Hoshiko Hypothesis -- 6th out of 75 at German Nationals

Saan 2759

This is the list that brought me to 6th place after the cut amongst a 75 person tournament stacked with strait up murderers. Seriously, the number of well known names in the same room is so long that I'm not going to bother listing them all.

This deck was originally born from me saying in our Berlin Discord, four days before Nationals: "hey, I'd bet a deck with Hippos, Chisels, Devil Charms, and Simulchips would probably be nuts.". I'm certain I wasn't the only one with this idea, but I eventually had it. I decided at first to use Null as the ID (calling it the Null Hypothesis, because wordplay), since sometimes lowering the strength of ICE with Null does something. At this time, my influence was in Rezeki, the Simulchips, and 2 Harmony AR Therapy, to recur cards. I was also playing only Gachapon and Peddlers as my "draw" cards, with 2 of each breaker. Gachapon usually hit something, and it can occasionally lead to a surprise Chisel, although unreliably. I also had a Trickster Taka to help fuel the breakers.

I played the deck and it seemed decent, but I never was using the HARTs in games, since it took a bit before there were enough cards I wanted to shuffle back in that I actually wanted to see again. I decided to take out the singleton Stargate I was using, and added in 2 Find The Truth. This had the added benefit of adding in 2 more Virtual things for Gach to find. This was better, since now runs would occasionally show me agendas on R&D for me to go get. I brought it to our usual Thursday night meetup in Berlin, where we had a small pre-Nationals tournament set up to get back in the swing of things after the holidays. Null lost only 1 game, which I realized was actually very winable afterwords, and the other 2 games didn't feel close. I still felt that the deck was lacking some consistancy, and the draw felt bad. Gach is good at finding things, but bad at finding specific things. Plus, it's not actually card draw at all, since you don't actually end up with additional cards in your hand. Just a thinner deck. The drip econ of Rezeki, Trickster, Paladin, and Keiko felt sick, though. I mentioned to the other Berlin folks that I was pretty sure that Hoshiko was probably just a better ID for the deck, because while very occasionally lowering the strength of an ICE was good, I was pretty sure the money and extra draw was just better.

Flash forward to the King of Servers event on Friday, our team went up against the team with Pinsel on it, where we ended up playing. To my surprise, he was playing a deck shockingly close to what I was playing, except he had spent the extra 6 influence on SMCs to help get out all the goodies. As a long-time Shaper player, I was almost embarrassed I didn't think of it. As the game went on, I saw that he was playing all these extra cards that I wanted in my deck, but just couldn't find the room for: IHW, DreamNet... basically the draw I was missing. After the game, I asked if I could look at the deck to see what his differences were, and he was happy to hand it to me to check out. We chatted about Gachapon's usefulness in the deck (or lack thereof) and the interesting fact that he was only playing 1 of breakers, which made sense, because you're still playing 2 SMCs and 3 'Chips, just like shapers (I was playing Smoke for KoS, and was highly considering Hayley for Nationals the following day). Plus, you end up killing a lot of ICE, so breakers aren't as needed (thus the lack of Trickster as well). Lastly, Labor Rights can shuffle back in Simulchips, Charms, and Chisels, which is kind of a better, in-faction HART.

So, for real. Thank you Pinsel. This deck is much better because of you, and I loved playing all of our games.

I went back to the Airbnb where I was staying for the evening, and made changes to the deck, swapping to the clearly better ID, and adding the extra draw and SMCs. Before actually building it (and deciding what I actually wanted to play for runner as well as Corp), I basically passed out. I awoke at 7am and replaced the cards I needed to (except one I forgot, which caused me grief later), snap decided on a Corp to build, then grabbed that and the Hayley deck I already had build and left for breakfast. However, when I got there, I found out that I had forgot to swap in the Downfall cards for the replacement cards I was using in my Hayley deck (for example, Houdini was a stand-in for Euler). This made my choice easy, so I decided to play Hoshiko, after exactly two nights of playing the previous iterations, and literally 0 games under my belt with the new deck.

The deck slays. Specifically, it slays ICE. As soon as a Charm hits the floor, nothing feels safe any more for the Corp. I had a game against PE where I think I killed 4 Kakugos (he shuffled one back), which is great, because Just Say No To Net Damage. I had a game where I stimhacked the remote, and my opponent rezzed 0 ICE, because it all would have died. Instead, I got Stargate and proceeded to win off of it. The deck just feels really good to play. Even the game against Pinsel, I still got to 7 points, killing a 3 ICE server... it's just that those last 3 points were Project Vacheron, which left him free to combo out a win on the following turn.

The the only other game I lost was to Heinzel's Titan deck, where I went through literally the top half of my deck without finding a single breaker, SMC, or Chisel, while he proceeded to do the Titan thing and trained Atlas's.

Bad part: in the cut, for deck list checks, it turns out I forgot to replace the Paperclip I was using with the Corroder that I wrote on my decklist (and legally had to use, since I now had 2 restricted cards in the same deck). I installed Paperclip once all day, and never used Labor Rights at all (although probably should have). Nevertheless, I fucked up. The organizers were nice enough to award me a first round game loss in the cut, which I was more than fine with, as I was expecting an immediate disqualification (we swapped Corroder back in). I was paired against Pinsel, and we played our game anyhow, for fun and practice. This time his Geist completely body-slammed my Earth Station, since this time he wasn't greedy and running too soon. So I lost anyhow! Seriously though, thanks to the organizers for still letting me play; it meant a lot.

Anyhow, it's super possible there's optimization to be done here. I'd like a 3rd Stimhack, since having Stimhack with SMC feels like cheating, and a second Labor Rights might not be bad. As I said, I threw this together the morning of the tournament with no real practice, other than a chat with Pinsel and a look at what he was doing (which seemed like a good idea). I stand on the backs of giants.

Thanks everyone for an amazing 3 days.

13 Jan 2020 Qris

Nice list! As your identity is beneficial throughout the game, what do you pick as your Rebirth target?

13 Jan 2020 Saan

I think I've only actually rebirthed once, but it was into Omar (vs PE). It's similar to the old Hate Bear list (also an ICE destruction deck, if you weren't around for it) in terms of goals. If you've been killing ICE all game long, they almost certainly haven't had the time to commit an ICE to Archives. And if they've had a hard time scoring because you keep destroying/thinning out the scoring server, agendas tend to pile up in HQ. Pop into Omar, and go see what HQ looks like.

I say that, but there's other beneficial targets, depending on the game state. I could see cases where Edward Kim or even Freedom could be useful, and the original deck was in Null for a reason, and that reason can sometimes still be very valid.