The traditional answer is usually Kati Jones, although Nexus+Power Tap or Snitch+Au Revoir can work as well, albeit with setup timing issues.
AoT takes a bit of practice, you have to be patient with your runs, which is more difficult because Criminal is most efficient when they’re running. I found that running it works best to run against unrezzed ice to keep them poor and limit the number of ice that they can get value from. Also, you can wait, then make a bunch of runs in the same turn, which keeps their ability in check.
Kati is good; I also like Turning Wheel, especially if they have an Eli you can bounce off a bunch from.
Thanks for the advice. The run-based econ is something I’m still figuring out how to play. I cut my teeth with Shaper, and being able to drop back and hit MOpus for 8 each turn was always an option vs. piles of HB ice.
I feel you, shaper-brother. Mopus is love, mopus is life.
Recently, though, I’ve been testing a Criminal Control deck that feels, for want of a better word, rather shaper-y. Great at breaking ICE, excels in the lategame, and has a few fun tricks ready. Been testing a lot on Jnet, with a very positive winrate.
Could share the list if you’re interested.
Always interested in good lists.
That can’t be viewed by anyone else, to make it visible you’d either need to publish it or go into settings and select “Share your decks” to make unpublished decks visible to anyone with a link
For AoT specifically, theres a few tricks you can use.
Trick #1: Run against single-iced, unrezzed servers asap. It’s ok if they use the AoT trigger to rez ICE elsewhere, because it gives you info about what you need to break in the future. The key is that you want a successful run trigger, you want them to pay actual money to rez what you’re running on, and a single Bioroid can’t keep you out of a server. This only backfires if they ran Architects. But, this trick generally only works early game when there exist single-iced servers anyway.
Trick #2: As mentioned earlier, you want to run against unrezzed ICE when possible; you don’t want to run the rezzed ICE and give them the rez on the other, outer-unrezzed piece. However, as a consequence of that, sometimes you just want to force them to spend money on the rez; Jack out or let the ETR fire if they hard-rezzed an Eli on a server you don’t need to break into this turn.
Trick #3: Inside Job is pretty cool. While it still lets them fire their ability, because they have a bunch of bioroids that you can click through, Inside Job gets you further through their servers than you’d expect.
Trick #4: For Glacier specifically, there comes a point where they have enough money that they can rez all their ICE and have tens of credits to spare. At that point, it no longer matters if AoT’s ability fires or not, and you actually want it to fire now, because it gives you the information while the credit discount doesn’t matter. Identifying that point is much more difficult, and I can say it’s around the time where they fire Peak Efficiency, or when a Campaign manages to stay on board to run out of credits.
Trick #5: Employee Strike. Card solves so many Crim Problems it’s not funny. Blue Sun making a ton of money with Oversight AI? E-Strike. AoT rezzing cards really easily? E-Strike. CTM assets giving you unwanted tags and threatening your resources? E-Strike.
Final thought is that Criminal can break into servers with a rig, but it will usually cost more money than a comparable Shaper/Anarch rig. This means that having a good money engine will suffice for lategame server cracking. This is why Kati is a big deal, and the other suggestions are also engines about getting you money easily. (Though Nexus+Power Tap has additional strengths in making your runs a lot cheaper, too.)
The only Crim I’ve been playing recently has been a Khan deck that… well it works sometimes? Tends to be best against Glacier purely because the deck is all about de-rezzing their ICE to make them pay for it multiple times.
I’ve been playing this lately and it’s been working really well in most match ups
For a slightly different take on Andy, I’ve been enjoying good success with this deck:
Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie
3x Account Siphon
2x Career Fair
3x Dirty Laundry
1x Employee Strike ●
1x Inside Job
1x Rumor Mill ●●
3x Special Order
3x Sure Gamble
3x Desperado ★★★
1x e3 Feedback Implants
1x Feedback Filter ●
2x Aaron Marrón
3x Daily Casts
2x Earthrise Hotel
1x John Masanori
1x Kati Jones
2x Same Old Thing
1x Security Testing
1x Symmetrical Visage
1x Temüjin Contract
2x The Turning Wheel ●●
1x Faust ★ ●●
1x Femme Fatale
1x Medium ●●●
11 influence spent (max 15-4★=11, available 0)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Quorum
The background to this is that I’ve been playing a Faust Kate deck on and off over the past year or so, and when Aaron came out, I eagerly put him into that deck, as a means of pactching up the very iffy CTM matchup that it had. While that deck is fun, it struggles with asset spam, and doesn’t bring the kind of immediate pressure that you need to beat CI consistently. In a criminal deck, Faust is really good for getting in earlier than you normally would, and ideally letting you pressure the corp with big threats like siphon and medium. While the card draw to support Faust isn’t as good as having Proco, this Andy deck seems much more consistent than the shaper variant.
It looks weird to not have a Levy, but in the 40 or so games I tested with the Levy in, I think I only used it twice. Most games, Faust lets you bust in early-midgame, then the normal rig picks up the slack later on if needed. Rumour mill and employee strike came into the deck instead as tech pieces, and have so far done well.
Breach is better than it seems. It does a good job breaking Spiderweb, Curtain Wall and the rarer Heimdall, and is ok against next silver too. It overpays against some gearchecky ice, but Faust will often be used against those anyway. e3 implants are more of a luxury than a must, but do a nice job of supporting Faust, and lets you deal with some bioroids more cheaply. It also provides a bit of a safety net if you misjudge a run and hit a fairchild 3, archer or Komainu etc.
