Apocalypse Now / Fury Road - 6-2 Worlds, 2nd Icebreaker

LSK 4574

Here's the Apocalypse MaxX deck you've been waiting for.

This deck went 6-2 at Worlds and took me to 2nd in the pre-Worlds Icebreaker tournament on Thursday (104 players). Unfortunately, my Butcher Shop pooped its pants and only went 4-4 at Worlds, thanks to some nasty agenda flood.

Here's the story of how it came to be:

In the lead-up to Worlds, I had a few thoughts in the back of my head.

The first was that I had to do better with my runner deck choice. Between US Nationals, ChiLo, and the midwestern GLC finals, I went 20-1 in corp games... and 9-11 in runner games. (The difference in number of games played is accounted for by elimination rounds.)

Second, I really wanted to play a deck that could efficiently handle Butcher Shop, Team Sponsorship out of HB and NEH, and glacier decks.

The Chicago krew did a lot of testing. We did a LOT of testing. We systemically discarded Prepaid Kate (boring), Noise (who really doesn't like Team Sponsorships), CT Stimshop, Stealth Andy, and Multithreader Andy. We tried Chameleon Hayley and DLR Valencia and DLR Leela and Faust Theory and "Congress" Kate. Some of these decks were winning the hard games, but it didn't really feel like any of them could go toe-to-toe with the faster corps as far as speed went. Team Sponsorship had a big target on its head - it was just too easy for it to get an unassailable lead. (We were playing mostly Team Sponsorship out of EtF, which was doing slightly better for us than the NEH build - you miss out on Astroscript and Shipment from SanSan but you get Ash and significantly better ice, which lets you play glacier just as well as fast advance.)

Then, one Sunday, we were having a casual meetup with a lot of new players. I asked Daine, "Which deck should I build for casual play? Oracle May CT or a MaxX deck with Apocalypse?" and he responded "Test the apocalypse. I want to see that card in action."

I slapped together a deck that was pretty close to this list, working from the Aggro MaxX lists that popped up right after Order and Chaos - and it was BRUTAL. The archetype's already pretty reasonable in this metagame, and after about two weeks, the deck was like you see it here.

There's some decks where you can pick them up and play them at 80% of capacity and get to 95% within a few games. This is not a deck like that. This deck starts you at maybe 50% capacity and you figure out the powerful plays extremely gradually.

I think a certain amount of what's made this deck work so far is that it's an unfamiliar archetype with some very metagame-specific card choices. We played the hard matchups a LOT - we knew that Team Sponsorship and Butcher Shop would be big deals, and and knowing my game plan and opponents' game plans would be really important, Special props to Daine for being willing to throw whatever together so I could ram into it a few times.

Here are some quotes from the development of this deck:

"Imp and Apocalypse ruined my day."

"omg you're a nightmare"

"That deck is such a negative play experience."

"I Imped like 5 Team Sponsorship that game. I hate football." "You un-American son of a bitch."

Here's some notes on the deck:

Ice is a very good Keyhole target. In fact, it's probably a higher priority target than Jackson Howard. This deck has a brutal short game, but it sometimes needs to play for a long game, and knocking ice out of the corp deck helps you keep them from recovering from Apocalypse.

This deck can play as a pared-down Reg Ass Maxx if you need it to. It doesn't have Datasucker access but it's got a reasonable suite of Corroder / Yog / Femme / D4v1d. I don't expect that to matter too much but there will certainly be times when it's necessary to break into a server the normal way. Faust was a late cut, and while it might be nice to be able to drop it and force your way into a server, in practice this deck is really hard to get a big remote going against without opening yourself to Siphon or repeated Keyhole runs.

Daily Casts: Okay, so this card isn't very good. It's in here because this deck needs lots and lots and lots of money. In the last stretch leading up to Worlds, two copies of this got cut for two Queen's Gambit, which I think was the correct play.

Amped Up: Down to 1. Strictly for space reasons. It's really good when you're able to go all-in but the brain damage makes it less than ideal to pair with Apocalypse, because you might discard Apocalypse.

Singleton icebreakers: At first I just had Eater, Faust, and Mimic. I figured, Turing can be clicked through; Wraparound's just expensive. Then I played the deck and got totally wrecked by Turing on centrals, so I added a Yog, but still figured I could handle Wraparound with a combination of money and Knifed. Then I played the deck some more and got totally wrecked by Wraparound anyways, so I added Corroder. 1 is enough of these; by the time you need one, you'll probably be near the end of the first cycle through your deck.

How do you handle face-down cards? Well, you don't really need to. But you can be careful with the cards you let get face-down. In particular, you can ram into an Ichi, Archer, or Archangel as part of your Apocalypse running and let your programs get moved out of play to the safety of your hand.

