Esâ in Suburbia: Christmas Edition (1st at Warwick CO 2023)

SeaRose 213

Esâ in Suburbia: Christmas Edition (1st at Warwick CO 2023)

Esâ lives in the suburbs. Xie has a family, a steady job, and hosts dinner parties for xier middle-class neighbours.

Esâ is full of rage.


The women on Esâ’s street read vacuous magazines about styling one’s home with just the right amount of Scandinavian chic, or the best time to plant geraniums. Esâ reads Kafka. Xier favourite story is “In the Penal Colony” in which prisoners are tattooed to death with inscriptions of their crimes, cut deeper and deeper into the skin. Esâ dreams about those women at xier local coffee shop. Which of their many crimes would be engraved upon their flesh? Their casual racism, queerphobia, centrist politics? What would represent all that?

Christmas. Their crime is Christmas.


Esâ doesn’t hate bloodshed, xie just thinks only those who have done wrong should suffer. Esâ would gladly sabotage the police, polluters, and the makers of fashionable jackets that let in the cold. But the hypocrites who would wince at such a thought, slaughter animals without hesitation. Esâ is a vegan. Christmas is a tough time to be a vegan. The iconography of cute animals in the snow, while dead animals are the centrepieces of the dinner table.


Esâ has vivid dreams. Dreams of salvation, amidst a land of snow and ice. Xie sees another way to live, a glimpse of revolution, of purpose. There are many idols that must be torn down, but the uprising must start somewhere…

Christmas. Tearing down Christmas will light the fire of revolution.

Esâ lives in a world of coffee shops with good WiFi, antenatal yoga classes, and smug Prius drivers. This is the land of cross-stitched “Live, Laugh, Love” wall-hangings and this is the holiday that lives deep in their marrow, deep in their core.


In mid-December, after a long day of cooking for xier in-laws, Esâ feigns a headache to escape the tedium and head to bed early. All xie wants to do is to sleep, to block out the numb feeling of putting up with this day after day. But Esâ’s sleep is far from peaceful. Xie has one of those dreams, of a parallel life and revolution. The Esâ of this parallel world looks directly into xier and offers visions of how to tear down this oppressive world of sourdough starters and gender reveal parties.

But for the revolution to start in earnest, first Esâ must destroy Christmas.

Esâ wakes with sudden clarity and a knowledge that revolutions cannot be carried out alone. Revolutions require teamwork and community. Bonds of trust and camaraderie. Families built through purpose, not through the bloodlines of baby showers. Xie must call upon those who xie trusts the most…


Esâ builds a network. Dr Nuka Vrolyck, brilliant scientist and humanitarian aid worker, is the wife of a local politician. In the election photoshoots, she always wears an apron, or gazes adoringly at her husband, placing a hand upon the head of their oldest child. She must always be sweet, and her husband makes sure that the newspapers always refer to her as Mrs Nancy Vaughan and should never mention her education or achievements. The public hate intelligent women, her husband tells her. But Nuka’s had enough.

Her husband is out the house a lot so, as long as she keeps a low profile, Nuka can do what she pleases and has many hidden passions. Her biggest passions? Roller derby. She loves the closeness with other women, the shouting, the sweat, the poise, the bruises. It was here she first met Esâ: the person she loved more than any other. Their revolution will be built on love, and it will soar on rollerblades.

All of the roller derby team are on board with Esâ’s revolution, and one member of the team is key. Tsakhia “Bankhar” Gantulga, the local babysitter, house sitter, and pet sitter. Bankhar, or Banee G as they are better known, already has a large network of downtrodden spouses, unfulfilled parents, misfits, and discontented pets trying to find their place in middle class suburbia.

Together, the three of them build the weapons needed to destroy Christmas, once and for all. Nuka’s first invention is a Flux Capacitor, which bends space and time to link their universe with the universe of Esâ’s dreams. Banee G’s plan is to put everyone in the city into contact with themselves in that parallel universe, to open the doors to a different way of living and put an end to the culture of cinnamon-dusted seasonal lattes. All that’s needed is the group’s second invention: Hippocampic Mechanocytes, which shows the people of middle-class suburbia, who they could really be.


All our protagonists need to do is get the Mechanocytes into the hands of the people who need them. How to make those who shut their eyes to the truth see the possibility of change?

