Oh, you want to win with Noise? Me too! I had some very good luck early in this SC season, but I’ve hit a slump lately. I’ve been studying my earlier games to see what changed that’s holding me back.
I’ve had some success with it this SC season, much more so than my NEH corp side. BTW, on the note of NEH, in my last SC I lost 4 games as NEH, and 3 of those I was literally a single turn away from winning, but the runner accesses a single new card from R&D (and once a 1/5 HQ) to steal the game winning agenda, so I feel like winning on the ‘knife’d edge’ as you say, is still a very real victory, since my margins are often quite close from the corp side.
So, back to Noise! One thing that I like that no other Noise decks seem to do is play Hades Shard from hand. There is no window for the corp to Jackson in this scenario, which is important to know since many players either don’t know or ‘forget’ this when the play comes up. I normally hold this to close out the game or avoid going to time, it’s kind of a crutch that I don’t always need, but I know that it won several games thatI should have lost because of this play.
A second thing I noticed about my play is that I tend to focus on R&D and the scoring remote far more than HQ. In my best games, I hit HQ a lot. I use Imp as a crude barometer for HQ accesses; whenever I have an Imp installed, I should run HQ and trash things out of HQ. Some matches require you trash specific cards out of HQ, so keep an eye out for those. Asset-spam matches usually require the Imp trash remotes, so my HQ pressure will suffer. Just remember, as the corp, if the runenr never runs your HQ, you’ll not dedicate much ICE to it, and hold your agendas safely where the runner isn’t looking.
A third point that has hurt me the most is focusing on setting up. Noise is not a shaper, he should not be worried about setting up. You can win games as Noise with very few cards installed because you can pressure any server in ways that make the corp very uncomfortable. Lamprey and Medium are a great turn 1 combo. With the obvious threat to R&D in Medium, run HQ to force an ICE rez to open up R&D. If the corp won’t rez, hit HQ until the corp is on ~2c and switch to R&D. There are many small combos that Noise can make to pressure the corp everywhere and pick them apart, recognize and use these without mercy. The most important thing is to play with the cards in your hand. Don’t focus on next turn or 2 turns from now, what are you doing this turn, with the cards in your hand now? If you aren’t about to use the cards you are holding, they’ve just become Faust food, make a run.
I guess a last point I’ll add is Run Amok is a good card for hitting remotes when you primarily pressure centrals. Early on the corp will be very reluctant to rez any ICE when you can break any (or almost any) ICE they rez, and 100% will jack out and run again if they rez something that can actually stop you. It works on any server, but I often neglect the remote enough that all of the ICE is face-down, making Run Amok a 1-click 3-credit Quest Complete.
My final point (I promise) is: If you are very comfortable on the corp side, put yourself in your opponents shoes. What would you do in this situation? what are you hoping the runner won’t do? What card did he probably install last turn? Did NEH just toss a turn-1 Astro on the board thinking I’d set up instead of checking it? That’s a ballsy move, I like it, but not enough to give him an Astro token. Strong corp instincts can direct your runner play and force the corp onto the back foot. The more you can make the corp react to what you are doing instead of advancing their own board state, the stronger your position. Remember, as Noise you are always pressuring the corp to win quickly because of all the milling you keep doing; a slow standoff is a victory for Noise, and you can fall back onto Hades Shard for those last 3 or 4 points…