Shepherd Freedom (3-0 at NYC GNK!)

rohit 50

(Note: I'm aware that Laamb refers to Senegalese wrestling, not a baby sheep. But like... come on. The man even carries a wooden staff!)

This writeup is very long. As someone newer to deckbuilding, my hope is that by posting all of my thoughts about this deck in excruciating detail, I can sort of evoke Cunningham's Law to draw critique and get better at deckbuilding in the process. Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am!


I started playing Netrunner this year, and in the past couple of months, I've been having a very rough time with the Runner side. Corps can do so many different and powerful things (even within the same ID!) that I've found it difficult to get a good read on the Corp's plan without spending lots of money or facechecking something nasty. I tried Hoshiko for a while, but I wasn't sure how to build the deck to cover up the economic hole left by DreamNet's absence (which is probably for the best).

So when the NYC GNK approached, I decided to just have fun and play my favorite Runner. I played 11 games on JNet the day before and lost 8 of them, which wasn't exactly encouraging when I stopped playing at around 2AM. However, I gradually tweaked the deck and I felt like it was getting better and smoother to play as the night progressed. To my utter disbelief, on the following day's tournament this list went undefeated, and my carbon copy of Sokka's Skunk/Void Delivery System, which I had been playing and practicing consistently at the NYC weekly meetups, lost all of its games (mostly due to poor play on my part).


This deck started as Sokka's Simulchip Freedom, but I wanted to swap in the newly unbanned Laamb for Engolo to free up 4 influence and enable a sweet combo with Yusuf. And while the combo felt powerful and did a lot of work in the games I played, I quickly felt like I was running into a few major problems with the deck.

  1. The breakers are super expensive to both install and use:

    • Laamb costs 4 to install and 5-7 to break.
    • Num is also 4 and lines up badly against... basically everything.
    • Yusuf, while cheap, needs other viruses already on the board to enable it.
  2. Given the above, it felt hard to get lots of runs in the early-mid game if the Corp iced everything, so run-based economy felt bad. In particular, Dirty Laundry was sometimes painful to use when drawn early because even if the Corp left Archives open, they could easily dump a Mavirus there to punish you for having the gall to gain 3. Solidarity Badge was also very rough because it can be expensive and slow to assemble the breakers and virus counters you need to both get into a server and trash something, and I often found that it would only trigger once or twice in the beginning of the game before grinding to a halt while I looked for breakers.

  3. The deck had very limited central pressure outside of Stargate, which felt hard to install because it was the third 2 program in the deck. So even when you got to 5 points, it was difficult to close out the game.

Therefore, I decided to make some pretty radical changes to the deck. Here are the elements of the new deck that I think are pretty important:

Non-interactive economy and redundancy

Because of our reliance on virus counters to enable trashing and Yusuf, we don't want to have to run to make money and draw cards before we get all of our important pieces installed. Therefore, we leaned extremely hard into self-trash economy to accelerate us to our breakers as quickly as possible without having to interact with the Corp to do so. From Sokka's list, we keep the Steelskins while adding a full set of Strike Fund. We keep Zer0 and play even more trash-based stuff, adding Moshing and replacing Gachapon with the much more flexible The Price to tear through the deck for Knobkierie, breakers and other key pieces.

With all of this self-trash, we can't really play important 1-of silver bullets (even with Simulchip), so we run pretty much everything as a 2-3x aside from Clot, which you usually want to install from the bin with Simulchip anyway. (The 1x Pinhole was a mistake and should have been the Bahia Bands from Sokka's list, although the deck might be better off just cutting it and floating the influence.)

We keep Daily Casts and Paladin Poemu because they're great non-interactive economy, while Solidarity Badge and Dirty Laundry require interaction, so we cut them.


I believe strong central pressure, and in particular HQ multiaccess, is extremely important for Freedom. Corps will often sit with their haymaker operations like Seamless Launch, Audacity, and Oppo Research in HQ for long periods of time, and breaking these toys is your ID's unique advantage. So we should see as many cards as possible to trash them as often as possible.

Here we use the extra influence freed up by Laamb to slot in 2 Docklands Pass. The list went back and forth between Docklands and Legwork, but it ended up on Docklands for reusability and because you can hit it with The Price. We also add Finality because we need a finisher.

Programs and Simulchip

Despite having 7 when Knobkierie comes out, can get very tight with this deck since Yusuf and Laamb take up 2 each and we typically want one or two "batteries" in the form of Botulus and Fermenter out as well. We keep those and cut everything else. We also keep Clot because it can just sit in the bin until we're ready to install it with Simulchip.

Speaking of which, Simulchip was at the heart of Sokka's original list, and we keep it here because it ties basically the whole deck together and enables a ton of cool tricks. It lets you grab trashed breakers, crack and revive your Fermenters, move your Magnetized Botuluses, stop RegCaps and Ontologicals with Clot, and so on. Just an all-around awesome card and well worth the 6 influence.


