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Is Plascrete the Optimal Choice?

Continuing the discussion from Redefining Shaper Control Decks:

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. Is Plascrete really the optimal choice? Sure, it’s the best protection against SE, but there are other ways to punish tags, including the soon-to-be-released Bad Times.

The card I’ve been most seriously considering to replace Plascretes in my decks is New Angeles City Hall. It protects against literally all tag punishment, but at the cost of fragility. I predict it’ll be best in decks which cycle through their cards quickly, like Shapers with multiple Diesels, QTs, as well as a Levy or two. However, being unable to perform a serious run if I’m worried about Scorch and I don’t have the next copy of NACH in hand is a serious downside.

Of course, there are other alternatives as well, such as Decoy, and if you’re only worried about Scorch, a strong econ could suffice. The CT deck referenced in the quote ran Magnum Opus to avoid SEA Scorch Scorch, for example. Thoughts?


NACH has always been nice. Pals around well with Siphon, too, in Connection decks.

Not as rock solid as Plas, but more versatile.

Plascrete may only hard counter scorched earth, and if you’re playing resource economy, you probably need protection that actually prevents tags, rather than defending you from damage. However, Plascrete doesn’t just protect against scorched earth, as it might first appear. It actually allows you to entirely eschew clearing tags (at the risk of closed accounts), meaning that playing plascrete carapace has an effective cost of 0 (2 credits and a click you didn’t spend on a tag), and only gets better with every tag you walk through.

You absolutely can play cautiously and avoid tags just by being prudent with your runs, and making sure you can always beat a trace, but a plascrete allows for much more aggressive play, and means you can sit at 4 cards rather than 5 and still resist a double scorch.

There is also the issue of card type, because resources being the most vulnerable to tags means you have to be impenetrable or it becomes kind of moot (IMO). A hardware or program that had a little more protection against tags and/or meat damage would change my mind, but for now, I think the hive has spoken. That isn’t to say, specific decks/players won’t have a good reason not to run it, but in aggregate, its unanimously the best.

Like I said, it also protects aggressive play much better, in the same way that snitch is awesome because you can make runs you never would have made if you were worried about surprise Archers (or whatever ICE bones your deck). Plascrete means I can make runs even if I can’t beat a tag trace, which is valuable.

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My preference (in non-tag-me decks) is to be able to keep up with the corp on credits, but Scorched CI has essentially destroyed that plan. I love Decoy because it’s much stronger against Scorched CI than Plascrete and isn’t a dead card against non-meat damage decks, but

  1. It’s SO much influence (and if you are Criminal then you’re probably running Account Siphon, which is better with Plascrete or Crash Space (though in Andy I like how it can help you avoid having to discard cards on your first turn))
  2. It doesn’t work against Midseason Replacements

My current solution is to play Kate with QT/Diesel - Plascrete only 2 to install and the card draw makes it less annoying to draw when it’s a dead card.

If and only if you don’t have a single resource in your deck that you care about and the corp isn’t exploiting tags in any way other than Scorched Earth…

I think we could see a shift away from Plascrete in the new cycle. Tarus makes hardware solutions unreliable and is in-faction for Weyland. Tag prevention is one possibility, but another idea that could become viable is hand extension. A nine card hand puts you beyond the reach of two Scorched Earths, and we know that Duggar’s has a “draw 10” ability…

I’ve always been partial to NACH, and will probably revisit it as this cycle progresses.

I love NACH as much as everyone else here, but the downside is that window after a steal when it self-trashes.

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What about Fall Guy?

Fall Guy is great! But also only in faction for Criminals and susceptible to its own timing issues. If you were, say, playing Iain + a ton of resources already it’s easy to use Fall Guy. Otherwise you’d have to make sure you wanted to devote the card slots.


Plascrete protects against Punitive counterstrike.

Once you received a big pile of tags from Midseason Replacement, the City Hall won’t help you.

Pity Team Red needs plascrete more than any other faction, though ;).

Ye gods I hope Anarch keeps getting cool cards that turn on when they’re tagged.

