Stinky, Blinky and... Chameleon Kate!

konradh 273

This is fun little deck I’ve been playing almost exclusively for the last two months, racking on and offline 60-80 games total. It’s blast to play and sometimes you even win! Okay, not sometimes. More often that I expected. When I put together the first version, the one with THREE Chameleons, just to try and see how it could work, I was surprised how efficient and fun it was. Then, as always in Android Netrunner, came rafination of the process, and I’m very pleased with the results.

The basic game plan is simple: Chameleons with Self-Modifying Code give early remote pressure which later with the help of LLDS Processor translates in efficient runs and R&D lock. There are types of decks it works wonderfully against and ones that are struggle, so in no way this is “perfect” or “highly competitive” deck, but it brought me to TOP5 of Warsaw Netrunner League (42 participants thru the whole season) so if you want to take it to Worlds, just please credit me during award ceremony.

At least I hope there will be any award ceremony… Now let's take a look at the card choices.

Draw and Economy

  • Professional Contacts are here, because I liked how they worked in my Kit decks. You click for card and credit and install something cheap or host it on Workshop. This is classic Shaper and I’m always surprised how fast I can keep up with corp in terms of money. Mulligan for this card.

  • Aesop's Pawnshop is central piece of your economy. You want to find it fast, sell all the things you don’t need like depleted Lady.

  • Personal Workshop is many things. Hatchery for your Chameleons, drip economy, handy toolbox that keeps everything you need during the run in one place so you can use them anytime.

  • Cache is fun, basically. I was bored with Prepaid VoicePAD's and Kati Jones and wanted to try something new. You are Kate so you want to install it for free and receive 3 credits and next turn sell it for another three with Aesop. In tight situations you can always bring it back thru Clone Chip during the run or at the end of corps turn for a six-cred-no-click burst.

  • Sure Gamble isn’t that obvious. In few iterations I played without it and decided to include it back. You need that burst to keep up with all the assets corporations are installing right now. What was I thinking?

  • Daily Casts can be speed up nicely with Aesop’s Pawnshop but I’m not completely sold on them. If there is any card that could be replaced for Diesel, look for it at this slot.

Breaker Suite

Chameleon. So what’s all the fuss about? Yes, this card is click intensive. Yes, you need time to set up. But you are rewarded with a swarm of cute little critters running around your Kate, jumping in and out to break into any server you want.

You host them on Personal Workshop and run when you are ready, or just jump with SMC installed and see if you need them. When the ICE are rezzed and you exactly know what you need to get in, you can install them from hand with Kate’s discount and jump third or last click. Don’t jump last click.

With one LLDS Processor installed, you break Lotus Field or Data Raven for one credit. With two Processors you break Tollbooth for four credits. With three… you just laugh at their Archers. Chameleons exploit current situation in Netrunner, where there are not many high strength ICE because they are too expensive to play. And any time there is one type of ICE stacked on a server, you install Chameleon with STR 6 and break them all. Since you can install them for "almost" free, LLDS Processor "pays" for pumping strength, so you pay "only" for breaking the subs.

One Chameleon is not enough to give you flexibility you need, three are too much. Two is the sweet spot. Stinky and Binky are sometimes sad they can’t play with their sister Cindy, but this is Android: Netrunner, this is hard work.

Remember that Chameleon comes back to your hand AFTER the hand size check. Having six or seven cards at the beginning of corps turn can save you in few situations.

Also, Chameleons are not AI, so they can break Turing, but they are not Fracters, so they don’t lower the strength of Wraparound.

Other things used to break into servers:

  • Cerberus "Lady" H1 I finally learned to love thanks to this deck. It saves you money, it breaks ICE that could be too much at this moment for your Chameleons and finally… it makes your opponent stack Barriers, so you can just install Chameleon and save Lady tokens! If they are depleted, sell Lady at the Pawnshop and bring it back with Clone Chip. Or leave it installed to keep Wraparounds at zero.

