Porcupine Pālanā - 8th out of 120, Birmingham UK Regionals

frost-duty 2619

Overview

Brought to you hot off the presses, this, ladies and gentlemen, is Porcupine Pālanā, the Spiky ball of death. Now that the regionals season is underway and the deck is known it's time for me to spill the beans on my newest creation (with some solid help from YouTube sensation Bwent, otherwise known as Beyoken).

Bwent has kindly provided a video explanation and description of this deck on his YouTube channel which is available here. He covers plenty of points not expressed here even with the size of this description, so it's worth a watch! edit: a video of the deck in action!.

This description is going to be long and detailed, so settle down for the ride. Firstly, proof that this deck is a viable top tier contender! The Birmingham regionals took place last week and featured just over 120 participants including 3 current national champions and several worlds top 16 competitors. The deck came 8th and 21st under two different pilots. I feel it is necessary to state this because 21st in most events wouldn't been a good result, but I feel this case is an exception! Myself and Bwent piloted almost exactly the same deck, and over the 7 rounds of swiss (and a game in the cut since Bwent made top 8) the deck lost only 4 games between the two of us. Two of these losses were to Alex White, current UK national champion. Alex won the cut game on his last possible run as the deck successfully managed to grind whizzard out of cards, and according to Bwent Alex won in the swiss after an unfortunate flood of agendas basically ended any chance of winning. The third loss was to Dave Hoyland, ex-uk national champion and world no.3. I played against Dave and only lost due to an incredible bad bit of luck - Dave had only 1 card left as whizzard and managed to find 2 agendas out of RnD on a single turn for the win. Dave was happy to state that he thought he had lost and was incredibly lucky to take the win. Bwent also did manage to beat Dave with it in a friendly game. This deck can mix it up with the big boys! (although no, I haven't actually played The Big Boy with it yet)

The thing I like most about this deck is that it is super fun to play and leads to great games of proper netrunner (oh yes, controversial). In a meta filled with asset spam and the horror that is IG, playing with - and even against - this deck is like a breath of fresh air (until the net damage chokes it from your foe's lungs).

Right, now that's out of the way, time to explain the card choices and then the matchups. Some areas of this description I will not go into detail on, as I don't really need to explain the basics of glacier caprice to anyone. I will mainly focus on the differences between this deck and others like it.


Agendas

  • 3 Fetals.

The spike of this deck comes from the inordinate amount of passive ways to net damage the runner. Fetal is perfect for this. It hides in RnD or HQ and is generally a giant pain to steal. I don't score them often, but sometimes it's worth it for the 2 points if you have nothing else to do and have both cash and a scoring server. Furthermore nothing is funnier than watching anarchs throw all their cards to get in, win a psi game and then die because they have only 1 card in hand after the run. People also sometimes only have 1 credit left (this applies on RnD runs as well.

  • 2 Global Foods

Need I say more? 9 agendas, 4 steals needed. Good stuff. It was a hard call to go away from Future Perfect, another very solid 5/3, but I think this is correct. Needing 4 to win is a pain, and also it makes the agenda suite more resilient to Film Critic, which I think is a very good thing.

  • 3 Nisei

This time I really don't need to say anything else. Same as it has always been. Glacier dynamite.

  • Philotic

I love this lil guy. With so many upgrades you can bluff it out all the time for 2 easy points. Every now and then you get a flatline off the net damage too. A great include which does a surprising amount of work. Superb to score as the final agenda when they didn't expect you to be able to win.

Assets

This, my friends, is John Cena.

YOU CAN'T SEE ME

and you can't see him.

This, my friends, is Snare!

YOU CAN'T SEE ME

and you can't see this mother f**ker either.

Snare! is lurking. Waiting. Hungering. He knows you are coming runner, and he will find you. What he has is a very particular set of skills, skills acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you. If you jack out, that'll be the end of it. He will not look for you, he will not pursue you. But if you don't, he will look for you, and he will find you, and he will kill you.

