Swiss Army Whizzard

PeekaySK 8102

So, this is the deck I've won 2 seasons of our local league with and placed rather well in some tournaments, with only some minor alterations over the past 6 months or so.

I feel this is a deck that's easy to play and difficult to master. Some of your optimal plays will be far from obvious, and it requires you to be able to read the board reasonably well. Most of the games I've lost with this come from incorrectly evaluating whether to parasite an ice or not - this is especially true when you contemplate whether to parasite something like an Archer that'll take 6 turns to die. Your most powerful plays usually require setup over multiple turns, so the corp will see them coming... but that's ok. Think of it as slowly and deliberately closing down your opponent's avenues to victory, as opposed to trying to trick out a cheap win. You have quite a few different moves you can make, many of which actually require similar tools - so even by dropping cards on the table, you're not commiting yourself to one course too much. Often-times I'll drop a nerve agent on the table just to make them ice HQ at the expense of RnD, for instance... and it's totally fine that the nerve agent will sit there unused for like 5 turns, because once its time comes, it's already been moved into position.

Don't get locked into a mindset of "I have to do X to win". Remember - the key concept here is flexibility and multiple avenues to victory. Those deja-vus aren't in there just to recur Siphons. Sometimes you'll be able to siphon, and it'll be cool. Other-times you won't, and it'll be cool too - you can recur parasites, do multiple demo runs in one turn, recover from Archer facechecks and do all other kinds of cool stuff. Just chill, play it cool, keep your hand at 5 usable cards (if you get duplicates of Grimoire and Djinn, overdraw and ditch 'em), take some credits occasionally and you'll be fine.

How to play: If you don't have an econ card, mulligan. Doesn't matter which one you get (yes, even Liberated Accounts is fine), just have one. Armitage is quite possibly the best one here, because it'll give you enough sustained econ to pass the time while you draw into more econ.

Early-game should be spent grabbing cheap accesses where you can and making the corp rez ICE - you have the best facechecking breaker in the game, better put it to good use. Don't be afraid to play a Datasucker and facecheck ice that's possibly going to trash it - you have three of them, and can recycle at will. If they rez, they're losing much more money than you are. If they don't, your free accesses just started enabling some of your really brutal midgame plays.

Mid-game, just explore whatever openings the corp and your card draws are giving you. Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • getting a complete rig out ASAP
  • running naked/minimalistic and accessing cards left and right
  • clicking through Eli to Siphon for some easy cash
  • playing tag-happily, trashing Psychographics, Closed Accounts and Scorcheds with Imp to take the edge off things
  • sitting back on a pile of Liberated Account credits to make it really hard for the corp to estimate where you can and can't get
  • playing for time by farming datasucker counters and rezzing ice while drawing into stuff you need
  • preparing for some later-turn insanity by setting up grimoire, djinn and fishing for some parts you're missing

Late-game really depends on what you've been doing up until this point, which tools are setup and how the corp board looks. If you can't think of anything better, you can still play for time with a couple well-aimed Parasites to force frequent purges. Eventually you'll either win or lose, as is the nature of the game :)

Now, for some card choice explanations:

"Why Whizzard? Noise is so much better!"

No, he really isn't. I know, I've tried. Basically, Whizzard's ability comes in handy in two situations: to dig deeper into RnD (which is a good thing) and to get dangerous things off the table without having to wait for the corp to rez 'em before it's worthwhile (which means you can be the one setting the tempo in those situations, you don't have to be the passive one).

The real eye-opener to this was a random comment on BGG that went something along the lines of "so many people say that Whizzard's ability totally shuts down their decks... good thing noone plays him." So I decided to change that. Also, I really despise Noise's super-annoying tendency of giving you random bullshit wins in games which you lost because of your own mistakes, thus leading you to never really learning from them :)

"Why no Vamp?"

I used to play Vamp, it isn't worth it unless you're going all in on the strategy. Keeping someone continually at zero (which is the only scenario Vamp is really good for) requires a lot more commitment during deck construction than I was comfortable here (for one thing, it'd require a lot more econ) - I'd leave too many other cards out, and would become way too dependent on being able to get through into HQ. Keeping stuff unrezzed is neat, blowing it up after it gets rezzed is neater.

"Why no Joshua and no DLR?"

Because I have better things to do with my time than spend click in a suboptimal fashion. To make this work, I'd have to dedicate 6 slots to it, and those 6 slots are much better used elsewhere.

There is, of course, the possiblity of running just Joshua, for those matchups where I go tag-happy... but that would be 3 more cards I'd hate to draw in matchups where I really don't want to keep tags. Building to make him work in those situations would require some more moving parts. Hence, I went for flexbility instead.

