A lot of people have been running jank or combo decks out of Wu and I agree that there's a certain amount of flair to that approach. I tested some versions of Wu leading up to my first store championship, primarily including Origami + Ekomind + Game Day for large hand size and accelerated card draw. However, I kept finding that MaxX decks were just more consistent at setting up quickly, drawing cards, and making money to enable lots of runs.
I'm a Shaper player at heart, and although I strongly considered taking MaxX to my tournament, I instead tried to analyze what advantages MaxX had over my other Shaper decks and determine what I could do to put those in Shaper, where the bulk of my competitive Netrunner experience is and where I know more about lines of play. It kept coming back to the fact that MaxX's ID ability enables for quickly cycling through your deck, setting up breakers consistently and quickly, giving clickless draw, and just finding lots of good economy cards to keep up with the majority of Corp decks in the current meta.
So, after trialing a few other Shaper decks that didn't quite seem to suit me, I just decided to throw a shit-ton of economy cards (including Magnum Opus and 2 Stimhack) and strong multi-access into the same deck, and picked Wu for consistency of setup.
The deck worked pretty well. I made a few tweaks to increase consistency and the main focus of the deck, and it won all of its games in testing on J.net casual a few days before the tournament (a whopping sample size of about 8), so I just went for it.
Some of the card choices:
Peace in Our Time - Even without Tapwrm, I have been finding that this card is huge for Shaper setup. I often had a great start if I saw this in my opening hand, because it enables you to start with Opus or Earthrise Hotel.
Stimhack wins games.
Deuces Wild helps to increase setup speed, mostly using the credits + draw combo, but occasionally to expose an ice before installing programs to see which breaker you might need or what you're up against.
Beth Kilrain-Chang is great with Opus to give you the option of just taking 10 credits and passing back to the opponent. If you are up by even 1-2 points, you can slow down your runs and put huge pressure on them with this option to keep the remote locked down.
Citadel Sanctuary was added last minute as extra protection against Punitive Counterstrike or BOOM!. I never installed it on the day. I thought it might be relevant in my game against Max's Gagarin deck, but I didn't see it and he didn't find Punitive, so it didn't matter.
Earthrise Hotel was the accelerant that this deck really needed, added at the recommendation of @PureFlight (thanks Graham). If you see one of these early, especially after playing Peace or Opus, you can usually chain them to draw through your deck and constantly provide additional burst economy to keep you going.
Breakers are pretty standard Shaper right now. I considered Brahman, with the idea of installing Misdirection repeatedly to break annoying ice in a pinch, but that seemed dumb and caused memory issues, so I kept to Atman.
Clot seems important in theory, and when you lose to FA strategies you'll wish you had it. But I never installed it on the day and never needed it. Not loving it in the current meta, but your mileage may vary.
Equivocation was generally installed for a good part of the day, and helped a lot in at least 2 of the games. Seems good.
Misdirection is there for HHN protection in a pinch, and I love pulling it out with Wu to surprise people who think they have a HHN window. Bonus points if you use your final click to Stimhack into the remote where they just jammed an agenda.
Magnum Opus is an interesting call, and I at times missed Film Critic, but everything is better with lots of money and this card delivers. 1x was a gamble but I think it was the right call, as you can lean on Wu's ability to save you 1-2 more slots, but you need to protect it against Batty or damage.
I went 3-1 on the day. Wins were against Palana, PU, and Gagarin. The loss was against another Palana.
I had written notes down on the back of my score sheet after each game so I could remember how it went and write it up, but I accidentally left the sheet at the store, so here are some of the key details I do remember.
Had a good start, I think with Peace in hand and some draw. He tried to rush out a Nisei and I sniped it from remote, and scored another out of centrals. I focused during the mid-game on setting up the rest of my rig, keeping my hand full, and using Opus for cash. FTE combined with Gauntlet and Maker's Eye snuck me out the final points as he was starting to catch up. He told me after the game that he had flooded a bit and was trying to recover, but I was able to steal faster than he could do that, primarily thanks to FTE.
Graham is one of my best friends and testing partners, and he's the reason I got into this game. He drove up from Chicago and stayed at my house the night before, and I played him in a kitchen table game the night before, in which I quickly outplayed him to his consternation. This was his revenge. At one point he used Celebrity Gift for some cash and revealed a Nisei MK II in hand along with 2 Breached Dome and a few irrelevant cards, when HQ was naked. I had the thought that I could just run a few times, steal the important Nisei, and take a few net damage as needed. What I totally forgot about was that my only Magnum Opus was in hand, and of course he sniped it. :(
I was able to stay afloat on thin credits using all of the other economy in my deck, and I think I made it up to 5 points, but he was ultimately able to tax me out when I ran out of gas a few turns later.
I made an even dumber play against him with my Corp deck and lost that match within 3 turns, which really bummed me out and ultimately kept me out of the top 4 cut. Graham very clearly saw the openings and took advantage of them, and I had fun cheering him on and running the rest of the tournament during the top 4 cut, so I was ok with how it turned out.
I'm pretty sure Fernando was a newer player who came here with some other friends. We were both 1-3 at this point, so I knew that I needed to sweep if I wanted any chance at earning at least a deck box and maybe making it into the cut. I was again able to quickly set up and started poking around at his central servers. I made one misplay that could have potentially cost me the game that was, in hindsigh, pretty greedy against PU. I overdrew at one point and had Paperclip in hand, so I just discarded down and put it in the bin so I could install it on a later turn. Instead, Fernando played Ark Lockdown and removed my only fracter, and he had already trashed my Atman to his ID ability or a Breached Dome trigger. Realizing that I was about to get locked out, I played FTE and made a big run on HQ with The Gauntlet, accessed 3 cards, and stole the winning Obokata Protocol with exactly 4 cards in hand.
I started off slowly by really making sure that my long-term economy was set up. I got Magnum Opus out early, used Peace + Opus to click for a lot of credits, and poked around a few servers. As his credit pile started to grow, my fear was for either Punitive Counterstrike or Trojan Horse (I don't have any recursion and didn't see SacCon early on), so I just kept moneying up as well. When I made a 1- or 2-access run on HQ and sniped a Vanity Project from hand, I froze and immediately started to freak out. I assumed he was on Punitive, and I saw that he had about double my credit count, so my heart sank and I assumed that was game. I made a hail mary on R&D and missed with Maker's Eye, passed to him, and sighed.
And then, miraculously, he didn't kill me. I think this was the turn where he hit me with HHN, but I played Peace, pulled Misdirection out with Wu, and cleared the tags.
Taking a deep breath, I moneyed up again, poked around a few servers, and then scored Government Takeover out of HQ a few turns later.
Max informed me after the game that I had scored the agendas when my odds of doing so were incredibly slim. This could very easily have gone to Max, and probably should have. I proceeded to lost my Corp game to his Pirate Hayley and lost my last chance to make it into the cut, and he ended up getting into the cut and beat out Graham for third place, so I guess I don't feel too bad about this win.
Overall, the deck performed really well and exactly as I hoped it would. Clot and Citadel were wasted slots on the day, although I think they could've been more important against a CTM + Calibration Testing deck or Jemison. I'm working on testing a version with -1 FTE, -1 Clot, +2 Turning Wheel to increase central pressure even more, but I'm starting to wonder if that second FTE is more important than I first guessed to ensure I find it each game. If you drop Clot, you also could consider going -2 SacCon, +2 Dummy Box to better protect your resources.
This was my first time as a tournament organizer, and everyone seemed to have a good time, so mostly I'm just glad that everyone else was pleased with how the day went! Thanks to everyone who came out.