Bizzare RP Rush Deck AKA Tampa Rush

Velo 371

RP is slow they said. RP is glacier they said. RP is a grindy slogfest they said.

Well they were wrong.

Choo Choo Motherfucker

My fastest score out in a tournament setting was within 9 minutes. Seriously, the deck plays faster than my runner, and I'm a born-to-run Crim. I've had great success with it at FL's regional (2nd seed, 5th place), and ANRPC Qualifier (1st place). Unfortunately I couldn't attend the SMC finals due to obligations, and ceded my spot.

You too can be winning games with RP in 15 minutes or less, guaranteed! All you have to do is unlearn everything you've known to be true about RP so far.

RP Rush isn't a deck, it's a lifestyle.

The Source:

I've been playing RP since Trace Amounts (those were dark terrible days full of clicking for credits), as I'm sure everyone who went to the FL regional knows by now. I returned to it in a big way shortly after H&P dropped (long before it swept worlds), with a pretty neat glacier list. While that list looks worlds apart from this one (it ran two archers and two susanoos, heh) the transition was really more of a gradual change than a clean break.

With each tweak I just found myself cutting down the ice costs a little bit more. When playing I found myself clicking to draw first more often than not. And then around the time of the regional it crystallized: I was rushing! And in hindsight that made perfect sense, what else does RP's ability do other than blowing teeny-tiny scoring windows wide open?

Executive Boot Camp:

The Rush Life relies on four core tenets:
  1. Asset Spam
  2. Cheap Ice
  3. Scoring Windows
  4. Masquerading as RP Glacier
In other words, you're playing NBN.

Asset Spam: We've known that throwing out must-trash assets slows the runner down since SanSan City Grid in core. Historically this kind of strategy focused on either an expensive trash cost (SanSan, Eve Campaign) or an unspoken punishment (Snare!, Jinteki: Personal Evolution). When playing RP rush my focus; however, is always on time. Hence my notorious tendency to play out Sundew naked, on turn one, with little central server protection. Though seeming bizzare, enough so Ve thought I was a new RP player (a benefit as we'll see in #4), it works: the runner needs those clicks, especially earlier game, way more than you need the money. Which brings us to...

Cheap Ice: Two accidental revelations on the ICE front made this deck possible.

The first, mentioned in the background, involved aggressively cutting down on ICE costs (and the corollary: eliminating non-ice, non-agenda costs as much as possible, sorry Snare!). Really it was just embracing netrunner's power creep. Much like with programs (Cyber-Cypher anyone?), FFG has been giving us lots of cheap, powerful ICE, whose supposed downsides are either being situational (Cortex Lock vs Neural Katana) or being non-hard ETR (Eli 1.0, Crick into Crisium Grid heh). Runners have become so rich and flexible, that often by the time you can rez the more expensive, more general ICE, and do something useful like score an agenda, they just don't care anymore. Thus I decided to take FFG's hint.

The second was a natural response to the first. Since my ICE was now situational, I decided to play more of a toolbox getup, with mostly one-ofs and two-ofs. I found that between Daily Business Show's filtering, Jackson Howard's draw and my new-found tendency to almost always draw first click, I generally got what I needed. It also helps that there are generally multiple solutions to a problem.

Lastly a brief overview of some of the more important pieces:

Wraparound: Only one real gearcheck ice (Lotus Field is far too expensive to count in that role) in a rush deck, what? (JUST DRAW into IT) Nonetheless 99% of the time this is my scoring ice (as early as T2 even) and that catches people offguard (Eli 1.0 can work in a pinch). Especially great against shapers where SMC into Lady to score NAPD is a huge hit (but what if its a Nisei MK II heh heh heh?). Used to run 2x but flipped one for another DBS.

Architect: This used to be a Tollbooth, but I found the 8 cost just too expensive. As a result Tollbooth tended to slow down both sides of the board, and long games are not this deck's forte. So far I've greatly preferred the accelerating of Architect.

Crick: Everyone knows Crick is good, so here are some strategies you might not have known. First off, its great on every server, not just archives. It's potent at stopping Account Siphon when on HQ, and on R&D it turns the Shaper or the Anarch's desire to trash your cards into an accelerating force for your deck. Second off, the mere existence of Crick means every un-rezzed ICE on archives is assumed to be Crick. Use that to your advantage; Swordsman in non-Faust matchups makes for an especially good fake Crick.

