Grudge Work (15-3 and 1st at CBI 2024)

jan tuno 2665

I've been experimenting with this kind of deck since I tried maninthemoon's Arctic Blood. I tried more refined versions of that with great success, then in September I played around with Keeling Ob before our wife was banned, then I tried to turn the deck into something with a scoring plan with Facet. At this point I'm very comfortable with horizontal, very modular and expressive Ob builds, and I looked into a way to leverage that skill for CBI.

The original concept here was to build something like a "PE Grinder" deck out of Ob. We had Fractal Threat Matrix (good when you stack lots of Formicaries, bad otherwise), but ultimately the key piece that made things click was Wake Up Call, lifted from Bridgeman's PE list from Worlds 2022. The main trouble for this sort of deck is something that plays Knobkierie and Buffer Drive, so we thought to just go really hard on the tech there.

We started off with a classic Urtica/Clearinghouse fork to put Reconstruction Contract to use, then realized that whenever you could kill with Urtica Cipher (difficult against a careful player) you could also just win by jamming a Clearinghouse behind ice and putting the counters there, so we upped it to 2x and it became one of the main kill pieces in the deck. It looks silly, but with all the threats you push you leave the Runner behind enough on tempo that you can really just win by advancing that thing a bunch.

This didn't drop a game for me at CBI, winning against stealth Kit, Mawshiko and Loup, and then beating AugustusCaesar's Gachapon mulch twice in the cut. shishu, kyra and MrStyx also did well with it, all ending in the top half.

Thanks to all the animals who contributed to deckbuilding and testing: the moths, the frogs, the butterfly, and the bunny, the bug, the lemur, the catboy, the deer, and the squirrel, the pup, the mouse, and of course Kim Kittysuragi.


How often do you score out?

Almost never, though I did it in one CBI game after completely locking the Runner out. You only go for 7 points if the Runner is ground out of HP and you can push cwp; but even then, you almost always have a more direct avenue to just kill them, and finding the tempo for those 7 points is harder.

Where are Oppo Research and End of the Line? This is a deck that wants to create mean forks, right? Don't you want to tag me? 🥺

Oh dear of course I do. But you see, I've found that tag pieces feel very tribal in this sort of deck. Oppo only works with EotL and vice versa, and they're not tutorable unless you dedicate even more slots to Gaslight, whereas every single installable you could fit in to complement your kill plan synergizes in subtle ways with many other pieces in your deck. Also, you want as many slots as possible to advance your tempo and prompt a response from the Runner, and nothing's worse than sitting with 2-3 cards in your hand that do nothing for you until the Runner interacts with you exactly the way you want them to while they grow their Fermenters. (this is why Angelique Garza Correa is only 2x: she's a dead card too often).

What changes would you make or experiment with?

The agenda suite can be played with a little: -1 cwp +2 azef, or -2 cwp +2 azef + 1 Above the Law are valid options, though I'm still doubtful that you do anything with the 3/2s often at all, and you need to cut a slot for it. -3 cwp +3 Send a Message is a possibility, though SaM is small value it is much more consistent at giving you value than City Works Project, which has no game text in 95% of games and will very rarely win you one.

Wraparound is definitely an interesting card too, if you cut the Magnet - which we didn't feel safe doing - then you have a hard gearcheck to pull with Mavirus. Not that you never take Formicary, but that could be interesting.


15 Jan 2024 KyraWNY


15 Jan 2024 KyraWNY

Actually, 🦋 💜 🐌

15 Jan 2024 Tamijo


15 Jan 2024 TheSovietLoveHammer


15 Jan 2024 Shishu


15 Jan 2024 coldlava

Congrats! From what I can tell you've put in so much work this year and it's paid off!

15 Jan 2024 anarchomushroom

<3 <3 <3 <3

15 Jan 2024 sebastiank

Love 3x Wake Up Call, congrats on the win!

15 Jan 2024 BinkBonkle


15 Jan 2024 xiaat

Awesome meta pick and results! How does it fare against T1 Miss Bones, especially with 0 Rashidas? Wake Up Call probably helps somewhat

15 Jan 2024 Council

In September...I must've been dreaming

Wake Up Call is the Q-test card I've ever seen

15 Jan 2024 Council

🦇 💜⚫ ⚪⚫⚪

15 Jan 2024 Radiant

hey I made the writeup LOL

Congratulations on a job well done! :)

15 Jan 2024 cros

Congratulations, what a final game GG

15 Jan 2024 maninthemoon

Congrats! Watching the finals was so fun! Your execution was clinical <3

15 Jan 2024 NotAgain

Unban the wife

15 Jan 2024 chordgang

i love you

15 Jan 2024 MrStyx


16 Jan 2024 Porkobolo

The more you win, the more i turn in a groupie. Take me on tour!

