Stark Industries: Veronica (2015 Johannesburg GNK Winner)

tuism 304

Veronica took first place at our local identity-draft tourney - everyone in the tourney drafted an identity beforehand (so no two players played the same runner or corp), and built their deck with that identity to play in the tourney. Was tons of fun. More info on that here.

The tourney meta was up to The Valley.

This was an evolution from my other Industrial Genomics deck Stark Industries, where there was a bigger focus on damage, with cards like Mamba, Fetal AI, and House of Knives.

After playing the heck out of Stark Industries and loving it, I went about building this deck to shore up Stark Industries' weakness:

Hence Veronica.

Also fitting because it fixes the problem it had against big rig slow decks (and mid-range decks too though)


Stark's Mortality

The previous Stark Industries deck (and most IG decks, I've found) were pretty solid, but suffered from:

1. No credible threat unless advancing things. This was HUGE. You can build taxing servers and taxing situations till the cows come home, but if you're not threatening the runner, they'll just credit up and snipe when you start advancing. No matter how much money you have to feed to Ash and Caprice (which is unreliable anyway, I like my sure things), if you don't force them to run and spend, you do not win in the economy war. Blowing 20 creds on Ash to score something is simply not economically sound, you spend, they don't, you're crippled.

2. Net damage as kill was becoming less and less reliable with Levy decks in most runner decks. Levy AR used to be a specialty card, but now every second deck runs one - MaxX, Ken, PVPP Kate, Noise, Hayley, etc, all pack it. So while damage is necessary, attempted murder is usually how it goes rather than actual murder.

Now or Never? Never.

So the biggest design goal was to make every face-down card a genuine threat AND to give it a big surprise punch.

Fetal AI had to go, it was slow to score, I wasn't looking to kill, and the 2 credit tax barely matters in most games. House of Knives went, it wasn't worth the agenda density increase. Medical Breakthroughs left too, though they didn't strictly work against my new plan. Giving away 2 free points to make a Braintrust was not part of the plan though, so I tossed them.

In came Braintrusts and Philotic Entanglement as 3-to-score agendas, and they enabled the star of this show:

SanSan City Grid x 2.

IG as a Never Advance is really scary.

Now the runner has a reason to run every face-down card you put out. If they don't, well, too bad, you can easily sneak out Braintrusts. That's a LOT of clicks when the deck has 20 Assets & 9 Upgrades. Stick stuff behind ICE and they have to pay to get in, one way or the other, often they can't trash the destination because of IG's ability, or they get eaten by Cortex Lock, or a Hokusai, whatever. Doesn't matter. You're wasting their clicks and creds, and that'll push you towards a better and better position throughout the game. Sneaking agendas out naked or on upgrades or whatever is relatively easy unless they're checking everything, and if they are, you should be winning the econ war anyway.


Cortex Lock is brilliant. Late game it's pretty much blank, but before that it will strike the fear of god into just about any runner. It's perfect in front of an early Sundew or Melange. Or even to rush an agenda. A wise runner will actually forgo running Jinteki early because of this piece of ICE, and so much the better for you. Just pitch it to feed IG later game.

Ashigaru is Jinteki's Tollbooth. Other than that first hit of 3 creds, it will typically suck 7 credits from runners. I seldom rez them all, but that's more pitch-food.

Lotus Field because Parasite still exists. Lotus Field often single-handed wins games for me, though helpless Yogs aren't as prominent now.

Tsrugi is a 4-credit tax most of the time. Sure, dies to Parasite, but that's ok really. There's only 2, and it diverts attention away from Ashigaru who is usually a 7-credit tax because noone runs Morningstar.

SanSan City Grid

MVP. Hands down. Even when you never get to use it it's still a huge influence on the game. It's an expensive trash, it's even worst to trash in IG, and it fits the agenda set extremely well. FA on Braintrust, Philotic is no-brainer. Sticking a Future Perfect on one with one advancement usually makes the runner think it's an NAPD, especially if they hadn't see a SanSan yet. Sticking a NAPD on a SanSan never advanced is also great. SanSan is the great enabler. SanSan is life. That said, if the runner manages to trash one, bonus for you, because you hopefully made them go through hell for it.

