1st Place at UK Nationals 2016: Silver Bullet Kate

Vikz93 679

This is the 1st time I am posting one of my own deck lists online so please be merciful if you feel I have done anything wrong/dumb. Without further ado this is the runner deck I took to win the UK nationals with. I have played around with a lot of nexus Kate and variations of it in the past with all my friends from Nottingham Chimera and especially with @teh_fluffkins and @badwammerjammer. After the testing it felt like Nexus Kate was just too slow and couldn’t keep up with all the corps out there so I changed a few things and after a while I feel like I refined the deck enough to have a series of silver bullets for all the corps I expected to see at the event, i.e. SYNC, CTM, IG, Gagarin, ETF, CI, Palana.

I will go over a few of the card choices that I imagine everyone will be thinking about and will also go on to talk about improvements that I think can be made to this deck after taking it to a big event.

Please note that for the UK Nationals 2016 the data pack “Blood Money” was not legal. As such certain cards were not considered when taking this deck to the event.

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CARD CHOICES:

1) “Freedom Through Equality” – I think this card has been talked about enough but I will just go over it briefly again. The power of this card in the current meta is insane. In an environment where everyone is running a lot of 2 pointers this card can very well be the difference between winning and losing. It also combos extremely well with indexing which is the form of R&D pressure I went with in the end.

2) Employee Strike – I feel like this card is just too amazing to give up on especially for one influence. It works wonders against IG, Gagarin, CI and possibly ETF and Palana if you can keep them off money. With the agenda suite that IG and Gagarin are using the employee strike will practically be live for the rest of the game unless they play their own currents. It also works exceedingly well against CTM if the 5 credit tax of installing rabbit holes are just too much for you at the point where you feel like you need to trash certain assets (Bankers and Sensie).

3) Indexing – A lot of corps are running a low amount of ice right now. So repeated runs into R&D are not so difficult. R&D Interface is too much of a tax on credits and gives too much tempo away when you install them. I prefer Indexing over Maker’s Eye because I also run “Freedom Through Equality”.

4) Lucky Find – This is potentially a flexible slot. It served me well today but it’s certainly not a must keep. I just feel with all the burst draw I have in the form of Diesel and Quality Times that a bit of burst economy is also good. You don’t want to lose too much tempo in terms of economy after using a Quality Time.

5) Vamp – This is mainly used as the CI silver bullet. It’s an opus deck so your ability to spew out money against more passive corps such as CI allows for such plays. You usually want to wait for quite late game against CI before you Vamp them. I usually wait until they have about 7-12 cards left in R&D. This in combination with Employee Strike against a CI deck makes the matchup very favourable. Also if you suspect in a more glacier matchup that there is a caprice in a remote server protecting an agenda then vamping them can act as your pseudo 2nd political operative.

6) Astrolabe (NOT Security Nexus) – So I was asked quite a lot why I didn’t use Security Nexus when I am using Rabbit Holes. Firstly we are in an asset heavy meta where new remotes are created nearly every turn which means astrolabe allows for 1-2 passive draws every corp turn! Secondly Security Nexus costs 8. With the meta being as rushy as it is right now with all the CTM, SYNC, Palana Rush, ETF Rush trying to install a Security Nexus that costs 8 is just too much of a hit. In all my testing it felt like I gave the corps so much tempo whenever I installed it and I never felt good about it. Thirdly a mopus deck needs draw absolutely. Draw is king. This is the reason I put in 3 Diesel and 3 QT’s but even then I felt like the draw was slightly lacking against these more rush style of asset decks. Therefore I chose to go Astrolabe to help alleviate this problem.

