll over them.

The Economy

The economy in this deck is one of my favourite things about it, firstly there is a lot of it, and I always prefer decks with lots of economy. Generally one of the most common mistakes that I see new players making when they are deck building is to not run enough economy because they want the cool cards.

It also has the Desperado and Security Testing combo, Desperado on its own is a great card that makes running much more economical, but with Security Testing these two cards are an economy engine of their own against any deck with open remotes like the ever popular NEH. This combo however struggles against glacier builds because when they are able to lock down their servers your economy dries up, and it is for this reason that the deck also runs Kati Jones, which is an ideal card against glacier decks which are slow and plan to score out of a remote, as having a full rig and a lot of credits will allow you to deal with most situations. This means that the deck has answers to both glacier and asset spam decks which is important since the strongest decks currently are NEH (asset spam) and RP (glacier).

Tricks

It wouldn't be a Criminal deck without some tricks. The key things that I wanted in the deck were cards to take advantage of Leela's ability, therefore it has Account Siphon and Legwork for open HQ. For R&D it seems sensible to also have the burst multi access which you can keep in hand and use when the corps defences have suddenly disappeared. However I felt that being able to threaten an R&D lock was much more important in the current meta and so I went with 3 R&D Interface, as these are a constant pressure for the corporation once they are on the board, especially when combined with Inside Job and the fact that Ice is often bounced back to hand. Emergency Shutdown is also a great card for Leela as you want derezzed cards so that they can be bounced back. I feel that some Leela builds go too over the top on getting cards that combine with her ability, for example running Logos, Emergency Shutdown and Cresentus. I think that it is sensible to have cards that combine with abilities, but you only need so many, it is actually the Account Siphons, Legworks and R&DI which are combining with her ability, as they are taking advantage of the window her ability opens.

Breakers

This is one of the areas that have changed the most in the deck. For a long time I was running 2-3 Cerberus Rex as my decoder of choice along side a Passport, but there were a few games where the corp was able to use up my Rex and create a scoring opportunity, or I would want to make repeated runs against HQ or R&D through a Quandary and without a Passport this wasn't feasible. Therefore I added in a Zu, and it has done work every game, having a decoder that is useable in all situations and doesn't get used up is essential for continuous pressure. I do however want to apply early pressure and that is why I am running 3 decoders, Zu, Passport and Rex.

Barrier breakers are plain and simple. 2x Corroder, I did test with Lady and Clone Chips but it was never worth it and it suffered from the same issues that Rex did.

Killers is another area that I have recently made change. My original list was 3. Faerie, 1x Femme, 1x Mimic and 1x Garrote. Garrote is only ever there as a safety net, so you have some ability to break large sentry ice without using disposable breakers or paying a lot of credits using Femme. However I basically never installed it, and after seeing others drop it and be successful, I took the plunge without any testing, and didn't need it once at all in the SC.

Lets talk match ups...

Weyland - The most popular ID right now is Blue Sun and Leela can do some real damage against BS players who are not used to her ability. With them and her bouncing ice it is possible to clear most of the board after a score / steal in close succession. Generally I think this is a good match up, especially decks that are running lots of 1 pointers such as Hostile Takeover and Posted Bounty.

NBN - The most popular deck at the moment is NEH AstroBiotics, and Leela has a great match up against it. It certainly isn't perfect, but that is a tough ask against the most dominant corp deck, it definitely has all the tools to beat NEH. Seeing Desperado and Security Testing early is great against this match up, but early pressure is key, as an early score can allow for some devastating attacks.

Jinteki - PE is probably a good match up for this deck, if it is a Cambridge style deck anyway. Leela has less to fear from double advanced cards as her ability means she can return them to hand, Decks with lots of small agendas also mean her ability triggers more often. RP is in my opinion one of the toughest matches however, because they score very few times, their agendas are hard to steal and therefore create that snowball effect that Leela loves and because the first agenda will often be a Nisei. I've yet to lose to an RP deck with Leela, but I do feel it is a tougher match, and I think I'd definitely go to 2x Sneakdoor if there was more in my meta.

HB - This is probably the faction I have done the least testing against, just because it is not popular in competitive play however. In the limited testing, I have found that Leela did well against FA variants but struggled against glacier builds. This fits in with my general view of the type of meta that Leela is good

31 comments
17 May 2015 aphid

Congratulations! How was the field, did you face many RPs? Do you mean you'd go to 3x Sneakdoor if there were lots of RP? Also, what is your game plan against butcher shop-style decks? I can see that double plascrete is really important here ofcourse. This is a really sweet criminal deck.

