Gang Sign Kim Plays Solitaire on his Maw

Welkren Wanderlust 32

Unveiling my pet project after a downright silly amount of playtesting and refinement.

alt text

-Tired of corporations throwing up some ice and playing solitaire for ten minutes? -Feeling like Anarch has lost its excitement, looking to spice up the relationship?? -Ready to show corp what it feels like to sit across from asset spam? -Hate Gagarin with a passion? Then you've come to the right place!

First of all, I love Gang Sign. As a card i find the way that it forces hard decisions from the corp for just a single credit and it's overall value as a card to be one of the best in the game. Unfortunately I always found that while I loved the card itself I downright hated every runner that people played it with, and that gang sign resolving to do nothing was all too common in those archetypes. After bouncing around runners for ages I finally settled on Edward Kim, and the results from there were impressive to say the least. The deck applies pressure from all fronts, ceding the early game in favor of an absolutely backbreaking late game economy engine by substituting all the traditional burst econ with drip economy resources. The deck really leaves no space for the corp to exploit the early game scoring window left by setting up that drip, as scoring out early against this deck rather then setting up their own econ is suicide and trying to outrace the drip of credits by not advancing their board is a fool's errand. Below I will go into the overall game plan and common plays including individual card decisions, followed by match up overviews and a short walk through of several match ups and the decision windows therein.

At it's core this deck is like asset spam in that you want to drown your opponent in value turn by turn. However, where this is advantaged compared to asset spam is that outside of a small set of cards (that usually require me to have interacted with them on my last turn) the corp's ability to remove large numbers of resources is very limited. And if you keep your hand size high enough, realistically you're in the driver seat for the majority of the game after turn 7 or so. If the corp has rushed out agendas up to that point then they have essentially ceded the late game to you, if they spent those turns setting up as well then they are at an inherent 1 click per turn disadvantage and it's just a matter of time.

Take. You're. Time. They're not going anywhere, and every turn they're falling further behind. Find the one-ofs you need, click contacts 4 times and discard, like relax it's fine.

Card Choices: -Icebreakers: I firmly believe that the Anarch bin breakers are the most efficient, reliable set of breakers in the game. Using Professional Contacts to discard and Inject to find it is really easy to set them up mid-run for maximum click compression and bad pub exploitation. Enough said really, just avoid discarding multiples to protect from heap hate and against Scorpios only end of turn discard to get them there (duh).

-Scrubber / Maw / HQ Interface: This is your interaction package. On their own they're all strong, but in conjunction with gang sign each one jumps in efficiency while forcing your opponent to make difficult decisions. I often hold the maw or interface until they double advance an agenda then drop either (or both) and let them score their 5/3 or whatever. if I can give them 3 agenda points to shred their hand and force them to be clicking to draw each turn with a hand I can HQ Interface with runs from my credit advantage then I'm completely in control. Between Maw and HQ Interface you can strip 3 cards a turn by bouncing off of any server to trigger Maw and then running. Scrubber on their turn off of a Gang Sign is also a blast.

-Professional Contacts / Inject: Sets up the breakers and grinds value, also solves the Jinteki and Weyland issues with damage. i usually spend my pre-run clicks clicking to 5 cards against Jinteki, since so many cards are redundant what you discard usually isn't a huge deal:

-The Archivist: Aside from setting up contacts, Archivist is pure value right now. Once you get to 3 bad publicity between archivist, mining incident, and often Weyland being Weyland you run wherever you want through whatever you want. Added about game 23 or so with the Underworld Contact set and never looked back.

-Beth Kilrain-Chang / Underworld Contact / Data Folding: backbone of the deck, drown them in value. Not really much more to say here except that I went through about 15 games testing with and without Beth Kilrain-Chang and the extra click when they get high on credits was just too much value to leave behind especially in the Asa Group matchups where clicking through fairchild is often way more effecient than paying 12 credits to break all subs with Black Orchestra.

-DDoS: one copy to keep your opponent honest or when you can't find a specific breaker. Usually the play is draw DDoS Run Serverfor the advanced agenda then Run Hand.

-Archives Interface: For removing Breached Dome and stopping recursion. 'Nuff Said.

-Ice Carver: Single copy to act as a pseudo bad pub. Pushing the non-paperclip breakers up a strength is super relevant for specific ice as well, 3 creds for the ice carver saves you 3 credits on a breaker click the first time you use MKUltra to break a strength 4 Sentry.

-Citadel Sanctuary: A nod to CtM, in honesty the most difficult matchup. If you don't need it then discard it, but of the 11 losses in the first 30 games 6 of them were to CtM before I figured out the matchup and Citadel Sanctuary in conjunction with The Archivist really forces them to spend turns stacking credits if they want to resolve traces.

