Soul Siphon: 1st Place, undefeated, Uncle's Games, Bellevue

CJFM 2264

So, big shout-out and thanks to Kody and the crew at Uncle's Games, Bellevue, for putting on the event! There were some technical difficulties with the pairing software, and so they had to do it manually. Thanks to everyone who helped out the store to get the book keeping done! And HUGE thanks to @pandapersona, @jakodrako, @afishisborn, and James P for heavy testing of both runner and corp.

This deck has been fairly successful at it's last three tournaments. Its record:

Game Gurus Store Championship (with NEH): top 8 (5th/6th) (2 losses)

Green Lake Games Store Championship (also with NEH): 4th place (just 1 loss)

Uncle's Games, Bellevue, Store Championship (with Titan Transnational): 1st, undefeated. (31 Players)

I feel that this Account Siphon denial deck is about as good as it gets at the moment.

Soul Siphon

There's a really great thread on Stimhack about the "headlock" Reina style, created by SamRS dedicated to finding what Reina does best post OnC, and both his deck and mine share a lot of similarities. Both attempt to get the corp to stall out on credits and not be able to rez ice. Both play Eater + some sort of RND win-con. Both get rich. The differences are simply in how each deck goes about controlling the game. SamRS's makes rez-cost high and relies on Vamp to reset the game. Soul Siphon plays leaner, looking for the moment to strike.

The goal of the deck is pretty simple. Tax the opponent by running HQ frequently to get free peeks. Find your breakers for the ice and keep pressuring until you can Siphon the opponent down to close-to zero, drop a Medium, and start digging RnD. The actual play-style is very close to Anatomy of Anarchy, except it doesn't play the Data Leak Reversal + Joshua B. package. It opts, instead, to access cards, and to keep the ice pressure manageable.

Playing the Deck

This isn't an Eater + Keyhole deck. The goal of this deck is to access cards in RnD or HQ or in remotes. In order to do this, it plays Corroder and the Anarch fixed-breakers (Mimic and Yog.0) to be able to invalidate certain troublesome ice and not rely overly heavily on Eater. Essentially, Eater is a place-holder for the icebreakers you don't draw. I play it immediately when I find it, and feel relatively safe, but I don't expect to find it every game.

Generally, the deck wants to run to keep the corp poor, and then Siphon after checking remotes (to make sure they can't rez stuff to deplete your Siphon). The deck likes to float about 5-10 credits (or more), and feels sad if you drop below 2 (the price of Day Job). The trick to playing the deck effectively is knowing how expensive trashing things is going to be, and knowing when to build your board and credit up. Try not to Day Job at 2 credits, because the corp will likely know what you're up to. Try to use it when the corp is "setting up" so that you can match or exceed their credits.

The strategy here is to set up the RnD lock so that the corp HAS to purge and waste time. You don't really care, because you can just go back in or start getting more ahead.

Keep it flowing is the key to keeping Reina on top of the corp. That means, don't let cards you don't need clutter up your hand, and try not to get caught with no cash to play things. Keep building your rig. Keep digging through your deck (those familiar with Anatomy of Anarchy will know how aggressively you need to draw). Balance. Balance. Balance. Draw + Draw + Install + ditch something and credit, or Install is just fine. Know that there are multiples of some of the lesser-needed programs early on (that is, if you're playing RP, you probably don't need D4v1d until they rez a Tollbooth. If you're playing against HB, you probably want Datasucker + Yog + Eater.

Card Choices

The program suite is specifically tuned to give me the best chance to draw my answers to a particular matchup or situation. 4 answers to an early Wraparound + Astro rush (d4v1d + corroder). 3 answers to early code gates like Enigma or quandary (Yog.0, Parasite). 5 answers to face planting into Architect (3 Eater + 2 Mimic).

Because Anarchs still don't have a tutor for breakers, you need to draw aggressively, I've Had Worse helps a lot, but sometimes you want to keep that in hand if you suspect Scorched Earth. If you're playing against a Butcher Shop style deck (I played one in Swiss), you want to hold 2 I've Had Worse and find all your plascretes. They can Scorch through all your stuff. Don't feel bad Déjà Vuing an I've Had Worse or Plascrete Carapace. It can save your life.

