If you haven't heard, there is an incredible Startup league running on the GLC discord server. GLC is a great place to discuss formats, find events, and all around enhance your netrunner online community. This runner deck has gone undefeated to take me to the top of swiss after five weeks. For corp I played a spicy PE that can be found here. Seeing that it's an endless league, it seems long enough to post a bit about the list.
Startup is an interesting format where there is little to punish running and ice can become invalidated quite quickly with proper play and deckbuilding. As a new player geared format, being runner favored is a good thing. Blue based Hoshiko is not a new idea, it has proven successful on the international stage since Hoshiko's release. Here we are looking to lean heavily into Gachapon and Moshing to get online as fast as possible. This Hoshiko list has a very powerful rig once built that runs for cheap/free through multiple pieces of ice. We eschew slower economy cards and slower card draw for run based money and draw. The tech choice for this Hoshiko build is the imp without virus support and seemingly random Memory Diamond; however, trashing cards from the corp's hand allows a runner to interact with the most powerful corp win conditions in the format while sacrificing as little speed as possible. The diamond provides enough mem to support double leech alongside stargate in a finished rig, which is necessary against large glacier while also giving you protection from puni.
This deck tends to spend the first few turns building its rig while managing Hoshiko flips. You do want to poke at RD or HQ to force a few ice rez's and flip our heroine but really we want to be finding the tools we will need to camp the remote. You're just running to flip Hoshiko. If you don't have DreamNet in play, you usually want to let her flip back and forth until you feel set up. Do not break your economy early to contest an agenda; your finished rig is so powerful that as long as you continue building towards it you'll be setting the corp on a very short window to close. If the corp over commits to a remote it can be correct to ignore it and just RD lock them out with Stargate. If the corp over commits to RD, it is correct to camp out their board until you have a finished rig.
Some individual card discussion and tips geared towards newer players;
Bravado and Dirty Laundry should be used early to flip Hoshiko and mid game to fuel DreamNet and charge Leech. Try to avoid playing them for other reasons (for example if you have two Dirty Laundries play them over two turns).
Moshing is a pet card of mine. Generally speaking you want to discard duplicate copies of DreamNet, breakers, Keiko and Companions to help you dig. We are running many duplicates of our important cards and Moshing helps to mitigate the downside of unique cards. It can also be used in a pinch to dig for cards you need. Don't look to Mosh away key pieces early. Because you are a Moshing deck, you rarely want to discard to hand size. Feel free to Mosh away tech cards bad in the current matchup.
Wildcat Strike should be played first click. Not much new to say about this card that hasn't been said. It can be sweet with Moshing but the corp really should never let you draw off it. Largely it's here to make your Mystic Maemi hands better and as a 5th and 6th copy of Sure Gamble. From a deckbuilding perspective this is a 'tech slot' that can be replaced with other tech cards. Choosing to play Wildcat over, say, a Scrubber (against asset) or a Botulus (against rush) or more Imps (against operations) is a nod to flexibility. Credits can be spent on whatever you need instead of targeting specific strategies.
Boomerang is your early game concession to needing to beat gear check ice. Midgame we use it for econ on expensive ice. Lategame, once you've drawn your entire deck, your last Boomerang is a freeroll off Paladin Poemu who would trash himself without something to install.
Docklands Pass is such a strong card for only two inf. Taking singles off HQ is incredibly inefficient. Generally speaking this deck ignores centrals (besides flipping Hoshiko) and camps remotes until the end game. Docklands makes those HQ imp runs wildly more efficient. If HQ is defended by anything costly and you aren't heavily pressured to do so, wait to imp HQ until your Docklands shows up.
Gachapon offers so much acceleration and consistency. Recently in a jNet game an opponent I respect mentioned how much they hate Gachapon because it removes cards from your deck (and we put cards in our deck because we want to draw them). Gacha catapults you towards the cards you need now at the cost of things you might or might not need later. It can be a bit of a puzzle deciding what to leave in your deck. Because we are a bit of a big rig, we generally can't afford to ever remove a breaker we haven't installed yet, a Leech, a multi-access card, or an Ice Carver from the game. This means that with Gacha we'll be removing duplicates of installed cards and economy cards from the game but it can be tricky and matchup specific. Early game, if the corp attempts to gear check an agenda or Daily Quest, it's a fine play to install Gacha, run, and hope to hit the right breaker. Unlike a deck featuring programs that can be installed on ice, this deck tends to crack its Gachas immediately to look for econ pieces. Early game we want to Gacha for Paladin Poemu or DreamNet to get us started. Mid game, look to finish finding all three of your breakers. Late game, Gacha is moshing fodder. Although it is hand and matchup dependent, it can be correct turn 1 to not install DreamNet until after you crack the Gacha in your opening hand (a DreamNet in hand can be moshed and it's one of the better discounts off Gacha, which reduces your install cost by two).
