Bag of Tricks - 2nd Oslo Regionals, Undefeated 8-0, top seed

Elusive 1163

I have played this deck a long time, and it is slightly different from normal PE-decks that i've seen. People usually make the mistake assuming that this is a Cambridge-style deck.

This is not Cambridge PE. It does not win by bleeding the runner dry, it wins by creating such a large number of possibilities for a kill that there almost always is a way. It is not consistent, it does not have a specific game plan to enact. While playing it you have to be creative, and you have to be bold. In my experience this is a strength, even my regular opponents (who are skilled players) never know what to watch out for. This is efficient especially versus the strategic people that like to play safe. I see the cards i draw however, and can start laying a trap. I rarely watch my opponents side of the board expect for credit total, maybe icebreakers and their hand-size. I do however watch their face..

It does pose a credible way for scoring out as well, mushining TFP's. You should decide early if that is your gameplan however, as it is difficult.

Playing this deck requires a lot of Yomi, good reading. It also requires taking risks like leaving advanced agendas out for a few turns to use as kill-tools. You should hone your bluffing skills, faking tells, feeding the opponent a lot of confusing and faked information. If you like to play a deck with a consistent safe strategy, this is not it. This can be a real negative as to play well with this style of deck requires you to feel good, secure and not being mentally tilted.

Strengths:

  • Shapers in the current meta

  • Careful players

  • Careless players

Weaknesses:

  • Your own mental state

  • Account siphon

  • Keyhole

  • Obvious counter-cards

Gameplan:

Put some scary ice down on HQ and RD. Some ice is scary early, this is what you want to see in your starting hand. The combo-ice (Lockdown, Kitsune, Lotus field) is what you use late to open up a kill or score-window.

Put down some scary remotes, preferrably using mushin. If you get a jackson out keep him behind something reasonably protective (pup, cortex). The selection of advanced remotes is really important, and is decided by the opponent you are facing. Some people run centrals, some people run remotes. Some people only run when they have too (strategic players) some take unneccesary risks and run advanced remotes early. Top priority is getting a read on your opponent and use it against them.

It is often a good idea to advance to 4. In a tournament most players will play careful, which means you should use agendas/ronin as a default tactic, but you should be really aware of what type of player you are facing.

The game will usually give you an oppurtunity to kill, but you need to search for it.

Notable card selection and choices:

Agendas: Very few 1-pointers, they are not needed. HoK is there to enable kill-pressure and combo with Tori Hanzo. TFP and Fetal are very good with Punitive and difficult to steal. Philotic is self-explanatory. Scoring a HoK and a TFP enables hail-mary mode for certain players against new mushin'd remotes.

Chairman Hiro: Extremely efficient kill window creator. Also often unexpected.

Junebug: Lone junebug allows you to threaten from 1 credit, also flatline.

Ronin: Allows killing of too careful players. Can enable hail-mary runs at your advanced remotes if you get many.

Crisium: Account siphon.

Tori Hanzo: I've been told she's expensive, but i gladly pay 5Cr for a single brain damage in a deck that is all about getting the kill. Combos with HoK of which you should score one early.

Punitive counterstrike: Combos with your agendas, especially with all the damage taken from Fetal. Makes skilled players more careful, creating scoring windows for you. Surprise-kills uknowing players, or people thinking this is Cambridge PE.

Lockdown: Trying it out, decent so far. Usually put on RD, also effective psychological tool.

Kitsune: The absolute best card to enable a certain kill, giving them a Fetal or Snare! at the proper time with absolute certainty, while they think it is a cortex you don't think is worth rezzing anymore.

25 comments
23 Jun 2015 kollapse

I've also been trying out some new ideas in PE (having played Cambridge alot a while back) and the inclusion of Chairman Hiro and Tori Hanz┼Ź alone makes me want to give this a go.

I hope you bring this deck to Nordics and I get to face it.

23 Jun 2015 Elusive

I will most definitely bring this to Nordics, but may very well change up some of my tricks, them being published and all ;)

If you are the right type of player, i think this should work out for you. Let me know how it goes, kind of exciting to see others getting this to work as well. Let's build a new era of PE dominance!

