Show of Brain

The Real C 106

Because murder should be easy.

This is my current favorite Cerebral Imaging kill deck at the moment, and probably one of the stronger Corp decks in the current meta. Its main advantages is that it has a cheap combo requiring relatively few cards (on average 7-8 cards and ~15 creds), that there are few true counters to it, and that it, unlike several other purple kill strategies, can kill Runners even if they have tons of money and/or don't run.

The main combo is fairly simple. Score Brain Rewiring, then score Show of Force. If the Runner has no meat damage prevention, then they are dead on the spot - and note that they cannot e.g. trigger Sports Hopper or Geist to save themselves if you score Brain Rewiring and Show of Force in the same timing window, which you are allowed to do. Nor does I've Had Worse help, since Brain Rewiring doesn't actually do damage.

The general setup for the combo is as follows:

As one can see, there is a fair bit of flexibility available. With 3x Biotic Labor and Jeeves, you have two spare clicks to do shenanigans, such as installing more Cyberdex Virus Suites, sniping their damage prevention with Voter Intimidation, or turning off boxing lady with Cerebral Static. As a consequence, it is very rare for the Runner to be fully safe.

Speaking of the Runner being safe, there are, as I mentioned, very few counters, but you might need to bring a fair number of tech cards to deal with potential issues. In a sense, this version of the deck is the "max tech" version, featuring most or all of the tech cards one might need. Voter Intimidation turns off On the Lam, Guru Davinder and other nasty resources. Cerebral Static is, as mentioned, mostly for punchie punchie, but with Andromeda gone, it also serves to frustrate a large number of popular runners. Ark Lockdown, Best Defense and the double Cyberdex Virus Suite let you break through all but the most thorough Clot locks, and odds are your combo is assembled long before they're able to fully Clot lock you, if they can at all. Cyberdex Virus Suite also doubles as excellent Archives defense vs. Aumakua, who would otherwise be quite troublesome.

On the topic of ice and icebreakers, I'm pretty sure the current suite is one of the most obnoxious possible. Not only will the Runner need an AI to get through, several AIs don't even help much or at all - turtle can be locked out, Eater isn't really a problem anymore, Dai V is just way too clunky - especially if you send a nice reminder to twitch.tv that they should ban Smoke's channel. There are options that can get in, but they're rare, and by the time they're set up you're usually not too far off of a combo. A bioroid ice suite wouldn't be bad, either, but I'd wait until there's a new good 5/3 to replace Food, so we could get Fair 3.0 in.

When it comes to influence, it is actually a bit tight, but you can free up some. If you know your meta, you can drop Cerebral Static and Medical Research Fundraiser for e.g. a Shipment from Tennin and an IPO. Alternatively, one could replace Medical Research Fundraiser with Targeted Marketing; definitely a solid choice if Employee Strike is popular. For currents, it's definitely possible to either drop Scarcity of Resources for Enforced Curfew, saving you a cred here and there, but I'm loathe to do so since Scarcity can slow down the Runner's setup very, very hard. Going up to 2x Scarcity is also an excellent choice, although it's hard to say what should be dropped for it.

And that's about it! One of the faster & easier CI decks out there, which consistently murders anything it comes across. Have fun showing people your brain!

2 comments
24 Oct 2017 Valranoth

Any thoughts regarding a 24/7 News Cycle/Neural EMP version?

25 Oct 2017 The Real C

The purpose of this deck is to kill the Runner in one turn, without ever making a remote - the ice&ambush suite is perfectly suited to protecting two servers + Archives, and although you can sacrifice HQ or R&D to build a remote, this makes you weak to digs and one-off ice bypass tricks. So I'd rather lock down HQ and R&D, assemble a combo and oneshot the Runner.

The cheapest you can get a 24/7+EMP kill going is, if I haven't mathed it wrong, SfM, installing 2x Rewiring, Biotic Labor and then 3x SfK. Next turn, you go 24/7 + 2x EMP.

This is a combo of 14 credits (assuming the Runner has 5 cards in hand) and 10 cards - one of which you need 3 copies of, the other being a specific agenda you need 2 copies of (doable with 1, but becomes much more expensive unless you're running drowing bots). Audacity won't run well here, for obvious reasons. Essentially, although the combo is marginally cheaper in terms of creds, it's significantly more expensive in terms of cards, and gives the Runner more time to react. With Jeeves and triple Biotic, you can pull off the whole 24/7 kill in one turn, but this becomes prohibitively expensive in all regards, and still doesn't prevent the Runner from doing reactions (not to mention it completely nullifies the purpose of 24/7). In conclusion, I just don't think it fits with the "no remotes" strategy I tend to favor.

There is also another, essential problem with 24/7+EMP - it's a lot easier for the Runner to shut down. One of the big draws with Show of Brain is that it ignores a large number of damage prevention mechanisms due to the combination of being truly instant (no responses allowed) and not doing net damage (which is currently easier to defend against than meat damage). Geist, Exile, IHW, Sports Hopper, Feedback Filter, Caldera, First Responders, Muertos Gang Member, Synthetic Blood and evil cereals all block the 24/7+EMP kill, without being able to stop Show of Brain; sure not all of those are played, and some of them you can deal with, but it's a needlessly large list of counters. Hopper in particular is both popular and a total pain to get rid of.

The few cards that can protect against Show of Brain without stopping 24/7+EMP are Jarogniew Mercs, Citadel Sanctuary, Paparazzi and Crash Space. All these are resources, which means we can get them to vote for us, and we can pew pew two of them, plus they don't really see much play anyways. Mercs is the hardest one to beat, but at least it (like Paparazzi) contributes to its own trashing.

Finally - if I were to be killing Runners with EMPs, I'd much rather pair it with the worst card in the game.