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Graduate Admissions: Apply Now - A Steve Cambridge Thread


Came up with this iteration last night while mulling over influence. Spy Cam + Mad Dash lets you pressure R&D cheaply for no influence, so I can run Sacrificial Construct to hedge against destroyer sentries, Skorpios, and Tapwrm purges. Haven’t played it yet, but will do this week. All the usual disclaimers about untested brews apply, but I just wanted to share because I think it’s an interesting build.

###[Frantic Opus (Spy Cam)][1] (45 cards)

  • [Steve Cambridge: Master Grifter][2]

Event (12)

  • 2 [Career Fair][3]
  • 1 [Frantic Coding][4] ●●●
  • 2 [Inside Job][5]
  • 2 [Mad Dash][6]
  • 2 [Special Order][7]
  • 3 [Sure Gamble][8]

Hardware (8)

  • 6 [Spy Camera][9]
  • 2 [The Gauntlet][10]

Resource (11)

  • 3 [Daily Casts][11]
  • 3 [Earthrise Hotel][12]
  • 2 [Political Operative][13]
  • 3 [Sacrificial Construct][14] ●●●

Icebreaker (8)

  • 2 [Abagnale][15]
  • 2 [Aumakua][16]
  • 2 [Mongoose][17]
  • 1 [Paperclip][18] ●●●
  • 1 [Saker][19]

Program (6)

  • 3 [Magnum Opus][20] ●●●●● ●
  • 3 [Tapwrm][21]

Built with [https://meteor.stimhack.com/][22]
[1]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/decks/wmihvMBfw9hqb34up
[2]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/steve-cambridge-master-grifter-terminal-directive
[3]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/career-fair-breaker-bay
[4]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/frantic-coding-intervention
[5]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/inside-job-core
[6]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/mad-dash-daedalus-complex
[7]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/special-order-core
[8]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/sure-gamble-core
[9]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/spy-camera-democracy-and-dogma
[10]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/the-gauntlet-intervention
[11]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/daily-casts-creation-and-control
[12]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/earthrise-hotel-the-source
[13]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/political-operative-democracy-and-dogma
[14]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/sacrificial-construct-revised-core
[15]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/abagnale-terminal-directive
[16]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/aumakua-crimson-dust
[17]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/mongoose-kala-ghoda
[18]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/paperclip-blood-money
[19]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/saker-intervention
[20]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/magnum-opus-core
[21]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/card/tapwrm-quorum
[22]: https://meteor.stimhack.com/decks/wmihvMBfw9hqb34up


I just scraped for Steve lists and it seems like practically nobody’s working on him. I’m very disappointed in you all! :rage:

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

Event (9)
3x Inside Job
1x On the Lam
2x Special Order
3x Sure Gamble

Hardware (3)
1x Dorm Computer
2x The Gauntlet

Resource (17)
3x Aesop’s Pawnshop ●●●●● ●
1x Caldera
3x Daily Casts
3x Drug Dealer
2x Fall Guy
1x Political Operative
3x Sacrificial Construct ●●●
1x The Turning Wheel ●

Icebreaker (6)
2x Abagnale
1x Aumakua
1x Femme Fatale
1x Mongoose
1x Paperclip ●●●

Program (10)
3x Cache
2x Harbinger ●●
2x Sneakdoor Beta
3x Tapwrm

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set


Great writeup! I think your deck has a lot of flexibility to evolve with the meta. I’m gonna try to squeeze in a Find the Truth and another Fall Guy for extra teeth.


Thank you for your much-needed investigation. I eventually realized that Frantic Magnum Steve isn’t actually good, and I drifted away from the Master Grifter. But playing him with Aesop’s sounds like a blast.


I’ve put in a couple dozen more games since my initial post. My winrate and confidence in the build have decreased somewhat, but the fact that the deck has effectively four Inside Jobs, four Caches, and built-in protection for resource trashing means it’s still very strong and applies a lot of pressure from three vectors of attack. R&D pressure is weak, but the corp needs to protect HQ, Archives, and double or triple ice the remote, meaning taking singles off R&D usually is within budget for the turn.

The novelty of drip econ + Drug Dealers + Aesop might be wearing off. With a rich corp, Tapwrm down, and two Drug Dealers working, Drug Dealer is far smoother than the tempo hit of hard installing Earthrise Hotel, and you can control the flow of cards into your hand depending on your matchup and how many cards you have left in stack.

Let me know how you’re coming along with your testing.


I’m a little confused. You say that the novelty of drip + Drug Dealers + Aesop is wearing off, then praise Drug Dealer for being smoother than Earthrise. What’s making the novelty wear off if Dealer is working better than Earthrise for you?