7) Rabbit Hole – Hah. If you told me 2 to 3 months ago that Rabbit Holes would be in a deck that took top place at the UK nationals I would have probably laughed at you. Heck I think most people would have laughed at you. But here we are. This is a pure tech card and is mainly used as the silver bullet against CTM and SYNC although it has its uses against HB as well. I didn’t go for other link options because Rabbit Hole’s find themselves once you’ve found the first one. It has major use against a lot of the ice that yellow decks tend to run right now often eliminating the need to find the actual breakers for the ice. It also acts on a more physiological level I have felt. When the corp realises you have 4 link they tend to get very passive about their plays on Hard Hitting News even if they have a fair money advantage over you. I wouldn’t rely on this but it is good to know. A stronger opponent will likely assess the situation more carefully.

8) Film Critic – Great against SYNC and CTM for hosting GFI’s on until you can close the game. Eliminates the chance for EOI to take that agenda and then giving you 2 tags for the pleasure. Also great against IG matchups with TFP’s.

9) Political Operative – Caprices silver bullet. Also good against Dedication Ceremony + Ronin and SanSan.

10) Salsette Slums – Ok. This was a last minute change made by me and I don’t think it was a very good one. Whenever I drew it I never felt I really needed to use it. Usually it just got hit by net damage or was just outright dumped from my grip. Theoretically it should have been great, but maybe the timing wasn’t right when I drew it or maybe it was something else I just felt it wasn’t as useful as I had initially hoped it would be when I put it in. I think if I take out this card I am better served taking out the Snowball and replacing it with Lady.

11) Breakers – I am just going to clump breakers together rather than go through them individually. It should all be fairly self explanatory. Inti is a great barrier breaker with all the resistors/vanilla/wraps etc that are about. ZU.13 Key Master was taken because of memory issues caused by the Magnum Opus. Mimic is there for Architect and everything else that could possibly show up if people feel ‘snowflakey’ enough. 12) Clot- ...Slot Clot. Just do it. Yellow still runs multiple SanSans its not like that was limited to one per deck. Also Breaking News of a SanSan will wreck your day very hard if you don’t have something to stop that.

13) Magnum Opus- I feel like if you’re playing Shaper right now then Mopus is the way to go. Its ability to bounce back from a closed accounts is too good to pass up. It also gives enough money to contest important assets. It can be click intensive but you get a lot of passive draw (Astrolabe) and burst draw (Diesel + QT’s) so more time can be spent clicking for credits.

OPENING HANDS AGAINST CORPS:

Here I will go over what hands I would be looking for against specific corps and what the general game plan is from there.

  1. CTM – Even with all the tech that this deck runs this is an incredibly tricky matchup. One wrong move and you’re probably done for. Your ideal opening hand would be Mopus, Astrolabe, Rabbit Hole/Employee Strike, Film Critic, Sure Gamble. The priorities here are Mopus, Astrolabe and Rabbit Hole/Employee Strike. From there you only want to contest there most important assets such as Bankers and Sensie early game. Leave PADS for late game if your money situation is a lot better than theirs. It sucks but the tax for that card is too ridiculous. You must also make sure that they don’t have too much of a money advantage over you when you trash their stuff or that you at least have 8 credits to clear the tags from the HHN. Being HHN early game is very bad for you even if you can bounce back with Opus, the tempo lost is difficult to describe. If you have managed to get this far great work! From here you want to try and pressure their hand a bit. Without Sensie on the board they can’t bury their agendas very well so they may have 1 to 2 agendas floating around in their hand. Still make sure your money situation is a bit better or at least equal to theirs. Never dip below their credit pool without Rabbit Holes on the board. By now hopefully you should be on 2 to 4 points. From here you want to pressure R&D with Indexing. The agendas you want to be stealing follow in this order: Breaking News/Astroscript > Beale > GFI. If you can take all their Breaking News their game becomes much harder. A bit of luck and a series of right decisions and you should have been able to beat this monster of a deck.