How it runs

  • Never Advance. Do it. Drop your Braintrusts naked, but of course within reason. Read your opponent, if they're not hitting HQ, keeping agendas there might be ok. (Watch out for Legwork - remember to hold difficult-to-trash Snares.) Drop upgrades behind single ICE. Drop assets, drop stuff.

  • Draw a lot. Draw until you get your Shocks. Draw until you get your Jackson. Then drop him and draw some more. The IG protection extends to him so even if they run Jackson they probably can't trash him. If you're not agenda flooded, you don't have to use Jackson when they run Archives. That's a huge bonus.

  • You don't have to protect Archives, but sometimes you want to. Read the situation. If you can lock them out with a single Lotus Field on Archives, GREAT idea. If you're kinda short on Shocks (it happens), protect it with some tax. If they're running Eater, DON'T ICE ARCHIVES. Unless your tax on archives can be made to be greater than the trash tax.

  • Know what you want, pitch the rest. Knowing what to pitch is important. Pitch Ashigarus early game. Pitch Hedge Funds when you're flush with credits. Pitch Cortex Locks later game. Pitch Hostile infrastructures when you're poor. Always keep your Snares. Always keep Enhanced Login Protocol.

  • Protect R&D. This is the number one death of this deck: A Future Perfect on top of an empty R&D. Or Braintrusts, etc. So don't let that happen too easily.

  • Watch out for Siphons. It's not hard. Early game, remember to have assets on hand to blow your money. Late game, you're probably too rich to care, but don't let them do it for free, Cortex Lock on HQ. Do it.

  • Don't pitch Ash. You only have one. It's one of your many game-enders, but still no reason to pitch it at all.

  • Melange. Melange hard and Melange deep. When you discard, you're improving your ability. Protect your Melange in your scoring remote. Eventually you'll replace it, or even pretend to replace it (drop your SanSan, trash Melange. Giggle on the inside). Spice is addictive. Spice is life. The Spice must flow.

  • Enhanced Login Protocol will save you from Security Testing, among other things. Don't put it out without protecting R&D first. Don't risk random access on such an important advantage. ELP will probably last you a good half of the game if you're doing it right. A runner will usually be reluctant to check just one new remote if you have ELP out - a good time to sneak a Braintrust. But again, don't do it stupidly.

  • A good first turn is draw, install a PAD Campaign, and gain a cred, pitch Shock. Go from there, unless you have totally shit luck, 10/54 agendas, the odds are on your side.

  • Sundews are cute, but Melange is where your money is. Sundews are for Cortex Locks.

  • Shikyu is just another Shock. Don't bother spending more than 1 on it most of the time.

  • Don't forget Cyberdex Suite is an upgrade.. I always do. You can pop it over Archives for maximum lol, or just use it to feign more Never Advance bullshit to feed the runner.

  • Astrolabe sucks. But how you could deal with it is to drop 3 new remotes when they have 5 cards, then they'll be too busy trying not to discard to run them. Or they pitch them, either way you win. Another good ELP sneak agenda chance? Maybe.

Worst matchups

  • Leela - her bounce is really irritating, and can often lead to snowballing victories by having you pick up your already-thin ICE. So don't rush, slow advancing a Braintrust so you have a click or two left over after scoring it is a good idea, for example.

  • Noise - this one is super interesting. Noise mills become IG ability food, but Noise has Imp + recursion which is terrible against IG. I almost always purge an Imp, especially if it has 2 tokens left (Grimoire'd + used). Cache recursion money + Aesops is nuts, and you need to watch out for Hades Shard. So you need to actually read the situation and if Noise gets anywhere near 7 creds + 4 for every NAPD in trash + 1/2 for every Future Perfect, you should Jackson before they're able to click action install Hades Shard. This puts a strain on your three Jacksons.

