Apex Hyperdriver - King of Servers 2015

Zeromus 3083

This is the decklist that was designed by me an piloted by @dtelad11 at the 2015 King of Servers. Here is what El-ad has to say:

During Worlds 2015, the Android: Netrunner Pro-Circuit (ANRPC) held the "King of Servers", a team tournament with a cool format: four players per team, one of each Corp faction, one of each Runner faction, plus one allowed duplicate Runner faction of a different identity. As far as I could see, most teams went with Kate, Andromeda or Leela, Noise, and Valencia.

What's the fun in that?! To my teammates' chagrin I decided on Apex. Fortunately, Chris Hinkes (aka @ZeromusPE, aka the person who submitted this deck to NRDB) had this finely tuned contraption available. Chris is a super creative deck designer with infinite patience. He is willing to lose thousands of games while slowly iterating toward the ideal build. After GenCon (and the release of Apex) he spent a month of his life doing nothing but tune this deck. NOTHING. All I had to do is sleeve it up and win some games.

Enough with the chit chat. When Chris initially handed me the list he said that he's not a fan of it because it's "boring". You just "sit there", install your stuff, playing solitaire, preparing to Apocalypse. Yawn. I'm an impatient bastard and I play impatient Netrunner. I do not prepare, plan in advance, or think. I am a mindless virus bent on destruction, and I am here to apocalypse. When piloting Apex, I don't eat, I don't drink, I don't breath -- I apocalypse!! ("Apocalypse!!" is the verb form of Apocalypse). Then I do it again. Heck, I do it a third time if necessary. Single accesses on HQ and R&D are fine when the Corp has no ice left, no econ left, and no hope left.

Smash your opponent's hopes and dreams. Winning will come later. Apocalypse.

Let's talk about card choices.

Economy: Sure Gamble, Dirty Laundry, and Day Job are exactly enough to set up. Breaking ice costs you nothing and you don't pay to trash assets, with the possible exception of Jackson Howard or Caprice Nisei. Oftentimes a turn 1 Day Job would be the only economy you need. Your real economy card is Apocalypse, saving you hundreds of credits by trashing ice and assets.

Rig: The ideal rig is Heartbeat, Brain Cage (which you do not take the brain damage for, prevent with Heartbeat), and Faust. Click to draw or Quality Time to fill your hand, and your access options are wide. You might want to install Endless Hunger for Wraparound, Eli 1.0, or to Prey an Enigma, but otherwise try to avoid it. Crescentus is your anti-Architect tool: as a rule of thumb, you don't care if they trigger Architect (or Crick) cause all that junk will go away anyway. On the Apocalypse turn you want Crescentus to flip that Architect and send it to archives along with the rest of its mortal kin. Your real rig is Apocalypse, saving you the need to mess around with pesky icebreakers.

Shenanigans: Prey gets rid of Enigma and a few other annoying pieces of Ice (such as Pup, Pop-up Window, Tsurugi, or Turing on a central). Hunting Grounds is there for Tollbooth, though don't feel ashamed to stop the encounter trigger on Pop-up Window. The trash ability is useful if they have tons of end-the-run (Weyland?), or if they're trying to kill you. Another nice trick is to Hunting Grounds, see Faust or Endless Hunger, trash them, and then return them with Clone Chip. Speaking of which, Clone Chip often saves you a click on the Apocalypse turn, you can do fun stuff like break Enigma with Faust, then overwrite Faust with Endless Hunger (or, alternatively, get Hunger and eat Faust to break an end-the-run). Clone Chip also helps recover post-Apocalypse. With that said, your real shenanigen is Apocalypse.

Hyperdriver: I learned to stop worrying and love the Hyperdriver. Six influence is expensive for our beloved protagonist AI/virus/monstrosity but it's a worthy investment. Hyperdriver lets you click through Bioroids or Turing on the Apocalypse turn, allows you to ignore an Enigma, or you can use the clicks to install Faust or Endless hunger (or both!) when necessary. Importantly, Hyperdrivers allows you to float tags, because after you Apocalypse you can use the spare clicks to install a new Heartbeat (instead of dying). Heck, I once activated Hyperdriver in order to Day Job and have three clicks left (in order to install Faust, run, steal NAPD). Your real Hyperdriver is Apocalypse, because, ah ... nevermind.

Apocalypse: Just do it. You do not need to hit much in order to unsettle the Corp. If you see an easy window to Apocalypse, even if you just hit a couple of pieces of ice and some assets, do it. Your deck is well-prepared for the reset; theirs is not. Also, here's a dirty secret -- once you apocalypse, doing it again is much easier. The Corp will have less ice to defend the centrals, less money to rez it with, and less assets to draw attention. Most importantly, you put the fear of the Apocalypse in them, because, of course, your real Apocalypse is ...I'll shut up now.

Wasteland: This deck is missing one of the Apex cards, which is surprising given how tight the mini-factions are. The reason Wasteland is absent is because you don't trash your stuff that much. Prey and Endless Hunger are invaluable but you use them infrequently, so you will rarely proc the credit.