Crescentus exerts immense pressure on the corp's cash. You can go Tollbooth hunting with D4v1d and laugh, you can de-rez (or just Spooned a Lotus Field.

Datasucker has been phenomenal. I used to not have it in here, but the fact that it makes your runs cheaper and lets you axe troublesome ice with Parasites (or just Yog.0 through Merlin, is awesome.

Vigil is the best console for denial. Hands-down, it drew me through my deck once, and on average found me about 6-10 cards. I won two games in top 8 without drawing my Vigil. The deck loves it, and you want to find one, but it's not the end of the world if you don't see one.

The trick to using Liberated Account in this deck is to play them to use them in a pinch. Don't just use them for cash immediately (unless you NEED that cash immediately). Use them as your Panic Button. You need cash right now? Use them. Can wait? Consider clicking up instead. You will thank your bank account later.

Spooned is strictly for troublesome code gates that you can't Yog.0 through or derez. I generally save this for Lotus field, but I've used it on Inazuma and Wendigo in the past. You don't want more than 1 of these. They clutter the hand. Knifed is a decent cutlery, but I prefer not to bother with it. These things clutter your hand and you want to keep drawing and finding the things to advance your game-plan.

Day Job is a "get further ahead" card. Sometimes it's ok turn 1, but know that the corp can exploit that if they sense you're planning to go sit at a desk all day.

Déjà Vu is the most all-purpose card in the deck. It gets you more Account Siphons if you need them (you might!) but it also gets back Parasite and Crescentus to keep the pressure on.

Medium over Keyhole. Why? Because if I was playing Keyhole, I would need more disposable cash on hand (and probably a re-worked rig). Keyhole is expensive to install and it requires you find Eater (another expensive program). It's a good card, just not for this particular build. (As a note, I think you'd probably have to go up to 3 vigil with Keyhole. You definitely want the extra ).

Final Thoughts on the Deck: I (probably) wouldn't take this to Regionals or Worlds. It's probably too susceptible to running into someone playing Crisium + Lotus Field (though you can win through that), and the slog might be too much over an enormous tournament. I feel that the deck is capitalizing to some extent on people not remembering Anatomy of Anarchy, and not knowing how to play against Reina. Still, strong piloting of the deck can yield wins even if you're not Siphoning over and over. The deck can win without Siphon, too (though it doesn't want to).

Thanks to Uncle's Games, Bellevue, for putting on a great tournament, and for the players for being awesome! Gratz to Justin for his stellar piloting of Stealth Andy and NEH Grail to take second! (In the Lower Bracket Finals, I saw him come back from a 0-6 deficit against Leela and win!)

15 Mar 2015 jakodrako

This deck is crazy. Anyone who hasn't faced against the Eater/Crescentus combo doesn't know what pain is. I had reservations about Vigil, but I think it's actually really strong in this style of deck because drawing is so important. This is not just a deck anyone can pick up though. Making the pieces work together takes some real expert piloting that can only come from practice. Nice work, Chris!

15 Mar 2015 Andannius

How would you feel about dropping one Account Siphon and your Plascrete Carapaces for Utopia Shard (and something else, obviously, maybe Legwork or The Maker's Eye)? I've felt extremely safe against kill decks with just 3x I've Had Worse, and the shard would just seal the deal. I feel like decks that aim to do more than 8 meat damage in one turn are fairly rare, and (like the Butcher Shop, as you mentioned) are pretty all-in on the kill. With this deck you pick up on that fact pretty quickly, too - like you said, get free peeks early game. In a post-IHW world I just feel like the dead draw of Plascrete against straight FA is though to swallow. Thoughts?

15 Mar 2015 CJFM

@jakodrako Thanks!

15 Mar 2015 CJFM

@Andannius I think dropping 1 Siphon is a valid way to go. I wouldn't get rid of Plascrete though. There's too much Butcher Shop and Scorch Titan/Blue Sun in our meta right now. With my Titan deck, I Traffic'd + Scorched through IHW and triple Scorched. If your meta is more doom-neutral, then definitely drop 1 Plascrete ;) And while getting a Plascrete and not needing it is sorta lame, I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. (Also, you can completely nullify some Scorch plans with IHW + Plascrete.