Excalibur: Excalibur remains one of the greatest opportunities to display skill when piloting the RP Rush deck. Whether it should fulfill the role of remote ICE or central ICE really depends on the prevalent trend in the meta, and your read on the individual opponent. As a remote ICE, Excalibur and Caprice Nisei make for a really robust rushing remote. As a central ICE, Excalibur can sometimes just get you uncontested scores. In this role its best on HQ, since that also prevents Siphon or Vamp into attacking Caprice remote plays. Right now I would say the meta prefers using it as a remote ICE, so you can really turn some heads with the central play. (As a sidenote I really love this design. We need more ICE that almost always fire and fall outside of the usual tag/program trash/damage/ETR paradigm)

As you'll notice, a lot of these specific strategies rely on unrezzed ICE. so always keep some on the board to keep the runner guessing, almost like you'd be PE.

Scoring Windows: Recognizing scoring windows is integral to any deck, and really deserves an article all its own. With regards to RP Rush, there's the obvious fact that Enhanced Login Protocol, Caprice Nisei, and Jinteki: Replicating Perfection's ability make scoring windows wider. Less intuitively, NAPD Contract's "ability" makes it amazing to score. Everyone talks about Nisei MK II's ability to guarantee the next score, but NAPD is really amazing at guaranteeing this score, and when you (usually) only need 3 agendas to win, that's really valuable. Case in point, here's a game at the top tables of the FL regional swiss, where I win against Kate by scoring 3 NAPDs and a Chronos. Points are points. It also has the benefit of confusing the shit out of the runner. Most often they respond by relaxing, releasing a "whew it wasn't Niseii" sigh of relief, and that's exactly where you want them to be. When practicing playing the deck, my recommendation would be to push yourself to score as fast as possible, in the most uncomfortable situations you can stand. You'd be surprised how many runners just cede early points without even contesting them nowadays (not enough crims!).

On a final note don't be one those people who just continually Jackson agendas back into the deck. Keep the win in hand. Play like Jens in the 2013 world finals; play to win.

Masquerading as RP Glacier: A huge boon to rushing out of RP, is that when people sit across from the white tree they instinctively slow down. And why blame them? The deck list doesn't have any specific choices that scream "rushing" (besides ...maybe... Architect and Wraparound, but those are seen in Glacier versions too). What identifies it is the lack of certain expensive options like Ash 2X3ZB9CY or Tollbooth or Susanoo-No-Mikoto, and by the time the runner identifies that you should be halfway to winning. The ideal scenario is to win before the runner even identifies what hit them.

That said, the deck doesn't need to be a surprise. At this point nearly everyone in Florida knows I am rushing, and I still win most of my games. At worst it'll come down to PSI, and that's more a statement about the corp condition as a whole, and not really about this deck specifically.

Professional Contacts:

Prepaid Kate: I believe that prepaid Kate is this deck's best matchup, and the primary reason for running the rush variant over the glacier variant. Kate is very good at dealing with problems one at a time, but you can throw out so many, so fast that it overwhelms her. As long as you don't give her room to set up and breathe, victory is pretty easy.

Noise/Quetzal Faust: I think RP rush has a reasonably good matchup against these decks. Between Swordsman, Lotus Field, Komainu, Cortex Lock, and even Wraparound(against Noise), you have a reasonably large number of solutions to the Faust problem. These decks also require a large amount of setup, and you're poised to take advantage of that. Ultimately just play your game, and at worst it'll come down to PSI.

Desperado Leela Patel: I'm using her as a stand in for general goodstuff crim. Historically this has been the worst matchup for the deck, but with the addition of Crisium Grid and Crick it has become much better. Those cards can really tax a Criminal out. (sidenote, Leela's ability isn't that bad to deal with, since most things are cheap. Just rez the important things ahead of time, which you should be doing anyway because of Drive By)

Except for...

...Switchblade Andysucker w/ NRE: This is the deck that gives me cold sweats at night. It eats through my ice like its paper and accelerates when trashing my assets. It doesn't help that the one person I know who runs this deck is my regular practice partner, and he almost instinctively knows my plays. Generally you can force one scoring window against this Andy, but unless its a Nisei MK II and you can Niseii train behind Excalibur, its probably a guaranteed loss. Thankfully Andy's dead, heh.

The Personal Touch:

Things to think about adding:

Snatch and Grab: Kills those pesky Kati Jones's and Film Critics, and in the future spoiler: Political Operatives. Unfortunately its money not going to ICE or scoring, and a trace in a usually poor deck against usually rich deck, so I haven't been able to find a slot.

Team Sponsorship: This has been working in NEH, and recursion is always great. Dunno if you score enough for it though.

