Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

[Kate] Redefining Shaper Control Decks

I’m pleased to see more aggressive Shapers out there, but now that Spin Cycle is coming to a close and Corporations are more menacing than ever, Runners need to be able to take control once the Corp fends off the initial onslaught.

In my Kate Blitz thread, I sought a means of sustaining pressure with lightweight breakers. However, recent contributions to the thread demonstrated another possibility: what if we work backwards and instead focus on the ideal control rig, with the objective of getting it online as quickly as possible? A tall order, as Corps are now as quick as they are powerful. Let’s delve further!

Shaper control rigs come in two flavors. We have beefy, MU-hogging programs, and we have Atman. The best means of installing the former is cheating it into play, either via Stimhack/Workshop, or Test Run/Scavenge. I think Atman is the better option, for three reasons:

  • It’s less influence and MU-intensive, allowing more flexibility elsewhere
  • It doesn’t rely on a combo to cheat into play, increasing consistency
  • It can be modeled after The Collective, the most successful Shaper archetype to date.

Let’s start building. I build very methodically, likening the components to human anatomy.

Organ System. The identity and core components. I think Kate is far and away the best Shaper identity, especially for our goal in mind. I’ll assume we’ve decided Atman is going to be the linchpin, so moving on.

Skeletal System. A program and hardware suite will help provide structure and act as springboard for the rest of the deck. For Katman, Datasucker is essential. Other considerations include but are not limited to SMC, Clone Chip, Inti, Mimic, Sharpshooter, Deus X

Muscular System. We need an economic engine capable of supporting the deck against both fast advance and glaciers. I have found this very challenging as of late. To address fast advance, event economy and Armitage Codebusting are our top contenders; and against glacier decks, we need sustained economy provided by Kati Jones or Magnum Opus.

Nervous System. Multiaccess, subterfuge, and hat tricks to give us an edge. Indexing or R&D Interface? Account Siphon, Imp, Parasite, De-Rez? Let’s remember, we want to come out of the gate swinging. Parasite is a no-brainer due to synergy with Datasucker and Atman. The other variables will determine the deck’s relative pressure in each stage of the game, and emphasis should be placed on making our worst games/matchups better, rather than extending a sizable lead.

Now to assemble the pieces.

In the spirit of The Collective, I think we should focus on speed and efficiency. In this vein, I think we should move away from Magnum Opus and Armitage, and even Kati Jones; and towards an event-driven economy. We need to draw into our core components and economy rapidly, and Prepaid VoicePAD should aid us immensely. (Thank you @spags for revisiting this economic alternative!)

I’m going against the grain and public opinion by electing Indexing rather than R&D Interface. Indexing allows us to apply pressure early, collects more intel, avoids traps, and synergizes with the cheap runs Atman provides. I am, however, open to slotting one R&D Interface if deckspace allows, to double R&D efficiency and lightly lock down R&D.

For special cards, we want to hit the ground running, and have options to pressure fast advance. Knight seems like a fantastic candidate. It will help us if locked out of centrals after a virus purge, forces the Corp to ice the remote two-deep, and frees up deckspace that would otherwise be devoted to Inti (for Wraparound).

Here’s the deck I’ve been playing and tweaking for the past couple weeks, with great success:


Kate “Mac” McCaffrey: Digital Tinker (Core Set)

Event (20)
3x Diesel (Core Set)

3x Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control)

1x Escher (Creation and Control)

3x Indexing (Future Proof)

1x Levy AR Lab Access (Creation and Control)

3x Lucky Find (Double Time) •• •• ••
3x Quality Time (Humanity’s Shadow)

3x Sure Gamble (Core Set)

Hardware (10)
2x Akamatsu Mem Chip (Core Set)

3x Clone Chip (Creation and Control)

2x Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead)

3x Prepaid VoicePAD (Second Thoughts)

Resource (1)
1x Same Old Thing (Creation and Control)

Icebreaker (7)
3x Atman (Creation and Control)

1x Deus X (A Study in Static)

2x Knight (Mala Tempora) •• ••
1x Pipeline (Core Set)

Program (7)
3x Datasucker (Core Set) • • •
1x Parasite (Core Set) ••
3x Self-modifying Code (Creation and Control)

Does anyone have any suggestions or questions in regards to this deck, or a proposed alternate solution to finding a fast, efficient Shaper control rig?

Special thanks to those that contributed to the Kate Blitz thread. Hopefully this will get as much if not more discussion!


In short, the biggest mistake I’ve seen Atman decks make is focus too much on making their deck as efficient as possible, rather than maintaining early pressure and actually getting to the stage in which efficiency matters. If the corp has scored 4+ AP by that point, it’s probably too late. Hence I think Professional Contact, MO, and R&D Interface are not ideal candidates for economic efficiency.

