This deck won the Fair Game (Chicagoland area 20 people) Store Champs and their February Game Night Kit. It went 4-2 at the SC and 2-1 at the GNK. I've been working on Professor since he came out and this Professor deck for the better part of three months, but I wanted to wait until I won something relevant before publishing it. I was (and still kind of am) worried that the deck will get dismissed as just another casual Professor deck.
TLDR: Gamble for days. Attack a server, sell your rig, attack another server.
The decks econ engine is the gamble for days package (which I did not invent.) It has been seen in a lot of places including some very competitive Haley builds. If you are unfamiliar the idea is that every card you play is a net of 4 creds or better. This is achieved by some combination of Sahasrara, Scheherazade, Aesop's Pawnshop, and Technical Writer. So the perfect storm is something like install Net Shield for free with Sahasrara credits, gain a credit on each Technical Writer, gain a credit for installing on Scheherazade, sell next turn with Aesop's Pawnshop for 3 creds. Obviously you won’t be able to pull off the perfect situation but some combo of these is what you are looking for. And the reason this economy package works so well in the deck is because there are only 3 cards that cost more than 3 credits in the entire deck.
The other thing you need to understand about playing this professor deck is that your rig is disposable. There is a maximum of 6 memory in the deck and the Akamatsu Mem Chipis a one of, so it is less likely to show up (but actually does show up a lot more than you would think.) So if you are hammering their scoring server that they are putting economy assets and agendas in then they install that 3rd or 4th piece of ice and put a caprice or an ash in the bottom of it the correct play is to start selling the rig to Aesop’s so that you can efficiently attack another server.
We do not spend influence on programs so we can play pretty much anything we want. We are playing the most efficient Icebreakers that cost 3 or less. We can break this rule but the card has to be insanely good in its ideal situation.
Cerberus "Lady" H1: The most efficient Fracter by a very wide margin. It is on the most wanted list for a reason, and since we ignore the MWL might as well (plus its only one credit over the rule).
Corroder: The best barrier breaker that costs less than 3 lots of runners pay influence for this card it is an easy include.
Femme Fatale: This breaks our rule by a factor of 3, but its ability is very good and it can pull us out of a disaster scenario if one of our breaker types is removed from the game.
Faerie: This is fantastic for what we are doing. Having an emergency "get me out of this run before I die" button is very important to have since our other pump-able sentry breaker costs 9. We are playing it over Sharpshooter because it hits a wider number of things and costs a credit less making it
Mimic: The most efficient Sentry breaker for ICE under STR 3.
Cyber-Cypher: Cost 2 STR 4 what’s not to love.
Deus X: This is largely for death prevention against those Mushin decks but also works well as a backup oh shit button.
All of the programs in this section follow the 3 credits or less rule we established earlier. Generally they are either silver bullets or they are part of the economy engine. To shorten this section I just want to call out a few inclusions and exclusions.
Paricia: This seems like an odd choice. The card was lampooned by everyone when it came out but I think it works here. The obvious choice to replace Paricia is Imp, but we have excluded it for 2 reasons. First it makes the deck more susceptible to purges. Having your imp purged during a run can be back breaking. Second the cost of zero is very helpful for the econ engine.
Net Shield: Another core card that seems terrible. But this card hoses PE really badly and because of the econ engine it is never a dead card because we can just sell it to Aesop.
A Second Cache: There are only a handful of viable ways to spend The Professor’s one influence. The most common 2 are Stimhack and a second Datasucker, but I have also seen the shards played. I don’t think the shards synergize well enough with the prof’s playstyle. Datasucker can be very good in fixed breaker builds, but we are not creating a permeant rig so having 2 datasuckers becomes much less appealing. Stimhack is 9 creds for a click and a brain damage. By comparison a Cache can be anywhere from 2 to 10 creds with no other down side.
Harbinger: This card does nothing other than get sold to Aesop. All of our cards do that (cache does it better) and something else. I played it for a long while but recently cut it.
Diesel: Arguably the best draw event in the game.
