Yes, Stealth Anarch. Yes, I know. But before you scoff and scroll on to the next decklist, please, allow me to explain.
This mildly goofy but surprisingly workable idea was inspired by two other very strong decks from recent tournaments: syd7's APAC winning Hoshiko and tanderson's Stealth Leela, but also from a passing thought that occurred to me a few weeks ago: with the right rig, I can essentially turn a single stealth credit from Trickster Taka into three actions during a run:
When you add in Hoshiko's ability and DreamNet, that's a whole lot of value from just one click, freeing your remaining clicks up to build the rest of your rig up (or just to run again, if you need to).
Now here's my confession - despite the clickbait title, this isn't really a stealth breaker deck, rather it's a deck designed to maximise the value from a single stealth card. As such, an icebreaker that only needs one strength boost to be good for an entire run is perfect. Anything else would require chopping and changing the rig around on the fly, and this isn't the deck for that. Blorch is there as a backup for not finding Houdini quick enough, and to free some influence up, nothing else.
Plus Odore covers the common sentries in this meta almost as well as Afterimage does. Between those two and Clippy it's a pretty economical breaker suite, meaning you don't need a ton of credits to get stuff done.
Excellently! Yeah it lost 2 of the 5 games I played, but one of those was pure piloting stupidity (imagine forgetting you need 5 cards in hand to steal an Obo against PE. Imagine), and the other was a 7-6 nail-biter against ChrisFerg 's Tablet Asa. In the other three games it played 2 more Asas and a Palana and did brilliantly. The deck performs well against both of those disparate archetypes, which is exactly what I wanted from it. If I hadn't doggedly stuck to an absolute disaster of a corp, I might have done a lot better for myself, but them's the breaks.
In the run-up to submitting decklists I ummed and ahhed over whether to stick in an extra Imp, whether I should have three Takas (or even three Poemus), and whether to cut Casts or Lib Accs to make space for them. In the end I hedged and went for 2x of everything, but maybe a braver person than me can make a better call on those.
The other big question was whether spending 6 influence on Net Mercurs was really worth it. On one hand it's the key driver of your engine during the mid-game, and absolutely fantastic. On the other hand, it needs two other cards to be installed before it has any value. On the other (third?) hand, the tournament-winning Hoshiko spent 10 whole influence on two Consumes, so maybe Anarch is overly blessed with good cards in faction at the moment? Who can say.
Ah, it was great wasn't it? It was obviously a shame not to be in person, but it was still a fantastic weekend filled with wonderful people. I'm glad I got the chance to play, and many thanks to NISEI for putting it all together so well. Thank you to all my opponents on the day, and I hope to see you all again soon!