Back to the roots-shop (2nd @ Bern Startup CO)

lostgeek 3618

Aesop's makes it rain

Playing Startup to me always means revisiting old archetypes that have been made unviable in the current Standard meta. This time around with the introduction of Muse and Coalescence, a build around Aesop’s Pawnshop was on the table.

The basic routine is the same as always. Draw cards, install them – ideally for cheap, sell them – ideally for profit. This time around we have got Coalescence replacing good old Cache / Harbinger. Draw is provided by Verbal Plasticity and LilyPAD, which is more than enough to keep things going.

While I had already thought that Muse would be a good card, its versatility was truly astounding. Your baseline interaction is to install it for free using DZMZ Optimizer and recur a Coalescence from your heap. This nets you 2 credits immediately and 6 further credits in the next two turns. Not bad for a single click and a single card.

But if you're already looking good economically, you can also look at recuring (or tutoring) any of Imp, Leech, Cupellation as needed. It'll still profit from the DZMZ discount and leave behind a body to sell to Aesop's next turn.

And finally the best bit is the ability to turn the downside of Startup deckbuilding into an upside. Everyone not on Mutual Favor is forced to play multiple copies of their breakers. If you find yourself in need of a breaker just tutor it with Muse. Once you draw your second copy you'll be able to install it (getting DZMZ discounts and boosting the efficiency of Echelon and Unity) and then first sell your other copy and then the Muse it's hosted on.

Smartware Distributor is there to bridge the gap in slower matchups, where clicking for 3 is great. Just make sure to have two other things to sell to Aesop's before then finally selling of the Smartware itself.

Notable card choices

Trick Shot vs Cataloguer

I initially was on 0 Trick Shot and 2 Cataloguer instead. My cursory argument being I can sell off the Cataloguer if I need those credits to win on the remote instead (the total of Cataloguers sold to Aesop's was 0 in all my test games...). Also I dislike having to forgo the 1 extra access on Trick Shot for the Cataloguer trigger.

It took @TamiJo to ask me why I wasn't playing Trick Shot to reconsider my choices. I then realised that “Pretty” Mary da Silva was leagues better than my initial evaluation. Accessing 3 cards is very similar in value to cataloging 4 cards, especially considering that Cupellation and Imp can be used on the multi access.

With 3 Trick Shot, you see 9 cards from R&D. For HQ the deck plays Burner and finally Jailbreak can be used both on R&D for 3 accesses or HQ for 2 accesses. This together with the immense pressure of an efficient breaker suite on the remote should provide enough power to push through wins even against the relatively strong Corps of current Startup.

Window of Opportunity + Saci

This combination can be incredibly rude. In the tournament I managed to go click 1 install Saci, click 2 Window of Opportunity installing another Saci and derezzing your Archer(!!). Corp decides to not rez and forfeit their Send a Message (understandable), but rerezzes at the end of the run. So we go for ultimate rudeness, click 3 pick up the second copy of Window from Ayla, click 4 play it...

It shores up matchups where Corps try to push through scores behind early huge ice like a triple-advanced Pharos, Tree Line, Cloud Eater, or similar.

Pressure Spike and Corroder

Having access to both Corroder and Pressure Spike is amazing. Depending on the matchup, you typically aim to tutor for Corroder and naturally draw into Spike later when threat 4 is near / reached. Spike deals extremely efficiently with a single Pharos or similar. And as described above, installing multiple copies of your breakers is barely a downside.

Tournament performance

Of course I had to loudly proclaim that with Ayla “Bios” Rahim: Simulant Specialist having Aesop's in your starting hand is practically guaranteed, so I proceeded to not find any copies in two of my three games at the tournament. In the first game, I didn't find Aesop's for the early to mid game, but the deck still managed to put up a good fight, fishing for a lot of multi accesses on centrals and ending the game 6-7 points with a close loss.

In the other game I at least found Verbal Plasticity to then draw Aesop's after a few more draws and the engine was assembled.

Thanks to @ataraxis for organising the tournament and everyone attending for some very fun games!

9 Jun 2024 Vectorz

Stupidly powerful - currently (June 2024) it just invalidates startup glacier.

Any thoughts on replacing Cupellation with Ashen Epllogue? I found it helps in a 6 Agenda Weyland meta...