Professor: Running in Hard Mode

Your wish is my command.

Vivat Academia

The Professor: Keeper of Knowledge (Creation and Control)

Event (13)

Hardware (9)

Icebreaker (8)

Program (15)

1 influence spent (max 1)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Fear and Loathing

Deck built on NetrunnerDB.

(also published on NRDB, as of now)

This version is actually different from what I played at the regional - if I had made these tweaks before the tournament and not afterwards, I’m pretty sure I’d have won the two games I lost by 1 credit/click. The tournament version:

  • was running three Diesels instead of the Moddeds
  • had two RDI in place of the Djinn and Medium
  • had a Chakana instead of an Escher

Playtesting shows that all the changes were strict improvements - for instance, Medium is much more valuable than RDI, because you’re not stuck having to hard-draw it. The Chakana ended up being too expensive in the matchups where I actually needed it.

One thing I’d like to do, but have no idea how, is to pack in some Same Old Thing - Scavenge is so insanely useful I’d really like to be able to play it more than 3 times per game (Levying is sorta out of the question, as it reshuffles the heap).

In the tournament, Keyhole and Imp were MVP. Imp turned out to be extremely potent because of how blatantly people kept leaving HQ open on turn one. I ended up TestRunning it a total of 5 times, if memory serves. Keyhole was another excellent target - usually I used TR for it and then ran with it 3 times, letting it bounce on top of the deck. Then, if they ICEd archives, I drew it, played it, and used it some more. If they shut down RnD, I just didn’t play it. And, in cases where they waited with the RnD shutout until I played the Keyhole again, I just Scavenged it into something else (usually Yog, occasionally Sneakdoor or Opus).

It’s most definitely a complicated deck to play, as you need to know your ins and outs vs. various ICE pieces (and for me at least, it was hard not to get mind-locked to any one of the myriad particular plays the deck can pull off), but it’s a lot of fun and can be incredibly flexible.

I’m wondering whether those CyberSolutions should be Leprechauns, but at the moment I’m not so convinced.

edit: If you’re really super-worried about Jinteki, you could drop something for a Mimic. I didn’t really find it all that necessary though - Femme, Atman and Parasite are totally ok for what you need to do, with Faerie in the guest role of an “oh shit” button.

(@SneakySly, may I be so bold as to request a split of the Prof posts into a Deck Archetypes thread?)


I’m wondering if those CyberSolutions could be Omni-Drives. Given Test Run, SMC and Clone Chip, you might not feel the awkward order-of-install issues quite so much. And the Prof is often strapped for cash.

You won’t save that much money (because you’ll need to get more of them on the table), and the loss of both flexibility (you can’t host Morningstar, Opus or SMC there) and actual MU will be felt gravely.

Earlier in the cycle, when I experimented with Prof, I was running into extreme memory issues, and that was with me running two Toolboxes and three Akamatsus. Cybersolutions Mem Chip is God’s gift to the Professor, in my opinion.

I’d swap in a Leprechaun just to compare them side-by-side. The chip is nicer if hit with an AggSec or something, but Leprechaun has the potential to be better value overall. I’m curious is dropping to two Opuses would be worth it, I imagine not.

I know you don’t like pre-building, but I’m curious what your thoughts are on Lamprey (as another open-HQ punisher), the hardware tutor (trading up to a Toolbox), and/or Code Siphon (as another tutor) for this deck?

Imp is one of the most underrated cards in Netrunner.

I was curious to see where you would spend the one influence. Datasucker isn’t glamorous but almost certainly the right call.

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Here’s my list of issues with Leprechaun:

  • It costs the same as Djinn, but has no tutoring ability
  • It is useless when you draw it in a situation where your memory is already full (say, you have an Opus and a SMC out) <-- this is a pretty common occurence with this deck (when you’re gated by memory, you’re gated by it already being full, not by having 1 MU free and needing a 2 MU program)
  • Extra AggSec vulnerability, which could be a problem as I’m not running expose. Given my shapery recursion goodness, losing 1-2 programs to an AggSec might be tolerable… losing 3 or 4 would definitely be an issue

And the list of upsides I see:

  • It’s tutorable
  • It can give me up to 3 MU, if I put two 2-MU programs into it

Given my current feel for the deck, I’d say the additional slow-down and vulnerability isn’t worth the tutoring. What I could do, however, is test it either in the Djinn, or in the Escher slots. That way, it’d become another option, rather than a replacement for Cybersolutions.

If you wanted to fully explore the Leprechaun angle, I’d say it goes well with an FCC-based Prof build.

To me, it doesn’t really make sense to be playing two Opuses (at least in this deck). Either I’m planning to burn a tutor for it (and then one is plenty), or I want to draw it naturally by the time I want to have it out, and in that case three is the way to go.

