When Trade-In was spoiled I wanted to make a deck with it. There was a lot of excitement about a hardware tutor (finally!) and something just drew me to the card. However, there were some haters in the crowd that didn't like it. And you know what? I agreed with them! Here's what we all know about Trade-In:
There are 3 main reasons to not run Trade-In:
- It's too slow (takes 3 clicks in total to get the intended hardware installed)
- It's too bulky (you'll need 3 Trade-In's, probably 3 crappy hardwares that you will trade in, plus extra hardware that you will tutor for. This will take up a minimum of 9 deck slots just to get hardware out)
- The payoff is too small (there's not a lot of OP hardware out there right now)
Alas, I wanted to give it a shot and try to build a deck. Below I'm going to try and replicate my process for building this deck and then I'll talk about how to pilot this deck to victory. Please note that this is not a theory-crafting article, but a proven deck that I win with a lot. I'm something like 12-1 in the most recent Stimhack League on OCTGN and do very well with in in my local meta (Portland, Oregon area).
With that, let's start deckbuilding!
Trade-In has two components, the hardware you are trading in and the hardware you are tutoring for. The latter aspect is easier to identify so let's list the most powerful hardwares and see where are.
- The Interfaces (R&D and HQ)
- Plascrete Carapace
- Feedback Filter
Desperado is an easy choice here. Simply put, it's the best console in the game (by far) and a hell of a deal for 2 credits with the Kate discount (did I mention I'm running this in Kate?). We'll get 3 R&D Interfaces since there are no influence costs and a singleton HQI for the opposite reason. A single Plascrete and a Feedback Filter will fill out our tutorable hardware. These 5 cards will not win you the game outright, but it's a pretty solid protection, economy, and multi-access hardware suite that most (all?) competitive decks run in some form. Hopefully this will address Reason 3 above.
Now, we need a good target to trade in. Here, we must look no further than Rabbit Hole. Rabbit Hole allows us to get multiples out in one click (see Reason 1 above) and serves some utility in and of itself (addressing the bulkiness issue in Reason 2). If we are truly running Rabbit Hole then it seems necessary to run Underworld Contacts as well. A UC/Rabbit Hole economy has never been bad, per say, but it was always on the fringe of being amazing. The added utility of Rabbit Hole being Trade-In fodder might just push us over the edge!
So, the core of our deck is here. 16 cards:
(3) Rabbit Hole
(3) Underworld Contacts
(3) R&D Interface
(1) HQ Interface
(1) Plascrete Carapace
(1) Feedback Filter
E3 Feedback Implants (this is a great card to counter HB and help along usually expensive icebreakers like Darwin, Knight, or Creeper [WTF did he just say?]. However, for reasons you will see above we just don't have the influence for it)
Replicator (my first runner deck I ever built was a Replicator deck that I placed 5th with at my first Store Championship - curse you, @BazookaJoe! - so, I have a soft spot in my heart for Replicator. However, this just adds to the reasons to not run Trade-In. Replicator is bulky, slow, and costs too much. In other words, a Trade-In Replicator deck would be so much worse than a straight up Replicator deck, which is pretty bad)
Any of your other hardware you really like (sorry, there's either no deckslots or influence for your pet hardware - deal with it)
Fill Out Dat Econ
There are few aspects more important in deckbuilding than runner economy. Luckily, our Core got us started with Desperado and Underworld Contacts.
I think of Runner Economy with the following conventions: Clickless Economy, Click-Intensive Economy, and Burst Economy. Both Desperado and UC are solidly in the Clickless Econ (CE) category and CE is my personal favorite to use. Another note on Desperado is it sets us up for a run-centric economy as well.
With that setup, here is my economy:
- +2 Security Testing (it's been said before that a Desperado/Security Testing econ package is the most powerful in the game. Let's go for that)
- +3 Dirty Laundry (pretty standard stuff here. We want to run to get Desperado going and DL makes those runs even more beneficial economically)
- +3 Sure Gamble (a little Burst never hurt anyone - this is especially nice turn 1 and/or when the Corp feels it has a scoring window)
Now we are sitting at 24 cards - over halfway there! Note that we are at 11 influence with only 4 left to go.
Daily Casts (a great economy card for a CE package - I could really use the boost and I may test this instead of Sure Gamble at some point. However, my money tells me I need the Burst. I wish I had the room!)
