So, are there better milling cards than Persephone? You betcha. Are they as fun to play and more rewarding to scrape out a win with? I'd argue no.
This goofy deck I threw together seeks to abuse Persephone's power by having multiple copies installed (ideally on Net Chips) and gearing up for a major turn aided by Hyperdrivers (ideally on Net Chips) and Egret. The game plan should be to set up as quick as possible, but timing your runs to get some ICE rezzed when it can impact the Corp's econ, slowing them down as much as you can since Rushing out is the best way to beat this deck. Setting up involves lots of drawing since ideally you want some Technical Writers ticking up while you are throwing down Net Chips and various programs that work well early (Magnum Opus to money up; Equivocation to put the pressure on R&D). I've included some hardware to tech against the kill matchups which can really save your bacon, and tick up your Technical Writers as well.
Once the Corp sees that first Persephone, he/she will think twice before rezzing any Sentry ice. As the runner, you have to prepare for this possibility and use the Corp's fear of getting milled through their ice to your advantage. Hit the servers as much as you can when they don't want to rez the ice. If they do rez, take note of which subs can fire safely and not destroy your gameplan, even if they aren't Sentry. This is where Egret comes in. If you can time it out right, as long as at least one sub fires (the 'Gain 1 cred' on Hortum for example) you can leverage that with enough clicks and money to possibly win by milling the necessary agendas into Archives. If you encounter an ice, usually barrier, that does nothing but End the run, you will be sad. There's nothing to be done against that piece of ICE (outside of Adjusted Matrix and saving up Egrets and money to pay through the nose to get past it) so usually you should just focus elsewhere on a different server. Clearly, if the Corp knows your game plan, they can shut you out with the correct ice placement/rezzing. Do your best to keep your Persephone gameplan a secret. And even once you have one installed, count on your opponent not completely knowing how to counter-play against such a weird card that never hits the table.
Kate's ability seemed like a perfect place to implement this kind of deck, because the natural discount goes a long way with the deck. The 50 card deck size is pretty necessary as you have to mill your stack to fire Persephone and you are packing a lot of goodies you want to see. You'll notice 3x Levy AR Lab Access which gives you so much flexibility when deciding what can go in the heap and when you are ready to start all over again. Also running 3x Test Run/Scavenge combo to cheese out the Persephones and other programs. Rest of the econ is rounded out with Peace in our Times, since setting up is valued over running, and Sure Gambles. I've included 1x Deuces Wild since it helps with econ/draw/ICE info, but could be flexed to a more useful tool if I discover one. Also, the Employee Strikes are an attempt to help in bad matchups (Skorpios for one) and be a current killer. Would consider them flex spots as well, though.
Some dream scenarios I've experienced In practice: ran R&D ice first turn, hit a Veritas and then slowly set up the rest of the game until I could get 2 Persephones out and start milling. Final turn, I milled 18 cards with Persephone while using Equivocation to force draw other cards, resulting in a sudden mill victory when the Corp was on game point.
Played against my sparring partner @muldr, who knew the gameplan well from our previous games. He was playing Jemison, and got to 5 points pretty quickly. The turn after he got to 5 points, I knew he likely had Biotic in hand (he was also incredibly rich at this point) so I knew I had to fire the two Hyperdrivers I had to make a last ditch effort. He had only rezzed two ice all game: an early Cobra that hit me for two net but resulted in a single mill from Persephone (he installed over the ICE the following turn) and a Hortum over HQ that remained all game. Long story short: big turn was 10 clicks in which I installed Egret on Hortum, installed a third Persephone, took my Tech Writers, ran HQ three times, letting the Gain 1 sub fire each time, milling 9 cards total. Ran Archives final click to steal the remaining 5 points I needed to win. Turns out, last card milled was the Hostile Takeover I needed to clinch the victory. Also, he was going to Biotic/Success the Vanity Project in his hand to win next turn.
Obviously not every game will go the way of victory (I've had some grueling matchups where the card does nothing) but since it's pretty unexpected, there's a chance for some mild success.
Let me know what you think if you give this a test run!
9 Aug 2017 ntahfs
9 Aug 2017 grimgravyboat