CTZ would have beaten Sokka with this deck

Nykride 95

I went 2-3 with this at Sovereign of Subways 2023. See my undefeated corp here.

Criminal is my favorite faction in the game, but it’s hard to find a reason to play Criminal right now. We’ve got the worst late-game economy and breakers of any faction, and Diversion is rarely useful given the number of asset lists and other corps that can recover from low credits (R+, rush Ob, Outfit). But there is one card that is still a good reason to play crim: Hermes. I started playing a year and a half ago, so I’ve never played as or against Leela, but Hermes has been such an interesting card to me since release, and watching CTZ play his silly-looking (to the uninitiated) — amazinglist at Cascadia was inspiring.

The run refunds Zahya gives you, coupled with the consistency from her smaller deck size makes her work well here, but this is really a Hermes deck. Here’s how to play it:

  1. Install Hermes. This is priority #1.
  2. Don’t break ice unless you have to. It’s expensive, and often not needed. I installed Curupira once all tournament.
  3. If your opponent is going to score their first agenda while leaving HQ unprotected (post-Hermes bounce), just set up.
  4. Get WAKE down early, even if you can’t charge it. The only thing it’ll do is make the corp protect HQ further, which is good. Let them waste tempo. You’re goin’ in through the backdoor anyway.
  6. Run R&D, at the right time, using S-Dobrado because you’re crim and can’t afford to break ice. Hit ‘em with the Deep Dive at home: See 6 cards, steal agendas, bounce cards, charge companions, gain 6 credits.

Steelskin and Stoneship were my tech cards of choice, expecting damage. I hilariously still lost both games I played against damage decks, one because I felt time pressure too hard and misplayed grossly, and the other because I just failed to draw Steelskins and I ran the two Snares in RH while running early (which I thought I was supposed to do…). 2x Nuka and 1x Bahia Bands is probably better when you’re not expecting something specific. Wheels is good if you’re expecting NBN. Wheels + Stoneship is needed to beat False Lead NEH.

I ended up cutting 2x Jailbreaks for another Dirty Laundry (wanted more money for NBN matchups) and the Flip Switch. The Flip Switch is excellent, but I really missed the Jailbreaks. I’ll try fitting them in for future iterations. I hated having Miss Bones in this deck (I don’t want to run remotes), maybe Cezve is just better. The MU can be a problem since Sneakdoor is 2, which is why I didn’t like it in testing, but it might still be right.

I think this deck is incredibly hard to play optimally. If you, like Sokka and CTZ, know where the agendas are — and I’m not memeing, I literally mean knowing from play patterns where the agendas are — then you can do much better with this deck than I did. Making the right runs at the right time will reward you, and other than Sokka’s worlds BtL, no corp is triple-icing centrals, especially when you don’t even install breakers.

Why would CTZ have beaten Sokka with this deck?

Obviously, CTZ would have played the first turns of the game better than I did. But the key moment was at the end: on my last turn, I had Boomerang in hand. Yes, I missed the opportunity to hit Sokka with a Boomerang. I could have stolen Bellona, would have gotten Oppo’d to hell, and probably hit by Market Forces, but there were still some okay outs. Even at zero credits, click for credits twice and play S-Dobrado would get me in to a central. It’s still not looking good there, but just maybe, CTZ would know when to run and steal the last agenda.

Shoutouts in my corp writeup.