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Anything is Possible: In Defense of 'Jank' Tournament Decks


#1

We’re fast approaching the flavor packed SanSan cycle, the dust still hasn’t settled from Order and Chaos, and all kinds of unexpected decks are still making top tables. This post has a lot of Opinions and Joeks so please feel free to disregard everything I say.

What can you build into a competitive deck right now? To quote Kevin Garnett, “Anything is possible.”

But to be more precise, “anything that targets your local meta is possible.” Viable decks are so diverse that you can’t make a ‘good against everything’ deck anymore, but local meta knowledge can let you make a ‘good against three things’ deck and cruise to a 6-1 record. A good example of this deck building approach is what’s been going down in Seattle. Out here in the PNW, Seattle has been making waves with the now infamous au revoir CT deck and now @CJFM 's Reina denial deck. They’ve received the usual myopic criticisms that almost everyone is guilty of. I know I’m guilty of it. “I’ve never lost to this deck so it must be trash, and the player is trash, and their opponents were trash, and their meta is trash. The entire region is a garbage factory. I do not respect things I am not personally involved in. I am uncertain that the moon landings occurred. I have never met Bill Murray and therefore I do not believe he exists.” But in addition to that usual deluge, these decks have been criticized for the ultimate sin of having bad matchups. Well up in Seattle they’re living in an ice age, because Glacier is the prevailing corp archetype and both these decks have the capacity to totally crush it. Building a deck that targets your meta’s popular decks isn’t jank, it’s smart, unless it has Hard at Work in it. Then it is jank and I legit will not trust you on your netrunner opinions or opinions on most things.

As a counterpoint, slightly south in PDX we have a corp meta that will look more familiar to most people with RP, NEH, and Blue Sun being the majority of successful decks with HB:ETF being the dark horse. Non-siphon spam Maxx, which I guess thanks to @mediohxcore we get to call RAMaxX until the sun eats this shitty planet, has strong matchups against both vanilla NEH-biotics and RP and has had success in our meta (she’s had two first place finishes and at Rainy Day Games’ SC both 1st and 2nd ran Maxx/RP with NEH/Blue Sun and Kate/Andy/Leela making up the rest of the cut). Looking out into the wider world, this matchup advantage has been reflected in a lot of store championship winning lists with MaxX having consistent strong showings. At this point her success can’t be dismissed as ‘no one knows how to play against her it’s all luck’. But it’s definitely possible to tech against her variants, and although her ubiquity has died down she and another very popular deck, prepaid kate with heavy recursion, share a weakness against chronos project. Is HB fast advance with chronos project an easy win against two of the most popular decks around and therefore the best corp deck currently? I haven’t played with it or against it and have only seen a few winning lists play it like @PeekaySK 's , but the answer is obviously “yes”. And it will be the best deck for seven more days, when clot comes out and kills it.

A lot of people are pretty certain clot is going to kill NEH:FA. I disagree. You can’t kill something that’s already dead. To be real though, enough popular runner decks have either a neutral or above average matchup with NEH-biotics that at this point it’s a higher than average variance corp deck that can both lose immediately or make huge comebacks on fortunate misses and draws. It can blow a game out on a lucky pairing or get blown out by an unlucky one. The Quetzal siphon decks floating around stomp its nuts. It’s still strong but it’s not magic anymore, it’s just card games, and whether you play an NEH variant or not is an actual choice.

And this is the fundamental moral of the story. Nothing is good all the time everyday anymore, so building a deck that might appear jank on a macro level is totally fine or even advantageous if it is tailored to your local competition. So play with au revoir, chronos project, whizzard, deep thought, whatever card you feel has a place at the moment. Once regionals roll around and people start migrating then yeah, playing something with less upside and but also less downside in different matchups will probably be the better strategy. But right now you’re not trying to beat the planet, you’re trying to beat your neighbor, so build their nightmare deck and jeopardize your friendship for your best shot at card game glory.


#2

I think there is some truth to this, but I think something like the AuRev CT deck is so suboptimal at its core that for any given meta, there exists a better deck. Sure, a deck can be functional or even great in a certain meta, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t jank, it just means it was well-positioned jank. You could play a nonjanky deck that has similar matchups across the board but ends up having more game against outliars or even just better matchups everywhere. I don’t think there is any justification for ever bringing that deck besides you wanted to have fun.

NEH is far from dead. It’s the single most powerful corp deck. If everyone is gunning for it, there can certainly be something better, but in a reasonable meta, not everyone is going to be playing NEH and therefore not everyone should be gunning for it. Even the decks with the best NEH matchups don’t get much beyond 60%, which is more than you can say for every other corp deck.