I think this is an excellent deck and I dig the Prepaids. Is 1 SOT enough, and why the Pipeline at all? No Sharpshooter instead?

1 Like

I didn’t read the whole post yet, but I like the deck. Wraparound is a worry, no? Hate to waste a Knight on it, and it’s in every NBN, which are popular (I’ve heard).

I love Atman builds. Can be quite efficient. My sparring partner who T4’d piloted a NoiseMan deck to the overall #1 seed at Gencon. That deck brought unexpected alacrity combined with the grind that was Noise.

Sadly, Howard murdered that build. We’ve been trying to revitalize the corpse, but it’s still quite limp.

Are Destroyers a concern? With Clone Chips, prob. not. What about FA, sitting on Agendas in hand? I like Indexing, but how efficiently can this run multiple times a turn? 3x Desperado really helped previously successful Katman builds. Not saying it’s necessary, but it helps an aggro deck.

Ah yes, I forgot to explain Pipeline. Currently the only Destroyer programs are strength 0, 4, 5, and 6. The latter options are above Mimic’s range, I’ll have an Atman at that strength anyways, and are moderately easy to predict, especially with Indexing.

Therefore, in regards to Sentries we need to be worried about two things. The first and more concerning is Swordsman (which takes out Knight as well), and the second is damaging ice such as Tsurugi and the upcoming Komainu. They are far too taxing to want to break even with Mimic, Atman, or Pipeline, so I need to prioritize Parasiting them. Problem is I need them to be rezzed before using Parasite (unless I burn an SMC or CC every time), so Pipeline is more than good enough for this purpose. I could sacrifice the third Datasucker, but I don’t see the need.

So in short, any Sentry at or above 3 strength I’ll have Atman, and anything below I have Parasite or Pipeline. The only case I can make for Sharpshooter is Corporate Troubleshooter on a Destroyer, but I still have to pump at a 1:2 rate vs Corp and recurring anything trashed isn’t that big of a deal in this unlikelihood.

Having an Inti, Mimic, Sharpshooter, or more SOTs would be great, but I want to consolidate this deck to increase potency rather than focus on fringe cases.


I don’t really have a more coherent reply other than “ye gods I love Knight and Atman together in Shaper”. I’ll have to build this.


Overall, love the list. I do have to say one thing, though:

Indexing by itself is great, but if there’s one thing the tournaments with my aggro-CT deck have taught me, it’s that Indexing’s greatest plays are enabled by having one RnD interface out. Once you have that, it stops being just “run RnD twice in one turn to steal the best one out of the top five cards”, you get much more freedom in how to set the situation up. Not only can you steal more points off a particularly fertile Indexing, you can make multi-turn plays much more safely. The extra card accessed means you don’t have to guess completely correctly about how many cards the Corp will draw, you have a margin of error at your disposal.

That extra turn of leeway has won me more than just one game, and I’d really hate to lose it. What to cut from the list though, I have no idea.

Edit: after looking long and hard at your list, I feel like the most disposable card is the third Quality Time. That’s what I’d cut for an Interface.


apreche from BGG’s kate list which ive become a big fan of.

Kate “Mac” McCaffrey: Digital Tinker

Event (16)
3 Dirty Laundry
3 Indexing
1 Infiltration
2 Scavenge
1 Stimhack
3 Sure Gamble
3 Test Run

Hardware (7)
3 Clone Chip
2 Grimoire
2 Plascrete Carapace

Resource (7)
3 Daily Casts
2 Kati Jones
2 Same Old Thing

Icebreaker (6)
2 Atman
1 Deus X
1 Femme Fatale
1 Inti
1 Sharpshooter

Program (9)
3 Datasucker
3 Parasite
3 Self-modifying Code

i feel your deck and his are very similar in spirit but in the end i think i like his list better mainly because his econ package can go long and he can kill problem ice more reliably ie hive, swordsman etc. he also has tricks like test run femme/parasite, infiltration, stimhack, scavenge atman/femme to handle a very wide variety of situations which i feel is the most important thing the runner has to be able to do to maintain constant pressure.

Last week I got destroyed by similar deck as posted by @Lysander. It had replicator and test run. Replicator to get 3 copies of prepaid and with 3 copies, test runs were free… With a femme he had great tricks.

@Lysander, one question for you: would you consider my CT build a representative of this archetype or not? When I play it, it definitely feels like a control deck, as it’s aiming to shut the opponent down with the combination of credit denial, repeated Indexing and later Chakana to interfere with scoring agendas out of hand.

