[TWA] Spark Agency Aggro

BigBadWolf 1380

Sorry, no Fic this time, just some cold hard tech.

But for you lazy folks who hate the written word, here are some videos on this deck: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqsBCj4eFZF3jsYER_552xCvBK4wQSU

I'm loving the shit out of Spark. I was so super ambivalent toward it when I first saw it out of the box. "So your pop-ups drain them an extra 1? Just once? Pff."

But to go deep on the Australian vernacular, I now say "Yeah, Nah."

I love Spark because it exploits a window in the game that no other cards really have. Not on the corp side. We've seen it in cards like Clone Chip and Self-Modifying Code.

Being able to effect the board in a meaningful way outside of your turn is super powerful. We often refer to this as doing something at 'instant speed.' Spark has this ability built into the ID, and only asks that you play other already good cards.

Most of you have probably already noticed the omission of Pop-Up Window. This was a decision made based largely on our ongoing discussion of Synergy Versus Power.

For those of you unfamiliar, you shouldn't play more cards that synergise over more cards that are straight up powerful. And, in this case, Pop-Up Window was the weakest of the advertisements I had available, and when it came time to do cuts, it was the first to go.

I think it's important to note the kind of thing that Spark allows you to do at instant speed:

  • Rezzing an asset at the end of your first turn leaves the runner on 4c at the start of the game. With the exception of Adonis Campaign, you are almost always happy to do this. A Product Placement set down naked is perfect foundations for a SanSan, and rezzing it is no cost to you. If it's a Launch Campaign or a PAD, the runner is unlikely to trash it. And even if they do, that's fine: The tempo swing in either case is insane.

  • Rezzing an asset during a run can allow you to exploit the outcome. You have perfect information as to what is in your server. If the runner has an Atman at 3 with 2 credits in pool as they run on your architect, go ahead and turn that Adonis face-up before rezzing the Architect and fire part of it! this is obviously also great for keeping your SanSans and NAPD's out of trash/scoring range.

  • As we progress toward the mid-game, there is likely to be a large credit deficit in your favour. What you'll want to be doing here is having face-down assets ready to rez AS SOON as your opponent clicks for a credit. By doing so, you drain them that credit and essentially eat an entire click off them. That is so mind-blowingly powerful. However, as this kind of interaction is new to the game, you'll find yourself having to rewinding your opponents actions ("Click for 2, Sure gamble" anyone?), which is just part of the teething process of this mechanic. We all learned the hard way about Clot windows.

Outside of the Spark-Specific cards, you have a very standard Fast Advance Shell between the Agenda Suite and SanSan City Grid. The main difference you'll find between this and standard NEH lists is that when you're ready to start scoring out your agendas, you've exploited the early game enough (both by draining your opponents creds and presenting them with many must-trash assets), that you can adequately defend your SanSan for a number of turns, and even if your opponent manages to trash it, between Product Placements (of which there should be 1-2 in your SanSan server), and your higher economy, you'll be able to rez another in no time.

Yes, guys, I know I'm playing 3 Fast Track and I know you all hate it. But Fast Track has won me so many games, I'll be hard-pressed to go below 3 ever again in a Fast Advance deck.

I'll start cutting it when people stop passing the turn with a rezzed SanSan and an Astro Counter, allowing me to score another Astro from MY DECK using a Fast Track.

The rough matchups for this list is anything playing Imp. It's the worst. It can totally hose your whole credit-deficit plan by leaving the runner ahead and you behind. The best way around this is to either bait out the imp uses, score early behind some binary ICE, or to throw gear-checks in front of your Adonis.

You'll want to keep Architect on your central servers, particularly RnD. There is an argument to be made over whether or not you should put it in front of your assets against Whizzard, however.

Anyway, I'm having miles of fun with this list, and you should all check out Episode 58 of TWA for the full deck tech.

Cheers guys, and happy running!

  • Brian
20 comments
5 Nov 2015 Chounard

This list looks really fun, and I'm definitely going to try it out.