Clot is going to kill it though :smile:


#3

Agree with most of the sentiment, some comments:

I played against that thing in Prague, and it’s actually a really good meta call against RP (and RP Grail in particular, which is what I played at that tournament), while having a not-horrible NEH matchup. I still don’t like the deck all that much personally (and think better things can be done with influence in CT), but acknowledge it’s not a steaming pile. Snitch is definitely powerful against Grail, possibly enough to warrant inclusion on its own.

Actually, half the field yesterday was Leelas. Which, incidentally, meant that only a small fraction of my agendas was FAd - most of them were properly rushed in a remote, defended for a turn on the table, etc. Clot being out will definitely strip out some of your autowin options, but it’ll just make all games play like the Leela matchup, I think - somewhat tricky to navigate, but nowhere near unwinnable.

Not so certain of this - the Leela matchup is a goddamn nightmare, and she’s both really solid and really popular.

I’m actually really sad I didn’t win the first SC I went to this season, I suspect the decklist would make @mediohxcore completely lose his shit :smiley: It’s:

  • A professor deck…
  • …packing 47 cards…
  • …and Freelance Coding Contracts…
  • …and Rex as its Decoder

Finished 1st in Swiss, and the only game I played with it in double elims was a loss to NEH where I dug RnD for 20+ cards and only ever saw one Beale, if memory serves.


#4

I agree with most of this. Just as a note: I played against only two glacier decks all night. Foundry and Blue Sun. The rest was 3x fastrobiotics (one grail), one RP Grail and one Butcher shop. My win rate against the top normal decks in tournaments is over 90% with Reina. It’s the weird stuff that can throw you for a loop. :wink:

EDIT: there were three NEH Astrobiotics decks, I’d miscounted. I played 7 games with Reina.


#5

I guess I should’ve said ‘non-FA’ rather than ‘glacier’, thanks for the heads up.


#6

I understand what you’re asserting, but what’s your reasoning? Why is Au Reviour inherently suboptimal?


#7

You basically burn a boatload of tutoring/recursion to set up 3 Au Revoir and a Snitch - this is an operation that usually costs you anywhere between 5 and 11 credits, depending on how much you drew naturally. You don’t really do all that much until you’ve got all the pieces set up, and once you do, you have super-Opus that exposes ICE.

Problem is, you’ve just burned like, an SMC and 2 Clone Chips, spent 8 influence and have 4 MU filled up by this. The cost in clicks and credits (and deck-slots, really) has the potential to be somewhat prohibitive as well.

Do you have something better to do with the 8 inf? I dunno, sure feels like it to me :slight_smile:


#8

especially when all those 8 influence and 4 mu and 5-11 creds get you an opus that clicks for one more. It’s neat, but it’ll only be worth the setup against the slowest of insanely slow decks.


#9

I suspect it’s less about the extra credit and more about the intel you’re gathering while clicking for credits, actually. At least that’s how it works against punishing ICE (like Grails and anything Red).


#10

you also don’t need the 3rd Au Revoir before you are dangerous.

Snitch and 1 Au Revoir is all you need to start probing the corp. Snitch with 2 is Opus. The third can wait or even never be tutored/played depending on the match up.


#11

This. A thousands times. The deck isn’t setting up and then starting to interact, the whole thing hinges around probing to keep the corp honest.


#12

There are a couple of cards that make this deck hilariously bad. If you can stick an executive boot camp and rez your ICE then the runner has 4 MU worth of nothing. I think it’s alright, but no better. It seems like it has a good(ish) RP matchup.

The thing about Netrunner is that if you give a good player a non-awful deck, they can usually make something happen. I think the CT au revoir deck is good enough that it can do well. I agree with the sentiment that it’s suboptimal in any meta though.


#13

I played a tournament in PDX this weekend (the one where @nobody won, actually!) and came in third overall before exhaustion and lack of a proper diet eroded my brain to cheese. My decks of choice were Calimsha’s Kate (-1 Indexing +1 Maker’s) and Butcher Shop (-2 Universal Connectivity +2 Sansan Grid), and the only runner deck I had problems against was actually the Au Revoir deck. He was simply able to get set up faster than I could find my Midseasons, and I really, really wasn’t expecting the Au Revoirs until they all kinda hit the table at once. At this point, my main win condition is almost completely screwed, since it hinges on me getting a healthy lead on credits, making the runner take something shitty like an NAPD, and then murdering them for their trouble. The deck can make loads of cash, but it sure as shit can’t make 12 credits a turn (and then 15 when Rachel hit the table). I had identified this too late, and hadn’t tried sneaking out an astro early in order to make a second “normal” win condition viable for the deck, and by then it was just too late, and I lost horribly.

