Majulah! (2nd APAC)

Jai 1324

(Apologies to the discerning reader; I realize that this decklist might be much anticipated, but my gif game is... not strong.)

You know it (maybe), you've seen it (probably not), you've heard rumors about the archetype floating around in the leadup from set release to APAC (more likely), now here it is: Hermes Tāo.

Gameplan is extremely simple, and hearkens back to classic shaper: camp the scoring remote and force the corp to overcommit to pushing out agendas, at which point you can evaluate whether you can get in anyway or if it's time to pivot to R&D lock with Conduit (pro tip: most games end up being R&D lock anyway). There are certain cards which are pretty integral to this playstyle which are missing here, but I got like 2 games of practice with the list; I won't beat myself up over missing some tech cards.

The breaker suite is a fascinating discussion, and I'm sure many players have already noted the... issues... with the various killers currently available in the format. Carmen is 2 tech card slots worse than Echelon or Na'Not'K, but I'll be damned if I'm breaking a double Trebuchet server with either of those - Tao's ability only goes so far.

Engolo is the go-to all-purpose breaker on an Overclock-SMC remote challenge, but my blood pressure spikes every time someone rezzes a Magnet, so that's not a perfect solution either.

...which leaves Corroder as the breaker I had the least problems with over the weekend, astonishingly enough; the biggest things it had to go through were a couple of Sandstones. The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?

In hindsight, the card I wish I had included the most would have been a single Legwork, although hell if I know where that inf is coming from. The lack of HQ multiaccess really started stinging even from the first 3 rounds of the event, and the ability to clear out HQ ends up being valuable both when the remote is vulnerable (because agendas start piling), and when the remote is locked down (because you can snipe an agenda and get a cheeky bounce).

Credit for the bulk of this deck must go to @bking, who provided the shell for the deck in our panicked frenzy to find a runner half an hour before APAC decklist submission. His list packs -Slap Vandal -Carmen -No One Home +Mimic +Ika +Clot +Joy Ride - I couldn't bring myself to play the blasphemous 41st card.

If I'm being honest, credit must also go to the stream team of @monde and gang - y'all picked me up from the darkest moment even though you didn't realize it. After my R6 opponent @headmoths refused a 241 and beat my R+ with a balls-to-the-wall Deep Dive for 5 points, I was seriously considering simply conceding the runner game and wishing them all the best in the cut. The only thing stopping me from doing that was the fact that our match was being streamed - and the show must go on, y'know - and I picked myself back up, smashed game 2 in spectacular fashion, won my R7 241, and squeaked into Top 8 on the back of some improbable draws on the neighboring tables. The rest, as they say, is history.

I lie - there was one other thing. The following exchange happened at the start of the first day, during the player meeting:

And before our game in R1 of the cut:

Oh, it was ON.

I ended up meeting the other Singaporean in question, @KyraWNY, in the winner bracket finals, and beat her with this same deck before both of us got ignominously defeated by the eventual winner, @charliedmcb (excellently played finals by the way, absolutely deserved to win both those games).

More on that. It's been incredibly impressive how strongly Kyra has developed as a player in such a short span, and I couldn't be happier to have more Singaporean representation on the international scene. As of this writing, Singapore's National Day is in two days, and I'm proud that we're able to show our patriotism in some small way. Kyra, it's been an honor sparring with and against you, and I'll see you at Intercontinentals.

Majulah friendos

Jai out

10 comments
7 Aug 2023 chordgang

headmoths here, cursing monde right now!! In all seriousness this is a fantastic deck, you piloted it very very well (install engolo + overclock with exactly enough credits to steal my double-advanced atlas behind an archer?), and it was very cool to see you + Tao make the final; I was rooting for you at the end!

also fwiw a single legwork would have obliterated me much more quickly than you already did in that second game

7 Aug 2023 Baa Ram Wu

Sup Jai.

Congrats on the excellent placement - particularly hyped to see a Spicy shaper build in the finals.

I'm wondering about the triple simulchip here. Without clot, or any real way to abuse it out side of maybe a slap vandel re-install I'm unsure what they are doing other that Rig shooter protection and reinstalling SMC (as much as I love being able to throw programmes and simulchip them for a discount)

7 Aug 2023 nbkelly

You just need to half your placement again next year. I believe.

7 Aug 2023 Zeebag

Love this deck and congratulations! Also, regarding Tāo, never forget:

The design of this card is so egregious that it made me log into an account I haven't accessed in years. I was fairly intrigued looking at some of the reworked Core Set cards in the System Gateway set, as they often seemed to grok the ways in which the original cards were either too efficient or overbalanced. This card, on the other hand, abuses a disruptive technique that ANR made prohibitively expensive with good reason. It's almost difficult to describe the magnitude of how game breaking this ID is, because designing it requires a fundamental lack of knowledge of how Corp functions in regards to ICE. This attacks multiple pieces of ICE, often times in multiple servers, at the control of the runner, and is triggered by either player directly interacting with their win condition. The amount of time and resources it will take the Corp to mitigate the damage done by this ability text is potentially insurmountable. I'm in genuine awe that any amount of play-testing would allow this ID to survive with the text it currently has. At best, this card is an abberation of design philosophy that somehow escaped correction in testing. At worst it is a warning against once again getting emotionally invested in a game that remains dead.

7 Aug 2023 mondegreensleeves

seeing tāo get so far is so exciting, and it warms my heart to hear that we could give you the energy to keep going, even if your resulting performace against multiple QTMmies has my membership's future uncertain.

I knew you were a good player just from casting with you, and I was rooting so hard for you in the finals. I'm sure someone's told you, but Vladisibirsk City Grid would be hella in this deck.

and if you're ever feeling like you can't keep playing, just remember that it's all for the love of the game and sometimes the numbers Just Work Out, so... have some fun and keep a smile on your face! ;)

7 Aug 2023 mondegreensleeves

obviously I meant that the corp card I said should go in the deck, should go in the corp deck and in fact not go in this deck

8 Aug 2023 Kikai

Hermes Tao. Love it.

8 Aug 2023 Jai

Thanks for kind and nice words friendos, appreciate it.

@Baa Ram Wu: For sure, I had literally seconds to submit my version of the deck, the most cuttable cards in a Clotless deck are the Slap Vandal (sadly) and the 3rd Simulchip. The deck is also mildly MU-hungry pre-Hermes install, so maybe a DZMZ here wouldn't be amiss.

@emilyjoh and @nbkelly: Thanks again, your support means a great deal.

@mondegreensleeves: if you somehow find another way to slip another reference to that cursed card in a community cast i swear to god

10 Aug 2023 tantale

Could you consider using World Tree to reduce the number of copies of Hermes?

10 Aug 2023 Santa

@Jai congrats on the 2nd! It was a great time playing you and quite the powerful deck! I look forward to seeing you at intercontinentals!

One question: how valuable was the No One Home for you? Valuable while digging against Jinteki and Snare!? Just wondering if repurposing the inf to a Contaminate for post purge would be good, since this is pretty inf starved already.