  • Lamprey could be interesting, though I feel it needs a different program suite. At the very least, you’d need Crescentus and Rook to help pile up the pressure. The thing that worries me there is Lamprey’s fragility. Do I really want to keep burning Clone Chips to get it back into play, especially when I need them for other parts of my strategy (namely, Crescentus)?
  • The hardware tutor seems like a great card for a deck where you have a bunch of cheap hardware you want to play every game anyway (let’s say, Cyberfeeders, Lockpicks, or something like that) and then a couple of specialized pieces that you only want in specific matchups (like, Feedback Filter, possibly e3, etc). Then, you can play the tutor instead of spare copies of conditional cards and still see your silver bullets with some regularity. Don’t really see that working here, though - what would I trash for tutoring that Toolbox? A CyberSolutions? :smile:
  • Code Siphon - worst-case scenario, it might be good for grabbing a first-turn Datasucker. Overall, I like the card, but it’s too far ahead in the future to really tell. If a really expensive program (both credits- and influence-wise) comes out, it could be a really good card for the Prof.

I did experiment playing with just one, but it makes burning a tutor for it pretty much mandatory (because Atman, Parasite, Femme, Yog and Morning Star). Neither the second Femme nor the Stimhack felt anywhere near that critical.

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Now we just need to get @Sirprim in this thread :).


@mediohxcore has a pretty fun Professor deck list. It uses Personal Workshop with the single influence for Stimhack.

I remember one nice trick he pulled during one of our games where he had a medium on personal workshop, which had me icing up RnD, then when it came time for the free medium he scavenged it for a nerve agent and hit HQ :frowning:


Thanks! I don’t think I’d really be comfortable writing an article about The Prof - only played him at one tourney, and while I’ve been mucking around him ever since his release, it was an on/off affair, really. This is especially true when we have a much bigger authority on him around :smiley: Maybe if he said he’s too busy to write one, but would be willing to do a peer review round, then I could… but for now, I’m thinking a discussion thread is enough.

(my Anarch article sorta turned into a series, the first installment is done - I just need to feed it into Stimhack’s Wordpress and touch up the formatting, expect it to come out tonight or tomorrow)

Valid question, and one that I’ve been asking myself, as well. Here’s my take:

The correct way to build a Professor deck is to grab the program suite you want, then take a long hard look at it and consider whether you can cut it down to 15 influence. If you can, Kate’s your (wo)man. If you can’t without compomising too much of the core idea, Prof it is.

In my case, what I definitely wanted to keep is the combination of:

  • Sneakdoor
  • Morning Star
  • Keyhole
  • Imp

That’s 13 influence already. That basically tells me Kate is out of the picture - if I took her, the following would be mutually exclusive:

  • Suckers to enable Atman
  • Parasite
  • Femme tricks
  • Nerve Agent

When I think about it this way, not having to compromise from the first list while also fitting in everything on the second list (and getting a bonus Sharpshooter -> Faerie upgrade out of the deal) seems like a good tradeoff for the 1 cr/turn discount - the link I’m only giving up in the early game, once Toolbox comes out I’m linked up just fine.

(plus, I get to feel special for playing an identity other people consider trash - there, I said it - it’s all about my e-peen)

Definitely! Do you think he’s like Bloody Mary? Maybe this will help:

@Sirpim, @Sirpim, @Sirpim!

(someone get me a mirror)

I’ve tested Workshop-based builds (after @Sirpim took his win with one, to be precise), but I find they don’t suit me that well. They basically require decent draw power to truly benefit, which is something that usually ends up failing me (if you’ve never played a deck with 3 QT and 3 Diesels that had those 6 cards in the bottom 10, you don’t know pain).

A very early version of this deck was actually a Workshop deck, but I found its performance increasing dramatically when the Workshops became test runs and the ProCons became Scavenges (this was when I found out how massively useful Scavenge is in this deck and was like “woah”). The Diesels were the last leftover piece of that version, and in my mind, the switch from them to Moddeds is what really put the deck together.


Thanks for providing your insight! I’ve been waiting for a prof thread for some time.
I have 2 questions regarding your deck:

  • Why Medium? Are there enough situations where it’s better than Keyhole to make it worth the deck slot?
  • Is Plascrete really necessary? You have no way to tag yourself and Opus lets you stay richer than the corp easily, avoiding most corporate tagging

That’s two influence

It’s better than RDI because it’s both tutorable and grows in power. Keyhole isn’t a good direct comparison, because it needs access to two centrals and needs more clicks to win. Sometimes digging hard lets you win easily when Keyholing would be too slow, complicated and expensive.

(And let’s not forget how insanely powerful they are together - think of Keyhole and its ability to shuffle RnD while gaining a Medium counter)

Yes. There are flatline threats that aren’t trace-related, having to out-money the corp could be a liability, you could be midseasoned, etc.

Also, you rarely have a huge stack of money - when you do, you should be changing it into some form of pressure anyway.

Sorry for being unclear, that part was general and not Professor-specific.

The workshop thing is very good when you get it early and sort of shitty when you don’t. I played professional contacts as well, to help you rifle through the deck, and I think a couple of Kati jones because sometimes you don’t draw workshop, and she’s amazing so why the hell not. I played diesel but not QT, and, of course, 3 test 3 scav 3 SMC 3 clone.