Early Premiere: Never advance 4 for 2s? Yes Please! 3 Inf is really hard to deal with though

Quandary: Another cheap ETR, but I feel like the deck is already code-gate dependent enough. Maybe replace Yagura, which has been doing less and less these days.

Tour Guide/Chimera/Rototurret/Guard: ETR sentry seems like a neat idea, but they're expensive, and often people install sentry breakers first against Jinteki. Much like with the Quandry above, I have enough sentries already, and I find I prefer nasty "I don't want to hit this" subroutines to hard ETRs.

Marcus Batty and Ichi 1.0: This is a neat combo, but I've tried it and found it too slow and set up dependent. Oftentimes I don't even need the Caprice to score, so Marcus Batty as a failsafe hasn't seemed that important.

Cerebral Static: Worth a shot, but I feel Enhanced Login Protocol is way too crucial to replace.

Shock!: Snare!'s little cousin is free and deliciously annoying. I used to run 3x, but I now feel that with Crick archives is safe enough, and I prefer to save the slot for tools that accelerate my game-plan.

Things to think about removing:

Swordsman: I like it in today's meta, but its definitely a so-so card.

Architect: Going back to Tollbooth (or maybe Little Engine?) is not an unreasonable idea, for those who feel more comfortable with some late-game staying power. Might want to further cut down other ICE costs then in that case.

Wraparound: could sub in Himitsu-Bako or another Eli 1.0, but I really love the absolute nature of this gear check.

Celebrity Gift: Often times I find myself discarding it because of how the 2-click cost slows you down, but when you really need it, nothing beats the Gift's shot in the arm from 3 credits. My buddy runs PAD Campaigns in his variant to instead annoy the runner. That's a fair choice.

Oh shit what are you doing!?:

Ash 2X3ZB9CY: If you put in an Ash you have failed to embrace the Rush Life for fear of losing PSI games, and should feel ashamed. It works against every fibre of the deck's being, by virtue of it's tremendous economic cost. If you want to play Ash, play another deck. (I cut it for 2x Crisium Grid after the Regionals, and that was the greatest decision I've made.)

Sunset:

First some notes on the future. Film Critic isn't that big of a deal. As mentioned earlier, the rush focus is on time and the critic works really slow. It also leaves ELP up. Employee Strike on the other hand leaves me terrified, so keep an eye out for it.

As mentioned earlier, this deck list doesn't really differ that much from the glacier one. More than anything, it represents a change in strategic paradigm. Above all RP Glacier plays to not lose: Ash backing up Caprice, Jackson shuffling agendas back in, etc. RP Rush, however, plays to win. And that means accepting that sometimes you will take a risk that won't pay off, and lose. Yes, that means allowing more variance, but sometimes it'll give you just the edge you need in the top tables. Ultimately for the Rush life you have to cultivate The Attitude.

The Attitude dictates that you don't care whether the runner asset trashes, psi predicts, medium digs, or builds a rig. It mean whatever happens, your toes are still tappin'. Now when you got that, then you have the attitude.

Public Support:

"If you're not playing this deck and prepaid Kate you should sell your cards and quit netrunner." - Alexfrog

"Needs more Scorches." -omgitsblake

"prob tear 1 out of Niseii Division for teh real Jinteki players." -PsiSquid

"Reminds me of that one crazy night in BangCock" -Nordrunner

"Reminds me to never go drinking with Nordrunner again." -mediohxcore

"I'm quitting netrunner because everyone is playing this deck." -Alexfrog

On a more serious note, thanks to my close friends Tim Stone and Trusten Ray for putting up with my constant shilling for netrunner and helping me tweak this deck into what it is. Also good luck to Tristen at today's ANRPC finals, where he's playing a variant of this deck. Thanks to Mike Quinones for organizing the Tampa meta and to the Tampa meta for putting up with RP Rush out of everyone. Thanks to the wonderful hosts at Dogs of War Gaming in Palm Bay for providing the prizes for Tampa to sweep, and generally being the pillar for the Florida meta in general. Finally thanks to Ve Herrman for inadvertently naming the deck. Sorry, not sorry, for siphoning you half a million times in the swiss.

10 comments
13 Sep 2015 Stonewick

First of all, I have to say thanks to Robert for introducing me to the game and for giving me a shoutout in his writeup!

I've played against this deck so many times and the scoring server almost always consists of Wraparound. My main runner is Kit and my games against this deck have gotten to the point where I keep hands with Corroder instead of some sort of decoder.

