Chessrunner (v3) "Technical Writing and Destiny"

Earth Red 946

Now I know I've only shifted around a few cards, but let me be clear; Technical Writer is a godsend that really pumps up the strength of this deck. For those newer players: every time your engine (explained later) gives you a pawn trigger, Technical Writer gets a credit. That can amount to you getting immense cash from it. Through the fire of testing and teching various builds, 100% (and one 75%) tournament win rates and a win/loss score of 20 to 3 with this newest build, I present to you this third public iteration of my Chessrunner!


  • This is a tempo deck. Your main goal is to both be able to make strong reactive runs at short notice, and get your engine up so that you can maintain constant pressure as well as strong growth and longevity at the same time.
  • If you can, prioritize getting your board set up, but don't go overboard, you rarely are a turtle deck. And even when you are, you are just acting as though you where.
  • Your end game is mostly based on running and and playing the few floating cards out of your hand. Your early game is based on balancing drawing new cards and pressuring if possible.
  • If your meta is Swordsman heavy, see the last part of "Explaining my splash and other choices."
  • As your breaker base is light, you can also oftentimes consistently spend your Self-modifying Codes to get parts of your engine out (Scheherazade) and Pawn)
  • Play Technical Writer. -> Do the normal magic you should be doing. -> Profit. It's good early on with a wait, it's a beast later on.

Basic notions and deeper points:

  • The main point and game plan of this deck is steady aggressive tempo-play. You should focus on maintaining a steady flow of cash and made runs when able. If you can't, set your rig up up until you see a possibility to continue steady runs, while analyzing the board to know when you can ignore being able to reactively run in favor of booming your own board.
    • If in matchups that just spike their icing out of your stable run range even with e3 Feedback Implants, you'll have to switch to calculated turtling and strike at right moments whenever you can. Thus, in situations like this server checking and R&D locking shouldn't be done lightheartedly. It won't be unbearable, but you just need to be more careful with your power counters.
    • If you have the game pace for it, and if you don't have empty servers to proc your engine on, two runs per turn is usually the optimal amount for you, if possible. This is to ensure that you can play the cards you draw when needed. (Thus, I chose the interfaces as your long term agenda stealing cards. As you'll be pushing for a steady flow of runs instead of single, more disastrous runs, they'll give you more bang for your buck than if using event runs. I run both interfaces due to the fact that I'll want to pressure both HQ and R&D, and keep their icing even.)
    • This is why most cards are cards you can play straight away. Early game, you want to be able to play most cards you draw to maintain constant growth and reactivity, and late game you want to have your deck mathematics built to the end result of most cards drawn with your draw engine wanting to be played.
    • That means, in general, that you should avoid making a lot of plays that cost you most of your game pace. When evaluating different plays, maintaining your tempo should be one of the factors you are taking into account. Should you Self-modifying Code for a panic button breaker, or use it to get your Pawn engine up to get the cash and card advantage flowing? If you can choose the latter, do it. Cumulating long-term efficiency amidst pressure is one of the building blocks of your actual gameflow.
  • This doesn't mean you couldn't or shouldn't also do risky plays flexibly and reactively when it is necessary. If you can catch the corp off guard, go for it. This is an inherent part of Netrunner and you shouldn't forget it, as long as you don't go overboard with wild runs all the time. Exile is playing chess, after all, not attending Fear Factor.
    • Keep in mind that your breaker suite gives a lot of freedom to catch corps when they try to get an agenda out. In general, I chose this breaker suite due to it's flexibility, speed, and not being forcibly reliant on heavy draws and repetitive tutoring (to add to that, all breakers being breakers that heavily require the recursion-oriented cards that Exile always wants to play, plus everything synergizing with e3 Feedback Implants is a godsend). If you have the cash, you most of the time have the option to roll out and get through with one (Overmind) alone, rig up or not... In general, AI-reliant and Self-modifying Code including decks tend to have fast reactive play setup times, and as expected that plays a big part in this decks foundation as well. You shouldn't be afraid of playing Overmind if you really need it, even if you don't have your Deep Red up yet. Having a breaker base that is both flexible and fast mitigates a lot of the clunkyness of both Exile and your bread and butter Pawn engine in my experience. D4v1d is there to soften otherwise disastrous match ups such as Blue Sun, and to otherwise soften the credit costs of your runs, since big strength ice would be a bit too costly otherwise. Cerberus "Lady" H1 is there to stabilize the cost-efficiency and longevity of your runs, when the game has gone on long enough for you to have more time to prepare for runs, and to be a fracter against Wraparound. This suite is built for a meta with barely no swordsman. Fell free to add a sentry breaker if need be.
  • Pawn + Scheherazade + Deep Red is your bread and butter. The reason I chose this economy is its continuous strength and longevity. It offers you top notch click-for-return ratios (albeit being limited to Exile), without the unstability of John Masanori (which I tested a lot, though).
    • At it's worst, Pawn is a sub-par ice trashing card (since getting rid of it will require trashing hosted ice,) which is okay, since you should usually be able to keep it on the right ice as long as you can balance the amount of runs you make each turn with your opponents ice basing and rez pace.
    • This is kind of obvious, but don't start fooling around with Pawns until you get your Deep Red. The only exceptions are against damage heavy decks, if you have to run or risk damage (losing important engine parts), and when you'd have to discard them otherwise at end of turn.
    • As other general rules of thumb, your first Self-modifying Code will usually burn up for your Scheherazade unless you really need that breaker. Also, don't go digging for your pawns like a madman, especially through natural draws. If you get a reasonable chance to burn your Self-modifying Codes for them, go for it, but don't go overboard. You should be able to manage without them. Usually you should only draw a few cards each turn and try to keep up your general tempo up.
    • Remember to actively reposition your Pawns when necessary. I can not stress this enough.