I can see the argument going both ways (it does aim to win through a combination of early pressure and repeated Indexings, yet the program suite is enough of its own thing, not falling into either of your two options), so I’m curious.

I would find a way to add at least 2 Test Runs, as they are excellent for Parasite recursion and they work well with the PADs. I’d probably cut a Quality Time and the Escher for them.

I also like Sharpshooter over Pipeline but might just be personal preference. Sharpshooter and Test Run also combine well, of course.

For my part, I think your deck really don’t need those two knight. You already dit enough solution to run early on. The pipeline also feel a Lil bit out of place.

If I would make any modification it would probably be:

  • 2 knight
  • 1 pipeline
  • 1 quality time
    +1 sharpshooter
    +1 corroder
    +1 mimic
    +1 stimhack / yog / copycat (need to be tested)

in this kind of situation I think I would also remove a single atman for a R&D interface since you got more dedicated breaker.

[Edit] At second thought, I feel one femme instead of the mimic would probably work better, I can also remove the Corroder for Inti and make some space to play a grimoire with the last inf going either for either a yog or a stimhack.

This is definitely a twist, but I’m struggling with a few things.

First, aren’t two Desperados still better than 3 Lucky Finds? Desperado makes them Ice Archives, gives you an MU, and will sometimes net even more profit than three LFs.

Kudos for Prepaid VoicePad, but isn’t it just bad card design? You need three uses to break even, and then it’s still just a 1 credit conditional discount, Even though it has the benefit of being hardware, surely any other econ card would be better. Have you had luck with these?

Knights are an interesting fallback plan, but running 3 Parasites can ensure you never need a fallback plan. You say the goal of this deck is to blitz, and the Corp can’t really set up a remote if you’re constantly digging a hole to one of their centrals with Datasucker and Desperado installed. No one does Ice destruction better than Kate with her discount, 3 Clones, 3 SMCs. I’d give her her 3 Parasites; it’s a card I’m always happy to see in my opening hand.

Pipeline to deal with Swordsman, really? How about Parasite, Sharpshooter, or even Deus X to deal with Swordsman if it does show up? Atman is your sentry breaker with Sharpshooter/Deus X for emergencies.

I’ve found using singletons of Snowball and ZU.13 to complement Atman to be effective. I used to have a Cyber Cypher, but I’m killing Tollbooths, not running through them, and I’ve found ZU to be more versatile against small Code Gates I don’t want to waste ammo on. Plus, I run Aesop’s, so it can be installed free and sold if I don’t need it.

I liked running Inti–the 0 install was very sweet, but I’ve lost games because it was shutdown on me repeatedly. After that game I started running one Snowball. It sucks to install, but it’s nice to know you can’t be locked out by the plethora of small barriers. They have one in every strength now :smile:

I’ve found Levy AR to be crucial if the game goes long, It competed with Escher for a slot for a long time, and I found that I actually wanted Levy more often than Escher’s awesomeness.

I agree with Indexing over RDI. Indexing is good against Weyland and Jinteki, and you want to be hitting centrals multiple times anyway.

For econ I like Aesop’s, Armitage, and Daily Casts with Desperado, Sure Gamble and Dirty Laundry. I actually fooled around with Ice Analyzer and enjoyed it, though I’m not sure if it was just because of Aesop’s, that Saving Grace of bad cards. NBN has made me kick Pro Contacts and Kati to the curb. It doesn’t hurt that bad to have an Aesop’s killed, and Desperado is often all the econ you need.

Lastly, for card draw I run 3 Diesel, and 2 more slots where John Masanori and Quality Time competed for a while. Quality Time won out, and I’m pretty sure it’s the right choice. However, my inner Johnny still wants Desperado, Datasucker, and Masanori running at the same time.

1 Like

Yeah, @Nordrunner was running a Replicator/Prepaid deck. Maybe you hit his? He’s on OCTGN enough. :wink:

If you haven’t played with Prepaid, especially out of Kate (it costs 1 usually), you don’t understand its efficiency. The idea of this deck is speed, settling into control in the mid game. 1 Parasite is usually good enough with recursion in an Atman deck. To me, Wraparound is more of an issue than Swordsman. Hence, the Knights. If they kill the Wrap to kill the Knight, that’s a minor victory.

I’ve always been a fan of a Femme in these style of dex, but she is pricey. Creates plenty of problems in the mid game, though.

Honestly, theory crafting ‘improvements’ for this deck is easy to do. I’d recommend trying it before immediately throwing it on the fire. Like previous Atman builds, it takes experience and skill to pilot it well; the toolbox-y one Peekay put up even more so!

