[Startup] Virus S[L]oup (with full recipe)

napalm900 336

Loup doesn't want to maths all day to see if he can break into corp server, he'd rather be either partying, cooking something, or breaking something! And so Loup has prepared this big pot of viral soup to share (100% breaker free!). He'll stir it and season it until tastes just right and then pour it all over your nice servers until nothing works no more.

This deck was born out me being too lazy to maths through ice with breakers and wanting to trash as much stuff as possible. Yes it does have it weaknesses but it can be very flexible and can launch surprise attacks on servers when you want it to. I may have no breakers and your remote may be clean, but no it is most definitely not safe.

Soup Ingredients:

  • Botulus: Your main way of gaining access. The most flavorful of ingredients, you either love it or hate it.
  • Chisel/Devil Charm: Try to Chisel small ice away without using your Devil Charms as this will make the Chisels go further. Watch your teeth on this one because it will break them.
  • Imp: Use liberally and try get a trash in each turn to fire Loups ability. Also try to trash the cards that are key to your opponents victory.
  • Fermenter: a nice suprise if you add it to the mix early, forget about it and then realise later to get a nice 10 credit boost.


  • Boomerang: Good for dipping in and out of the soup and also for when Magnets show up.
  • Docklands Pass: Will help provide some central pressure and give you lots of targets to trash with Imp.
  • Cookbook: Adds extra spice to all your viruses!

Kitchen Hands:

  • Keiko and Paladin Poemu: If you can get these 2 installed early then you are going to make a great soup!
  • Gachapon: Helps find that pesky ingredient you can't quite find at the back of the pantry.
  • DreamNet: Gives that extra bit of draw and can also be found with Gachapon.

Stirring the Soup

How to play

This deck can run on very few credits if you get set up well. To do this, try get Keiko and Paladin Poemu out as early as possible. There are no installables that cost more than 3 credits so installs with these 2 out will cost either 1, 0 or even give you a credit! Having a Fermenter out ticking away also helps but is not always needed. I find I am often trashing Sure Gamble :P

Throw your Boomerang, Botulus, or Chisel/Devil Charm down on unrezzed ice and do not be afraid of running, a 2 token Botulus seems to get me through or bounce off most ice without incurring much trouble and a Chisel/Devil Charm is just asking for that ice to be rezzed. Try to have a loaded Imp out during every run to be able to trash any nasty looking card, or a Bellona, and trigger Loups ability. Keep in mind that his ability effectively reduces the card trash costs by 1!

This deck gets really fun when using Simulchip, Rejig and Retrieval Run to move your viruses around the field (mid run too!) or setup suprise attacks on servers that are safe one turn and then crawling with viruses the next. Harmony AR Therapy gives even more recursion (usually near the end game) to get back another copy of your viruses, Simulchip, Boomerang or any one of cards that may have been trashed.

Try to contest at least one central (often HQ with Docklands) while having a plan to be able to attack the remote when you need too. Be careful about focusing too much on the remote as this can lead to you investing too many of your programs that can only be moved or recurred so many times.

Between DreamNet, Loups ability, Gachapon and often Wildcat Strike (giving draw is not the best choice because this deck runs on low credits!) I feel like card draw is in a good place. I tried including Nihilist, Verbal Plasticity and the Earthrise Hotel but found they were too expense and didn't work so well on the low credits this deck runs on.

Also you can't lose money if you don't have any! Make the most of running through ice that deducts money, like Gold Farmer, when you don't have any money to lose!

Match ups

  • NBN: It does really well against this corp especially against asset spam. Low ice strength makes for easy Chisel destructions letting you save your Devil Charms for later. Asset spam results in alot of trashes sometimes with multiple Imps on the field for extra trashes per turn. Just remember to protect your Paladin Poemu from being trashed by removing any tags you get and try to have a loaded Imp to trash Bellonas and then save up those big dollars to steal them from archives.

  • Jinteki: Similar to NBN with Botulus/Boomerang being able to get through most ice. Your card draw can struggle to keep up with the net damage. Imps can help wth dodging nasty agendas and taking damage until you are ready to.

  • Weyland: More difficult that Jinteki, the 3rd or 4th subroutine your Botulus/Boomerang can't quite break often don't end up being too bad. Chisel and trash your way to victory! If they trash a program on their turn, hopefully you have a Simulchip installed to instantly bring it back!

  • HB: This matchup is easily the hardest as after moving your cards around servers you only have 1 or 2 clicks to run on which means not enough clicks to help get through some of the bioroids and defensive upgrades. It can be easy to focus too much on contesting the remote and neglecting the centrals. Their efficiency means you need to be aggresive! Find those Seamless Launches and defense upgrades and bin them (until they come back anyway :( ) Good luck!

