Bird and Bully

London 234

Update: I have tried a version with -1 Surveyor -1 Bran -1 Tucana, +1 Spin +1 Hortum +1 Wraparound and I like it quite a bit. Better early tempo, which is what the deck is all about. Alternatively, you could reduce the Hermes/Crim vulnerability by changing the Surveyor/Tucana cuts to Archer/Standoff, I have to try this out.

Let me start by addressing the elephants in the room:

  1. Why aren't you just playing Big Deal Outfit?

    BDO has some clear vulnerabilities that we are trying to avoid. First, the runner has significant control on your BP intake, meaning they can avoid running and delay your reg caps and the game progression as a whole. Second, Clot can be an issue for that deck, and I think most mulch hosh/loup decks are on clot. Third is just efficiency. While FA'ing agendas is not bad tempo, we can do much better. The Outfit has incredible early game power, and spending that by scoring hostiles and playing Audacity/Big Deal is not playing to our strengths.

  2. Isn't this deck just all-in on a meme server with 8 upgrades? It looks very win-more.

    This deck runs 3 distinct tempo upgrades and Mavirus. Those tempo upgrades all work well independently and even better together. While this deck is looking to score with at least one of them involved, it does not need all three. Furthermore, The Outfit is perhaps the best corp at protecting a server early with truly disgusting ICE to break like Valentão, Trebuchet, and Winchester. In contrast with BDO, we are able to leverage our early advantage by building a board, tutoring what we need, and prepping our next score, so that our advantage builds through the game.

  3. Where is the SanSan City Grid?

    This deck actually started as some supreme jank in Jemison Astronautics, where if you squint you will find the ID actually reads "Sansan City Grid". I saw Bird and Arrow and realized you can take it a step further in Jemison. Score an agenda, Arella the next in, Tucana an Archer, forfeit the agenda you just scored, and FA the next agenda (repeat x3). Of course, the deck was far too inconsistent and poor to work, and folded to any pressure from the runner. Even then I was running TBTF and reg cap for the FA plan. Once I moved to The Outfit to improve the money and ICE quality things ran much smoother, and at first I had 2x Sansan to make up for losing the Jemison ID. However, I found that it is a bridge too far, and is largely win-more.

  4. What about Hermes and Clot?

    Yes, Hermes cancels out Arella, but another way to view this is that we have a card that blanks Herems on score, which is pretty strong in a deck looking to score 4+ agendas. Hermes merely slows us down; you can still score almost 1 agenda per turn and get Tucana value while you are at it. The answer is similar for clot, this deck isn't all-in on FA. It certainly can slow us down, but not too much, and there is Mavirus if you really need to force an agenda through.

Engine Pieces

The core of this deck is an engine that that simultaneously rushes to 7 points while glaciering up, at least on one or two servers. The first superstar is Tucana, which lets us install & rez Valentão (for negative one credit) or Trebuchet (for 1 credit) off a score, pushing our BP towards four on our own terms. No more waiting for the runner to run; we can hit 4 BP in roughly 6 turns all on our own. Tucana also means we can dedicate most our resources on the remote, and later we can tutor the ICE we need to secure centrals to keep the agendas flowing. Valentao is the preferred first target, both because it is cheaper and because it wants to be placed inner on a server (when the runner is poorer), so install it early with the future in mind.

However, to quote Emanuel Lasker, "When you see a good move, look for a better one". Instead of scoring off Tucana every ~2 turns, we can add Arella Salvatore to the mix and score every turn, sometimes multiple times a turn. These two upgrades are so strong together that they create an immediate threat to the runner. Either clear the remote, or lock R&D and sweep HQ to deny our scoring engine, or lose the game both through points and Tucana tempo. Remember that we are taking BP lightning fast so it is not long at all before we are windmilling Regulatory Captures in addition to Hostile Takeovers and Standoff. Arella also protects our agendas by grabbing them from HQ to our highly secure remote, when they otherwise would be vulnerable to centrals pressure for another turn. It's worth mentioning that Arella can install non-agenda cards, ignoring the install cost, so you can also just efficiently stack ICE with her.

The last scoring upgrade, Malapert Data Vault, is a more subtle card. It is here to fix whatever problems you come across. Aumakua farming archives? Mavirus. Going broke? Too Big to Fail. Can't find a Tucana/Arella/ICE? Solved. Facing Esâ and agendas are in archives? Spin Doctor. And finally, the last use of Malapert is in combination with Arella, for when you want to break R&D lock (or have nothing better to do). Grab Rashida Jaheem off Malapert and install it with Arella. Next turn you draw 4 new cards and are ready to jam again. I call this the Rashida Delivery System.


With these upgrades there is a clear gameplan focused on a strong scoring remote that pushes us forward in ways PD and OB can only dream of. It's worth noting that some runners can handle our ICE particularly well, notably shapers with Na'Not'K/Echelon at 6 strength and Arissana with Slap Vandal. It's possible to tech against these matchups with cards like Rime and Helheim Servers. However, 1) it's better to focus on getting ahead with early-game tempo, 2) even these tech cards have counters (Hush, Pinhole Threading), and 3) It's tough to protect both the remote and R&D in such a situation, so time is not really on your side anyway. For this reason I opted to focus on plan A, out-tempo the runner, by including Seamless Launch and Audacity instead.


