When I first heard of the ‘Stay true to your colours’ tournament I already knew Smoke is going to be my choice for the runner. After all, the event was not called ‘Change your colours at the very last moment’, and mine have always been green and stealthy.
The challenge came in two forms – the icebreaker suite and the lack of Imp (which took over Film’s Ciritic position as a swiss army knife of silver bullets).
Here comes a summary of choices I made to arrive at the list that (along with some luck and time being called at weird moments) took me to 2nd place in the tournament:
Gauss vs Cerberus "Lady" H1 – I feel like the world where people play 3-sub barriers as a counter to Boomerang (looking at you, Spiderweb) is no place for a Lady. And the NEXT ice suite (with multi-sub NEXT Silver) is still alive, as Mildesorte has masterfully proven in the finals. In addition to that, playing Lady as my fracter would mean that I need to either slot multiple copies of it, or go big on Simulchips that – in the absence of Imp – have few good targets.
Na'Not'K vs Ika vs Fawkes – that one has to make this choice is a tragedy in and of itself. In the end I decided against Ika, as the corp could always overwrite the piece of ice that hosts it to try and lock me out, and I already knew that I would not slot in more than a single Simulchip.
And I decided against Fawkes because I have some dignity.
Penrose vs Engolo vs Houdini – I like how Penrose can break barriers in the turn it is installed, helping you contest an early rush more effectively. But there is one more crucial factor – if I went for any other choice here, I would not have a single breaker in my suite that pumps strength for one credit, meaning that the “empty” runs to load Net Mercur off the Smoke credit would cost me one credit extra, and that is just not happening. Penrose was the only breaker in my suite that I actually considered good.
So now that I knew my suite, all I had to do was tweak the math of my two suboptimal breakers in my favour. The combination of Net-Ready Eyes and Takobi help with that pretty effectively, as you can often get to exactly the strength you need with little to no overflow (NRE pumps by one, Gauss/Na'Not'K naturally pump by two, Takobi pumps by three).
This resulted in a rig a little heavier than I usually like it (especially with the absence of Stimhack that is shaper’s best friend as isntalling programs is concerned), so I figured a single Pelangi could help out in the early game, and a Deus X would come in handy if I faceplant into Anansi or Chiyashi with SMC and just a few credits. I also figured there might be some Chronos Protocols in the tournament, and Deus X is quite decent against Complete Image.
Other than that, this is just your regular Smoke. Aniccam is a very good console if you have at least 15 events to pair it with, and a combination of 1x TTW + 1x R&D Interface has been my multiaccess of choice for quite some time.
Indexing only made a token appearance, as there are quite a few tricks that a corp can pull off to rain on your indexing parade. And Notoriety, as always, made all the difference in the world and then some more.
The last honorable mention goes to Cold Read, that is not only a poor man’s Stimhack, but also a very flexible tool against assets (+4 credits is equivalent to a Sure Gamble after all, and it comes with a run), so this card as a 1 of is here to stay, even for my regular build.
I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the tournament organizers, a big CONGRATULATIONS to Mildesorte for his incredible performance and a large ALWAYS BE RUNNING to the community who keep the game alive. Rock on!
31 Jan 2021 Longi
2 Feb 2021 mildesorte10