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Pyrrhic Argus - Undefeated through two store championships

After going undefeated at the FFG Center tournament tonight, a couple people asked me to post this nasty Argus deck I’ve been winning a lot of games with lately. It evolved considerably throughout the 2015 Store Championship season, and the current incarnation has only lost two games ever. It usually scores out with a flatline in hand. Card choice details and strategy after the list.

Pyrrhic Argus

Argus Security: Protection Guaranteed (Order and Chaos)

Agenda (12)

Asset (7)

Operation (14)

Barrier (3)

Code Gate (3)

Sentry (7)

Multi (3)

15 influence spent (max 15)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Order and Chaos

Deck built on NetrunnerDB.

First things first, understand that this deck LIVES AND DIES by False Lead (well, actually, the runner is usually the one doing the dying). If I score False Lead, I am going to win. I can’t stress this enough, which is why this is getting its own blurb here. False Lead will either enable a flatline or score you a 3-pointer for the win. False Lead and Beanstalk means getting to 8 credits basically nullifies Account Siphon. Despite the dramatic bold text in the first sentence, this deck packs enough tricks to win without it. That said, prioritize scoring False Lead as soon as you can.

The first thing most people notice when looking at this deck is the two copies of Invasion of Privacy. This is mainly here for I’ve Had Worse, which it absolutely wrecks, but it’s surprisingly versatile. Against any resource- or event-heavy runner, it can get you a Punitive flatline from an Atlas or even a 1-pointer. Nobody ever sees it coming. This was originally a couple of Snoops, but I could never get them to work right against IHW. Invasion hasn’t failed me yet. That said, I am considering cutting one for a second Snare! and a Ghost Branch.

The lack of SEA Source is intentional. Every runner plays around it and expects it, and a lot of runners get careless when they have a credit lead. That’s not how this deck tags runners. False Lead is how this deck lands tags. The best way to ensure this is Data Raven into Snare!, but a double Data Raven server works just as well. There’s also an emergency Posted Bounty.

Economy is a bit light, but it’s rare I rez more than 3-4 pieces of ice in any given game, and only the lone Taurus costs more than 4c. Taxing is the name of the game here, and everything but the Enigmas do that. The Enigmas are mostly just there to prevent early Siphon nonsense, and maybe get a quick False Lead out, but Archer works better for that. Just make sure you always have 4 credits to pop the Snare!

Don’t be afraid of BP! I usually end most games with 2-4. While this may seem at odds with all the taxing, I’ve found that runners with BP to use focus less on other economy, leaving them with fewer credits to pay for traces. Even if this doesn’t end up happening, a couple BP won’t make much difference. Between Archers, Data Ravens, and Checkpoint; they will be paying a lot to get in. Argus does a good enough job of discouraging multi-access that they will be paying to get in a lot more often.

Plascrete is no big deal. IAA a Shattered Remains and they WILL run it. Taurus is mean, especially if they’re relying on Mimic/Sharpshooter/D4V1D to get past sentries. On top of that, you’d be shocked how many people take the Argus tax damage off the Plascrete just to save a click and two credits. Even if that fails, it’s generally no trouble to just Scorch/Punitive right through them and recycle with Jackson. Utopia Shard is probably the best defense you’ll actually see, but it’s not rare for me to have a hand full of Scorch/Punitive/Invasion; and my kill combo is generally two cards instead of three. City Hall could be problematic, but only if they’re really dedicated to it as their Scorch defense. I have yet to see one, but I’d probably just install a few 1-pointers to clear them out.

Get Atlas counters whenever possible. In most situations, a scored Atlas counter is worth a lot more than the two agenda points. Not only does it make your flatline that much easier, it does a great job of shutting down stupid Utopia Shard.

Above all else, be patient and calm and wait for your openings. If you score a False Lead, your Data Ravens will eventually carry you to victory.

I might replace the GRNDL Refineries with Contract Killers whenever that pack eventually comes out, and I may switch out an Invasion for a Ghost Branch and Snare! Otherwise, this is likely what I’m taking to Regionals.

I welcome any and all questions and criticisms. Thanks for looking!


Paging @jesseo_o, who has been working on Weyland a lot lately.


I’m skeptical of the punitives, given your agenda suite, and the checkpoint, which I think is rubbish. But Invasion is a brilliant piece of tech so this looks like a solid metagame/surprise deck. Nice work!


The Punitives have actually won me a surprising number of games, usually after they break themselves stealing a double-advanced Government Contracts and removing their tags. It’s one of my favorite plays. I’ve also flatlined with 1 damage from Punitive with Invasion of Privacy. What would you suggest I replace them with?

Also wondering why the disdain for Checkpoint? I admit it wasn’t my first choice, but I decided to try it out when I realized that a few BP doesn’t really hurt my deck too much. It’s pretty taxing! What would you suggest I use instead?

