Waldemar HB (2x Top 8 Regionals, DMQT Winner)

krystman 2452

The decklist may seem janky but make no mistake - this is absolutly a top-tier deck.

This deck is the sensation that is sweeping the German meta at the moment. From nowhere, a player called Waldemar swooped in and got 3rd place at the North-German regionals. I used the deck myself since then and got 5th place in at the West-German regionals with little to no training. Another player (Putzlappen) won a qualifier tournament for the German Nationals with it (DMQT).

Let's Talk Mandatory Upgrades

The deck has 3 of the agenda Mandatory Upgrades. It sounds like a joke but this deck list should really make you re-consider the agenda. The goal here is to score the agenda the regular way. No tricks. Just slow-advance it up to 6 in a taxing scoring server. Here are some reasons why this is so powerful.

  • If you get the agenda scored, you pretty much won the game. The fact that you can fast-advance many agendas isn't even the main advantage. Just having 4 click turns is huge. You can purge and install. You can keep developing the board while churning out agendas. You can advance a previously installed agenda, score it and put another agenda in that scoring server ready to go next turn. The click advantage means you are likely to pull ahead of the runner very quickly.

  • The advancement requirement of 6 sounds daunting since you need 3 turns to score it. But it's actually quite doable. You even have some leeway since you don't need to spend ALL of the clicks of those 3 turns to keep advancing the agendas. A move I like to do its Install, advance on the first turn to fake out an NAPD Contract. Next turn advance, advance and use the 3rd click to keep developing the board. This second turn will often seriously confuse the runners. Are you baiting them into a super-taxing run on a NAPD? Is this an HB trap? Or is this just an awkward 5/3 score? The final turn is then advance, advance, advance, score. It gives you immediatly a 4th click on that turn. Note how you have an extra click on every turn of the scoring process to let you develop the board state, play Hedge Fund or whatever you need to keep tabs on.

  • Your servers are taxing enough to keep an agenda safe for longer than just 2 turns. Especially Noise often simply lacks the tools to seriously contest a server with Ash 2X3ZB9CY and Red Herrings in it. Most players won't even try, not expecting the kind of advantage you will get from scoring it.

  • Finally, the most important advantage of Mandatory Upgrades is that it is a 2-pointer. I've never seen anybody comment on it, but this is huge. There are no 3-pointers in the deck. Which means both players needs to score 4 agendas to win. If the runner does manage to break into your scoring server and steal the Mandatory Upgrades they just get 2 points. And they will likely open up the scoring window to drive a second agenda through. The agenda seems like you are going out on a limb, but it is actually much less risky than most 3-pointers people are happy to run with.

  • The reason why there are 3 agendas in here is because you WANT to have it on hand when that magical scoring window opens. You also want to be able to lose it in a central server run and still have that option. Finally, you can try to make the runner concede by scoring 2x Mandatory Upgrades. Why not?

Asset Economy

Your have all the asset economy in the world. It will either make you rich or it will make the runner poor (and you still will be rich). Runners usually really don't have the economy to trash all your assets. To twist the knife, you also have Encryption Protocol. There really is no good play against those. They can trash them, but they will waste money and time. They can keep them around but that will make your assets untouchable and, as an added benefit, your upgrades like Ash 2X3ZB9CY, Red Herrings and Crisium Grid become untouchable as well. You can easily get moments where the Ash 2X3ZB9CY trace will be cheaper than its trash cost.

That's why Red Herrings is here. This deck is all about financial supremacy and Red Herrings allows you to leverage that even more. I had games where I played it on R&D making the runners bite their lips as I parade my agendas in front of their eyes on a super taxing multi-access R&D run.

Playing the assets requires some planning. Playing them naked may work against some Shapers. Against Criminals you'll just create servers for Security Testing. Anarchs have the Imp. Better protect your assets. Don't shy away from putting an Eve Campaign behind a Tollbooth. Play your Adonis Campaign in the scoring server. You want to create those win/win situations.

Imp may sound like a problem but it rarely is. It is very taxing for Anarchs to contest assets servers when they are protected by your ice. Don't shy away from purging virus tokens to seal the deal. You have time.

Cards you may have issues with are Scrubber and Whizzard. Neither of those are very popular though. And they just mean you need to tax by protecting the asssets a bit better.