Notes on our lord the Technical Writer:

  • If planning on a play of using a Technical Writer or two and then running, remember that you can pop your Self-modifying Codes and other mumbo jumbo before using your TW to get more money out of it. This has been surprisingly new for some people used to using Self-modifying Codes only when running.
  • If you can get Technical Writer out in a reasonable manner, do it, but don't got super overboard with trying to draw to get it out.
  • Also remember to keep in mind that:
    • If you have a rational opening to burn a Technical Writer to make an important run, it is an option you should consider, even if you'll only get five or six credits out. Don't hog them for stupidly long times if you need the cash.
    • If you don't need the cash for any real reason, it's better to keep your Technical Writers installed and collecting the cash. Don't go overboard, but stay calm and ponder on when you'll be needing the money.

Explaining my splash and other choices:

  • I chose Tyson Observatory for consistency. I'm able to run one copy of every hardware I need as either a part of my core rig or as answers to certain decks, and still be able to get them consistently into play. This also saves me a lot of card slots and influence (adding up to being able to play D4v1d).
  • Levy AR to let me keep my game pace up in longer games, and to recover from too many successful trash programs and forced early damages.
  • I only play two Scavenges, since I can make use of it only after a certain point and before that it has the tendency to float. It was a tough call, but deck slots are hard to come by.
  • Modded synergizes with my pace of drawing and wanting to play things from my hand when I have my bread and butter up. It also lets me get an interface or reactive Overmind up for early runs without losing a lot of credits I could use for runs. I chose these over Dirty Laundry (due to card slot limitations) due to the fact that it beats laundry in early game efficiency by a small bit, and also lets me burn two cards from my hand with one click if I have to do heavy natural drawing. In the end I decided to remove Dirty Laundry because it only really gave me the best return after my setup is complete, when I'm really strong anyway. Modded is better for me early game, Daily Casts and Data Folding are safer and usually a bit stronger, and Technical Writer beats Dirty Laundry late game.
  • Swordsman isn't currently very popular in my countries tournament meta, but if you need an answer for it, I'd say even Pipeline is okay, due to it not costing influence (that you need). If your meta, for example, is fast enough and not super trash heavy for you to not need Levy AR Lab Access, take it out. If you don't seem to be able to pull gamechanging Escher runs (I at least have won several games with it) you could take that out instead. If you aren't so worried about small numbers in your deck mathematics, you could of course, say, take out a credit giving card of your choice that you don't prefer.

Match ups:

  • Big ice deck match ups will break or be made with D4v1d.
  • For fast advances, Clot, special focus on pressuring, and being keen on being able to reactively run is key.
  • Against asset reliant decks, you should be keen on getting your engine up, so as you can both proc it and mitigate trash costs.
  • If you're facing a protected Blacklist, be sure you have enough power counters to run and trash it, otherwise you're bound to lose.
  • In case of weirder match ups where the corp can consistently outplay you, try to the corp on it's feet with pressure so that it won't have the resources to do what it wants whenever it wants without severe risks.

Tips for beginners and the like:

  • Your main focus should be learning how to keep up your game pace. You'll probably lose some games due to the fact that you've been too passive or aggressive with your runs, or due to not drawing and playing cards with a steady pace, instead solely focusing on hunting cards out of your deck with draws or clicking money turn after turn and only starting to draw cards when you already need to have the option for plays at hand.
  • Don't understand your bread and butter? You have a Pawn in your heap, and a Pawn in play, plus Deep Red and Scheherazade. You make a successful run, and Pawn is installed on the innermost ice, so it trashes itself and installs the Pawn in your heap. You install it on to Scheherazade, and then move it immediately due to Deep Red. This nets you a card from Exile: Streethawk ability, and a credit from installing onto Scheherazade per each Pawn proc. As the procs happen one at a time, you only need to have a single Pawn in your heap at any given time.
  • Don't be afraid to use your Clone Chips to get lost Pawns back if need be. Also remember that you can use Clone Chips (even on your opponents turn) to save you from from flatline losses, such as against Scorched Earth decks, due to Exile: Streethawk drawing for you.
  • Until you learn this deck inside out and can analyze your hands by more than a few thumb rules, you should prioritize to have at least two of the following in a good starting hand:

And once you get a bit better, you can also try

Anything I forgot to add in these notes? Drop a comment below! I'd love to hear feedback and ideas. Thanks for reading, and I hope you like this deck. :)

1 Oct 2015 CallMeDutch

Great include man, can't wait to try it out! On a related note I have been trying out the previous version of this deck at a local meet up (I'm in the UK so until D&D shows up here it'll probably be the one i'll be running for a little while). One situation did happen that gave me a little cause for concern. I felt little bit naked in a match up against PE without Deus X. What would be your strategy to deal against Mushin-No-Shin cards like Junebug and Ronin? I find Feedback Filter a little too fragile against this. I think probably made a few last night using it but would you say its not worth it adding a 46 card (i.e. Deus X) depending on the meta?