Valentao is perhaps the best ICE in the game, installing off Tucana for -1 credits and advancing our BP gameplan. Trebuchet is also strong but is more expensive and can be exploited early (turn 1 DoF/Chastushka through it). Surveyor is intended as a non-illicit pseudo-Trebuchet on 3+ ICE servers, and also punishes 6str Echelon some. It could be something like Envelopment if you want better early game security. Winchester is obviously good on HQ, and against <4 str killers is also quite taxing on other servers. The Archer obviously combos well with Standoff and Hostile Takeover, and has 3 important subroutines, making it tough to Boomerang/Botulus/Audrey through. Bran is good ICE that is somewhat resilient to K2CP Turbine. If Atman 6 becomes a thing in response to this deck, feel free to include cards like Conundrum, Rime, and more Surveyor. If you want a third Spin Doctor I would probably take influence from Bran, either turning it into Envelopment for a similarly taxing barrier, or Wraparound if you want to slow down AI breaker builds.

Matchups (Updated)

I only have limited experience, so some of these thoughts could be wrong.

I think the deck does well into mulch Loup/Hosh because they can't spend BP well and a lot of the ICE is tough to break (double Winchester HQ is oof). Hortum and Wraparound are good here as well. This matchup is a bit more about stabilizing than in general, as you want to turn off their Knob/Imp/Audrey/ID engine, but don't take too long because once Labor Rights for Simulchips starts happening they get a strong second wind. Tranquilizer can be strong on your Archer or illicit ICE. Revolver is a solid breaker but this deck has enough sentries/subroutines to tax it out pretty well. The alternative is Num, which is pretty useless early but can become a monster lategame if you get enough BP.

Reg Hoshiko has to consistently disrupt the remote, likely with Bankhar+Boomerang, but once it gets 3+ ICE they should quickly lose control (needs testing). I recommend putting a single ICE each on HQ & R&D for the early/midgame, preferably Winchester and Valentão, and let them use Bankhar to turn them into Attini if they wish. Once the remote has 3-4 ICE you can put more on R&D and look to score out.

Esâ is a race similar to reg Hoshiko but with some extra sabotage accesses built in I recommend sabotaging redundant upgrades from HQ. Bankhar is their best tool, but they struggle with multi-ICE servers so if you stabilize without losing many points early you should be OK.

Crim is a tough matchup for this deck, for a combination of reasons. Hermes is the obvious reason, which certainly slows you down, but on its own can be handled (Arella Salvatore negates Hermes which is not a terrible tradeoff). The other big issue is that they are able to pressure all centrals, and bad pub makes it tough to defend multiple servers. Aumakua farming archives can be an issue, so it's important to eventually get Mavirus there, but with only one in the deck this might have to take a Malapert trigger, which is not ideal. Hermes + The Twinning digs on R&D are likely to give them a bounce, either blowing open a server or resetting whatever next Rashida or score you had set up. And of course, they can target HQ very well with Diversion of Funds, WAKE Implant v2A-JRJ, or even just cheap/free Aumakua charges that you cannot poison with Mavirus. DoF is particularly nasty as it can "turn off" your Valentão.

If they are on Deep Dive the bad pub makes it very tough to deny and the R&D thinning makes it quite threatening, but perhaps Border Controls can help you out, combined with the lack of The Twinning making their other centrals accesses weaker. This is a tricky matchup, although not unwinnable, and it's tough for me to give good advice, at least without more practice. If I were to revise the list with Crim more in mind, I would remove the Standoff to make R&D stronger vs Hermes (probably slotting back in the 3rd Tucana, or perhaps a Gov Sub or even Trojan Horse as Crim hate) and convert the Archer to Surveyor,

Shapers can be grouped into those with access to 6 strength Echelon/Na'Not'K and those without. Shapers without 6 strength Echelon likely lose to big sentries. Against those with the tools, things get dicey if the game goes late but you should have a solid window to bury them in early tempo. Against Arissana this is all true except they also have Slap Vandal so this matchup can be tough. Specifically vs Arissana I think it's important to get ICE on the remote with multiple relevant subs, so put your Trebuchets/Archer there. Wraparound is also really good vs Arissana. BP is easy for Arissana to use with SMC/Bahia Bands/World Tree. Still, it is possible to make a strong-enough remote and score out before 6 strength Echelon arrives.

Closing Thoughts

This deck has been a pet project of mine this last month, I am so happy to see it go from glorious jank to a formidable deck, and potentially a new-ish archetype (this template won a CO!). There is still a lot of room for exploration in this design space. As Bblum pointed out to me, there are almost no Outfit/OB decks on nrdb with Arella in them. On that note I do think Arella should be tested in other IDs, notably Ob for the tutor potential (save 3 inf and a slots) and combo with the Tucana/Malapert already present.

17 Feb 2024 AnOddRadish

Super excited to start jamming this, looks like hell

18 Feb 2024 jamesmarcus

How does it do against conduit decks?

18 Feb 2024 London

@jamesmarcus I would be more afraid of Deep Dive because the deck already naturally wants to make the shaper U. This is both because Arella usually empties HQ of agendas and because in the late-game the bad pub makes HQ tough to fully defend. In any case, I think the biggest factors are whether the opponent can efficiently break your ICE and how much tempo advantage you gained in the early game. In tight games the deck relies on achieving at least a modest payoff from all the upgrades we slotted.

20 Feb 2024 Lyric Rodriguez

If the majority of opponents are using Clot in their decks, it could pose a significant challenge and diminish the effectiveness of the deck. Slope) game is often played for high scores or to beat personal bests. Try to navigate the slope as far as you can without falling off or hitting too many obstacles.

23 Feb 2024 runolfsson
23 Feb 2024 runolfsson
25 Feb 2024 Jai

ArellOb... now there's an idea!

Excellent deck, great to still see so much innovation in the meta even so close to RWR release, well deserved DotW.

26 Feb 2024 maninthemoon

Love this idea <3