Match-ups! Any deck that is trying to kill you is easy game. Mulligan, draw, and Quality Time until you get your Heartbeat, use the Apex ability and Hunting Grounds to set up a buffer, and get your hand size to eight. Most meat damage players will just give up (though I will admit that a Titan player killed me using five Snares, I did misplay by not checking HQ for agendas). Personal Evolution or other net-damage based decks cannot handle Heartbeat and Apocalypse. You just laugh as you eat their three-advanced Overwriters and four-advanced Junebugs, HAHA! I took close to twenty net damage in one memorable PE game. Then apocalypsed all of their well-laid plans in another.

(Likewise, any deck that is going horizontal, though Turtlebacks NEH might be too fast. More on that later.)

Glacier is more problematic. You need to hit their centrals so they do not lock you out for the Apocalypse. Ignore the remote and get ready to smash their board when they install-advance (or install-advance-advance). Life could become tricky if they Caprice a central, but then Faust + huge hand size + Hyperdriver should get you into the remote (you might need to Prey a Turing in advance, which is horrendously expensive). Crisium Grid is another problem, you are very light on funds so getting into the central and trashing it might be problematic but necessary. Feel free to facecheck a lot, and remember that if the last ice you hit does silly stuff like trash programs or deal net damage, just forget about it -- it will go away soon.

Fast advance is the trickiest of them all. They're fast (it's in the name!). Biotic Labor is a menace, and they draw a lot so they will find their Architect. You will notice that the deck list has 2x Infiltration, I wish these were 2x Traffic Jam. Oftentimes I would apocalypse and then they would train anyway, Traffic Jam might help with that. You want to apocalypse as soon as they have 4-5 cards on the table (any combination of assets and ice), especially if there is one or more SanSan.

I had a blast playing Apex at the FFG Icebreaker tournament and at King of Servers. I think that it has a lot of potential: Apocalypse, Heartbeat, and Endless Hunger are three extremely powerful cards. It also leads to really fun showmanship, people would often stop by to watch and wonder whether this is the turn when I apocalypse (my opponents shared that warm fuzzy anticipation as well). As Mumbad rolls around (and brings The Turning Wheel) I hope to look into this deck and refine it further.

10 Nov 2015 spags

The only Apex in KOS! Well played, and well done. Dropping 3 Apoc on that poor RP was a joy to see.

10 Nov 2015 rumirumirumirumi

Simple and straightforward, I like it. It's similar to other Apex decks (because they have so few options) but I like the no-frills approach better than the e3 or ABR rigs. I've tried this kind of a deck with PPVP. Did you test that card? Did you find it too slow/not worth it?

10 Nov 2015 Disaster Area

This looks fun, and TBH Apex looks baffling to play, thanks to you and Chris for sorting this out. However, theme wise, the thought of Apex actually getting a day job is hilarious. He's answering the vidphone during the day, selling cosmetics, then apocalypsing in during the night? Cool ;-)

10 Nov 2015 D4KEN

What is your answer for Swordsman ? Otherwise it seems real solid. Like the idea with the Brain Cage.

10 Nov 2015 CodeMarvelous

I commentated a game at KoS with this deck. its such an interesting take on Apex. I love it

10 Nov 2015 hi_impact

Endless Hunger is not an AI and acts as a piddly 1 card tax to Heartbeat for 3 creds. Apex lists have gotten quite varied, from Mimics to Always Be Running to e3 Feedback Implants to Faust even to Crypsis/Overmind.

Until they know you are playing Faust it's a completely dead install.

10 Nov 2015 CJFM


10 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@rumirumirumirumi no idea whether Chris explicitly tested it. At fifteen targets it might be worth it, though I am not sure because of 2c install cost and the fact that Apoc kills it.

@D4KEN if it's guarding something I need to Faust then I would either Prey it, or Clone Chip the Faust after Swordsman and then Apocalypse.

11 Nov 2015 staglore

Nice job getting around Turing with Hyperdriver. I ran an Apex deck with Faust and it slowed me considerably. All I could do was hit it with Prey and burn my turn.

11 Nov 2015 sjohn

@dtelad11 it was a pleasure to play you with my Titan deck! I'll have that list up available soon.

11 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@sjohn agreed :) rematch soon?

11 Nov 2015 brightknight_216

Your deck is intriguing. I had been trying to wrap my head around on how to build an Apex and this came out. But I like to ask, why do you want to play Crescentus on Architect if you are going to play Apocalypse later? And how has Infiltration help you?

11 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@brightknight_216 if Architect is rezzed then Apocalypse would not trash it. By derezzing it with Crescentus you "turn off" its text, and then it will go away once you apocalypse.

Infiltration is there as a filler, finding cards to fit in the mini-factions is difficult and it provides minor econ while being useful sometimes. You could replace it with Traffic Jam to have a slightly better match-up against fast advance.

11 Nov 2015 WildM

So it sounds like you'll only be able to have Hyperdriver installed if Endless Hunger isn't installed? Guess that means you'd have to use one of the bonus clicks to reinstall Endless Hunger if needed (if you aren't using Clone Chip), but that's still doable.