1 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@CallMeDutch Thanks, great to hear my deck is seeing wider use :)

Are we talking about tournament-level play? If we are, I tend to like to keep my decks at 45 to keep my deck mathematics healthy. I usually tend to ignore a lot of Mushin No Shin plays up until super late because usually you're not in such a hurry that you should want to take the hit in your tempo. But if in a Mushin No Shin heavy meta, you might even want to switch Feedback Filter with it if you won't be needing it. If you think you'll be needing both, it'll be more tricky. I guess it'll come to the statistical question of how many games you'll win with, say Escher versus wins with Deus X. If you really can't decide, and you truly are facing a jinteki-heavy tournament, then I guess you could play 46, or take out a Modded or a Daily Casts and hope you draw well. Gah, I'm too much of a mathematical player I guess. :D

1 Oct 2015 CallMeDutch

@Earth Red Thanks for the reply! I think I just need a bit more practice Feedback Filter to be honest. being predominately an Anarch player I've gotten used to the ease of I've Had Worse . Escher is too good an include to remove (and also way too much fun)!

1 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@CallMeDutch No problem :D I guess that could be it as well. I my self certainly need some time for getting used to going deeper when I start playing a new deck, especially when it's not in my main factions.

3 Oct 2015 Dydra

too long to read ...the game has been out for such a long time, that if you can't explain how your deck is different and why it is good in 2 abstracts ( especially if it based on an already existing archeotype) it doesn't worth the read.

3 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@Dydra I really don't appreciate the bad manners. For the most part, the write up is a comprehensive guide and commentary (and I really hope I don't need to explain why coherent guides are always good), so why even evaluate it as something to be compared to a quick rundown on two points of interest? Besides, some of us like to analyze the game a lot and open up complexities within it, what's the harm in that? Last of all, definitive variance inside the nuances of depth that separates decks, deck types and factions is nothing to scoff at.

4 Oct 2015 jk3x5

@Dydra Oh your reply is too long... Shorten your texts to 2 abstracts please.

7 Oct 2015 konradh

So, what's your plan against Turing on centrals?

7 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@konradh Only two on the same server stop me completely, and Escher is your friend on this one. At least I've managed with that.

8 Oct 2015 forktines

This is a very cool deck. Thank you for posting. I'm glad someone's putting forward the time and effort to make Exile good. Also, for the record, I really enjoyed the verbosity of your deck description and found out genuinely informative.

8 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@forktines Thanks, I appreciate the feedback :)

19 Oct 2015 clydeiii

Now that FAQ 2.2 made Exile's Pawn and Scheherazade combo a thing, do you have any updates to this decklist?

19 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@clydeiii Well, off the top of my head it makes this deck even stronger. I'm not really keen on adding other Caissa in since the splash is really tightly knit already, if you where thinking about that.

20 Oct 2015 clydeiii

@Earth Red I was mainly wondering if you'd +1 or +2 Scheherazade...

21 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@clydeiii The thing is, why? You'll be getting it consistently enough any way, since you'll be burning SMC for it usually, and adding more would mean taking out something important due to us being choked by splash.

22 Oct 2015 manveruppd

Does the combo worked if you haven't trashed any other Pawns yet? Can a Pawn trash itself and then immediately install itself again in response to you making a successful run while it's on an innermost ice? Could you theoretically have all 3 Pawns installed, one on the innermost ice of each central server, make a successful run, and have them trash themselves, reinstall themselves, giving you 3 Scheherazade credits, 3 Technical Writer credits, and 3 card draws?

I mean, that's how the Test Run/Scavenge combo works, so I don't see why not, but do you know for sure that you can do that?

22 Oct 2015 clydeiii

@manveruppd Yeah, Pawn can install itself.

22 Oct 2015 manveruppd

Wasn't sure, that's pretty epic though!

23 Oct 2015 CallMeDutch

@clydeiii ``@manveruppd` Pawn can't install itself, from the FAQ: "The Runner cannot choose the Pawn that is being trashed as the program to install with Pawn because the trash and install are part of the same effect."

4 Jan 2016 funwithtang

@Earth Red how has the NAPD most wanted list affected this deck?

7 Jan 2016 Dreadreaper

My MWL changes: -1 hq int -1 clot +1 scavenge +1 modded

Sad to lose hq int but we can't lose David or any clone chips.

7 Jul 2016 stimmyrobbins

@Earth Red``@clydeiii``@CallMeDutch``@forktines``@Dreadreaperhope everyone is well. Has anyone tested with out of the ashes to cycle pawns quicker?