What do we expect to see played in the upcoming continental championships? I’m thinking the new runners will be represented quite well (especially Arissana), plus Personal Evolution, Reality Plus (with all the new tagging cards), maybe some rigshooter?
Any bets on what decks will win?
I think a Weyland kill deck will emerge, since Gaslight and Pivot gives you all the operations you need, at any time, to play a double EotL. Even a MAD for 6 tags is enough in most cases.
I’m not convinced that R+ has necessarily gotten better with rotation. It now has a lot of ways to drain the Runner’s credits by forcing them to remove tags, which it likes, but its tag punishment is somewhat suspect with no BOOM! nor High-Profile Target. Generally speaking it now needs a two-card combo in order to meaningfully punish tags, and the problem with that is hand space: tagging-heavy decks already had trouble fitting all the situational operations in hand, and if you need a two-card combo as a finisher, that makes things even worse. The Archived Memories ban also hurts a lot (because Archived Memories allowed you to effectively use Archives to store all your situational tag punishment cards, pulling them back only when you need them – I have a suspicion that that card has been broken for ages but people only noticed fairly recently).
I expect some people to be running R+ out of inertia, but suspect that they won’t do very well (unless the deck radically changes form).
I think Freedom may be pretty good now: he lost less to rotation than most Anarchs did, due to being less dependent on conspiracy breakers than many Anarchs were, and has gained a very powerful new card in Audrey v2. The worst matchup for the Freedom/Audrey deck seems to be glacier, which is a really good worst matchup to have if you want to win a tournament (because glacier isn’t popular and normally gets beaten by everything else).
Arissana played in the intended “spam trojans everywhere” seems to be very strong, but hard to play well – the skill ceiling is very high. I’ve had quite a bit of success with that deck on jinteki.net, despite not having a particularly tuned list and frequently misplaying, but don’t play it often because it makes my head hurt. (One early sign of a strong deck may be that you can misbuild it and misplay it and it continues to win anyway.) I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few Arissana players do very well, but expect that most of the field will be playing something else. (I also have a suspicion that there may be a second Arissana deck out there, which is not primarily trojan-based and instead uses her ability to install programs that are going to be trashed during the run anyway, such as Self-Modifying Code or Mayfly – it might even use World Tree. I’m not yet sure what that deck looks like, though.)
One final thought is that the rotation of conspiracy breakers may trigger a resurgence of rigshooter. I was doing decently well with a rigshooter deck even in the Endurance metagame – Endurance relies on regular breakers in order to gain its charge counters, so if you can trash those you can eventually lock out the Endurance too. Rigshooter hasn’t gained much from The Automata Initiative itself, but it gained a lot of good cards in Borealis and has also gained from rotation, and it has the advantage that teching a deck against rigshooter tends to make it somewhat worse against everything else, so many Runners don’t bother. It has, however, lost one key card (Sapper) which is hard to replace (the other program-trashing sentries are somewhat harder to rez), which may hold back its power somewhat.
I expect big/reg Hoshiko to be the bread and butter. Even losing the bin breakers, it’s resilient and has lots of good econ/draw. Bankhar is still a massive pita. I think competitive or semi-competitive players will tend to stick to simple, known quantities. Until something better comes along.
Arissana seems really good, UAV is great, better than Net Mercur even. I expect there’ll be a good deck out of Ari, but it’ll take some time and testing to see it (hence why we’ll probably see more Hoshikos in the short term).
I agree that Freedom also got a lot of powerful tools, Audrey, yes but also Solidarity Badge. Definitely the dark horse pick.
I also think that 419 could still be relevant. With IP Block/Macrophage gone, as well as giant ice like Chiyashi and Bulwark, there’s not a lot of counters to Aumakua out there, and any corp that isn’t running Mavirus or the Jinteki Operation purge, are really going to struggle making ice relevant. Also Hermes is really good for Turtle 419 as it makes it that much harder to shore up servers and purge.
Corp-wise, that’s the bigger question IMO. I think PE’s going to remain a strong deck, especially ones that can score (Fujii is much better for scoring). There’s also a Punitve RH deck out of Jinteki that I’ve been playing that seems okay (mostly due to the new accessing rules + Bacterial Programming, and Your Digital Life).
There’s probably a tagging deck and an Outfit, but I don’t know what they are.