The decklist here is not the original deck by Waldemar. I swapped 1 IQ against 1 Excalibur for some additional tactical options. I've seen some people replacing the IQs with Enigmas and additional Vipers. One of the Wraparound can free up an influence for a Lotus Field.

3 May 2015 Putzlappen

Believe it guys, this deck is just awesome!!! Its exactly like Krystman describes it, your asset economy makes a ton of money, encryption protocoll transforms ash and red herrings into a monster and mandatory upgrades isnt that difficult to score (especially against noise! )...and when you score it, its nearly an auto win. I scored 4 Mandatory Upgrades in 5 games at the German national qualifier tournament and couldnt really believe it.I had also zero practice with this deck but it performed incredibly good and led me to the tournament win.

3 May 2015 Two_EG

He, I really like it.

I have only scored mandatory via SURPRISE Mushin No Shin-Shipment from MirrorMorph(3 ices) with CI... I just didn't believed that I could score it with just slow-advancing. You did a really nice job!

3 May 2015 guy.brush

Needs more hellion alpha test.

3 May 2015 Ahzrab

Needs more rework.

3 May 2015 Snake Eyes

Hacktivist Meeting would wreck this deck. Tell zee German Anarchs to start including that current in their decks.

3 May 2015 krystman

@Snake Eyes It wasn't legal in either of the tournaments. I agree it would be good against it. But then it's not like HB has bad currents to chose from. :)

3 May 2015 Eldraian

I wasn't expecting the hell of a ride I happened to be in for, when I saw the first encryption protocol, when I played against this deck. It is nearly impossible to stay ahead of it economically and has some nasty upgrades which you don't ever want to pay the increased trash cost for, but have to. Very cool.

3 May 2015 Dothanite

@krystman what would you change to fight against hacktivist? You mentioned HB's amazing currents, but what would you take out?

3 May 2015 krystman

@Online Good question. The Encryption Protocol are probably one of the more optional cards. They are good to have but it some match-ups they end up being a liability. I had a hard time against criminals with Security Testing and the deck doesn't have the ice to protect all of it. So perhaps cutting down on those and getting in a Lag Time or so?

3 May 2015 sruman

No Eli? I find it surprising that bastion and wall of static are a better choice than Eli. Sure you can click through him but he's very taxing on a central serve given his cost.

3 May 2015 ItJustGotRielle

@krystman How does the deck handle itself against a Blitz-style pre-paid Kate deck? In the U.S. right now Kate is everywhere at regionals top tables, with very little criminal (and Leela if any criminal), and lots of MaxX and Valencia. There is not a lot of Noise in the U.S. meta right now. How would this deck do here and now?

3 May 2015 krystman

@ItJustGotRielle Prepaid Kates are popular here as well. I played against a few of them and I've watched Waldemar defeat ff0x in the North German Regionals Top8 - one of the post experienced Kate players in Germany. Believe it or not, Prepaid Kate doesn't seem to have the economy to trash all of the Assets. If they try, you will get scoring windows.

The Crisium Grid and Wraparound are good to hold Eater Maxx at bay. Haven't played against Valencia Estevez: The Angel of Cayambe yet.

3 May 2015 Finnbarre

Why no Eli?

3 May 2015 Putzlappen

@Finnbarre Eli 1.0 is not that efficient against Cerberus "Lady" H1, which replaced corroder in most shaper decks in out meta. and of course you cant clickBastion and Wall of Static, sometimes thats a huge advantage.

3 May 2015 ddark

Heh, thanks for the very cool write up for my deck - I'm Waldemar btw :)

I'll use this post to comment on the stuff that's been discussed so far, but first credit where credit is due: This deck is inspired // my update of Erik Twice's "Upgrades Incorporated" Deck: eriktwicereviews.com

Also, I can only recommend checking out the netrunner-related posts by Erik since his writing is quite in-depth.

Now for some of the OPs advice: No, you will never want to install an eve behind a tollbooth :D - this deck is very low on ice and every one of it has to count. Thats also the reason I wouldn't recommend swapping out an IQ for an excalibur - the most crucial and difficult time for this deck is the early game, and you have to have etr-ice (the only non-etr-ICE choice is architect, because it is the deadliest and most reliable sentry this deck could ever have hoped for).