However, I met him again for the 3rd/4th place match, and we were to play the same decks. He was onto my game, and I was wise to his, so he didn’t run on remotes when he knew I could bury him in tags and end him… so I just scored out an astro naked in a remote and rode that sweet train to victory. He still got out 2 Au Revoirs and was Opus-ing his way along, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

I guess what I’m saying in kinda a long winded way is that the deck has a pretty slow start if they have reason to be afraid, and that if you know what’s coming, you can play around it pretty well, since there’s a pretty good setup time required. Also, since a lot of the time the tutoring is used on the Au Revoirs, breakers come more slowly that a lot of other shaper matchups, and that can be used to your advantage. This was kinda too bad for me my first game, since I only had Wraparound as a hard ETR ice, so keeping him out of servers was rough by the time I knew I kinda had to, but on my second game he had a hard time making runs on centrals for a bit there, due to no available tutor.

However, this guy specifically told me he brought the deck because “I saw there was a deck that was alcohol based, so I knew I had to build it.” He clearly wasn’t playing it because he thought it would be super competitive, he was playing it because it looked cool. He got 4th place with it because he was a very good player, but I agree with @MasterAir in that it’s probably suboptimal, and that there are probably better choices.


#14

I liked the post, but this claim is a bit silly. Many Stimhackers have won SC this season with straight-forward NEH Fastro, @bblum and @d1en included, I believe. Granted, they are great players, but they wouldn’t sabotage themselves by bringing decks that are ‘already dead.’ As far as I can tell, many players this season chose Fastro as their ‘tryhard’ deck, to get themselves a bye; they then moved on to more experimental builds once they secured a bye. If NEH Fastro was still the go-to ‘tryhard’ deck this SC season, your claim doesn’t really hold up.


#15

The main problem is when this deck have those two programs, any other CT could have at the same tempo / moment of the game Opus / SMS with same or better odds.

Au revoir need 1c, snitch 3c, the whole “Opus Mk2” cost 6c / 4-1 extra instal clic and “at the very very extreme least” 4-1 extra install draw =>

Say the diff from OPus MK1 is +1c/+6 clics.
With +1c / 6click, Opus gets 13c.

So that means Opus MKII is better after the 14th snitching / triple Au Revoir run.

With 8 clics at the very very minimum to install + credits, that is basically never gonna happen in a classic 15-20 turns game. 8+14 = 5.5 full turns for perfect opening. For average opening… Well I’d say 10 turns.


#16

This doesn’t take into account the psychological pressure of dealing with a full au revoir set up by that stage. When you’re sitting across from it, you WISH the guy had just gone for opus, and it influences your own decision making and strategy significantly.


#17

Fully installed, you still need a 2MU console on top for breakers, and breakers actually. And the insurance that no parasite / ds / clot / keyhole / sneakdoor / nerve agent whatever will ever come out by surprise.

To be honest, I’d rather be in front of this than in front of any other CT that can pull a surprise joker out of her sleeves.

I’ve got no problems with those decks actually, I play a lot of them if not only those. But this one disregards totally Phase I for “increasing” Phase III.
Sure, that can be very powerfull. But not calibrated for tournaments I think unless you have a somehow fast corp deck.

It’s somehow like saying “oh look how I’m powerfull with my Kate toolbox / triple underground contact / triple data folding / triple memstrip / sage / e3 / overmind”, yes sure, a real beast she is. But you did sh1t in first 12 turns.

Corp will be at match point, will you run on this potential 2av Junebug or not ? Yes ? No ?


#18

Granted it’s not optimal. I understand what you’re saying. Jank is generally very high variance IMO, but in the situation where the opponent pulls it off by turn 4 … Then you really have a long game ahead of you. Parasite etc will be the least of your worries.

Then again, I have always liked to believe that Netrunner has a significant psychological side to it, rather than reduce it to a spreadsheet. Maybe to my detriment.


#19

I agree but the corp will be at disconfort by turn 10 or so. At that moment, a lot of let-free corps are at match point.


#20

And 1/2 the time the corp has lost by that stage because 9 credits and a run every turn is about as brutal a set up as the game allows for runners, even if they can only pull it off every other game.