Days of Wine and Ruses (3rd American Continentals, 8-0)

greyfield 3915


branim8ed: yeah didn't this corp get apocced? the hecc

I know what you're thinking. Here's the process.

After placing just outside the cut in the BLM tournament, I was confident GameNET was still a great deck, provided I played around what at the time was a pretty serious Apocalypse problem in the meta. Then as metas do, Titan came to beat the Apoc decks, and Leela/419 came to beat the Titan decks. In testing, it felt like while I could beat the crim players, out-tempoing them was often a sucker's bet - I often felt incapable of maintaining enough money to score agendas against money pressure from viruses/DoF/PAD Tap, and agendas would pile up in HQ, to the point where I was winning more from good luck or runner mistakes than my own capability.

So I thought: why do I need to out-tempo them? Why am I trying to be tempo at all? Why not be a lumbering, controlling monster?

Hence the swerve to being a harder glacier.

  • Echo Chamber often felt like dead weight, not unlike an agenda - it didn't advance my board state, and often would take room in my hand away from better cards.
  • Tollbooth felt too expensive in the face of ice destruction or just being poor. I wanted ice that, other than Border Control, would always be equal or better on rez versus break cost, and Tollbooth fails against both Amina and Engolo.
  • Rashida Jaheem just fills your hand with agendas, and then you lose.

So, in their place:

  • Hard-Hitting Ruse: I miss Vamp. Am I alone in that? HHN lets you fight back early against Crim pressure and later on turn a Daily Quest drip into a nuisance for the crim who wants a few turns of peace to rebuild. Several times in the tournament, I'd HHN a crim player who wasn't expecting it, who'd take up two to three turns to fix the issue, and by that point their tempo advantage was gone.
  • Because HHN without punishment is worthless, I defaulted to an old favorite, Psychographics, since I didn't want to spend the influence on Boom! While Psycho never turned around an unwinnable situation, having a backup plan there was more than enough.
  • Project Beale: No more Echo Chamber means no more reason to play Degree Mill, and Beale offered the possibility of a big Psycho-Beale win against a tag-me opponent. This panned out specifically in the swiss, when I scored a 4-point and a 7-point Beale in an unassailable remote.
  • Attitude Adjustment and Preemptive Action: If your goal is to get to turn 20, you need to do what Jackson Howard might have done once, and filter agendas back into your deck. Putting back agendas your opponent Stargated and didn't want to go take doesn't hurt either.
  • More sentries: Expecting a crim-heavy meta full of Aminas and Engolos, I decided none of the code gates were working for me. What I could target instead was Bukhgalter, which is less impressive if it has to go through another sentry after it already cashed in the bonus. F2P is not spectacular, but it is taxing, and it got the job done.

In swiss, the deck went 6-0 in games played, beating Aniccam Party Ken, Paragon Leela, Knobkierie Freedom, FTT Omar, reg-ass Hoshiko, and Apoc Hoshiko (the last two being games played after an ID in the round). In the cut, it went 2-0, beating reg Hoshiko and Apoc Hayley.

Contrary to opinions on the stream, I think this deck has a great Crim matchup starting on turn 10 and it's a function of getting there without substantial collateral damage. While I definitely had to sweat out a few random accesses over the course of the tournament (and who doesn't?), the deck felt untouchable in almost every game.

I also felt like the Attitude-Preemptive package was excellent, powering me through several spots of agenda flood where my previous list likely would have suffered.

I'm not sure how much the HHN package ultimately added. It may be that going with different tag punishment is better, such as 2 SEA Source and some number of Closed Accounts. That said, there were definitely games where Psychographics would have been stellar were I able to draw it. Perhaps the list is fine and just going -1 HHN, +1 Consulting Visit is ideal. I'll probably be testing that for Continentals.