Anyways, this deck is good good good, and I spent a long time in the run-up to Worlds agonizing that someone might have figured it out independently. And someone did! In the last round of the Icebreaker tournament, I played the mirror match. It was lots of fun.

This is a pretty rambling write-up, and I'm not sure if I've said everything or anything, but it's a good deck and a lot of fun and was probably the best runner I could've packed.

Highlights of Worlds games:

  • Losing to Jens Erickson round 1!
  • Keyholing every card out of a Haarpischord opponent's deck!
  • Recurring Plascrete 3 times against that same deck!
  • Winning psi games to Account Siphon, and then Keyhole, and then run Archives, stealing a Nisei, and then Apocalypsing!
  • First turn Keyhole -> keyhole run -> keyhole run -> Amped Up -> keyhole run -> keyhole run -> win from Archives. (This wasn't a tournament game - just a game on the side.)
  • Confusing opponents by making obviously pointless runs on centrals!
26 comments
8 Nov 2015 Daine

This deck really is a masterpiece. So frustrating to play against.

And I reserve the right to disqualify you if you keep playing it now that Worlds is done.

8 Nov 2015 Humanoids

I recently picked up Siphon Eater Maxx so this list has really intrigued me. I'd like to ask you a couple questions -

1) When's usually the time you fire Apocalypse?

2) How is the MU situation? Wouldn't a console be nice? Say, Turntable? It also helps in the two of your most problematic matchups - Fastrobiotics and RP, blanking their most valuable agendas.

3) Is Mimic necessary that you have Femme Fatale?

4) How often do you go tag-me? If you do that often, maybe you might think about switching Liberated Account to Armitage Codebusting ? It's got a lot of upsides in the tag-me situation. While it provides the same credit swing, it also protects you from Closed Accounts and doesn't require you to spend your whole turn clicking it in fear of it getting trashed. If you installed Liberated and clicked it twice, you wouldn't get even.

5) What's your plan vs Crisium Grid or Caprice Nisei on HQ?

All in all, this deck seems very interesting but I'd really love to hear some tips on Apocalypse.

8 Nov 2015 notminebydesign

How many FoodCoats did you play against? What was your strategy? I played almost an exact list during Worlds and just lost to FoodCoats all day. :(

8 Nov 2015 LSK

What's FoodCoats?

8 Nov 2015 notminebydesign

HB:ETF glacier with GFI

9 Nov 2015 LSK

@Humanoids:

1) I'm usually just opportunistic about it. Sometimes I'll need to Deja Vu it and telegraph it but those are usually games where that's a necessary play.

2) MU isn't much of a concern here. Usually two breakers and Keyhole is fine.

3) You know what ice this deck really doesn't want to facecheck? That's right, Architect! Mimic is great because it handles Architect for cheap and doesn't require the stretching that Femme Fatale does.

4) Liberated Account is significantly better than Armitage Codebusting if you're going tag-me. For one, Armitage is unfettered jank. Armitage gives you 11 credits over 7 clicks; Liberated gives you 10 credits over 5 clicks. It's just a way better ratio.

You can install-click-click-click a Liberated and be up 6 credits, and then it's only got one activation left so the corp might not even want to trash it. If you do the same with Armitage, it's got three activations left and you're only up 5 credits.

All of those factors make Liberated much more appealing to me than Armitage.

5) Crisium Grid: Get in with Femme/DDoS/breakers and trash it, or just Keyhole a lot. It's not so bad. Sometimes you can Apocalypse it away if they don't rez it.

Caprice: Win the psi game, or pressure their scoring server until they rez a Caprice on that. But winning the psi game isn't so bad. I recommend doing that.


@notminebydesign: My experience was that this deck does a pretty good job against HB glacier. Those decks tend to commit a lot of ice to the board, which makes them vulnerable to Apocalypse. I didn't keep track of the specific matchups but I played it a few times and it didn't strike me as a serious problem for my list.

9 Nov 2015 SQUIDwarrior

This is just lovely. I have a real soft spot for MaxX, and this is similar to the type of deck I run. I am going to try this out!

9 Nov 2015 Humanoids

@LSK You aren't really that afraid of facechecking ice because you have eater - the universal breaker. On Armitage Codebusting vs Liberated Account debate - I said that, since we have a lot of NBN tagging decks around and those usually include 1-2 copies of Closed Accounts, Armitage Codebusting is better for recovering. And in a tag-me deck, you aren't afraid of installing armitage and, e.g., clicking it twice while you would be afraid of installing Liberated Account and clicking it just twice.

