This deck is part of the third iteration of the Project CROW mini-campaign for beginners familiar with System Core 2019. It consists of three Runner and three Corp decks, that are built up over three steps. They start at the System Core 2019 with a few additions and end up with currently competitively viable decks that have placed well in tournaments.
With the final level of the HB list, we're once again turning the whole deck upside down.
This is the winning deck of the German Nationals built and played by
@Pinsel and it is a wild ride of a deck.
It combines the ideas behind Spombo Sportsmetal that we explored in level 2 together with his Worlds winning Combo Asa (yes, he won both Worlds and German Nats...).
While Spombo Sportsmetal used the draw generated by the identity and Fast Break, in Asa we have to use another way: Fully Operational.
This card can generate insane levels of value. If you only evaluate it by the credits it generates, it is on par with Beanstalk Royalties on one iced remote, IPO on two remotes, and surpasses them all at three or more remotes. And believe me, there will be a lot of iced remotes. Your identity allows you to quickly drop an asset behind a piece of ice in a single click. This makes the additional requirement of Fully Operational pretty easy to fulfill.
But this is only evaluating the card on its credit value. The real trick lies in drawing cards that can be so much more valuable than simple credits. This list tries to out-tempo the Runner by simply doing so many things at once that they can't possibly control everything. This mostly means installing things in remotes, which needs to be fueled by card draw. For this you've got full sets of three cards: Rashida Jaheem, Fully Operational, and Violet Level Clearance. The last one can be a bit tricky, because it is a Terminal card, meaning that you end your turn after playing it. This means you instantly go over to the discard step without any window to install the cards that you drew, so be mindful of when you use it. You can discard the first copy of Game Changer as well as some pieces of ice, if you drew too many, and the 1-point agendas Hyperloop Extension or Megaprix Qualifier, especially if you think the runner might run archives.
The deck does have the strategy that Spombo Sportsmetal also had of using Arella Salvatore + Calibration Testing to advance up to 7 points at once. But much more often the scoring pattern of this list consists of either mini combos for 3-4 points in the mid game or using Game Changer to score out a Project Vacheron for the final 3 points for the win. The Arella combo is not the main plan but more of a threat that the Runner has to keep in check. This means they need to actively search and trash your Team Sponsorships and all the upgrades, breaking their economy, and allowing you to dictate the pace of the game.
The main enabler of this entire strategy is Project Vacheron.
There are a lot of games, where the Runner is sitting on 10 points, just waiting for their Vacherons to tick down.
@percomis in a number of matches:
I just need to not lose for one more f*@$=/$ turn!
— percomis, shortly before losing
When you are hard-pressed to win the game in this exact turn is when the deck shines the most. Assuming the runner has a number of agendas in their score area, Game Changer can provide you with a lot of clicks. You will often not have the right cards in hand to combo out from here, so if you set up your board well enough, you can now use Fully Operational for 6-10 draws. It is not rare that you draw your entire deck in the final turn to find that one missing card that has been hiding on the bottom of your R&D.
The last point to consider is ice placement. You only have 11 pieces of ice and their placement is extremely crucial for your strategy. I can not give easy guidelines for what to place where, as that depends a lot on the economic and breaker situation of the runner. In general, you want to use the ice to deter the runner from trashing your pieces as well as keeping your centrals safe (enough). This can mean that you use simple end-the-run ice like Vanilla to not strain your own economy too much. This can also mean that you want to stack your Drafters, to make the runner move their Ika every time they break it. Keep in mind that Gatekeeper is not only good for ending the run, but also for accelerating your own game by giving you three more draws. You'll often happily pay 3 to draw those 3 cards. Do not make the mistake of shuffling back your Project Vacheron too hastily. Often it serves you better in HQ or on the board, because it can easily get hit out of R&D by Stargate and provide instant 3 points to the runner.
This deck is not only the most skill-testing deck in this iteration of Project CROW, but is certainly one of the most demanding decks in the history of the game, so I'd recommend a few games just playing on your own and assuming the runner to win on 5 agendas on turn 9 (for example because they stole the winning Vacheron on turn 5).