Going into nationals I’d been playing this deck casually on jnet and enjoying it, and if there’s any overriding lessons to take from my success in the event it’s to play decks you like to play even if they’re not the “best”. Whilst there are reasons to play Sable in this meta, she is a long way from being a tier 1 deck. Fortunately, the matchups I was paired into largely favoured me whilst I only had to play out one of her terrible matchups. I believe that Sable is the best reg non-boat ID at the moment, but if you’re looking to maximise your winrate you should probably be on a boat deck. Personally, I’m sick to death of the boat, but I’m aware that isn’t true for everyone.
In general here are some broad pros:
Good matchups vs rush decks e.g. Outfit, Ob, PD, Sports
You should never lose against Mitosis PE as long as you’re careful.
Is not playing boat, and is therefore somewhat interesting to play.
Terrible Matchup vs 6Mari
Pretty bad matchup against Drago R+
Did I mention that you really don’t want to play against any of the really popular yellow decks?
SPECIFIC CARDS OF NOTE
Sable - Right from turn 1 the ID gives you free tempo, and incidentally have the ability to import a win con which criminal otherwise lacks. Mark synergy is a trap, don’t do it (even if you are called Mark, or can identify a friend names Mark who is willing to be your Mark for the duration of the game). Uses for the free click include, but are not limited to:
Charging Turtle Pennyshaver Dreamnet Security testing Clicking an Ansel and still having a click left to stop the ganked combo. Diverting funds and deep diving on the same turn Drawing up after net damage
Pennyshaver - Virtuoso is a trap. If you play Virtuoso you will get some extra accesses early and then run out of money. Don’t do it. Do, however, remember to unload your Pennyshaver semi-regularly to avoid Wake Up Call or Self Growth program from ending your entire career.
Inside Job/Pinhole Threading/Citadel Sancturary/No Free Lunch - all of these are tech cards, and I was targeting R+ hard as it was the corp I was most worried about. I would like to find room for the 3rd Falsified and a 1x Miss Bones, and the slots to do that are somewhere in this pile. If you’re less worried than me about R+, feel free to play with this. Other niche tech options can include Hernando Cortez if big slow glacier decks like 6Mari are things you want to target.
Amina - 80% of the time you won’t install this, so don’t worry about the credit total. The tax from it on the corp makes HB very sad (Magnet, Gatekeeper). The general playstyle (more on that later) is force rezzes first, install breakers later so Cat’s Cradle will do little and then make you cry as soon as anything meaningful is rezzed.
Deep Dive - The finisher. As such, it should be played at the end of the game. Deep Dive when either the corp is threatening to win next turn, you have a very high chance of it winning you the game on the spot, or you have eleventy billion credits and nothing matters. An early Deep Dive is rarely worth it as a trade of gaining 4 points but losing all tempo will let the corp stabilise, which is the exact opposite of what we want. Remember that there’s a window after the 3rd run for a Spins to be popped which the corp might want to do to decrease agenda density.
OPENING HANDS & GAMEPLAY
A good opening hand has some burst econ, Pennyshaver or Dreamnet (both is even better) and a way to access an early rushed remote (Pinhole, Boomerang, Inside Job). Breakers are secondary, you need to get your engine going ASAP whilst keeping tempo high. Diversion is also not a high-priority keep - early denial is not as strong nowadays as it used to be back in the siphon era.
In general, you want to be combining your run econ with Sable’s mark for maximum value each turn. Pan Weave/Docklands pass are good to get down to increase the impact of a single HQ run per turn, and Security Testing can turn archives into value also (as well as protecting your Turtle/Tapwyrm from a trashed Mavirus. From there, gameplans usually branch into one of three directions:
Vs Rush, keep pressure on as much as possible to deny scores and ideally pick up some points in centrals. You’ll be able to land Deep Dive pretty much whenever you want, usually it wins you the game once you’ve got to 4 points from other sources. Rush decks tend to have weak central defense so you’ll be able to farm on your mark fairly easily.
