Welcome to Batty's Funhouse! Here we feature all sorts of attractions that we guarantee the runner will absolutely not be able to resist!
If you have time to read a long write-up, I will share with you what I think is a great alternative for people looking to branch out into a new Jinteki style of play. If not, I'd recommend skipping to the "Strategy Specifics" section for some play tips at least.(and if you want to netdeck and dash, feel free, no hard feelings). After some semi-extensive testing, I took this corporation to my local store championships to try it out trial-by-fire style. While my runner deck prevented me from climbing to the top of the ladder, I only lost 1 game with my corp the entire day (tournament and post-tourney casual matches alike).
But wait! Tennin Institute?! Surely this must still be some kind of joke. In fact, the only joke you'll find here is the one you play on the runner when they misjudge a Caprice/Crisium Grid for the Batty that's actually watching the server.
History: This deck started out as an experiment in Chronos Protocol. Like many others, I wanted to see what could be done with the neural sniping ID power combined with some form of program trashing. I quickly dropped Power Shutdown from the deck as inefficient, favoring the aggressive influence splash of program destruction ICE + Marcus Batty. The ICE suite in this deck is imported from that original concept.
"But why Tennin," you're probably still asking. Pre-Most Wanted List, when this deck started, it was just too hard to lock down the runner's rig. Recursion was everywhere, and even with a Blacklist out it felt sometimes as if the runner's entire stack needed to be in the trash before it was safe to start scoring. In short, the deck was impractically slow to be played in a tournament. It needed a speed boost. Originally, I'd planned on using Tennin's Trick of Light FA to boost the deck in that direction, but what I found out was that the ID suited the deck better than I could have ever planned for.
Strategy Overview: Tennin benefits you in several ways. Firstly, your program trashing suite naturally locks the runner out from doing what they do. This benefits you in the form of advancement tokens. The ID also subliminally encourages the runner to run, pushing them often to take risky dives that can net you game-swinging program trashes. Runners will often push towards what they consider the path of least resistance, and often a lone Grim or Archer over archives is enough to kill their tempo.
The deck also does weird things with scoring math. Once the agenda has sat in a defended remote to your next turn, your ID allows you to score that Nisei Mk. II in one turn, and with the help of a Trick of Light you can even score a Global Food Initiative in one follow-up turn as well. Trick of Light offers a nice alternative way of scoring out your 3/1s, allowing you to accelerate your early game with relative safety.
Finally, you can use your advancement tokens in creative ways. Most people will assume you run three Ice Walls and that you will dump your tokens on them. You can "misplace" these tokens to lure Leela ID bounces away from more key ICE. You can also lull runners into a false sense of security when playing "find the Archer".
In the early game, you'll want to play cheap binary ICE in the style of traditional Tennin. Centrals come first, so your ID can start producing, but it can sometimes be worthwhile if you see a stalling runner to leave archives open, ICE up a remote, and go for an early rush score. Additionally, while it may seem counter-intuitive to leave a central open, unconsciouslly prodding the runner to hit that server once a turn will eat up some of their efficiency and help you outpace them in setup. Remember, Trick of Light is a bonus, not your main game plan.
Mid game things get interesting. This is typically where Batty starts to make an appearance. Don't drop him until you have ICE you are ready to use him with. While he can "End the Run" in a pinch, you really want to combo him with your program destruction or Susanoo's ability. It's a bad feeling to put him down early, only to have a server run before he can do much and see him trashed prematurely. Hold him in hand until the right time.
In the late game, if things have gone even just decently for you, you will shine! Whereas most corps get weaker relative to the runner near game's end, this corp actually gets stronger. Whether you stack different gear check ICE and cap them with Batty + program trashing or just layer high strength sentries on one another, the runner will be hard pressed to get into anything. As they dig for options, this is where you'll find your ability firing more and more.
Strategy Specifics: I'd like to highlight a few points of play to get the most out of this deck. These are in no specific order.
Archer. It's big and bad, and it does so much work whether Batty's around or not. So many people feel safe running Jinteki with a Mimic out, especially when they see Tennin and low-strength, cheap binary ICE. You have enough 3/1s in the deck, plus An Offer You Can't Refuse, to sack through them that it's no big deal to use one or even BOTH in a single game.