Just to make sure I understand, you can rez a PAD Campaign on your turn, then a Launch Campaign on their turn, and they'll only have 3 credits to play with? I'm gonna have to spend some time learning the timing rules. :)

The youtube url doesn't seem to be working. I get, "The playlist does not exist."

5 Nov 2015 michaeln

If you only had two copies of SanSan City Grid, what would you put in for the third one? Another PAD Campaign?

5 Nov 2015 moistloaf

Special Offer over Pop Up is 100% wrong

5 Nov 2015 lolpaca

I like this a lot, but given your endgame seems to be scoring from hand, haven't you found Clot a problem? Seems like you could easily slot in a Cyberdex or two.

5 Nov 2015 BigBadWolf

@michaeln It would be a hard cut. I assume this is because you don't have access to a thirs SanSan (I'd suggest a proxy, or to borrow one for an event first!). It's very important, as it's you're only FA piece and you want it as early as possible. That said, your suggestion of replacing it with a PAD is the most logical one if you can't fix the issue. Let me know how it goes!

@lolpaca Clot is still a problem. I'm yet to test with Cyberdex (I dislike silver bullet cards, and silver-bullets for silver-bullets moreso), as I wanted to see how the deck stands up. Because you're not pure FA (no Shipments or Biotics), it's still realistic to score out behind binary ICE when they have a Clot out. Also, manually purging doesn't feel as bad as it does in the NEH lists because the credit deficit you're creating means the runner's rig comes together at a much more menial pace. Thus, it's a hearty tax on them to recur it.

@Chounard That is correct; you can do that! Although most of the time I wouldn't reccomend it. Most of my first turns I still want to put ICE in front of RnD and HQ, particularly becaause like most things this deck is cold to siphon. If I ever was going to REZ two Ads as you suggest, I'd want it to be a Product Placement and a Launch Campaign as to not put yourself too far behind initially. It's also worth noting there is no REZ window before the runner takes their first click. This does mean that if their first click is to get a credit, you can rez between click 1 and 2.

@moistloaf Thank you for your hearty contribution to the discourse.

5 Nov 2015 BigBadWolf

@Chounard And sorry about the broken link. Will post here when I get the fix!

5 Nov 2015 clercqie

I don't think you can argue that Cyberdex is a mere silver bullet anymore. You say yourself that Imp is a problem. Cyberdex solves all these kinds of Virus-related problems (see also Clot or Medium), while opening up some bluff plays.

6 influence on Adonis seems hefty, even though it is an advertisement. Wouldn't you rather have Ashes to force extra remote plays?

5 Nov 2015 BigBadWolf

@clercqie Not saying that the deck couldn't use Cyberdex, just that so far in my testing it hasn't been a huge issue. Meta-dependant (or play style dependent), you could easily find room for it.

Adonig is very good, and your primary economy asset, I wouldn't want to cut it. It's good despite being an advertisement, (coming back to synergy versus power, the only card in the deck which I beleive to be unplayable outside of Spark is product placement).

Also, while I totally agree that Ash is good, I wouldn't want to play it because firstly, without adonis you're down one of the main reasons that the deck is often ahead on credits, and secondly, I think to make Ash good, you need to be sure to have the proper ICE built around it which this list certainly doesn't support.

Ash could work with spark, but you'd need a more midrange or control shell around it. As this list stands, you'd have to tinker with too many aspects of it to make it worth it.

Give it a go! Maybe with sponsorships and GFIs? Let me know! :)

5 Nov 2015 clercqie

Adonis is pretty slow though and it occupies your scoring remote. My reasoning is Ash makes every agenda an NAPD, which is great when you're playing a rush deck. Especially against Kate. She usually has either money or breakers early on, rarely enough of both. By combining gear checks with Ash, you're pressuring her on two fronts. If you score an Astro, she has to juggle the Clot threat in there as well. I love the inclusion of 3 Fast Track here. I think by including Ash over Adonis, you'll be able to leverage your early pressure far more.

