Freelance Burst Professor V1 (Paid in Cache)

JAK 368

Been playing this Professor deck for about a month and a half. It's incredibly fun, and can hold its own better than it has a right to.

Uses 36 Influence. Yes, it's greedy. That's the point of The Professor.

Based largely on the Big Girls Play With Monolith sort of shell, but gone a very different way. (Specifically, based on a version I playing against featuring Savoir-faire.)

The thing about The Professor is that you don't want to try a suite like Stealth breakers, or fixed strength breakers which require a lot of synergy and specific different pieces to be in place. Instead of aiming to have programs that combine well, get consistent options by making as much of the deck about programs as possible. No real final rig to aim to assemble: grab everything that could be useful at the time. Use burst card draw, aim not to lose tempo, just constantly throw powerful programs at them and rewrite your plan as much as possible.

Have individually powerful programs that will be useful and can be used on their own (Parasite, Nerve Agent, Medium, Sneakdoor Beta, Keyhole). Have a few corner-case programs that are incredibly over-powered in specific circumstances (Deus X, Copycat, arguably also Keyhole). Have a variety of programs to break ICE (see below). The rest of the deck's set up to draw you programs, make money with programs, provide memory for programs, recur programs, and get programs into play.

Economy: The economy's reasonably solid, and operates on multiple angles. The deck is very much optimised to make the six-draw events and three FCCs very good. (24/45 cards are programs. You want to be recurring your heap a couple of times, so you've got up to nine Sure Gamble! Of course, the more hardware and Aesop you install, the more efficient your FCCs will be on the second run through.)

Schezerade is definitely worth installing, it makes your SMC's, Savoir-Faire and Faerie net gains to install. Sahasrara too, at a push. If you have any two of Sahasrara, Aesop's and Scheherazade in play, you will be making plenty of money. Particularly with Cache. At a push, you have a Magnum Opus: in an emergency, installing this and spending turns clicking it will be very effective.

Playstyle: challenging, with lots and lots of different lines which are complicated to work out, but very versatile.

Do not be afraid of burning through your stack very quickly at first, using all your Clone Chip and playing your first Levy, potentially in the mid-game. This is one of the best situations to be in, but frequently you just have to give up on setting anything up and apply early pressure. Which is very easy to do.

Basically: run like an Anarch. (You have all their big guns, anyway.)

(Against Jinteki/Tag 'n' Bag, caution is required, and helpfully allows one to set up to some degree. By moving a large portion of your heap to your stack, running with a Clone Chip or two out becomes a potent threat. Particularly if there's a SMC in play/stack. Plus, you're the Professor, so could be running everything, and you probably are.

S-F is also very useful to have out, because with this many programs and burst draws, a major issue you will have is shortage of clicks to install programs. S-F lets you install up to two extra programs a turn for a mere 2 creds each, run more flexibly and is wonderfully cheap for Aesop's/Schezeserade. Installing Medium/Nerve Agent just before accessing is a good feeling. Getting programs out without having to use clicks is great, especially at the end of the Corp's turn.)

Lines of attack: We have Imp, Nerve Agent, Medium, Keyhole and Sneakdoor. If there's an un-iced central hit it while trying to draw to a SMC/[appropriate pressure program].

Failing that, attempt to pressure all central servers: there will almost certainly be some weak one. If you happen to have an appropriate NA/M/Kh in hand, pressure the other server to try and force the corp into spending resources there. On the off-chance the corp does manage to secure everywhere against you, there's a very good chance that they will have unwittingly turned on your Copycat. (Copycat is great to have access to, and very very rarely played around.)

A nice trick is to install a Sneakdoor at the end of an opponent's turn with a Nerve Agent {sitting around from earlier/also installed end of turn/installed mid-run}, which almost certainly gets you to see all of HQ in a turn. Installing both at the end/beginning of turn costs 7/9/11 (depending on if you're using 0,1 or 2 SMC/S-F installs). Your next turn is Sneakdoor four times, seeing one, then two, then three, then four cards from HQ. More or less forcing archives ice on the corp's next turn.

Also: draw. A lot. You want to put your stack in your heap: it is cheaper to use Clone Chip than SMC. You have one copy of everything, and are getting around this by drawing everything. If you've not got to single figures of cards left in your deck by the time you're on six AP, you or your opponent aren't playing hard enough.

Hardware: We have three Clone Chips, two mem chips and a Toolbox.

Clone Chips are amazing. (Chronos Project is probably death.)

