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Mull or Keep by Miek

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/mull-or-keep-by-miek/

Discuss the latest article here.


I would argue for keeping Hand 8.

Getting MaxX to use a Siphon and then dodging it via a rez is a strong enough play that the ‘siphon weakness’ isn’t as big a deal as all that. Additionally, dodging Siphon that way makes it 1/4 chance they take the GFI, which is a thing you want to happen. (1/4 because Install SSCG, Install CBG, Credit is your first turn, and you draw a card too…) Additionally, it sort of forces the SSCG trash unless they want to let you have a rezzed SSCG for several turns. In which case you also get them tagged early for EOI/Psycho/Closed Accounts.

I think it’s a valid argument that baiting a Siphon and defeating it is better than overtly preventing Siphon in the first place. (Theoretically they do eventually become able to punch through and land Siphons; getting one of their potential Siphons out of the way is theoretically better than delaying it, as long as you don’t suffer too much.)

Finally, Hand 8 vs Hand 9 has better ratings, yet we keep 9 and mull 8? :wink:

Interesting stuff. I’m not convinced about this part, though:

“Overall, 50% of hands should be kept and 50% mulled”

What’s the justification?

Edit: I can guess it’s “if you have a 50% or better chance to improve starting hand you should take it”. However depending on the matchup it could also be that you only need a hand that’s “good enough” and for example 80% of starting hands satisfy the requirement. Or is that meant with the “, but variance means it can swing up or down a fair bit.” -part?

If you mulligan a hand (especially as Corp), it’s normally because you think you have a >= 50% chance of improving it. You could mulligan any hand that doesn’t include both ice and a political asset, but that increases your chance of mulliganing into a terrible hand. You’re right that it might be worth mulliganing less than 50% of the the time as Corp in some match-ups, because the risk of hurting your hand is more significant than the expected benefit.

As Runner, though, you can afford to a bit more aggressive mulliganing, since a “terrible” hand is less devastating, and the potential upside if you find the right starting card could be huge.

I don’t think it’s a 100% justifiable statement, but it’s not too bad. In any given matchup, there is (in principle) a win probability p associated to each starting hand. Sweeping the issue of risk under the table and assuming you want to maximize expected p, you want to mulligan if the expected increase in win probability is positive, and otherwise you don’t. Doing the math, this amounts to saying that you want to mulligan if the win probability of your starting hand is below the average win probability, and otherwise not. The article’s statement would be true if you replaced “average” with “median”, so it somewhat depends on how skewed the distribution of win probabilities over starting hands is.

More concretely this might boil down to whether you have key cards you need early to win. If you’re a non-Whizzard Anarch with a singleton Slums against CtM, for example, maybe your only out is Slums and you should mulligan for it, even though that means mulliganing more than 50% of hands.

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Generally the worst a matchup is the more you want to Mulligan, and the better it is the less you want to Mulligan.

Because you’re aiming to hit / avoid 20% percentile hands.


Yeah Hand 8 was definitely the one I was most unsure on. I originally had it as a keep but was convinced to change it by others. It seems hand 9 has a minor error in editing, its protection from siphon rating should be “average” not “mediocre”, which is why I rated it higher than hand 8.

I suppose I haven’t thought about this too hard. If the matchup is risky you might be willing to risk an average hand for a great one. By variance, I meant that although 50% of hands should be keep, only 10 hands means that we might not show that fully.

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In practice, a good MaxX player will make this line moot by running the assets first to make sure that you can’t duck the first siphon.

The worst case scenario is that they go:

  1. Sure Gamble
  2. Run and trash SanSan
  3. Run and trash Bankers Group
  4. Siphon

Note that this opening only requires two specific cards and optimal play, so you probably shouldn’t risk it happening if you can help it. If it does happen you have 1 credit, no board whatsoever and the runner is already rich. Most depressingly, depending on your draws, you still might not have any ice.

I’d definitely ditch hand 8.

As far as the ratings on hand 8 and hand 9 go, the key point here is that hand 9 is better in the most important category (not getting Siphoned in to the ground), while hand 8 is better in the other two, less important priorities.


That line of play only happens if the runner know exactly what was installed or doesn’t know that Mumbad Virtual Tour is a real card and not just an internet meme. Just because a line of play has a devastating counter, doesn’t mean you should assume the worst and avoid it.

Sure, the runner does know that MVT is a card, but they also know that Sensie Actors Union is a card and that leaving it to fire for even a turn can potentially swing the matchup. The DLR player is highly incentivised to check face down remotes in this matchup.

Obviously the exact line that the runner would take would largely depend on what they have in their hand. My main point is that hand 8 probably won’t duck a Siphon, purely because the runner should check the remotes beforehand. In fact they should probably do that whether of not they’ve got a Siphon; if they are planning to Siphon then it’s definitely the correct play because making sure people can’t rez assets to dodge your Siphon is Netrunner 101.


I can keep hand 4 and 7.

Mainly because hand 4 is funny to keep (so I agree I’m out of the scenario), and hand 7 is meh but C0 draw - C1 install turnpike - C2 - install ice or draw - C3 - sweep or install ice depending of what I drew twice can still work.

About hand 8, MVT on HQ + 1c + Commercial just kills Syphon DLR, so it’s a keep for me too. Ices on R&D will come easily with a T2 Install Rez Clic Jacky.

