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HB CI: Cerebral play

Hi guys

I would like to share with you my corp deck I took to our local tournament recently. I hope you could help me polish some sharp edges in decklist below and bring some new perspective or ideas.

In past I was playing HB CI (fast advance version) and JI: PE quite a bit and concept for my current deck came up from this experience. I really enjoy little friendly polite table talks and manipulations with opponents. So basic idea is following:

Mushin No Shin to 3/5 Agenda or Cerebral Overwritter and 3rd click advance once

Pass your turn and make them guess.

Commonly one bad guess means 4 brain damage which you follow up with Neural EMP, Archived Memories, Neural EMP. Or second hit of Cerebral means dead runner no matter what.

Odds here are in corp favor as you need to score only two 3pointers due Domestic Sleepers and runner needs to steal 3 agendas. After corp scores first 3/5 runner is actually on match point.

I must admit I was quite slacking lately, so tournament itself was in the fact testing for me. First two rounds worked as a dream. Both flatlines. First double hit by Cerebral, second Cerebral followed by NEMP. Next round was pretty bad for me. I totally misplayed, I was too fixed to kill the runner and wasn’t ballsy enough to sneak any agenda. Instead I was just keeping spinning Cerebrals. Total blackout. Last round was definitely better, but still I lost. Kate surprised me with Account Siphon in first turn while I was protecting R&D and couple turn later came with well aimed Infiltration. This delay brought us to late game where I was totally crushed by parasites, atmans and Indexings… standard Shaper.

Overall I was satisfied with deck performance more than with person piloting it  But still I see some ICE choices could be improved and even economical side. Or any other ideas?

Thank you in advance for your time and efforts and my apologies to all native English speaking members for eye bleeding while reading through.

HB CI (49 cards)

Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers

Agenda (9)
2 Domestic Sleepers
1 Eden Fragment
1 Executive Retreat
1 Hades Fragment
1 NAPD Contract
3 Priority Requisition

Asset (6)
3 Cerebral Overwriter
3 Jackson Howard ***

Operation (21)
3 Archived Memories
3 Blue Level Clearance
2 Green Level Clearance
3 Hedge Fund
3 Mushin No Shin ** ** **
2 Neural EMP ** **
2 Reclamation Order
2 Restructure
1 Subliminal Messaging

Barrier (6)
3 Eli 1.0
3 NEXT Silver

Code Gate (4)
1 Inazuma **
3 NEXT Bronze

Sentry (2)
2 Ichi 1.0

ICE (1)
1 Mother Goddess

I wonder if Punitive Counterstrike is a better choice than Neural EMP - it gives you another threat if you actually put out the agenda and it’s extra-horrifying if you have landed brain damage.


It came up on my mind as well, but Plascret is common card in runners decks. So runners usually dig for this card once they see HBCI. Also there is trace which you need to win twice and that is same case as before. Runners are used to SeaScorch archetypes and it would be even more difficult as they tend to stay in credits.

1 Like

The biggest danger is the runner accessing centrals without bothering to run remotes. Archived memories is good with NEXT Silver as parasite just kills it, but I would also add Viktor 2.0. I like the Inazuma splash, especially in HB. I would also add another Domestic Sleepers to prevent yourself from having to score 3 5/3s.

I was thinking about a deck very similar to this just yesterday, just using neural emp instead of scorched earth. Ultimately though, Cerebral imaging still suffers from a Feast or Famine syndrome. You’re still relying on them to not hit a Mushin’ed agenda. Granted, you’re making the choice a rough one, but you will still play against runners who win by pure luck, which is what I think keeps this from being a top tier choice.

I had a similar idea, except mine only advances to 3 and tries to score Mandatory Upgrades and 3/2s. This has some benefit in that you can Mushin No Shin a Psychic Field, which my deck includes in order to have SOME recourse against expose effects. It packs a singleton Project Ares to Mushin after the first Mandatory Upgrades.

It’s won both by flatline and agendas, and lost to a runner with Infiltration. It allllllmost won again the Infiltration Runner, but didn’t have the 3rd EMP in hand when it needed it.

Runner usually shouldnt be able to maintain complete R&D lock as I have a lot of drawing power, Jacksons and taxing ices, but still multi access is very dangerous as for every corp deck. Runner ignoring your remotes allows you to score first 5/3, but the second one is very dangerous if Domestic sleepers are in play. While runner is keeping you to score your agendas I would delay scoring Domestic sleepers, because I dont want to stress matchpoint without having second 5/3 scored if he keeping your remotes untouched. In case you are ballsy enough you could leave both 5/3 on the table and score them both in following turn.