-Hacktivist Meeting: Trashes currents efficiently, slows horizontal decks down and provides another attack vector.

-I've Had Worse: Concession to Jinteki, without Film Critic it's one of the few ways to adjust to an Obokata mid-turn. Also has its upshots against Weyland, you should never really pay for it and if you have contacts online and don't think you need it i'd bin it before a duplicate bin breaker just to be safe from bin hate (saw a surprising number of Chronos Protocol between games 20 and 40).

Game Summaries with match up Walk throughs. Only match up I did not get to test much was Boogeyman CI, apparently there's an armistice agreement on not to play that deck because in 48 tracked games I never ran into it a single time. If anyone could do research on that match up and let me know i'd appreciate it.

at game 30 deck was 19/11, with the majority of the losses in the first 10 games while I was hammering the shell out. deck wasn't set in stone until game 26, at game 30 i decided I had the game plan down enough to start tracking the game results from here onward without it just being noise.

game 31: Won. Argus Security, accepted that at some point the tags will happen. Take the 4 meat damage asset to the face, try to resolve an archivist and let them bad pub themselves out of the game scoring hostile takeovers. if they score 2 hostile takeover they lose, way too much fuel for your breakers. Even with severe misplays (forgetting that citadel discards your hand to prevent meat damage and discarding 5 cards, for example, as well as letting a tag stick that got my contacts and arrchivist trashed) I was still able to put him into a position where he had 3 points to go and no way to keep agendas safe between maw and bad pub giving unlimited virtually free runs on servers.

game 32: Won. Asa Group: Asa is tough because their openers can be really strong with breaker bay grid. I opened with double data folding and just out-resourced him, in general that's my prefererred policy. If they Mushin don't call the bluff, just pressure hand and servers. Cerebral overwriter is way more harmful than them scoring a single 5/3, most of your games against Asa will end with them at 5+ points but unable to score out the last one because of pressure. hammer R&D to keep them honest.

Game 33: Won. PE. Same as most games, open econ. Against PE though just avoid runs if at all possible, install and build that late game engine. Mining Accidents are just vamps here, play them after celebrity gift. most games will come down to your last few cards here so never play anything you don't have to, especially the econ events. simply put, you will need cards in hand to score obokata''s so spending a turn clicking for creds 4 times is better in the long run than playing a sure gamble. won this game with one card in hand and no deck by running R&d 3x the turn he double advanced his last obokata that would have won him the game. Archives interface is in the deck for breached dome specifically, just bite the bullet and install it early before it gets discarded.

Game 34: Won. PE. Pretty much the same, with archives interface online I cleared the domes and stopped running anything other than kakugo-free servers once I got through all 3 snares. nowhere to put the agendas, just a matter of time. again went down to scoring an Obokata off of my last 5 cards.

Game 35: Won. Argus Security. Pretty much the same story as last argus game, opponent spent the first three turns scoring hostile takeovers and Standoffs and 2 turns after that playing hedge funds and IPO's while i installed t1 gang sign and drip econs. He almost had me on Hard hitting news with 2 false leads but he was 1 credit short of the boom on his turn (thanks archivist).

Game 36: Won. PE. Won on turn 2, so not super helpful for the sample, but an opener of sure gamble and 2 i'v had worse lets you really facecheck against jinteki without too much fear. He bluffed an un-iced philotic entanglement t1 which i scored, then put up ice and an agenda but I had DDoS to score the objective and the obokata in his hand.

Game 37: Lost. Cybernetics Division. Set the drip econ, outpacing him at every angle but forgot to make sure I was drawn up to 3 with my third click and hit a rogue snare. Happens, remember to respect the snare guys!

Game 38: Win. Agfusion. Tale as old as time, set up econ and let him do his own thing for a few turns. his opener was scarcity which would normally be a problem but I had I'v had worse in hand so I just face-checked his ice to force him to rez them. if he has 5 credits or less face-check is totally fine as all the komainu, enigma, etc all cost him a whole turn or more of clicking to rez and only cost me one click, bought me a few turns to find a contact and start going off. Game ended in a click off, i'm totally happy letting corp spend turns being forced to draw with nowhere to hide those cards. got him with 8 whole cards to spare.

