This list has been cheerfully flatlining Hoshikos, Sables and Arissanas the whole weekend in Barcelona.
With a couple of successful Outfit decks around that included Big Deal and focused primarily on fast advance, I wanted to catch people in Swiss off guard with a list that is a little more spicy and much more deadly.
To my surpise, even with open decklists in the top16, this deck still held its ground, eventually bringing me to the 3rd place in the event.
Let's take a closer look :)
Please do not get me wrong - I love Project Atlas, it still is one of my favourite agendas in the game. It is a fair card, though, and with The Outfit, 'fair' is not what we are aiming for! We have a 2/1 that brings us 8 net credits, we have a 3/2 that kills The Twinning or a fully loaded Daily Casts, we have a 5/3 that we can make unstealable, and we also have a freaking 2/2 agenda. As much as I would like to have that Atlas counter once in a while to summon a Punitive or a Regulatory Capture, my playstyle with this deck calls for a slightly greedier suite.
Let's face it - most of the time, we are going to be filthy rich. Our Hedge Funds and Rashida Jaheems are a staple I would rather not part with, but the majority of our money is coming from Too Big to Fail and Hostile Takeovers. Some Outfit lists slot Government Subsidy, but as we are not on Big Deal, there is no need for it in this deck.
The kill package
With Citadel Sanctuary gone, there is nowhere the runners can hide from all the meat damage we can throw at them. Sadly, we no longer have access to Prisec, but Angelique Garza Correa makes a worthy replacement.
Unlike Prisec, Angelique only deals damage when rezzed, so we cannot stack multiple copies of her in one server. Luckily, achieving Threat 3 only requires a single City Works Project to be scored or stolen, at which point the Angeliques stationed in HQ also become active. The duo of Punitives and Angeliques often presents an interesting dilemma for the runner - should they play that economic event to survive a double Punitive, or should they keep it as a hit point in case of a Punitive + Angelique play?
Even if we do not have a kill after an agenda gets stolen, we should not feel afraid to land a value Punitive Counterstrike for 2-3 damage - especially if we need to get below 10 credits for the sake of Too Big to Fail. Once the runner gets to 5-6 points all of our counterstrikes become useless and we feel really silly for keeping them in hand the entire game.
Technically Mavirus also constitues a part of the kill package, as the 1 net damage it inflicts proved to be relevant on numerous occasions, but between the Clot threat and the popularity of Aumakua, it would have probably made it to the list as a 3x even without that additional bonus.
This card deserves its own category and is the actual Ladykiller here, as it has two prime targets in the current meta that need to be taken care of as soon as they hit the table, and they both happen to be female characters:
1) Tsakhia "Bankhar" Gantulga - having slotted all these high-strength ice, the last thing we want is for the runner to just ignore their beautiful subrutines - Bankhar needs to be killed on the spot
2) Dr. Nuka Vrolyck - we just cannot afford to have her on the table if we want to push the City Works Project; 6 cards in two clicks is a kind of efficiency that we cannot suffer - Nuka needs to be killed on the spot
The only Illicit ICE still around and an absolute staple in our suite. Getting the 3-credit cashback after rezzing these turn them into one of the most cost-effective tools in The Outfit's arsenal. Technically the runner can exploit them early with things like Raindrops Cut Stone, but that is a price I gladly pay for the privilage of having these two monsters by my side.
I trusted this card in the past to protect Obokatas in my AgInfusion lists, and I trust it now to protect City Works Projects. And when a time comes that the runner can get anywhere for little to no money, suddenly we might find ourselves in need to start charging them cards instead, and position some Loops on centrals.
Depending on the matchup, these can either go on HQ to defend us from Diversion of Funds, RnD to stop the game-closing Finality, or accompany Data Loops in the killer remote - especially if we suspect the runner to plan on setting it on fire instead of taking a bullet like a good citizen.
Trojans work really well against this list - a Botulus breaks Trebuchet like a twig; a well-positioned Kyuban makes the runner gain real money while only spending bad pub; and a Hush essentially turns Data Loop into a severely overpriced Bastion... not to mention the atrocities it does to Border Control. Magnet does not solve the problem of trojans by itself even as a 3x, but it surely helps us fight them to some extent, while still remaining an end-the-run code gate with decent numbers on it. In practice it proved to be the most underwhelming piece of ice during the tournament, though.
1) Money up!
We ideally want to start with ice-ice-TBTF and follow up with a Rashida behind a single piece of ice or a Hostile Takeover score. But if RnD gives us lemons... do not panic. Turtle up, click for credits, install an upgrade on a central server... the economy is out there, and this list can afford to play it slow at the start if needed. We do not take unnecessary risks; if the runner forces us to go low on credits rezzing ice, we just do it - a single Too Big to Fail takes us from 0 do 10 credits in once click, a Hostile takes us from 2 to 10 in a turn, these two cards constitute 12% of our list, we will eventually see them, and when we do:
2) Push the City Works Project!
While this list can absolutely win games only fast-advancing Hostile Takeovers and Regulatory Captures, realistically we need to honestly score our 5/3 the hard way. This is the toughest part of the game and its most pivotal point. We need to either have the combination of Data Loops, Angeliques and Punitive Counterstrikes to completely secure this operation, or trick the runner into believing that we do. We have the upper hand here - if they make the wrong call, they just die, so they might feel more eager to err on the side of safety.
We should also remember that the runner cannot bounce City Works Project back to HQ with Hermes - this seemingly perfect solution just does not apply here.
3) Get to 4 bad pub!
The list runs a total of 15 cards that gives us bad pub, so depending on how the early/mid-game went, we might have already accomplished this goal, but in my experience this usually happens after the City Works score. The runner will understand the significant difference between 3 and 4 bad pub and will do their best to keep us at 3, to the point of never playing their Connection resources to prevent random traffic accidents (Under the Bus), so we might need to persuade them into running our unrezzed Illicit ice by ostentatiously preparing the remote for another City Works score.
4) Push the Regulatory Captures!
By this time the runner should have most of their toys in place and the hunt for RCs begins. Unless they had gotten to 5 point before, though, this hunt can still end with a flatline. If they have a Clot, our scoring remote now becomes a perfect nest for Mavirus. In any case, the clock is ticking, and the runner is not on the winning side of that clock...
I tried to keep the list secret before Worlds, but now that it is in the open I would be very interested to see what the Community can do with it and what changes could be introduced to make it even better - so please feel free to take it for a spin. I hope you are going to have as much fun with it as I had in Barcelona!
1) To NSG, for the tremendous effort around organizing the event. Rock on!
2) To Unband, for accepting me into their ranks and surviving all my weird ideas. Thank you for the countless hours of talking, testing and theorycrafting!
3) To the Netrunner community as a whole. Thank you for keeping the game alive!
Special thanks go to Matuszczak, a fellow Unband member and a true friend, and to the entire Polish Netrunner community that in the past 5 years have become the best family I could have ever hoped for.
I love you guys!
22 Oct 2023 mr_pelle
22 Oct 2023 Bridgeman
23 Oct 2023 Two_EG
23 Oct 2023 Kikai
23 Oct 2023 @Bookkeeper
24 Oct 2023 Odol
24 Oct 2023 Diogene
20 Nov 2023 Matuszczak