Test Run: This tutors for 22 cards in the deck and can also recur them. There are also a lot of money plays that can be made with this card that on the surface look very dumb but are actually quite good. For example test run a Cache on to a Scheherazade to net one credit (and maybe Technical Writer credits) but the Cache then goes on top of your deck and you have a guaranteed 4 credit card on top of your deck (likely more than 4 credits though).
Scavenge: Hands down better than Sure Gamble in any deck that is playing Cache and Scheherazade. You can target Cache with Scavenge to gain 4 credits. But Scavenge also synergizes with our deck to ridiculous level. Femme Fatale, Cerberus "Lady" H1, Cyber-Cypher, D4v1d, and Cache all have insane synergy with the card and it can be used to simple bring back a program you sold earlier.
Levy AR Lab Access: Sometimes in long matches against heavy glacier you need to reload all you recursion. The main issue with this is that I am not playing any same old things and if it gets hit by net damage its gone forever.
TLDR: Draw, Mem, And Plascrete Carapace
Clone Chip: This is the biggest reason to play prof since he can take these without the influence penalty that other runners have to. They are great and enable a lot of his mid run shenanigans.
Astrolabe: We desperately need draw and a fifth memory.
Akamatsu Mem Chip: The memory situation runs fine with just 5 memory, but if you have 6 you can make some greedy plays that keep pressure on the corp like keep a large nerve agent when you would normally sell.
Plascrete Carapace: The premier flatline prevention. It is annoying that it is arguably the only dead card in the deck (when playing against non-flat line decks.) I was playing bookmark for a while since it was a good Aesop target against the non-flat line decks and protected you from power shutdown, but then Artist Colony came out and it changed everything.
Aesop's Pawnshop: This card makes the entire decks econ engine work. If you can reliably keep the deck off of Aesop’s you have a very good shot of beating it. It is the strongest card in the deck and its biggest weakness at the same time. Your opening hand almost doesn’t matter if you have Aesop’s in hand mulligan aggressively for it.
Technical Writer: This card functions similarly to a Kati Jones in an Iain Stirling: Retired Spook deck. It is a nest egg that sits there and gets bigger every turn and can be leveraged to win a money fight. Be careful of High-Risk Investment.
Film Critic: This card is very important vs Jinteki and any midseason or punitive deck. This deck needs Aesop’s. Being covered in tags can make the game very hard to win.
Artist Colony: We are playing this card mostly so that we can go get Plascrete Carapace in an emergency and to get Film Critic or Aesop's Pawnshop in desperation. Mostly it lets us get away with the few one ofs we are running that are not programs.
Weyland has all the tools to hate this kind of deck out of a game. The big ones are Elizabeth Mills and Housekeeping. This deck falls apart to either of these 2 cards and I’m not sure if there is a way to deal with them reliably. Power Shutdown can also be rough but it’s never game endingly bad. But thankfully Weyland is very underplayed in the current meta game.
At the SC I played against PE, SYNC, Spark, ETF, and SOL. The deck lost to ETF in the last round of Swiss then was immediately paired up against it again for the first game after cut and managed to take it down. The second game it lost was in the first game of finals (I went undefeated in bracket and had to lose two) on a very large misplay by me. Clot lock was holding the game off for me and I didn't reinstall a Self-modifying Code to keep it going despite having one in hand.
Before I sign out here I would like to address a misconception that the netrunner community seems to have about the Professor. “Professor will only get better as new programs come out.” While this is technically true the issue is that every deck gets better as new cards come out. And the decks at the very top will become better at a much faster rate. I have been trying to make prof work since creation and control and 6 months ago I had finally given up. If not for the MWL he would not be as powerful. There are a handful of things that could come out that would make prof better. A program that mirrors Archives interface. Being able to remove cards from the game would heavily improve a lot of the asset spam match ups. An expose program would help the Mushin match ups instead of just having to face plant into brain damage. And of course rebirth (more on rebirth later cause I’m not going where you think I am.)
This deck is not easy to play and requires you to know where cards are at any given moment. If anyone has any questions or comments about the deck I will field them to the best of my ability. I would love to find a way to cut 2 cards without hurting any of my match ups.
28 Mar 2016 MightyToenail
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