Tsakhia "Bankhar" Gantulga was a late addition to this deck, and I think I would have won way more games if I had figured out how much I needed it earlier. Aside from Botulus, Bankhar is our only tool for applying early pressure, and it works especially well with the deck since we're playing the full set of Steelskins and Strike Funds and so many duplicates. I think this should be a 3x in this deck, it's that important.

Deck size

Because of the heavy reliance on lots of important pieces that need to be slotted as at least a 2x, we're playing a larger-than-usual deck. I think it might be possible to get this down to the minimum deck size, but you have so much churn and redundancy that I don't even think it's really necessary.

Cards that didn't make it


I don't like Audrey v2 at all. I tried this card for a bit but quickly gave up on it. The biggest problem it has is that getting the first virus counter is an ordeal -- you have to make a successful run AND trash something before the thing even becomes usable. It's a bit easier with Knobkierie but it's also so trivially easy to purge. It's also expensive and takes up 2 which is a lot if you're playing Laamb/Yusuf, so you'd probably have to give up on the combo.

Other viruses, like Imp, Leech, etc.

You don't have the , and you don't want to make their purges valuable.

Mystic Maemi

I was seriously considering Mystic Maemi for this deck in addition to, or even instead of (!), Paladin. 17 events is a ton, a lot of our economy is events, and most of those events are cheap enough that Mystic can play them for free. At the end of the day, I went with the Paladin to be safe, and it got plenty of value on its own. I still would like to try the Mystic out, though!

The Twinning

I briefly tried The Twinning as my multiaccess tool, but eventually decided against it. The card has a lot of things going for it! It's in-faction, hits both centrals, and can potentially see more cards from HQ than Docklands Pass. My concern (which was realized in the one game I tried it with) was that it was completely dead if I ever drew it before Paladin. Even though Docklands and Finality take up more slots and influence, I think the standalone reliability they provide, especially in the context of a deck that already needs to assemble a bunch of pieces to function, is well worth it.

I think Twinning could work if we had more ways to spend for it. I want to try a build that replaces the Docklands Passes with both Twinning and Mystic.

Common scenarios

I thought I'd close this out by talking about a few common things I ran into while playing.

Mavirus and purges

Lots of people are playing 2-3 Mavirus these days. It's just the way of the world and you kind of just have to accept it.

It's important to manage your virus counters. Spend them as often as you can on Yusuf and Freedom to keep purge value low. With Fermenter in particular it can be easy to get too greedy -- be sure to crack it or spend the counters down before they get too high. When you do get purged (and it will happen), you can either sit back for a turn and focus on economy or just break ice with Laamb that turn. Yeah Laamb is expensive, but once you've gotten your console and breakers assembled, it's pretty much the only thing you're spending money on since you're spending virus counters on everything else.

One thing to keep in mind with Mavirus is that if you have Yusuf installed but not Laamb, runs are unsafe. The corp can trivially install Mavirus anywhere, then rez and pop it during any encounter to remove your ability to break the ice. Be careful!


Any deck that plays Trojans has to worry about Magnet, but it's generally easy to deal with once you have both breakers out. Laamb is hilariously bad against it on its own (7 to paint, boost, and break!), but with Yusuf it's just 2 and a virus counter. If a Botulus gets pulled, you can easily rescue it with Simulchip as well.

Any server with 2 Magnets behind a third ice is completely impenetrable. However, that's pretty hard for the Corp to assemble, and if you think this is going to happen and you really need to get into that server for whatever reason, you can tear it down with Hippo (you should probably just run elsewhere though).

ARES decks

This is referring to the various NBN asset decks (usually out of R+, but sometimes Epiphany or NEH) that aim to score an early AR-Enhanced Security to make their stuff hard to trash. I am personally awful at this matchup no matter what Runner I'm playing, but this deck feels particularly bad at dealing with it because obviously you want to trash stuff. If you try to focus on centrals, the lack of decoder in the deck means that Virtual Service Agent hoses you too.

You do have a couple of interesting things going for you, though. Since you can trash operations, you can snipe important pieces like Oppo, Shipment from Vladisibirsk, and Psychographics from HQ before they have a chance to play them. Since their assets tend to have very good rez/trash ratios, you tend to be able to trash them quite cheaply with Freedom. And when you do eventually decide to go tag-me, your limited reliance on resources keeps your economy pretty safe, and Laamb completely neutralizes Starlit Knight.

I thankfully didn't run into this deck at the tournament, but I lost all of the testing games I played against it the night before. I need to get more games in against it and see if this is as unwinnable as it feels. If anyone would like to play a few games to help me practice this one, hit me up on GLC.


This is the first deck I've spent any amount of time working on and tweaking. Even though I'm not the best player and this might not be the most optimized version of this deck, I had a lot of fun with the deckbuilding process. I think the core idea has potential, and a better deckbuilder than I can probably get this to an even better place. I plan on continuing to play and tweak this in the future -- please give it a try if you find it interesting!

25 Sep 2023 Dave976

Deck is money. Took down my Ob list. Gg my friend.