Finally, Aaron is obviously very strong in his own right, but also synergises nicely with Faust, letting you draw cards mid-run if needed to help you get in.
It’s definitely worth a try for anyone who wants to play something slightly different, but without giving up on core crim themes.
If I had to pick out a weakness, including Faust does expose you to AI hate, mainly IP block. I find the nbn matchup pretty strong regardless, but if it’s a worry it could be teched against a little more. Chiyashi could pose a problem too, and would be a likely femme target.
PS - Having only 1 Temujin is presumably not optimal. I actually made the deck and played a dozen or so games before realising I’d forgotten Temujin entirely, and dropped something to include 1. Cuts could be made to get it up to 3, probably visage or other econ cards, but I honestly haven’t been missing it.
Is there a version of perfume shop that is viable in this meta? The first obvious change would seem to be put in the contract. Is the framework itself viable?
Honest question: What does a Criminal deck try to do to win games?
I’ve played mostly Shaper and a little Anarch so far. I have a sense of how to play these decks, although I am by no means a master. In the few games I’ve tried to play Criminal, I find myself often getting to a point where I have no idea what to do to having a winning line of play. I think it is because I’m trying to do Shaper things and Anarch things rather than Criminal things.
How does standard Criminal (Gabe or Andy) win games?
Better players can chime in to elaborate or correct me, but what I’ve found works is: Follow the Agendas and make them pay to keep you out.
Criminals have tools for making fast money and keeping the corp poor. I’ve found them to not be great at a game that drags on, but they’re good for applying early pressure. If you lock down the scoring remote or keep the corp too poor to both score and rez ice, then agendas will build up in HQ, and you can nab them with Legwork or TTW.
If they’ve been playing a lot of Jackson/Preemptive Action, you might be able to manage a win off a lightly-defended R&D, but you usually need to import multiaccess tools to make that work [EDIT] unless you can poke R&D for little or no cost, possibly multiple times in a turn.
My worst criminal games are ones where I get scared of what I might facecheck and let the corp build up money with unrezzed ice on the table. My best are ones where I can get the corp to pay for ice protecting a server I won’t even need to check a few turns into the game (usually R&D or HQ, depending on how it looks like they’ll play and how hard they defend against siphon). This usually means being willing to make an unsuccessful Account Siphon or Dirty Laundry run to convince them to rez; they’ll give me a random access, but not those credits.
That said, I’ve had a lot of trouble with NEXT and Grail suites, because it just gets too expensive to check those remotes regularly.
Thanks for the advice. I am clearly doing something wrong since keeping the Corp poor never seems to work out or translate into a win. Maybe it is because I’m in Jinteki casual and running up against all these Weyland Reversed Accounts decks.
I do think keeping the corp poor is a problem right now, and Bryan Stinson isn’t helping.
The three most powerful Crim cards in the game are Desperado, Temujin, and Account Siphon. Desperado and Temujin are pretty straightforward - they make you money while running. It’s not uncommon for a Criminal turn to be 4 runs, such as ‘run for sec test / temujin money, run to trash an asset, run to check R&D, run to check HQ’.
Siphon is the tricky one though. You really have to know what ice and assets the corp is likely to have, and know exactly the right time to siphon. What you’re looking for is:
- You can likely get into HQ.
- Even after rezzing all HQ ice and assets, the corp will have 4+ credits, and they have not rezzed a crisium grid on HQ.
- You have 2 clicks to clear tags, OR 2 aaron marron counters, OR your opponent is unlikely to have tag punishment cards and you have no important resources out.
And even though you have to wait for those 3 conditions to be true, you can’t wait too long or your opponent can place enough ice on HQ to make siphons no longer economically viable. So yeah, siphon is a tricky card, but as a 15 credit econ swing, it’s arguably the most powerful in the game. You just have to play with it for a while to figure it out.
I found this introduction interesting for new Crim Players:
If you have enough other money sources (Temujin, Desperado, Sec Test), you don’t even necessarily need for them to have money left for you to siphon. If they make themselves poor to keep you out of HQ, it can keep them from rezzing ice in another server. And making them pay to rez an asset before you go trash it isn’t always a bad thing if you would have wanted to get rid of it, anyway. I’ll gladly take a single random access (with a Desperado credit and a Masanori draw) or bounce off an ETR ice on a siphon run if it still leaves the corp broke. And that way you don’t have tags to clear.
Thanks for the feedback and the link. Great help.
Now for a more basic question that is really more about how to play efficiently than it is about Criminal in particular.
When playing Criminal, I sometimes run into this kind of opening hand:
- other cards
In an Anarch or Shaper deck, I would likely just drop TC and run three times. In Criminal, I always wonder if it is better to use one click turn 1 installing Desperado, even at the cost of probably having ice to deal with next turn when I want to get my credits off Temuijin. If I run 3 times, I end up with 13 credits and 8 on TC. If I run twice and install Desperado, I end up with 7 credits, 12 on TC, and an installed Desperado.
How should I determine what the better play is in this situation?
Against a deck that might Turn 2 Hard Hitting News, it feels like holding the Desperado is the better play. What else should I consider in deciding what the best opening turn would be.