  • Stealth decks/Big Rig Recurring creds: Black Cat, Switchblade, Refractor. If the game goes long into recurring credits land, you're going to suffer as they run your servers for very little. You need to rush when you can. Melange like a Harkonian.

  • Whizzard well, yes and no. If you manage to keep them out of archives, or make it taxing enough to hit (cards or creds wise), you can blank their ability with just 3 cards in there. If not, you'll have a really irritating battle. But not unwinnable, just irritating.

  • MaxX just has such an advantage naturally that it's a hard fight anyway. But I've routinely run them out of cards AFTER a Levy. So play for the long game, and don't take unnecessary risks. Keep your points out of the game as much as you can. Watch out for Hades if you see Keyhole (and protect R&D).

  • Nasir your costly ICE feeds Nasir's econ, and if you don't rez them they can luck out with R&D interfaces and such. But if you get your ICE online and Nasir hasn't won yet, it's usually a breeze as they'll be broke the rest of the game most of the time.

  • Your agendas Sometimes you'll draw all your agendas. Play it cool and toss some. Hunt for a Jackson. But most of all, accept that loss graciously when you have 30 cards left and you know only 2 of them will be agendas. You can try and lock archives up to stall, but it won't be a long term solution... Unless they only run Eater :P

Tourney report in brief

I faced:

  • Au Revoir Chaos Theory, unfortunately did get the jank up fast enough and I scored out easily after a few huge runs that I barely edged out with a few Caprice games.

  • Valencia - a few whiffed Blackmail, but a few good ones with a Medium out too. My NAPDs were throwaway shark food. But I won after he ran out of * Blackmails and I scored a Future Perfect behind an Ash and a million bucks.

  • Toolbox Kate - an unfortunate first turn into an R&D Snare! with two cards.

  • Leela - My only loss of the day, it was close as I developed pretty well everywhere, but after a few bounces my R&D was open, and TFP was on top and he had Doppelganger out, ran it three times and won the third Psi game for the win.

Shopping List

If I could, I would want these:

  • Interns pitching everything means it's basically a huge bucket to Intern things from. But damn I can't find room for it, and when I had it in the deck I pitched it more often than not. I think in this case, having more good things is better than having more versatile things.

  • Executive Boot Camp falls into the same genre - it's versatile and I love it, but raw power works better here, I think. It can silver bullet Valencia and Blackmail decks (Iain sometimes), it can fetch Shocks early, or Jacksons or Ash when in a pinch. It's a good addition.

  • Crick will probably replace a Tsrugi or two. Not sure.

  • Pup is the ultimate cheap tax. Letting the runner run means draining their resource. I've been wondering between Pup and Hokusai and ultimately decided on Hokusai because a card a run is better than 2 creds a run, with the potential of 4 or more on trash.

  • Celebrity Gift this I'm not super sure about, but I love me a mini giraffe. But the never advance nature of the deck means I'd rather keep the runner guessing than give up information. So... Nevermind.

  • Nisei Mk II it was super tempting to put this in instead of NAPD, now that I moved away from Fetal AIs... But ultimately 4 creds is a significant tax.

  • Cerebral Static - it's so useful now against a variety of jank. It's ONLY blank against Andy, Chaos Theory (more or less), Professor (pffft), but there's no room for it.

All comments welcome :) Was tons of fun :)

17 May 2015 Jashay

It's also blank against Valencia.

Given that the aim is to make them think they have to run every remote, Psychic Field would seem to be a fantastic shout; you could install it over a SanSan City Grid for hilarity.

Is Enhanced Login Protocol too vital, or would a third SanSan City Grid work better?

17 May 2015 tuism

Right, Valencia too :) I don't mind her that much most of the time.

Psychic Field sounds like fun, but honestly, it's a Psi game, and I don't like to "rely" on Psi games... It's bad enough that I have no choice but to "rely" on Caprice :P And again, I don't need/want damage to win. Damage is a slowdown, and what would I replace to put in what's effectively a Snare that only works when installed? I'd much rather have a Snare!, and I only have room for two.

