Deus Ex Machina 1.1

eisentefel 75

Update 1/27/16:

So apparently people are actually playing this. No one is more surprised (Delightedly!) then me. This is a minor update with some small changes from the last few days.

-1 Investigative Journalism +1 Amped Up

Journalism basically did nothing. If people actually tech against this it may go back in, but for now, I'm adding my new testing card, Amped Up. It's supposed to help alleviate click burden on certain key turns, but so far I haven't really managed the setup right - having enough available Blackmail to make full use requires a lot of planning ahead. Time will tell with this.

-1 Daily Casts +1 Dirty Laundry

These have swapped in sets multiple times over the course of this deck's development. I've decided that I don't want 3 or either, but a mix, as there are circumstances where each is not really what I want, and they all tend to be fairly dead later on. Casts is less dead later, so I kept 2.

Other notes: I've discovered that bad early draws can result in a setup that's cripplingly slow in some matches (NBNFA in particular, if they're at 5 agenda points and I'm only 25-30 cards down, it's bad) so I'm testing replacing Lucky Find + Something that's probably other draw with 2x Quality Time.

About the deck:

So, after a month or so of tinkering and a reasonable amount of success in the Stimhack League and at local GNK tournaments, I'm finally satisfied enough with this creation to publish it. It's a very odd deck, that, at first glance, looks like a pile of junk. I mean, double Levy? Triple Voice Pad post-mwl? ORAGAMI? But it is much more then it appears. Which brings me to:

de·us ex ma·chi·na


an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.

Like a Deus Ex Machina, this deck is unexpected(completely), unstoppable(kinda), and ruins otherwise excellent stories (read: games of Netrunner). This deck is built primarily to do one thing: spam Blackmail.

The maximum possible number of Blackmail runs in one game is 27 (my record is 21). The vast majority of the runs you do in a given game with this deck will be Blackmail runs. This turns the game completely on it's head, since you essentially ignore the Corp's primary defensive mechanic, and also their economy. Leave that naked triple PAD Campaign until you have nothing better to do, because you pretty much don't care. Unless they have a mechanic that allows them to rez ice outside of a run, or are RP, then most corp decks won't rez a single ice the entire game.

The second major part of this deck is the combination of The Source and Traffic Jam. It's a potent combination for anyone vs NBNFA, as well as hurting the 2/3 agendas that Foodcoats and RP like so much. It's downfall is normally how fragile it is, since NBN usually doesn't have too much of a problem forcing an agenda through, then scoring out once the source is gone. Same deal with Foodcoats/RP. That means they normally need protection, and good timing, or they might just not do anything. It's different here, though, because fair is for go fish. Using a combination of SoT and Deja Vu to recur Traffic Jam and The Source, you can force the corp to score through them EVERY SINGLE TIME. Combined with your neigh-unfettered access to whatever remote server you feel like, it becomes extremely difficult to get even a single agenda through.

What enables all of this is the event econ/draw/recursion engine, combined with the double Levy to ensure that you don't run out of tricks. Origami ties the plan together by both making you effectively flatline-immune, and allowing you to hold a lot of answers at once, either to keep for a specific circumstance, or to chain together in rapid succession, as well as providing redundancy and consistency.

I've spent a lot of time singing this deck's praises, so I'll talk a bit about the three primary matchups you're likely to see, as well as a few card choices.

VS: NBNFA This is one of the few runner decks that I think is actually heavily favored against NBN. They don't have any way at all to stop you from running, you can trash SanSan without much of an issue thanks to Bad Pub + Scrubber, their Fast Advance plan becomes neigh-unachievable after they've scored about twice, and they can't tag you for shenanigans due to NACH. Mull/dig for traffic jam/the source, and don't panic when they push a couple of agendas through – they'll often score an astro first, then use the astro to score a beale once they see traffic jam. At that point they are in serious trouble, since that makes their primary agendas both 2/5, and they'll try to install a Breaking News/15 Minutes and triple advance next turn. Check every remote, trash SanSan with extreme prejudice and occasionally blackmail HQ/R&D and you'll be fine. Biotic Labor can be an issue, so try to keep Jackson off the board and RPF it with Archives Interface after it's used. This match is usually about 65/35 in your favor.