  • Gordian Blade is here to do all the heavy lifting against the Code Gates. If they stack them on one server, Gordian will take care of them, so Chameleons can break Sentries or Barriers. Gordian is what separates real Shaper Master Race from the filthy Criminal Peasants with their ZU.13 Key Master.

  • D4v1d. Four influence! But you are Shaper. You can bring it faster with SMC, sell to Aesop if depleted and install back with Clone Chip. D4v1d will break anything too big for your other breakers and save you from some nasty mano-o-grim situations. Such a great card. Keep it secret or just host on Personal Workshop and watch those Blue Sun: Powering the Future players doubting their life choices.

  • Deus X. I’m not a very good player, and this card wins me my Jinteki match ups. Even after I run into that Cerebral Overwriter, Deus Ex is always there for me to save me from Ronin or Snare!. I don’t know what would I do without him. Probably cry a lot.

  • Sharpshooter is your temporary and easy fix against Destroyers. Later Chameleons will take care of them. You can always install it cheap and sell to Aesop.

Support Cards

  • Scheherazade is here for bonus economy and lulz. We all know that Personal Workshop works a little against Kate’s ability. Scheherazade can bring you that one credit back if you need. Or you can install Chameleon from hand for total zero credits. And it makes your Cache even more efficient. Just don’t host everything on it if you are suspecting that your opponent plays Power Shutdown. Chameleons will come back to your hand anyway, but it would be sad to lose some more expensive cards.

  • Clot is your shot at winning against those pesky Fast Advance decks. If they think you have it, they will play a little bit slower, if not, they will try to score something from hand and you will stop them. #slottheclot

  • Paricia is an experiment. There are so many important assets to trash right now that I felt I need something more to help me deal with them. So far it works… nicely. If you know that your opponent will play very horizontal deck, bring it fast with SMC and save some money. Just remember it pays only for Assets. Upgrades like SanSan City Grid or Ash don’t count.

  • Parasite helps you against NEXT ICE suite or can be used on some beefy ICE to lower it to Chameleon’s range faster.

  • LLDS Processor I mostly covered in the part about Chameleon. This is most important part of your deck. Don’t lose it. In most games two will be enough. Remember they work on any program installed, so if you put Lady or Gordian on the table, they will be stronger for the rest of the turn too!

  • Clone Chip and Self-modifying Code. Shaper bread and butter. You play green faction for those cards. Only problem is, there are many programs that rival for Clone Chip recursion, so you will need to learn when you can use one as an economy card with Cache or ICE breaking tool during the run. SMC can always be installed on Scheherazade and sold to Aesops.

  • Astrolabe is a nice little console that suits all the memory needs of this deck. I rarely need more then 5 MU and additional draw will almost always help.

  • R&D Interface. I don’t like The Maker's Eye. RDI trades TME speed for reliability and more firm lock. This is not event deck so there is not a lot synergy with Same Old Thing. You can come back every turn to RD if you really want and see two or three cards. You can run more than one time in a turn if you know you will see new cards. It’s expensive, but you can install it with Kate’s discount or host on Personal Workshop until you need it.

  • Film Critic helps a lot in various matchups, especially against Jinteki decks. Having two would be nice but I don’t know if I have the slots, so it’s not as reliable as I would want, but what can you do.

  • Plascrete Carapace is a hate card I hate. It is useful only in few match ups and usually you won’t find it fast enough to really change the outcome of the match against aggressive NBN kill decks. If Bookmark wasn’t so click heavy to use and fragile against Power Shutdown I would probably use it instead.

  • Levy AR Lab Access is here to reset your deck and bring back all the economy and used breakers you need. The problem is, I use it very very rarely, maybe one game in 10 or even less. Games are usually over one way or another before I see the end of the deck. I guess I use it to play more aggressive because I know I can always play Levy. But usually it just clogs my hand.

  • Legwork is for not so surprising HQ pressure. It wins games.