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How many credits do you aim to get off the Refinery, in a typical game? Also, how do you find the Rainbows? Three seems a tad too many to me personally :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you actually use the Gov Contracts when you score them? Or would The Cleaners and/or Utopia Fragment be better here?

(emphasis mine)

How so?

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This looks like fun! I’ve been trying to put together a good Argus deck for a while and I may have to…“take a few pointers” from this deck :wink:

Question: Do you think Bandwidth might find a place, if you’re considering dropping an Invasion of Privacy? It looks like it’ll work well in front of a Data Raven if the runner is looking to just bounce off it, or an Archer if the runner is even a little careless. (Or both, if you’re looking to create a nightmare server.) Just another way to put a tag on the Runner, for the inevitable False Lead. I’m not sure it’ll be a great choice as ideally you want to land at least 2 tags at once and this won’t achieve that by itself - especially as runners start to get used to False Lead and play around the whole “don’t run 2nd click” thing - but I’m interested to try it out at least!

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Having played against a bunch of Argus this looks about right; it’s also what forced me into play professor since I wanted that femme back and didn’t have the influence for it. I see that you’ve just avoided dedicated response team, and this seems like a good call to me. It can win you a game if they run into a snare, but the IAA game is often going to net you greater rewards more consistently since no one really runs expose these days.

I’m loving the number of links checked in your deck. False Lead, Invasion of Privacy, Checkpoint, Taurus, Rainbow! All cards that have almost been universally panned and yet here are working together. Even bean stalk is a good call since you could be at 0 credits after a siphon and still win. This deck also tends to be a lot better on R&D locks than PE, which is the best thing to compare it too at the moment. You can’t risk taking more than one tag a turn.

<3 it

And by the way, the way you take this deck apart is by having a femme ready to go for Data Raven and being cautious about your runs. Expose is a really good counter to it, letting you run at the right time. Usually, unless you’ve managed to protect your last click from false lead, you want to take the meat damage because as he says, he’s counting on the tag from other sources.

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Can you justify the Government Contracts over High-Risk Investments? In my experience, HRI makes the Government Contracts look like monkey work. If the runner is rich, so are you. If the runner isn’t rich, you don’t care.


Thanks for the tag @endgame - I’ve been working on a similar Argus agro deck lately.

My latest list has even fewer ICE than this one, and looks to leverage a Profiteering to give it enough gas to score out 7 points and keep threatening Midseasons.


Agenda (14)
2x False Lead
3x Hostile Takeover
3x NAPD Contract
3x Profiteering
3x Project Atlas

Asset (10)
3x Dedicated Response Team
3x Jackson Howard •••
2x Melange Mining Corp.
2x Snare! ••••

Operation (14)
3x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Hedge Fund
2x Midseason Replacements ••••• •••
3x Scorched Earth
3x Traffic Accident

Barrier (6)
3x Ice Wall
3x Paper Wall

Code Gate (3)
3x Quandary

Other (2)
2x Chimera

All of your ice folds to parasite or atman. That can’t be a good idea. I can see a subset of runner decks you do well against, but it’s a pretty small subset. This also seems to be the sort of deck which likes Anonymous Tip in the Jackson slot. If you’re taking a Jackson Mulligan you’ve probably lost.

You’re certainly into your extreme early game decks! I guess you like breaks between tournament rounds :stuck_out_tongue:

Love the idea! A buddy of mine has been grinding away unsuccessfully at making Argus work, and I think invasion of privacy might be the missing link - especially with IHW in the mix, I can think of many of my decks that would have most hands shredded by that card.

I’ll be passing the idea along, and let y’all know how it works!

With each BP (one of which Checkpoint strait up gives you), the trace strength effectively drops by 1, which usually makes the runner say “trace me” rather than trying to hurdle over the 7 strength. If you go ahead and pay to increase the strength of the trace, usually the runner can just choose to let you win the trace, and just jack out after the Checkpoint in order to avoid the meat damage. Every time I try Checkpoint, especially in a BP heavy-ish deck, it just leaves me wishing it was a different piece of ice.

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Despite loving some of the deck’s decisions, I can’t help but agree strongly with this point. Admittedly, I loathe Government Contracts with basically every fiber of my being. However, even if I were to retract my unrestrained disdain for it momentarily, I think it’s pretty clear that, when reduced to the simplest mathematical level, High-Risk Investment makes you so much more money so much faster.

Hypothetical time: Even if you only make, say, 10 credits off your High-Risk counter (which really isn’t a huge amount, considering that some Runners will have drastically more credits than that) - that’s a full 9 credits better than a click-for-credit. Using Government Contracts, you would have to use its double-click ability five times (10 clicks across five turns) before you’d functionally made more money than said counter.* For a deck that seems to be all about maintaining/creating key flatline/scoring windows, I feel that the sudden burst of credits should logically be so much better (Siphon recovery, for instance).