17 May 2015 Glitch29

How much of Leela's strength do you think comes from poor planning on the part of the corporation? I've seen several games, even in T8 play, where the corporation walked into devastating bounces when they didn't have to.

17 May 2015 Cerberus

@aphid against Butcher Shop I try to match their economy. Their ice is weak and so I use Siphon to maintain credit balance (removing tags). Getting Plascrete is key, as is knowing when you can steal an agenda. Don't be reckless.

@Glitch29 I definitely saw more of this in the early days, following Leela's release. Now corps are generally more experienced against her ability, but it will depend on how much they've played against her. I find that it really hurts their game plan, especially decks running 3/2 agendas, as they often want to pretend they could be upgrades or assets in their scoring server, but against Leela you want to advance so you have a spare click to undo her bounce damage. This means I know what to run or I get to unravel their defences.

17 May 2015 benticurus

does the deck really have 46 cards or is there one too many of some card in the list? maybe symmetrical visage?

17 May 2015 TPK

Congratulations on the win and for the quick chat we were able to have. Are you going to be sharing your Corp deck as well or just the Leela as you mentioned you had some dissatisfaction with it when we spoke?

17 May 2015 Satellite Uplink

It might not have been where you started working from, but to me it's interesting how much it has basically come back to being much like an Andromeda/Gabe deck, with the huge added advantage of Leela's ability. RDI & Sneakdoor, all the Events are there, the Hardware is there, Security Testing gives you Gabe's ability, and although the breaker suite is nicely recalibrated (particularly on Decoders) it's very similar to what I was running 18 months ago.

That's entirely a compliment, mind. I <3 Andromeda so saying it looks like Andromeda is basically a platinum standard compliment. I guess it's just that the more things change the more they stay the same!

I've always been a big fan of Zu.13 by the way. Totally underrated and I think almost any time you're spending influence on Gordian Blade you should be spending 1 less on Zu.13.

17 May 2015 Cerberus

@benticurus it's a 46 card deck. Feel free to cut something if that's not your thing. Though I'd not recommend the Visage, it does great work.

@TPK@ The Corp deck isn't tier 1 and posting it up will only get people to play it. If you particularly want to see the decks it's just a few cards different from The Crusade V2 which I published a while ago.

@Satellite Uplink firstly, really glad you are back into the game :)

I think Leela is best when she is a basic good stuff Criminal, like core set Gabe. Multi access or tricks to create pressure combined with her ability mean she is the best Criminal ID right now.

17 May 2015 Satellite Uplink

@Cerberus I think that's spot on, and that sort of pragmatism is more useful than, as you say in your comments, the people who go wild trying to theme off of Leela's ability.

The good criminal cards are still the good criminal cards, and Leela is (in this view) currently the best ID for maximising the good criminal cards.

17 May 2015 ScrappySPJ

How are you finding Symmetrical Visage in place of Mr Li, does the small amount of extra economy make up for the poorer card selection? I found Li essential to find the cards I really to punish the corp in previous versions.

18 May 2015 bblum

46 cards represent :D

18 May 2015 spags

Well done, @Cerberus. I was thinking Headlock for my next tourney, but, now you have me wanting to run the boxer again.

18 May 2015 linuxmaier

@spags Please don't bring Headlock to Madison :( :( :(

20 May 2015 Broman811

What was your strategy against RP?

20 May 2015 Cerberus

The key things that I aim for against RP are to keep their economy low, this isn't always possible but cards such as Desperado and Security Testing help with trashing their economy assets. Account Siphon at the right time can put them under pressure with Psi games. Sneak door is great for early pressure, getting rid of Caprice on HQ and making them spread their ice. Finally, R&D lock, into a score and then bounce their upgrade is an occasional successful tactic.

It is definitely one of the harder match ups for the deck. However, this deck has good match ups against NEH, Blue Sun and most other archetypes, so it's worth it imo.

I think the deck allows you to leverage skill a lot. Gives you choices, and opportunities due to her ability.

21 May 2015 shango

I think Sneakdoor #2 or Cerberus are fairly easy cuts to get it to 45.

