Exile(d) ... in the dumpster

Dydra 2793

Last couple of weeks I've been playing around trying to make an Exile deck. My n0ise deck can't benefit currently from any more tweaks and since it's a competitive powerhouse, I turned around to play something a bit more different.

I'm not gonna lie, a big part of picking up Exile is because he is one of the most underplayed identities and I wanted to make something cool, fun and that works. I've found myself with really great deck, which I believe with the right finishing tweaks might even reach competitive level.

While brainstorming I came up with a bunch of cool and original decks that use a lot of H&P, including a Overmind with Oracle May, Motivation - connection deck, however after I'm done around 80-90% with the deck I realize that if I simply switch Exile for Kate the deck won't work any different except being tons of more efficient. It's just so hard to make a deck that's catered towards Exile, before any other Shaper.

In my mind currently there are only 2 decks that it makes a difference if you play Exile, rather any other Shaper. The first one is with Pawn+Deep Red+ Scheherazade combo and the second one is like this one, where the heap becomes your hand.

Now with this big intro out of the way, we can start!

General Mindset()

The deck relies heavily on a couple of card interactions and ideas and it's very important to master them if you want to use this deck efficiently (even I'm still getting used to them)


  • If you ever want to play Freelance coding, this is the correct way to do it in my opinion - with a lot of programs and a lot of draw. Your first couple of turns, you would want to chain card draw into programs into free lance, while leaving in hand test run+ scavenge , memory and clone chips. I feel the only dead condition for this deck is if your 3x Freelance are stuck together somewhere in the mid/bottom of your deck. So make sure you shuffle your deck properly!

  • A normal starting hand for you will be either Diesel+ QT+ Freelance (optimal), or Diesel/QT + Freelance, or Diesel+QT (double draw) .... often another draw will pop in those cards and you most likely want to play it if u dont have free lance drawn yet or/and 5 programs.

If you end up with a hand of 10-to-15 cards on your turn 1 or 2- you are doing stuff right!

Note: If I had the opportunity I'd play with 20 programs rather than 18. I feel 17 is the absolute minimum for an efficient Freelance Coding deck. If you have 15 (which is still a relatively large count in normal decks), that means that you will have only 3 possibilities to chain Freelance for 5 cards. Exactly 3x5. The chances of that happening are very low. With 20 programs though, I'd hit 2x Freelance for 5 cards easy. However, AS is just too much of a strong card and it makes big impact in the deck, so I had to make room for it and sadly there isn't much else to go.

Test Run+Scavenge

  • Now once your programs are in the heap/dumpster you would want to test run+ scavange for your expensive breakers or magnum opus. Now here is where Exile shines over Kate for this type of deck. After all the Diesel and the QT are done and Kate doesn't have her Memory items or Clone chips (about that read bellow) she might need to spend 1 or 2 complete turns going for 1 card per click draw. Exile, however, gain on instant speed 2 cards each time he TR+S combo, which makes the deck a lot faster and helps him finish up his rig sooner.

  • When the pace of the game allows it (to spend 1 entire turn without running) TR for Magnum Opus, gain 4c and scavenge it at the 4th click. That's pretty efficient install, considering it lowers the install cost by 2, Magnum Nets u 2c on Freelance coding it, you immediately net 1 more than the install cost(with 2nd and 3rd clicks) and with the scavenge on 4th click you leave it in play. Oh yeah, because you are exile you gain 2 cards on instant speed as well. Pretty efficient, 'aint it! =)

Clone chip+MU

  • Your rig is very MU expensive. I've tried a couple of variation with Akematsu Mem chips and having programs that trash themselves after usage like Cresentus and Faerie, however I didn't end up liking them. So last week I decided to go for the big guys from CyberSolution Mem chips and it turned out to be a great fit for the programs that I wanted to run.

  • Your rig would be something like Magnum (2MU), Keyhole (2MU), 3 breakers (3MU) that's alread 7 MU gone and with the rest 3 (considering u have all 3 chips in) you can/have to setup 2 Femme's and 1 Nerve agent. Or some AI breaker that gets you efficient somewhere.

  • Clone chips are important as well. Use them to recur programs and that's why there are cheap breakers in the mix as well like sharpshooter, mimic, gordian , corroder ... because tempo is very important for this deck( gonna explain bellow), sometimes you can't wait to TR+S a femme/torch and u need to get past that quandary ASAP! Also you can recur Deus Ex before hitting some Jinteki traps and you can Sharpshooter into any scary destroyer (once SS is in the heap). They are a big reason for your heap literally being your hand, because you can fetch any solution at instant speed, once you've already Freelance-d it.

Late Game Goals

  • If you reach end game, there is almost nothing the corp can do. You have sustain econ (Magnum Opus), you have all breakers, you have Keyhole for R&D and archive pressure, you have Nerve Agent for HQ pressure and you have Femme's that can get you anywhere.

Certain Card Choices()

Keyhole and Nerve agent

  • These are my late game tools. I wanted to spread the pressure as much as possible and I have the MU to do it.

Account Siphone

  • The deck without it and with it is very different. Not only it will help you get some critical money while setup your rig, but it will also slow down the corp.


  • This is another great late game trick and not many people will expect it. Can make a huge difference for end game Keyhole/Remote finisher.


