The Race for Space (UNDEFEATED and 4th at UK Ranking Finals)

paulyg 738

First of all, this deck is entirely based on Gag Reflex which won PowerBunz Adelaide Regionals and Jaiden 2nd at US Nationals (with a revised version). I watched the US nats stream playback whilst at home ill (recovering after TOing UK nats) and thought the deck looked like a lot of fun with a massive amount of flexibility and interesting lines. It also seemed to have game against apoc and resource Liza and I thought it was likely to be a fairly unknown quantity at the tournament.

I started from the US nats version (which isn’t on NRDB as far as I know but was quite a bit different to the regionals one above) and made a few changes to suit my taste. I mainly wanted some slots for some more econ (I always want to put in more econ into lists). I ended up taking out one of the three Standoffs and swapping 2 Divested Trust for 1 Atlas (I didn’t often find a used for the Trusts). I wanted to slow down the runner so swapped Arella out for Amani and that meant I needed to find an influence so I played a Hortum in instead of Thimblerig. Finally, with my 2 slots freed up from agenda consolidation I added 2 Mumba Temples and breathed a sigh of relief at including a restricted card.

I’ve found the best way to play the deck is usually to rush as fast as possible, putting out assets to distract the runner (or punish them if they leave them alone) whilst building a taxing remote. Unless you’re against criminal, IA Oaktown behind basically any ice is usually a good start. In the early game, runners are also usually disinclined to check your remotes and I love to just put out a naked Standoff (having the click spare after you’ve got your extra card and money is nice). The deck does have the kill threat, but I find that most wins come from scoring out. Most kills come from pressuring the runner into making a mistake.

The UK invitational final (LaurieCon) is run in 4 seeded groups of 6 players, with the top 2 from each group making the cut. I therefore knew in advance who I was going to play and could take my best guess at what decks they would play (I got 6/10 IDs correct in my predictions - not bad!). I put the chances of any Shaper (which can be a bit tricky) as low and thought that everything else should be ok.

R1 was against Patrick’s 419 and he called my silly T1 naked Atlas with a Falsified, leaving me scrabbling to put together a game plan. I built a bit of a remote and was able to fire off a HHN but things looked pretty bleak. However, I had one of my HPTs in hand and exactly 4 credits so when Pat floated 1 tag for a turn it was heart of the cards time for a click 1 draw… double HPT lucky victory.

The second round was against Don on MaxX and I was happy to turn 1 IA an Oaktown behind an Afshar. Don drew through most of his deck but couldn’t locate a Black Orchestra and I managed to score out behind a double Afshar remote quickly.

R3 was against Filip on Leela. My runner game against his Outfit went fairly long so there wasn’t a lot of time for this one. He got On The Lam down early, scuppering my tag and damage plans but I scored an Oaktown and a Standoff. There was some good back and forth, he ran into an Archer on R&D without enough money to fully break and lost a Bukh and I was able to get a Corp Town going in the remote, wiping out all of his resources (and the On The Lam). With just an SSL scored (the Oaktown sacrificed for Corp Town), time was called after I IAA’d an SDS behind two Surveyors and Filip was able to Inside Job and pay the traces for a timed draw.

R4 against Jonny’s Freedom was a bit of a blur. I tried to go fast but he got Stargate down and was causing me big problems but a Stimhack into a Tour Guide / Surveyor remote left him low on cards and without enough money to pay down the tags trace on the Surveyor and I was able to pull off my second fairly lucky kill of the day.

Finally in R5 I played against Mark who had unexpectedly brought Hayley. Paricias are not my friend! The only ice I drew in this whole game was a single Surveyor, which I gamely started scoring agendas behind. Mark was digging desperately to find an SMC (on the reasonable assumption that it was a Border Control or a Tour Guide) but didn’t manage to before I scored out and wiped the sweat from my forehead.

I finished top of my group and was into the cut. Leela fared badly against Kenneth’s glacier Azmari in r1 but then I got to corp against Alex’s Smoke in r2. I knew I had to go as fast as I could and the deck gifted me with my best draw of the day. All 3 Bankers appeared along with three different types of ice to build the remote, a HHN and a HPT. Alex was setting up well but, on 6 points, my deck gifted me a fork opportunity to AA the SDS that was already in the remote and HHN. Alex had seen the HPT in hand but didn’t quite have the resources to run the remote twice (there was a BC there) and clear the tags so sensibly cleared in the hope it was an NGO and I was able to score out.

My Leela then lost horribly to Matt’s ASA for a 4th place finish.

Overall, I had a terrific day and was really pleased at how this deck performed. I think it likely loses a bit if your opponent knows what you’re up to (people were speculating about Urban Renewal, Contract Killers, etc. and weren’t totally aware how much of a rush deck it is) but it’s really fun to play. Huge thanks to all my opponents for wonderful games, and of course to rotage and johno for organising an excellent weekend.

2 Dec 2019 Ravensteve

Looks like a fun list! How do you find having the 1xs in the deck, considering it's a fairly fast deck? I was surprised not to find EBC in there. Do you see them often enough to be effective?

2 Dec 2019 paulyg

@Ravensteve EBC is certainly something I would like to find a slot for and tried for a bit. If I were more confident in the econ then I might look at dropping the temples to find room. I'd probably also go for a second Jeeves in that case. I was considering going to 3 SSL, 1 SDS which might help the econ a touch.

Basically, as it is now you have to play a bit based on what the deck gives you. Sometimes you open with a bunch of assets, sometimes you're straight into building the remote. Consistency is not really there, but generally the different plans work out ok no matter what order you do things in.

2 Dec 2019 Ravensteve

@paulyg Fair enough! Are the cards like Amani and Corporate Town there as good all-round cards or are they more as tech/matchup-specific cards?

2 Dec 2019 paulyg

@Ravensteve Corp Town was in the original US nats list as Apoc (well DDOS) hate I believe, with the nice side-effect of also being effective against Liza. I kept it in because I found it pretty effective against most tag/damage protection that anarch and criminal was likely to pack so it can put the flatline back on the table and I also found it incredible against Smoke in testing (trashing a Mercur with this behind a couple of ice and they struggle to get in to ever get rid of it).

Amani is even more flexible and, at the very least, usually functions as a 4-inf Economic Warfare (:doge:) as the runner is very keen to trash her quickly if they can do so safely. In testing I found her very good with some highlights being bouncing Maw, Knobkierie, or a powered up breaker (Aumakua or in one excellent game a Study Guide). There is almost always some kind of target and the runner has to be careful when paying into the trace if they're in danger of HHN.

4 Dec 2019 PowerBunz

Glad to see people like this list and congrats on your victories. Theres an argument going on between myself and Jaiden about Arella Salvatore vs Amani Senai, and the original list I took my inspiration from had both, but significantly less econ. Our newer lists also cut the Thimblerig, but we also think that the Crisium Grid are also cuttable for even more econ and speed.

4 Dec 2019 paulyg

@PowerBunzI must admit that the Crisiums did precisely zero for me all day so cutting them seems pretty plausible. Have you tried Executive Boot Camp in the list (it's probably the next card I'd fit if I find cuts)? Jeeves and Amani are huge if you find them and the little anti-DDOS bonus is nice.