Nice idea!

11 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@WildM exactly. either spend a click or a clone chip to get Endless Hunger after Hyperdriver.

13 Nov 2015 formerteen

why not Same Old Thing in place of Infiltration? maybe this is too convoluted, but you could leverage the Hyperdriver so that you could Same Old Thing an Apocalypse? just a thought.

13 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@formerteen I tried Same Old Thing but these pesky Corps don't play Cerebral Static often enough!!

Joking ;-) Note that Apex cannot install non-virtual resources. Which means no SoT. @Zeromus had Deja Vu for a while but no influence for it now.

13 Nov 2015 formerteen

@dtelad11 i have made this mistake so many times while discussing apex tech. seriously, every conversation about apex includes me suggesting at least one non-virtual resoruce, being corrected, and then immediately forgetting my mistake. looking forward to making this same mistake in a couple of weeks! ;')

13 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@formerteen laughing no worries. Apex is rather tricky to build for.

18 Nov 2015 tuism

I haven't played in a long time (life, etc blah) and just getting back into it, and Apex just really appeals to me. He plays a really crazy, alternative game, which is great, except I have no idea how to play it (of course). I tried this list and found that it's pretty slow to setup. Do you have any tips for how to start the game? Do you use Apex's native install face-down ability often? If so what on? Do you install Braincage or toss it if you haven't got a Heartbeat yet? Do you Prey much or are they usually fodder? I feel like Glaciers shut you out REALLY quickly.

18 Nov 2015 dtelad11

@tuism sounds like you suffer from severe @Zeromusism. That's when you play solitaire, build up your rig, and ignore the Corp ;)

1) You start the game by playing a couple of econ cards (turn one Day Job is perfect), then starting to facecheck (maybe with a Faust). You want to establish what is defending the centrals. The Corp is often hesitant to give you access to R&D and HQ, so they will rez their ice. Oftentimes you just let it fire, especially if it's something silly like EtR or Architect.

2) I very rarely use Apex's ability. I might use it if I see Endless Hunger in my opening hand or if I'm facing Jinteki: Personal Evolution (or some other kill deck). I sometimes use it if I plan to Prey an Enigma soon. Otherwise, your face-down cards come from Hunting Grounds or after you Apocalypse.

3) There's nothing wrong with installing a Brain Cage if you don't have Heartbeat. Hand size of 7 is often enough for your first Apocalypse, you'll just need to figure out how to recover afterward (because of the one brain damage). But that's a problem for later. With that said, I might wait for Heartbeat after all.

4) I Prey a lot! You always want to Prey an Enigma and often use it against Pop-up Window or Pup. Post-Apocalypse it makes your life much easier.

(Oh, and I will also Prey a Turing on a central.)

Glacier will shut you down really quickly! Their main disadvantage is that they need to set up a remote for their economy. Usually they will end up with a couple of pieces of ice on R&D, one or two on HQ, and then a remote with an Adonis Campaign or an Eve Campaign plus one or two pieces of ice. That's usually a good time to Apocalypse.

To rehash the original write-up: You want to play that Apocalypse. You do not prepare for it or wait for it, try to be as opportunistic as possible. If you got a strong opening, you might want to wait a bit longer, but otherwise just slam it as soon as you can. Trashing 4-5 Corp cards is totally acceptable. You'd rather do it sooner rather than later.

20 Nov 2015 djc6535

I tried a similar thing and found that I ate up my deck rather quickly. How did you get around the problem of eating your deck with Faust with no Levy to recover it?

22 Nov 2015 mkwht603

I might consider replacing the infiltration with the wasteland. It doesn't only trigger off using endless hunger or the console, it also triggers off the trash ability on clone chip, crescentus, or hunting grounds, and when trashing cards off of prey. Not to mention if you trash a program as a result of going over MU.

30 Nov 2015 CodeDigger

I'm wondering if there's any way to include Hacktivist Meeting in there. It seems like it would be strong for a couple of reasons. First, with the Apocalypses you don't have to draw it early, it remains strong through out the game because after the apocalypse they will need install and rez again. Secondly, with the Apocalypses the corp will be short cards so taxing their cards will be more costly and more likely to hit an agenda. Thirdly, if you get it out early it will hurt the corps ability to recover after the apocalypse. Lastly, it's not installed so it survives the apocalypse.

19 May 2016 yoriagami

A question / epiphany: if you have a Crescentus installed and you play Prey - let's assume, breaking through an Architect for the heck of it - do you have a window to derez the Architect in time for Prey's trigger?

And more importantly, if so, how many cards do you need to trash to nuke the Architect.? (my potential epiphany is, 0, since Architect is face down at this time and therefore has no Strength to check against)

19 May 2016 dtelad11

Nice try, @yoriagami :-) Unfortunately, if an ice is not rezzed its strength is undefined. Therefore there is no amount of cards you can trash with Prey in order to trash it. Generally Crescentus is there for Apocalypse preparation.