Siege Engine Geist (Gencon 2016 8-3, top 30)

infinitive 636

I want to say this up front: had a better player piloted this deck, it probably would've placed higher. I'm not a terribly great player, but I finished 14th after day 1 on the back of this deck, and both of my day 2 losses with it were due to out-and-out player error on my part. I played it with a Fastrobiotics variant running Jeeves as my corp, which was a risky call and not necessarily one I'd repeat; Whizzard is still better than I gauged him to be before the tournament. My runner deck carried me to a much greater degree than my corp deck.

Geist is very well-positioned in the meta right now for a couple of reasons. First, he's got a monster matchup against both the Palana and the HB Sandcastles matchups. Those decks rely on the extremely high taxation of breaking, for instance, four-sub, four-strength NEXT Silver or seven-strength Tollbooth. For any normal runner, this is a massive tax. This version of Geist cares not one whit about either. As ever, Geist is very hardened to net and meat damage, given all his free drawing, which makes for very favorable Cambridge-variant Jinteki and Weyland matchups.

Traditionally, though, Geist has struggled with middling IG and quite rough NBN matchups, particularly against Fastro and CTM. This variant is built to address those weaknesses, and to take advantage of Fastro's ebb. While the fairly standard core that Geist decks run is here in full force, there are a few variations which make for a major difference in these cases. I'll touch on each.

Employee Strike should be played much more than it is. It's a one-card answer to CTM, is a body blow against IG, and is solidly useful against every corp ID currently played. In particular, it ties up an already-favorable Palana Sandcastles matchup; that deck can't score quickly well, and a single Strike can easily be worth ten or more credits. My record for the weekend was twelve. This replaces "Freedom Through Equality", which most Geist decks run, and it's a tough loss, but Strike is just too important to the deck's tough matchups to pass on.

Forger is often replaced by Reflection in current Geist decks, as the latter frees up two slots. However, Forger does heavy, heavy work in many matchups; a single copy can almost singlehandedly shut down Hard-Hitting News, as 3 credits and a cleared tag for no clicks goes a long way toward clearing out from under that card's oppression. A Forger in play with a second under Street Peddler makes CTM's signature Breaking News into Exchange of Information fail (Avoid one tag, use the reaction window after the second lands to pop Peddler and use Forger). Even against Sandcastles, it's cheaper than Reflection, and the MU is irrelevant.

Fall Guy is worth 5 credits and a card. You should probably play it in Geist. I'm not sure why so many people don't.

GS Sherman M3 should probably replace Corroder in most non-Anarch decks for the next few months, because it does enormous amounts of work in the HB Sandcastles matchup by breaking NEXT Silver for a pittance. Once Paperclip is a thing, it'll become a more interesting discussion again, but the cost efficiency here is just too outstanding.

ZU.13 Key Master is really probably a better card for Geist than Gordian Blade. Given Crowbar's effectiveness against the bigger code gates out there, and given that people rarely use the permanent strength boost on Gordian, ZU.13 Key Master is just a cheaper, easier to play permanent code gate breaker that costs less influence. It's not that Zu.13 is a better card--it's just better at doing what this deck needs.

Crescentus is sort of an old-school champ that has a massive impact in the various Sandcastles matches, but it's actually here because CTM and other, tougher matchups tend to run corp decks that don't have a lot of spare cash lying around. Derezzing a Tollbooth or a Data Raven is a real gut punch for most CTM decks, and turning a profit while doing so leaves you safe from trace reprisals. Two feels right, as the deck recurs them so aggressively.

Flex Slots:

1 Levy AR Lab Access--If you don't play in a damage-heavy meta, the second Levy is very rarely relevant.

1 Forger--If you don't see lots of tagging, you can cut one quite safely.

1 Legwork--My multiaccess of choice. Yours may differ.

2 Crescentus--If you really want to skip them, the deck works fine without Crescentus. If your area is full of decks with cheap ice, go for it.

2 Political Operative--If, for whatever reason, you don't see much Caprice Nisei, than you don't really need PolOp.

Alternatives;

1 DDoS can do a lot of work for Geist, if you need one glorious turn of running.

1 The Turning Wheel would be really good, but you already knew that.

1 more Crescentus. Crescentus is a great card in Geist.

1 Replicator and 1 Bazaar. There's a deck floating around that runs 3 of each, which I don't really get. That's 15% of your deck and 40% of your influence for one (albeit really good) trick. If you run one of each, though, you can still have the trick--for your second and third run through the deck, and without the four dead slots on those two passes.

1 Clot. Clot under Street Peddler is good, but you knew that already.

2 comments
22 Sep 2016 Rhaplanca1001

Now that Paperclip is a thing, how would you rearrange breakers, if at all? Also, I feel like Security Chip is an incredible card in Geist, why does nobody seem to run it?

8 Oct 2016 infinitive

I like Paperclip. I like it a lot. I've tested it in Geist. He doesn't really need it.

Put another way, if I',m hitting a big barrier, I want to use Spike. All of the time, every time. Making money is better than spending it. If I have to break something really big--say, Curtain Wall--with a permanent breaker, Sherman is actually cheaper than Paperclip (8 for Sherman, 9 for Clippy). More, as a cloud breaker, it leaves more easy elbow room for Crescentus and other stuff. And if it gets trashed? Not really a big deal, with as much as the deck recurs everything. Basically, when I tested Clip, I always found myself thinking that I'd rather have Sherman.

Security Chip can be pretty cool. If it were 0 influence and neutral, I'd be running some. That said, the actual effect--boosting strength by one or two--is almost never relevant, and that makes it Security Camera 7-9. I've never really felt the need for more than 6 Security Camera. Still, if you want to try it in this shell, cut the Employee Strikes and slot 'em.