Probably don't need The Maker's Eye since you have Medium, which is better. Utopia Shard I'm not opposed to! And Legwork is always nice to have! Definitely worth testing out!

15 Mar 2015 CJFM

@Andannius That is to say, in one game I Traffic'd + Scorched, and another 3x Scorched.

16 Mar 2015 Dydra

Soul Siphon?

Pretty ambitious name... and you run only one Siphon in it, which is the worst siphon ... Account Siphon

Was expecting some Code Siphon deck when I saw the name ...

16 Mar 2015 Glitch

This deck looks nuts! It really makes me want to sleeve up Anarchs!

@Dydra I think the name it pretty damn accurate. Getting hit by repeated AS, especially from a taxing ID like Reina, can be pretty soul crushing.

16 Mar 2015 Andannius

@Glitch Ah, shoot, you do have Medium! Of course no Maker's Eye, then. I had been looking at a bunch of Reina lists and had a different one in my head.

And yeah, if your meta is full of the do-absurd-meat-damage decks, you gotta slot at least one Plascrete.

16 Mar 2015 Dydra

@Glitch , well it doesn't sound to me ... 3 ( OH MY GOD, ALL 3?!!!!!!! never seen that before !! MUST BE SOUL CRUSHING) AS in Anarch is an old deck ... red agro deck ... which I've been playing since/around this time last year ... 3x AS Noise with Knights and whatnot ... Milling cards on top of that .... denying them econ cards .... isn't that SOUL crushing as well?

Also the famous, Anatomy of Anarch, which you could land 8 siphons easily in a game ... wasn't that SOUL crushing as well?

If you put siphon in the name of the deck, make sure it's more thematic ... at least 1 more Siphon card in it, please :)

16 Mar 2015 Glitch

@Dydra CJFM never said he was the first person to use AS in Anarchs, in fact no one is claiming that, so I'm not sure why you're mentioning that. Also, yes, being bombarded by AS in Anatomy of Anarch was also "soul crushing", that doesn't mean that this deck can't also claim the same sort of thing. Also, putting the word Siphon in the name of the deck doesn't mean the deck MUST have every card with the word siphon in it. It doesn't even need to have any card with the word siphon in it. It's just a title. You have a deck with the word "God" in it, but there are no cards with the word God in the title in the list.

Regardless, I don't think we need to bog down the comments here with title nit picking disagreements. I say we let this matter rest. I apologize to you, CJFM for this rant getting out of hand. Again, great job with the list.

16 Mar 2015 lolpaca

@CJFM This looks like a lot of fun, look forward to playing around with it.

16 Mar 2015 CJFM

@Glitch Thanks! The deck is called Soul Siphon for a few reasons. Really, it's because a friend of mine, @cspieker , plays a RP deck with Ruhr Valley that some other players have called "Soul Crusher". It was partially in referent to that.

Anyway, @Dydra, I do like thematic decks, but the soul wrecking part is having your ice derezzed by Crescentus AND getting Account Siphoned. While that's happening, I'm drawing with Vigil, going to my Day Job and laughing all the way to the bank. ;)

17 Mar 2015 jawZ

Since you are obviously a good pilot with this type of deck, do you think this would be playable without the Siphons plus Vamp and with maybe Emergency Shutdowns and Lucky Find instead? What do you think about this?

18 Mar 2015 CJFM

@jawZ It is pretty good. @pandapersona and I worked on a few versions, and he really liked the 3x Emergency Shutdown, 3x Crescentus version. It was very irritating, but I don't think it had quite as much pressure. The awesome thing about that deck was that it ran good decoders and had a much more traditional economy. That deck still had trouble with Crisium Grid, as do all of these versions to some extent.

