Cache Refresh Tournament Ruse SYNC - First Place!

mbzrl 144

I ended up taking first in the Cache Refresh Stimhack tournament hosted by @fightingwalloon, and my lukewarm record of 5-3 with this deck is a product of my inability to decide on a build. This tournament featured heavy sideboarding, so I'll talk through my evolution of the deck throughout the rounds. This cardlist is exactly what I played in the finals, where it went 1-1, with the second game clinching the tournament for me.

I first settled on SYNC when I realized how the core strategy of 24/7 BOOM! was available; you can only use 2x Breaking News, which hurts, but the core strategy and the main cards to support the strategy stick around in this format. I think going all-in on Fiery SYNC is probably the strongest way to go in this format, so if you're looking for the strongest deck skip this one and build that, but when I finished building my first draft I really didn't like the agenda composition and was uncomfortable with being unable to score out; if people tech against boom SYNC to where the combo is no longer a win condition, I didn't have a way to win.

I had trouble building decks I liked for the other factions with the limited cardpool, and Special Report is a card I already really like for dealing with agenda flood and for digging for key cards; in a ruleset with no Jackson it seems even more important. So I wanted to play NBN, and I chose SYNC because, even though I had a few misgivings, if my experimental deck failed, I still had a second strong option to go to.

So I wanted to play SYNC, and I wanted to score out. I wanted a plan to win without relying on the runner being tagged at the end of their turn. In fact, with Aaron around, I didn't want to rely on tags at all. So out with QPMs and therefore Data Raven; my agendas (relative to shown) were -1 Paper Trail -1 operation +2 Breaking News. I wanted to score ice out of a remote server, so Tollbooth was a must-have, and another huge taxing ice that could keep them out means I can try to score a 2 pointer behind 1 ice, rush a GFI behind 2 ice, and then hopefully score the 1 pointers or NA another 2 pointer to win.

Anyway, that's the idea behind this deck, but I built it way worse in the beginning. I went (relative to shown) -3 Sherlock, -1 Marilyn, +2 K. P. Lynn (for NA bluffs), and... +2 Archer. I mean I'm running 2/1s right? Since sacrificing points seems like a good idea. It's a great ice that fits my plan, but you're really hoping to trash breakers with it and pray they can't derez or bypass anything, while getting further from matchpoint. It worked out for me in round 1; probably the round 1 sweep was why I ended up with enough SoS to make the cut.

But then I lost two in a row with this deck, and realized I needed a better win condition than hoping my opponent facechecks Archer. I went -2 Archer, -2 Marilyn, -2 KP Lynn, +2 Boom, +2 Archived Memories, +2 24/7 (and less of the other operations for more ice back). I still wanted to score out, and I thought Archangel (I was wary of trying out Authenticator; similarly, IP block was often Resistor) into Tollbooth might be a fine substitute. I managed to win the next two rounds with the new deck, both Boom! kills by the skin of my teeth. I really had no hope of scoring out, but one runner Apocalypsed me into getting HHN'd into missing the winning agenda and boom in my 3 card hand; the other accessed only 1 of 2 booms in my hand in a 3/5 card access after seeing 24/7 on top of my deck.

I really didn't feel great about those wins, they just fell in my lap. Boom was good; my ice was not. So I went back to the Archer build, while trying to keep 1 Boom instead of the KP Lynns. This worked well in the next round, only because my opponent couldn't find 1 of their two account siphons. I even got a Damon Boom for 7 valuable cards before scoring out. Gameplan executed!

Except not really- it would have been completely different with Siphon in play. Not only that, but if I hadn't drawn into Boom and changed course to try and land a Boom win, I would have been able to score out many turns sooner. And with everyone being teched for SYNC Boom, a 1-of stray Boom was not going to be a win condition for me. So I started looking for a 3-influence replacement for Boom that would actually help progress my core win condition. Ah look! A sentry ice with devastating subroutines that can't be clicked through! If they facecheck Zed 2.0 I can trash their hardware or give them 2 brain damage! It's like having a third Archer without having to sacrifice an agenda! Any other options? This one looks pretty good.

Then I saw Sherlock 2.0 and felt really dumb. Way better for this deck, probably even better than Archer (and similarly taxing!) since money came easily from 12 high-income events and assets, much easier than points. I can get the 9 influence for three of them by dropping the Archers, Boom, and 2 Breaking News. Add another Paper Trail because keeping Aaron away is critical. And then you can use cheap, taxing tag ice to protect centrals and make runs unprofitable, while rushing out faster than the runner can set up with the limited draw available in the format. This isn't really ruse SYNC, this is tempo SYNC.

Wow I didn't realize I had written this much. I think the reason I have more to say than in my Kim writeup is that each match came down to a few critical and therefore memorable moments. These moments made me really think about the direction to take this deck. This is still not an amazing deck. The difference between my win and loss in the finals was the ability to score Astroscript and successfully bluff NA with Paper Trail. I'd kill for Fast Track, but I'm in the wrong big box. Nonetheless, I'm proud of it because it has a cohesive gameplan that I was able to execute on to win the last match and clinch first place. Thanks again to everyone I've played and I'm looking forward to the next rounds!