[Startup] How to Drago friends and Ob people

Oddball 850

Drago Ivanov is a damn good card in Standard, but... can it make the cut in Startup? After running into more than a few Boat decks, I finally set out to try and find a deck that could make him shine.

Ivan Drago


"Ob Must Break You"

Most successful Ob decks discovered so far in the Startup format have been running fast advance tools like Bass CH1R180G4. You won't find anything of that sort here. Our hero and the villain to the runner, Ivan Drago, can be found by using our Ob ability. Then we get down to business: sinking Endurance and trashing their key resources and installing Archers for free.

We also put a lot of pressure on the Runner's programs with thanks to Retribution, Archer, Stavka and SDS Drone Deployment. We especially counter any deck that wants to host programs on ice (since we can sell our ice and replace them).

"If he dies, he dies"

The main combo of the deck is simple: get a Drago out on the board, preferably at the start of the turn with Svyatogor Excavator and give the Runner a tag. Then with your third click punish them with Retribution, Trust Operation, or trashing assets the old fashioned way. Usually you want to Drago the runner as early as possible if they are on the boat, or more mid game if they have are on a traditional breaker suite.

Drago can also be installed normally, or found with Extract. With both of these plays, I plan on giving a Runner a tag that turn, just to force them to clear a tag and find a way to deal with Drago.

We also run a single copy of Ping to tag the Runner at an inopportune moment thanks to Mavirus, or from Stavka trashing a three cost card.

Retribution's main target is Endurance, or the Runner's breakers. With Trust Operation, our goal is to install Archers for free, so I always try to get one in Archives if I can by overdrawing, or installing and later trashing it.

"Soon I defeat real champion"

Our agendas, like our ice suite, are mean: anything we score either punch the Runner in the face, or are creds and fuel for Archers. We also don't have any way to protect our agendas, but since we are Weyland we have great gear check ice, so you can often get an agenda out early behind a few pieces of ice. Later, we aim to pry open scoring windows by trashing the Runner's breakers with our ice and Drago.

Stavka, is the other secret star of the deck. Not only can it be used offensively, but defensively. An unrezzed Stavka on a scoring remote can make an agenda steal next to impossible. You have a variety of tricks: Trash the Agenda to boost Stavka's strength or trash a one cost card to install and rez a Spin Doctor in the remote!

"I cannot be defeated"

Marilyn Campaign is the heart of our economic engine. If you can get one to stick behind a piece of ice, consider letting it tick down and self-trash itself. More often than not, I find myself cashing out early with an Excavator or Extract to find Ice Wall, or Malapert Data Vault which we need to prep our Drago summon, or search for tag punishment.

Daily Business Show is also a great card to find. It's main purpose is to constantly bury cards you want to combo out of your deck with Ob, or prevent agenda flooding. I've bounced between two copies of DBS and two copies of Marilyn campaign or the current load out I have in this deck, I think increasing the odds of seeing Marilyn is more important, but you might prefer the control DBS offers.

Subliminal Messaging (along with Marilyn going back into R&D), is our secret tech to survive Esâ Afontov: Eco-Insurrectionist or other sabotage decks. Just keep it in your hand to pay for any Sabotage triggers instead of using it for econ. I've searched for it with Malapert Data Vault in a few matches against xir and it made a difference.

"He’s not a human. He’s like a piece of iron"

Eighteen ice could be considered too much, but some of our ice are silver bullets that we want to find at the right moment thanks to Stavka. Stavka can also trash other Stavkas or Hortums to help find Crisium Grid, or Mavirus at the right time!

Svyatogor Excavator,Extract. or Marilyn Campaign self-trashes are also key to pull out Ice Wall, which is our "down payment" for key cards like Drago Ivanov, or Spin Doctor.

Long story short, our ice generally fall into three categories: taxing (Envelopement and Archer), Stavka and everything else. Don't be afraid to sell your ice to find the next important piece.


"Until the end"

This deck is not nice and games are often a slug fest. Best case, you sink the runners boat and trash their breakers, opening up windows to score your agendas. Worse case, like Rocky, the Runner will have to go twelve rounds with you to win.

As always, thank you for reading my little write-up. If you have time, please check out my friend and I's podcast, Retromancer! We recently covered all of Midnight Sun's cards and how we think they shake up the meta. Until next time!


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Oh... you're still here? Well here's a break down of all our installable cards and their costs.

"A new order is coming to a set of jumbled numbers"

-Anthony T. Hincks

Okay technically that last one is not a song lyric, but it was too good to pass up.

8 comments
10 Sep 2022 Davidmc7

This write-up is absolute perfection and that deck looks like fire. Well done!

12 Sep 2022 Oddball

@Davidmc7 Thanks for your kind words! I cannot guarantee wins, but when Ob pops off it is so fun.

13 Sep 2022 #endgame

Hortum does not seem like a great piece of ICE, since you won't have time to advance it and probably want to trash it. I'm going to try -1 Hortum +1 Winchester because it's still 4-cost, brings more to the rigshooter plan, and can put 3 subs in front of HQ off of an expired Envelopment. 2x might even be correct.

14 Sep 2022 Oddball

@#endgame That's probably not a bad plan to include one Winchester.

I should point out that I would never advance a Hortum in this deck. It's mainly there end the run and become something else if necessary.

17 Sep 2022 ChiptheRipper

:O A corp deck with no Hedge Fund? Does the deck generate enough econ?

20 Sep 2022 Oddball

@ChiptheRipper Money can definitely be tight. Extract is great in Ob for the utility and often is just as good as Hedge Fund (except at the beginning of the game).

29 Sep 2022 Davidmc7

I played this deck a few times now and oooh this is fun. I thought I would miss the Hedge Funds but I always had a bit of money. If you play against this deck, make sure you don't let Drago stay on the table. I have trashed my opponent's fracter three times in a game an triple advanced Hortum stopped Mayfly shenanigans. It will infuriate your poor opponent.

25 Nov 2022 Vacilotto

Have adapted this list to be running without Ashes, solid list thanks for sharing.