  • It is a great card for the deck. Not only it makes you stop dreading the possibility that a random net damage can discard your Levy (which you will be using for sure), but it also allows you recur Escher which you didn't have the possibility to play or to AS spam. Something even I'm getting used to atm is using it to Freelance when I get really unlucky drawing a 2nd one during a chain.

Overmind/ Atman/ Omega

  • Are generally program fillers.You need a high amount of programs so u have a good % to chain free lance for 4-5 cards. I like have 1 of each, instead 3 of 1, because in certain situations one will be better than the other and you can call up any1 of them from the heap.


The Biggest challenge with this deck is learning the tempo. In many cases you won't have the luxury to sit for 2 turns and chaining combos, or if you get unlucky with the draw. That's when your decision making and skill as a player comes in. You have to know when to cut and what.

The deck is extremely difficult to play, simply because you have too many options at all points of time. Anyway, I wouldn't say it's competitive strong (yet), but will do some work and it's bound to catch people off-guard, which is always a good thing.

P.s. It's 3 AM currently, so I'll fix up and add some stuff tomorrow afternoon. Hope you find it a good read!

P.s.s. Before I get asked against fast advance, Mimic + 1x Femme -> 1x The Source + 1x Program , seems like a good fix to me. With so much draw you are bound to get The Source out in the first couple of turns, but 17 programs might lead to low consistency on the Freelance. Something to think about ;)

28 May 2014 Robotron5673

Good deck and good strategy guide. I'm an Exile fan and this is a deck I'm looking forward to playing.

28 May 2014 Josh9000

An interesting deck, I've tinkered with this format with Exile a few times, but always end up with less successful decks than I would like. I'm wondering with the heavy MO money support how Vamp might work to save on influence. Also, nice breakdown of the card choices.

29 May 2014 Dydra

Hmmm ... Vamp is an interesting idea, however I think you need to double at least the corp's money to make it worth while ... which would mean sitting a couple of turns on your ass and MO for 8c ... I'm not sure that's the best choice, considering that you will have to use such turns already either for TS+R on Magnum or 2-3 click mass-draw into Freelance. Also I don't really feel the need to save influence :) the deck has pretty much everything I want. When I said that AS makes me cut some space for it, I didn't mean influence wise, but rather card type wise. As I explained I really wanna go up to 20 programs, but with AS, Escher and SoT had to lower down them to 18 :(

If you want, try it out with vamp and let me know how it handles =)

29 May 2014 Josh9000

I see what you mean card slots are pretty tight here. I'm thinking maybe +3 vamps, -AS, -Escher, and -1 Deus X, and then maybe replacing mimic with something like Ninja for bigger punch and to fill out influence, but I do see how this deck is pretty carefully balanced to get the full effect of Freelance though so it's a tough call on which and how many programs to include. I guess the only concern I have is with the number of tags, not so much for the resources but the SE win since there are no meat damage counters in those instances I don't see AS making that much money after tags are dumped. I'm interested to try out a few slight variations on this. I'll let you know how they turn out. Thanks for the ideas.

30 May 2014 Dydra

In all honesty, I feel like Keyhole + 2x Femme are the absolute core influence wise ... the other 10 influence u can swing in any direction. Although I have Nerve Agent for heavy HQ pressure, I'm yet to win a game with it. It's comforting to have it against Fast Advance especially, but I rarely find the opportunity to use it. Early game I'm still setuping MU and Magnum Opus + Breakers and I rarely have the +1 mem for it. Late game (once rig is done) Keyhole is just too powerful. I guess against wide open HQ or with 1 Quandary on it, it worth it, but you would most likely AS spam them instead until they double or triple ice HQ at which point Nerve Agent becomes a little obsolete.

30 May 2014 Dydra

Interesting idea is to throw in a Demolition run, which you can combo with Nerve agent to discard their hand. Demolition Run on the place of Escher for example.

Or here is another interesting idea, replace Nerve Agent for Hemorrhage ...

P.s. oh yeah Corroder is also +2 on the absolute core for influence lol, but that's auto-include in any deck.

30 May 2014 Dydra

So I made a couple of games today and in spite of what I said about Nerve Agent, he won me 2 out of my 3 games. The first game (out of the 3) was a loss due to just horrid Freelance chain .... as in no chain ... had to discard 8 programs on my first or second turn :(

Well, in all honest, it was also a warm up, so I was stubborn into comboing things instead to just play the deck ... which a hard cast Femme on turn 4 (after TS+S combo for MO) in the 2nd game and Nerve agent spam in the third, did win without me going to late game full rig . So also do keep that option in mind ;)

30 May 2014 trafalco

What do you think about a Sneakdoor Beta? That has really good synergy with nerve agent.

31 May 2014 Dydra


I've considered that, but since Keyhole puts pressure on Archives as well, I think that they will wall them off at some point. Also, even with 10 MU, I can say it will be hard to Sneakdoor+ Nerve+MO+Keyhole ... that's 7 MU +3 MU for breakers, no MU left for Femms.

Maybe it is an option before putting keyhole ( if they have 3 ICE on HQ), but it will make them ICE archives in advance ... which I'm not 100% positive is a good thing, because usually the first time you Keyhole spam you get a free run to Archives (since u take it out on instant speed with the Clone Chip )

Those are my thoughts about it

25 Jun 2015 Sidkah

Can we be friends :D I loved exile, but Cavis always shakes his head when I bring up the idea of playing him.