Pincer Movement (4th, 5th and 7th at UK regionals)

paulyg 1110

It's 10pm, do you know where your cards are?


In summary

I’m not a great player, but I had the chance to go to quite a few regionals this year and I wanted to try to do as well as I could. I had a lot of trouble finding a runner that I could play consistently but this corp deck clicked pretty much straight away for me (although in the first two regionals R&R wasn’t legal so I was on -1 Ice Wall, -1 HPT, -1 TBTF, +1 Stock Buy-Back, +2 Rashida). In the third regional I slotted an ill-advised Navi Mumbai City Grid instead of 1 Snare! Overall this deck (and the earlier version) went 20-11 across 6 regionals, making the cut three times (once I had found a runner that I could play).

What were you thinking?

I knew Clan Vengeance was going to be the thing at regionals and so the Fair-style PE that I’d been playing at Euros wasn’t going to be a great shout (it wants to keep a bunch of stuff in hand to take advantage of FA opportunities). I considered trying to learn how to play Argus kill, and in parallel have been playing some Mti, but I had played a reasonable amount of Skorp in the past and thought that rush and lock-out seemed a reasonable plan. My wife Kat heard about the Pinchy Pete meme and bought me a plushy Pete which sealed Skorp in as my ID for regionals season.

How did it do?

  • At Manchester regional this deck went 4-1, paired with terrible Val results.
  • At Preston regional it managed 3-2, again with disappointing MaxX results.
  • Derby saw it go 4-1 again whilst I still struggled on the runner side with Patchwork Val.
  • At Stockport regional it was 2-0 in the Swiss and then 1-1 in the cut, losing to an incredible play from Craig.
  • At Sheffield regional it was 2-1 in the Swiss (losing to a crazy flood in about 3 turns) but went 0-2 in the cut after having 7 points CVd into the bin in the first game against Aki and a tough match-up against Ed’s Circus Hayley in the second.
  • Finally, at Aldershot regional this deck was 3-2 in Swiss (with losses down to some excellent opponents and the occasional questionable play on my part) and 1-1 in the cut.

How does this deck win?

I started with this cool Skorp Snare list and realised that it offered a triple threat - RFGing cards no matter where they are.

  • Installed? Hunter Seeker/Batty + Skorp
  • In the bin? Ark Lockdown
  • In your hand? Snare! + Skorp

So, yeah, it’s just standard Skorp stuff but with the RFG pushed up to 11. Try to rush a few points before they find breakers. Once they find them, punish with Batty / Hunter Seeker as appropriate. There’s not much ice in this deck (my first version only had 12) so you’re unlikely to get to a position of taxing the runner (Archer can sometimes be an exception). It’s all about gear checks, trashing their stuff and scoring whilst they scramble.

And sometimes you just kill the runner. In Stockport I made the cut by sweeping two rounds and then IDing twice. The two corp wins were both down to the runner hitting an unexpected Snare! when low on cards. I hadn’t initially considered this, but actually anarchs trying to shape their hand to Zer0 what they want (and using Patchwork) leaves them often running on a small hand-size when against a ‘safe’ opponent like Skorp. In Aldershot, my first round opponent Douglas hit a Snare! on click 4 which left him on zero cards with a tag. I had the High-Profile Target in hand. This definitely isn't plan A, but occasionally it gets you a random win.

Those Snares though! Playing this deck against Shaper can be difficult, particularly the Circus variant that likes to fold all its programs back into the deck after stealing so you can’t Hunter Seeker anything. But a centrals run that hits a Snare! can be devastating if they are holding a bunch of programs in their hand. I briefly tested without the Snares and it felt much worse.

Notable cards

  • SSL Endorsement: I firmly believe that SSL is the best 5/3 for this deck. Whichever way it goes, this really helps to smooth out your money position. The other agendas are pretty standard.

  • Ark Lockdown: Some Skorps have stopped including this, and quite often opponents will say “I hope you don’t have Ark Lockdown” as they discard some breakers. But they still do it! Using an Atlas counter to fetch this and lock them out of code gates forever feels pretty good.

  • Audacity: Often wins the game for you once the runner has got control back and you’re on match point. Would quite like to have 2 of these.

  • Best Defense: Again, out of fashion in current Skorp but I like it. There’s usually a place for it in most match-ups. I’ve used it to disrupt the FTT/RNG Key combo, get rid of a pesky Sac Con, Skorp a breaker from a Peddler, stop MaxX from SOTing Levy, kill Shadow Net and just get rid of Inti. The value is variable, but it benefits from being more unexpected now.

  • High-Profile Target: I don’t think is crazy as a 1-off. It’s in faction and you can tutor it with an Atlas counter. Having said that, I’ve used it exactly once (see above) in tournaments as I haven’t faced any Liza. I did play a friendly match against Russell whilst IDing in Stockport. He was on tag-me Liza and this did exactly what I wanted it to. Tag-me Liza doesn't seem to have come to anything and this can definitely be dropped.

  • Preemptive Action: There’s not much in this deck to save you from Clan Vengeance apart from going fast. These sometimes help. Otherwise I usually just use them to recur Snares, Battys and money.

  • Too Big To Fail: Decent value to recover from a low credit total quickly with a higher impact than Beanstalk. We’re not too worried about bad pub on the whole.

  • Macrophage: I have a soft spot for this ice, particularly with criminal leaning so hard on Aumakua at the moment. This can be something of a tax, or you can really pay into the trace to get rid of the turtle. I had a memorable match in Manchester where my opponent had to Special Order a Gingerbread to deal with this after I skorped their Aminas.

The future...

Skorp is getting restricted, which means no more Hunter Seeker. I wonder if there's a deck with more econ and playing Economic Warfare and Trojan Horse. It sounds like a lot more of a slog, but might benefit from being even more unexpected (and MaxX seems like she might be the go-to runner in the new world). There were very few Skorps in the 6 regionals I played, and I think it benefits from being a match-up that people are certainly aware of and have practised but not one that's at the front of their mind.

For now, I'm happy to have found a deck that worked for me. I had some wonderfully fun games at regionals and played some of my best Netrunner so far!

12 Aug 2018 NtscapeNavigator

Aki binned 7 points.

You can't teach that. :)

You were running away with it if not for that CV hit as well, I felt so bad, but eh. :)

nice deck btw, any idea how you'd change it in mwl 3?

12 Aug 2018 paulyg

@Blue Haired Hacker Girl Yeah, not much I could do about that :-D

I think this deck basically doesn't exist under MWL 3. Without Hunter Seeker you have to substantially re-tool. The Standoffs aren't really worth it without the opportunity to turn on Hunter Seeker, but then you have to consider if you still want 3x Archer and Tithonium without 0-point agendas to sacrifice. Maybe not? But if not then what?

People have come up with Trojan Horse as a possible replacement for Hunter Seeker. It might be ok, but it's awkward and you suddenly need a money advantage which you've not previously cared about. If you get rid of the Standoffs and the HPT (maybe also 1x Preemptive once CV is gone) then you can slot more econ and possibly also some Economic Warfares to drag the runner down.

I think at that point it's a very different deck with a different way you have to play. It will definitely be worse, but I'm not sure by how much. If MaxX starts to dominate (and she looks strong in MWL3) then that might be reason enough to play a watered-down Skorp!

12 Aug 2018 NtscapeNavigator

Im also vindicated to see that the audactiy I was popping CV to keep your hand undersized, was indeed in the deck :)