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Decks without Jackson Howard

So I would like to build two corp decks that myself and my brother could take to a tournament. I have two core sets and every expansion. The problem I run into is that I only have one set of Jackson Howard. At this point can a corp deck really be viable without him? Looking on under the tournament winning decklists almost every recent winner was running him. If you wanted both decks to have an equal chance of winning, do you have to have two sets of Jackson Howard? Is there anything you could use in lieu of Jackson Howard? Suggestions for decks that don’t need Jackson Howard would be welcome.

Or is it all pointless and I’m just going to have to buy a second set of that one pack so I can have two sets of Jackson Howard?

A Jackson Howard alt art would be nice card would be nice.

Well, any deck can be run without Jackson. You just take him out, replace him with 3x something else, and you’ll have a deck. It will just likely be inferior to one without Jackson.

If you want to run a deck that is optimal without Jackson, you need a deck that wins/loses before the recursion of Jackson makes a difference. That means a rush deck: it tries to score fast, behind ice, before the runner is set up. The best deck for that is Weyland Supermodernism style, with Jackson replaced by Anonymous Tip for draw. Runners are able to get set up pretty fast, so this deck has fallen out of favour. But that might mean you can sneak it in under the radar and do well, especially with some new Weyland cards that are pretty good for that style (Crysium Grid, Wendigo).

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I agree with Dragar, a rush deck will probably do the job. I really like GRNDL that uses its influence on three Snares, one SEA Source and the remaining tw influence on draw (Anonymous Tip) or extra tricks (Corporate Troubleshooter) or ICE. There is just no room for Jackson. :smile:

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Or, HB-Frontiers; Your win condition is making money, using 3 biotics, and pulling them out of archive. If you have piles of archive recursion as is then Jackson is redundant, especially if you can retain cards. That’s the only deck I own that doesn’t use Jackson, but it doesn’t need him. It has piles of card draw, and piles of recycling as is.

Most top-tier decks have Jackson.

The 2 options I see to have a good working corp deck without are some variant of Supermodernism (as suggested by @ff0x) or Cerebral Imaging. HB have loads of recursion, so you can include that to avoid needing to recycle your cards through R&D.

It might be heresy, but you can probably put together a better than reasonable TWIY* astrobiotics deck without Jackson Howard. Use Corporate Shuffle/Anonymous Tip for draw instead. Interns to resurrect SanSan City Grid.

A friend of mine recently played Next Design without Jackson. A big pile of cheap ICE, minelayers, 3/2s + NAPD + Gila Hands. With GLC and BLC for draw/econ. That was good - maybe not top tier but good.

That said a scan through the winning decklist does show that NBN have 3 free influence. Jackson Howard should be neutral at 0/1 influence imho. I also agree that promo Jackson would be good.

If you and your brother want to enter tournaments, just take the sour apple and get a second copy of Opening Moves.
If I had to build two decks with your cardpool I would probably play TWIY rush and RP, but your decks would get better with more Jackson.


I think somebody playing CI is probably your best bet, but as has also been suggested–between two people, having another set of Jackson Howards might just be pragmatic for having more than one constructed deck with him in it at a time.

That said, understanding how Jackson Howard works is key for deciding whether or not to play him (generally, you decide you should play him). Because, he is not JUST his card abilities–that is, to get draws and protect against flooding. The Runner has a very hard time getting rid of Jackson Howard in a way that is beneficial for them. Early in the game, they have to pay for it, later, he gets to recur, and he can generally recur at the last possible second, making it very difficult for the runner to make a positive exchange.

That’s what I like about Hades Shard, its the first card that takes some of Jackson’s power away. If the runner has 7 credits, you kind of have to honor that if there are agendas in archives, because once Hades is down its too late to do anything about it.


Thanks guys. I didn’t think about supermodernism, but I think I’ll try that and my HB:ETF deck or we’ll run CI and NEH. At least this gives us some options. If he enjoys playing maybe I’ll suck it up and buy another set of Jackson Howards.

@false_idol is totally correct - J. Howard is more than the sum of his card abilities.

My honest advice: Buy a second copy of Opening Moves. Jackson Howard is pretty much a mandatory card for any Corp deck. It can’t hurt to have six copies of him… I had to do the exact same thing because I was in a similar situation where I had to build multiple Corp decks.