23 Jun 2015 Dydra

Looks interesting. Pretty sand-box style of play I guess. You obviously mentioned the weakness to AS and Keyhole. Going 8-0 means there were no strong opponents utilizing those type of decks?

24 Jun 2015 firesa

Looks like an interesting list, will definitely be giving it a go

24 Jun 2015 Elusive

Actually i did play one strogn player with a MaxX Eater-Keyhole deck, and pulled a miraculous win due to his bad draw and probably him being a careful player as well. He is one of my regular opponents, so that might have helped.

Definitely sand-box. You play what you are dealt, but discard what you don't want for your mushin targets. Agendas can be freely discarded, there are few of them, so jackson is usually enough to allow some agressive draw when needed. Sometimes you even want to feed the runner agendas for punitive.

24 Jun 2015 Dothanite

I love to see Blacktree do well. How do you feel about this deck's performance the more we delve in the SanSan Cycle? Are cards like Drive By a major concern for you?

Definitely a fun deck. I have a PE player in my area who is discouraged at the moment, from all of the shell game hate that exists in the game. I'm going to show this to him in hopes that he will get a few ideas from it. Hiro Represent!

24 Jun 2015 Elusive

That depends wholly on how many people slot it into their decks ;)

Seriously, everything is a meta call. All cards that directly nullify advanced remotes is a major concern. Singularity as well. You have an advantage against a deckthat plays one/two of one of those cards: don't waste time on traps. They won't run them if they know they have a solution in their deck.

24 Jun 2015 prozz

i sense economy problems with just 6 cards making credits. mushin is good but cant pay for snare, so dont count it. no need for gila or more eco cards?

24 Jun 2015 Elusive

Gila is a large investment (3 cred, 3 click = 6 cred) to make your money back you need to use it 6 times (12 clicks). Just click for credits, it is faster and more flexible. One problem with 1-pointers is that they are a huge money-sink for your already tight economy.

24 Jun 2015 Elusive

Gila is a large investment (1 draw, 1 install, 3 cred, 3 click = 6 cred) to make your money back you need to use it 7 times (14 clicks). Just click for credits, it is faster and more flexible. One problem with 1-pointers is that they are a huge money-sink for your already tight economy.

24 Jun 2015 Elusive

Gila is a large investment (1 draw, 1 install, 3 cred, 3 click = 6 cred) to make your money back you need to use it 8 times (16 clicks). Just click for credits, it is faster and more flexible. One problem with 1-pointers is that they are a huge money-sink for your already tight economy.

24 Jun 2015 Linger

@Elusive your math is wrong.

To score = 1 draw, 1 install, 3 to adv, 3 to adv = 8 to gain 8 Gila ability = 3 , so you need to use it 3 times to gain 9

25 Jun 2015 Glitch29

@Linger C'mon bro! Together we can math better than that.

You got the first part right. 8 to score Gila hands.

Then every time you use its ability, you gain 3 instead of 2 :

3 - 2 = = .

Dividing our 8 investment by the saved each time we use it:

8 / = 8.

8 activations to break even.

25 Jun 2015 x3r0h0ur

Man, I'm sure there is a lot to be gained by this 'classic' netrunner math. hilarious. Gila does so much more for your economy than taking 8 activations to break even.

25 Jun 2015 kollapse

What Gila in PE (Cambridge variants) does is give me a way to get money fast from 0 : Gila + click for = your up to Snare! range again in one turn.

Having a way to get that money without the need for an event/asset is extremely useful, and one I find worth the investment (along with the net damage). It does not suit all PE decks of course, and I'm not sure what I would remove to make room for it here.

27 Jun 2015 Elusive

kollapse: I completely agree, and it is a good fit in horizontal 1-pointer decks. Here i feel it would be OK but additional 1-pointers create other tough choices. I usually click for credits a lot, especially when i'm getting a trap set up nicely.

28 Jun 2015 kollapse

@Elusive Clicking for credits in PE is, more often than not, a more or less viable strategy when no economy shows up.

28 Jun 2015 Demolishine

@Elusive Hi,I'm new to Jinteki and your deck sure looks interesting. One question, what do you think about Trick of Light? if the runner already know that our trap is not an agenda won't it be nice if we can use ToL to move the counter to another place? Please enlighten me.

