Double Desperado (6th place at Norcal Regionals)

madrabbit 128

Make no mistake, Net Mercur is a crazy card*. Desperado was already so good that it did its time on the MWL, and then they printed a green version that also happens to be a source of stealth credits. The genesis of this deck lies in the question, "why not both?".

The biggest challenge with this deck was keeping it slim, and the cut I took to regionals is blisteringly quick, but short a few silver bullets. I went back and forth in the last week, but ended up deciding to beef up the Hollywood protection to ward off the yellow kill. This missed the mark a little, as I never faced a yellow deck and so never came anywhere near a tag (!).

In the end, Smoke went 3-3 in the tournament, largely carried on the back of HB. Early stumbles against an unexpected pair of net damage decks put her in an 0-2 hole, before digging out against more standard decks. The final loss was in the first round of the Top 8, which highlights the biggest weakness of the tech in this deck. Now that Space Kitten got MWLed, Caprice is leading a Foodcoats comeback, and not even this economy can compete with the bots' new friends if you can't win psi games. I was summarily shut out of every server and handed a resounding defeat.

Playing stealth has left me with a few strong opinions which don't seem to be universal. Those, and other card choice comments:

  • Houdini is just awful compared to Refractor. It loses against any single code gate, and there are even precious few pairs of code gates which it breaks more efficiently, as so much scary ice is strength 5 or less.
  • Dagger is sufficient; the extra influence saved is much better spent on blue economy, and Switchblade has the awkward requirement of requiring two stealth creds.
  • Blackstone does just fine. Only Eli makes you wish you'd brought Paperclip and for 3 influence, again you can do better.
  • Same Old Thing/Levy AR Lab Access are clutch. It lets you recur your economy in a long game, and SOT does double duty as Levy protection against damage and a third Indexing otherwise.
  • The Cloaks are really for drip econ more than stealth credits. Net Mercur is just that powerful.

*For anyone who hasn't experienced "silly smoke tricks":

  • Make a run on an unprotected server, pump an icebreaker, and move a recurring credit onto Net Mercur.
  • When planning on trashing a card, take a credit from Net Mercur - it replaces itself!

It's really just a green Desperado.

13 comments
17 May 2017 BloodJoker

I like it. Always thought Blackstone was a fine card. How did you find the Deuces Wild? They pull their weight?

17 May 2017 Cpt_nice

My build is very similar, although I use the influence of Deuces Wild for employee strike and scrubber. Do you feel it is necessary to have two copies of each breaker? Wouldn't you be better off with one more smc and 2 sac construct? Letting Skorpios waste a hunter seeker on it is pretty good and cheaper than installing a new copy of your breaker.

17 May 2017 Cyberzack

Interesting deck. I was excited to see the desperado in Smoke as i have been considering a similar build. I agree about the point reguarding Dagger vs Switchblade.

I think it depends on what the deck is trying to do, but the main reason to play Smoke is to have a more efficient rig. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to maximise this aspect and try to assemble the MOST efficient rig.

I have dabbled around with Blackstone and I'm still un-decided. Though i did usually play it with Net-Ready-Eyes to help vs Eli, bastion, etc.

I'm surprized you didn't prefer a third Temujin in place of Deuces Wild - to really maximise on the run based econ with Desperado and Net Mercur. Care to elaborate on that choice?

All in all cool deck man! I think I might finally throw a desperado smoke together myself.

18 May 2017 madrabbit

Regarding the comments on Deuces Wild: yes, I think it's a good include. Really I'd like to have another three copies of Diesel as you really need to be drawing your way through the deck in order to set up quickly. As it stands it's high-speed draw, with the added benefit of sneaking in a free Temüjin run (and checking an ice), or being useful for clearing a Data Raven tag against Sync. I even prefer them to a third Temüjin as you really just want to draw the Temüjin early. You shouldn't be using more than two in most games anyway, because of the tempo loss (Temüjin is really a buffed Day Job - better by (a) ~2+ , (b) the incentive for the Corp to drop an ice to lock out your last 8, and (c) nice productive runs if you can hit an undefended R&D or HQ turn 1).