"Djinn isn't worth the slots"

I believe the ability to conjure up Medium and Nerve Agent at will is already worth 2 credits and 2 cardslots, not even counting the extra memory you're getting and the fishing for other viruses

"2 Crypsis AND a full breaker suite?"

What can I say, I tended to be rather unlucky with my card draws, so this is to improve consistency and early thread. I used to run one Crypsis (for tutoring purposes only), but I actually did lose a game after drawing over 30 cards and still being unable to get through a goddamn Ice Wall :)

That being said, if I really wanted to fit one specific card in here, the second Crypsis would be the first card to get cut.

"Why Atman and not X?"

The last 3 influence points used to be Levy, to have the ability to keep Siphoning longer... then I realized that an Atman would be a much better choice. For one, it's another breaker to draw into early, potentially giving you massive board presence. Also, it neatly solves some issues you might run into - vs. Weyland, drop it at 6 and stop caring about Archer. Vs. HB, drop it at str 4 and wave merrily as you're passing those "taxing" Ichis and Elis. Vs. Jinteki, take care of both Neural Katana and Wall of Static with one breaker... the list goes on. Since it's a singleton, you won't see it every game, but when you do see it, it'll be massively useful, I promise you that.

Also, for added hilarity, sometimes people see you play an early Atman, automatically assume you're playing three of them and then stare in shocked disbelief when you start repeatedly siphoning them ("he can't possibly play more than one siphon, he's already spent 9 influence on Atmen!"). Priceless, really.

"Why Demolition Run?"

Because Demo Run is easily one of the most underrated tools in the Anarch toolbox. I think part of that is because people keep thinking Anarch = Noise, and Demo Run seems kinda redundant with his ability. Don't be that guy. This card enables both super-deep RnD digs (the good old "run, run, demo run, run" turn) and shuts down combos really hard (nerve agent, surge, demo run their hand, watch 'em toss all those hoarded Biotics and weep bitter tears of despair). Oh, and if you're playing against Jinteki, remember that Demo Run means you can nuke that Hokusai for free, while you're at it :D

"Isn't 3x Grimoire excessive?"

Flexibility means options. Having options means having stuff already installed before you actually need it. Having stuff installed means needing memory. Also, Grimoire is a huge Surge enabler - which brings me to...


Yes, Surge. It's so massively useful I've went up to 3 Grimoires just to be able to trigger it more often. Examples:

  • play a Sucker and Surge it to stop being shut out of servers after a purge
  • Surge a Medium before a Demo run to pretty much deck a corp unexpectedly (this usually just fishes out 7 points before that happens, though :D)
  • Surge a Nerve Agent after a Siphon run, go right back and steal all their stuff
  • alternatively, the same play but with an Imp/Demo run to get rid of the cards that could make you lose (Scorched, Psycho, possibly Closed Accounts)
  • Surge a Parasite to make a Tollbooth/whatever go poof much sooner
  • Surge a Crypsis to get into that place you wouldn't be able to get into otherwise

"Tag-me with just 2 Carapaces?"

Yeah. Either don't go into tag-me mode until you hit one (you have plenty other things to do to pass the time, like farming Armitages and installing threatening-looking stuff), or just use destruction to get rid of the cards you'd need the third Carapace against.

"Liberated Accounts is useless when tagged"

No, it's not - you just have to install it as the first action and then clear it thrice. It's basically the runner version of a Melange turn, and as an added bonus, it leaves a card on the table that's both tempting to trash and tempting to leave (and both of those options are fine with you). Same thing with Armitage, although the investment is smaller there, so you can potentially spend an Armitage just to make them spend 2 credits and a click, especially if you need to play for time for some reason.

There, that's about all that came to mind. If you have any questions, ask away!

16 Dec 2013 x3r0h0ur

How often do you use Deja Vu to recur liberated accounts to play again? Is it much more useful for parasites and siphons to where you don't play it again? Do you find yourself in many games where you're clicking for draws a lot because of the lack of tutoring? That's always my biggest fear in anarch. Have you ever tried out same old thing to increase siphon, surge and demo run flexibility? I don't know what you'd cut, but it seems like on demand for 2 clicks seems good.

16 Dec 2013 PeekaySK

I haven't had to Deja Vu for Liberated in a while... the last time I did that was back when those Armitages were Dirty Laundries. There's so many better targets to recur. Definitely more useful both for Siphons (when you can get into HQ cheap) and Parasites (when you need to work on landing Siphons).

