Annoying Rodent (= that HHN-Asa from Worlds, best rank 18th)

AxWill 121

This is the deck that was co-project from several players. Diomedes already posted a short version, but (as I could use some slots,) we decided I'll post this with a larger strategy article from my own profile. This is based on my preliminary thoughts of the decks gameplay before tournament. Would like to give a shoutout regarding this deck to Janktivist, Diomedes, Hutch9514 and Xerohour from Louisville area and more generally for iceprisma, RTsa and saiteidrak from Finland meta. Overall this went something like 24-7-1 across 5 players(1 dropped after round 5).

This is ofc based on HHN-asa from continentals season, but adjustments were made after losing SSL Endorsement to enhance scoring plan and abuse Vitruvius counters.

  • General gameplan:

Get some money to enable your cards and start scoring. If runner tries to disrupt, kill them. After losing SSL, this deck leans more into forcing runner to operate in low-credits -area. This is done by enhancing the scoring plan and extracting best possible value from Vitruvius counters (and recognizing when you cant afford to score Vitruvius-counter).

  • Card choices:

Agenda suite: Sandbox is bit odd one out here, but it was the best 2-pointer available, as it gives you money immediately. Also purge while scoring is not irrelevant in the meta. Vitru-counters win you games. So does Vacheron, when runner goes on hailmary-runs, when they can't clear tags anymore. Ikawah is nice as it protects itself, but there is a solid argument for Voting Machine Initiative.

Operations: If you take HHN-kill package, the operations are quite fixed, but one card is worth a special mention. Biotic Labor: This card wins games. This deck is shifted more on the scoring plan, and Labor enables fast advance from hand for final points and also some shenanigans with Economic Warfare and Vitruvius counters.

ICE suite: after losing money from SSL, we decided to cut Hagen in favor of Vanilla. 3rd Fairchild 3.0 could be another Vanilla, Hagen or Fairchild 2.0 if you feel money is tight. Wouldn't add Drafter as Ice is scarce and thus you want most of your Ice to do something on turn 1.

How to play:

  • Scoring plan:

I’d usually like to go 2 pointer -> 3 pointer -> biotic FA from hand, but this may vary greatly. Scoring Vitruvius with a counter is usually helpful as that counter is the replay of the best card in the best possible situation. It also offers some protection against Stargate or trashed BOOM!. That being said, I have tendency to overvalue Vitruvius counters at the expense of board state. That is for example scoring sandbox instead to have money for ice or saving click for Leela bounce.

First agenda you can get behind gear check (careful with criminals) NA or IA(A) depending on Jeeves matchup etc. If you get MCA already, you can score with that as well.

Second score comes from MCA or jamming behind FC3 and something else. If you have Jeeves and Vitrucounter, you can also NA-biotic 5/3. Ideally Ikawah, as Vacherons are more useful in hand during late game.

Final score is anything goes. FA-biotic is the easiest line. Jam, never-advance, Jeeves, vitrucounters, whatever gets you there. Sometimes it might happen that you have to score three 2-pointers and something after that. It is not ideal, but it does give some action on the board which might give HQ some respite, if necessary.

  • Kill plan:

While scoring and firing value from Rashidas and VLCs, assemble the kill combo in hand. Usually it contains 2x econ warfare + HHN into BOOM!(+Archived or Consulting Visit if necessary). In order to get tags, you need to pay credits equal to runners crd+link (HHN gives the final 1 over) After that you need 4-6 crds for boom. 

I wouldn’t focus on making kill plan happen, but instead let the runner make it happen for you by causing too much pressure. Kill plan generally requires 4 cards, so Cybernetics Court is the key to have room for agendas and money as well.

You usually have one chance during the game to make the kill combo happen. That means you should treat it with respect and not waste it. Outright winning the game is great and combo should usually be saved for that. HOWEVER, sometimes firing HHN for value in early game can set runner back so much that it gives you room to build your board when runner first have to clear tags and then avoid your kill plan, I’ve got couple of games where runner was able to clear tags but was afterwards so poor, I scored out easily. You can also fork runner in late game by landing tags and simultaneously threatening the score to create a lose-lose -situation.

Against Hayley this is even more important. If you can land even one tag for a turn and trash proco+aesop, it will set them back quite a lot and nowadays Hayley is a kind of a snowball deck, which means if you can disrupt them early, that will delay their late game quite a lot. Also Hayley has only so much money so reinstalling proco from 0-2 credits is going to be a costly endeavor.

Runner can clear tags from - 5 if nothing special is going on (click credit -> clear 3) - 2 with deuces. (Clear 1 with deuces and take cred -> click cred -> clear 2) - 1 with misdirection on table (click cred twice, misdirect 3 tags) - If you are able to kill runner next turn, citadel sanctuary shouldn’t help too much as if they have more than your 4-6, they could clear by clicks as well. But with citadel you personally need way more credits to contest the trace and trash citadel before boom!

  • ICE placement:

Fairchild3 is the powerhouse here, it has been restricted ICE for a reason. It is good for scoring/mca remote and centrals. Against anarch and shaper likely rnd, with crim HQ is also good. Against Khumalo likely HQ as that makes runs there expensive and protects your kill plan.

Other ice depends on matchup and boardstate, but there shouldn’t be too much tricks or pitfalls.

  • Notable issues and matchups:

Hayley or Misdirection in general. I’d probably go with MCA pressure asap and sneak the agendas behind ice to counter clot. Kill plan is likely unviable, so econ warfare for value is not inherently wrong. One game I’ve won was with value HHN-early and trashing their board, after that NA behind ice as they couldn’t afford to check everything. Hayley is all about momentum and surgical strikes so if you are able to disrupt that, you’ve got a fighting chance. Prepare to score from the board because of clot. MCA 3 + Biotic/Jeeves or MCA2 + both can score Vitruvius through clot. Not going to lie, this is still a horrible matchup.

Leela. Has Miss Bones money to trash, rangos + Inside Job for early contest and doof to annoy the heck out of you. Pay attention to credit total and whether your remote is really safe. Also regular Leela things like scoring bounces and blocking centrals. In my experience if you go fast they get careless / you can out-tempo them.

Ed Kim. This is kinda bad, but Kim is not very common.

Khumalo. If they get their whole engine running, you can be in trouble as econ warfare is free to trash and consume is money. On the other hand they do not have too much money in early game so try to force them into a mistake?

Apoc. Not any silver bullets here, but MCA usually prevents apoc from anarch/crim. Best bet is to ice centrals with frustrating ice and go fast enough that they have to apoc sooner than they prefer (= kill) or you get to 5 points before apoc and can finish with biotic FA.

All in all, Worlds were a great experience so tremendous thank you for everyone involved in any position! Lets hope we can do tournament in person next year. (If we get there, I'll buy a beer for the first person to figure out the obscure name reference.)