Clicking Hell v.2.0

Daine 3742

This is the second major iteration of a deck I built almost 9 years ago, and which won me a store championship and dotw. I brought it back to combat the infinite money shaper combo that was ruining the eternal league for a few weeks until NSG wisely and quickly banned it. While I actually never managed to pull off the combo against that deck, I did find that the bulk of the deck actually still works great, and I wanted to publish it so there is even more variety in the eternal meta space.

I have a love-hate relationship with combo decks. On the one hand there is nothing better than pulling off a stupid 4-card+ skateboard trick (especially when it doesn’t automatically win you the game), but I’ve never particularly liked playing with or against the CI or Ob combo decks, especially when they’re too consistent or require dedicated hate tech to beat. This deck leans into lots of 2-card synergies and lets you play whichever ones you can assemble, rather than forcing you to dig hard for a necessary piece. Stegodon makes the deck really sing, and you should sacrifice whatever you need in order to score one, but I’ve won almost half the games with this deck without one in my score area, so don’t get too tilted if you never see or score one.

The killer blow from this deck is to proc a Heinlein Grid to bring the runner to zero credits. This is best accomplished with Pulse, but can also happen with False Lead, M.I.C., or when the runner decides they’d rather go to zero credits than take an Ansel or Mr. Hendrik to the face. With 3x of both Pulse and Heinlein Grid it’s likely that the runner will grow wise to your plan before you can proc it, but there is still a ton of value in forcing them to play around it.

The advantage of making the runner only run last click to avoid our combo is that it makes Mr. Hendrik more dangerous and greatly increases the chances of making Ansel + Ganked! stick. It also means that Ikawah is very easy for us to score. In testing I’ve also nuked a Hyperdriver turn or two with Heinlein + Pulse on R&D; it’s hard to pull off a Deep Dive or Apocalypse when you lose all your money on your combo turn or if the only way to dodge it is to run last click.

If you’ve managed to score a Stegodon, the value of Gatekeepers and Ablative Barriers is hard to overstate. As long as you have multiple servers that the runner wants to occasionally poke, the fact that you can recharge Gatekeeper to 6 strength or derez Ablative Barrier greatly changes the math on value runs. It’s almost always the right move to go kill an Estelle Moon as soon as she’s rezzed, but if doing so means you’re going to hit an 8-strength Gatekeeper (6, but you’re -2 because of Stegodon) and derez my ice over a central server it might mean you just let me keep her.

I’ve been playing a version of this deck in standard since the Automata Initiative came out and there are lots of permutations you can experiment with in the Eternal version. Mavirus might be better than Thimblerig, though I like keeping Thimblerig around in my list so I don’t have to plan for mid- or late-game ideal ice placement from the start. Defensive cards like Ash, Void, Warroid, or even Ronald 5 can make for difficult choices for the runner. If you wanted to spend your 7 eternal points differently, Rashida does almost as much as Estelle Moon if you wanted to make that trade. Friends in High Places can be absolutely back-breaking when it’s good, or can be a bit of gilding the lily when you already have so many other good ways to resurrect your toys. I even played one game with 3x Jackson and 3x Spin Doctor and was very happy with it.

On the agendas: Ontological is a meta call, but one that has paid off for me more often than not. Esa and Stimhack are extremely common in Eternal, and Mr. Hendrik fires for me almost every game. Luminal is, of course, pure value, and could easily replace an Ontological if you aren’t as enamored of it as I am.

It can be tempting to try and play this deck like a prison deck, but it actually makes a better tempo deck than a prison. Between Advanced Assembly Lines, EtF’s install credit, Estelle Moon’s paid ability, and Stegodon’s credit you can play this deck extremely low to the ground, threatening Gatekeeper or Ablative even after a Vamp or Siphon. Your tricks will slow the runner down and perhaps trash their board if they aren’t careful, but if you play too conservatively you’ll lose if your goal is to play a 30-turn game. If you go as fast as you reasonably can, you’re very likely to present the runner with a puzzle they can’t easily solve, and that will give you a ton of tempo or cost them all of theirs. This is, however, fundamentally a fair Netrunner deck, and if you’re a spike looking for the absolute best deck possible you should probably look into a combo kill list like the Reeducation/Djupstad, Brain Rewiring, or the glut of Ob Mutually Assured Destruction lists floating around. The advantage of this list over those is that you are not as easily hated out as those others. Installing a single Resporocytes or Plascrete is likely to elicit an immediate concession against those combo decks, whereas this list has possible outs against the entire field.

Suggestions or criticisms welcome, especially if you’ve played against me or if you try the list.

12 Feb 2024 cranked

that moment when you see Daine publish a deck called "Clicking Hell" and do a double take to check what year it is

this looks sick, 10/10 no notes