Clicking to draw is sort of part of the standard flow of the deck, it's not a problem. You don't need that many credits to function comfortably at all, so you can usually draw a card or two per turn no problem. Some of those will turn out to be econ, and you'lll be all set.

Same Old Thing I've tried, and it really sucks in this deck. Basically, if you go into tag-me mode, you have to both play and use the SOT in the same turn, leaving you very little time to actually capitalize on whatever you achieve with said SoTed event. And let me say, most games I'm in full tag-me mode sooner rather than later. You can't run both SoT and Deja Vu (if you do, you'll draw too many cards that do nothing by themselves), and of those two, Deja Vu is definitely the better choice, by miles.

16 Dec 2013 x3r0h0ur

Is there anything else you can think of for 3 influence that you'd like to play? What is the closest thing to replacing atman? even if it means multiple cards changed. Are there any upcoming cards you would like to add, or ones out that you haven't tested or lightly tested that might make the cut?

18 Dec 2013 PeekaySK

@x3r0h0ur: Hmm... good question! I love how well Atman has performed for me, but if I'd change it, here's some other cards I'd consider (sorted in the order of how much I've tested that version) :

  • Inside Job: a straightforward replacement for Atman.
  • Quality Time: three of these for card draw would be definitely nice, you'd have to drop Crypsis and one other card though... probably one of the Grimoires. From what I recall, this was a solid version, but a bit more unpredictable. If you draw QTs after you're done setting up, they really don't do anything for ya. Also, they don't help you get into servers you're completely shut out of, which is why I like the Atman version more.
  • Crescentus: Extremely solid for Archers, Tollbooths and Januses. Would probably play three of them, though that might mean wanting to add a third Djinn and using the Djinn-within-Djinn compression trick to get enough memory to have them around until I need them.
  • Indexing: similar to how Nerve Agent rocks with Siphon (you grab the counter even on run with replacement effects, leading to the follow-up being much more potent), I can see how this would be awesome too, for the first couple of "charging" medium runs. Also, potentially enables Demo Run in a rather nasty way - nuke precisely the 3 cards that are worst for you :)
  • Omni-Drive: I've seen this used to great effect to host Djinn in, resulting in essentially free tutoring once per turn. Sometimes I do run into memory issues (when none of the grimoires feel like showing up), so this could help.
  • Sneakdoor Beta: this has the potential to be a really nasty one-of, especially with Nerve Agent and vs. people that are privy to the dangers of not icing HQ properly. Would probably need Djinn-Djinn compression too, to get long-term value out of

Those are the best current options that come to mind, I feel. Out of spoiled cards coming soon, nothing really comes to mind, though I'll definitely play around with Singularity to see if there might be something worthwhile there.

20 Dec 2013 x3r0h0ur

Personally I think indexing is alright, but of those, the 3 QT resonates with me most, almost all of my anarch decks I build find room for 3 because its a nice big shot at overcoming 'bad draws' which I find, when it happens to anarchs, is game losing. Paying 3 credits to get over the hump and get a big influx of possibly 2, 3 or 4 of the cards you were looking for all at once, is very strong. Or using it to find a breaker, and 2 econ cards that will allow you to play that breaker, and use it in 1 pull.

I've thought about omnidrive but the 3 credit hit seems kinda iffy that you'd beat just paying the 1 and naturally happening on things as you draw.

Would the 1 of inside job really be noticeable? Its one of those cards that I feel like I'd hold on to indefinitely because there will always be a better time to use it. I think knight fills this role and is reusable.

I am starting to see why you just go with atman, the 3 free inf are tough to put into 1 card, and its strong vs weyland (6 str!) and the utility is very strong.

20 Dec 2013 PeekaySK

Would the 1 of inside job really be noticeable? Its one of those cards that I feel like I'd hold on to indefinitely because there will always be a better time to use it. I think knight fills this role and is reusable.

To borrow some of Yoda's bad grammar "The power of Deja Vu, underestimate you must not". You actually want to use the Inside Job as soon as you draw it, at the first best opportunity it'll make a difference. Think about this from the Corp's perspective: they now know you have an Inside Job, and have to assume that at any time you could possibly pull out either another copy, or play a Deja Vu (which you've gotta be playing, 'cause you're anarch and it's a fricken awesome card) to get the one you used already. This will mean that basically anytime they want to do something relevant, they have to plan for inside job. Now meditate on how much that'll hinder their flow of play, slow down the game in general, make them overly cautious and buy you time to do whatever you want... totally not a bad deal for 3 influence, wouldn't you say?