If there are undefended servers then Net Mercur+Desperado is basically a Magnum Opus or a Professional Contacts, whichever you need - and this is while clicking for productive runs most of the time (trashing assets is a likely need if undefended servers are available). The deck encounters a much bigger economy issue against glaciers, as my Foodcoats loss showed me. In the former case Temüjin is poor because you have to waste clicks instead of spending your recurring credits, and in the latter you're not likely to burn through three of them without either winning or tripping your Levy.

Some of the other choices are style and can go either way. It's sad not to have a current, but something would need to get cut to make room and there aren't any leading candidates. "Steal an agenda" to clear currents is about as useful as "win psi games", but at least with Indexing you have a decent amount of control over when you go for points. You could definitely go to one breaker set, three SMC, and back it up with the Sacrificial Constructs, but then probably drop Modded as now you're actually going to be popping SMC a lot whereas here I try to draw my deck instead and use SMC as a backup. Here I'll just rely on Film Critic and the backup copy as Skorpios defense. I like the Net-Ready Eyes suggestion though - chew through Eli for 2!

18 May 2017 Mechanoise

Congrats on your position, and with Smoke too! I'm liking the Desperado play, it's great for encouraging aggressive runs and you get a credit for farming Net Mercur tokens, so added bonuses!

The one...teeny little thing that just makes me wince is Blackstone. With Eli off the Most Wanted List Blackstone bleeds at least 5 credits (1 being stealth) just to break it. Influence may be tight, but I'd go as far to remove the Deuces Wild, slot a Paperclip and just add more economy in the form of 2x Armitage Codebusting and a 3rd SMC or something.

18 May 2017 Myriad

How about x1 desperado and x1 trade in packing 3x lockpicks?

Admittedly it has less utility if you aren't on either Paintbrush or Egret... but... could save you three influence.

I also really like the idea of paperclip and cold read.

19 May 2017 Elodius

what about Mother Goddess?

19 May 2017 Pilgrim

Any thoughts on how this deals with Scorpious.

19 May 2017 Cluster Fox

Very close to my Smoke list. I've found that adding Net-Ready Eyes or The Personal Touch (core set card that no one ever uses wut wut) makes Blackstone ruthlessly efficient.

20 May 2017 BobAloVskI

I took this deck for a spin. Deuces Wild is so powerful. I just thought it would be 3 credits and 2 cards each time. But I found myself exposing and running more. It allowed me to check remotes while gaining some good tempo (Desperado/Net Mercur) in the process. The adaptability for it to be anything you need is so great.

27 May 2017 rwknoll

I am toying around with a Smoke Desperado that runs 3x Aeneas Informant instead of Temujin. Once you get them out, a single click against an open remote nets you 4 credits + Net Mercur trigger, which is huge. In testing so far, it struggles economically against true glacier, so I'm going to explore 1-2x Kati Jones as the complementary economy for that matchup.

Other cards I have been using: Patron (combos great with "Mercurado"), and Dedicated Processor + Inti instead of Blackstone. A second DP also lets you enhance Switchblade, which helps relieve some of the pressure for stealth credits.

Based on your experience, how do you think some of those card ideas might have worked out in your deck?

29 May 2017 madrabbit

@Elodius Depends on the context. Most times, the answer is run something else as it's pretty hard for the corp to win only rezzing one ice. There are a few janky matchups where this doesn't hold but if this deck has one shortcoming, it's that it cut silver bullets to slim down to 40 cards. Missing your card to deal with {Mother Goddess, FA, Caprice, currents, net damage, brain damage, program sniping} is tough, but so are seven dead draws.

@Pilgrim Film Critic should stop Hunter Seeker cold. Play around Batty stacks, don't pitch the second copy of your breakers, and if your meta is heavy on Skorpios than consider slotting Sacrificial Construct, but only if you really need it.

@rwknoll Interesting. I think Aeneas Informant has a lot of potential, although most games where you are set up and there are [still] easy milk runs, you're going to win anyway (and need to be trashing cards on your runs). I'd be interested how it plays.

I originally did slot Patron, and I think it could still see play. Honestly, it ended up getting cut because 3 was just too much of a tempo hit to set it up. As far as a two-card fracter combo though, I think The Personal Touch on Blackstone is the way to go (NRE is nice but the meat damage is inconvenient, and you would only ever pump Blackstone). Note that Inti with Dedicated Processor still takes 4 to go through Eli. Corroder level efficiency just doesn't cut it anymore.

28 Jul 2017 aero

+Beth and/or John Masanori?