I played this at the charity gift tournament, having tinkered with it since the start of the Flashpoint cycle and the release of the much-maligned Nay-sayers pointed to pol op, rumor mill, and interdiction as the death of this decks keystone. However, first let me set the scene.
It all began with me slapping another of my decks over in frustration, I couldn't win, anything. Siphon bored the shit out of me and I just couldn't find my groove with a corp as Faust smashed open my servers. I was angry and I was miserable, having decried all of these strategies (and been agreed with) nobody seemed to be willing to put the gun down with such things because they worked. So, that dark and stormy night, I set to work. With one objective. If I wasn't allowed to have fun, neither was anyone else, and I was going to do it with cards those smug bastards had never even heard of!
Enter the Punishing March! We have seen the Weyland that hunts, seeking to either tear through the runner or slowly bleed them out. Recently released, Weyland jumped into camp Fast Advance with Jemison. However, this is not the way of Gagarin. With this deck, with runners battering down the gates. You have but one job. Hold the castle! Runners are invited to break themselves against its walls, siege engines turned aside with...robot...cats. Ok the analogy doesn't survive scrutiny! However this is an asset grind down deck.
What may initially look like asset spam Gagarin is more of a glacier, it uses a lot of assets to support the formation of the glacier, leveraging the ability, however, with enough backlogged cash and excluding Tour Guide, this deck could comfortably play on 2/3 servers...alright, enough apologizing for it. This deck cranks out assets, makes them hard to trash with the ID, and punishes trashing with Hellion Beta Test.
Your ideal Board state is having as many assets as possible live. However VITAL to the plan are your Sandburg (Behind something large that ends the run.), Jeeves (Behind something.) A MCA/scoring remote (Generally behind 2 things, both run ending but can go higher if you feel the need) is nice but far from essential, so don't wait for it if you have your window.
Agendas: Just good agendas here really.
Assets: The big lever of the deck. Your first port of call are your Indian Union Stock exchanges, one is the minimum I'd say you need before you start rezzing things outside of an emergency. These little beauties will get your ball rolling, and will make things like tech startup rez at a profit! Amazing and underrated econ. I highly advise. By fairly early doors, if you're being mostly left alone you want ideally to have a couple of stock exchange, a pad, a mumba and a Jeeves. From there, start icing remotes as you see the ice or playing things like Sandburg and MCA naked if not. Don't rez them until they are iced.
The basic motor is pile up the MCA, score an agenda, use a team sponsorship to reinstall the MCA and click it again if you have the time (which Jeeves should be giving you.) All other aspects of the asset suite support this plan.
General install order: Indian Union, Mumba, Jeeves, Pad, Sandburg, MCA,
(The rest is fairly fluid in terms of order, but for the ideal windmill, a teamsponsorship is also needed.)
Operations: Because Runners trash assets, here we have a big stick to tell them not to. Plus an enforcing loyalty for things like Magnum Opus, Salsette slums and so on.
When you see an opening, use Hellion Beta test aggressively to start stripping away resources. Use Enforcing Loyalty sparingly, but opportunistically. If there is a big econ card down or an annoying piece of tech, go for it. If not, wait.
Scarcity is just scarcity...it's really good.
Diversified Portfolio is you main econ injection. Use it with a stock exchange on the table and a few other assets. Don't be afraid to gain 4 if the runner is being pokey. Otherwise, this can be up to 2 Sandburg stacks. Mulligan if seen.
Other potential options were Hedge Fund. But I honestly never found myself with the time to play it early, and it never did enough for Sandburg I found that PAD did a similar job longer term but better.
ICE is whatever you feel like a lot of the time, Vanilla is definitely recommended as it rezzes at a profit with Indian Union, and with paperclip everywhere a light hand with barriers is advised. Code gates on the other hand, fill your boots. Triple advanced these new Weyland code gates are brutal. Especially with Sandburg jacking them to 12 strength. I'd advise Hortums on your less key assets and central you aren't defending as much (usually HQ) and triple advanced mausolus on Sandburg or MCA. Remember you can triple advance and do something else with Jeeves. Collossus is very much the flex slot on the ICE, after this I'd maybe drop for sappers. Tour guide without parasite is finally good, and can become insumountable if they have already said 'screw it' with the assets.
Bugbears and cards to watch: Apocalypse: Double ICE one of your centrals to avoid this pesky tempo breaker and protect from DDOS
Salsette slums: Generally needs either its support stripping away or Enforcing loyalty if you have it spare
Scrubber: Hellion Beta test primary target
Maw/Sec Nexus: Other beta test targets. Be prepared to invest for the nexus.
Inside Job: Double ICE if suspected.
Hacktivist Meeting: If playing red, wait for their current unless you have scarcity turn 1. As they are keeping your assets pinned, you do have a chance to sneak out a 4/2 if you're willing to take the card from Jeeves
Tips and Tricks: This deck plays with a fairly small HQ, so don't worry too much about running out of cards, you can always power draw with Jeeves
Naked Tech startups die...a lot...
Mausolus needs advancing to be a real problem, Hortum doesn't.
Always remember your Stock Exchange.
Tournament write-up: How did it play at Charity gift III?
Game 1: Apocalypse Alice. (Loss) Started alright with a bunch of assets, but failed to find ICE until turn 7 and got flooded. Total write-off of a game and an overall miserable start.
Game 2: Laramy Fisk (Loss...don't laugh) Came right down to the wire with the very last card being the HRI I wasn't about to score next turn. More than 1 ICE on R&D would have saved it.
Game 3: Edward Kim HQ pressure (Win.) Went off without a hitch, Kim was left without his main engine and couldn't get in anywhere as the Sandburg wall climbed steadily higher
Game 4: Reina Roja (Win.) Risky play as I lacked a Sandburg, however rushing the MCA behind a triple mausolus before a Decoder was found did just as well.
Game 5: Khan (Win.) Broke the Magnum Opus and took out the London Library at a lucky shot from a Mausolus. Again the walls climbed and the runner was left in the cold.
Overall went 5/10 wins at a great event at which I got some nice alt arts.
A word on morality: The universal feedback I have had from this deck is that it is a negative play experience. Therefore I would advise you to use this as a skeleton and make it more fun to play against. Having faced a friend using it, I can confirm it is miserable. Ultimately, it won its objective. Siphon and Faust have left us, so maybe it is time for me to let go of the grudge. I will now be retiring this deck. But keeping the list.
"Forgive the siphon players, the Faust player and the constant mill. But never EVER forget their names." (JFK...probably.)
22 Oct 2017 paulyg