Plascrete is very Anarch, and Crash Space/Decoy are very criminal, and fall guy was exactly what they needed to make running those pieces stronger. The problem? Deck slots. A criminal that has the real estate for some combination NACH/decoy/crash space, AND can afford a regimen of fall guys, is just so unlikely. I think there needs to be something that let’s you get a little more work out of those cards in order to keep deck space down (the connection money was a good start).

I played Freelancer at both Nats and Worlds last year :).


I know you meant Decoy, but NACH has the same problem (which I forgot about, oops). But even then Plascrete won’t help against Psychographics, which could lose you the game anyway.

Perhaps Magnum Opus, once out, is the best overall way to deal with tags. It protects from SEA, Punitives, and Midseasons, and lessens the impact of Closed Accounts. And unlike other methods of dealing with tags, it’s great against (almost) anyone.

Y’know, MO really does seem like the best bet now that I think about it. Plas doesn’t help against CA or Midseasons --> Psychographics, NACH doesn’t help against any Midseasons or Punitives and doesn’t allow the same aggression as Plas, Decoy loses to Midseasons, Punitives, and Breaking News, but allows more aggression than NACH… only MO beats all of these, and is great in general to boot.

Obviously MO has its own downsides. I think it’s good there’s no universally perfect method of beating tags. If there was, there would be no reason to use anything else.

In sum, if one wants aggression, there’s Plas and Decoy, which each have their own merits and drawbacks. If one wants an influence-free, less aggressive version of Decoy which also deals with Breaking News, then there’s NACH. If one wants a way to deal with all tags at the cost of having to go with a phase 3 deck, then there’s Magnum Opus.

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Wow, it’s almost as if every strategy has a counter-strategy that can be exploited.
Someone should make that into a game! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Some other alternatives might be better in the right match-up, like a Decoy against a deck with single tagging into SE, but Decoy doesn’t help against Midseasons.

Plascrete is simply the best all around defense against Scorched Earth.

Crash Space would be cool if it was hardware, but as resource is too weak.

Crash Space is mostly superior when you plan on doing some light to moderate self-tagging, though. It doesn’t help when you’re stuck in tag-hell, sure… but for instance, it makes Ravens much more manageable if you’re intent on not getting owned by tags.

(also, Taurus)

People should forget about this. There isn’t an immediate defence to it apart from having a boat load of money. New Angeles City Hall isn’t the answer; if you think about it, you could pay $2 to avoid the tag with NACH or $1 to boost your link in the Midseasons trace and take one fewer tag - i.e. the trace is twice as efficient.

Sure, you can play Papertripping to clear all tags the next turn but Midseasons has done its job by then. So your deckbuilding options are to defend single tags (which is NACH or Decoy) and / or meat damage prevention / absorption - for which there are a lot more solutions.

Crash Space isn’t actually a terrible shout. It defends against SEA/Scorched/Scorched because the Corp doesn’t have enough clicks to trash it first - you still need a five card hand though. So if you can utilise the free credits most turns then it’s less of a dead draw in other matchups. The other option is to play cards which boost your hand size.

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Not necessarily. Midseason’s strength is that it turns the single-turn scorch kill into a multi-turn affair, where the turns don’t have to be adjacent (because of how many tags are bestowed). This in turn allows things like “tag now, dig for more Scorcheds, kill later” and “tag now, triple-scorch through a carapace eventually”.

There’s only two cases where Paper Tripping doesn’t pretty much nullify Midseasons:

  • Midseasons/Scorch/Scorch - yeah, sure, whatever. Functionally the equivalent of Sea/Scorch/Scorch, but with both a higher upfront cash requirement, and with bigger influence costs. Also, way trickier opportunity windows.
  • Midseasons/Closed Accounts - this will stop you from playing Paper Tripping (because Priority), and will essentially extend the Scorching window by one more turn, as you click for credits. Still, unless they actually have the kill in hand, you can pull out pretty easily, so PT still did its job.

For any other case, Paper Tripping is actually really solid.