21 May 2015 blacklionchest

Congratulations on your win, @Cerberus, and thanks for the excellent write–up.

I've only gotten into Netrunner fairly recently and am still expanding my collection; buying All That Remains will get me everything that I need to try this out, except Symmetrical Visage from The Valley. Any suggestions as to what I could slot instead from core set through to The Spaces Between?

21 May 2015 yosuv

what was your corpo for the regional?

21 May 2015 jage

Glad to see you added symmetric visage, it does real work in this deck.

21 May 2015 Cerberus

@blacklionchest I've run Mr Li in past versions, but generally I'd advise just to run more economy in place of the Symmetrical Visage.

@yosuv I played Grail RP, it was okay, I've been playing it throughout store championship season. I think it is weaker in the current meta than it used to be.

@jage I was really impressed with it, and shocked how much of a difference it made to the deck.

22 May 2015 rwknoll

How do you deal with the tags from Account Siphon? I know you've got the Plascretes to mitigate damage in case they try Scorch and/or Traffic Aciddent, but what about the risk of losing a resource like Symmetrical Visage or Security Testing? Do you just take it on the chin and try to turn it into a scoring window, pay/click to clear, or what?

22 May 2015 Cerberus

@rwknoll that's a really hard question to answer as it all depends on the game state. If I'm on match point I may keep them to apply pressure and offer the Corp chance to lose more economy by trashing resources. If I've not seen any influence against NBN I will likely remove them. Etc

Generally, I will remove the tags early game as the deck isn't designed to go tag me, but it does happen on occasion.

23 May 2015 EnderA

Could you go into more detail about the Blue Sun matchup? Blue Sun is one of my favorite identities just because of how many different ways the ability can be used (Leela is probably similar in that regard). What mistakes do people often make (on both sides)? How would the matchup differ against people who are familiar with Leela?

26 May 2015 Cerberus

@EnderA some of the common mistakes that I see people making against Leela are bouncing ice too much as Blue Sun, if you do this when an agenda is scored or stolen most of your defence gets bounced and allows multi access or Account Siphon to hit. Another common mistake that I see is people not IAA on a 4/2 agenda, while it is extra investment in an agenda that could be scored it means you have a spare click to correct your defences after Leela's ability triggers the turn you score the agenda.

29 May 2015 Thike

A change I've been messing with to bring it down to 45: -Lucky Find -Plascrete +I've Had Worse. Don't really miss the Lucky Find, and I've Had Worse is still as versatile as ever. Still want room for a second Legwork, though...

29 May 2015 MrBrown

Why the Rex? Now that you have both Passport and Zu, you might as well get rid of it, right? You say you keep because of early pressure, but in that case why not also have a 3rd barrier breaker?

29 May 2015 Cerberus

@MrBrown just for extra consistency in seeing a code gate breaker with which to pressure the remote. Obviously both barrier breakers can do this, but Passport cannot.

31 May 2015 Cerberus

This deck took me to the 5th/6th spot at UK Nationals this weekend out of 170 people.

1 Jun 2015 secretox

How does one deal with 4+ strength sentries sch as data raven and ichi considering the limited use of fairie and no sucker?

15 Jun 2015 Rodge

@Cerberus I loved your previous version of this deck and I think this new iteration is that little bit stronger. I have it with a shameful 47 cards as I put in the 3rd Same Old Thing - the extra card allows me to more aggressively draw and discard events, knowing I can get whatever I want back again.

Tournament wise, I've took this iteration to 6th place in the Bratislava regional (when I lost a definite winning position :( ) and 2nd (with 4/4 as Runner) in a store tournament this weekend). So I definitely agree with your thought of this as a tier-1 build. :)

I've been toying with the idea of swapping 1 or 2 of the Dirty Laundry for Daily Casts. RP (very popular in the Irish meta, Galway regional was almost all RP as corp) is a very tough matchup and sometimes getting the Dirty Laundry is almost a dead draw since there's nowhere to easily run. What do you think?

18 Jun 2015 Cerberus

Changing out the Dirty Laundry isn't a bad idea in the RP heavy meta. It will make you starts slower but it's worth testing. It's important to use DL with normal runs on R+D or HQ rather than just playing it as an economy card as it looses half its value otherwise. Just something I think is often overlooked.

18 Aug 2015 razortoy

@Cerberus any changes since Old Hollywood dropped? Does she have a drug dealer?