The low ICE count is justified though: One of this decks principles is that you never click for a credit, but install things (preferrably 2 or 3 things in the same turn) or draw cards. If there would be more ICE, then some of the cards would be useless - and this deck doesn't go for useless cards :) Thats also the reason there are no Elis in this deck (since you can't afford that the runner clicks through something). With Viper they at least have to pay (a lot).

Also, don't underestimated the power of 3x Encryption protocols. This deck works by creating the biggest gap possible between runner and corp-credits - be it by having many rezzed assets or by forcing the runner to trash them and then utilizing this gap via the upgrades / safe scoring windows. Encryption protocol is in the worst case scenario a let-the-runner-lose-1-click-and-three-credits card (ignoring the possible rnd trash), which in itself is quite good for this purpose. But:

  1. Multiple Encryptions synergize insanely well (now you need 4 or even 5 credits for a must-be-trashed card (else funny things like nearly untrashable ashes, red herrings or adonii happen)
  2. Runners are usually caught off guard by having their calculations shattered (I can't count how often 1 or 2 credits made all the difference for being able to beat an ash trace and score the napd)
  3. If Encryption even only leads to 1 or 2 additional credits spent (together with its trashing) - and it usually does - you just played a de facto 5 credit to-trash 0 to rez card, which has to be trashed. Booya.
  4. You gotta win with style!

Very good match-ups for playing this deck in my experience are Criminals (even with security testing), since they can't keep up and crisium hurts them severely. Shaper too can't keep up (even Prepaid Kate), since the ICE is chosen with atman in mind (but recurring deus ex will hurt your heimdalls 2.0, so be careful with those - in almost every other case the heimdalls are insanely taxing).

Noise is a piece of cake and the easiest match-up in my experience, since you usually have over-advanced vitruvius / 4 clicks to purge / Upgrades in archives / Architects etc. Same goes for Maxx (Crisium hard-counters Eater/Keyhole-Combos, since they can't even trash the installed crisium).Whizzard on the other hand is almost always a guaranteed loss (10 to 20% win chance..maybe) - but I haven't seen Whizzards in a long time now. Valencia might be too slow in her build-up, but I haven't played against her yet (and I imagine that her bad pubs will be quite harsh).

The most thing I like about this deck is the feeling you get when playing it. In a way, you installing stuff all the time is a relentless attack on the runner in which you never hurt her/him directly, but by inevitably opening up that one crucial scoring window - and any path they choose (as long as they don't have scrubbers/whizzards) will usually lead to you coming out on top.

3 May 2015 eXister

Deck is real blast!!! Awesome

3 May 2015 krystman

@ddark Thanks for chiming in. You obviously had more experience with this than I.

I just wanted to add that Security Testing can be an issue if there is more than 1 out. I was playing against Frederick (Kephalopode), which I believe you met at the Regionals North. He had two Security Testings out and was playing Stealth Andy. I wasn't able to establish the credit difference in that situation even if he never laded the Account Siphon. It was him who suggested to protect the assets more heavily - even with Tollbooth.

Another tough match-up was @Eldraian with his Vamp Kit. Vamp didn't work but his early Magnum Opus allowed him to fight back against the assets. Torch with astonishingly aggressive Cerberus "Lady" H1 recursion made the servers less taxing than they ought to be.

But perhaps it was just my lack of experience. Both players made it into the finale and @Eldraian won the entire tournament. ;)

By the way, I was contacted by Erik Twice on twitter. He was excited to see his old deck and says hi. :D

3 May 2015 eXister

I like to score Mandatory like trap - IAA, even without ice, already on 2nd turn - then next turn biotic to 6, and bam!!!

4 May 2015 Thike

Oh boy. Anytime someone updates Upgrades Incorporated I feel like a kid at Christmas. That it's doing well at regionals is icing. <3

4 May 2015 Watzlav

Was Clot legal for any of the events? When I tried this deck (updated with Turing) it felt a lot like a rush deck and that Clot would slow it down significantly. Do you rush agendas often or not?

Would you sacrifice some cardslots for a current to fight Hacktivist Meeting? If so, which one? Lag Time was suggested above, but that one renders all but one of your ETR ice susceptible to D4V1D, so I'm not sure if that's the best option.

