Thousand Knives [1st Place | AMT-02]

Jinsei 869

'I’ve lived a thousand lives

And I've died a thousand times

Have you felt

A Thousand Knives?'

Brought to you directly from the Unband Secret Testing Facility, let us shake up this meta something good.

Reactions and Experiences

Odol sees hell

longi in hell

Camilla sends them to hell

Hellthy Metagame

Idea, Conception and Evolution

Recently I've been finding that my deckbuilding approach seems to be taking two disparate corp strategies and mashing them together to create monstrosities. This here is a hybrid between a Keeling Prison deck the likes of which you'd commonly see out of AGInfusion, and a PE deck advancing the game plan on every score and steal.

This innovation was prompted by my search to solve the question: 'What do you do when you don't see the Keeling early?'. Warroid Tracker is a powerful force multiplier, but it needs an asset or upgrade that the runner is forced to interact with to multiply. What began as a jank idea ('Prana Condenser, Keeling, PE, Warroid') a month ago evolved into a monster of a deck over several iterations.

Early iterations played two copies of Border Control, until Sokka suggested I swap them back to Mausolus in proper Shadow Realm redux fashion. I also played 3 copies of Anemone, but found they weren't holding up in the long game. Finally, the list played one copy of Blood in the Water, hoping I'd get some kills out of Keeling or Prana with it on the penultimate turn, but in reality it proved a liability more often than not. That had me briefly testing Water Monopoly, before finding that False Lead was a great card for this deck, even winning me two of my matches on the day.

Strategy and Praxis

Prana Condenser is your economic engine, and in an ideal world you draw it early and protect it with Warroid and DNA Tracker / Anansi while placing a smattering of agendas onto the board that the runner can pick up, alongside some Spin Doctors and maybe some Snares. A rezzed Prana turns you into a form of hyper-Sports, doubly so with Sting!, which nets you 6 credits on score or steal. When the runner does contest your Prana, it may well bankrupt them, or they lose their board, including their dear breakers. That's when you put a Keeling in that same remote to continue the agony.

In practice, playing the deck is a bit like riding a thunderstorm. Part of my motivation to bring it was that I needed more testing games with it, and while the floor power level of the deck is good, the ceiling seems really high on both sides. Plus I think it's really fun to play! Part of the difficulty in practice comes from the low ice count, meaning that good placement is critical. In a perfect world DNA Tracker is on the remote, Mausolus is on HQ, and Anansi / Aiki are on R&D, but fate may not always play that way, so staying adaptive and knowing when to deviate seems important.

One standout card to me in this build is DNA Tracker. While already very good normally, a DNA Tracker that fires while Prana is on the board is a 15 credit swing, and can often leave the runner too poor to retain their board presence after trashing Keeling / Prana. It is nice to have this ice redeemed so shortly before rotation when it's fallen off from the power it used to have back in the Flashpoint era.

Performance on the Day

On the day the deck went 5-1, winning twice against RubenPieters on Apoc Hoshiko in two very close games, against furmire on a reg Los, ReinaMorada on an aggressive Esa, Dr. Krystal on Sable, and finally losing the first finals game against RubenPieters in a bout of comeuppance. I think around 4 of my games with this deck were captured on stream, so please do check them out if you have the time. :)

The biggest weakness of the deck was my inexperience piloting it, every game felt like I had made a mistake of some sort, with the finals game being the harshest and also best punished by my opponent, in that my DNA Tracker remote was clogged by a Sting! while I was being Stargated, and even with R&D holding up very well I did not manage to get there.

Reflections and Gratitude

This was the first tournament of this size I've ever won, so far I'd taken down several smaller Nats, SCs and COs but never something quite this big. I've tended to underperform quite badly at larger events, so I am a bit proud of doing well at this, though winning is of course not the main prize of netrunner.

My thanks goes, as always, to Unband for their undying support before, during, and after the event. Much love to you all. Also to the organisers: PSK, the judges and stream team did an outstanding job, shoutout to Jai in particular for making me burst out laughing with his hilarious observations. And to my opponents, every round was a joy to play and I hope to see them again at a tournament in the future.

May you too
Give this deck a whirl
and learn to ride the Tempest


16 Apr 2023 Diogene

Great deck! This deck will be the reason why Light the Fire! might become more popular than Pinhole Threading. Cheers!

16 Apr 2023 Kikai

Prāna Condenser as a holding asset while drawing for Dr. Vientiane Keeling is a genius idea.

Finding the right line against this deck is a nightmare.


17 Apr 2023 Jinsei

@Diogene Thank you :)

I've been willfully ignoring the existence of Light the Fire! for a long time now, and while that would do very well against my HB-based remote nonsense, here I feel it's a decent card but not a full answer by itself. The reason for this is that LTF needs you to break whatever ice is one the server (probably at least 1 DNA Tracker or Anansi) and taking a core damage accelerates any further Keeling pressure coming your way. Conversely Pinhole Threading dodges Hokusai Grid and ice, so I think they are both decent cards with neither fully answering the problem.

If you're looking for a way to dismantle Warroid Tracker remotes, have a look at the runner I just posted. :)

17 Apr 2023 Jai

Thanks for kind and nice words, and congrats once again on your well deserved victory!

17 Apr 2023 Longi

I would say it was pleasure to test this deck with you but that would be a lie :D Just kidding, congrats on well deserved victory, mate;)

18 Apr 2023 jamesmarcus

Thank you for including the Enforcing Loyalty card art in the write up. Favorited for that alone!