Gone for Akamatsu Chips because they're cheap, and net profitable with Aesops. May try one CyberSolutions, one AMC, because this deck is lacking in one-ofs.

A single Toolbox is something you're likely to see eventually, because you're burning all the way through your deck with FCC, QT and Diesel. For the same reason, you're likely to be able to afford it, eventually. Memory is great, Link can be lifesaving, and the recurring credits are very useful.

Icebreakers: This is probably entirely flexible and can be adjusted as much as desired. Except that you're crazy if you don't play Faerie. Cheap, gets recurred a lot, and can make money. What's not to love? Corroder is the best fracter, and so we're playing it. D4v1d is incredibly useful for a while, then we sell it or trash it and recycle it if needed. Grappling Hook is also useful for running into something very big. Gordian over Yog because of Datasucker issues (see below), Lotus Field, and tendencies to encourage Glacier building. Plus, unlike Yog, can use Toolbox credits. Femme is expensive and has no ways to be cheated out, but lets you bypass things. That's a powerful effect. Over Mimic for Datasucker issues, and the ability to just get past things. Deus X may occasionally break things. I forget this too much. Parasite eats ICE.

Datasucker/virus issues: Datasucker is terrible in this deck. Firstly, it never seems to be a priority to install when you could save it for FCC. Secondly, there's a big issue with virus.

You're going to end up with Nerve Agents and Mediums with counters sitting on them, Imps, and maybe Parasites out. Against this deck, purging virus counters is frequently a good idea. Play around this at times, force this at times. When altering this deck, be aware that

Potential changes:Used to run Crescentus, realised I never played it. Then a week later hit a situation when it would've been perfect. (TMI. Anything you Faerie could be good with it, esp illicit.) Magnum is marginal, not as much as Datasucker. Grappling Hook and D4v1d aren't as great as they could be, the former more than latter. (Could almost see this deck wanting more than 45 cards, but the density of Diesel/QT/FCC is the most important thing.)

To test: Lamprey and Hemmorhage -- the latter seems maybe too click intensive, or prone to virus purge. Am curious about Box-E: hand size would be great, but the link and the recurring credits are nice. Will test. May try a Cloak, almost certainly never stealth breakers (because they require other cards to work). Sharpshooter may be worthwhile in your meta. I keep wanting to try Expert Schedule Analyzer (it gives a Nerve Agent counter! It gets around Enhanced Login Protocols! This is not good justification) but that a sign I am mad. Chakana could be good if you've got real FA issues.

It pains me so, so much that the Professor can't run two Origami. So, so much.

Scavenge could be great, but it'd hinder the Program/Draw/FCC density.

The breakers, especially Femme could easily be changed. (But not Faerie. Faerie is amazing.) 2MU breakers are probably a bad idea because MU is tight. Really interested in trying out the Cerebus breakers: they seem to fit the burst theme of this deck.

There is a card called Plascrete that some people like to play to avoid dying. We've moved a bit past that. (If you don't want to die to Scorched too much, you might want to play it. This is unfortunate.)

Influence: I'm spending my influence on Cache. Major options played in the Professor are a second Datasucker, Stimhack, and occasionally Femme.

As said above, Datasucker is not great in this build. (This could be a horrible mistake on my part.) Stimhack's brain damage is a real downside for this build: aside from FCC being generally more challenging with a four-card limit, frequently there's a Toolbox or Levy sitting in your grip for a long time, waiting for it to be ready. Losing them could be inconvenient. (Or all of the other one-ofs.) Simultaneously, we tend not to want to make really big-spending runs. We don't have a Workshop to unload, and being forced to install programs (via SMC/CC/S-F) or waste credits isn't a dream situation.

Cache is great in conjunction with Freelance Coding Contracts, and, at a push, if you're really short of cash at the end of your opponent's turn, you can clone chip it out onto Schezerade and sell it with Aesop's. Particularly useful to do just before you fire off a Levy. (You do tend to not want to use Cache a FCC card, but there's turns where you will have overdrawn to the point where you're FCC-ing last click, and might need those credits. Generally most likely to happen if you Diesel into Diesel then third click draw in desperation to find FCC. That line's not recommended unless you've got at least 50-60% chance of hitting with your draw, or you really have nothing else to do with your turn. But can happen.)

As a program it boosts your econ event. Isn't that cool?

And Cache is much better than Stimhack to get you up to 5 credits to play Sure Gamble. (Or, I suppose, Magnum, though I'm not sure when that would be a sequence you want.)