Thanks for this great deck and possibly answers to my questions.

4 May 2015 krystman

@Watzlav Clot was legal. I played against it and it made little differnece. This is not a rush deck. Take your time to establish financial superiority.

If you're worried about D4v1d you can play Enhanced Login Protocol. It will tax asset trashing.

4 May 2015 wynalazca

What's your thoughts on dropping the 2x Wraparounds and the Excalibur for 1x Meru Mati (a permanent 2 cost 5 str barrier is better than the Wraparounds) and 2x Turing (staying at 2x IQ) as a hard counter for Eater/Knight shenanigans. Turing can't be Spooned or broken by them, and it's really expensive for Zu.13 if you put it on a remote.

4 May 2015 wynalazca

Might even consider dropping 1x Red Herrings for a second Meru Mati as well.

4 May 2015 Snake Eyes

Meru Mati only goes up to 4 str, and only if placed on HQ.

4 May 2015 CJFM

@krystman this deck makes me happy because it only plays one ABT (It's a trap!).

4 May 2015 krystman

@wynalazca Try it! I think Meru Mati is a questionable use of Influence in this case. But Turing might be nice. Both are weak to Parasites if you play them not on their respective servers. That kinda bugs me.

5 May 2015 Dothanite

So a deck like this makes me want to run Breaker Bay Grid, but it's hard to justify removing any more cards than I have. It's fun to place an Eve on top of a BBG and having the runner access it. Rez Eve for free, and they can't trash both, especially with ELPs. My list is currently:

So far so good.

6 May 2015 kusoash

@krystman Have you thought about putting in Hostile Infrastructure at all? This would help put further protection on your assets and increase its trash cost to 8 with all three Encryption Protocols out. The only replacement I could see for those would be the Red Herrings but they're already such a great card in this deck. Just my 2.

6 May 2015 krystman

@kusoash It's difficult to find the influence for that.

6 May 2015 Erik_Twice

I'm really glad to see you are having success with the deck, thanks for dropping a link! I particularly like that you went a bit overboard with economy by packing Adonis/Eve/PAD/Hedge Fund, it seems a big step in the right direction to me.

Personally, I think the build is very good, the only weak slots in my opinion are Tollbooth (Hate how it gets Femmed, I wonder if one can replace if for Ashigaru), and Encryption Protocol (It's weak against Desperado, great otherwise). And they are not particularly weak, so I think it's a good build :)

So yeah, glad to hear you guys are having fun with Mandatory Upgrades, hope you do even better with it :)

7 May 2015 Sarmatian

I saw your name at the top then read the decklist. I was flabbergasted to not find Successful Demonstration in the list. LOL. Love your videos btw.

8 May 2015 Glitch29

@Sarmatian Maybe he's finally figured out that it's a terrible card? More likely it's that he's running PAD Campaign in the spot because of the Encryption Protocol.

8 May 2015 Glitch29

@Online If you want to make a deck with Breaker Bay Grid, there might be some room in Blue Sun: Powering the Future. Being able to rez Breaker Bay Grid and Eve Campaign/Hostile Infrastructure/Whatever at the beginning of your turn and immediately return Breaker Bay Grid to hand to deploy on a different asset seems good. The main problem I see with Breaker Bay Grid otherwise is that you can't get multiple uses on Assets, and there aren't enough expensive Upgrades that you'd want to stack in one server.

8 May 2015 emlun

I took this deck (-1 Excalibur, +1 Viper) to my FLGS last night and played 2 games. I scored 3 Mandatory Upgrades over those two games and won both. Good job, I really like it! This'll probably replace The Quarry as my main deck for the near future.

8 May 2015 Glitch29

Any thought to Hive? That has to be the best Barrier available to protect your first Mandatory Upgrades.

8 May 2015 Tr33beard

I've had a lot of success with replacing the Red Herrings with Caprice Nisei. It eats up so much of your influence, but the protection it offers is absolutely crazy.

9 May 2015 mythbuilder

I love this deck, but playing against Valencia Blackmail is really rough as it makes ManUps and NAPDs (6/10 agendas) hard to score. Had to bluff out a naked ABT in order to make sure my scoring server couldn't be blackmailed. Red Herrings and Ash were also effective ways to bait and deny Blackmail runs as long as I could maintain an economic advantage.

