False Lead Gagarin - 1st @Domecon 2020 (7-0)

adquen 162

This is the Gagarin deck that helped me winning this year's Domecon's main event, placing 1st out of 34. Well, this and a good portion of luck, I'd argue. But other then my runner deck - which was mainly a meta call and avoided its bad matchup until the last round of swiss - I think this deck here might actually be good.

So what is this deck?

The basic idea is fairly simple: Score a False Lead, land a Hard-Hitting News, sack the False Lead after the runner cleared two tags and then Boom! them to death. It actually started as a deck that tried to score seven points and threatens to kill the runner if they dare to interrupt. But this being a Weyland deck, naturally it quickly evolved into a deck that tries to kill the runner while threatening to score seven points. I scored out once in testing, and killed every other runner in both testing and the tournament. Well, apart from my very first testing game, where I miscalculated the HHN trace because I forget Hoshiko gains a link on her flip side, which resulted in my only loss with the deck so far.

Okay, so how do I play it?

Super easy: Just pretend to be CtM and use your board to gain more tempo than the runner can keep up with. Although leaning back in chairs is a Weyland thing, this is not a slow and grindy deck. The first step of your gameplan is to get a False Lead into your score area asap. Most of the time you just install it naked turn one or two, as no one wants to pay three credits to check three unrezzed cards against Gagarin that early. Alternativly, you get a Lady Liberty on the board and "score" from hand. After that you try to get the money lead, get your kill cards into your hand and then install or even install-advance agendas. That way the Runner either has to run (and get blown up) or let you score 7 points. Of couse, you can instead always curve out with Lady Liberty (False Lead into Atlas into SLL) and finish off with a Hostile from hand.

Also, important to note if you play this deck: Do not sack the False Lead too early. Let the runner take their first or even second click and see if they get rid of the tags (or your Boom!) before you commit and make them lose the rest of their turn. It's okay if the tags don't stick, but it's way worse if this also costs you the False Lead.

Some cards that are in the deck - and cards that aren't

  • Three Marilyn campaigns: I originally had only one, but three is definitely the right call. Firstof, you need all the money you can get: Three of my Corp games came down to one or two credits that made the difference between landing the crucial Hard-Hitting News or not. Second, you want to increase the chances of getting a starting hand of False Lead + an economy asset, and the more economy assets you have, the higher that chance. In the finals against @5N00P1's Hoshiko, the only real money card I found was a single Marilyn, and it carried me to victory. And third, good players will trash your bankers as soon as they can, so you want economy you can actually protect with ICE in case they have the better money start.

  • SSL Endorsment: This was SDS Drone Deployment until the morning of the tournament, and in hindsight I honestly don't know why. Sure, SDS can protect itself early, but most runners have some programs installed early, and SSL gives money, which you really, really need. Both do nothing when added with Lady Liberty, but that's fine - if that happens, you're usually sitting on six points with a False Lead in your score area, so things look pretty good already.

  • Jeeves: This was a SIU once, but that did nothing ever for me and @Saan suggested spending the influence on Jeeves. It served me well in my game against @lostgeek's 419, where in the midgame Jeeves and a single Mumba Temple were my only installed "economy" cards and I spent three turns of "credit, credit, credit, install with Jeeves click" until I finally got a bankers to stick. However, the influence miiight be better spent on MCA Austerity Policy to shore up the Shaper matchup, as Shaper proved to be more popular than I expected.

  • High Profile Target: Your main kill card is Boom!, but I think you do need High Profile Target as backup due to the fact that Boom! is trashable, expensive and a double. High Profile can give you the kill if the runner decides to run HQ and snip the Boom! instead of clearing the tags, or if they siphon you down to zero. Also, in the age of Stargate, having a third kill card is just a nice safety net.

  • Hostile Takeover: This card is in your deck purely so you can score a 7th point from hand. Do not ever score this early or midgame, as the bad pub will wreck you. As I usually find myself killing opponents rather than scoring out, it might be better to cut them for a two-pointer and a slot. Or if I can find a slot somewhere else, add an Elisabth Mills and then actually score them midgame. The second approach has the charm of being an easy way to clear Hacktivist Meeting, which is as annoying as ever.

  • Urban Renewal, Bio-Ethics Association, etc: I don't think those cards deserve a slot in this deck. While they do slow down the runner a bit, they don't do much to advance your own game and eventually the runner whill have assembled their engine and you probably lose. I think those cards worked better with Zealous Judge, when you just needed to stick tags sometime and could find your kill cards later. Also, I'd rather have temples than Bio-Ethics.

  • Forced Connection: That's a really fun trap I'd love to have in the deck to disencourage Runners even more from making early runs, but probably it's too cute. I might reconsider if I play this again and Runners get more careful of the False Lead threat, but for the tournament I think it was the right decision not to include it.

Don't you just lose to ...

  • ... Misdirection? Well. Misdirection is a problem, I can't deny. It's actually the biggest problem of the deck. But usually it's only played out of Shaper, and they can't contest your board early, so you sneak out a False Lead or two, play some economy assets and start jamming behind a Tour Guide. I killed @Lennard's Hayley through Misdirection round 1 (with double False Lead, iirc), but I think scoring out quickly is your better game plan here.