14 Sep 2015 moistloaf

Very interesting; may just try this myself. I don't personally enjoy playing the sloggier corps. I have one question: is there much Whizzard in your meta? I have been playing an aggressive SMC Whizzard for a very long time now, and this list seems much weaker than traditional RP Glacier versus Runner decks that are aggressive out-of-the-gates. Just wondering your own experience with this versus the Whizzard match-up, particularly aggressive Whizzards, not so much the L4J style popularized recently. The only problematic ICE to NRE Anarch seems to be Crick, and only on Archives. Excalibur is quickly. Parasited.

14 Sep 2015 Velo

No there is not. I've played (I think) a grand total of one Whizzard Faust deck, and while that should technically have been a problem matchup, I'm pretty sure I quite handily beat it by virtue of him thinking I was Glacier.

So, the rest from here on out is theory crafting.

While its true the Whiz makes your asset spam less potent, you're primary focus is on costing the runner time, not money so its not too too bad. That said in the Whizzard matchup a T1 naked sundew is probably not so great an idea, perhaps you should wait for a Crick or an ELP first. You mention parasiting Excalibur, but there's so many juicy parasite targets already, and its just strong enough at 3 strength, to were 99% of the time it stays up in the crucial moment, trust me. As far as the deck's codegate dependence goes NRE Yog is annoying sure (NRE with Corroder or Mimic doesn't matter since for the most part sentries are subroutine spam and barriers gearcheck) but costs a lot of setup. What makes that NRE Andysucker so brutal is Andy's quick setup combined with Switchblade also blanking all of my sentries (which combined with the NRE Yog means 3/4 of my ICE is meaningless). Andy also the ability to not just be agressive, but also gain tempo when agressive, and as Anarch I feel like you're missing a lot of the core Criminal cards that make that possible (like Security Testing, and Bank Job). By contrast a lot of the dominant anarch economy (Liberated, Daily Casts) requires set up time. As far as your specific variant goes, I can say for the most part I'm happy when I see an SMC because of how much triggering it costs. I think Desperado is really the scariest thing to see in Whizzard.

Ultimately my gut instinct is that this aggressive Whizzard deck falls in much the same camp as prepaid Kate, where technically it has all the answers, but you can pose so many questions so rapidly that it's overwhelmed. I also disagree that Glacier is stronger in this situation. Anarchs have a phenomenal late-game right now, and you really want to avoid it at all costs.

14 Sep 2015 indeflab4

Tampa represent! Anyways, glad to see the decklist ended up getting the writeup it deserves; as someone trying to popularize a weird Jinteki deck myself, its great to see this list up for others to test.

To talk about the list, are there any upcoming cards you're interested in testing for think are straight upgrades to what you have? I imagine The Future Is Now is a strong contender for the 3/1 agenda slot.

14 Sep 2015 Qban

This deckbuilder was the first player I every played against back in Summer 2014. Very aggressive and competitive player. He still played the same 2 IDs to this day. THAT is dedication. I believe that playing against him in the Tampa Bay FL meta has made me a better player overall. Great deck and playstyle.

15 Sep 2015 GentlemanGamer

Perhaps the image should read, "NAPD Train Has No Brakes"

21 Sep 2015 aero

This deck is the real deal. I played it (with two Wraparound and only one Eli 1.0), and it came back to win from an initial 6-0 deficit (two Nisei MK II had been stolen). Wraparound was absolutely great against Faust in the matchup I played, and Chronos Project did what it does. Great deck.

26 Oct 2015 kennish

I took a variation of this deck to a fourth place finish in the Filipino Nationals. It's the real deal. Mad props to @Velo.

26 Oct 2015 Velo

@kennish @aero Happy to hear the deck works for you guys, and even happier to see you put your own personal stank to it. Perhaps I should change the name to "THE REAL DEAL (TM)".

With regards to @kennish specifically, I find it hilarious that your fastest score-out was also around 9 minutes. I wonder if anyone can go faster, or that's just a hard limit (with the deck? the game?). Also MAD RESPECT for cutting down ice costs even harder than I did, a true embracing of the #RushLife.

For the viewers out there, seriously if you haven't checked his variation out; go check it out.

@GentlemanGamer Hahahaha, you know I originally wanted to put 3 NAPDs and a Chronos behind the RP ID card on the train image, to act as the wagons. Unfortunately I couldn't get the angles right and just gave up. Maybe I should give it another shot? That said you do sometimes score Niseiis, you just don't wait for them.

@indeflab4 @Qban Thanks for the support guys. Love what you do for the Tampa meta.

8 Nov 2015 Billy

Took this deck to an 8 man spring kit tournament today and won! Switched out a yagura for a quandary and it turned out to be a great move. Twice today my opening turn was install nisei mkII, advance, protect with quandary! Thanks for the build!