Crass Tax (6-1 at Worlds 2018)

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This was my list for Magnum Opus 2018, the official "end" of Netrunner. Unlike last Worlds when I skulked around and felt isolated and from the community, this Worlds felt like a warm fond farewell to the game. More feelings later. Now: the deck!

Why Not Mti?

This meta felt like the best it has ever been. Strong and judicious banning had eliminated the most NPE combo and prison decks, leaving fair rush, fair glacier, and CtM as solid choices. Rush is difficult in a shaper meta, glacier is fun, and I'm garbage tier CtM, so I decided on glacier. Between the two, Palana tested better than Mti and helped me weather Employee Strike rather well. Click compression is amazing, but real credits get you out of jams.

How It Works

Taxing Cards vs. Taxing Credits
It's a strange deck that chooses Obokata Protocol with no real ways to tax cards in hand. In testing, I was unable to determine for sure why Global Food Initiative didn't do as well as Obo. My best guess is that Fairchild 3.0 is so dang good that it needs to be in every game you play. After that, Obokata adds just a little extra value in taxing cards. It doesn't matter how many cards you have in hand if you simply can't get in. Other builds with Data Loop and Fractal Threat Matrix were too expensive even for the richest Palana games. I settled for a cool interaction that never happened in the tournament to help tax both: Replicator + Komainu means the runner faces double the sub on the second encounter, should they choose to continue. Spicy!

Real Money vs. Mti Efficiency
Palana did better in testing for a few reasons. I was never short on cash, Maxx gave me a credit literally every turn in the game (take that, Gnat!), and my ICE suite was filled with the most choice taxing and run-stopping options available to me. I didn't really understand why people loved Mti so much until I tested at midnight with @skry for his second day of Swiss. If I were better able to control agenda flow like Dane Brophy who packed an Attitude Adjustment, it might have done better in testing. Saving clicks is fantastic if you can install all your ICE from hand and not bother to protect HQ (so few crims). But real credits can make the difference if you have just enough to Shipment from Tennin or jam that last agenda.

Hate is Love
I was pretty wild about Navi Mumbai City Grid because it solved a lot of my problems and contributed to a deck that could hate on multiple archetypes. Pirates and Geist hate it. Shapers with SMC and Clone Chip hate it. Even Anarchs with D4v1d hate it. It really forces the runner to reevaluate their remote runs and helps with the endless barrage of Stimhack. My ICE suite also contributed to the hate by messing up Hayleys with Brahman, and Anarchs/Crims with Aumakua. IP Block and even Chiyashi landed their AI taxes multiple times throughout the day.

The Tax Man Cometh
Oh boy bluffing is back in a big way. NGO Front obviously changed the game, but I think a lot of people passed on Bio Vault without realizing its potential. Once you have a taxing remote (even just a FC3 and one other ICE), IAA a Bio Vault for ridiculous value: either they run it and waste a bunch of money, or they don't run it and you have another Nisei token. Mumbad City Grid may have more value than Code Replicator in Mti where it's easy to jam ICE into a remote, but Replicator is easier and works better on a small but dense server.

Glacier Fakeout
While this deck operates fine as glacier, 2x Shipment from Tennin won a lot of games. Since the runner expects a bunch of dumb upgrades, they will frequently not check naked Niseis and set up, giving you scoring windows. As you may know, an early Nisei token can lead to easy wins.

Tournament Report

It finished 6-1 against some excellent competition after a sloppy final round loss to Slack wizard @greyfield.

Round 1
Wu (@swiftie) I scored an uncontested Nisei early because I drew into a lot of money, that gave me a pretty safe scoring window that lasted most of the game. A naked Philotic brought me to four points. After a second (non-advanced) Nisei that I scored with Shipment from Tenin, I was able to control the endgame. As with a lot of matchups, I had trouble telling when to jam or stall. Luckily, Bio Vault is ridiculous and helps do both simultaneously. He was almost completely broke after trashing the Bio Vault, which gave a clear window to score Obo for the win.

Round 2
Maxx (Mark from Roseville) Early face checks of Komainu and FC3 lost him a lot of tempo. Pretty quickly I was able to set up ICE two-deep on all servers which, combined with Scarcity, really hurt. Stimhack was still relevant, but there are only so many in the deck, and they end up making Obo harder to steal. The biggest issue was probably losing most cards after the levy, forcing him to click for credits since the resources were in the bin.