  2. SYNC – Your opening hand is very much similar to the hand against CTM. Link is king in this matchup. A good chunk of all their ice is based on traces so you really want to see your Mopus and Rabbit Hole early. Once the link is down then you eliminate the need to find actual breakers for a majority of their ice. You can then start to pressure them very well with accesses from HQ and Indexing on R&D. If you feel their money situation is getting a bit out of hand then Vamp them down to 0 and have them do a hard reset for money. Remember to have at least 3 credits and a click to clear the tag you get after this play. If you can keep on top of their money and you have your rabbit holes installed there is not much they can do to stop you.

  3. IG – Against this deck your ideal opener would be Mopus, SMC, Astrolabe, Film Critic, Employee Strike. Employee Strike will shut of their ability for the rest of the game unless they manage to score their one 3/2 or play a current of their own. Astrolabe because of all the assets that they run. SMC because it provides you with 2 used memory for their cortex locks. Film Critic for their TFP’s and Fetal AI. Opus to have money to contest their assets. The assets your looking to contest are their Bio-Ethics, Sensie, Tech Startup and Ronin. Also I would recommend running first click to give yourself enough clicks to draw back up in case it’s something spiky like psychic field. Slowly let the agendas build up in their hand and then try and seal the game off from there. If that doesn’t work Indexing them. Again they run low ice count so running in multiples times is not an issue.

  4. Gagarin – Similar to the IG matchup you want to see Mopus early with an Astrolabe and an Employee Strike. Trash the assets you feel are critical to their game plan. Let their agendas build up in their hand and try to snipe them. Once you’re on 3 to 5 points go for the kill with an Indexing.

  5. ETF – This is a deck I struggled with for the nationals (more than I expected). It was totally due to the reason that I only saw rush ETF who slotted in Eli’s and had taken out my lady for a snowball. I have already mentioned above that I would change the Snowball back to Lady now that I look back on it. Your ideal hand would be Mopus, SMC, Diesel/QT, Sure Gamble, Political Operative/Vamp. You want to see Mopus early and kill of their assets such as Adonis. Rabbit holes are also good in this matchup for the Ash trace. Vamp can also be quite handy in this matchup if they are getting rich enough to rez bigger pieces of ice (Ichi 1). It also acts as pseudo Political Operative for the Caprice. If you’ve pressured them enough and have managed to get to 4 to 6 points then you want to indexing to seal the game.

  6. CI – I struggled with this deck before I slotted the Vamp. A friend of mine in my meta regularly plays this deck and was crushing me constantly with it (thanks for that by the way)! I slotted vamp and it worked wonders in combination with Employee Strike too. You want to wait until they have 7 to 12 cards left in R&D and then play the Employee Strike. They will then Biotic out an agenda because they need to get the Employee Strike off the board. By this point there credit total will have dropped by 6. After this is done you then Vamp them and watch them cringe.

  7. Palana – Ideal opening hand would be Mopus, SMC, Political Operative/Vamp, Employee Strike, QT/Diesel. In this matchup try and keep them off money by running their ice and buying yourself time. Make them lose as much tempo as possible. A poor Palana can’t do much. If they have put a caprice behind an ice try and run in and tax them their credits. Your ability to make money is better than theirs especially with an Employee Strike on the board. It depends on how the matchup is panning out but stealing their Corporate Sales Team’s is a major boon for you if they are already poor. Remember the game plan here is to keep Palana poor for enough time for you to get setup. Once you’re setup there is very little this deck can do to you to stop you.

So that’s it everyone. This deck is made up of a series of silver bullets for a lot of the decks I imagined I would see at the event and it managed to get me to win the UK Nationals 2016. I had a blast playing it and would like to thank all of my opponents for the wonderful experience. I would also like to thank all of my team mates from Chimera Nottingham for all their support and play testing these last couple of months. If you have any questions about the deck please let me know I will try to answer as soon as I can. I will aim to get my corp deck posted online ASAP it just seemed more people were interested with my runner deck so I did this first.

33 comments
15 Aug 2016 Smashman

Congratulations!