The benefit of the professor is that you get the whole virus package along with the anarch fixed breakers, Faerie, Femme, Corroder, Sneakdoor, and Keyhole. It allows you to be pretty tricky about where you’re going to attack and how. Personally, I think the stimhack is better than the 2nd sucker. You don’t always need sucker, depending on your draw and your opponent. You’re not really a Parasite or Atman deck, and you have pumpable backup for all of your fixed strength breakers and scavenge to help keep your dynamics reasonably costed.

One thing I really liked having was a Cyber-Cypher. It goes well with scavenge, and means that if you have an SMC, between Corroder, Faerie, and Cypher, you can break basically everything for cheap, which is important, because you have no really naturally great economy and can be slow to start. Stimhack also helps with this.

You definitely don’t have to go the workshop route, but once you get it in play, it’s pretty much a free credit a turn for the rest of the game. It saves you clicks and allows you to increase your effective hand size, which goes great with pro cons.

All in all, it’s an ID that really rewards creative play that has access to a lot of tools, even if it doesn’t have much in the department of raw power. It’s a ton of fun.

Because you have access to Faerie, I would probably just replace the Memory chips with Leperchauns when they come out. Astrolabe is obviously nice, too. If you really want to try to fit Deus Ex, I recommend that you stop being such a pussy.


How does your list handle glaciers, particularly of the HB variety? Seems like with no Atman and no Deus X, it could be a problem… especially repeated Ichi breakage, with just Femme, Faerie and Mimic. Stacked high-strength sentries seem like a weak point with your setup in general (they were one of the reasons I went more heavily with the Atman angle in mine).

(Also, that linked version doesn’t have Diesel… just saying)

Edit: I really want to include a Cyber-Cipher in mine but I’m feeling like I’m on the verge of overtaxing my Scavenges already.

Playing around with this deck in OCTGN today, and it was pretty difficult to pilot at first although my win rate has been going up the more I play it.

The deck would be much easier to run if it had an additional MU source.

This wouldn’t make it a better deck, necessarily, but a significantly easier one. MU is a real issue even with x2 CSMC and x2 Toolboth. Drawing MU early is imperative.

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Consider burning your first tutor for Djinn - you’ll essentially also get a Datasucker and (some of) your pressure cards out of it. The Sucker is the biggest motivation for me, as getting one early is boss.

I’ll try it but I always find Djinn hammers early game tempo. Pressure viruses like Nerve Agent, Imp and Medium are great but the credit to tutor/draw makes them tough to play along with breakers.

I think this is true, but not having the pressure cards is worse still.

Anytime a Professor thread comes up, I have to try it. So I threw together Peekay’s deck, with a few changes:

  • -1 Atman, +1 Gordian Blade. My FLGS is already in Upstalk mode, so Lotus Fields are everywhere and Yog alone doesn’t cut it. I could just as easily have gone with an Atman at 4, I guess, but hindsight is 20/20… (EDIT: Oh, I remember why I did this: in case I didn’t see a Datasucker early, I still had a way to break LFs and Tollbooths.)
  • -3 Sure Gamble, +3 Same Old Thing. In a deck with Opus for its primary economy, Sure Gamble is the first card I cut. I haven’t run a shaper deck with Sure Gamble in months, and this one was no different. Having access to three more Scavenges or Test Runs, on the other hand, is amazing.

I ended up going 3-1 (as I alluded to in another thread, there’s a lot of Doomtown Reloaded testing going on where I’m at). 1 of the wins was against Jinteki RP; I never really had a problem out-moneying him, and the Professor can always find a safe server. The other 2-1 was against an HB Glacier ManUp deck, and the one loss - unsurprisingly - was the result of a successfully scored ManUp. (I had gambled that it was a GRNDL Refinery, which I saw him score earlier in the game, and it ended poorly for me.)

The flexibility of the amount of things you can pack into a Professor deck is amazing. One of the wins was pretty quick; it was 3-2, and he was icing up his scoring remote pretty heavily, so I tutored and dropped a Nerve Agent onto a Djinn. Predictably, he iced up his hand, so I dropped a Sneakdoor and went over to go see his hand, snagging four points. :smiley:

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I’m playing Sure Gamble over SoTs because it allows me to delay the Opus in matchups where the tempo hit is too much (see: TWIY). On the other hand, that decision may or may not have been made before I did the Modded swap, so it could be justifyable now (and when you think about it, Same Old Modded is only 1 credit worse than a Sure Gamble + install with the money).

The Gordian Blade on the other hand, I’m not that hot about. Lotus for 3 is meh, and Tollbooth for 7 is outright bad. If I wanted a dedicated breaker, I’d go with Cyber-Cypher - especially in your case, if you’re running SoTs for more Scavenge. Also, I’d try to find a different slot for the Cypher, rather than the second Atman (because you have the memory to have both out, and when you manage that, it’s beyond awesome).

Did you use the Escher at all? That’s the card I’m least sold on.

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