Round 3
Valencia (@simonmoon) Beating Kenny, one of the dudes I respect most in this game and who I've looked up to since GenCon 2016, was an honor. I played out of my mind and it was probably the best game of Netrunner in my life. I bluffed three NGOs across four or five turns with some real antics. I think the first one was simply an install advance of an NGO, which he didn't bite on. Instead of getting full value, I popped it for five credits and IAAed another, bluffing an Obokata. It worked as he had to triple-click through a Farichild 3.0. Finally, for the biggest ruse (which is a lot easier on Jnet), I fast tracked a Nisei, but installed a single-advanced NGO which forced another three clicks through FC3. He got some turning wheel counters and I got flooded, but I was able to Shipment from Tenin two Niseis, then naked score a Philotic. Fairchild 3.0 continued to do work as he had to triple-click through it on an indexing run that looked like it whiffed. With all the tokens, I was able to score out a round later. I feel bad that I contributed to another NYC metamate missing the cut, but it's the proudest I've ever felt running nets.

Round 4
Valencia (@bluehg) I don't remember too much about this game except that it was hella close and @bluehg was like the nicest dude I've met in Netrunner. As usual, I had to rely on taxing ICE dissuading runs and opening windows for Shipment from Tennin. This deck used to run a Braintrust and a Chronos Project to really stick it to Maxx, but I found the value of a Nisei counter far outweighed the extra SFT target since most runners can just get in the remote a second time with Stimhack. Also it turned out the higher tables tilted toward Valencia, making my hate moot.

Round 5
Geist (@steffmonkey) This game was bonkers. I never felt completely safe scoring out of my remote until I was able to find a second Navi Mumbai City Grid (what a card!). He was able to trash my first, so it was kind of a race to get it out there. Even still, he was hammering servers with Aumakua and forcing rezzes all over the place. The last 8 turns probably had four purges between them as he ran out of Dean Listers, Grappling Hooks, and cryptozoids. I believe I finally scored when all of them were in the bin. We only didn't go to time because he completely scrubbed my Maxx with Skorpios >_<.

Round 6
Valencia (@icecreamcollege) Wait last game was bonkers? THIS game was bonkers-er. I felt in complete control as I scored my first Nisei and nonchalantly built my wall of crazy taxing ICE. I focus most on the remote, then on RD, which seemed pretty good for rushing. Things got real real quick when a Stimhack trashed an Apocalypse from hand. I believe my deck to be pretty strong against apoc since my ICE is so beefy, but he just so happened to have another ready to go. So, the post-apocalyptic game was terrifying, as I only have a Mirāju on RD and an Anansi on HQ with about 2 credits to rez them. Luckily he took one turn to set up which gave me time to NGO, which happened to be exactly enough to rez the Anansi. Still short on credits, I was able to recover remarkably well in just a couple turns (something the deck does often) through a combination of Rashida, Celeb Gift, and IPO. He ended up losing almost all of his cards due to Code Replicating through Chiyashi with turtle, and when he used a final Stimhack to bring his total card count down to three, I knew I could safely Obo. The only win condition at this point was getting 5 points through two Niseis. He blindly Mad Dashed RD and miraculously got one, but he was unable to secure the other that was sitting in HQ.

Round 7
Omar (@greyfield) This was the ignominious end to my undefeated corp. I made a terrible mulligan decision and kept IPO/Anansi/Rashida/Something/Something thinking I could credit up and avoid serious digs by icing R&D. Of course against Omar that was wrong. He pressured every central, winning the game swiftly and decisively.

Special Thanks

I want to make sure I thank the NYC Meta for being so fun and welcoming both at home and at worlds: my #buddies @shiiuga and @redino987 for theorycrafting all year long, @skry for eschewing the hot tub for drunken/delirious hotel testing, @riotprl for brownies and running gauntlets, @kysra and @liminrix for friendship and helping me stay awake on long drives to regionals, @shishu for playing murder decks at every opportunity, @RidgewoodMeta for secret hot tech and cool bars and of course @Internet for being the best T.O. and keeping Netrunner alive in NYC. Also gotta give it up to Ghost Branch (@osclate, @CodeMarvelous, @sanjay et al) for being the most positive and margarita-loving meta! Finally, thanks to the JNet competitive lobby who puts up with me jamming the same decks over and over and over: Looking at you @jamesgrey, @tf34, @crunchums, @creditzathotmail, @janktivist, @RotomAppliance and many others! Now we do everything we can to help NISEI keep this beautiful game alive!