15 Aug 2016 bubbathegoat

I love it. This deck is everything I hate to see across the table from me when I'm playing CtM. Honestly, the one thing I wait for after I see Rabbit Hole is the tempo hit from installing Nexus. It's a window I will use to try to score, but you've even taken that away from me!

I guess if I'll ask questions, I'll ask: Daily Casts over Underworld Contact? I guess Casts is an 'always on' econ, but it seems likely you will have the link online early to fuel UC drip.

I can feel the CtM hate flowing through you...good. Take up the Sacrificial Construct into your rig and you will fulfill your destiny to assemble the complete CtM-hate suite!

15 Aug 2016 scd

Congrats!

15 Aug 2016 dogstew

Congratulations! I love it.

15 Aug 2016 emilyspine

Great write up and congratulations on your win!

15 Aug 2016 LSK

What would you cut for Beth? Daily Casts?

15 Aug 2016 rotage

Congrats on the win, great to see Magnum Kate winning a major event :)

15 Aug 2016 Vikz93

Thanks for the kind words everyone :) @bubbathegoat I honestly felt like Underworld Contacts would be too slow in this deck. And if I don't manage to find my rabbit holes for whatever reason then I don't want a dead economy card in my hand. Yes this deck was heavily teched against CTM haha. I agree I could include the Sacrificial Construct but haven't felt I needed it so far but I guess that's more of a personal choice. @LSK I am not to sure tbh. Blood Money wasn't legal for the event so I had little testing with it. If I was to just guess then maybe my Salsette and 1 Daily casts for 2x Beth. Not sure as of yet though.

15 Aug 2016 tzeentchling

Congrats on winning! Was there a lot of kill in the UK Champs? I always thought that was the nasty rumor about you Brits, that you love your meat damage. Did you run into any Argus rush/kill or Blue Sun builds?

15 Aug 2016 Krasty

Can I ask you how you deal with big sentry ICEs like Archer, Assassin (oki, this could be "traced") or Vikram 1.0 ? I understand that every 4 strange sentry can be managed by "Atman on 4" .. but bigger? Thx for any answer...

15 Aug 2016 Krasty

.. and of course congratz for great win with great ("link strengh") deck! :o)

15 Aug 2016 Vikz93

Thanks @tzeentchlingI personally didn't come up against any kill decks no. I wasn't expecting much to be honest because the power of CTM/SYNC is too difficult to pass up on in such a big event. I did hear there were a few of them about though. @KrastyI wasn't teching much for big ice. This deck is a tech deck and I wasn't expecting to come up against a lot of big ice decks. Sharpshooter would be used in the case of archer or just an Atman at 6. Vikrams and Assassins can be traced and/or clicked. I hope that answers your questions :)

15 Aug 2016 bubbathegoat

@Vikz93 I wouldn't actually add Sacrificial Construct to your list, that was just a joke. Between the Vamp and E-strike, you have plenty of CI hate, and as I said before, you have CtM and SYNC covered quite well.

I can certainly see UC being slow econ, and probably only really need the econ early, so you have the credits to install Magnum Opus and the rabbit holes without losing tempo.

How often did you use all 3 Clone Chip? I could see them getting used up to recur Sharpshooter dealing with (Destroyer) Sentries.

Finally, I am assuming that there isn't any big ICE (of any flavor) in this tournament, since a Heimdall 1.0 would be bad news; is this correct?

15 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@bubbathegoatAh fair enough. I used up my Clone Chip's quite regularly for Clot mostly. I didn't go up against much big ice to be honest. I wasn't expecting too either. Atman would usually be my answer to the big ice though.

15 Aug 2016 Kelfecil

I love the simplicity of this deck. People say that it's the "silver bullet" deck but you really just focused on awesomely combining the stuff that work. Congrats on your win!

15 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@KelfecilThanks for the compliment. It took a while but I got there and am very proud of the deck :)

16 Aug 2016 bluebird503

Congrats this deck is pretty sweet.