@Tundinator was playing a DDoS Apoc Steve the other night to hilarious success, winning while under a mountain of tags and installing probably about 4 or 5 cards the entire game

don’t have a list, but i’ll be testing something similar this week for my local meetup

Aesops’ sounds great as well, so i’ll give it a look


I put in some games today, replacing 3x Drug Dealer with 3x Earthrise Hotel.

I guess the issue I have with Drug Dealer is the same one I have with Aeneas Informant (and other low-cost non-unique resources that provide a stackable benefit): if you have one installed, you’re getting a minor benefit which is the same as a basic action (a card, a credit). It’s when you have two or three that you are able to get an engine running…

I think these cards are not great in Aesop’s decks because there is always an incentive to sell the single copy for three clickless credits. You would have to use an Aeneas Informant three times (and spend the clicks) to get the same benefit as just selling it. Likewise, Drug Dealers are enormously beneficial if you see more than one early with a source of drip income that mitigates the loss…

A single Earthrise provides faster draw for four credits. I loved the interplay of Drug Dealer and Aesop’s but it’s not quite good enough.

Also have you looked at the fucking spray bottle on Aeneas Informant? How the fuck does that spray bottle stand upright…


So glad to see someone else point this out. It’s disturbed me forever.


It’s not a spray bottle, it’s a weirdly disguised knife :smile:




intriguing deck. like the sneakdoor. why box-e? gauntlet can get you a lot more value out of an iced up HQ.


I was thinking that if HQ was iced too heavily, it probably wouldn’t be worth running anyway (if it costs four credits to get back a Day Job, you may as well click for credits). I like to hold events in my hand till I need them like Inside Job or spare Tapwrms. It’s just personal bias though - testing would probably show that Gauntlet is actually better


Oddly I also hit on Box-E, but primarily as a way of being able to safely take more Stimhacks to the face, recur them, and go again. Aesop’s Steve’s matchup against glacier was not particularly good, and Stimhack was a lifesaver.

I have been toying with HQ Interfaces precisely because they work with Sneakdoor Beta whereas Gauntlet doesn’t.

I also believe the correct number of Inside Jobs in Steve is 3. With 3 in the deck, you can more reliably stuff a rush player who jams an Atlas turn 1. With 3, it’s more likely you’ll see 2 over the course of the game. The sooner you have two Inside Jobs in the bin, the better, because with a Steve trigger, you’re effectively play with four Inside Jobs in the deck.

I do think that event-based Steve is where deckbuilding will eventually settle for Steve in the not-so-immediate future. Effectively having a fourth copy of each powerful event is a great ability. The problem is that many of the events we have at the moment are somewhat underwhelming. For now, I think recurring Employee Strike, Inside Job, and Stimhack are about as good as we’ll get.


The number of inside jobs depends on the meta, on how often you expect to have to face a rush deck. I think that once you get two inside jobs into the heap and then use Steve’s ability to bring one back, the game has gone on long enough for the corp to get out multiple ice and also for it not to be a surprise any more. Still, if they aren’t able to play around it by putting weaker ice at the front, it could be a good economy card to get back.


Been playing variations of a Steve Skeleton that IMO is reasonably strong. What varies are a couple of tricks and the breaker suite. But, can’t seem to hone in on a single construction that fares well in most matchups. Builds that beat Jinteki decks are disasterous against the others, and vice versa. The bones consist of 29 cards and 7 influence. This leaves room for 16 17 cards with 8 remaining influence…so there’s reasonable room for different breakers and tricks. Three packages options are listed further down. Here are the skeletal elements:


Corp gotta address. Steve turns the annoyance up to 11. Interesting decisions about when to cut off Corp econ assets like Commercial Bankers.

####Reg stuff:

All criminals need cards without going broke or falling behind. This is a plain way to sorta do it.

####Defense tech:

Necessary tech. Crash Space is better than Citadel for most of these Value SEA Source decks. But I like Citadel better for HHN and Zealous Judge response where saving the click is key: Peace. Remove 3 tags. Fire Citadel.

####Sharper teeth:

Corp gonna ICE up HQ. So getting attack value out of a Steve recursion run is important. If Corp’s flooded, they often won’t even rez cheap ICE. Seminars seem reliably good IMO. They give draw that usually leads to Earthrise to set off an early draw engine. Also, it makes dealing with the Tapwrms more annoying cause, rather than purge, Corp would rather deal with flood or too many cards they don’t want to discard. Corp decisions after a Seminar give clues to what is in HQ. Steve often recurs Seminars to play in sequential turns to close out with Gauntlet runs. (Tried doubling down on this with a Syn Attack…but didn’t like the play cost or the wasted slot.) Turning Wheel gets at least some pressure on R&D and can be really impactful if you get it early.

