[Standard 23.03] To Grow a Spider

james123lui 15

Deck idea // TL;DR

Grow a big, taxing ICE with Rover Algorithm, by forcing the runner through it once every turn using our ID. Take that K2CP Turbine! Try to break this 10-STR DNA Tracker with your 5-STR Buzzsaw!

It's elegant jank.


AgInfusion: New Miracles for a New World

This ID ability, once per turn, can force the runner to encounter an ICE on the outermost position on any server. If we install a big ICE there, the runner, when running any other server with unrezzed ICE, could potentially be forced to encounter the big ICE with no jack-out window. As the runner encounters that single ICE over and over again, Rover Algorithm will grow, making it harder to break over time. This also denies abilities like Diversion of Funds or The Maker's Eye when the server is no longer the original target.

Contemplating choice of big ICE

Rover Algorithm requires runner to actually pass the ICE, so we don't want printed ETR subroutines. Saisentan is an ICE with good kill potential but rather low STR. Anansi is more expensive but has a more threatening baseline. DNA Tracker is also a solid choice as a code gate alternative, which can be more taxing depending on the runner's rig. For example DNA Tracker scales well against Buzzsaw, while Anansi is better against Tsakhia "Bankhar" Gantulga or Botulus. Both are good against bin breakers.

Divert Power

It helps with everything we have. It discounts our big ICE that we want to rez, activating the threat on the table with our ID ability even if the runner doesn't run. It also de-rezzes early game ICE for more AgInfusion fodder. Last but not least, it generates additional value for Regolith Mining License and Spin Doctor. All the utility on demand thanks to Gaslighting.

Borealis tutors

We have tutors! Wave is a cheap tutor for our big ICE, while Gaslight helps fetch our Rover Algorithms. It can also summon forth a Divert Power to rez the ICE or a surprise Seamless Launch.

Where to house our pet spider (or gene sequencer)

A tough choice to make and very match-up dependent. Requires quite a bit of experience and I usually only commit one or more Rover Algorithms when I am confident (yes multiple can stack on one host!).

On one hand it is natual to put on centrals where the runner runs often: generally on HQ is the best against Criminals, WAKE Implant v2A-JRJ, Chastushka, Adam and the likes, but on R&D is also sometimes useful against Akiko or Padma. However, as our big ICE doesn't ETR, the pop could actually put the runner right where they want to access, therefore Archives is a considerable option too, even though it will be more difficult to grow outside our pops. Sometimes I even house it on the remote and pop central-focused runners, denying their Cezve value.

Our agenda suite

Hybrid Release to recur the trashed AgInfusion fodder as they are trashed facedown. Also helps closing the game with the 7th point. Nisei MK II scored early can protect the porous scoring remote, together with Code Replicator the cost to run can be prohibitive while growing the spider a few more times. Timely Public Release pairs well with our ID, as it can generate a "pop-on-demand" anytime in a run. Offworld Office is a simple tempo agenda with Seamless Launch, which is used to score all the 4/2 agendas.

ICE suite

As cheap as possible outside of our Rover target, as they will be fed to Divert Power and our ID ability later. Whitespace is a decent early ETR, Enigma is a solid alternative. Mind Game is fantastic as it does what we want to achieve anyways, and has amazing statline.

Economy issue

This deck, like most jank decks, is built gimmicks first and essentials later, so econ is not that solid. Due to personal taste against revealing info and losing tempo, the deck has only 6 real money cards (14 if you count Offworld, Divert Power and Seamless), which is not ideal. Still, cards in our deck are very low-cost cards, and our combo is a one-off investment giving us "drip income" in terms of ICE strength. Most of our upkeep comes from clicks to install new ICE fodder, so clickless assets like Bladderwort or PAD Campaign are also options, but it may be difficult to get them to stick.

Other challenges with the deck

Finding the combo pieces, obviously. Even with all the tutors it is still rather inconsistent, and make take 4-5 turns to assemble, while you scramble to fend off runner threats and try to keep up the economy.

There are also a couple of hard counters, namely Hippo and Inversificator, which just shut down the whole gimmick. Our ID requires the outermost ICE be our target, otherwise the runner can just jack out, which makes it super prone to Hippos. Inversificator swaps the ICE before passing, so Rover doesn't get to grow unless it's the replacement, and Hippo... well that's why we have spares!

8 Mar 2023 Jinsei

This is wild and I love it

8 Mar 2023 valerian32


10 Mar 2023 Baa Ram Wu

As much as Rover is a pretty terrible card I think there’s some pretty good value you’ve found here with Aginfusion as you are very well set up to force a runner through a single ice multiple times a turn!

As you mention the Econ looks problematic here - but I think you could strip out some of the tricks in favour of some rashidas, NGO’s and Hansai review’s and probably have something pretty fun going on!

Lastly - I think you want thimblerigs in your ice suite somewhere - they combo so perfectly with the idea of having 1-2 huge peices of ice to move around wherever they are needed it seems like a shame to not include them.

Would you be ok with me playing a version of this on an upcoming stream??

11 Mar 2023 james123lui

Hey thanks for all the nice critique! Feel free to tinker with the deck! Yes I do agree that Thimblerig is a good addition to shuffle the ICE around. Works great against Inversificator too.

I have changed the ICE suite since, now using 1 of each big ICE: Chiyashi, Anansi and DNA Tracker, and replacing Tithe with Thimblerig as Tithe doesn't feel like it does too much.

I'm totally fine with you playing it on stream! Cheers!

11 Mar 2023 james123lui

On top of that, I agree Rashida/NGO Front are better things to jam than Code Replicator, serves the same purpose to bait runs. With Thimblerig switching ICE Code Replicator becomes even less reliable (plus it doesn't actually grow the Rover).