16 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@bluebird503Thanks!

17 Aug 2016 percomis

Grats Vik! I was wondering now that Blood Money is legal do you think it's a good idea to put in Rumor Mill? Maybe instead of the Slums if you didn't find it useful?

17 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@percomisThanks! That's totally up to you. This deck already runs 2x Employee Strike and a 1x FTE so adding one more current maybe too much. I am not sure currently. If you take out the Salsette and both Employee Strike then you could fit 2x Rumor Mill if that suits your playstyle more.

18 Aug 2016 BizTheDad

Did you find yourself using the Slums? Also, was the Lucky Find there when you happened to need some quick burst?

Thanks so much for posting this given I've been thinking about a deck that uses Rabbit Holes simply for the link for a while now. Thanks for the wonderful blueprint. And don't worry about people being "nice". You won a huge national tournament. Anyone who criticizes you will probably be laughed out of the room.

20 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@BizTheDadI mentioned it in my write up that the slums was a last minute include and not a very good one. Whenever I drew it I didn't really use it very often. Theoretically it should have been very good due to CTM and IG but I hardly ever found the time to install it. I quite like the lucky find but like I said above it's just personal preference. I have made a new iteration of the deck with Blood money cards and have swapped out the LF and the Slums for a parasite and a sucker and have also included 2x Beth for 1 Daily Casts and 1 SMC. Thank you for the kind words! This deck is not flawless, it was a meta deck and it did very well for what it is. I am happy with it and am glad you like it too :)

21 Aug 2016 randomuser

Thanks for posting this highly enjoyable deck and the excellent play guide. In (very) limited testing I find memory is tight with the addition of Datasucker and Parasite. I also find that Beth Kilrain-Chang provides excellent econ support and that if she's in play then Daily Casts feels like a dead card when I draw it. What do you think about going to three Beth Kilrain-Chang to find her fast, plus one Akamatsu Mem Chip to help keep the extra programs in play, then cutting Daily Casts completely?

21 Aug 2016 Vikz93

If you feel that the daily casts are dead when you draw them then yeah I suggest you cut them. Personally even with Beth I quite like them as they are click less economy in an otherwise click intensive deck. I am trying the parasite and suckered right now and memory can be an issue. I am gonna test a bit more before I make a proper judgment though. Akametsu is a valid option or you can go with the neutral hardware that gives you a mem and a link so that you can install the zu for free memory when you don't need rabbit holes for the link.

21 Aug 2016 Pustekuchen

I have big problems with the MU in the original build above; squeezing in a second SMC for finding the second or third breaker when the MOpus was installed first and so on. So I have to ask: how do you manage to use Parasite and Sucker?

22 Aug 2016 Steinbran

This is great. Rabbit hole is a really nice touch. Did you see a lot of other people running it because it's been off my radar for a while?

And is there any room for Leprechaun? With heavy MOp and SMC use seems like it would be really potent in this deck, but I'm not sure what I'd cut for it.

22 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@PustekuchenHi I should mention that I pretty much only play on the 'competitive' side of jinteki and rarely visit the 'casual' side for testing. Therefore I tend to see very specific types of decks. As such you can sort of predict what ice you will most likely be seeing. I only really use parasite-sucker against problem ice in decks such as Russian NEH, Hot Tubs Gagarin, 49 card IG. Against these decks you don't typically need all your breakers anyway usually you are able to get away with having 2 out of the 3 types of breakers installed (generally it's the mimic that doesn't need to be installed). The Opus, Zu (free with rabbit hole), Inti/Lady/Snowball, Parasite, Sucker comes out to 5 memory. In terms of installing the 2nd SMC after you have other programs installed I personally haven't run across that problem a whole lot. This deck has a lot of draw so you will be seeing a lot of your programs anyway. If you still feel that there are memory issues then you can try Leprechaun/Akametsu/Dyson Mem Chip for more memory and take out some other cards that you feel are less useful to you. I hope this helps with your question.