That said, Drive-by is terribly effective against this deck. Killing Jacksons is a big deal if you're letting the turn pass to the runner before using your Jackson. Proactive Jacksoning is becoming important... First Hades Shard, now Drive-by. Well done FFG for changing the meta again.

Emhamced Login Protocol is super vital. To be honest I've never really needed a third SanSan - often the second isn't needed either, but is there for consistency. If I wanted more SanSan City Grid I'd rather put in an Interns.

(Is everyone manually linking card names or am I missing a trick with making card names links easily?)

17 May 2015 tuism

Oh nevermind, I see now you can use a hash to do card names XD

17 May 2015 aeternii

Wow, I've made a deck pretty much just like this one 2 days ago. How do you feel about Braintrusts and a Philotic being the only agendas with the advancement requirement of 3 in this deck? Wouldn't it be better to play Medicals because of SanSan?

Also, it feels like the ICE suite is a little ETR-light, some runners really don't care about a bit of net damage. Another problem I've faces with playing a very similar ICE suite is an Atman charged at 4 just plows through Ashigaru, Lotus Field and Cortex Lock, which is 3/4 ICE cards in this deck. I would recommend at least getting a single Swordsman specifically for Atman hate. Helps with Eater, too.

17 May 2015 tuism

Medical Breakthrough either means I HAVE TO start using SanSans earlier, or leave it advanced on the table, or hand the runner two points to get the next one to be a Braintrust, so why not just have Braintrusts to start with? I don't want to give any points away if I can help it.

I don't care which runner you are, a damage is a click on average, or three creds with Filter. Net shield I don't see much, if at all. No one runs Jinteki with fewer than three cards, so they'll definitely be drawing eventually. As for ETR-light... Ashigaru typically has 5 :p If someone is breaking just the ETR to eat three damage through a Tsrugi, I'm happy. Lotus is a hard stop for many runners and usually a 3 tax.

The deck can stack ice, and the big stopper is Ash, Caprice, or just the fact they didn't think it was an agenda.

Yes Atman at 4 is a problem. But it's still typically 5 creds through an Ashigaru. The ICE suite doesn't get blanked in entirety by most things, and they're the bare minimum I'd have to maximize the asset power of IG. Everthing is for taxing, you score because the runner is too poor to handle your shit (Ash, Caprice, Future Perfect, even SanSan), not because you ended their run. Well, if you could end their run, all the better, but that's not the primary plan.

Yeah AI hate isn't a bad idea but again, I dint actually mind letting them run their AI into the ground like an old Toyota. If I had to replace anythin it could be. Tsrugi, maybe.

17 May 2015 aeternii

Thanks for the answer, some very insightful ideas that I'll definitely take into account when building the next iteration of my deck. Congratulations on the win, and best of luck in the future!

18 May 2015 Kamalisk

I would personally switch the enhanced login protocols with 2 architects. Really great early game, and if they ever think they can get away with not breaking it, you have so many assets to bring back.

18 May 2015 tuism

I don't like Architect in this because they either entirely discourages a run on that server (typically R&D), which means they either money up and pressure elsewhere, or they just blow through it with a Mimic. Noone runs through Architects unless they're desperate, and if they're desperate then you're winning and you really shouldn't give them the chance of winning through an Architect.

Enhanced Login Protocol is SUPER IMPORTANT to this deck, especially the criminal matchup with Security Testing and Desperado out. It typically taxes 10+ clicks from the runner each game you do get it out. That's huge when they need to be drawing from hitting Shock!s in archives.

18 May 2015 tuism

The fact that this deck is resistant to Mimic is important because that's usually the first drop runners make to feel safe from running against Jinteki. Tsrugi being 4 to get through is the only exception and I don't really care if they scrap 4 creds through it. Datasuckers will help Mimic but the rest of your ICE will tax, as well as Hokusai Grid and the pure resilience of your stuff to trashing.

18 May 2015 taegunv

Thanks for posting this deck Tuism!