[Part of me really wishes Snare! had Liam Neeson's voice]

  • Snare!

Is a hero. In the current meta he, his pal fetal, and their little buddy Shock! flatline runners left right and center. There is so much net damage in this list that big RnD digs pose serious danger to runners who don't have 6 cards in hand. It turns out that this is a big problem for anarchs using faust to break stuff...

Snare! also allows you to celeb gift the Snare! Snare! Fetal Nisei Mk 2 Shock hand you are currently sporting just so that you can see the look of defeat on the runner's eyes before they decide to go somewhere else. I almost always use Jackson to put at least one copy of Snare! back into RnD if possible. It's a key card for keeping runners careful and also simply running them out of cards. I have triggered 7 or 8 in a single game before. And oh god, IT'S SO MUCH FUN.

-Shock!

Shock! does a lot of work in archives giving pause to noise or anyone seeking easy datasucker tokens. You will be genuinely surprised how much work it does. It also just makes RnD even less appealing. When they maker's eye into your deck and you know that so many cards do net damage it can just win you games.

All the net damage also really helps the normally weak blackmail apoc matchup. So many times I've taken the blackmail out their hand with Snare! or Shock! right as they were about to play it.

The mass of net damage also has another useful effect even if it doesn't flatline, it forces draws and it forces the runner to lose things they would rather keep. This deck is big on attrition and constantly chipping away at the runner's hand.

  • Jackson

Nothing to say here. Put him in. x3. Always. If you don't flood mostly bring back econ and net damage (Snare!)

Operations

Usual econ package here. Looking at the deck some might say there is too little econ. 8 cards is less than most and this is what provides the extra slots to reach the critical mass of kill cards. Alex White commented that the reason these kill decks generally don't seem to work is because they can't find enough slots to pack everything in.

The inherent power of the ID ability allows you to cut small corners in this department to improve the kill package. Pālanā just makes so much money over a game, especially in the current meta full of wyldeside. I generally find I am not short of cash even with only this as econ. The only different between my version and Bwent's version is that he runs 1 Swordsman rather than 2 and uses the slot for an extra celeb gift. I'm not sure I agree with this change, but it's not a terrible idea. I personally only like 2 because even with this deck sometimes you cannot afford to show the runner your hand, and having a dead econ card is super sucky.

Consequently one of the things this deck hates most is a turn 1 Employee Strike. You are going to need to bunker up and click for credits in that case.

As a side note, this deck is very good at bunkering for the long game, so don't be afraid to click for credits sometimes if you need to. It does happen ocassionally (especially if you have triggered 5 or 6 copies of Snare! sniggers)

Upgrades

  • Batty and Caprice

The nasty duo. Nothing new to say here, old school glacier annoyance. Full sets needed to make sure you see them, plenty of nasty subs to trigger to make batty useful.

  • Crisium

Really useful, great to bluff as a caprice. Between crisium and caprice i've had games where crims haven't made a single successful run on HQ. Often they just don't even bother. Helps in crappy blackmail val matches where they are trying to apoc you. Just all round good stuff.

Ice

Ok, there are some interesting choices here.

  • Barriers

I wanted 3 Eli. T first was cut for 2x global food, a solid choice as it turns out. The second got cut for crisium and wrap. I think this is the right call... but it's a very hard one. Probably even a meta dependent call. Having a wrap is always useful though.

  • Code Gates

Crick is AMAZING. Crick is a HERO vs anarchs. Why? Because it's such a pain to have on centrals. That's right, centrals. I hardly ever install Crick on archives, and if I do it's only 1. Crick costs 1 to rez but is 2 cards for faust, and in a deck with batty caprice they have to break it every time. My favourite RnD server is Crick, Crick, Yagura. 3 credits 2 rez but an eye watering 6 cards to break with faust. Bwent used this against Alex White to great effect, as a double crick RnD was incredibly irritating to him. If they use parasites or cutlery.... good. That's good stuff used on a 1 credit piece of ICE.

Booth. No new news here. Big, solid, out age old friend continues to do the work.