Definitely give Macho Man Reina Savage a go. It has a solid shell for that sort of style, and there was a version of it in Top 8 with me. Both are very solid, and yet both require patience and practice. I also highly recommend you read SamRS's thread about this deck on Stimhack. I'm going to have an article up tomorrow about the archetypes, so stay tuned. :)

18 Mar 2015 omegalife2002

Having played against this deck with a modified "Butcher shop" style NBN deck, I can attest to it's power. It was the only runner deck on the day that really slowed me down and prevented my win condition. Great deck and @CJFM piloted it like a boss. Can't wait to give it a try myself!

18 Mar 2015 CJFM

Thanks @omegalife2002. It's a tricky match-up, for sure. All said and done, I think Butcher Shop is slightly favored. And the Chums were a great addition!

18 Mar 2015 botounami

Yes! Thank you for verbalizing the proper way to use Liberated Account!

19 Mar 2015 triplenine

@CJFM How do you generally handle the Siphon tags? Is this an evolution of Tag-Me or are you clearing them when it is reasonable to do so?

19 Mar 2015 CJFM

@triplenine That's match-up specific. I clear tags against weyland until I am reasonably sure I'm safe. If I can get a plascrete or two on the table, I probably will float against weyland (unless I see a Traffic Accident). NBN is trickier. Scout and count their influence as you go. If they're scorching, or Bealeing, consider clearing tags. Against HB and RP I usually float tags'.

22 Mar 2015 voltorocks

Love these decks, anyone reading this should definitely check out the stimhack thread linked in the description; the lamprey version being repped by SamRS and others also has a ton of great play, but I like this one for its classic tag-me flavor!

I've actually played more against than as these decks, and my advice is: don't tilt. Don't Tilt. I would say the win rate for these decks against first-time opponents has to be near 100%, if only because everybody tilts! keep your play tight, watch for an opening, dig for anwers - it is very easy to feel like there's nothing you can do against these decks, but they're not invincible, and they can run out of steam or leave scoring windows.

27 Mar 2015 Kroen

Umm don't you have MU issues? you have 9 MU worth of programs, but only 5 MU available with Vigil.

27 Mar 2015 CJFM

@Kroen you don't install every program you see. You're looking for your main rig of corroder mimic yog datasucker with one flex slot. Usually it's eater, but really it's whatever you need for the matchup. Because the deck slows the corp's rezzing and board development, you rarely need the full rig. Play smart and assess which programs are good for the ice you'll see.

4 Apr 2015 Kasusfactus

This deck has been amazing, loving every moment i play it. :) Would you consider Ice Carver for this build though? It pretty much drops most ice down into Mimic or Yog range.

4 Apr 2015 CJFM

@Kasusfactus Perhaps, though datasucker fulfills the same role.

22 Apr 2015 Boughner

@CJFM, I played this deck a lot last week, and went 3-0 in a small tourney with it. I did take out the mediums for keyholes, as I feel like you have two conflicting program set-ups here. Eater and Medium don't mix, but Eater and Crescentus work really well together. Being able to deja-vu back Crescentus can keep getting in to all but the most taxing of server while taxing the corp heavily so they can't really keep their ice rezzed. I just feel like with the MU issues, it may be best to ditch trying to have any semblance of a normal breaker suite. With your full suite, and sucker you don't have room for eater and crescentus, so you're going to be weak to one type of ice, which tends to become the type they rez over R&D to force you to eater/crescentus. I just felt like Eater/Keyhole/Crescentus was a much better setup than using medium as I could eat through their ice (I think I added some more cutlery pieces), crescentus, and then keyhole R&D to trash economy cards. Not sure if this is anything you're interested in, but it worked extremely well, and made the deck feel like it had more overall cohesion rather than feeling like I'm working against myself at times.

22 Apr 2015 CJFM

@Boughner I've tried that version, and it's fine, just not my cup of tea. I think, going forward, there is an argument for Eater (or knight) + Keyhole since corps are slowing down. The deck could, as you have done with your version, morph into a half-siphon-half-macho-man-reina-savage deck. I think this would be a strong way to go with the archetype. :)

23 Apr 2015 CJFM

Oh, I should mention that this deck did decently at the SSCI, ending the day after 7 rounds of swiss in 22nd place, dropping 3 games (if I recall correctly, it was all a blur). My corp was Bandwidth RP, which also did pretty well.