Punitive RH 3.0

AnOddRadish 36

I was inspired after listening to YsengrinSC and Whiteblade chat about meta speculation here with Whiteblade making the offhanded remark that RH is the best home for Punitive Counterstike. After a lot of testing and tuning on JNET (around and 80% winrate), I went 2/1 at Pittsburgh GNK.

Basic idea is to make a load of money and use that to either

1) win via punitive (especially leaving 1 or preferably 2 bacterials in archives)

2) forcing a long grind using NGOs and big ice to threaten to score out and eventually win by scoring Obos, or

3) to find a scoring window for an early Obo, sneak a Gene Splicer through (likely with Kakurenbo, usually leaving an Obo behind in archives to throw off the scent), and finish off with a Big Deal.

The main choice the deck needs to make is when to dump agendas to archives, and how risky you can push that. Hiding one agenda makes random accesses drastically worse. Hiding two in there makes the game feel unwinnable to the runner, like they're working their ass off for crumbs. If you hide two bacterials with a punitive or hansei in hand, you've probably won the game unless they somehow manage to pull way far ahead on money.

The deck offers interesting forks, but a lot of time you need to be the one to decide which path you're pursuing, rather than just letting the runner walk down the "wrong" one. Using the threat of punitive to score out is unfortunately less effective than actually using punitive as the deck has a really hard time actually closing the game by scoring. I wish Gene Splicer wasn't so bad (it's even worse credit-wise than just scoring a 5/3, 3 advancements + 2 to rez + 1 click), but because it defends itself you can sometimes get a sneaky flatline after a Kakurenbo if the runner plays dumb.

Konjin is an absolute beast, 66% of the time it works every time, but the runner can't treat it as a 66% chance, they have to treat it as your best ICE on board, usually Chiyashi. I've found it most effective on R&D, but sometimes Archives is actually the correct play if you have plans to stick the second bacterial in archives. Additionally, Kakurenbo is shockingly good. At worst you pull an NGO out, but you can often use it to score a Gene Splicer or Agenda at an opportune time. I wish I had a second copy, probably cutting an Anoetic.

An early steal (especially Bacterial) against this deck is absolutely crippling. It's rare due to the small agenda count, but it absolutely happens (see game 2) and it's devastating when it does.

Round 1 vs Apoc Hoshiko: Went really well, was easily able to keep centrals safe, won with a single bacterial in archives -> dump another bacterial during access -> punitive. If Bendurance had been able to get off an Apoc, the game would have looked much worse, though there's an inherent tension in running archives against this deck due to punitive.

Round 2 vs 419: Rough match, Chromatically was very skilled. I also got rather unlucky. Mulliganed an awful hand into a worse one and had a Bacterial stolen off the top of R&D on the first turn. If I hadn't drawn into a spin doctor to shuffle the two agendas in hand away (three in first opener, no ICE in the first 10 cards after keep), it would have been over even faster. An early steal vs this deck is absolutely crippling, and a midgame Citadel Sanctuary ensured that my double punitive wasn't enough to win. Had I held the third punitive instead of chucking it to Hansei I might have had a shot, but I don't think "hold 3 punitives" is a winning strategy generally.

Round 3 vs Loup: Very long match, like 55 minutes. The deck moved into grinder mode, threatening scores behind Anansis (usually NGOs). Runner made too much money to meaningfully punitive, so moving to a card taxing strategy ended up winning. After getting down to 0 cards on the runner side, and putting an Anemone on R&D, the game was more or less over. I threatened to score out a bacterial, let it get stolen, and arranged the last bacterial to be far enough away while I scored out an Obo and the runner ended up dying to an advanced Gene Splicer.

I'm glad that no one brought TagMe Zahya. In testing I found that matchup to be largely unwinnable. The deck primarily challenges on money and cards on hand, leaning into whichever the runner is worse at. Turns out, a deck that is phenomenal at both cards in hand and cash in bank has a great matchup here. Who would have thought?

22 Mar 2023 sebastiank

Could sadaka to kill citadel sanctuary make sense?

22 Mar 2023 AnOddRadish

Maybe. Citadel is certainly less common than it used to be with Drago ban (I’m seeing more Caldera as damage avoidance). But putting Sadaka on archives or the scoring remote is solid. This deck gets a lot of benefit from utility ICE, so I think I’ll give it a shot and see how it does.

29 May 2023 Davidmc7

This deck, piloted by a local player, is possibly what made me quit Netrunner for a while.