It could be wrong. But I like it, and I like having 24/45 cards be programs. (I'm reasonably sure Datasucker is not correct for influence. Quite often I end up not installing it. Stimhack is possible. It's also possible I don't want to spend the influence at all. There's no rule saying you have to. Box-E is to be tested, maybe Rachel or Cyberfeeder? Box-E could reduce the risk of Quality Time into Diesel into Diesel into discarding due to no FCC. This is a sad event that happens every three games or so. It's still possible to win, but is definitely suboptimal.)

Thoughts: It's taken a while of getting used to, but I do really like this deck. Such a toolbox (no pun intended).

I've not played too much tag 'n' bag, which is possibly a problem. Then again, an excuse to build up funds and wait is not an issue. We're deliberately resource-lite.

It's complicated and testing, but let's be honest: no-one ever decided to play the Professor to be the best deck or to have an easy time. You're playing it because you want to play with ALL of the programs, you want to impress your opponent and test yourself. It'll test you, you have to think long and hard at various points. Playing this will make you think hard about your sequences and is good for identifying misplays.

I don't know if this is good, but it's fun, and it is very, very hard to say that this deck would just be better as a Kate deck. Your core programs are Imp, Faerie, Keyhole, Medium, Sneakdoor, Nerve Agent and Parasite for a total of 19 influence. I'd also never cut Corroder or Copycat, for a further 3, S-F actually ends up being rather crucial to the deck, for 25 total, and Scheherazade is surprisingly an all-star. And you've got a lot more room to manuever, fitting in any program you want. This is a professor deck that couldn't work with any other runner. As more programs come out, it'll only get better.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

19 Oct 2014 wedgeex

I think the floating influence is better spent on BOX-E - that'll give you boosted hand size for Free Lance AND access to memory in the mid-game. Speaking of memory...

It looks like you have some issues with memory. Having no Djinn is likely just a mistake. Leprechaun might do some work as well but I don't know how else you could fix memory issues this deep. Being a little greedy on influence is one thing but not having adequate memory expansion can REALLY hinder your mid-game.

19 Oct 2014 Pinkwarrior

Some issues i see Cashe its not a good for The Professor: Keeper of Knowledge in fact it's only useful for Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire & Nasir Meidan: Cyber Explorer in my experience also you only have 1 Aesop's and no search so you can't rely on this combo for an econ boost and Cashe is taking up your MU which you need alot of, it's also taking up your 1 influence in my experience the best use of that influence is either Stimhack,Networking or a 2nd Datasucker depending on your build.

as @wedgeex said you have MU issuse this is usually the case for prof Leprechaun really is a must for prof its helps him so much and you don't have to worry about Power Shutdown you have so many other programs you can chuck they probably won't even bother to try.

19 Oct 2014 JAK

I don't really have memory issues. I overwrite programs, but two memory chips and the Toolbox actually seem pretty adequate. The trick is not to be too greedy and accept you're going to have to trash things.

The only programs I have which take up 2MU are SMC, Magnum, Keyhole and Sneakdoor. Keyhole and Sneakdoor are the only ones I regularly have out for a while. If there's enough ice on archives to need multiple breakers, you can certainly just switch back to running HQ, and so don't need Sneakdoor and multiple breakers out at once. Similarly, the best point to be using Keyhole is when R&D's lightly defended. If it's heavily iced enough to want multiple breakers, just trash it, switch to Medium if you want to keep hitting. You can get these programs back with Clone Chip or after your next Levy.

Of my 24 programs, 9 are temporary and run out, are disposable, 12 if you count SMC. Scheherazade is 0MU. This is a shifting rig, you don't need anything permanently.

Djinn isn't something I ever want to use to search: it's just worse than SMC in a lot of ways. It's very install-order dependent, when used as memory, and there's just so many good programs I'd rather play. Plus Leprechaun and Djinn don't synergise well with Schezeherade.

19 Oct 2014 JAK

I really like Cache here, @Pinkwarrior, have you tried it? Worst case scenario, it is a Magnum click. With either Sahasrara or Scheherazade out, it turns into an Easy Mark, with both, it's better. And it's better than those cards because you can, at a real push, install it mid-run with Clone Chip, retrospectively turning Clone Chip into an econ event.

I don't rely on it combo-ing with Aesop's, but it's great when it does, and, generally, everything's great when Aesop's is out, because you've got so many programs out you're happy to sell! Aesop's is a bit of an all star here, and it doesn't matter you've only got one because you plan to see your whole deck anyway!