Cards that leave a bad taste in your mouth:

  • Magnet: Actually not too bad as you can trash your programs and bring them back easily enough, and then Boomerang through the Magnet if you must get through.
  • Punitive Counterstrike: Look out for double punitive as you most likely do not have the money to beat the trace. Try find the Punitives in HQ and trash them first before stealing large agendas
  • Cyberdex Sandbox: Also not too bad as your viruses will quickly grow back in strength. Worse once it is scored but oh so sweet to steal!
  • NEXT Activation Command: This card essentially removes you from the game for a turn (FIND THEM AND BURN THEM!)

I've had a lot of fun with this deck and I hope you do too. This is my first proper deck I've published so please send me your feedback, let me know how you find playing it, and enjoy your soup!

UPDATE: I've been thinking of replacing the Sure Gambles with more on tempo cards for this deck as I'm finding that if I'm running on low credits, which I often am, saving up for Sure Gamble is significant loss of tempo and it is kind of a dead card at times. I am thinking of replacing with either another Wildcat Strike (this might end in too much draw), another Daily Cast, or a couple of Dirty Laundry (as this deck runs aggressively!).

UPDATE 2: Consider adding a single Buzzsaw to help get through Magnets, use Rejig, Retrieval Run or Simulchip to install for a reduced cost and from the heap if needed.


12 Jul 2021 cadence

Really well written, thank you!

Icebreakers are a crutch ;)

12 Jul 2021 napalm900

Thank you @cadence. That was definitely a title I considered!

17 Jul 2021 ptc

Neat deck and excellent write-up! Nice work.

17 Jul 2021 Navelgazer

Oh man I want to play around with this. Very nice deck and write-up. Curious why Fencer Fueno didn't make the cut. Seems like it'd be a natural include here, enough that there must be a reason.

17 Jul 2021 MultiSquid

@Navelgazer 3 Imps combined with 2 Cookbooks and plenty of recursion means Fueno really isn't needed here.

18 Jul 2021 Navelgazer

@MultiSquid Yeah, after messing around today with a version that included Fueno, I see why it's extraneous. The Imps really do all the work you need.

19 Jul 2021 MagicHead

Those GIFs are... Soup-er.

I'll see myself out. Grats from a local 👏.

19 Jul 2021 napalm900

@MagicHead thanks! I think they were your idea!

@Navelgazertbh I had not even tried Fencer in the deck but definitely will be giving it go as, where possible, I like trash cards with trash costs and save Imp tokens for cards without trash costs. Being able to trash 2 cards in a run with next to no cost is the dream! I might try sub an Imp out for a Fencer. How have you got on with your games? Have you made any improvements?

19 Jul 2021 Navelgazer

@napalm900I won't claim to have made any "improvements," but I'm playing around with some revisions. I'm coming into startup after quite a while away from the game, so I'm running with a lot of pilot error right now in any case, plus I can't tell how well the deck is working vs. how much the game and format just favors runners over corps right now. Most recent revisions involve dropping Keiko+companions for Demolisher, and using 3x Moshing + The Nihilist. I will let you know how it goes once I've played with it some more!

24 Oct 2021 ExhaustedDog

I like this deck a lot!

Fast forward to late October 2021...asset spam is definitely a popular archetype right now. Scrubber is an option if you want more consistent asset pressure. It offers more flexibility against matchups where you want those Imp counters to hit operation combo pieces. Stargate also deserves a look to widen central pressure AND triggers Loup's ability.

28 Oct 2021 napalm900

@ExhaustedDog super stoked you found this deck and have been enjoying it! Just careful as Stargate does not work with Loup's ability.

Since I published this it has had some great iterations made by Atch and Diogene you can find here:

netrunnerdb.com netrunnerdb.com

23 Jan 2022 Blackwing

Why Keiko over Carnivore? Seems to me with only two poemu to work off of Keiko isn't activating all that much, and Carnivore would seem to synergize well with Loup.

23 Jan 2022 cadence

From playing this deck myself I've found that even if Carnivore's ability was worth the same amount as Keiko's credit gain (in my opinion, the Carnivore ability is worse), the additional MU from Keiko is very much needed and the 4 credits to install Carnivore are a fair setback in this deck that runs on low credits.

Having cards is very valuable in this deck and they are always good for you. The 4 credits to install Carnivore and the two cards to use it (even with Loup's draw) is just really clunky.

If you want to trash operations, use the 3 Imp cards that are included :p