VS: Foodcoats This deck is also heavily favored against Foodcoats, even more so then NBNFA. The Source forces him to telegraph when he's trying to score, and you don't care at all about how big his glacier is. The variant that runs Biotic Labor has a slightly better matchup, since an Accelerated Beta Test can potentially mess you up, especially if he hits a Turing. Generally the only prayer that Foodcoats has is winning multiple Caprice Psi games. Mull for the source and draw, save your blackmail to scoring servers/Jackson. Be willing to put a lot of effort into breaking through Caprice, and try to have Jackson cleared and Archives Interface to follow up, to prevent Archived Memories shenanigans. Also beware an Ash/Caprice server, and try and break that up before it happens. This match is usually about 75/25 in your favor.

VS: Jinteki RP This match sucks. Entirely because of Caprice. RP requires the most effort to get to her, has 3 copies, and potentially Nisei MKII for extra terrible. You ignore their glacier nearly as well as Foodcoats, though it's more resource intensive. Often this match comes down almost entirely to psi games. If you win enough psi games, you win. If not, you lose. It can help to use Faust to break through archives as your initial run, to free up blackmails on remotes. An alternative strategy is to aggressively run R&D backed up by Medium, which forces them to devote time to stopping that, and try to slow down their scoring with Traffic Jam/The Source, and then just race them. If they rez Caprice on R&D, just switch plans to contesting remotes and leave her there. This match improves immensely when Councilman is released, but at the moment, it's probably about 30/70 in RP's favor.

Notes on specific cards/packages:

Frame Job/Investigative Journalism is a package intended to prevent a worst case scenario: the corp clearing their bad pub. It doesn't happen often, as neither Clone Retirement or Elizabeth Mills get played much, and none of the other bad pub removal really sees play at all. But if it does, it's devastating. I'll generally try and install Investigative Journalism the first time I have a free click, just in case. Frame Job is a backup, in case they clear bad pub before I see Investigative Journalism, but more often I use it to clear News Team and the like.

Fim Critic/New Angeles City Hall/Rachel Beckman is mostly self explanatory as an extension of The Source. Film Critic keeps everything running smoothly, and negates some troublesome agendas. NACH keeps your many, many resources around. Rachel is surprisingly useful here, due to often needing a large number of actions (sometimes 2-click actions) in a small space. She helps keep your Film Critic uncongested, and makes sure you can run enough times and still play draw/econ.

Archives Interface is experimental still. Not sure it will stay, but being able to prevent recursion of specific problematic cards is useful. It can also force the corp to Jackson when they might not really want to, or if they would rather let you trash it.

Counterplay: As loath as I am to admit it, this deck has 2 very real weak spots, and knowing how to work around them is very important to your success.

Recursion Denial: Basically Blacklist and Chronos Protocol. Chronos you deal with like any other agenda, just keep them from scoring it. If it comes at a bad time, you pretty much straight up lose. Blacklist can be an issue as well. If you suspect a there may be a Blacklist somewhere, be sure to keep either a Blackmail or Faust in hand, since it'll prevent you from recurring. Blacklist needs to get trashed ASAP, as it stops this deck dead in it's tracks.

Rezzed Ice: Another thing you don't see especially often, but bad when it happens. Things like Accelerated Beta Test, Executive Boot Camp or Oversight AI throw a wrench in your “All the Blackmail, forever” plan. Fighting through with Faust is your best option. If this kind of thing is common in your meta, consider dropping Lucky Find for Emergency Shutdown, or alongside something else for two Parasite.

Final Notes: This deck is still a work in progress, and I'll update it periodically as I continue to refine it. Feel free to try it out, and tell me how your games go. It's in an excellent position in the meta right now, and is a hell of a lot of fun (for you).

25 Jan 2016 Bigguyforyou518

I think I'd dump the Investigative Journalism - it's not going to help you recover from a BP-removal disaster, and it's very ugly to spend 4 for a "just in case" scenario.

I think I'd also use the influence from Lucky Find (Anarchs have plenty of other influence-free econ options) and spend them on a second copy of The Source, and perhaps lose a Levy AR Lab Access for some Fall Guys. Those are strong tech upgrades against the most dominant corp in the meta - I don't think you can afford to just wait for a singleton card in a 50 card deck, nor can you risk it getting trashed if you draw it way before your Film Critic.

