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Account Siphon in the Current Meta

Continuing the discussion from Big Girls Play with Mass Install:

Below, @voltorocks (and others) commented on a Chaos Theory/Siphon deck. Seems like a common refrain is:

So, is this perspective true? I’m assuming most (all?) competitive Criminal decks still run Siphon, but is the Age of the Siphon really over? I mean, there used to be calls daily to “Ban Siphon! OP, Restrict!”. But, I don’t hear those anymore.

(I really do want to hear from the top competitive players here. I know there is a place for no-Siphon decks in the meta if you want to play fun/good stuff. But I’m talking top of the line shit here) :wink:

I wasn’t really around for the era where Siphon was abusive, but I think it’s still a strong card. It may not be worth splashing in the other factions anymore, but I think Criminals should consider it a powerful economy card. It is also a great tool versus PE and NBN Fast Advance.

It’s still potent, but there are a few things that have changed:

  • Asset econ is more popular. It’s far easier to come back from 0 credits with 3 PADs/MHCs out.
  • Corps are richer, the impact of a Siphon feels a lot less big. You’ll not as easily get Corps on the ropes with clicking for credits to live.
  • Blind Siphoning is harder now that NEXT exists in HB and you need a Mimic versus RP etc.

However, every Criminal deck should run 3 Siphons and there’s no debate there I think. Yes, even decks reliant on resources. You don’t need to use it like it’s commonly viewed as, though (a pure econ swing card you use as you see it) if the deck doesn’t suit that - instead you could save it to do a job similar to Inside Job and help with a glacier later on for example.

Splashing it is less good than it used to be because it’s less good of a card and there are almost certainly better splashes. In Shaper I’d rather have a D4V1D over Siphon for example. I’d still splash it in every deck if it was something like one influence though, don’t get me wrong.

There are probably still Shaper decks that want it though, and almost certainly still some Anarch decks that want it. It’ll be sweet with MaxX, for example.


I dropped to 2 in my Ken and it’s fine. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I hit it only for 1 cash and must-rez from corp.


Due to taxing decks you really need full value (all 10+). The impact on the corps economy is too small to really be crushing like it used to be. From the runner’s gain standpoint, you need cards that synergize with that HQ hit/better tag removal to make siphon always viable, or else it is relegated to a 2 of IMO. These cards are like Gabe/Ken/to a lesser degree silhouette, lawyer up, eshutdown, grifter, sucker, etc.

It is no doubt strong when its good, but it can easily be played around.

[quote=“Xenasis, post:3, topic:2680, full:true”]
It’s still potent, but there are a few things that have changed:

  • Asset econ is more popular. It’s far easier to come back from 0 credits with 3 PADs/MHCs out.
  • Corps are richer, the impact of a Siphon feels a lot less big. You’ll not as easily get Corps on the ropes with clicking for credits to live.
  • Blind Siphoning is harder now that NEXT exists in HB and you need a Mimic versus RP etc.[/quote]

Corps are definitely richer. Asset econ not only makes it easier to bounce back, but you can dump money into assets and upgrades when the AS is incoming to reduce the runner gain and increase your ability to bounce back.

I still consider AS unbalanced and poorly designed. A 2 for 1 gain is insane in this game, especially when the cost is being paid by the corporation. Corporations are better suited to handle the loss now, however, and are more prepared because they know how much AS hurts. AS has become less of a recurring nightmare and more of a tactical strike. A well timed AS on RP, for example, can make that impossible to obtain agenda right in reach.


Well, @IirionClaus only ran one in his Top 8 Worlds 2014 deck.

However, that deck only went 3-6.

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Right, I think the days of AS spam are probably close to over. We’ll see it come back from time to time when it’s a good meta call. RP tends to be a good reason to run AS since the deck doesn’t want to fall below 3-5 credits and AS can push them over if the trickle econ gets denied.

That said, Shaper is almost the best place for AS spam these days. If you put down Reina or are playing blue people expect AS, but Shaper has the efficient rigs to really play AS and doesn’t need the influence for suites anymore. With trade in, they can even go find that plascrete so they can play tag-me more easily.

I ran a shaper deck that was 3x atman, 3x AS, 3x data sucker for a while and between AS and the R&D dig it was very hard to deal with. You often got AS off because datasucker means “protect R&D” to a lot of people.

Remotes make it more difficult to land AS, though. Many of them let the corp go to 0 so that you don’t get AS money, and half of the rest of the cards you might install out there allow you to recover. A move I often use as NBN when expecting AS to to leave pad campaigns and daily business shows unrezzed until the Account Siphon drops. Then I recover from the hit on the next turn fairly well.

And afterward, he still think the Siphon was the worst card in his deck.

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I think Account Siphon can still be useful tactically when there’s an agenda in a remote and not enough money to rez everything. But I don’t think you can expect to get a spam lock like you used to.


It’s more a matter of runners having moved on right now than corps doing much more against it, I feel. And esspecially when it comes out of the blue, it’s a very powerful card. Gone are the days where you expected siphon in CT and iced HQ double before doing anything else.

When “we” dispaired about siphon, we longed for sealed vault, that would save us. We longed for more tag punishment. The only time I saw a closed accounts in a non tagging deck (a valid meta call then, I think?) was when db0 took out his old favorite untrashable RP and added some recent cards three days ago. Very little actual countering is happening on the corps side.