Knight is a bad alternative because it costs both more time and (indescribably) more money to use, and has an additional constraint in the memory requirement, which is something this deck is riding on the edge of already.

I am starting to see why you just go with atman

I'm not forbidden from playing Atman just because everyone is netdecking from Justin, you know. I may be playing Atman, but I'm doing it in Whizzard, and to force through Demo Runs - that makes me cool by definition (at least in my head, please don't break my fantasy :D)

This actually was a sort of a zen moment for me, when it occured. Took me about 2 months of playing to make that change, and once I did I totally went "this is SO GODDAMN OBVIOUS". The thing that made me do it was that I was looking for extra consistency, needed a solid breaker alternative vs stacked Ichis, and was pulling out Levy to make space for the card I'd be putting in. That made Atman a 100% fit.

23 Dec 2013 x3r0h0ur

Okay, so I've been playing this build with a slight modification now for about 10 games, and i have to say im blown away by the pressure you can apply and the different angles you can attack from. I'm seeing anarch in a whole new light right now. Whizzard is definitely amazing to have under all circumstances.

My only change was dropping crypsis for ice carver. Just to try that out for cheap runs, since siphons seem to be keeping them in the 'rez only str 0-4 ice' range. It seems okay, I'm never unhappy to see it. But I have had lots of issues with aggression because I can't find my mimics in time. I'd say Crypsis would solve that. And it adds to the fear the corp has of "he can get in anywhere!" So I think I might shove it back in.

Thanks for the build, I'm really enjoying anarch right now!

Questions: What do you feel shuts you out the most when you play?

What do you do when you just can't find a breaker?

Do you still face check and get the ice face-up for the parasites?

28 Dec 2013 PeekaySK

Well yes, the whole point of adding Crypsis was to make a drawn Djinn another breaker you just needed at the moment. Also, two other things it can be important for:

  • breaking Howler, especially on a Siphon or Demolition Run (where you don't have the luxury of being able to just jack out and retry under the same circumstances)
  • getting Datasuckers up to speed after a purge - it might be expensive as hell, but they won't keep you out

Carver only does one of those, and with a higher opportunity cost and more circumstantially. If you really like, I'd say keep one Crypsis (to retain the flexibility) and ditch the secnd for a Carver.

Thanks for the build, I'm really enjoying anarch right now!

Ditto... I'd even go as far as saying that whenever I've been playing Shaper lately, I just wished I were playing Anarch instead :D

What do you feel shuts you out the most when you play?

A very very heavily ICEd HQ is one thing that's problematic - you'll be able to get in (eventually), but it'll cost you a bunch of time and resources. If the corp is playing it right, they used that time to get out of the "one good siphon totally shuts me down" range. After that, it becomes a matter of whether they have good enough RnD ice to stop a mega-multi-dig (there's a couple of ways to do it, one of my favorites is medium - surge - demo run - normal run, for a total of 9 cards accessed), how lucky you get on the agenda fishing, whether you've managed to nab some earlier and how well they can score in a remote. If I can win through RnD pressure, I try to avoid remotes, as I have no way of handling traps and that can be a pretty fast GG if you stumble into one.

Overall, the worst matchup is probably Weyland. You can never float tags too carelessly (even if you don't die to a double-scorch, losing 4 cards can still cost you too much tempo), and if you aren't fast enough, those ice walls will grow to ridiculous proportions.

By comparison, NBN is a bit easier, you just have to remember that you have Imps to trash Closed Accounts and Psychographics. Only if you don't think they're playing one or both of them should you be trashing Tollbooths with them.

HB and Jinteki are usually just shooting fish in a barrel, really. They both get murdered horribly by the combination of Siphon and Whiz's ability. Additionally, Jinteki is extra weak to your breaker suite, so just grab a Mimic and go to town.

What do you do when you just can't find a breaker? Do you still face check and get the ice face-up for the parasites?

The general advice of "apply pressure in whichever way you can" still applies.

Draw a lot, play cards that benefit you so you don't have to discard too much. I do facecheck (depending on the matchup and possible consequences, of course), but it's more of a question of keeping the corp low enough on money to avoid some crazy plays and/or too huge of a cash buffer, rather than rezzing for parasites. Of course, that the ice is rezzed for when I want to actually parasite it is just a bonus :D

30 Dec 2013 apo

Great deck. Everything just glues together here.

Could you look at my recent anarch creation and provide some input? I used some ideas from your Swiss Army Whizzard deck while building my Reina, hope I dind't wreck the synergy too much :).