Vs Glacier, they will get enough ice out and rezzed to stop random runs being positive tempo. Ideally you’ve got at least 3 points against the 6Mari/4 points against 49 card glacier decks by this point. Once this happens, click for credits a whole bunch, pray they don’t win in the meantime, then when you have enough Deep Dive hail mary. Yes, this plan sucks. Yes, it’s the best you have. I warned you these matchups were grim.
Vs PE - you have 5 clicks, passive draw with Dreamnet, and an econ engine that doesn’t involve playing cards. Security Testing, Pennyshaver, Dreamnet and Turtle are all you need to install for most of the game, though it’s always worth getting down your other breakers and Cezve when you stumble across them. Deep Dive is multi-access that you get to choose, and therefore you won’t die to random double Snare/Sting/some other card with more words on than I care to read. You can check the remotes as you have 35 or so spare health and enough time to draw back up to at least 4, preferably 5. Installing The Class Act will also enable you to check double-advanced cards fairly safely, as even 4 damage from an Urticia is fairly meaningless at that point. Falsified is best saved for the Mitosis turn - check one with falsified and if it’s a trap run the other.
GAMES ON THE DAY
Round 1 vs Ghost00 on Outfit (Win)
A strong start including Pennyshaver and Security Testing meant that the money race was in contest from very early, despite Outift’s inherent economy. He drew very little ice, so a scoring remote wasn’t really on and agendas piled up in centrals ready to be pillaged.
Round 2 vs Vale on PD (Win)
Sable’s Mark on HQ on an early turn enabled a Bravado run on HQ followed by a remote run where I was still able to click through FC3, and this kind of thing is why I think the matchup is very Sable favoured. Vale was also fairly flooded, which definitely doesn’t help, and whilst a Next Activation command secured the first agenda score it also gave me a window to drop Class Act down and prepare to pile on once it went away. Amina punished the Magnet on HQ, and shortly after no server was defensible. Deep Dive only picked up 1 agenda, so unfortunately wasn’t the win from 4 points on this occasion
Round 3 vs Motionblur on Azmari (Loss)
Well, it was going to happen at some point. I managed to pick up 3 points early, but shortly after the centrals were very, very taxing. With the score at 6 - 3 I fired deep dive with 18 cards left in the corp deck and enough credits to take 2 Bellonas if offered, but needing to hit 2 of the last 3 agendas in the deck. This is a slightly-less-than 50/50, which given the matchup is not a terrible coinflip to get it to. Only 1 agenda was in the top 8 (it turned out one of the others was in hand, I haven’t done the maths on what that makes the odds) and after spending all my credits I was boomed very quickly.
Round 4 vs NTan33 on Sports (Win)
3 Rush decks and only 1 Yellow glacier makes Rob a happy boy. Sports runs very low to the ground on econ and a well-timed DoF can really throw a spanner in the works. Additionally, the Sable tempo is enough for you to keep up. For example, in this game I ran Marked HQ with no breakers installed, clicked through Ansel, and still had a click left to drop a Tapwyrm. DoF the next turn through the Ansel (you only need 2 clicks as you don’t card about the can’t trash/steal sub) put him in a bit of a hole. Sports did eventually get going, but enough time had passed for central agenda density to build and Deep Dive showed me 5 points to choose from which was plenty for the win.
Final vs Palliu on PE (Win)
Pennyshaver, Dreamnet and Turtle was my rig for pretty much the entire game. PE tends to run little ice and rely on net damage tempo to win, but we have plenty of spare cards, the best AI, 5 clicks, and clickless econ and draw. Falsified showed me the Urticia on the Mitosis turn, the other card was a Sting which I happily took. Plenty of running, trashing, and drawing prevented shenanigans and eventually agendas showed up in centrals looking for a home. I have never enjoyed PE shell games, and having a good matchup vs them is very important to me - as it turned out this appears to have been a miraculous meta call for the day as PE was the most popular corp.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, and I hope it sparked joy, inspiration, or if I’m really lucky both. My thanks to Ghost00 for organising, the Drop Bears for being an excellent and very welcoming community, and all my opponents for a great day (morning really - the first round started at 6AM for me) of netrunner.
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