I'll do some heavy testing when D&D finally arrives next week. :)

5 Nov 2015 BigBadWolf

@clercqie For sure! let me know how you go. I'm still not convinced on Ash, but adonis is always very good, and I wouldnt' describe it as slow. It also certainly does not have to occupy your scoring server.

Product placement often acts as a defensive upgrade in this list, so slap your adonis down behind an Eli with a PP and let it do it's thing. If the runner goes in and trashes it; good for them. They're down a bunch of creds and you barely blinked.

5 Nov 2015 lolpaca

My new favourite card Team Sponsorship also looks like it'd be pretty sweet for this deck. Recur SanSans/ads as required, trigger easily with Breaking News.

I'm thinking:

-1 Adonis Campaign

+1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

-1 Fast Track

-1 Product Placement

+2 Team Sponsorship

-3 Special Offer

+3 Pop-up Window (sorry dude, I'm with moistloaf on that one!)

I'll let you know how I get on.

5 Nov 2015 Aryn

I think the overall argument is that Pop-up window, regardless, will always net you one credit and keep making the runner lose 1 until they get rid of it which they may or may not want to do.

Special is a one and done. Honestly I'd really consider 2 windows but keep a special offer for that delicious bursty econ supplement.

An alternative thought is rezzing it especially on someone who may have an AI breaker and making them consider: do I really want to give the Corp credits on top of what I just lost?

6 Nov 2015 j4

@BigBadWolf, regarding one of the earlier comments - there IS a rez window before the runner's first click, two windows, even - one before "turn begins" conditionals, and one after (that one was added in the latest FAQ update).

6 Nov 2015 SneakdoorMelb

I like the overall direction, very similar to where I'm going with mine. Couple of things:

Adonis is strong no doubt, but seems too slow. Wouldn't Biotic fit better with the overall game plan?

Do you not get BTFO by Clot?

Can't justify Special Offer over Pop-up either sorry - it's one of the best ice in the game already and Spark somehow makes it BETTER.

6 Nov 2015 BobAloVskI

I would also consider swapping the Eli 1.0s for Wall of Statics. If your plan is to rush out agendas this makes them get a fractor. With the former they can just click through. It will free up influence for other goodies. If they are broke early game you know they need to first get their fractor (Corroder) and then have to get four credits to install and break through (or three for shapers with Cerberus "Lady" H1). It is a big ask for them if they have 0-1 credits.

I like the deck BTW.

7 Nov 2015 Jigokuro

@lolpaca Eh, I think the only time SO might be a better include than pop-up is with Team Sponsorship to recur it. Still probably not better though.
Like the deck overall though.

17 Nov 2015 HammerBro

Nice deck! How about City Surveillance and Breaker Bay Grid addition to this? Breaker Bay Grid can help with the asset rez costs and City Surveillance to keep the runner poor. Combined also you get to rez it for free.

18 Nov 2015 Rhaplanca1001

Personally, the variant I'm running is -1 Breaking News, +1 15 Minutes, -3 Quandary, +3 Tollbooth, -2 Eli, -3 Beale, +2 Global Food Initiative, +2 Little Engine, +1 Assassin. Haven't had the chance to playtest it too much, but I was finding that I had enough economy to support more expensive ICE and the runner had too easy of a time getting into my servers with the cheaper stuff.

19 Nov 2015 Conspiracy

@HammerBro Problem with Breaker Bay Grid is that it's then competing with San San, and when it comes down to it it's just not that helpful. The difference between 0 credits and 1 credit is not that huge in this deck. City Surveillance could be really interesting if you combined this sort of thing with scorch package over the FA, but once they see where your influence is they'll just float the tags.

8 Jan 2016 HexNet

Love the deck and how aggressive it is! The videos on it were fun to watch. You've convinced me to run 3 Fast Track. My only suggestion is:

-1 Breaking News
+1 15 Minutes

since the only use for BN tags is to trash resources (no kill), and the only way to get them is to FA with SanSan or Astro, or to install BN on a previous turn. Shuffling the 15 Minutes back into your deck seems stronger.

Thanks for all the TWA content! Cheers