Kati Jones (such an amazing card, but I like to build decks without her to see if they will work - remember how I love CE? I'd really like her for Glacier matchups. Look further down to some of my flavor picks if you want to add Kati to your deck)
Time to Break Some Shit
All the multi access, click efficiency, and economy won't get you into servers. At some point you are going to have to break some subroutines on ICE.
We are solidly into a Clickless Economy where we want to run. Run A LOT. First thought I had was Atman and she's stuck ever since. With Atman we need some Datasuckers, which further synergize with a clickless, run-centric economy. Pretty basic stuff here, but I got lucky that my first thought on an icebreaker package has stuck and I've never looked back.
- +3 Atman (nothing much more to say here. If you want to run a lot and make those runs efficient, there's no one better than Atman)
- +2 Datasucker (I'd like to run more, but I want that extra 2 influence)
- +1 Inti (best breaker in the game BY FAR. But seriously, I need to break through Wraparound and with datasucker support I can often get through low strength barriers fairly easily. Did I mention it also breaks NEXT Silver efficiently? Did I mention it cost ZERO TO INSTALL!?!?!? Like I said, best breaker ever)
- +1 ZU.13 Key Master (Another cheap icebreaker when I'm in a pinch. Helps a lot with NEXT Bronze and it's changing subs as well as the cheap gear check decoders. Oh, and its Cloud status is a nice MU bonus)
Cerberus Lady H1 (such a good card, but I won't have a solid way to recur her - more on this later - and Atman at 4 is the second best option for Eli. I also need to keep install costs down as Atman can get expensive to install at times. I honestly haven't tested her yet in this deck, but my gut tells me she's just not the right fit)
Mimic (this deck wants a Mimic so badly. Seriously, this deck would be so much fucking better with a Mimic. Just thinking about not having a Mimic in this deck makes me cry)
Sharpshooter (Archer and Grim are a problem and this card would help me. Alas, card slots)
Deus X (another great Icebreaker, but Feedback Filter gives me what I need)
Femme Fatale (install costs are really a thing and she is the opposite of efficiency for actually breaking shit. I also don't run spoiler alert Test Run)
Ok, let's have a refresher of where our deck is now:
13 influence spent (max 15)
31 cards (min 45)
Give Me the Essentials
Here are the Shaper Essentials I have thrown in that help make the deck just work:
- +3 Self Modifying Code (a great tutor and you'd be a fucking idiot not to run it)
- +3 Clone Chip (such a great card and one of the few that I install almost right away every time)
- +3 Diesel (a weakness of the deck is card draw - Diesel helps)
Test Run (a great card and I'd love to have it. Unfortunately it's a bit slow - remember Reason #1? - and Atman is a horrible target for Test Run. I'd like it for Parasite but it just doesn't work in the deck)
Quality Tim (another great card, but the 3 credit cost is often too much. The econ margin is slim and you have to be careful with every credit early on. Diesel is much better here)
We now have 5 cardslots and 2 influence left. Let's spice things up...
- +2 Maker's Eye (another great card from Core that works very well with our run-heavy deck. I usually score at least 1 agenda each game with one of these two cards. Great shit!)
- +1 Parasite (not an auto-include and maybe a meta-call for you, but it's a fucking good card. This is also where my Clone Chips often go and if the cards come in the right order I might be able to just play classic Shaper ICE destruction and win)
- +2 John Masanori (this is a dead draw against most HB and Weyland decks, but really helps against Jinteki and NBN. Like I said above, card draw is a problem for this deck and if I see Masanori early then it no longer becomes a problem. The deck also doesn't mind floating tags as all my resources are cheap to install and my multi-access doesn't mind the Corp spending time and money on trashing cheap shit)
Legwork (this card is fucking awesome and I keep thinking about having this instead of HQI. All things being equal, Legwork is better. However, the fact that I can tutor for HQI and I should be able to get into any server multiple times a turn makes HQI a better fit for this deck)
Indexing (another great card and it synergizes well with RDI. Now that I think about it, I should test this deck with Indexing instead of Maker's Eye. To be fair, however, I only need one hail mary run at the end of the game where I access 5 or 6 cards through a 4-ICE deep R&D with Maker's Eye. With Indexing I'd have to do that twice. Again, Glacier can be a problem for me)
So, here we have it. A deck I've been playing extensively for two months and one that I think is fucking good. Have a look-see...