1 Like

Well, if Wraparound is the real issue, why shouldn’t we just play Inti / Corroder instead ? It doesn’t cost influence and it can be played mid-run, something you can’t do with Knight.

You can. My version of this has one Inti just for that situation. Lysander’s trying to up the speed build. Running Siphon is awesome econ, sure, but it DOES rely on getting into HQ early/often. I’ve had opponent’s sniff that out, and double ICE HQ early, one time Oversight’ing an Archer (!).

Guess my reputation preceded itself. :wink:

The idea behind Prepaid/Gamble/Lucky/Laundry is that you can pretty easily blast cheaper econ quickly, early, regardless of the opponent’s board position.

Well, I feel Knight isn’t really needed if you don’t plan to make early siphon (which this deck could since it run pretty much no ressource at all). Atman deck could usually go through one/two ICEs servers early on really easily so I don’t feel Knight was that needed there.

So I tinkered a bit and the result is actually this:

Fastman 2.0 (45 cards)

Kate “Mac” McCaffrey: Digital Tinker

Event (22)
3 Diesel
3 Dirty Laundry
1 Escher
3 Indexing
1 Levy AR Lab Access
3 Lucky Find
2 Quality Time
1 Stimhack
3 Sure Gamble
2 Test Run

Hardware (8)
1 Akamatsu Mem Chip
3 Clone Chip
1 Grimoire
3 Prepaid VoicePAD

Resource (1)
1 Same Old Thing

Icebreaker (7)
3 Atman
1 Deus X
1 Femme Fatale
1 Inti
1 Sharpshooter

Program (7)
3 Datasucker
1 Parasite
3 Self-modifying Code

I also feel something should be removed to make room for a single RDI, but so far i’m not sure on what.


Alright, good to see some discussion. Impending monster post, as I attempt to address everything. First and foremost, I do think this build can be improved upon and am open to criticism and completely changing gears if the need arises.

Regarding Prepaid VoicePAD, Kate and Lucky Find in conjunction make it playable. It nets a profit after two operations, and can still be played with a Sure Gamble on turn one (something Andy can’t do). Spending one click and a credit to make Sure Gambles 25% better sounds like a good deal to me. How about a thought experiment. Let’s say I get 2 of my 3 VoicePADs installed and am able to discount 2/3rds of my events (generous considering I have LARLA at my disposal). That means I’m spending 2c and 2 clicks, and getting a 2c discount on 9 events, saving me 18c. Now imagine if I get a third VoicePAD online or use LARLA. It’s econ that scales as I need it, and even using Same Old Thing on Lucky Find nets me 8c in 4 clicks with 2 VoicePADs - the equivalent to Magnum Opus efficiency!

@PeekaySK Nice deck! I would say it’s an Aggro deck with control elements to shore up weaknesses. Reason being is that it’s primary focus is Subterfuge and it runs relatively cheap, inefficient breakers (against beefy ice, that is). It looks solid though and I honestly have no idea which is more important between aggro and control. Probably highly meta-dependent. As for R&D Interface, I agree having one in this deck would be nice. The original deck had just 2 QTs, and I found it performed much, much better with the third on two levels: first, it boosted my economy further, since it allowed me to cycle through my event-driven economy faster; and second, I’ve actually had games where all three Atman and all three SMCs were on the bottom half of the deck (serious WTF games).

Regarding Femme, Test Run, Knight vs Parasite, and Pipeline (lol 17 people clicked the link on it to check it out).
I agree Test Run has very nice implications on a VoicePAD deck, and deserves ample consideration (as does Femme if TR makes the cut). I’m eager to see anyone else make these tools work for control decks with VoicePAD. The reason I didn’t incorporate them is that they’re reliant on each other (the only other reasonable target for TR is Sharpshooter or Parasite), and I just don’t have enough deckspace. It’s been a while since I played with 3x Parasite in Atman, and perhaps it deserves another look. I had felt as though Knight has more lategame uses, and one Parasite with recursion would be enough for my needs, and two more would only mean two more uses, and that I would be less likely to burn an SMC on one. As for Pipeline, honestly I’m simply predicting everyone and their mother will go either Komainu or Tsurugi post-H&P, leaving the only other popular sentry choices below 5 strength Caduceus, Guard, and Rototurret, all of which are fairly easy to Parasite or if I must, install an Atman in the case of Caduceus.

edit: @Calimsha, I actually really like that direction. I’ll give it a shot and tinker with it for the next couple days and report back!


Give me your feedback because i’m thinking about playing this deck (or some variation) on my third CP this weekend.