NOTE: Took a few days off between game 38 and 39, IRL stuff to do, I do expect to be a little rusty though to keep that in mind for the following games.

game 39: Win. Building a better world. Burst econ corp decks just aren't good against this deck, despite playing hedge funds and IPO's he was still mostly behind on money every turn after turn 5. I just made clicked for credits as much as possible to stay above him, he almost closed the game on a consulting visit for HHN with 1 scored false lead when i played an extra contact i didn't need instead of clicking for credits and let him get away with it, fortunately between maw and his low deck size left I was able to find the 7th agenda point to close it out in the 2 runs I was going to have. I'm not even certain if he had a second boom to be honest, but could have been game.

Game 40: Win. Near-Earth Hub. Game was a little bit of a toss up, he went to zero credits to score a beele and I made a bunch of runs instead of just getting ahead there with draws and credits. eventually I found a scrubber and went into Cleanup mode, he was on Mumba Temple which gave him burst econ but hacktivist is super good against horozontal decks.

Game 41: Loss. Biotech. My fault, I am not familiar with the three sides and didn't pause to check what they did. got to 6 points and in control of the game but went down to 1 card playing an underworld and found out that the Brewery side of biotech is a thing that exists. Gotcha moment, if I had checked them i'd have respected it and just clicked a contacts rather than play the underworld.

Game 42: Loss. Scorpios. Died to psi games form Batty, nothing more to it really. Archer costs 9 minimum to get through in this build, 3 Battys in a row triggering tythonium behind the archer closed it. Note to self: Guess better.

I forgot to type for games 43-45, as I recall I won a match against a NBN: Making News deck that just got pushed too far behind economically and lost to two Jinteki Mushin decks.

46: Won. Jemison. he spent the first few turns installing ice and playing hedge funds / Ipo's while I installed underworlds and chang with a gang sign, he fell behind. Won on a government takeover that he discarded.

47: Lost. Palana. early IPO into scarcity of resources kept me from being able to install much. Jinteki may be more of an issue than I awknowledged, about 80% of my losses are to Obokata decks.

48: Lost. CtM. Huge misplay on turn 1, didn't play a data folding before running the asset to keep them honest and hit a Mumbad virtual tour that put me 9 credits behind them. pretty much ended the game on the spot.

After 48 games of play testing I have identified Jinteki as being more of an issue than previously believed due largely to Kakugo being able to limit your late game runs. I plan on cutting Chang for 1 feedback filter and the third Professional Contacts. End results of testing were 32/16, or 66.667% win rate which includes the first 15 games where i was really messing with the deck (for context with that at different points the deck even had a full set of cutlery events and same old thing, cut gang sign for film critic, and even ran Muertos Gang Member). of those losses the vast majority were to CtM or to a Jinteki deck with me low on cards.

Hope this wall of text was informative.

25 Jan 2018 quailman2101

I've been trying to make Gang Sign Kim work for a long time now, because I too believe it is a great interaction. I think you set up seems solid.

26 Jan 2018 Qris

Really cool idea! If you're thinking of cutting Beth, would you consider a third Gang Sign? I think Bhagat would fit nicely, and would love to add more DDoS, what would you swap for those?

26 Jan 2018 Welkren Wanderlust

@quailman2101were you playing it on jnet a month or so ago? Someone on there gave me the inspiration, absolutely wrecked my Weyland deck with the drip econ / bad pub engine I borrowed for this deck.

@QrisI previously played the third gang sign and to be honest found the full set to be a less effecient use of influence. I substituted an HQ interfce for the third and got an almost identical effect, once one is online the threat is present. If I cut Beth it would be for one feedback filter to help with jinteki and the third contacts, the games I lose are the ones where I can;t find a contacts half the game not the ones I can't find a gang sign. Original list played Bhagat, found that I wasn't triggering it much. You can camp their hand by bouncing off of remotes, most of my games thought i'm not running every turn. Maw was better in the spot for my build and my play style, Try it though! :) You could probably cut an ice carver and a hacktivist for what you wanted.

26 Jan 2018 Welkren Wanderlust

@quailman2101were you playing it a month ago or so on jnet? I recognize your username, you might have given me inspiration, got wrecked by a gang sign kim on weyland while I was learning the game. Only been playing 2 months.

`@Qris: I was originally playing the full gang sign set, found it to be a bit overkill since the longer the game goes the worse gang sign. CIt the third for the HQ interface which has the same functionality of a second gang sign while being good outside of runs. I'm currently cutting beth for a feedback filteer for the jinteki matchup and the thirdd contacts, theres a night and day diffference between the games I find contacts and the games I don't in terms of effeciency. My original list played Bhagat, but I cut it as play testing went on and I realized that I don't make a lot of runs on hand after the early turns. Most of my runs are on R&D and camping remotes. If you wanted to play Bhagat and another DDoS though, I'd cut a hacktivist and the Ice Carver.