DoF Tāo (3rd Chatteris SC)

Kikai 1159

2-4 at Chatteris SC, with wins against The Outfit and Sportsmetal, and losses to The Outfit, Asa Group and Sportsmetal.


Presuming that our opponent has a game plan involving ICE (which it's worth noting that not all Corporations do), Tāo Salonga: Telepresence Magician is a very powerful ability.

While playing against Tāo the Corp must be very careful about installing ICE: because every piece of unrezzed ICE is a liability.

Most often, Corps cannot afford to rez every piece of ICE they install. Tāo allows us to abuse this careless overextension, and we can lean into this further by including some econ denial in our list.


In order to leverage our ID ability, we want to try and apply pressure on the first agenda shove (if possible). Self-modifying Code and Engolo help us to do this safely. We may not steal the agenda, but that's okay, as long as the Corp is forced to rez ICE.

Forcing the Corp to rez ICE achieves 2 things: it gives us information about ICE placement, and it commits Corp resources into a piece of ICE that we can then move to an irrelevant server (probably R&D in the early game). Swapping around two pieces of unrezzed ICE is fun, but not particularly useful.

Other than that, we just want to get ourselves set up as quickly as possible, so that we can (first) lock the remote, and (then) start to pick out Agendas from R&D with Khusyuk.

We should feel free to play Diversion of Funds as soon as we are confident that it will land (rather than wait for a scoring turn). The more we slow down the Corp, the more value we get out of Rezeki.

Card Choices

The core of any shaper deck this season seems fairly obvious to me. DZMZ Optimizer and Rezeki is just an incredible econ engine, and I'm slightly embarassed to admit that it took me a week or so of testing before I even noticed the Khusyuk synergy.

Originally, I started testing with Mining Accident instead of Diversion of Funds. This was okay, but quite a different deck (that used Conduit and The Turning Wheel for multi-access). The Diversion of Funds build is faster, slicker, and generally better.

Atman can have some synergy with Tāo Salonga: Telepresence Magician, but it's not a critical component of our plan. Atman-3 is surprisingly useful at dealing with Drafter. Atman-5 is our go-to in the Jinteki glacier matchup.

Tech slots are 2 x Political Operative (for Anoetic Void) and Because I Can (for City Works Project and Obokata Protocol).

One notable card that I think is genuinely good in Tāo, but that was cut to make room for more tech, is Tread Lightly. This card fits perfectly into our deck premise that unrezzed ICE is a liability.

Tournament Afterthoughts

The list is not quite there, tbh - and at the very least needs some tuning (if not an overhaul).

My initial thoughts is to drop 1 x Khusyuk for Conduit (to be able to apply R&D pressure earlier), and drop Atman for a third Self-modifying Code.

I would also consider swapping one of the Political Operative for something like Tread Lightly. A touch more early multi-access would be great as well - something like Legwork or maybe Jailbreak.

A quick note from the author on Forged Activation Orders, which some players have chosen to include in their Tāo decks. IMHO, this is a waste of influence. We already have a card that forces the Corp player to make a tough choice regarding whether to rez ICE: the basic action card.

What's worse, destroying unrezzed ICE is the opposite of what we want to do as Tāo. What we want is for the Corp player to install as much ICE that they can't afford to rez as possible. If you are looking for other low inf cards that complement Tāo consider Emergency Shutdown, Tranquilizer or Run Amok.

3 Apr 2021 Cliquil

I've been toying with Wanton instead of Doof - in your opinion is that just going to slow you down too much? I suspect that "yes" is the correct answer here, and that Doof, is superior. Is this something you've tried?

3 Apr 2021 Kikai

@Cliquil- interesting, I didn't even consider Wanton Destruction in Tāo before (let alone test it) - but here's my initial thoughts!

With Wanton Destruction we should be able to drop Because I Can because we will be knocking the combo pieces out of hand that would otherwise fork us.

Tāo will open up HQ to allow us to land the Wanton, but I think that's where the synergy ends.

Knocking ICE out of HQ doesn't really help us with our game plan (unlike in an Apocalypse list). We want the Corp to install lots of ICE, we just don't want them to be able to rez all of it. Also, we won't be getting the benefit of any economy denial (unless we can make crazy live reads and tell when the Corp is holding on to a pocket Hedge Fund).

Honestly, if I wasn't playing Diversion of Funds in Tāo I would be playing Apocalypse in Tāo. I'm pretty sure that an Apocalypse build is the better build (and the Chatteris results seem to bear that out), but I'm not a good enough shaper player to build an Apoc shaper list from scratch.

But the meta is young! and I suspect that we shall be seeing some Apoc lists start to appear on nrdb soon...

4 Apr 2021 Havvy

Great write up Kikai :)

5 May 2021 Jai

Nice deck and nice writeup!

I'm running a version of DoFTao with triple Aniccam and DJ Fenris over the second PolOp, and it feels really smooth. Downsides are having to cut down on tech slots like Misdirection and Because I Can.

Tried a variant with Contaminate/Conduit over the Khusyuk/Rezeki package and didn't really like it with all the Sandboxes coming out of PD. Also, it turns random Macrophages live, and the last thing Tao wants is having to suddenly deal with an ICE which was a dead rez previously.