ButterBoy - 7th place Warsaw Regionals

Gargulec 460

I did not believe that this deck could carry me anywhere, but it carried me to the seventh place in Warsaw Regionals, so I suppose it deserves publishing. Besides, it is Ken, and we need more pretty clone boys in our lives, we all do.

tl;dr: Draw hard, run fast, blow shit up.

The core conceit behind the deck is really simple; play cards, get credits, get more cards, play breakers, play good Criminal events, access cards, steal agendas, win. It is honest-to-God Netrunner, and in many ways a very old-fashioned, run-happy Criminal. The twist on this formula comes mainly from heavy use of cards such as Build Script, Process Automation, Deuces Wild and Exclusive Party. Although generally considered mediocre at best (and many people think they are bad), what those cards do is allow you to not only to power-draw and set up quickly (and this deck runs at the absolute minimum bare bones of set-up - just the breakers and nothing else), but also to accumulate a fair bit of credits while doing so. Scripts, Automations, Parties - they are incredibly efficient at what they do. A single Automation is like clicking for cash twice and clicking for a card once, at no "buy-in". They massively speed up recovery after costly runs or installing what little you have to install. Of course, they also come at a high cost: they eat not only influence, but also deckslots.

Enter Ken "Express" Tenma: Disappeared Clone. This slightly forgotten runner ID has not only unusually high influence allowance of 17, but also his very event-happy play-style incentives aggression, which in turn encourages running a low-setup rig. Therefore, the opportunity cost of running deck-grease like Scripts is somewhat lowered in Ken, and his natural aggressive tendency is well-reinforced by swiftness of set-up offered by such cards. But this alone does not a good deck make.

Enter Conman Breakers. Abagnale, Lustig, Demara. Abagnale aside, they are not very efficient - Lustig in particular suffers heavily against popular ICE such as Architect. However, they have one significant advantage: their break-to-bypass ability which enables the Runner using them to, when push comes to shove, get into servers they would otherwise have no ability to get through in one final glory run. This is especially good against glacier, but suffers heavily against popular defensive upgrades such as Caprice Nisei or Ash 2X3ZB9CY. Therefore, it is not that good of a remote-busting strategy. However, it also enables something else...

Enter Apocalypse. This card is perhaps the biggest field-evener in the game, the nuclear option for the Runner, which costs him his rig - but also costs the Corp their entire field. But here is the thing: the con-man breakers trash themselves on bypass, avoiding the face-down penalty of firing an Apoc. Quick draw allows the Runner to assemble all pieces necessary to fire very quickly. Bypass cards such as Inside Job or Spear Phishing make it very difficult to protect the central servers sufficiently to avoid the Apocalypse. And this is the card that makes the deck tick. All those little benefits listed above come together in the glory of Apocalypse turns which leave Ken on a significantly better footing than most Corps and completely avoid a lot of annoying bullshit such as super-defended centrals or dozens of assets that can never be trash at sufficient speed. It doesn't always works, often requires playing around Crisium Grid, and in some matchups (Sync-Boom, for example) doesn't really help you at all. But when it does fire at a right moment - and many decks have a hard time preventing it - it is absolutely devastating to the Crop, in the exact unfair way a Runner can win games.

Individual card choices:

Account Siphon - this is not a Siphon recursion deck, but Siphons are just too good not to slot.

Feint - the secret weapon. Allows for easier Apocalypses, and can be used to feint the Corp into not rezzing the Crisium on HQ to prevent you from accessing cards, and therefore giving you the successful run you were after all along.

Fisk Investment Seminar - flex slot cards. Did not really work out. Probably should be Plascrete Carapaces or Lawyer Ups or Paper Trippings.

High-Stakes Job - this card is actually amazing in Ken. Discount does much. Using it maximize returns when hitting a Temüjin Contracted central server plays well into the efficiency theme of the deck. Often risky to use, but the risk can be managed using the Deuces Wild expose effect. Combos neatly with con-man breakers.

Legwork - only mult-access that can be squeezed into this deck, honestly.

Levy AR Lab Access - you go through your card fasts and benefit heavily from playing them multiple times. Therefore, Levy is mandatory.