Below are several packages I’ve been testing in this skeleton. I prefer to play the recursion package. Of course there’s plenty of bad for ANR recursion hate out right now. But it can still win against those. But it struggles the most against Jinteki IDs. The Reg package does well against glacier and okay against spam, but it falls to fast advance…even with 2 clots. It just takes to much time to set up the suite and simultaneously keep clots protected. The Safe package seems to do the trick against Jinteki and FA, but it’s much worse against everything else. Not printed here is a Baba Yaga + Rosetta package that #actually-aint-that-bad, but requires ditching a couple of cards from the skeleton.

####Option 1: Recursion Package

Clone chip turns Steve into a recursion machine. A Tapwrm in the bin is as good as one in the grip. Steve recur those saccons. Faerie fits well with Steve, Peaceworm, and Clone Chip cause it’s downside is mitigated. Deva is not a good card, but it is better than Mammon for Mythic ICE, it deals with trap ICE, and it can sometimes be cheaper to break single-sub barriers than other criminal fracters. It’s also a reasonable backup breaker for Rigshooter Skorp. Tithonium should be a sentry. Use Spear Phishing early or late game.

####Option 2: Reg Package

Spear Phishing and Maxwell James combo well will Inversificator: send nasty code gates get sent to inner ICE on remotes. Clot is not reliable…but it can at least slow FA down a bit with saccon. If both get trashed, recur with Steve. Phishing is important in this deck cause it takes longer to set up.

####Option 3: Safe Package

Do what criminals do best. Get early pressure on HQ with these cheap centrals-only breakers while Film Critic and Equivocation help save your ass.



i like the idea of this deck a lot but i absolutely hate 3x Spear Phishing with 0 Inside Job

if the innermost piece of ice on a server is unrezzed, SF absolutely does not work except to encourage the corp not to bother rezzing it, whereas inside job will always give you at least some value

i don’t think spear phishing is a bad card (i actually like doing 3x inside job and 1x spear phishing), but inside job is just generally useful all the time, whereas spear phishing loses it’s value at really weird times


That’s actually why I didn’t include Phishing in the main skeleton. I definitely prefer Phishing with Inversificator and Maxwell James (Reg package). I flip flopped though on the others. I view the trade off as one for suitedness to HQ vs Remote. Often, the first piece of ICE to go on HQ is what ever the Corp draws first…which is often weak. So Phishing is a bad call for HQ focus. But with Gauntlet I sometimes don’t want bypass anyway. Remote seems more often to have something nastier as first ICE (of course not always the case). So I considered Phishing a little better for late game remote pressure and a little worse for late game HQ pressure. The other logic is with Inside Job Corp often gets to decide which ICE I skip. With Phishing they don’t. I used to tell folks not to run Phishing unless they are swapping ICE, but I’ve recently become less convinced. Also, I’m not usually as worried about depriving Corp of money. They already get the Peace Boost so they’re usually playing with more credits than they normally do. All the ICE usually gets rezzed. Phishing/Job is more for early pressure and late econ boost.

What d’ya think?


i guess what i disagree with is the notion that the corp gets to choose which ice you bypass. only to an extent, and only insomuch as they aren’t rezzing all of their ice

if you play spear phishing in that scenario, with the innermost already rezzed, all of the power and surprise in the corp’s favour because you have to make it to the end to get the value anyway. it only works if the innermost isn’t already rezzed, but you still have to make it to the end to get your value

but say it’s early game, one ice on remote, rezzed, then a new layer, still unrezzed. with inside job, you just need the one breaker you know you need. with inside job, you still need who knows what for the outermost so you can get past the innermost. if they’re both the same type of ice, it’s just an economy card at that point

i think in general inside job / spear phishing aren’t great for central pressure, but avoiding paying for a piece of ice to get one less access isn’t necessarily a bad thing. if that ice costs you 5c, that’s a lot to pay to access one extra card. if it’s much less, like 1-3c, of course i’d rather pay the extra if i can

i like spear phishing, but i will almost always prefer to have IJ in hand and would always suggest slotting it first over SP


I think Spear Phishing is to Inside Job what Build Script is to Deuces Wild.

Basically a weaker alternative that you can play for copies 4-6. You’re probably not playing Spear Phishing unless you already have a full set of Inside Jobs.