31 Dec 2013 PeekaySK

@apo: done :)

1 Jan 2014 vdude

Awesome deck! I feel as the game progresses, Whizzard's trashing ability and Anarch's Imp and Demolition Run will get stronger. Trashing combo cards, economy or even ice can really disrupt a corp.

1 Jan 2014 PeekaySK

Yeah, Anarchs have the only truly reasonable counters to various shapes of Accelerated Power Shutdown madness. Also, stuff to handle Cerebral Imaging is in-faction, which is pretty great.

11 Mar 2014 eskay

Great deck, having a lot of fun with this. Any updates post-C&C?

17 Mar 2014 PeekaySK

Played around with quite a few versions lately, but unfortunately now that NBN is so crazy strong (both in the tag punishment version and the uber-rush version), Anarchs in general run into issues:

  • floating tags without being able to keep the corp at 0 credits (which is completely unfeasible, what with Subliminal Messaging and Sweeps Week in the card pool) means you can sometimes insta-lose, because either Psycho or Scorch.
  • lack of in-faction draw usable when tagged means you need to mulligan for something to be able to stop the early Astro rush. If you don't, keeping them at 0 (even if you manage) might not help you - damn you, Shipment from SanSan!
  • unless you can Imp-snipe the tag punishment cards, you're in for some hurt, generally

I've played around with various ways of getting around these problems, but what I'm missing most right now is some card draw. I've tried versions that dump the Atman for three Quality Times, but that one was super-inconsistent in my eyes (Diesel would be much better, but it's too much influence). I've tried Knights for the early steals, but they're too easy to play around and keep you in the midgame longer than I liked.

I'm still tweaking, but haven't come up with anything I really like so far.

30 Mar 2014 Kroen

Did you update this deck since you posted it? What do you think about including Keyhole and/or Hemmorage?

31 Mar 2014 PeekaySK

Good questions!

Did you update this deck since you posted it?

I played around with it a bit, but it's mostly shelved and waiting for a good neutral or Anarch draw effect that would fit in well enough.

What do you think about including Keyhole and/or Hemmorage?

I feel that both would be bad includes:

  • Hemorrhage would take forever to pay off (and increase the memory issues) while only doing what Nerve Agent + Demo Run already achieves with a smaller click investment (since you get Nerve tokens for Siphons)
  • Keyhole is memory intensive and if you don't aim to keep things like NACH and The Source in play, is usually a more complicated way of stealing agendas. If the corp is broke and you can run repeatedly, Medium is better. Sure, the RnD reset during a deep dig would be nice, but 4 credits and 2 MU are too much to pay for that in my experience (especially when a Demo Run will do just as nicely). Sure, you also disable Snares and Shocks, but... meh.

In general, games you will lose with deck this wouldn't have been won by the presence of Keyhole and/or Hemorrhage. At the same time, their costs (both direct and opportunity) are out of proportion to the benefit they're bringing to the table.

For those reasons, I wouldn't include them.

31 Mar 2014 PeekaySK

Oh, and to be clear: even though the deck only has cards up to Creation & Control, I actively played it and it was very good to me up to Mala Tempora.

It's just that Siphons take up all the relevant influence, I don't like Lawyer Up and Quality Time in here, and no truly relevant cards for what I'm going for here have come out in Spin.

31 Mar 2014 Kroen

Thanks! will give it a try, though I am worried by the lack of draw cards.

2 Apr 2014 Kroen

Hey, any reason you didn't include Knight? I find it an awesome Siphon-enabler. I'm trying out a version with 3xKnight, to which I cut (with reasons in brackets) 1xGrimoire (as I only have 2 core sets), 1xDatasucker (I don't need it super early if I have a playset of Knights) and 1xCrypsis (being able to tutor it is enough, especially when I have Knights).

2 Apr 2014 PeekaySK

I did try a version with knights, but I didn't like it all that much. It works well against low-ice Corp builds, but yet again is too slow for the corps of today, without any card draw effects.

9 May 2014 theblueraja

I am running 2xCore . What is a "suitable" replacement for the third Grimoire? Omnidrive?

19 May 2014 PeekaySK

@theblueraja I'd say the most straightforward substitute is Djinn - it becomes much more important to have one early if you're only running two copies of the console.

Definitely not Omni-drive, though - it's expensive and costs influence.

15 May 2015 Callisto

"'s mostly shelved and waiting for a good neutral or Anarch draw effect that would fit in well enough."

Any news since Earthrise Hotel and Inject have come out?

7 May 2017 phryxo

For a new player trying to expand from core only to up to creation & control, what would you recommend to replace to make it tournament legal?