I haven’t considered Deep Thought much because I consider it part of a larger combo strategy that Shapers will eventually have built around 3 virus counter effects like Deep Thought. Chakana from C&C seems to bear this idea out as it has the same requirements as Deep Thought and has a similar theme of making the Corps game harder to accomplish. But without more cards like that, or that support the strategy, I can’t see it working yet. I have however given some thought to Retrieval Run since the latest spoilers of C&C. I know you wanted actual play experience but I hope you’ll forgive me this once and enjoy a bit of theory crafting with me.
Exile Theory AHOY!
I think Exile has the potential to become a decently powerful deck for Shapers given whats been spoiled so far. As a thought experiment, consider this:
Exile is a 45/15 Identity that draws 1 card every time he installs a program from his heap. Now, the cards that directly support this ability include: Clone Chip, Test Run, Scavenge, and Retrieval Run. All 4 of those cards have their uses.
Clone Chip is a good insurance policy against nasty pieces of ICE since it can dredge (to use the MTG term) up a program from your heap that lets you deal with any nasty situations assuming you have the right program in your heap. Or, you could dredge up that Deus X right before you access that 3 advanced Jinteki card that could be a Ronin or a Junebug, and you don’t even mind having to trash a more important program because you know you can get it back later.
Test Run is obviously a powerful card, especially when combo’ed with Femmes either in Stack or Heap and doesn’t need to be elaborated on anymore.
Scavenge is more of a late game shenanigans card. It allows you to keep recycling Femmes around the board allowing you to scalpel your way through the nastiest pieces of the Corps ICE walls as you need to.
Retrieval Run is probably the least useful but not because of its effect. The fact that it needs a run on Archives is its only detriment but we can still use it.
However, all of this is just a foundation. Now we have to make use of it. To start, the most obvious cards that work with this strategy are Femme, Imp, Deus X, Parasite and Faerie. Of those, I consider Femme Imp and Parasite the most useful. Recurring Imps and Parasites along with getting card draw out of it is a pretty strong combo play. However, influence becomes a major problem with the Imps. Dropping the Parasites would allow us to take 2x Retrieval Runs, 2x Imps, 1x Corroder and 3x Femme. Not entirely ideal but it can be worked with. A few Deus X cards in there for Jinteki insurance and you have the potential for an interesting deck, if nothing else.
The biggest advantage I see this deck having is its ability to go hardcore on runs into Corp servers. It isn’t afraid of losing programs like Shaper decks are right now, and damage doesn’t scare Exile as long as it doesn’t kill him because Exile wants programs in his Heap anyway. The Same Old Thing resource will be a good boon for the deck as well and allow it to continue its synergy plays into the late game, though at a kind of steep price.
Assuming that Shaper gets a few more cards like Escher in C&C, the Exile deck could become very aggressive and not only be able to take advantage of aggressive running, but also recover quickly from the nastier affects of that play style as well. Indexing becomes pretty reasonable with an Imp and one or two RDIs out as long as you can get into R&D a few times in one turn. Being able to snipe out strong cards from the Corp deck definitely has its benefits.
The downsides for this deck are problematic though. Just in theory, T&B decks could probably wreck Exile unless your lucky enough to snipe out the Sorched Earths. Exile also wont have much room for protection against tags, which are hard to ignore now that NBN has gotten some teeth.
Anyway, I know I’m starting to ramble a bit, so I’ll stop here and see if anyone agrees or disagrees with me. Or maybe no one cares? Either way, I hope this at least gave everyone some ideas.