Understood, but in some aspects similar to JI:PE. Threat is high, but good calls can win you a game as well. But for me it was my personal meta call for the recent tournament. From previous JIPE experiences, I knew some players plays strategy to run every remote and I use it (it was one of the flatlines in original post, that game took literally 5 turns)

Infiltration is very tricky for such archetype. I had to Mushin No Shin Jackson once just to get rid of SoT while was infiltration in runner’s discard. Unpleasant delay

I think what @MadmanMSU is getting at is that this deck is more prone to swings of chance. Jinteki: PE reduces the luck factor, because you’ll install both a lot of traps and a lot of agendas over the course of the game, so if I’m just guessing, I need to guess consistently really well. Whereas with this deck, one or two good guesses would get me most of the points I need to win.

Plus, unlike PE, you have no way to punish digging on centrals (e.g., Snare!, Shock!, Fetal AI, PE ID).

This is one reason why I like Mandatory Upgrades / Cerebral Overwriter as the Mushin target (with Project Ares for late-game). Guessing wrong only costs you 2 points, but gets you very close to winning by Neural Flatline / Scoring 3/2’s.

I think, post-The Source, that I will move to some combination of ManUp / Overwriter / Psychic Field / Shell Corporation / Self-Destruct, and just always Mushin + Upgrade.

Actually very true. Thank you very much for this inside. I really enjoyed playing this deck due the beloved mind games. I will try to tweak it to see where I can get.

No IQ? That thing is super ridiculous when your hand size can grow to ten cards or more.

This is one of the few IDs that I don’t like Jackson Howard in. He doesn’t actually do much for you - HQ is usually a safer place for agendas to hide than R&D, so you don’t want to shuffle agendas back in (not to mention, it can be tricky to discard on demand due to the large hand size). You don’t want to shuffle in economy or tricks, you’d rather Archived Memories or Reclamation Order them back. And you don’t really need the draw power, because Blue/Green Level Clearance covers that for you.

Combined with the above, Executive Retreat seems an odd include. I’d go with all three Fragments and three Priority Requisitions as my 5/3s. While we’re waiting for the last Fragment, I’d run a Project Wotan, even with no Bioroids, over the Executive Retreat. Once you’ve started accumulating Neural EMPs in hand, or if you have the runner blocked out with a couple of 8+ strength IQs, you don’t want to have to shuffle your hand in to score an agenda.

You could try squeezing in 1x Off the Grid, for the sick combo with big HQ defense and Mushin No Shin. :smiley:

I don’t like IQ.

Your credit pool needs to be roughly twice your hand size to really even think about rezzing that thing. There are ways you can mitigate this - Successful Demonstration, make tons of money with Shell Corporation, a 1-of Eliza’s Toybox, but it’s still a pain in the ass.

And for all that? It still dies to Femme, D4v1d, and, like, Feint / Shutdown, Sneakdoor / Shutdown.

My build (which differs pretty substantially from OP’s, notably in that it doesn’t run PriReq) runs 13 ice, so I really want all of them to be almost-unconditionally useful. I might try 2x IQ in favor of the Ichi 2.0 and Heimdall 2.0 that I keep around to rez with late-game Shell Corp money. My Ichi 1’s are pretty good at making Femme cry, and IQ is good at making Atman cry.

So, I spend 12 Inf on 3 Mushin and 3 EMP, and I don’t think Off The Grid has a place in that build, and since I don’t think I pack enough ice to fortify HQ enough.

I do think that there is a decent CI build with the Inf spread 3x Mushin, 2x Off The Grid, 3x Crisium Grid, and I also think IQ would be pretty good in that build. It’d be a different build, because you could spend the card slots I currently spend on Cerebral Overwriter and Psychic Field on ice and shore up HQ a little more.

I agree with this. I cut him for Psychic Field.


I was (and I guess I am still) considering presence of IQ in deck, but rezzing is a bit tricky as runners have tools to deal with it quite cheaply. Especially when Blue Sun is expectated in tournament field.

I found JH to be very useful card in my deck. First reason is popularity of Noise, second is Mushin No Shin synergy (new server has to be created) because you need sometimes overwrite your trap to get it in discard pile and lure it back with Archived Memories to be ready for another round of mind game and third point is card draw. In this deck I am heavily relaying to get Mushin No Shin and Cerebral Overwritter asap.

Against Noise, I actually usually Mushin Project Vitruvius in preference to Mandatory Upgrades. Being able to grab 3 milled Agendas out of Archives really messes with his plan.

My deck runs Shell Corporation, and I just throw that on failed Cerebrals and use it to make money.