16 Jan 2024 Sokka

Congrats! Especially after having to drop at worlds, I am so happy to see you win this one! Very well deserved!

16 Jan 2024 jan tuno

@everyone: love you 🩷

@xiaat: if bones comes down and trashes 2 assets and you can WUC her it's not that bad. But also i've found that even in games where crim gets a bones out and gets full value out of her, their economy is still often not good enough to prevent you from picking momentum back up. Ice a marilyn and you can start sticking more things on the board and often you can still become unbearable.

(i don't think rashida would help much, she is very hard to stick and generally pretty bad in this deck. take notes for sunset!)

17 Jan 2024 Sauc3

Congrats, knew you were going far!! This deck is brutal, gonna tear that Sunset up..

18 Jan 2024 Wentagon


But seriously congrats on the finish this deck is gross and I love it

18 Jan 2024 Wentagon

welp that link is broke as hell. here:

20 Jan 2024 IonFox

Deck really bullies >.<

Congrats on the win, it's an amazing deck! ^w^

20 Jan 2024 jan tuno

``@IonFox` bullying you was a pleasure 💕

24 Jan 2024 lopert

Thank you so much for linking the replays! Really helps to understand how this is played.

I'm not sure I understand from your writeup why the Urtica Cipher was cut? What prevents the runner from just running at your undefended Reconstruction Contract?

i.e. In your R4 match, you have a rezzed and exposed Reconstruction Contract from turn 5 onwards. If the runner attacks this, you'd have to choose between moving the 1-2 counters to Clearinghouse, or just letting them trash it for tempo (and Hostile Architecture damage).

Especially with Formicary in the deck, which means you could hit for a "surprise" 2 net and then force access to your trap of choice if they continue.

I guess you can do a similar trick with Angelique Garza Correa. but that costs credits and would presumably deal less damage, while keeping slots and influence free. Dunno, the Urtica Cipher option seems way more lethal.

24 Jan 2024 Tamijo

The Urtica Cipher play doesn't work on an unprotected remote. The server disappears and the Urtica goes in a different server that they aren't running, so it would require committing extra resources. The Formicary can certainly help there, for sure, but you are committing to protecting this thing whereas forcing them to spend time is still good enough.

Urtica is also two influence, and outside of this scenario where they run through and tank a Formicary, it's probably not great, and drawing it is awful.

24 Jan 2024 jan tuno

@lopert we tried Urtica for a bunch, some thoughts about it:

  • Influence is very tight, back when the list didn't have Mavirus it was possible to fit, but atm the Magnet is the only point of inf that I really see as negotiable
  • It's a garnet, i.e. a card that you want to tutor but it kind of sucks to draw. As soon as you draw it your options are depleted and it sort of becomes equivalent to an Angelique that can only be randomly spammed on the board for net damage (really not good)
  • In most cases the urtica pull is something that wins you games you are winning anyway. Contrast with Hostile Architecture which turns games from undecided to winning
  • It doesn't protect recoco the way you want it to, as tamijo explains above
  • Most of the time your clearinghouse is properly iced so you're okay with moving counters, the runner has to spend a click to force it and you're happy about it. Or maybe you make them spend 4 credits which lead them into a state where they can't contest your clearinghouse anymore and you win from there. Either way i don't think a 1/4 asset that is not a wincon in and of itself deserves protection: the runner trashing it is protection for your more important assets
  • the Angelique Garza Correa trick is less powerful than the urtica trick often, but it does meat damage (which charges your other recocos) and more importantly can be done on centrals. if you also have a hostile that makes the angelique untrashable, you have basically secured a whole central server by doing this
24 Jan 2024 lopert

Makes sense, and I do get how the server self-destructs after Reconstruction Contract usage, unless something is keeping it intact, which is why I mentioned the Formicary synergy.

Additionally, after refreshing my understanding of the no-change-in-game-state rule, the Recoco / Ob combo does seem very awkward to try and use as a trap, since it needs both at least 1 counter and a valid target already in play (and presumably a Formicary to keep the server alive) before it can enable forced trap shenanigans.

This combined with the "garnet" effect you mentioned makes Urtica Cipher very hard to get excellent usage out of.