[Startup] The Cold Embrace

Oddball 530

When the Midnight Sun Booster pack was announced, one of the cards I was most excited to try was Hákarl. The art is fantastic and the idea of using it to derez cards (like Magnet or Anemone) seemed promising. Yet after testing... its influence cost was too high out of faction for the bonus ability provided, or rez cost was too high when compared other HB barriers like Eli 1.0, or Hagen. Yet, one of ideas I hadn't thought of was having a suite of low cost assets, or upgrades. I felt like I had a start of something.

Then when I stumbled upon Cold Site Server (a rarely played upgrade) and checked out Telos' and ZNB's Mirror Morph decks and realized that it would be the perfect home for our shark friend.


Why Mirrormorph instead of PD?

Typically MirrorMorph: Endless Iteration has been often played as a fast advance deck, using cards like Bass CH1R180G4 and Red Level Clearance to try and abuse the bonus click to score out 4/2's or 3/2's, but that's not what this deck plans to do at all. Instead, we're going to use our bonus ID triggers to generate a steady drip of credits, card draw AND abuse Cold Site Server in the late game.

Generally you would be right to assume that a never advance deck is better out of Haas-Bioroid: Precision Design, because it's recursion is very strong (and the extra hand size to boot). However we have some clever tricks to get consistent value out of our ID throughout the game, in addition to trying to trigger the ID as many times as possible by taking three different actions.

Just remember to not let the perfect get in the way of good: sometimes, install, install, play Hedge Fun is the best move, or just install an agenda, click Cold Site Server twice.

Example of an early turn:

C1 - Subliminal Messaging/Red Level Clearance (Gain a click), C2 - Install, C3 - another action (often draw/credit), MM - Gain a cred , C4 - with your bonus click, due to Subliminal/RLC, install another card.

RLC is even stronger than Subliminal, since you can gain a click and do whatever you want with it, instead of just gain a credit. Usually I find I use my first RLC early to help smooth out the early game, but as the game goes on consider saving a RLC, or Subliminal if you use it for a Cold Site Server Combo.

In mid to late game with RLC, or Subliminal you can:

C1 - Subliminal/RLC (gain a click/install a Cold Site Server), C2 - Install an agenda, C3 - advance, MM C4 - Click a Cold Site Server, C5- Click the Cold Site Server again. It now costs two additional credits and two additional clicks to run. Often I do this to overadvance a Project Vitruvius, or score a Cyberdex.

You can also (if you get two separate Cold Site servers in the same remote):

C1 - Subliminal/RLC ( gain a click/install a Cold Site), C2 - Install an Agenda, C3 - Click one cold site Server, MM C4 - click the other Cold Site Server. C5 - click either Cold Site Server. Now it costs 3 additional creds, 3 additional clicks to now run that server! Any of our bioroids are now live and it costs a runner's entire turn to attack the server.

Silly bonus move:

If you derez a Cold Site Server with power counters on it with a Hákarl it won't lose that counter (even more bonus points if they already paid the click and cred to run that remote/central). If you can keep the Cold Site Server alive, you can make it really difficult, if not impossible for someone to run the server later, or at the very least rez it at your leisure and save yourself a click. Just remember to do it before they may run again.

Against LtF decks

Cold Site Servers tax Light the Fire! (they are an additional cost to run)! Often in these match ups, I try to only keep a Tranquility Home Grid and two Cold Site Servers in the remote. Save Ganked! and Manegarm Skunkworks for central protection, until after they LtF.

NOTE: Currently LtF is not being taxed on JNet. Make sure they pay/can legally run if you have Cold Site tokens.


Come on in, the water's fine!

Like the more popular PD decks, Tranquility Home Grid, is going to do a lot of work for our economy. Often it's going to be one of the main cards you will be looking for in your opening hand. If you can get one to stick, or reinstall it thanks to Drafter, or Ansel 1.0 you are in good shape. Now any agenda, asset, or upgrade will help us keep rezing our ice, or scoring out agendas.

Nanoetching Matrix is also a very powerful early draw. If you're lucky enough to see if in your opening hand, you're going to get paid and the Runner will pay you again when they trash it. We're only running two, because deck slots are tight.

Don't forget to plan your turns to maximize MM triggers when it makes sense. Often the right move is to start your turn by drawing, unless you have a specific line during the turn. If your opening hand is iceless, don't panic! With our extra card draw from Spin, RLC (Draw 2+Gain click), Tranquility and just drawing to trigger our MM identity you'll often find the pieces you need to begin to defend yourself.

Also don't forget we can gain a credit with one of our clicks and then get the MM credit from our ID. Sometimes a steady drip of a few credits can make make a difference. If you can add Tranquility's passive income, Subliminal / RLC to that our economy will be able to afford our more expensive and powerful ice.


Scoring to win (and kill)

Just like in PD, the threat of never advancing out with Seamless Launch forces runners to run the remote, without knowing if there's an agenda. This can maximize the tax our ice put on the runner, opening them up to mistakes, or giving you windows to score agendas later.