22 Aug 2016 Vikz93

@SteinbranThank you very much for the kind words. I am glad you like it :) I have not seen many people running it. I saw a couple of jinteki.net games a while ago where people were trying to utilize the rabbit holes in their deck but it was usually with Nexus and because they took so much of a credit hit when installing it they tended to do poorly with the deck. As for the Leprechaun I have put them into an alternate iteration of this deck and have mentioned it in the post just above this briefly. So far I have had limited success with this card unfortunately. I have found that you wanted to see the Leprechaun first and then see your SMC's and Magnum Opus. But the deck also really wants to see their SMC's and Mopus early too. So you're looking for a hand with all 3 or at least 2 of the 3 with little room for anything else. Those are some pretty strict standards to live by and are in my opinion a little too much. If you see the leprechaun late then the card is pretty much dead as by then you should have already gotten a majority of your breakers and an opus out, unless you or your opponent is doing something wrong. However this being said, that was my opinion on the card and without trying it you personally should not just write it off. For you it may be an excellent card because it suits your play style. For me it was not. I hope this helps and let me know how it goes!

12 Sep 2016 binnet

Sorry but I can't this deck to work at all, it's too slow and the breakers are way to expensive to use, not sure what match ups you've had but this is way to slow for asset spam. Can't handle Sanburg decks either with those breakers.

20 Sep 2016 Stiv

@binnet Yeah obviously the deck is the problem, it never amounted to anything when piloted well against a good meta...

20 Sep 2016 bubbathegoat

@binnetThis deck is certainly a difficult deck to play. There are only 5MU available in the rig, and far more than 5MU of programs that one may want to install. There are 3x Rabbit Hole, but nothing to benefit from the added link. There is only 1 Plascrete Carapace to survive a kill attempt, but no Levy AR Lab Access to recover cards you may have discarded while digging for the plascrete.

This deck is a collection of silver bullets to counter the main archetypes that the author expected to see at UK nationals. It will not be perfect for every meta, but it is pretty good in the current competitive meta.

This deck has a lot of powerful cards that are hard counters to corp archetypes. Salsette Slums counters NBN: Controlling the Message, Plascrete Carapace counters meat-damage kill. Magnum Opus counters asset spam. Rabbit Hole counters tracer ICE and tagging NBN (SYNC and CtM). Vamp and Political Operative an both counter Sandburg. Clot (and PolOp) counter Fast Advance. PolOp also counters glacier builds, but those are becoming less important recently.

The trick to this deck is knowing when to use these tools, and when they are better discarded. When playing against HB, the PolOp is a pretty important card, but the Rabbit Holes and Film Critic are not likely helpful. Knowing when to play Atman and what strength to set it at is also a significant skill; Atman6 may be great to get through Weyland's archer, but a Sharpshooter will also get you through if you only need to pass it a few times.

This deck is a challenging high-skill deck to play. It won't bring you automatic success just because you play it, but it does have all of the pieces it needs to win any game in the current meta. The only way to achieve success with this deck (or most others) is to play it a lot. Figure out what are your best and worst cards and adjust the list to accommodate your needs, playstyle, and local meta. Play a lot of games with your list to decide what works for you and make a list that reflects that.

Mostly it all takes a lot of practice, which is how @Vikz93 became UK national champ with this deck.

20 Sep 2016 percomis

@bubbathegoatminor nitpick: ZU.13 benefits from the link, a single installed Rabbit Hole makes it MU-free, helping the rig quite a lot actually.

20 Sep 2016 bubbathegoat

@percomis that is an excellent catch! particularly after I had pointed out how the rig is MU-constrained otherwise. Yes, the cloud breaker freeing up 1 MU helps out in a very significant way.

I'd say that is a pretty significant nit-pick, thanks for helping me out!