Strongly consider using Tropes here to replace one or both Levy AR Lab Accesses. LARLA is better in most situations, especially if you're leaning on a Faust, but if you're primarily using it to just get more Blackmails, Trope's tendency to bring less cards back can actually be a big advantage - you can make a new tiny deck that contains only the cards you want (Blackmail + Deja Vu + Same Old Thing).

25 Jan 2016 eisentefel

I can certainly see your argument for Lucky Find and Investigative Journalism. I've been liking LF, since it's less click intensive then day job, but for a similar level of money. Trope, though, simply doesn't work here. I tried it and one point, and it has two issues: It's slow. Espically once you get going, it'll take a lot fewer turns for you to use up your resources then trope will be able to get them back. You actually do want more then just the 9 cards. Cycling your econ back through the deck is just as important as the big 3.

I can also see the argument for the 2nd source, but it's usually not needed. You draw a lot of cards, so going through your entire deck happens more quickly than you'd think.

Fall Guy certainly might be a good call. While trashing your own source isn'the that big a deal here, since you can recur it so easily, Fall Guy is less resource intensive. The main issue I can see is that he basically doesn't do anything else, since you rarely get tagged and Corporate Town can't be prevented.

25 Jan 2016 GrantZilla1979

Oversight AI'ing a Swordsman sounds hilarious.

25 Jan 2016 River

Either Swordsman or Turing will stop you dead in your tracks.

25 Jan 2016 eisentefel

Assuming you have a way to rez them, neither of those stops me dead. Swordsman is only bad if another ETR ice got rezzed behind it, otherwise I just let faust get trashed and take 1 damage. Turing is more of a pain, and can be really bad when combined with ash/caprice, but by itself does not stop me.

25 Jan 2016 GrantZilla1979

Have you hit a Will-o'-the-Wisp yet? Granted, with multiple LARLA/Trope if you switch it would be a temporary setback and if they aren't tech'd against Blackmail it's moot, but it seems like it could be frustrating.

25 Jan 2016 eisentefel

I haven't, but it's rare it would come up. I only even need to install Faust about every 3rd game.

28 Jan 2016 SolitaryBee

I built a new asset-spam Titan Rush deck and wanted to test it. Instead of testing, I ran into three consecutive runners playing this tortuous pile of 50 cards. I won once and got to rez about 3 pieces of ice over all three games.

Like DLR-Val, this deck frustratingly undermines the conventional game.

After I properly get to test my new deck in games subtitled: "No more Blackmail Val", I'll probably be forced to add 2 Caprice Nisei to the list.

28 Jan 2016 eisentefel

Not going to lie, I consider this a compliment.

28 Jan 2016 GrantZilla1979

Never ending Trope - Blackmail is real. It's the OP 'edge case' to end all 'edge cases' that ends your corp game plan if you aren't teched specifically against it.

I, for one, would not like to see 'exploit' decks like this pick up steam in the meta but their effectiveness can't be denied -> and they're good for the game in the long run [a statement i make through tightly clenched teeth]

Amazon Industrial Zone/Executive Boot Camp/Blacklist/Chronos Project seem like they'd be decent enough speed bumps, but unlikely that they'll snipe all your recursion even if they shoot your rig down.

28 Jan 2016 eisentefel

Personal opinion, this sort of deck is the best argument for why rotations need to exist. When the card pool gets large enough, some really degenerate things start to happen.

30 Jan 2016 Umbraldancer

This deck saps the fun out of the game on both sides of the table. gg

27 Feb 2016 ZeRogue

Been playing a similar deck for a few weeks now with some minor changes. I dropped Rachel Beckman for another Film Critic, just to prevent the Harp hit that I usually see here. FA isn't huge where I am, but RP is back in a big way, so I swapped both Traffic Jams for Employee Strikes. This has been an MVP card for me, been able to keep it on the table for multiple games against RP, which just lead to their frustration. The issue I have had in discussions after the game is once the Source hits they do not want to play agendas, so they either go to archives (with Jackson cycles) or hold them in hand. Been thinking about sneaking a Legwork in for the hand hit in the future, removing the Lucky Find (as much as I hate to), but economy has not been an issue for this deck for me (neither has been card draw).