Yagura. I used to have more, it's good in the current meta, but they just ended up getting cut for other things. Like cobra.

  • Sentries

Nothing unusual here. A single cobra is great with batty. Only 1 Komainu due to its weakness to parasite... but when it does land it does lots of work.

  • Rainbow!

This is the one free ICE slot. Rainbow is my current trial. Decent strength and a great shield in terms of preventing cutlery from getting to something nasty.

I'm not sure about this choice, but it's good to have extra hard ETR and with no extra influence choices are severely limited.

I would not want less ETR as you need this amount to make sure you find some to put on your remote and trigger batty with.


Matchups

So, this deck has great matches against most popular decks at the moment. The worst things to face are Pitchfork Hayley, Blackmail Val and Stealth Andi.

Good Matches

  • Most Crims

Caprice HQ, Batty HQ, Crisium HQ, Profit.

Play a slow game, lock them out of HQ and make all central expensive. Make a scoring server and psi to victory.

I generally find this match is very nasty fro crims once you lock HQ, and of course they hate batty on sentries. This is standard netrunner stuff.

  • Anarchs

This deck kills people with low hand sizes. Faust facilitates this. Super happy fun times!! The ICE suite is almost entirely selected to irritate anarchs with things that are low cost but crappy for faust to deal.

A good whizzard can, as always, be a problem to face. Alex White beat the deck twice (1 games was VERY close) mostly by constantly killing the RnD ICE and then carefully taking agendas making sure not to die. Very high level whizzard play will make for a close and fun match with this deck. Careless whizzards explode.

Bad Matches

  • Pitchfork Hayley and Shapers

The ICE suite is not designed to tax shapers (given the meta) and a good hayley will be rixh, have efficient breakers, and if you are unlucky will manage to get Pol Op on the board (although I have used Snare! to take it out their hand on the HQ run. Bless you Snare!)

You can win, but it isn't easy. Psi games are, as always, super strong and you need to lean on them hard.

  • Blackmail Val

This is a grind. You have to play SLOW. Caprice HQ. I've played games without making a scoring server at all until Val has run entirely out of cards (holding agendas in HQ). Blackmail sucks, and this matchup successfully pits the two of the most obnoxious mechanics in netrunner against each other, Psi vs Blackmail.

These games are long. You need to win a lot of psi games. They are not fun. They can be won. You will not enjoy it.

  • Stealth Andi

Cuts through ICE like butter. Hammers RnD with an interface or two until the end of time. If they aren't careful they die, if they are, it's annoying. You want to rush out. You need to react with caprice to the best place you can. this ICE is also not ideal for this match. Again, you can win, but may the Psi be with you.


Ok, I think it's time for me to shut up now. The deck is super fun and is netrunner old school at its core. I will link some more videos if and when I find them.

I need to give one last shout-out. The core of this build was inspired by the deck of Charles87 on Jinteki.net. I don't know his actual name, and I've changed it a fair bit, but he deserves a credit.

Happy Flatlining!

12 comments
7 Jun 2016 JohnnyMilton

This is really cool.

7 Jun 2016 Swiftie

Your spending 9 inf on ice, have you tried grail in the deck? Would also mean swapping the Tollbooth for a Ashigaru or something similar out of the home faction as a big etr.

Looks like a fun deck to play.

7 Jun 2016 beyoken

@Swiftie Frost_duty probably has opinions of his own regarding grail. Myself? Grail seems like the natural call for a deck that wants to undo rigs and grind away the Runner's grip.

Unfortunately, it's really unpalatable against the voluminous ice destruction from Dumbleforks. It taxes not only your bank, but also forces you to redefend with more ice, depleting the number of grails in your hand. Finally, I often have hand management issues when ambushes and agendas clog my hand; grails exacerbates that problem.

I did consider Ashigaru in place of Tollbooth to free influence. Ultimately Tollbooth is such a wonderful crutch; for a deck reliant on winning psi games, Tollbooth allows you to easily identify scoring windows. It is so easy to score behind a single Tollbooth early on. Can't say the same for Ashigaru, which I'd consider to be more of an anti-Shaper tech.