Esâ, Banee G, and Nuka’s plan is simple. On Christmas eve the roller derby team disguise themselves as Santa’s, break into homes, and blackmail gift givers throughout their neighbourhoods. They do this to gain access to one of the most repugnant symbols of their enemy: the Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped presents. “Ugh!” they shout, “The trappings of the intoxicated consumer, victims of the terrifying act of infanticide, trapped by an economic misery that engenders total symbolic misery! Such neatly wrapped hell!”

The team begin to unwrap the gifts, removing the gaudy jewellery, luxury perfume, and cashmere sweaters. They replace these with a different kind of gift, a diamond that will awaken them from their slumber and unlock the memories of their selves in a parallel universe. On Christmas morning, the centrists of suburbia open their gifts. Their initial reaction is one of confusion and dissatisfaction, but once they take a closer look, they see that they have been given a gift like no other: a vision of a different life, a life that starts with the end of Christmas.


Simultaneously, the neighbourhood erupts with the sounds of revolution. The air is filled with shouts.

“Well, if you don’t like my cooking, you can find someone else to blanche your almonds!”

“Seasonal workers are going on strike for better pay and working conditions. Santas and elves rise up!”

“I’ve had it, your Mum is xenophobic, and your Dad won’t stop going on about golf!”

“It’s time to burn this place to the ground!”


And, with that, they do. They burn the whole place to the ground. They tear down the whole system: the police and prisons are abolished, corporations are outlawed, wealth is redistributed, pets are granted the right to self-govern, politicians are run out of town, and everyone bands together to turn back the environmental crisis.

“A Christmas miracle! Destroying Christmas really did solve all of our problems” Esâ said, almost in disbelief.

Esâ, Banee, and Nuka sit out in the snow, smiling and laughing.

“This is it, the final end to Christmas as we know it” says Banee G.

“But what do we do now? Now that we’ve overthrown everything wrong with Christmas” replied Esâ.

“I don’t know” answered Nuka “But I bet I can keep my tongue on that cold pole longer than either of you!”


You can access the Alt Art files, including an easy-to-print sheet, if you'd like to give Esâ in Suburbia: Christmas Edition a spin.



Harmonbee organised a fantastic festive CO, which was wonderful. Thanks to them for putting on such a great event! Lots of fun alt arts, Christmas attire, and some of the loveliest Netrunner players you could wish for. This Esâ list was a joy to play and along with AugustusCaesar’s RH in an ill fitting suit and fake mustache helped me win the CO.

You really put Hippocampic Mechanocytes, T400 Memory Diamond, and Flux Capacitor in an Esâ list? In this economy?

Absolutely. Flux Capacitor was the best card in the deck. Every game I managed to host it on an ice, run that ice multiple times a turn, breaking a subroutine for 1 credit with Begemot and charging Hippocampic, AirbladeX (JSRF Ed.), Dr. Nuka Vrolyck. I was ending games with impenetrable rollerblade protection, infinite draw, and around 18 hand size even after taking all the core damage.

…Tell the truth

Ok, ok, you got me! I sadly didn’t use Flux Capacitor once in any of my games. The Memory Diamond is mostly in the list to give the extra mu needed to install Flux, but the extra handsize was useful a couple of times, but it’s not really worth the click and two credits if you aren’t using the +1 mu. Honestly though, I really stand by my inclusion of Hippocampic Mechanocytes. Nothing beats the feeling of your opponent looking scornfully at a card, installing it 0 credits and then immediately playing a Running Hot, even though you’ve already taken a core damage this turn.

Taking more than 1 core damage a turn? But that’s sabotage sacrilege!

Taking 1 core damage a turn, every turn, is a good rule of thumb for playing Esâ. But, you want to go fast and I’ve found that working out which turns you’re ok with taking 2 core damage can be really important in making this deck succeed. You’re playing Esâ so you should already be down with taking risks. Sometimes playing a running hot at the end of a turn you’ve just installed Begemot, or even playing 2 running hots in a single turn, can really push the momentum in your favour. The Mechanocytes let me do that. Plus if you’ve kept/mulliganed for a hand with Ghosttongue, but then take a while to find Marrow it can act as a mini-Marrow that works even after you’ve installed your console. It is great! Bigger max handsize = more ability to take risks.

Cha cha cha cha chaaaaanges…

Ok, no need to get all Karaoke. Personally, I would love to see someone make my Flux->Mechanocytes/Airblade/Nuka pipedream work. So please share your list if you do! But for now, I would take out the Flux and Memory Diamond and add back in another Nuka, as I ended up clicking to draw waaaaaaay more than I wanted at the Warwick CO. I had a legwork in the deck for a while, which was really good for closing games out, once you’d Chastushkaed them enough to know your opponent’s hand is just agendas (I even made an alt art for it, that’s how last minute the change was!)