I have taken this in a different direction, and I have alot more ICE. I do really like some choices you have made and have adjusted my influence to include the SanSan City Grids. Gives the deck the teeth it needs!

18 May 2015 tuism

Thanks for sharing @taegunv :)

Wow you have a lot of ICE! Let me know how it works out :) I definitely keep wanting more ICE, but I guess my deck plays very differently!

19 May 2015 slam0504

May be one Blacklist ?

19 May 2015 tuism

@slam0504what goes out? :)

I'm already hurting for Jackson Howards, and going down to one Enhanced Login Protocol is risky against criminal domination, and dropping to one SanSan City Grid fucks with the point of the deck. The lone Ash 2X3ZB9CY is the only viable remove, but he's really, really strong as a once-off threat.

19 May 2015 slam0504

In my idea, maybe -1 Ash 2X3ZB9CY.

Blacklist in this deck is an effective way to resist Levy AR Lab AccessClone Chip, and maybe put Crick on Archives?

19 May 2015 slam0504

oh sorry, you are right.

Ash 2X3ZB9CY is really strong in this deck....hmm

19 May 2015 tuism

Yeah Blacklist... Maybe in another deck. I had versions where I used Executive Boot Camp to tutor up stuff, so there I went down to 2 Jacksons, but eventually felt that looking for good stuff isn't as good as having more good stuff.

Also, Blacklist is great but needs guarding - just upping its trash cost isn't going to be typically enough - it's not a surprise, it has to stay rezzed on the table.

I would love to have it but alas :P

21 May 2015 AlbinoBunny

Now that BB is out have you considered running Crick as a one of in this deck?

It seems like with the large number of assets and desire to make archives taxing it would fit right in.

25 May 2015 tuism

Yeah Crick fits this build pretty well, but its limited scope makes it harder to place... Every one of the 10 ICE in this can go on a scoring remote. But Crick doesn't fill that role, so... What to take out for it? It's very similar to Interns in that it's nice to have, but ultimately I dropped it for more "good stuff" rather than support stuff.

25 May 2015 aeternii

@tuism IMO, -1 Shi.Kyū -1 Melange Mining Corp. +2 Crick. At least try it out, it's RIDICULOUS in this deck.

27 May 2015 tuism

Thanks, that actually makes sense to swap Shi.Kyū for archive trickery, as that's pretty much what Shi.Kyi is. Melange is a tough call as I like the option to pitch early ones or getting them trashed without too much worry - though I suspect Crick would help with that (well though it would come back out with 0 Facedown trash cost support)

12 Jun 2015 matto483

I've been testing IG for a while and see a lot of similarities to what I'm getting. Here are some general IG thoughts:

  • This ID loves Melange, and needs it to thrive
  • Early game can be rough and may lead to a lot of free accesses, so I included 3x Medical research fundraiser to keep threats like Komainu and Snares alive.
  • You want to encourage the runner to make runs, and tax through net damage and asset economy. I find even Caprice to be anti-synergistic to IG, despite how good it is.
  • RnD can give up the game. Needs Hokusai(s) and cards like ashigaru/eli
  • Crick is not as helpful on Archives as you'd think. I'd rather have a Komainu or Tsurugi there all day.
  • IG loves blacklist, chronos. (Recursion is huge in my meta)
  • Hostile Infrastructure makes the deck tick, but if you're able to rez it you're already doing pretty well for yourself. It's win-more, but it's essential.
  • Cortex lock falls off quickly but is great for its early game impact and cheap cost.
  • Power Shutdown and Will O the Wisp can provide huge swings like eliminating a Mimic and possibly forcing bad decisions from the runner to follow.

====What I think you've nailed in this deck is a way to leverage the tax of IG into scoring agendas which forces the runner to play faster -> make mistakes just lose. Your choices are great for the most part, ELP, Interns, ASH (fantastic for IG). Great job with this.

23 Jul 2015 MizuRyuu

Have you thought about adding Turtlebacks or Diversified Portfolio?? Considering the number of remotes you will end up creating, might not be a bad idea.