Barter Lady v1.1
Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker (Core Set)
15 influence spent (max 15)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Up and Over
Decklist published on NetrunnerDB
How Do I Play this Mother Fucker?
I won't lie - this deck doesn't look too good on paper. Not bad, but not good either. This deck takes time to master, but it's worth the wait. You get that badass feeling of a Criminal with Desperado/Security Testing, the surge of joy an Anarch feels when blowing up ICE with Parasite, and the classic shaper tricks with SMC and Atman. You also get to be way cooler than your friends by playing Rabbit Hole and Underworld Contacts on turn 1 and beat them.
Let's talk about Mulligan strategy and go over a few key matchups and how I pilot the deck.
You need to have econ in your opening hand. I know that's nothing crazy to say, but trust me. Basically you either need to have a Security Testing, an Underworld with a Rabbit Hole, or a Sure Gamble. You have about a 87.3% of that happening when using this strategy to Mulligan. Throw in Dirty Laundry and Trade-In shenanigans, and the other ~13% of games you will do just fine.
Note: If your first hand contains both Rabbit Hole and Trade-In (~9% probability) think hard if you want to keep it. Essentially you are looking at a 3 click-2 turn-4 cost Desperado and a Rabbit Hole installed.
Another All Star that is super great to see in your opening hand is Datasucker. Most of my Datasucker decks have contained 3 so I never valued the first one that much. Don't make this mistake. Too often you are going to have to blow an SMC on that first datasucker (which you need) so getting it for free in an opening hand might be too good to pass up.
A situational card you want to see in your opening hand is John Masanori. Against PE or NBN you definitely want to see this guy. You might also love to see him if you have Sure Gamble, SMC, Datasucker, Security Testing, John Masanori. With that hand you will be able to bring havoc to pretty much any corporation early on.
Let's first talk: NEH/FA
This is a tough matchup (duh!). Rely on your R&D Interfaces, open servers with Security Testing/John Masanori, and your Maker's Eye to get them on an R&D lock they can't get out of. Our lack of Legwork really hurts so seeing that early really helps or trading in for one if you need to.
In this matchup our Underworld Contacts and 3rd Rabbit Hole are going to be dead draws. That fucking sucks. The way you get over it is by installing 2 Rabbit Holes and trading in both of them for Interfaces and Desperado. You need multi access and to run constantly. Don't worry, you can do it. I believe in you!
I really don't consider RP to be very similar to the HB Glacier matchup, but some of the same rules apply.
Getting an early Datasucker going is very important here. A good corp will be locking out your Datasucker tokens with timely purges so keeping up the pressure is very important. This is accomplished with Security Testing and Parasite as well. Mulligan aggressively for Datasucker here for sure. Also know that Underworld Contacts is going to be huge for you in this game. If you see a Rabbit Hole in your opening hand consider keeping because you'll probably see an Underworld sooner or later.
Masanori is going to be a judgement call here. He might be a dead draw, but he might net you 5 or 6 cards throughout the game. It's very safe to float tags against Glacier so don't worry about the tags, although it sucks to lose your Underworld against this matchup. Again, be careful and learn how to use Masanori against these types of corps.
PE/Net Damage Decks
You need to get Masanori, Security Testing, and Feedback Filter going right now. Like, right now man, what are you waiting for????
You shouldn't have any trouble beating these decks. Sure, your Feedback Filter is a one-of, but that's why we run Trade-In. If you are a good player then this deck will treat you well against PE and those Jinteki-types.
Blue Sun/Any other sucker playing BABW
Masanori is definitely going to be a dead draw here and you are going to need to rely on running for you economy - yeah, I know, that's a dangerous proposition. Further, Oversighted Walls are going to be a problem for you. Luckily, we have Datasucker. You need to mulligan aggressively for either a Datasucker or an SMC with economy. Underworld Contacts is another star and you'll see this deck so some awesome things against Weyland and other Scorch decks. Oh, and don't forget your one-of Plascrete. You might want to tutor for that instead of your Desperado.
Making News/Midseasons/Tag-Trace Heavy
Your Rabbit Holes will make them cry cry cry. This deck will love to see a Caduceus down and the extra link can really help keep you in the game against trace Operations.
I really love this deck and I hope I haven't wasted your time. People post so many decks they often haven't even played yet. That is called theory-crafting. I'm not doing that here. Instead, I've played this deck over a hundred times and it keeps winning for me (even against good players).
Thanks for your time!