  • ... Stargate? It's okay. Installing Stargate + probably some breaker is a huge tempo hit, on which you can usually capitalize. Also, as long as you have some DBS running, you can break the lock and force them to interact with your board again. Of course a lategame Stargate with a fully setup economy engine is a different story, but your plan is never to reach that lategame in the first place.

  • ... Apocalypse? A well timed early Apocalypse can throw you back a lot, but usually it's okay. You have Border Controls to delay them, and you're assembling your kill threat in your score area and your hand, not on the board. So after they spent all that money on the Apocalypse, you're hopefully able to land some tags and kill them afterwards. The bigger problem card out of Apoc Anarch is actually Wanton Destruction, so make sure to place your first Border Control on HQ.

  • ... Freedom Khumalo? I have not played against him with this deck, so I don't know. I assume a good Freedom start with some economy and an early Yusuf is super hard, as is not losing your kill cards at exactly the wrong moment. I guess if Freedom is really popular in your meta, you better play another deck.

  • ... really good players that manage their economy well, only trash the stuff they have to trash and stay out of kill range by one or two credits until they sniped seven points? Yes, I will lose to that. But I will probably always lose to players of that skill, no matter the deck. However, I have beaten players which I think are better than me in this game with this Gagarin, that's enough for me.

So, which exciting new cards do you play?

Well, that's a bit of a downer. Technically I play an Uprising card in False Lead, but as this a reprint, my only real Nisei card is the single Afshar. And while this card is good, it's not even remotely part of the deck's core. I have the feeling the folks at NISEI are no big fans of "classic" asset decks, and the archetype has not gotten much support the last cycle. Let's see what future releases bring.

Okay, so how was Domecon?

A blast, as always. I don't find much time to play Netrunner these days, so playing six rounds of Swiss was awesome, and the extra game in the top3 cut was just icing on the cake. All my opponents were super nice, I enjoyed seeing old faces again and meeting some new ones. I actually took a screenshot from the standings round two, because I expected to drop from the top every round, but somehow I kept winning. Huge thanks to everybody at the event and especially @dome_ for organizing it. I would tell you to come next year, but there might not be a Domecon next year, so maybe you missed your chance.

Also, in case you're interested, I won against Hayley (@Lennard), Hoshiko three times (@114141 once, and @5N00P1 two times), Geist (@percomis), 419 (@lostgeek) and Maxx (@Vaclav) in the tournament, while also beating Leela, Hayleys and various Anarchs in testing. I think the deck has good matchups against most commonly played Runner decks, so give it a try! Although I must warn you: You will have to calculate a lot, and you will be clicking for credits surpringly often. On the other hand, this deck runs faster than most people expect, so unless you pair it with a slow Runner or run into a slow deck on your opponent's side, you're never in danger of running into time-out.

Cool, cool. As this is the internet, don't you have a final gif for us?

Eh ... okay.

My opponents sitting down and realizing they have to play against Gagarin this round:


My opponents after an actually interesting game of Netrunner against this deck:


9 Feb 2020 percomis

Hey, congrats on the finish and loving the long and detailed write-up! Looking forward to seeing the 419 list too if it's not a secret.

Also the first gif perfectly captures my reaction after you scored the 2nd False Lead :D

9 Feb 2020 Saan

Great writeup, and thanks for the shoutout =) Grats again on the unstoppable run!

9 Feb 2020 5N00P1

Congrats for the win, gagarin here you go again.... 🙏

9 Feb 2020 g4rr3t

Congratulations adquen, that despite the lack of time, you've mastered this deck to win thew domecon! You earned it :)

9 Feb 2020 adquen

@percomis: Thanks! The 419 deck is no secret at all, but I'm afraid you might be disappointed anyway. Whatever, here it is: netrunnerdb.com

@Saan: Thank you!

@5N00P1: Thanks and congrats as well! Will you publish your Hoshiko deck?

@g4rr3t: I wouldn't say "mastered", but: Thanks! :)

9 Feb 2020 boreira

Wow! Really like both decks so cool you won it congrats!

10 Feb 2020 Skandrino

Long writeup but you don't mention Hedge Fund. Quite a decent card I'd say. If money is so crucial consider including it?

10 Feb 2020 Skandrino

Or Death & Taxes.

10 Feb 2020 adquen

@Skandrino: I'd love to have Death and Taxes effect, but I don't think I can protect a current. I play 11 agendas, usually open with triple remote install and often have R&D open or at least unrezzed until the Stargate comes down. Bleeding an agenda or two happens too often that I feel comfortable with the two credit upfront cost. Also, as I always I'd have to cut something for it. :/

Considering Hedge Fund: It's a good card for sure, and it was in the deck when I started. But I think every economy card I have right now is better. I could make slots by making the two Hostiles a two-pointer, cutting the second Consulting Visit and the Drudge Work or the Tech Startup. However, I'm not convinced this is better. ConVis and Tech Startup are super flexible, and Drudge Work can save you from horrible starts and actually also makes money. I think in general every non-installable card in this deck needs to be really good, as the ID only shines when you install a lot of stuff. But as I indicated, there are a few slot which you can shuffle around, so Hedge might find its way into the deck if I play it again some time.

10 Feb 2020 Skandrino

Yeah good point, since you have 3x Mumba it's probably better to have more assets so you can actually use them consistently, than Hedge Funds. Will try -2 hostile +1 armed intimidation +1 tour guide. Nice deck!