28 Jun 2015 Elusive

Hey,

The runner never knows. The thing with an advanced card that the runner thinks is a trap is that that is your greatest asset. Given, it could be a trap, but if you manage to trick them that your agenda or Ronin is a trap you gain a lot by leaving it out there! Ronin is obvious, but an agenda ready to be scored lets you get 1 extra net-damage when you need it for the kill, which is great! A 3-advanced TFP left out will give you the victory if you manage to score another one later. Once the runner knows you do this, all advanced cards suddenly become even more menacing. Your traps might be the last thing he sees after starting to panic when you get 3-4 advanced cards out. If he doesn't know, you have the advantage of using the above tools to kill him.

To answer your question, i think it is a playstyle-choice. I feel like i rather put the fear into them and let them simmer than try to fast-advance to a point victory. If your bluffs are good you should not need to fast-advance. Feel free to try it though.

Oh, i remember winning a game after scoring a TFP that i had been using as 'protection' for 2 shell-corporations the whole game. The look on their face.. ;)

28 Jun 2015 Satellite Uplink

I think this deck will have economy issues - light on economy and high on cards you want to advance. I can see the concept behind it - if you play all the possible flatline combinations then the runner isn't sure which one they need to avoid most urgently. Ultimately though I think you're spread way too thin trying to play this way and as soon as you hit a runner who comes knocking for you to spend money (Siphon, Vamp, Lamprey, Reina) you're going to fold up. This is especially true as many of your kills are greedy for credits, like Punitive, Snare and Tori, or need to be advanced.

28 Jun 2015 Elusive

I agree on some points, and i acknowledge that this deck is completely devastated by the account-siphon/keyhole combo. However, only account siphon is not a major deal. Not being able to rez ice isn't really either. In addition if short on credits you simply choose not to pursue high-cred tactics like Tori or punitives, and start relying on leaving advanced agendas out, Ronin and Neural.

The reason i stopped playing this deck for a long while was the prominence of these tactics. It did however turn out to be a great meta-call when facing shapers and few criminals, as shown by it's performance.

One reason i posted this was to get some ideas from other players on how to make this deck more resistant to siphon/lamprey as it is extremely efficient if the opponent cannot nullify your bluffing game by denial. Feel free to propose ideas.

29 Jun 2015 Satellite Uplink

@Elusive I've got it sleeved up for a few games tonight. The change I made was to drop the relatively expensive Punitive kill for a slightly different route: 2x Cerebral Cast and a Scorched Earth (-1 Tori Hanzo, -2 Punitive). I don't know if it's better or worse at killing, but it's at least cheaper and maybe slightly more flexible

Cerebral Cast can give the runner a tough choice, especially if they've got a critical resource to trash, like a stacked Kati or Pro Contacts. That's even without the implied threat you're holding Scorched and often runners will choose the Brain damage, which helps your other plays. Meanwhile Scorched sits behind the Snare!/Kitsune threat, maybe. It's janky, but at least it's jank you can afford.

I've also put two Errand Boy in, dropping an Eli and the Crisium Grid if I remember rightly.

30 Jun 2015 funnyways3

I run a very similar Tennin deck that actually has less protection and more forced damage (hokusei, data mines, etc.). Glad to see some risky kill decks out there making waves!

30 Jun 2015 Elusive

@Satellite Uplink: I'm curious to see how it went for you. I actually had the cerebral/scorch combo in the deck for some time in the beginning. It doesn't really help me kill reliably i felt, and drawing that single scorch is a pain. I want to try out switching Tori however, i have a few ideas..

@funnyways3: Glad to hear ;) Aren't those 1-net pings on the runner's turn difficult to use as kill-tools? Maybe you use them for deterrence?

30 Jun 2015 funnyways3

The thing I've always enjoyed about the kill decks is that poking a little is just as dangerous as one big strike. That's one extra click to draw, one few card to prevent from a double neural or a Kitsune into a Snare. Add a House of Knives and suddenly that's two damage you're doing. I've never killed with Data Mine or Hokusei, but those two have set up more kills than just about any other card in my deck. I've found to many kill decks go for the one hit wonder, but I've gotten so much control with the little jabs here and there. But, your deck went undefeated. Don't fix it if it ain't broken :) It's a good, scary deck and I like it!