Thanks to all my opponents for such engaging games all day. Thanks to the QEH testing group and the wider Geek Retreat gang, you folks are fantastic. Biggest thanks to Zoehope, I’ve run versions of this deck against you more times than against anyone else. You even put aside your yucky yellow cards from time to time to help me practice against different match-ups, which I really appreciate given your love for tagging and express shipping. Our mid-game and post-game discussions help me improve my play more than anything else.

This win is dedicated to Testing Times, probably best and smallest testing group in the world.

5 Dec 2023 Zoehope

Congratulations on your win!

Loving your D-esa-parate Housewives deck write up too 🏡🧹🦃🔥

5 Dec 2023 not_yeti

This is truly sublime, well done on the win!

5 Dec 2023 jan tuno

S tier write-up. Thank you

5 Dec 2023 Kamikami

Fantastic write up, and really great fun to play against! Just give the signal and I too shall roller skate into people's homes this Xmas, and shout “Ugh! The trappings of the intoxicated consumer, victims of the terrifying act of infanticide, trapped by an economic misery that engenders total symbolic misery! Such neatly wrapped hell!”

5 Dec 2023 harmonbee

Congrats on your second Midlands win! You've really shown yourself as an incredible player in the few months you've been playing, especially with your own very creative decks (and arts). I did a double take when I read this list because I'd not noticed the Flux Capacitor when judging Most Festive Individual - what a cool include!

Also huh I guess next year's A Festive Netrunner Story That Will Also Explain How The Tournament Works, I Hope 2: This Time It's The Runner Or Something, I Dunno, I've Still Got A While To Write This is already sorted lol

5 Dec 2023 SeaRose

@Zoehope Thanks! Clearly there were not enough puns in this write-up, thanks for your addition. Also, you've basically carbon-dated yourself with a reference to Desperate Housewives. I would recommend not Googling how long ago that show finished.

@not_yeti Thanks, sure, it took a bit of effort to make the cards and write it up, but nothing like the level of effort required to wear a Santa beard for an entire tournament. If I did that, I'd still be compulsively scratching my face until January!

@jan tuno Big praise coming from a giant of the decklist write-up scene! ;) thanks

@Kamikami Thanks for the games, they were really enjoyable (and challenging!) I'm glad to have you on call for any anti-capitalist rallying cries - we might need your support at a moment's notice.

@harmonbee Thanks for organising such a wonderful tournament, it was an absolute blast. And your Festive Netrunner Story That Will Also Explain How The Tournament Works, I Hope was honestly one of the highlights of the year. Can't wait until the next one!

5 Dec 2023 Wentagon

Incredible writeup

5 Dec 2023 CobraBubbles

The decklist writeup so good...

5 Dec 2023 ClassiqueBubbles

...I had to login with my smurf to give it double the internet points.

12 days of xmas out of 10, would Capacitate Flux again

5 Dec 2023 znsolomon

Well done! You absolutely deserve the win, and this writeup rules. I'm so proud you're a netbrummer, and part of QEH :D

6 Dec 2023 scd

Hol(l)y shit

7 Dec 2023 Loki37

What a fabulous deck, and brilliant write up.

Keep the Pipe dream alive

8 Dec 2023 SeaRose

@Wentagon thanks!

@CobraBubbles @ClassiqueBubbles double smurf points is possibly the highest form of flattery!!

@znsolomon thanks buddy, netbrummers and QEH 4eva


@Loki37 thanks, yeah, even though another Nuka or Legwork might be the better choice I might try spinning up the ol' Christmas Capacitor once or twice more, even if it's just to keep the dream alive!

9 Dec 2023 Zoehope

This is decklist of the week. In my heart and also in rational metric calculation!

13 Dec 2023 maninthemoon

This is so fun! Some of these Alt Arts might make their way into production as long as you have no objections. This is a fantastic write up! Congrats on 1st place!

13 Dec 2023 cursor

Great write-up. Was this the same list you took to the Nottingham CO?

14 Dec 2023 SeaRose

@maninthemoon thanks, glad you like it! Do go ahead and print them if you like and let me know if you have any issues. Hope they get you in the festive spirit 😉

@cursor yep I was going to make the changes listed above in the write up but thought that I'd have another go at making the Flux engine work... Narrator "it did not" 😂 great to see you!