Boatball Bat (1st @ Brighton CO 2022)

Doc Fooby 226

The History

So, a bit of context. I'm not much one for jnet, so I've been out of the competitive netrunner scene for the past couple of years and haven't really been paying all that much attention to the game for a while now. At the start of the week I was fully intending to play CtM. Then I found out that Midnight Sun had released and that wasn't going to fly. So I did what any sensible person would do when thrown a sudden curveball – I turned to the wisdom of podcasts.

Specifically, I listened to The Process in hope of learning what better players than I thought of the new cards. One of the ideas floated was that now that Weyland has seven 3/2s, there's probably a fast advance Outfit deck in there somewhere. "Aha!" thought I, I love(d) Titan, I played Outfit one time at UK Nats many years ago, therefore I am the perfect player to crack this conundrum! So I fired up NetrunnerDB, reset my password, bullied the interface into the settings I like and got to work.

The Theory

First, the wincon. This is seven 3/2s, three Hostile Takeovers, three Audacity and two Biotic Labour. What more could you possibly need? Well, considering my preferences, a highly improbable kill package as a backup. As such, I threw in a couple of Boom!s and a Mutually Assured Destruction (because a four-card kill combo including a one-of and a two-of, which is also needed for the main wincon, is an eminently sensible thing in a deck relying on Audacity to include and I have no regrets).

Second, ICE. To begin, I threw in most of the ICE I'd use for a Titan deck, Ice Wall, Hortum, an Afshar and Mausolus for spice. Then, because Outfit and fear of big Aumakua/Endurance (henceforth Turtle/Boat) combos, I added in two Bulwark and two Trebuchet. This turned out to be a Good Choice™.

Lastly, I threw in all the econ that seemed sensible, a GFI to round out the agenda suite, and spent my remaining influence on a couple of Spin Doctors and Archived Memories. All good so far. Then to round out I figured, why not include a gimmick? I love gimmicks! So, to further indulge my well-founded fear of Turtle-encrusted Boats, I hired a man and his baseball bat – Wake Up Call (hence the deck's name, it was either that or "We're Gonna Need A Bigger Bat"). However, Wake Up Call only works if the Runner politely trashes something, so I popped in a set of Wall to Walls as bait. This turned out to be a Very Good Choice™.

The Practice

This deck performed above my expectations in Swiss, only dropping one game. It beat Apoc Hoshiko by FA, Cap'n Padma with a lockout, Maw Hoshiko by FA and Kabonesa with the improbable one-turn backup kill plan to escape Clot. The loss was to a Sable throughly overindulged in Bad Pub so able to waltz into my HQ like I had no ICE there at all and with an early No One Home to ensure that, even if I had managed to assemble the kill package that Cerebral Imaging would be proud of, I wasn't going to land it any time soon; cue several accesses and a big ol' Deep Dive and so fell the corporate mafia to a concert musician with ideas above her station.

I learned a few things in Swiss. First, Wall to Wall is actually really good, that credit and card a turn are a strong enabler for the FA plan, and you've usually got a good target for advancement counters in Hortum, Mausolus and Ice Wall. Plus, when it gets trashed, you get to play Wake Up Call.

Wake Up Call turned out to be very good, most decks I played against had a good target for it in play, Boat, a full Liberated Accounts or Earthrise Hotel, enough that no matter what the Runner chose, they were taking a tempo hit, which is quite valuable for this deck's FA plan, which, unsurprisingly, is much slower than Titan's with its free Atlas Project tokens. There were a couple of games where Wake Up Call was instrumental to victory.

On the other hand, it turns out that the trash an installed card clause on Azef Protocol is a pain in the backside, escpecially early on. You don't usually have anything you're truly happy to trash (except maybe Afshar, which I realised far too late is significantly worse when you're handing out Bad Publicity like an overly aggressive leafleter in a pedestrian zone). Sometimes I'd put down a spare Wall to Wall or put some ICE I never planned to rez on an external simply to have something ready for when I had to score an Azef.

In terms of ICE, Bulwark and Trebuchet did a lot of work for me, having at least one of them on both HQ and R&D became pretty standard. As previously mentioned, Afshar was a disappointment, if I were to use this list again tomorrow, I'd probably swap it for an extra Ice Wall or something big, depending on how I was feeling (I'd err towards Ice Wall, as, even with the disgusting amount of money this deck can make, it can also disappear very quickly if you're not careful).

Lastly, the kill package is ridiculous. Yes, I pulled it off once, but it's really not worth it if you prioritise playing good decks over a shot at some highly amusing bragging rights. If you want a kill package (which I generally do), I would try swapping the Archived Memories out for a pair of Hard Hitting News. Maybe I'd keep the MAD for emergencies, but more likely I'd put in something sensible in its place, like an extra piece of ICE. I'd also consider a one-of of some sort of Bad Pub removal, but I've not thought about the possible options.

Then there was the Cut game.

The Cut Game

So. This game was a Thing. I played exactly one game with this deck in the cut, which was the first (and only) round of the final against Chris Ferg on Cap'n Padma. The game started out sensibly enough, with some FA on my part and a Boat/Turtle combination on his. Then the Wake Up Call happened. I sent my lad and his baseball bat out to smash up Chris' Boat and Chris decided to take the meat damage, which put his non-Aumakua breakers in the bin. Discussing it later, I think we agreed that this was a Mistake.

In short order I found my hand flooded with three (later four agendas) and an Audacity, but with Bulwark/Afshar on HQ and a Trebuchet/triple-advanced Hortum on R&D, accesses were heavily limited by Boat counters. So began the serial running of Archives to charge Turtle and constant purging whilst I dug for some ICE to complete the lockout. The only ICE I found was Ice Wall. Better than nothing, so I installed it. Then I triple advanced it. At this point the game was officially silly and it wasn't long before Chris conceded, winning me the tournament.

The Summary

Is this deck good? Maybe? I'm honestly not sure. But I definitely enjoyed playing it. I'd like to think there's the genesis of a good deck in here, that with some practice and a few iterations (and probably fewer gimmicks) I could confidently call competitive. As it is, my gut says it's too swingy and is very targeted towards a Turtle/Boat-heavy meta. The MAD combo in it is cute, but probably not worth the slots, whereas Wall to Wall and Wake Up Call were significantly more valuable than I expected them to be.

I'd like to thank all my opponents on the day, with a special shout-out to Chris for that unique final game. I also extend credit to The Process podcast for giving me the idea in the first place, keep up the good work.

The Final Thought

If in doubt, hit the problem with a baseball bat and maybe it'll go away. Even if it's a boat.

31 Jul 2022 rotage

Congrats on the win

I've been pondering Wake up call too for Boat, when you said liberated accounts I was confused, I then bothered to read wake up call fully, wow thats a nice bonus

31 Jul 2022 ChrisFerg

Yes congrats on the win!!! Really well played and a great meta call. That game sure was something!

1 Aug 2022 Ozvaldo

congrats on the win!

2 Aug 2022 sebastiank

In the Android world, do they know of a solution to hardware besides whacking it with a baseball bat?? Retribution and Wake Up Call suggest no. Nice deck and congrats on the win!