There are certain card effects that can duplicate some of his abilities, such as Archived Memories and Reclamation Order in Haas-Bioroid, but there’s really nothing else in the game quite like Mr. Howard…


That’s the thing–he is a positive tempo shift for the corp at all phases of the game. Everything he does secures board position for you and the only the thing the runner can do about it is try and get rid of him in a way that sucks the least for them.

Here just run this, it doesn’t need jackson
Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future (Core) x1
Archived Memories (Core) x2
Snare! (Core) x3
Priority Requisition (Core) x3
Hedge Fund (Core) x3
Janus 1.0 (What Lies Ahead) x2
Green Level Clearance (A Study in Static) x3
Eli 1.0 (Future Proof) x3
Project Wotan (Creation and Control) x3
Bioroid Efficiency Research (Creation and Control) x2
Heimdall 2.0 (Creation and Control) x2
Ichi 2.0 (Creation and Control) x2
NEXT Bronze (Opening Moves) x3
Celebrity Gift (Opening Moves) x1
Wotan (Second Thoughts) x1
Fenris (True Colors) x3
Punitive Counterstrike (True Colors) x3
Blue Level Clearance (Fear and Loathing) x2
Domestic Sleepers (Upstalk) x3
NEXT Silver (Upstalk) x3
Mother Goddess (Upstalk) x1
Eden Fragment (The Spaces Between) x1

That deck is very similar to my ETF deck, except I use Jackson Howard. Do you think not using Jackson Howard makes the deck stronger, or at least just as strong?

In a meta full of legwork, do I think running 3 jackson howard is better than 3 snare! ? Nope.

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Eh, I see what you’re going for there… trying to kill them on the sneak. I just find it real hard to let go of Jackson Howard.

Most of the people responding here aren’t really assessing Jackson properly. The reason Jackson is better than the various replacement draw or recursion options is because he does both and more.

Jackson is in every winning deck because he is 2 for 1 card with negligible downside. Worst case he costs you 3 influence if you’re not playing NBN… that’s it. Otherwise he provides you with draw for combo pieces, draw, discard, and archive filtering for shitty hands, shuffle effect for R&D lock, recursion for vital cards (agenda or combo) in the case of mill or forced discard. And he does all of that for the low low price of… one click. Oh… and he’s an asset so you get to install him in a remote and may make the runner waste a click running him if that’s helpful. Oh, and if he’s unprotected you get to choose whether that run is actually a successful run or not in situations where it matters.

Can you play a deck without Jackson? Sure. Can you play a great deck without Jackson? Sure. Would your great deck probably be better with Jackson? Yeah, probably. Jackson’s that good. If you’re talking about absolutely optimizing your decks to have the highest possible chance of winning, then you very likely play Jackson. Saying anything else might feel good but is pretty unlikely to be true.


P.S. I could be wrong. I tried very hard to avoid saying absolutely, without a doubt, you must 100% play Jackson. First, it’s not true. I’ve played games with Jackson in the deck where he wasn’t a factor at all. So you can absolutely win without him. Second, there might be an amazing top tier deck out there that’s not NBN and requires all of its influence for specific parts. But… most of the signs point to Jackson as being too good to pass up.

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What works without Jackson is probably the first thing I think of when building the second corp deck. I try to find decks that would choose not to run him, not simply ones that need him less and are able to make weak substitutes. I think the primary characteristic of these decks is being able to score agendas quickly and easily so the pressure doesn’t build up in your hand.

edit: Meteor has been so slow it’s basically down, added new links.

Jinteki PE - Bad Dogs, 2nd NZ Nationals (Sept 28)

Weyland BABW - Supermodernism, 1st Auckland Chronos Protocol (April 13)

HB: CI - Scorched Imaging, top 8 Auckland Regionals (July 27)

I think an aggressively scoring HB:ETF is very strong against Noise right now. With Archived Memories, overscored Project Vitruvius and a strong mix of tax and defence you could get away with not using Jackson. Although there’s still very few better uses of a single influence.

HB:ETF - High Life

I think that Foundry Grail FA won’t have the influence or space for Jackson, once the rest of that ICE series is released. 3 copies of each Grail and 2 Sansans and you’re done on influence. In general though, I feel HB is the least likely to miss Jackson, as you get archived memories in faction. CI doesn’t need him, and Foundry hasn’t really needed him so far in my testing, because you can run AM and shuffle RnD every turn with your ID.

+, worst case scenario you could try to overscore your vitruvius