8 Jun 2016 pestilence

How many games would you say Fetal AI does net damage? I've been playing a different net damage-heavy Palana glacier with The Future Perfect and the psi game almost never fires because everyone has a Film Critic. I've been thinking about making room for Fetal AI, but I'm worried that the critic will make it pointless.

8 Jun 2016 beyoken

@pestilence Short answer: the number of Critic-ed Fetals is far eclipsed by the number of times my opponents accessed Fetals without being able to pay 2 to steal :P

Long answer: Critic is a big reason I don't like running TFP alongside Fetal. If you're not exaggerating on the frequency which your meta packs Critic, your best bet is to probably play an agenda suite that ignores critic - I'm thinking HB here. Alternatively, wait til pack 6, at which point you can intimidate those pesky voters :)

8 Jun 2016 Swiftie

@bewntI would only look at including a ashigaru in a grail based deck. I do find that tollbooth dies to dumblefork more often than ashigaru, It can also be harder to land the correct grail subs with batty. Having the current ice set is would make the upgrades more reliable but the grail can give a potential bigger blow out.

Another small issue that I sometimes have with grail is that i don't want to show my hand with celeb gift until the runner know i'm on grail.

I'm still not sold on the shocks! after a few games with the deck.

8 Jun 2016 frost-duty

@pestilence Bwents answer matches mine pretty much word for word.

@Swiftie I'm not a big fan of grail myself due to its parasite weakness and the fact that it is relatively expensive. Also, you often want to sit with some agendas and snares in hand if you are playing the slow game, I really wouldn't want to throw either for these away to make sure I can fit grail ice in my hand as well.

Grail isn't a terrible idea though, I just don't think its optimal.

The Shocks do a huge amount of work to stop the buildup for datasucker tokens and to annoy dirty laundry runs. They also are quite demoralising in RnD. In the games where they do work you will be very glad to have them.

4 Jul 2016 Jahz

@frost-duty``@bewnt Would you make any change with DPs 5/6 ? How about switching the 3 fetal for 2 protein and 1 initimidation ?

Nice deck in any case, very fun to play, thanks for sharing ! :)

4 Jul 2016 frost-duty

@Jahz Personally I think Protein is a terrible card. The real problem with 5/3 isn't that they cost the extra to advance, it's that they give the runner 3 for a single steal, making they only need to score 2 more agendas to win. Protein does not solve this issue, it only lets you get away with the odd bluff, and given that most runners will not want you scoring Nisei they are likely to hit an 'instal advance' card with everything they have. I don't see myself playing protein at all, I just think it's a weak card.

Removing the fetals removes net and the RnD threat, a fundamental part of this deck.

I don't mind intimidation. It's probably worth a 1 of in most decks given the current meta. I don't know if I would want to get rid of anything to make the slot though.

8 Jul 2016 beyoken

@Jahz If Protein reads "deal 4 net damage" instead of "the Runner gains 4 credits", I'd happily find room for 3 copies ;)

Echoing what frost-duty said about intimidation, it's pretty useful against most decks nowadays, and sniping the critic to make your Fetal AIs live again is always fantastic. 1 copy sounds like the right call, but deckslots are tight!

11 Jul 2016 Jahz

Yeah protein was indeed a (very) bad idea, as some playtest showed. I played the deck as-is in two regional and got pretty good results, very interesting to play at least, except against a blackmail Val as already noted, who on top was recurring drive-by with deja-vu / trope to kill caprice and batty !

4 Sep 2016 MELLONE75

@frost-duty hello my name is Luke I'm writing to thank you for creating this deck monster. I have taken your whole list with one change all-seeing -i insted of crisium grid for italian meta it tooks me in top 8 (5th place) undefeated in italian national championship i have a question for you when rumour mill cames out we need to find 2 place for current i think to cut one batti and one caprice for two lag time!!! have you a better idea? thank you again to made it!!!!