Edit: This started as a thread for my particular version of NEXT, but has become a general thread about making NEXT work. Feel free to experiment!
I've been trying to make NEXT Design work for a while now, and I think I've finally gotten it to a good place. It's a very strong identity, because it solves one of HB's biggest weaknesses: dying to early centrals pressure. Up to six extra clicks on your first turn is an extremely powerful effect.
This version of the deck borrows heavily from @Nordrunner's Red Coats deck, while stealing some concepts from Lluluien's NBN Never Advance. I originally considered just presenting this as a Red Coats variant, but I think it's different enough to warrant its own thread.
I've been having a lot of luck with the deck so far. It wins almost every casual game I play with it, and it went 5-1 at the recent Chicago regionals. Admittedly that was against middle-of-the-road competition, as my runner deck was terrible. But it took a game off the eventual second-place winner (our very own @Chill84), who was playing a very good Prepaid Kate deck.
- Next Design: Guarding the Net
- 3 Accelerated Beta Test
- 1 Mandatory Upgrades
- 3 NAPD Contract
- 3 Project Vitruvius
- 3 Adonis Campaign
- 3 Eve Campaign
- 2 Jackson Howard ••
- 2 Snare! ••••
- 3 Hedge Fund
- 2 Restructure
- 3 Eli 1.0
- 2 Heimdall 1.0
- 2 Heimdall 2.0
- 1 Wotan
Code Gate (7)
- 2 Enigma
- 2 Quandary
- 1 Tollbooth ••
- 2 Viktor 2.0
- 2 Caduceus ••••
- 2 Guard
- 2 Ichi 2.0
- 1 Rototurret
I generally play this very similarly to a typical HB glacier deck, though there is the potential for some early game rush in the right circumstances. A perfect first turn is three ice on R&D, HQ, and a remote, 1-2 transactions, and an Eve or Adonis in the remote. You can get out to ridiculous money leads if you make it hard for them to trash your money assets, and draw into your transactions at good times.
I generally end up with two or three iced remotes, one of which is my scoring remote. It's fine to put Eves or especially Adonises in the scoring remote, but try to avoid blocking yourself out if you sense a scoring window coming up. Spend most of your time gaining money, building the big remote, and defending your centrals. If you have several pieces of drip economy going, there's no shame in just clicking for credits or cards and building your economic lead.
Depending on the runner, you'll start seeing scoring windows maybe 5-7 turns in, sometimes sooner. Ash lets you turn money advantages into a huge scoring window almost singlehandedly (though of course you'll want to make the ice taxing enough that they can't just run twice). Best case scenario, you've got a Jackson Howard out, and you can trigger an Accelerated Beta test. But if not, just taking points is good. Always take points if you have a window.
The fact that 6 of your agendas are 3/2s means that you can install them without advancing. This makes it hard for them to tell the difference between Adonis, Snare!, and an agenda. Oftentimes, you can score the first agenda without them noticing. Eventually they'll catch on, which is the right time to start baiting out costly and fruitless runs. Watching someone stimhack into an Eve Campaign they can't trash is always fun.
Obviously NAPD requires an advancement when you install it, but luckily it's hard to steal anyway. Choosing between a 3/2 and an NAPD when both are in hand requires deciding whether surprise or cost is currently more important. An NAPD on an Ash can often be impossible to steal for a poor runner, even with relatively cheap ice.
Once you've gotten set up, you might just be able to spend a few turns doing nothing but installing and scoring agendas. (You can abandon the never advance game for chaining agendas as quickly as possible, if you feel safe enough. 3/2s mean you can score two agendas in three turns if you advance the first one at least once.) More likely, you'll have to watch your timing, and make a move after the runner has temporarily exhausted their resources. Either way, score every chance you get.
If you let the game go too long, you may eventually get to the point where you have 4-6 points, but the runner can get into any server. Unless something's gone really wrong, however, they won't be able to do that more than ~once per turn. This is when I start playing the bluff game with Snare! (and just assets), and trying to get them in a hole for at least one turn. Once I even used an economy server as a second scoring server, making it so they could steal one agenda but not both. While this phase is definitely winnable, it is one of the deck's weaker modes, so try to avoid getting here if possible. If they can't really threaten your centrals, and aren't just clicking MO every turn, prefer continuing to build up your remote and economy to bluffing.