19 Oct 2014 Pinkwarrior

@JAK thing is you have magnum opus and huge burst econ you shouldn't need 2/3 creds in a pinch, you should be loaded pretty much all game and i wouldn't use a clone chip as econ its way more useful than that, but each to their own i guess.

I don't see how you get your rig up + opus and anything else like sneakdoor with such few MU on a good day i guess u may hit both Mem chips. I understand you have to trash some stuff from time to time that's something you live with as prof

19 Oct 2014 JAK

@Pinkwarrior you don't ever want to install Magnum. It is slow. It may be good if you're in a tight spot, but truthfully, you're in a very bad place if you're ever having to use it. It's an emergency escape chute, not your everyday commute.

You want to spend as much of the early turns running as is at all possible. Use your huge bursts to fuel more runs.

Yeah, you never want to turn a Clone chip into credits, but if it's letting you get through a big ICE your opponent rezzed thinking you couldn't deal with to steal an agenda, it's worthwhile. It's not the best option, but it's nice to have.

You don't try to get a rig up. You run with your program installers (Clone Chip, Self-modifying Code Savoir-faire) and a ton of cash, dare your opponent to stop you. Keep forcing them to ice more servers and above all else just keep putting on pressure. You get Nasir's swings without the losses or the corp's control of the timing. Play like Reina, put on pressure. Don't think of yourself as an old conservative guy who needs to spend time setting stuff up. You're a radical, grown up with a powerhouse base to draw on. You're Slavoj Žižek on speed.

You will hit your memchips, because, no joking, if you're playing right, you will go through your entire deck. You trash things constantly, because you will get them back.

19 Oct 2014 Pinkwarrior

@JAK I don't agree with your assessment of opus it's your steady econ for the long game helps you deal with Tag 'n' Bag. FCC is your burst to set up quick and get in your opponents face.

I don't agree with not trying to get a rig up, i do get a rig i just do it on the fly as you run see what they rez then get the response after awhile you'll have your rig set up and then you just start hitting their weakpoints with Nerver agent, Sneakdoor, Medium & Keyhole. They can't stop that kind of onslaught.

Maybe we just have different styles on the same deck arc.

19 Oct 2014 JAK

I started off running multiple Opus, but cut them down. I think we've got the same sort of philosophy, but have taken it in different directions.

My deck's just settled on having a base economy built around combinations of Schezerade, Aesop's and Sahasrara, which lets you make money from installing programs, which you want to do anyway: Cache helps. This, alongside continual FCC&draw, helps you keep up an economy without losing tempo. (Seriously, installing Faerie onto Scheherazade mid-run via clone chip is one of the funnest ways to gain a credit there is. You can also clone chip an SMC onto Sch, gain 1, crack SMC, get a program onto Schez, which cancels out SMC's fetch-charge.) My deck is filled with cheap programs -- 15/24 cost two or less -- and this incidentally lets me keep getting money for doing what I want. Incidental, click-lite econ.

Against tag'n'bag, Magnum's sometimes really needed. But not always. It's like Deus X against Jinteki :)

A rig gets built as I go, but I generally have no problem losing any of it at any time. If I'm not pressuring HQ for the forseeable future, trashing a Nerve Agent with 5 counters on before installing Medium can actually be good: it might mean it's less likely that the corp will purge virus counters. Or it might not be: I could over-write a used Imp, a S-F that I'm not using at the moment. Or Sneakdoor. These are the fun decisions. I want a rig, but I'm not ever focussed on building one specific rig.

17 Nov 2014 4dd150n

I'm just going to chime in here to say that @JAK leaves the best card reviews.

12 Dec 2014 JAK

Thanks, @Addison!

Latest update: - 1 Toolbox, -1 Cache, -1 Datasucker, -1 Grappling Hook, -2 Mem Chips, + 1 Box-E, +1 Atman, +1 Sharpshooter, +2 Leprechaun, +1 Flex Slots.

Not sure about Memchips vs Leprechaun. There's sequencing issues, but it makes FCC so much better. Playing Leprechaun makes cutting Schezerade better, because of all the anti-synergy.

So there's essentially two Flex Slots. Currently Crescentus + Lamprey, neither of which feels great. And currently going back and forth on whether or not to play Lady, Corroder, or Lady + Corroder. Played with Hemmorrhage and Snitch. The former seems like it should be great, but I just can't quite get it working...