At the same time our agenda suite is a little different then other HB never advance decks, because we can either use Seamless Launch OR we can install and advance (with our MM click). We also have the option make it credit neutral by using our MM ability to gain a credit (which might allow you to defend the server, and score that agenda).

Having the extra MM click to score out an agenda can be really useful, because the money back from Cyberdex Sandbox. Over advanced Project Vitruvius can be extremely powerful (Seamless Launch, or Ganked! at paid ability speed? YES PLEASE). There are also some fun moves you can do with Luminal Transubstantiation if you can gain a click from Subliminal/RLC the following turn, trigger your ID, get a bonus click and three additional clicks.

Finally, with this plan we can also sneak out Project Vacheron if you have access to a Seamless (or never advance it out if you can replay it thanks to Vitruvius tokens).

Cards like Manegarm Skunkworks and Cold Site Server can help keep the remote safe if you can make it too taxing to run. Earlier, I gave an example of a typical "five click" turn which will tax the runner the majority of their turn just to check the remote (thanks to Cold Site). Don't forget that this can also be our advantage by putting an other upgrade in there instead of an agenda. One (or more) Ganks can win you the games if they hit the wrong Bioroids, or Saisentan.


Blood in the water

I did start this write-up saying this was all about Hákarl being useful right? They certainly are! Often your Spin Doctors get reused, Cold Site or Nanoetching Matrix's get derezed at no cost to you. Early on, those face checks result in an unexpected brain damage.

Note: You can use an unrezed asset/upgrade with Hákarl. Just remember you have to rez it before Hakarl on the approach step (Step 2B).

By adding in the rest of Hákarl's favorite bioroid friends, some other good ICE AND Ganked! we have a fine stew going! On a run where the runner's unable to spend clicks, thanks to Hákarl's ability any of our bioroids subs can have devastating consequences. Plus, a run is not over if they hit a Ganked! in the root of a server, so when they encounter any bioroid, they still cannot spend any remaining clicks to break. Ouch.

Saisentan has also been a pleasant surprise. Early on, when the runner expects a bioroid they can click through, or a Drafter, they either die, or just lost most of their hand. Inside Job my remote with a Ganked (or two) inside? Probably going to regret that one! Once the runner has taken a brain damage or two, Saisentan becomes a very deadly piece of our puzzle.


Heart of Sharkness

Hopefully you'll have some success and fun with the Midnight Sun Booster's forgotten Hákarl too. I've had a lot of fun griding out games over the past few weeks and making small adjustments to the deck. Jawesome!

Thanks for sticking around and reading about this list. If you have time, please check out my friend and I's podcast, Retromancer! I plan on forcing Thrazznos to chat about this weird deck, and Hákarl in an upcoming episode.

7 comments
5 Jun 2022 Gaxeco

Cold Site Server doesnt work agaisnt Light The Fire, in jinteki does, but rules doesnt say so, its a real bummer.

5 Jun 2022 Oddball

@Gaxecoactually it does work, because cards like Reduced Service and Cold Site Server is an additional cost to run the server. All additional costs must be paid before a run can begin.

When the runner pays to use Light the Fire! spending a click, trashing it and taking brain damage, this is when Cold Site's tax would be paid.

For the technical timing:

Check out the comprehensive rules, 6.3.2.b, "Some abilities impose an additional cost to run, either generally or on a particular server. Any costs to run a server must be paid at the time that server is announced as the attacked server."

That means it Cold Site Server is paid at 1a before LtF turns on at 1c.

5 Jun 2022 Oddball

Just to amend my post above, the timing of when Cold Site hits a little bit later, but is still paid before the LtF ability kicks in:

"6.3.4 Some abilities look for particular conditions occurring “during a run” or are restricted to being used “during a run.” For purposes of abilities, the run formally begins only after the attacked server is announced and any costs are paid."


Steps of a run (Comprehensive rules section 6.9)

a. The Runner announces the attacked server.

b. The Runner gains 1[c] to spend during the run for each bad publicity the Corp has.

c. The run formally begins. Conditions related to the run beginning or initiating are met.

d. The Initiation Phase is complete.


So LtF still needs to pay the price of using its cost, pay the Cold Site Server fee and then once the initiation phase of the run is complete does it's "During a run" abilities come into play.

8 Jun 2022 Sauc3

Had some fun games with this!

8 Jun 2022 Oddball

@Sauc3 Glad you've enjoyed it! I've been experimenting with a 10 agenda version (Offworld Office instead of Project Vacheron). Anything you have done differently?

16 Jun 2022 Telos

This is great! Much better than my jank, lol. I've found that if the remote can be defended then having a [[Marilyn Campaign]] (or even better, a [[Nico Campaign]]) as a target for [[Hákarl 1.0]] they can really deliver a lot of value. But even reusing a [[Spin Doctor]] is often worth it. If it just wasn't quite so expensive or at least prevented non-icebreakers from breaking, he'd be way more exciting. Great art though.

16 Jun 2022 Oddball

@Telos Thank you!

What did you cut to slot them in, or were you running them in another HB deck?