I run all 2-pointers for a few reasons. The most important is that it puts a huge strain on your opponent if they can't tell the difference between an agenda, an economy asset, and a Snare!. I think it gives me more flexibility and room for interesting plays. Runners are good at getting in if they really have to, with things like Stimhack, Femme Fatale and Inside Job. Make them make hard decisions about when to use their tricks.
A less important reason is that I feel it makes the deck more consistent. The runner will get some early accesses, no matter how well you ice up first turn. While the agenda point density is the same, the variance is lower, and I'd rather them have a slightly-more-likely two-pointer than a slightly-less-likely three-pointer. Especially in tournament play, I think consistency is king.
NAPD is my choice for the 4/2, because its ability is just ridiculous. I've won many games due to a poor runner not being able to steal one off R&D or HQ. Additionally, it gives you the ability for cheeky plays with Ash and taxing ice early game.
Mandatory Upgrades is obviously the wildcard, and I wouldn't fault anyone who took it out. However, I find it useful. I've only actually installed it in a few games, but it felt great on those few occasions. Late-game Big Rig decks are a reasonably bad matchup, and having a way to punish the runner for giving up on early accesses is valuable.
Eve and Adonis are core parts of the deck. They give ridiculous amounts of money, and fit into the "never advance" strategy of forcing out runs. They're also reasonably taxing to trash, especially when behind some ice. I often put Adonis behind two or even three ice early game, and turn that server into my scoring server a few turns later.
Hedge Fund and Restructure are mostly there to get you rolling early game. You can get in a pretty bad hole if you don't have money to rez your drip economy and your early game ice. But you never mind seeing them lategame, either.
One of the best cards in the deck. It really should be running three, and I may still find a way to make that happen. Beyond the normal card draw and Noise-protection, JHow fulfills two important roles in the deck:
First, it's a good solution to early agenda flood. The math of NEXT's ability means that your opening hand will likely contain a couple agendas after you install and replace the ice, and more will build up over time. You're not going to score them all right away, so toss them (or all but one) in archives and let the runner get fruitless HQ accesses.
Second, it lets you trigger Accelerated Beta Test. As I said above, I believe consistency is key to a good deck, so I generally don't gamble on ABT's ability. But if JHow is out, I can do it in safety, and it can win games single-handedly.
This is another card that maybe should be 3x. It turns money into agenda points.
I've often made the mistake of installing him with economy assets early game. Don't do it! Keep him around for agendas.
I feel like you need at least one trap in this deck, to avoid the terrible lategame fate of being locked in by a runner who can run anything you can put down. Snare! is a good choice because it doesn't need to be advanced, and because it offers good R&D and HQ protection. The tempo hit on a surprised runner can often give you a lot of room to seal things up. Even just the psychological threat is powerful: I won one of my hardest regionals games due to my opponent freaking out after hitting his second Snare!, and choosing not to run the winning agenda.
I lean away from installing them early or mid game. They're great in your hand for hand protection, and you will want them late game.
That said, I wish they were just a bit more punishing. Some runners can afford to run a big server, eat a Snare!, and run again just fine next turn. If I ever switched to running 3-point agendas, I might consider something like Aggressive Secretary instead.
You have to run a lot of ice in this deck. It makes your first turn consistent, improves your ABTs, and just gives you lots of options for becoming the giant glacier you want to become. I wouldn't recommend going down by more than one ice, even though the deck is really hurting for card slots. I'd probably run more if I could.
The two splashes, Tollbooth and Caduceus, are both nuts in this deck. I'd run 3x of each if they were in faction. Tollbooth is a huge mid-to-late game tax, and Caduceus is great for protecting centrals. Depending on your priorities, you could plausibly go to 2x Tollbooth and 1x Caduceus, if you wanted to.
The rest of the ice is reasonably standard HB stuff. Eli 1.0 is amazing for centrals (and even remotes, with enough other ice), and the big bioroid ice make your scoring remote possible. I find Quandry and Enigma useful for sealing up centrals for the first few turns (or occasionally making cheeky remote plays), but you could reasonably replace them with more taxing ice if you preferred. I'm not sure I've ever actually used Wotan, so you could probably make it Janus or a third Heimdall instead.
Of all the elements of the deck, this is probably the place where the most experimentation is possible. I definitely need to do more testing with other ice compositions. This set has been working fairly well for me, though.
The existing ETF glacier decks are ridiculously strong, and I wouldn't blame anyone for just continuing to play them. But if you're looking for something that plays just a little bit different, while still hitting many of the same strengths, I think this is a worthy alternative. Let me know if you try it out!