  • Same Old Thing can be installed so you can ditch LARLA into heap and provoke your opponent to score Chronos Project even sooner. Or you can use it in a time of need to once again play Legwork. If you know of course that you will be still able to reset with LARLA.

  • Utopia Shard is your shot against various combo decks that want to kill you with their operations. Sometimes, if HQ is locked tight, play it and discard to see what you got. Just remember to be sure there are no Jackson Howard or overscored Project Vitruvius on the table.


This deck needs a little time to set up all the moving parts so of course FA match-up is not favourable. But whose is? Treat games against Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center as a Hard Mode and be proud of any wins that come your way.

Jinteki kill decks are usually a breeze thanks to Deus Ex and Film Critic. Just out mind your opponent's mind games and lock his R&D where there are far less traps and The Future Perfect is waiting for the Film Critic’s warm embrace.

Glaciers with Caprice Nisei. Make them rez Caprice on remote and lock RD. Or make them rez Caprice on RD and lock remote. Basicly just be better at psi games, it is quite easy I heard.

Glaciers with Ash. Run once, trash Ash 2X3ZB9CY, run again, grab agenda. Chameleons stay for the whole turn, use it to pressure multiple servers!

Horizontal decks that try to waste your time checking every remote server. Install Paricia and check every remote server. At least you don’t need to install Chameleons because they are not installing ICE. Or just ignore their remote rituals and lock R&D.

NBN kill decks are hard. Film Critic helps a little, but having more money helps a lot more, because they start to slot SEA Source once again. You have a lot of valuable resources you don’t want to get trashed, so keeping tags is a last ditch effort.

Weyland kill decks are not that hard. They are usually slower than NBN variants which can give you time to money up and find that Plascrete.

Final words

Deckbuilding in Netrunner is fun. I hope my deck will bring you some exciting games!

7 Oct 2015 Lupus Yonderboi

I think I met this deck on I was playing a GRNDL rush and don't remind the score.

I probably lost since I tend to forget my loses :)

7 Oct 2015 konradh

@Lupus Yonderboi if this was on monday, it was probably me! I some strange turn of events I played two GRNDL decks in a row that day :)

7 Oct 2015 CyberPingu

Are you going to consider multithreader for this once D&D gets released as a replacement for cache, or do you feel its not needed.

7 Oct 2015 konradh

@CyberPingu this could be possibility, but requiers more MU I think so there could be more than 1 Multithreader online. And without Cache Aesop's Pawnshop is not so hot card so you could go back to Kati Jones.

7 Oct 2015 FarCryFromHuman

Daily Casts can absolutely be Technical Writer in any deck using Chameleon.

7 Oct 2015 konradh

@FarCryFromHuman Totally! I was thinking about replacing Scheherazade and freeing up one influence, but as an Daily Cast alternative it could work great for those power turns.

9 Oct 2015 cwoac

Paricia was the first card I thought about when I read the part about Sure Gamble. In asset heavy metas (can you say Team Sponsorship?), it's worth it's weight - I seem to typically get 8-12cr from it against any form of asset econ deck.

Interesting deck though. Is Astrolabe still the best console here though? No need/space for Dinosaurus?

9 Oct 2015 konradh

@cwoac I'm not fan of Dinosaurus. It could help, but five credit is too big tempo hit, this deck almost breaks during the Professional Contacts install. Bumping one Chameleon to 7 or 8 could be useful, but there are not many ICE that realy need it (Susanoo-No-Mikoto and Little Engine are the biggest posibble threat I think). And this is the part that D4v1d gets covered.

Dinosaurus is another moving part in already "comboey" deck. One copy is not enough to get it reliably fast, and even if you put three copies in the deck you can only buff one Chameleon at a time.

9 Oct 2015 cwoac

The tempo is a fair point, although I do wonder about playing around with a Symmetrical Visage instead. As for when you get it, I don't see that as an issue so much, I mean as Chameleon will uninstall itself, you don't care about slapping it down before you get your Dinosaurus (unlike with say Yog.0, when then you need to burn a Clone Chip or Scavenge to remount it). On the other hand, with all the asset spam around, you would be giving up Astrolabe's draw power.

