Issuaq needs your help

Diogene 3057

Hello Netrunners. Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity has a unique ability and a nice lore attached to it. But it is failing to show its potential. If you have any ideas, I'll test them, because I would like to see this ID shine more (and maybe see less Jinteki: Personal Evolution out there).

First, thanks to everyone who commented on the games that were played against the multiple variations of this deck. It is not only greatly appreciated, but makes games more fun.

Here are the goals that we are trying to achieve : Make Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity ability central to the deck. There is no point for this deck if it could just be played better in a different identity. We can make this identity shine with its ability.

Here are the results of my tests.

  • Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity need to trigger once or twice to gives us a win. So, I feel that it is probably more suited to rush decks.
  • Everyone expect Seamless Launch, and they should, so that by mid game, nothing in the remote will be left unchecked. From this, I felt that we must trigger Issuaq before that, otherwise, it is very difficult to trigger past turn 8.
  • In theory Big Deal can allow us to score out from hand after triggering Issuaq once, if we scored a 3 points agenda before. In practice, you'll be able to afford Big Deal once in the game. By the time you get enough credits for the second time, the runner will be running everything without a care. This is why I went with cheap ices, just to gear check the runner a bit.
  • Big ices are costly and would prevent us from using Big Deal. We do not go for long games. This is partly the reason why I chose Vulnerability Audit over Global Food Initiative. The later did not make enough of a difference.
  • Lots of ices (15 in 45 cards deck) allow the deck to put some defense early, slowing down the runner a bit. With less ices, the deck was getting overrun in the early game.
  • No Snare!, because the deck does not aim to flatline. There are better Jinteki identities for this and we are trying to make Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity work.
  • Paperclip makes barriers useless and Jinteki does not have good barriers. So, I chose not to put any barriers here.
  • Genotyping was tried, but it extend the game, and we do not have a good late game.
  • Regenesis was played also, this could make for a 5 points score, but in practice, archive is never left alone. Without Nanisivik Grid, archive is always checked by the runner, since Regenesis seems to be also expected with this identity.
  • 45 cards currently, because I'm testing and it allows me to see my combo pieces more often in games. Also it makes for faster games. Often, I feel that Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity could have been a 40 cards identity.
  • Lots of code gates, because Black Orchestra is seen a lot currently and using it is expensive.
  • Anemone is there to force the runner to draw up a bit and can protect Obokata Protocol.
  • Hybrid Release can mask as NGO Front and can give us 2 points fairly easily. Also, after triggering Issuaq once or twice (and still not having 7 points), you'll be possibly at 6 points and this could be scored from hand.
  • In theory, Project Kusanagi could be worth 1 point. In practice, it takes a turn to score only one point and you wil have time to score maximum 3 agendas. So, it did not work out as well as I expected.
  • Longevity Serum is there because it can be score for 2 points and give us back missing pieces. It is replacing Blood in the Water that was used before. Blood in the Water did not work out well, since the deck does not do enough damage.
  • Trick of Light was tried. It is supposed to go well with Urtica Cipher or advanceable ices. But in practice, it is better suited for shell game and fast advance deck that score from hand. We want to score the turn after, which is why Issuaq is so difficult to trigger.
  • Seamless Launch was tried. But you usually require 2 of them to be able to score an agenda and trigger Issuaq, making it difficult to use.
  • Using Mitosis and going hard on shell games, with things like Cerebral Overwriter, Urtica Cipher and Ronin. The problems with this approach is that Saraswati Mnemonics: Endless Exploration can do this better and Jinteki: Personal Evolution is more threatening. Runner will check every remote and feel safe, since nothing can kill them outright. In the early game, you'll be able to trigger Issuaq once, but you'll lose steam by mid game and be completely overrun. There are still some possibilities that remains to be tested. Since the shell game approach would make Project Kusanagi and Trick of Light viable, maybe if played with cards like Stock Buy-Back and lots of small agendas? In that case, this would aim to trigger Issuaq 3 times. In a meta with Diversion of Funds and Stargate, this is a very difficult proposition.

Things that remain to be tried :

You can watch some Issuaq being played by Andrej here.

It is my current feeling that Issuaq Adaptics: Sustaining Diversity could be good, but it require to rethink how to leverage the Jinteki card pool. While the identity will only trigger once or twice, it is enough to win games.

Thanks to all in advance, for any comments and feedbacks.

19 May 2023 kronoss

Thanks for the great analysis! I tried also to make this identity work with little success. I tried around the idea of using Urtica to acumulate counters thanks to Mitosis and La Costa Grid. Then score with the help of Trick of Light and Red Planet Courier. Red Planet Courier and Mitosis can help to score even Jumon triggering the identity, what gives a huge advantage. But in practice it needs quite a sequence of cards to work. Unless you have a lot of luck, nothing can really stop the Runner if they play well. By the way, I can confirm that available barriers are quite useless, and that trigering the identity earlier uses to be easier.

22 May 2023 Diogene

@kronoss thanks!

I have not tried Red Planet Couriers, because it is too much influence and too hard to use, just like you said.

It is a bit sad about the barrier in Jinteki. Ivik is a fun concept, but it takes a lot of Code Gate to make it viable to rez at a reasonable (4 or less) cost.

Thanks for sharing.

24 May 2023 Oddball

@Diogene Could Audacity, with an assist from Moon Pool work? Too many hoops to jump through?

24 May 2023 Girometics

Have you tried Daruma? I was toying with it when trying to build Issuaq, but in that kind of deck we would want Darumas ability to be up nearly 100% of the time.

26 May 2023 Diogene

@Oddball, Moon Pool is a good call. With it, we could go for Seamless Launch and better ices. It is worth trying.

26 May 2023 Diogene

@Girometics, Daruma is interesting. Like Anoetic Void and Bio Vault, it protect a server. Focusing on protecting a remote server is a good idea. It is also worth exploring. Maybe we could go with for a type of glacier?

27 May 2023 superheronation

"Paperclip makes barriers useless and Jinteki does not have good barriers. So, I chose not to put any barriers here." This is broadly sound but I think including a barrier to force a Paperclip is economically tenable. Ivaak costs Paperclip players $8 on first encounter and $4 thereafter. Your deck is pretty heavy on code gates so I imagine that a single copy of Ivaak would cost $5-6 to rez? That's a pretty good return on investment for 1-2 Ivaak slots.

27 May 2023 superheronation

@Diogene There are 2 copies of Big Deal and 2 copies of Spin Doctor. I'd suggest 0-1 Big Deal, 2-3 Spin Doctors, 3 Vulnerability Audits, and 3 Seamless Launches. I think Seamless is by far the most reliable way to trigger Issuaq's ability.

@Girometics Audacity is excellent for scoring 3/2 agendas out of HQ, but we only have one 3/2 and presumably will be scoring most agendas the turn after installation. I'd suggest maximizing 2 influence Seamless before 4 influence Audacity.

3 Subliminal Messaging might be excessive if you're not playing for a late game.

3 Anemones seems odd here. They only seem to interact with 2 copies of Obokata and your deck does not seem to otherwise derive much value from net damage. If you're mainly including this for tempo/value rather than thwarting an Obokata steal, I'd suggest Hokusai rather than Anemone because your identity ability benefits from regular remote installs. Regularly installing cards in your remote server increases the risk that they waste resources checking and decreases the likelihood that they correctly move against installed agendas.