Since you're playing Tennin, you're going to have a lock on your centrals. Keeping the runner from constantly peeking at your RnD is a nice bonus. It means they may not know you're hiding Archer in the deck (no one sees it coming out of Jinteki), and they certainly won't be proactively trashing Batty.
This deck practically prints credits, but knowing when and how to cash in is important. Profiteering is a fun touch. Against criminals or any runner who already has a ton of credits, don't be afraid to just take 15 when you score it. Against Shapers or broke Anarchs, you may consider only taking 5 or 10 credits. Similarly, sometimes you want to keep your hand a secret and not play Celebrity Gift. This can be valuable early game when you'd rather not show them Rototurret, or that the only ICE in your hand is a barrier. However, late game when they can't get in is a great time to show them anything you want and gain a ton of money for it. You can still get away with gifting early game, as long as you're careful. There's rarely a drawback to Medical Reserach Fundraiser, so unless the runner's econ is stalling hard you can pretty much play it anytime. If the runner's not rolling in cash, this deck CAN tax them out of multiple runs, so be mindful of how much free money you want to give the runner.
There are lots of 1-ofs in the deck. The Future Is Now will grab them for you when you need them. If I don't need anything specific, I usually pick Archer, which I can rez in exchange for my 3/1 I just scored.
Install > advance is a great move even if you plan to score a Tennin advancement token on your next turn. Being able, for example, to score The Future Is Now, grab something, AND play it in the same turn is a great feeling. It also really messes with Leela. "Leftover" clicks never to go waste in this funhouse.
Swordsman is Faust hate. It's worth it if your meta is full of Anarchs. Batty will take care of things when he's set up, but this 1-of is pretty much mandatory at time of publishing if you want to be serious with this deck. Gives it that little extra push against AI that you'll want.
Nisei tokens are great insurance against run events.
One Caprice is enough. Originally her slot was taken by Cyberdex Virus Suite, but I found no one was trying to Clot my FA. I ended up using CVS to bluff as Batty on servers. Better to have a card that still works if the bluff is called. Combined with your Nisei tokens, she can lock down a server quite well, and she frees up Batty to handle other servers. If you really want her back, I'm sure the Interns will be more than happy go to find her again.
Speaking of Interns. They're a great way to get your Blacklist back. Or another Batty. Or Caprice. Or put another ICE over your 4-deep scoring remote. Don't save them, though, for "the perfect moment". If you've had them in your hand more than a few turns, you probably should have used them already.
Finally a word about psi games. You'll have plenty of money with this deck. Don't be afraid to bet 2. If the runner's established that they're willing to pay with you, paying zero can also be great. Runners have started playing 2 quite a lot more lately (I encountered several in the store championship). There are no strategies that will help you master your psi game. Just play a lot of them. I tend to test the waters with a bet of 1 or 2 against new opponents. Seeing how they spend their credits to build/run can also be helpful in sizing them up.
Closing thoughts: People are not prepared for this deck. It's fast enough and rich enough to keep pace with many runners. It's teched against the asset hate going around. It is slim and doesn't present many targets for the runner to snipe. It does well against Shapers and Anarchs, but it especially puts the hurt on Criminals who lack recursion. It doesn't matter if you play in a tournament where people are seeing it for the first time or at your local meetup where everyone knows your decks. It has a lot of replay value to it. Just like people were complaining that Caprice's psi game was tough to beat when she came out, many people don't have a good answer for Batty (and have indeed seem to have forgotten he exists). I'd suggest they start practicing their psi games.
Finally, I wouldn't mind comments/suggestions/discussion. This deck is still a work in progress and I'd like to stick with it for a few more months. Store championships have proven to me that this deck can compete on a serious level. I thinking perhaps the Blacklist could come out (I don't really miss it) in exchange for another Jackson. Your thoughts are appreciated!
19 Feb 2016 pspacekitten
20 Feb 2016 x-factor103
21 Feb 2016 pspacekitten