9 Oct 2015 konradh

Symmetrical Visage is fine proposition, but in this type of deck you really want to maximise every click you don't spend on running and installing, so that second draw per turn that also nets you a click is very important I feel.

9 Oct 2015 konradh

*nets you a cred of course

4 Nov 2015 Dagguh

I love this deck, but Blue Sun: Powering the Future requires two 6+ str barriers to completely shut it out of a server. D4V1D is not enough.

5 Nov 2015 CyberPingu

@Dagguh D4vid isn't the only way of dealing with the big str ice of Blue Sun, a lot of their ice is Destroyer, you have sharpshooter to get through archer (plus clone chips to bring it back), you have parasite to lower it and trash it.

5 Nov 2015 Dagguh

Curtain Wall + Hadrian Wall = pure barriers Parasite is useless against Blue Sun

5 Nov 2015 CyberPingu

Your not going to have those protecting all servers though, also its a heavy investment for the corp to try res those on a single run (I get blue sun is a econ based ID). But if you do run into something like that... yeah you are gonna have to sink D4vid into it, but you should probably be pretty sure you are running for an agenda if you are going to use that amount of commitment.

And lets be honest... you can't counter every deck

5 Nov 2015 cwoac

I'd be really tempted to try and work Technical Writer into this somewhere. Possibly in place of Scheherazade to free up inf? Although card slots are more the problem then...

14 Dec 2015 konradh

@Dagguh in the Blue Sun match-up I feel D4vid is more to deny Curtain Wall Oversight AI combo then to really threat the servers (well, I you use David do destroy CW, servers will be a little les secure later). If all else fails, you can still pay seven creds and two tokens with Cerberus "Rex" H2, and break Spiderweb and Hive with Chameleons.

@cwoac I like Scheherazade because it combo even more with Technical Writer. In this deck TW I'd use as an replacement of Daily Casts.

15 Dec 2015 cwoac

So, I've been playing around with a version of this in Hayley.

The biggest issue seems speed. I'm trying Symmetrical Visage over proco w/Quality Time, and even then I don't quite feel like I have enough draw.

Technical Writer is ridiculous economy. It easily wracks up to stimhack levels of credits very quickly. Using it with Scheherazade is very much the right call. It is actually worth SMC'ing out Scheherazade - that card makes so much cash with Chameleon/SMC

I've gone double Plascrete Carapace due to the delights of 24/7 News Cycle-Breaking News kill decks; a single Net-Ready Eyes means the plascrete is never useless as you can use it to get a fourth LLDS Processor (sort-of).

4 Jan 2016 konradh

@cwoac I feel Quality Time without Prepaid VoicePAD isn't worth it, but maybe Im just too used to Professional Contacts at this moment.

Now, after the NAPD Most Wanted List is looming around I'd probably ditch Legwork and Utopia Shard, since three copies of Clone Chip is a must, and we must always remind people that they shouldn't play NEXT ICE.

This makes room for two copies of Technical Writer alongside the Daily Cast!

5 Jan 2016 cwoac

Yeah. I gave up on quality time and went back to proco+diesel. Triple technical writer is very very essential.

I've been playing with dropping one clone chip for two scavenges; then again I've ended up favouring Imp over Parasite

What I am playing with is an Atman 4; someone on slack pointed out you could then drop the llds's and rely on D4v1d, gaining three (well four since I run Net-Ready Eyes) slots...

6 Jan 2016 konradh

Without the LLDS Processor it wouldn't be the same deck unfortunately. It could be more effective, probably. To be honest, I've been playing Netrunner for over half a year and still I have not played Atman much. I guess it is more effective with Datasucker overall.

Imp is a good choice with Scavenge I think. It is overall more reliable then Paricia.