9 May 2015 Nyhles

Also Stealth is a pain to deal with.

9 May 2015 ttsgosadow

Had no trouble against stealth; using ash/red herrings they cant afford to steal. By using up all the stealth they couldn't get in again.

9 May 2015 krystman

@Glitch29 I haven't built this deck myself. Hence no Successful Demonstration. I would play demo if this had Caprice Nisei. I think this specific deck is catered to Asset Economy.

I think Hive would be really great. Noticed the deck was kinda weak to things like Torch. Most of the taxing ice are Code Gates. Sadly, I don't quite see where to get the influence from.

11 May 2015 shortforeskin

@Nyhles and @ttsgosadow Stealth Hayley has been a huge pain to deal with. She can build her rig arguably faster than any other runners, and with SMC has no issue face-checking our "taxing" servers. It's so cheap to get through for them that if they have any sort of decent economy they can snag agendas, even through Ash or Red Herrings.

Sure you can live the dream of having both installed on the same server, but she pressures fast and early, so establishing a credit lead and a board presence lead with such an ice-light deck is VERY tough. There's also no interaction with the Runner's rig. Our only disruption is through credits, which the cost-effective stealth breakers laugh at.

I'd say look to something else in a Stealth-heavy meta (or a Whizzard meta if those exist). But if you're not running into Stealth too often then this is a good choice.

11 May 2015 tuism

An early Mandatory is crushing against any deck, but I think the biggest wind behind its sails is that people don't wanna hit an early Cerebral, or letting through an early NAPD, so it has a surprise factor. Other than that, it's solid as long as it can score the monster early.

With the surprise out the bag I wonder if it's sustainable as a known matchup?

11 May 2015 ddark

@tuism In my experience this is not a surprise-relying-deck, i.e. people usually weren't scared of cerebrals or traps but just couldn't afford to score reliably without losing a lot of tempo and getting behind. I played this deck a lot with two of my friends and they know it doesn't run any traps or program trashing. They still have a very difficult time beating it while not playing specific counter decks (whizzard or recurring imps) and they're quite experienced players.

Also, an early mandatory is nice, but in about half of my wins i didn't score one; Maybe Teamworkcast will upload a video of the Germany-North-Regionals in the near future where i had a pretty good time even without the mandatory but relying on strong economy, vitruvius and upgrades. One of the fun (and often crucial) things while playing this deck is over-advancing vitruvius while it's relatively safe through ash/red herrings and using the counters to get the upgrades back into play in case they are trashed.

So i'd say you neither necessarily need the surprise factor nor mandatory upgrades to be successful with this deck. But if the mandatory gets scored the win is almost secured.

12 May 2015 Nyhles

@ddark I had a lot of fun playing against you there, but I think the new released hacktivist meeting is the bane of this deck, especially early.

12 May 2015 oNiBi

Hey there. I'm one of those friends, and yes it's indeed tough to beat (if played effectively without wasting ice etc. - I remember Waldemar runs even less Ice), even though you know exactly what's coming. I've played against it many times now and the best you can hope for is a bad draw without all the economy from the getgo. If you start trashing economy without recurring Imp/being Whizzard you basically lost, so I usually ignore everything (except early Adonis) as soon as Encryption shows up. Seriously, never trash that - they pay for using it by having less deck space for ice etc. A problem may be that if you tutor for Imp as a shaper for instance you may have a tempo problem to get breakers in time, so even that is not always a good option. I tried two Scrubber in e.g. Kit to balance low money stealth but that, too, was too slow and expensive most of the time. The best strategy for me is simply hammering centrals with multi accesses to win before the economy and or scoring server are set up, which is harder nowadays because of Crisium Grid, which you really don't want to trash when Encryption is up (but do it if you have to. Beware: Pay the extra cost here, once, and not when trashing Encryption!). This way you can trash the important upgrades before they are installed, especially Herrings is cheap (I think Waldemar runs three because of this). The last games, as far as I remember them, were still frustrating, because there are only ten two-pointers in the deck, including NAPD. Sometimes you get all the legs and eyes in the world and still cannot see enough agendas to win. With the rise of Anarchs lately, lots of Imps and Hacktivist Meeting should become more popular and I feel that this will hurt this style of play severely, but we will see. For now it's still going strong and your best bet will be to figure out fast that it's happening and then hammer the centrals. Maybe Waldemar himself can describe what hurts him the most when playing this deck.