Keiko gives Rezeki a run for its money as the best drip econ card in startup. Once you find your little dragon friend, make sure to trigger it once each turn. With gachapon, you can even trigger Keiko/Paladin on the corp turn if you already used Keiko with Trickster or Mystic on your turn.
T400 Memory Diamond is pretty awful but... it's here for two reasons. (1) It provides insurance against Puni. (2) There are enough glacier corps in the format where your finished rig requires three breakers, two leeches, and a Stargate. Look for signs that the game is going in this direction before installing. Signs are big ice like Tollbooth and Brân 1.0 that when fit in duplicates on a server will require multiple leech counters to get past. Previous versions of this deck ran chisel/charm and thus didn't need double leech install. With where the meta has developed, making room for the imp and more econ has been more important then destroying expensive ice. As such; preparing your rig for double leech is an acceptable big server solution.
Ice Carver is an incredibly important part of your finished rig due to how your breakers work. Don't destroy your bank installing it in the early game but also don't discard it to Moshing or remove it from the game with Gachapon unless it's very clear the game will be ending quite soon.
Mystic Maemi was a late addition to the deck alongside Wildcat Strike that came after a conversation with ValeNetrunner about how to tune and refine the list. You run out of events to feed your wizard friend very quickly, but they stand in early game when Paladin is late to the party. Mid or late game it's often correct to burn mystic in a moshing if you've already seen over half your events. Because Maemi's fuel will run out, try to get at least two counters off the mystic at a time, holding events to maximize the credit output.
Paladin Poemu will keep your econ afloat single handedly before Keiko and DreamNet show up. Paladin is the best reason to keep an opening hand and will quickly get you online. You do have to put some effort into managing the companion, be careful running last click into a possible agenda if Paladin has two counters already.
Trickster Taka pairs with Leech and Keiko to make your finished rig cheap, if not free, to run with. Be very careful installing Taka in the early game, it is often correct to wait until the mid game before putting the fox down onto the board. Do not let yourself end a turn with Taka on three counters because you cannot afford to trash the trickster or to take a tag. If you were not aware, you can make a throwaway run (for example on archives to trigger DreamNet) and before access spend your Taka credits to pump an installed breaker despite never encountering a piece of ice.
Buzzsaw, Cleaver and Odore all share something in common; they are dirt cheap to break with and overpriced to pump. Fortunately, you have leech and ice carver to subsidize them. Avoid ever having to pump them for any reason unless it's on a run that will 100% provide the game winning agenda. Okay, you can pump Odore once per turn, but that's it. If you're put into a position where you would have to pump them often, instead, go hunting for leech and run a cheaper server a few times first.
Imp has already been discussed at length at other parts of this review. Because we only have a single imp, be very careful and purposeful about when you install it. Try to surprise the corp with it alongside a docklands in the lategame to fully clear out HQ over two turns. Do not expose two counters to being purged (yes, them purging is usually a great trade but a high level corp player will only purge when HQ is holding essential operations that will actually end the game).
Stargate makes me never want to play corp again. Fortunately, most runners seem to prefer other win conditions. This deck very very rarely wants to go in on Stargate early. Save it until you're ready to close out the game on points or lock the corp out of ice/operations. Because Stargate fully mitigates the corp's draw; it can often be correct to target big ice or operation win conditions and leave agenda's to steal later. If you were not aware, a Stargate run will not be "seen" by Hoshiko so can be used to flip her back and forth mid game while still generating DreamNet triggers.
All in all, this Hoshiko build is balanced to have interaction at all portions of the game while still going fast. You have some early access and acceleration. You have multi access for both HQ and RD. You have an efficient rig and ways to interact with corp win conditions besides just scoring out. It's a bit of a Mario or a Jund. You're good at just about everything but not great at any particular part of it. Limit your runs early, don't break your bank and play some clean and honest netrunner. When you look to modify this list for an evolving metagame, the first cards to cut are 2x Wildcat Strike, 1x Mystic, 1x Memory Diamond and 1x Imp for different tech cards -- everything else is fairly mandatory to run properly. Also, if you haven't already, come by the GLC discord server. See you in next week's Startup league. I know I'll be playing something new.
18 May 2021 Xtreme