9 Nov 2015 Daine

@Humanoids, step one in building a good deck is not making bad design calls to answer phantom threats. Even in a meta full of closed accounts, armitage would only be better than liberated a small fraction of the time. If you're getting your accounts closed repeatedly for going tag-me and want to adapt the deck, try adding more event economy. Armitage is sincerely bad here.

9 Nov 2015 Corporations Rule

@LSK Is the one femme the only way to access behind a Lotus Field? Is that not a problem? I'm new! :)

9 Nov 2015 LSK

It is, but in the RP matchup you don't usually access remotes; you let them build the remotes up and force an Apocalypse once they're starting to score

10 Nov 2015 SneakdoorMelb

I like this a lot - maybe it's time for me to finally give Maxximum Punk Rock a go! @LSK I noticed you cut Faust - any reason why? I think I'd favour it just to be able to threaten remotes if you can't get the Siphons off early.

10 Nov 2015 LSK

``@SneakdoorMelb` I mention this a bit in the writeup, but mostly, I found that I just wasn't installing it at all - it was a card I might occasionally want in theory but it didn't feel like it was actually doing anything. This deck threatens remotes via DDoS and its access to actual breakers; it also puts enough pressure on centrals that it takes a long time for the corp to find the opportunity to start scoring from a remote.

10 Nov 2015 LSK

@SneakdoorMelb I mention this a bit in the writeup, but mostly, I found that I just wasn't installing it at all - it was a card I might occasionally want in theory but it didn't feel like it was actually doing anything. This deck threatens remotes via DDoS and its access to actual breakers; it also puts enough pressure on centrals that it takes a long time for the corp to find the opportunity to start scoring from a remote.

That said, it might be better than I was giving it credit for! Try it and let me know :)

10 Nov 2015 Vapo

No Vamp? But a Vampocalypse is the best -pocalypse!

I had fun with a similar build at a small UK tournament while worlds was happening, but I omitted the Yog and paid for it against HB in the elimination rounds. One femme is not enough to deal with all the turings.

11 Nov 2015 ThisIsAzrael

Forgive me for being a little naive here but with Apocalypse do you need to land it before you install any of your non-Eater breakers due to the effect of them being turned face down?

I assume (probably wrongly) that if you find an Apocalypse late into the game and feel like you want to land it you have to install Eater, overwrite all your programs to the heap and then go for the land?

All in all loving the deck though does look terrifying to pilot. Az

16 Nov 2015 wynalazca

You got my NEH Fastro in round 2 with this hard. If I recall correctly, the game went as follows: me, install remote, ice HQ, hedge. You go drop keyhole, keyhole 2x, amped up, keyhole 3 more times. I draw for ice, don't get any, you keyhole 3x more then steal 4 points from archives. Turn 3 I draw and finally ice R&D. You check my pad campaign, then deja vu queens gambit it for cash. Turn 4 I double ice R&D, then you drop ddos, siphon me, then keep going to town with keyhole. I had no chance. I wasn't even mad.

I love this deck and can't wait to try it out. Is there any cuts to get to 45?

16 Nov 2015 LSK

If you want to go to 45 you can cut Daily Casts and Knifed, but tbh I'd sooner go to 48 since there's a lot of games where I draw a single card

28 Nov 2015 DarlingSensei

This is an exceptionally innovative take on MaXX. I'm interested in the econ choices. -How did you find Queen's Gambit? -When would you go with Daily Casts vs. something more click intensive? -What do you find is the correct number of Day Job?

28 Nov 2015 LSK

Queen's Gambit is very good. People play lots of upgrades and it's always live. The other econ is just personal preference; I was running more Daily Casts but it's got antisynergy with Apocalypse.

6 Dec 2015 podoboyz99

@LSK Would it be reasonable to replace Imp with Hacktavist Meeting? I know Imp is more versitile and better vs Team Sponsorship, but you already have major asset control wih Apocolypse and more and more RP decks (your probobly worst matchup) are running Cerebral Static an that just shuts down your deck pretty badly. Thoughts?

6 Dec 2015 LSK

Hacktivist Meeting was one of the last cuts - the problem is that they decks you want that effect against can also score agendas really easily. It ended up feeling mostly irrelevant.

I didn't hit a single Cerebral Static, as far as I remember.

7 Jan 2016 Chamomile

Yog.0 will have 1 influence (Not exactly 'getting', but anyway) cuz of NAPD Most Wanted. Have to get rid of Femme Fatale?

Or do you have other thinking about deck variation or beating Turing?

7 Jan 2016 LSK

I would swap Yog with Force of Nature to play this deck post-NAPDMW.

7 Jan 2016 Chamomile

Jesus lol

7 Jan 2016 Corporations Rule

That's what I did on jinteki and people made fun of me. :_(