*That is to say, 10 clicks of GC = 20 credits; HR counter for 10, click-for-cred 9 times = 19 credits.

Having not played the specific deck and acquainted myself with its play-style intricacies and general pace, I recognize that I cannot say with certainty that HRI would be better (even if the maths all seem to suggest as much); however, having played numerous Weyland kill decks in my time (Argus included), especially ones that run bad pub (most of them), I find that opting for the long game (which Government Contracts certainly promotes) is rarely an effective strategy.

All that being said, I do look forward to testing out the deck, possibly even with the creator’s own Government Contracts, just to prove to myself it is as execrable as I think it is (and has always proved to be) and swap them out. Ain’t I a stinker?

Incidentally i think invasion of privacy is immense in this, and in fact generally in kill decks, as your trashing cards in a way that can’t be prevented (it’s not technically damage). With the amount of event heavy decks on the runner side i think this is brilliant card to include. Bravo.


I am very skeptical that Rainbow is better than Bastion here.

Hmm, surprised to see a lot of people upset with Rainbow. It’s an alright way to absorb any of Knifed/Spooned/Forked if you put in front of a high value Ice… But maybe other metas aren’t seeing as much of this as mine. I’d put Rainbow in front of Data Raven or Archer, maybe even Checkpoint in this decklist. It costs a bit to break too.

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My interest is piqued by the HRI over Government Contracts idea. The only reason I went with GC is because I found myself with a lot of turns where I was just clicking for credits anyway, and I seem to score them all the time. I was worried only using HRI once was a waste compared to the repeated GCs. I can definitely see how HRI is better Siphon recovery, but honestly, this deck almost never gets Siphoned anyway. I’m definitely going to try this change out and see how it works!

Refinery usually nets me 12-16 if they let me keep it. It’s mainly in here to force a run. I may replace these with Contract Killer whenever that pack comes out. The economy is kind of secondary with this thing. Taurus works great against D4V1D because they need all three counters to get through Archer. If they use a counter to save their Plascrete, I get to score out behind my Archer unless they throw a program of my choice at it.

I have yet to have any issues with Atman or Parasite. They can eat Rainbows and Ice Walls all day long. The only thing I install over to recycle is Data Raven, which ignores Atman anyway. Femme is the biggest issue here, but unless they’re spamming Femme recursion I can just install over and recycle to ditch the token. Expose doesn’t really hurt anything but the Shattered Remains, since I usually don’t install the Snare! I guess Silhouette running Femmes and Plascretes would be the toughest matchup, since I’d basically be relying on my single Taurus or scorching through them.

Speaking of Rainbow, it’s AWESOME in this deck! It’s cheaper than Bastion, it protects my Data Ravens against Forked, and sometimes it steals Cujo counters or even a Faerie if they think they really need to access. It costs a solid 3 credits each time through with almost every oft-used breaker. It’s basically a poor-man’s Eli here, but I actually like it more for this particular deck.

Bandwidth is an interesting idea that might find a home here instead of Ghost Branch if I decide to ditch one of the Invasions. Just grabbed The Valley last night, so I’ll test this out.

As far as BP canceling out the Checkpoint trace, well, I have yet to end a game with more than 4 BP, even against Itinerant Valencia. If they want to let the trace hit and then jack out, more power to them. I’ll just score out or make GRNDL money. It actually works better as an ETR ice than anything else in this deck but Data Raven. In theory it seems like a bad deal, but in practice, nobody ever runs through it. It’s worked so well I’ve been considering trying to find space for a second one, but that might put me over the BP event horizon.

Thanks for all the interest. I’ll have to post stuff on here more often. This is fun!

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Can you please expound on this first part? I’d be interested to see what small subset of runner decks the Twin Cities meta takes to tourrnaments to the exclusion of all else.

I’m not sure why you think Anonymous Tip would help here? Jackson is more for recursion than card draw.

I was replying to @jesseo_o’s post where he suggested an alternative. Your deck looks much stronger in my opinion. It’s a neat idea, I’ll give it a go next time I get to play. Invasion of privacy is a great idea.

Oh, sorry! I’m not used to how the threading here works yet.

I think you might be right about Anonymous Tip. I also think his deck might be better with Manhunt instead of Midseason. If you’re just running Midseason anyway, the Argus damage/tag is kind of incidental. Not sure about the DRTs, either, but Manhunt works a lot better with them than the Argus ID ability does. As a pretty dedicated flatline corp player I’ve always hated DRT anyway, so it might just be my own personal bias talking here.