If you've listened to Terminal7, you know I love me some Jinteki. And despite, or perhaps because of, prevailing wisdom that HB Moonspam is the best deck right now, I went with good ol' Pālanā. Not based on anything in particular, just reminiscent of Pālanā decks I've enjoyed in the past. It makes so much money, is pretty resilient against most folks, Caprice is good again with Rumour Mill on the MWL tier 3 and Nisei MK II is good always.
Took this to the BC Regionals in Vancouver on 27/5/17 and it only lost two games the whole day. I'll put the deck writeup here and then the tourney thoughts in the comments
This is kinda glacier, kinda rush. Your ICE is taxing or mean, you can almost always score a Nisei MK II in there somewhere and once you do, you're in real good shape. You only ever had one remote, defend R&D and HQ as needed and then you slam good agendas into that remote until you win.
What is this madness?? Partially this is to play against what people expect from Pālanā. From the old RP glacier days of 3x Nisei, 3x NAPD, 3x Future Perfect, people expect the agenda scoring to be a Nisei or Corporate Sales team, another one of those and then a GFI or Future Perfect for 7. So we use those assumptions against them!
Braintrust and Philotic Entanglement give you a pair of facedown cards you can turn into two points on your next turn. If you put a card facedown in your remote, most players won't check it, assuming it's just a Batty/Caprice or Jackson/Agroplex. When you turn this into two points on the next turn and still have your scored Nisei counter left, that's real good. These aren't any worse to lose out of R&D/HQ than Corporate Sales Team is and you usually have so much money, you don't need the CST creds.
Clone Retirement is the other sassy agenda. It lets you score one point out of hand, which won me the loser's bracket finals at the regional. It does suck to lose this out of R&D more, but there's just one and if you have scored two Niseis and a Philotic or Braintrust, not needing to have to score another 4/2 or 5/3 is huge. Scoring it out of hand wipes Rumour Mill too.
Nisei MK II is the best agenda in the game now that Astroscript is unique. You want 'em.
Pālanā Agroplex is great, you want to see it early and often. It gives you money and cards and you want both, to make sure you can stay on top of your opponent in terms of tempo and money. Yes, you're also giving your opponent a card, but so much of the Runner econ is click intensive now (making Temujin runs, clicking Liberated, etc) that it's not the worst to keep feeding them cards. The key with Agroplex though is to put it in your remote. Having it ticking away on the turn your score an agenda and the turn after when you're recovering can be real bad, filling up HQ with agendas you can't score yet.
Jackson Howard because sure.
Crisium Grid because Siphon/Vamp can be real bad and Deep Data Mining/Indexing are also bad. Or just to make Temujin runs on the Archives a lot less profitable.
Celebrity Gift, Hedge Fund and IPO for dollars. I think that mix is right and I like IPO more than Restructure, since even if you don't get any other econ on your first turn, you can get into IPO range by turn two as long as you don't have to rez anything.
Fast Track this card in incredible. With this deck, you definitely need to know when your scoring windows are and you also really want to score a Nisei Mk II. Fast Track Nisei + install + advance is glorious. If the Runner just went nearly broke getting setup, do it even if you only have a remote with 1 ETR (as long as they're not a Criminal) even if you don't have Caprice or Batty. If you just managed to score a Nisei Mk II, grab another next turn and do it again. If you're at 6 points and you really want to be a sassmaster (and you're confident HQ is secure), Fast Track a Clone Retirement. Fast Track a Philotic or Braintrust, install Agroplex/Jackson/upgrade in the remote and bait a run to open a scoring window. Fast Track is flexible and so good.
Friends in High Places because getting Caprice/Batty/Crisium back is very nice. This is mostly when I think you can go down to 2x Caprice/Batty and be okay.
Voter Intimidation actually didn't do a lot of work for me on the day. If your meta has lots of Smoke, using this to nuke Net Mercur is really good, but otherwise most of the high impact resources get a lot of their value the turn they are installed (e.g. Temujin). It's okay to blow up a DLR if you're against that crazy Andromeda deck, but I'd swap this for a Scarcity of Resources if I could do things over.
Eli 1.0 and Seidr Adaptive Barrier and good and taxing and ETR (sorta, in Eli's case). Seidr keeps getting better and even if it's been Parasited, you can keep it around for one turn longer than the Runner expects (and maybe give you a purge window) by just putting another ICE on that server. Of these two, I'd honestly keep Seidr over Eli. I always feel a little bad trying to score behind just an Eli with no upgrades since the Runner will get in if they run click 1 or 2.
Chiyashi is expensive but you can pay for it (usually) and when it lands, it's very mean. If you're lucky, it can setup a kill with Batty or Philotic next turn if you're really lucky.
DNA Tracker because it's so mean and so taxing. It's expensive to rez but I had at least one scoring remote on the day that was just two DNA Trackers and an upgrade.
Macrophage keeps R&D safe-ish from Medium digs.
Mind Game great strength to rez, since it's free, but I would actually swap this out. If it's the only ICE you get in your opening hand, it actually is pretty worthless and can even keep costing you creds to keep you safe. Nisei Division can get away with that but I kinda wanged me once on the day. I would (and have) make this a Lotus Field instead.
Cobra snek does damage and trashes programs, both of which are great with Batty. It can't end a run on its own though, hence the two Rototurret. Yes, it can instantly die to Parasite, since since there's little runtime Parasite install out there right now, I like it. And unlike Cobra, it doesn't have to be placed positionally to be viable for scoring.
Cortex Lock lock is still super mean to faceplant early, can be an instant game over with Batty depending on their free MU and its super cheap to rez, meaning you can save for your big ICE on your remote in the early game.
Excalibur because with this and a Nisei token, you're scoring another Nisei unless they have an AI breaker. Putting this on Archives early also makes Temujin sad, on R&D it can slow down Medium digs and you can install over it and then Friends it onto your remote once you do have a Nisei token available. It's real good.
So yeah, that's the show! You still get owned pretty hard by Rumour Mill, but I think this setup has a few more options even against RM. As noted above, what I'd change is:
If you really wanted to mix things up further, maybe lose 2x Eli or 1x Eli/1x Seidr and get a Tollbooth and 2x Bastion (probably?) instead. I wouldn't muck with the agendas without including a "Clones are not People", because I think a big part of this deck's strength is having a scoring plan that isn't 4/2 -> 4/2 -> 5/3.
With anyone teching hard to beat Moonspam right now, I think Pālanā is in a great place. Thanks for reading and very happy to hear people's thoughts, tweaks, etc!
29 May 2017 Nelsormensch
7 Jun 2017 dbAdmin
8 Jun 2017 Nelsormensch