12 May 2015 ddark

@oNiBiI think you have to trash the encryptions, since if you don't, you'll pay way more in the long run.

12 May 2015 Ber

@ddark why not -2 NAPD +2 Accelerated Beta Test? Surely with Mandatory Upgrades scored you're so much happier to see 3/2s that you can score out in a single turn?

12 May 2015 ttsgosadow

Wonder what people think of the following change: -3 Sure Gamble, +2 Breaker Bay, +1 Turing.

12 May 2015 krystman

@Ber I found that the NAPD is a real gem in this deck. You can play it aggressively as a way to attack the runner's economy. If the runner looks like he may be able to get into your scoring server but you're not sure - play it in there and advance it twice. If the runner runs the server and succeeds they will be either too broke to score or they will be too broke to run again. You can follow it up immediately with more agendas.

ABTs are not that great since there is not a lot of ice in here anyway.

4 Jul 2015 Shieldwall

Tried this deck against virus Noise and can't really do much against him. Most likely I'm doing something wrong, but he just eats my econ with Imp as soon as I rez it and mills my ICE and the rest of econ. As a result, I have no ICE and no money to rez whatever ICE I installed. What should I do against 3x Imp?

5 Jul 2015 krystman

@Shieldwall You ice up your economy remotes. Noise doesn't have a simple way to get past most of your ice.

26 Jul 2015 ddark

The game that got it into the german meta :) - www.youtube.com

30 Jul 2015 sperry023

I was attracted to the Red Herrings in this deck and thought Mandatory Upgrades would be fun to play around with. I am currently 11-0 on Jinteki.net with it. (In the interest of full-disclosure, one of those games should have been a loss, but the opponent forgot to take his Kati Jones money before dropping D4v1d number two and going in to steal the game-ending NAPD Contract.) In other cases, it was hard to tell if players made suboptimal plays because of a lack of familiarity, or if just the Jinteki.net meta is weaker in general.

As stated by the OP, installing and advancing once with Mandatory and Project Vitruvius is just awesome -- I am fairly confident that several of my scores have come from people not wanting to bother going for what they thought was an NAPD. After advancing twice the following turn I don't think anyone ran again either out of confusion/fear or because they went broke before what they thought would just be a scoring turn for me.

After 10 games, I went -1 Excalibur +1 Viper just because I felt like I never played Excalibur... the only times I did it was just to bluff an ETR or tax over an econ asset or to discourage Datasucker farming on Archives. I desperately want to add a couple more ICE to protect econ and Archives as I have run into Whizzard a few times and it is tricky. Ideally I could also fit in another Red Herrings. I like the idea of Encryption Protocol, and they were nice in a couple games, but I often need to start playing assets before they show up. Deck slots are tight... I'll keep working on it and check back in!

30 Jul 2015 emlun

I was attracted to the Red Herrings

:D :D :D :D :D

22 Aug 2015 Sizematters

@krystman Hey dude, I believe I have spoken to u on twitch stream before past few days. I just return back to Netrunner and still deciding what corp deck to pilot in Regionals. So far I have tried NEH Butcher Shop and now I would like to tryout Waldemar HB. Since Old Hollywood will not be legal yet in my regionals, any updated version of this deck, or does it still remains the same as it is?

26 Aug 2015 Sizematters

What you guys think if I -1 Mandatory Upgrade and +1 Director Haas' Pet Project, will it make any difference or makes the deck better, or Mandatory Upgrade is a must for this deck?

26 Aug 2015 greylin

@krystman How do you feel about the upcoming Media Blitz in a deck like this? So even if the runner steals MU, you still get the click?

26 Aug 2015 krystman

@greylin Would be great but the influence... :(

21 Feb 2016 gumed85

@ddark this is Sharona, remember me? take a look at my final version from yesterday netrunnerdb.com . Try this.

17 Mar 2016 theraslich

I do not believe in this deck because it does not have Successful Demonstration.

(I do believe)