Apex Predator: 1st Place Baltic Nationals, Undefeated

Jinsei 356

"They left us bananas. Many, many bananas.

Apparently in the corporate dystopian future everyone only eats bananas."
- SaturdayNightWizard

You've heard of Comrades Potatoes,

Now get ready for Unband Bananas

Bein' the Apex Predator got me feeling like

This time around I felt very secure about what corp I wanted to bring to Baltic Nationals, as it was a list I was very familiar with, that others were not too familiar with, and that played well into the meta. Though I was surprised that there were more criminals than expected, still, the absence of Big Wu decks meant this PE deck was mighty powerful. Unlike my friend Bridgeman I didn’t feel like a Cornered Animal. I felt like the Apex Predator.

Card Changes:

-2 Wake Up Call -2 Hokusai Grid

+2 News Team +2 Retribution

As mentioned in my review, I think Wake Up Call, while very cool, is too fair of a card to be good. Plus, I really liked the strategy of poisoning archives, and News Team is a sticky poison card when they don’t take the negative points. More critically, the negative points mitigate the losing proposition of runners finding too many points too quickly, while also fuelling the decks’ Stock Buyback economy. Part of the reason this change works is that Snare! is another neat way to tag the runner at times when they might be too click compressed to clear the tags AND also draw back up to prevent dying to a Sting! score or contesting a IAA Obokata next turn, leaving them with difficult choices. Hokusai Grid being cut is largely collateral, but since it synergises with WUC it also seems like a fine enough cut.

-1 Longevity Serum -1 Hokusai Grid

+2 Hybrid Release

So the previous change was originally made to mitigate the liability that is Longevity Serum. Parhelion brought another good 1-pointer in Hybrid Release that is worth slotting over LS. Many people impulsively cut a Regenesis for a 3rd copy of HR, personally I think that is not a stricly optimal swap, and for my play style Regenesis fits better. However, one hidden neat thing you can do with HR is overinstall an unrezzed Botulus target, and score HR the next turn to recur the ice.

-1 Diviner

+1 DNA Tracker

An experimental change I made about a week before the tournament. I figured going up in the (real and fake) agenda count would allow me to play a big piece of ice that Blorch sturggles to break. Felt good on the day, and with that being said, Jinteki ice suites are places of continuous tinkering, so achieving a near-perfect balance like Bridgeman did is gonna be tricky.

Thanks to:

  • Axwill who sadly had to sit out due to illness. We had a great game of Nemesis soon after. I got slaughtered. :D
  • Iceprisma for graciously hosting me in Finland, and for fighting tooth and nail to make the Unband Finals (tm) a reality.
  • vo1d for stepping up as organiser, being damn cool, and also for Estonian music recs
  • Everyone at the tournament who made it an awesome experience, it was lovely to meet you and I hope we will see each other soon again
28 Feb 2023 aksu

Are retributions staying in the deck after the new boat ban? Wake up call felt like a card mainly targeting boat but retribution feels more universal somehow.

28 Feb 2023 Jinsei

A really good question, I don't know yet. Being more generaly useful was definitely one aspect of switching to Retribution.

Full disclosure I expect tagme decks to be on the rise, so packing some tag punishment that can wreck them hard by trashing a Bukhalter is impactful.

If Freedom is strong, Retribution becomes too easy to trash. So it depends on how the meta shakes out. Right now with 419 as the new 'best' runner I think the whole deck is in question since it relies so hard to sentries.

28 Feb 2023 sebastiank

Called apex predator while not an apex deck, unsubscribed.

28 Feb 2023 Bridgeman

Great to know the animal has switched to doing the cornering :D

Nice to see the deck alive :D

Congrats on the great result! ;)

1 Mar 2023 Blackwing

How do you go about playing this? Are you spamming remotes or protecting one like a normal corp? How do you get obos in archive for Regenesis?

1 Mar 2023 Jinsei

I think a lot of people are struggling to play this deck from what I see, to the point where I am considering maybe recording a few games. But to put it briefly:

  • Yes, you usually have 1 remote, and you protect centrals too, archives if you have enough ice. Anemone's go on HQ, Anansi on RnD and the remote, protect big ice from Hippo by installing cheap ice over it, Saisentan can kill early on which is powerful too.

  • Slowly drip out agendas. Sometimes you represent Obo + Regenesis, if runner doesn't check you might score 4, if they do they might take a bunch of net damage from an archives stacked with Kusanagi. And that's the general line, you overload archives which such poison that they can't steal Obo even if they check. When it's faceup, you can install Spin Doctor from hand to reshuffle it the next turn. Or you have a rezzed one on board that runner doesn't contest, that can happen too.

Multiple remote install is possible, but more of a situational play you make when runner's not checking Snares in hand.

7 Mar 2023 Cannister

@Jinsei- I'd love to see a recording of gameplay with this!