What made/makes siphon a power card rather than just a trick to get in servers next to it is the choice to take the tags or not. It’s a core card for such a strategy. Some friend of mine who’s getting into this game asked about a non-killing nbn tagging deck that he could have some fun with so I dug up the flytrap decks of back in the day, distilled some core concepts and threw a deck together to test on octgn, to see if I could understand it.

And it worked very neatly for such an old concept. None of the runners would actually take the tags. Every single one would remove them till late in the game, because everybody and their mother is running kati jones. And the ones that don’t run aesops, because they are noise.

In that way, bless the recent article about Gabe, which advocates for a runner that runs aggressively and floats the tags. Because then siphon jumps from cool combat trick that messes with your opponents calculation to a card which stuffs insane value in one click. It seriously has very little to do with the corps economy, because unless they are RP, there’s something crucially wrong about that theory. Assets aren’t free money generators. They are an investment.


PPVP Kate is gonna disagree with you, mate.


might not have hit one of them in that series, you are right. I don’t think I hit 20 games with that deck, so yeah, maybe a tad hyperbolic :smile:

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The thing with Siphon is that even if you don’t make a 15 credit swing, it still costs ZERO credits to try. It’s not the oppressive card it once was, but it’s still worth the opportunity cost to me.

If it makes them rez an ETR on their HQ that they were saving, then you played a cheaper Forged Activation Orders.

If it makes them rez a SanSan to avoid giving you money and then you go kill it, you’ve played a better Vamp for 6.

And sometimes Corp got a bad draw, you crush them with Siphon, and it just ends any hope they had of stabilizing.

Another thing to consider is the skill of the average opponent. At a GNK or Store Champs you’re likely to connect with multiple Siphons and just crush mediocre players that don’t know how to efficiently defend Siphon. A lot of janky decks just roll over to Siphon and then when Corp has zero credits you don’t need to worry about what weird surprises they have for you.

On the other hand, I can fully see how going into Worlds meta, the average competitor has so much experience minimizing the damage of Siphon that El-ad could rightly say that it’s the worst card in his deck (which doesn’t really want to float tags).


This thread is madness.

Sure it isn’t nearly as game breaking now, with smarter Corp play and better econ, but that’s a good thing. Still, AS is arguably the best runner card in the game.

I’m going to make a KIt deck with 2x Siphon and Planned Assault just out of spite now.



QFT. This is exactly how my brother, @xiebelvoule , uses AS in his Ken deck. If it lands, awesome! If not, well he made you spend money and gained a credit in the process.

One factor is that Corp Econ has gotten much better. Celebrity Gift, Sweeps Week, Restructure, Reuse, and Peak Efficiency are all great economy options in the right builds that generate so much cash flow that random Siphons are a lot less of a problem. “Sure, go ahead and Account Siphon me. I’ll just make 10 more credits next turn.”

I think something else people are missing is that Runners have a lot more economy options now. Runners used to play Siphon to both harm the Corp and get a heavy credit swing in their favor. Now that there are tons of new Econ options (Lucky Find, Security Testing, Day Job, and so on) as well as cards that are more credit-efficient to use (D4v1d and “Lady”, etc.), Runners don’t really need the huge credit swing Siphon used to provide.

In short, I think that since Runners don’t really rely on Siphon as an actual economy card anymore, and money is much easier per-click for the Corp to get as well, Siphon has lost it’s value as a “money” card. It still works as an “attack” card, but I think the days of Account Siphon being a primary economic engine are gone.


This is the really big thing. If you have siphon you can cripple a struggling corporation and win from there. This goes into “negative game experience” territory, but bad draws happen in card games. It’s the nature of the beast (and what I blame all my Hearthstone losses on).

Another big thing is the style of decks that were popular when recurring AS was the thing to do. People used to play TWIY or Making News, which sacrificed defense for speed in the hopes of chaining astroscripts and outpacing the runner. These would use cheap binary ICE which allowed for a single breaker AS and didn’t have the asset economy to get back on their feet. NEH really changed the face of our game by allowing for speed and a hearty defense, and encouraged asset based play because the ID ability is so good.


A misunderstanding I’m seeing in a lot of these comments is that when a tag-me deck uses AS, they’re doing it for the burst economy a lot of the times these days. Yes, there’s the -5 for the corp, which is a big deal, but as the corp I won’t let the runner have siphon credits just because I can recover. I do my best to make sure that they either want to remove the tags, they’re going to have to pay through the nose such that it’s not an economic boon, or the creds aren’t there when they get in.

The best thing about AS these days is that it can turn you into a rich runner; as the corp, you often don’t want this. Taxing ice such as Komainu on HQ or asset rezzes protect against this.

Even if I’m a rich corp, letting the runner get rich is usually a mistake if I want any kind of remote play. That said, if you’re NBN, maybe you care less because you’re running Shipment from SanSan and don’t need that many credits.

If you’re playing any sort of glacier, you need to be aggressively icing HQ still because you need those piles of money you’re making for yourself.

I think we see less AS because runner’s can do other things for money these days (kati, security testing+desperado, aesops/cache, voicepad, etc). Aside from curb stomping opponents, AS was always about the money. But it’s not the only way to get money these days and isn’t the most efficient against a wise player either.

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Yeah, I mean it’s still great, and maybe I didn’t express that as well as possible. I’m not just going to blithely let a Runner get 10 credits, I’m gonna try and make it a break-even situation for the Runner. I just meant, if it somehow does hit, it’s not necessarily as crippling as it used to be.

I’m not saying it’s a dead card now, it’s just not necessarily the best economy option in the game anymore.

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