Lean and Mean: Stealth Kabonesa (29th @ Worlds)

allofthemarbles 152

This is the runner deck that took me to 29th at worlds this year, going 5-4 across both days.

The biggest problem for stealth decks is the immense amount of time required to get set up. Kabonesa alleviates that with the ability to effectively start the game with 3 SMCs in hand, allowing you to mulligan more aggressively for key cards like Net Mercur and The Turning Wheel. The icing on the cake is being able to pull a disposable Cloak or two as an emergency source of stealth credits and to always have a Misdirection on hand.

The deckbuilding process was also a challenge to myself to double down on the goal of a rapid setup time by purging as many tech cards as possible. The result is a "lean and mean" stealth deck that's greedy and fragile but also quick with a strong late game.

A couple of words about specific card includes:

Cold Read: This is a powerful econ card early game (except, I found, against Mti) that funds the SMCs you pull from your deck, giving you a Net Mercur credit to boot. It can also enable burst plays in combination with Wu's ID ability, such as: fetch SMC, fetch Cloak for 0, and Cold Read a remote, pulling the breaker you need, then trashing the Cloak.

Datasucker: Nice to have against DNA Tracker and Archangel, must have against IP Block and other 4-strength barriers. You don't need it in every matchup, but for those that you do, this is almost always your first SMC target.

Rebirth: This is an easy include since Smoke is a such a good baseline to Rebirth into. But it also gives you the option to take Jesminder against Argus or CtM, Kit against Acme, or Akiko for some last-ditch R&D accesses.

Blackstone: Had I known how many times I would be taxed out by Endless EULA, I would have swapped this for BlacKat, possibly removing a Falsified Credentials and the Utopia Shard. Laamb was also a consideration for this slot for its synergy with Datasucker and its ability to break Excalibur/Sand Storm, but its memory cost heavily constrains your SMC installs in the early game.

Daredevil: Extraordinary in glacier matchups, producing even more value from your once-a-turn run and giving you legs against spiky decks. I briefly considered Paragon, but in a deck with few situational cards, the filtering is less relevant, making it only a slight upgrade over Cyberdelia.

6 comments
10 Sep 2018 BlackCherries

I love the Lean and Mean concept although I'm hesitant on Blackstone for sure.

Can you talk a little on if you considered a Restricted card? What about Clone Chip which has now been freed?

11 Sep 2018 allofthemarbles

Yeah, there were a couple games where I had to get Blackstone out without the Datasucker, and it felt awful to boost to 7 for IP Block.

I ended up going with Mad Dash for the extra reach which clinched one game on a Turning Wheel run, though I hoped it would be relevant more often. It was almost a Film Critic which would have been good too, and possibly a bit stronger against the field.

I removed a second Scavenge at the last minute, which I would probably still play over Clone Chip. I never felt the need to recur SMC since you have up to three on call, there are no programs in the deck that benefit from recursion, and you should be able to prevent program trashing with careful play. Of course, I say this as someone who played recklessly and got his Refractor permanently binned :P

11 Sep 2018 FreqKing

Very nice design, well done

11 Sep 2018 Tolaasin

It was a pleasure to meet you and play you - our final round game was played with such good nature given how much was riding on it!

11 Sep 2018 Cpt_nice

If you are already on Scavenge, surely Lady would have been a good choice? I tried it out in a Smoke deck with little influence and I found that two Ladies and a couple of clone chips were enough. Never got locked out over like 15 games.

12 Sep 2018 allofthemarbles

@Tolaasin - Same to you - couldn't have asked for a better round seven opponent!

After our tense game(s), I was visibly shaken and exhausted, and Tolaasin offered me a big hug, which was incredibly sweet.

@Cpt_nice - The more I think about it, the more I feel this is the way to go. To be honest, I mostly didn't consider Lady because I never used to play it, and I wasn't sure how much support it would require to sustain against glacier. Thanks for the suggestion - I'll definitely be trying it out in my next build!