I just scraped for Steve lists and it seems like practically nobody's working on him. I'm very disappointed in you all!
I'm here to report that that Aesop's Steve is a tremendously fun deck. Steve's ability is an absolute blast in that it presents an interesting, Shaper-ish puzzle for both you and your opponent in the middle of a turn. The standard play is to run HQ and show your opponent two Sure Gambles or two Caches, but there can be more subtlety involved. I feel like I've only begun to explore how Steve's ability might be used to mislead your opponent, or to trick him/her into letting you recur a card that is more important than they realize at the time...
Here is my end-of-term thesis for Steveonomics 435: Understanding Secondary Markets. I played around 25 games on Jnet as well as a few rounds of real-life Netrunner. The deck went through several iterations.
- Aesop's Steve opens very consistently. There are very few bad starting hands, and seeing Aesop immediately is not strictly necessary. In fact, I'd rather open with Sure Gamble, Daily Casts, and Drug Dealer.
- That said, Steve is often absolutely dead in the water for the first three or four turns of the game. I have increased my number of Inside Jobs from two to three which greatly improves Steve's ability to contest an early score.
- An earlier iteration of this deck contained 3 x Tracker. Tracker is 0 to install (Aesop's lucky number) and can contribute to Steve's ability to apply pressure during those early turns while the Aesop's-and-Tapwrm engine is not yet ticking over. Tracker shits on NBN ice like IP Block, can function as a pseudo-AI to break Mother Goddess, and can mitigate a face-check even if you don't get into the server (Enigma I'm looking at you). When you're done with it and need the MU, you can sell it off and move on. Ultimately, I decided that Inside Job performs the same function more reliably, since Tracker can't get you through a Hortum protecting a Project Atlas. I feel more theorycrafting with Tracker needs to be done, however.
- Tapwrm is predictably great here, but plays a little differently. Most people will tell you to hold on to your Tapwrms until they will start producing value. With Steve, I'm happy to install them without SacCon to coax an early purge, buying me more time to set up. In a weird sort of way, Steve actually prefers Tapwrms to be in the bin. The corp has lost two turns, thinking their purges have been well-timed. When you're ready to stick a Tapwrm, you can use Steve's ability then put down your SacCon.
- Drug Dealer is incredible and hilarious. In an ideal scenario, you install Daily Casts and at least two Drug Dealers early. The clickless card draw is amazing and the downside is easily mitigated by both drip econ and the ability to sell the Drug Dealers to Aesop (?????) when you're done. Ultimately, drugs are as hard to quit in Netrunner as they are in real life, so be careful of fucking yourself over. At worst, if you put down a Drug Dealer and sell it the next turn, you've spent 1 credit and a click for a card and 2 credits. Isn't there a famous one-influence Event that does basically the same thing?
- Drug Dealer and Steve's ability work synergistically as pseudo-damage protection. The equivalent, I suppose, would be popping a Diesel before contesting an Obokata. Steve is surprisingly hard to kill for whatever reason. 1 each of Caldera and On the Lam is just perfection here. On the Lam is very versatile right now with a lot of damage decks and tag decks floating around. I've never had an opponent let me have On the Lam back, but I just can't do two copies.
- 1 x Dorm Computer is great right now. (It's also thematically so apt that I'll never cut it. Never.) I often speculatively use a Dorm Computer counter regardless of which faction I'm playing or what the game state is like. It works nicely against Snare, Prisec, stupid fucking NBN ice, and some Weyland stuff. And... It costs zero! Yo Aesop, I've got a sweet PowerBook G4 for you.
- Multi-access is a bit thin, but I just can't bring myself to put any Legworks.
- Fall Guy and PolOp are negotiable. I previously had 3 x Aeneas Informant, but it's a bad card. It's better to sell any zero-cost card for three clickless credits than to do... Whatever it is Aeneas Informant does. Fall Guy seems like an Aesop's nonbo, but you would not believe how hard some opponents will try to kill your Aesop. We'll see how it works.
I'm looking forward to further study in Steveonomics. Please join my tutorial group!
Dorm Computer (The OTHER Blue Shaper)
Steve Cambridge: Master Grifter
3x Inside Job
1x On the Lam
2x Special Order
3x Sure Gamble
1x Dorm Computer
2x The Gauntlet
3x Aesop's Pawnshop ●●●●● ●
3x Daily Casts
3x Drug Dealer
2x Fall Guy
1x Political Operative
3x Sacrificial Construct ●●●
1x The Turning Wheel ●
1x Femme Fatale
1x Paperclip ●●●
2x Harbinger ●●
2x Sneakdoor Beta
15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set