Möbius - Ken just loves 0-credit runs. Probably can be replaced with some other run in a pinch.

Inside Job, Spear Phishing - those cards win games and prevent rushes. Pretty mandatory in Ken.

Temüjin Contract - the idea was not to play any resources or hardware, but Temujin folds itself up after use and is just way too good to not include. Also often used not to make money directly, but rather to refund repeated central server runs.

Why is there no Aaron Marrón in this deck?

Good question. He is extremely anti-synergistic with Apocalypse, but in the current meta there totally should be one; however, I was foolish and proud and thought I did not need one. Then I run into SYNC.

Tournament report:
Note: I am a reasonably new player, and my high placement probably had as much to do with luck than actual proper play - for example, I've thankfully avoided my worst matchups until the bracket stage.

Swiss:

Round 1 against Romano Soprano (AgInf): Lucky accesses into exposed RnD turn 1 provided me with 4 points, which was enough to carry me to a comfortable victory. I don't remember much of the game aside from that. I don't think I even had to Apoc.

Round 2 against Ojciec (ETF Foodcoats/Icecream): Opponent built a large remote server with Warroids, Mumbas and (I think) an Edge of the World. Got about 10 pieces of ICE out into the field. Got totally blindsided by the Apocalypse play and could not recover afterwards.

Round 3 against Selverin (Tenin FA): Got a few lucky accesses early on, enough to get a 6-0 lead. However, at this point I misplayed, by slowing down significantly, reasoning I will be able to catch up with Apoc later. Crisium on both RnD and HQ proved unpunchable, especially not through very heavy ice protecting the centrals. Could have won by Legworking the HQ at one turn, but lost my window of opportunity and eventually ran out of steam, allowing opponent to comfortably score out.

Round 4 against Rush (Skorpios Barrier Lockout): Crazy game. Pitched a Demara into trash early into the game, not yet realizing what sort of a deck I am up against, bitterly regretted it afterwards. Avoided playing second Demara for a while, getting points through Inside Jobs on remotes; thankfully dodged both Salem's Hospitalites. Eventually played the second Demara and lost it to Hunter Seeker, but managed to punch in an Apocalypse using only Inside Jobs, Phisings and Feints. Got two Demaras RFGed via Ark Lockdown, played the third one, lost it to an unexpected Sapper at which point opponent played safe, and after I Levied, he baited out the final Inside Job with a Hostile Takeover in a remote, then lost the game to an unexpected Spear Phishing into HQ protected by a Sapper and a Vanilla. Probably undeserved win, but beautiful nonetheless.

Round 5 against Jander (SYNC-Boom): As we both had enough points to make top 8 in case of a draw, we've agreed to take an ID.

Top Cut

Game 2 against Jander (SYNC-Boom): I kinda knew I was done for the moment I was assigned to play Runner against Sync-Boom in losers' brackets. SYNC-Boom is absolutely the worst possible matchup I can think of for this deck, and it went as expected: I ran a bit, tried to keep a money lead, avoided HHNs, but but got comboed-out to death, and was out of the tournament. Still, 7th place on my first-ever regionals is something I am going to take with much gladness.

5 comments
28 Jul 2017 moistloaf

Grats on your wins and respect for playing something different

28 Jul 2017 Jander

I'd definitely include Oracle May with this amount of events! Also PrePaids and/or Public Terminals + Desperado. Would be more boring, but more reliable.

Thanks for the games and congratulations on your well deserved success!

28 Jul 2017 Gargulec

Earlier versions of this list ran a 1x Desperado, but it turns out that a single copy is usually not drawn early enough to make an impact, and is there either lost to Apocalypse or dropped too late into the game to matter. Running multiple copies at some point starts to mean that you are running out of deckslots, because of 15 cards being taken by deck grease.

Oracle May is interesting, but again - anti-synergy with Apoc makes me dubious of how good could it be.

28 Jul 2017 Ver

And if you miss with Oracle, you lose a breaker to no recursion.

3 Aug 2017 lexus30

Runs as smooth as butter. I replaced the fisks with aaron marron.