What is the MVT on HQ supposed to do? CtM usually doesn’t play Crisium, so you can’t bluff that, it doesn’t help dodging and Siphon replaces the access anyway, so no need to ever pay for trashing it …

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Dry the runner.

The thing is if he wants to Syphon + DLR + clicclic DLR, what happens, nothing ? There’s Jacky in hand.
If he trash commercial take the tag, syphon, DLR clic DLR same story.

clic 1c, trash DLR, Jacky.

I don’t think DLR install (without Fall Guy, WNP or clearing tags) is a play to expect here, but even if: Using Jackson and trashing DLR can be achieved without the MVT. It adds nothing to your plan, you just installed MVT on HQ where it will … I dunno, stay for the rest of the game, doing nothing? I’m stilling failing to understand what this install is good for.

Absolutely, without fail, if the Runner does Sure Gamble -> Run on Sansan, I’m rezzing that Sansan. I’d rather us both at 0 than me at 1 and him at 10.

I’m curious as to why that line is Optimal Play from the runner side. No matter what, without fail, you will always Gamble -> Run+trash two remotes -> Siphon vs CtM? That… doesn’t sound like a good plan, in my experiences with CtM…

Also, that line of play from the runner side is huge risk for little reward. If the Corp has a Closed Accounts you just did a whole lot of nothing. You’re basically banking on 1) No MVT installed, but there is an SSCG (Though I suppose that there’s probably an SSCG if the Corp clicked to 6 credits with an open HQ), 2) No Tag Punishment in hand (which is a big ask vs CtM, Tag Punishment Incarnate.) 3) What’s your goal in doing this? To land a single Siphon? I realize MaxX is about siphoning the corp into the ground, but that’s not really a realistic goal against CtM with Sensies and Bankers is it?

Your argument reminds me of the ‘Dies to Doom Blade’ argument. It’s not wrong, just that there’s other factors going on here… The hand is fine and offers play and game and a decent progression towards your win-state without actively contributing towards runner’s win-state.

I think there is a common misconception that DLR MaxX is all about setting up a critical mass of DLR and Fall Guys, then just mashing the win button. As much as the pros joke about DLR being a win button, it hardly is the case especially against CTM. (Hint: you’re not going to win if you let the Corp generate enough money to destroy your board, or find their win conditions).

If you are not controlling the Corp’s remote board state, you are in effect nullifying all your influence spent on Account Siphon, because you either allow them to duck siphons, or concede that you’ll never be able to Siphon-lock the Corp. The sheer power of political assets combined with the Siphon-ducking potential of SanSan gives MaxX too much reason to facecheck early remotes, hence the Gamble - 2x trash line of play is rather strong. With Siphon in my hand, following up with click 4 Siphon would definitely be at the forefront of my mind.

Of course, floating tags this early is a questionable risk because of Closed Accounts (CA) potential as you noted, but now that the Corp left themselves with 3 cards in hand and no Sensie on the board, it is a low enough risk worth taking - you come out way ahead if they don’t have CA. Ideally as MaxX you do want to shake the CTM tags during the first few turns while setting up your resource rig (and an Eater). It really depends on the ebb and flow of the game; I encourage you to try the matchup out for yourself several times, and see the difference an early landed Siphon makes :slight_smile:

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The problem is that the line of play causes Runner to have 2 credits and a tag, and CtM to have 0 credits, before last click. (Because when you run my SSCG, I’m going to rez it to avoid giving you 10 credits. It still makes sense to go check the second remote at this point, in which case trashing it is still also the best thing to do.) The last click wouldn’t be a siphon. At 2 credits, with a tag, your options are to either clear the tag or take a credit, leaving the siphon in hand.

This is why I think Hand 8 is still keepable. Even in the worst case scenario from the Runner, the Runner hasn’t actually advanced towards a win-state, and has in fact gone the other direction. The downside is that you also have no credits, but only in that exact counterplay from MaxX. Lots of other scenarios leave you more favored.

To put it another way, the floor isn’t that low, and the ceiling is high.

That may be true, but it’s also nothing that I said. I’ve played DLR Val a year ago and there’s a DLR MaxX player in my local meta. I understand that the actual point is to siphon them into the ground, but they are also trying to advance a board state as well. Trading two cards and 7 credits and a tag for two cards and 6 credits is not a favorable trade. Especially against a Corp with a strong econ from 0 like CtM.

EDIT: My ultimate verdict is Keep, but only because the hand is not actively bad, and it’s so easy to mulligan into unplayably bad hands as the Corp. Additionally, mulliganing as Corp is a flag for the Runner, telling them that it’s more likely that you don’t want the hand you have. Keeping a hand as Corp implies that the hand is good on its own and thus A) Doesn’t have agendas in HQ and B) Has a game plan that can be executed.

I generally keep about 60% of Corp hands, and 40% of Runner hands (or less). As was mentioned earlier, Runners have a better time of playing out from a ‘bad’ start, whereas Corp can get flooded and end up doing absolutely nothing before losing.

Any game I could play vs DLR, with an appropriate deck aka 3 Jackson / 3 Archived and/or Interns are wins.


If you mash the trash ressource button, they loose. That cost you around 30c per game. This is big money, yup, but any of those games are wins.


I like this article and feel like I really learned something about the matchup. Small suggestion: I would have liked to know how you would play the hands you decided to mulligan. Comparing the resulting boardstates of keeps and mulligans might make it a bit easier to see why some hands made the cut and some didn’t. Also, we need to have a plan for when we mulligan into bad hands.