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Smoke and Mirrors -- A Scovak Thread


Which CI matchup? CI7 is dead, and Hasty usually runs real ICE …

MoGo can be a problem, but I actually like Egret more in that slot. I also helps against MoGo shenanigans, and is less dead in other matchups, because you can host it on problematic high-strength barriers (and then break them for cheap for your decoder/killer). Yeah, they can trash their ICE, but you’re a Shaper, you have Clone Chips (which also help with the instant-speed Egret install).


Egret and adjusted matrix are also both possible solutions instead of Dai.V to MoGo and Excalibur. I think stealth needs slightly more support or impactful programs to reliably use Egret, but it is getting closer. Maybe Switchblade + Dedicated Processor + Egret? or BlacKat + DP + Egret might be worth trying out at some point.

In either case, excited to try shaking up builds. I know I will be cutting Desperado back for Astro. In my games, I would usually rather just have the draw against asset spam and I need the influence for Employee Strikes to have a shot against RP/CtM.


Find 2 influence, put HQI ?


First of all, I would cut desperado for 2 reasons. It’s six Influence and you’ll be able to put back Temu in your deck, which is the best economy card in the game. Secondly, you need astrolabe vs HB moon otherwise you can’t simply keep up with the asset spam and they’ll end up sneaking out one or two agendas while you’re busy drawing into your deck.

Then I would change the breaker suite completely. I’d swap inti for corroder: inti + dedicated processor is still 3 credits and 2 clicks to install and 4 to break eli vs corroder which is 1 click, 2 credit to install and 4 to break eli. Then dagger for switchblade: switchblade is nice but facecheking any sentry early and not having enough stealth credits for SW is not. Dagger is faster, less efficient but it’s better to spend your 2 influence on a fracter rather than on a killer, since inti is comparatively weaker than corroder than dagger vs swithblade.

Then I would cut slums because it’s a non tutorable 1 of. Put back clot and play 2 or 3 sac con because they’re super useful vs a wide variety of matchups (clot vs Sync and HB Moon and CI, sac con for skorpio or any deck that plays batty).

Also i would cut patron for beth and Misdirection for NACH because you want to avoid tags in the first place and not remove them after you are tagged ( and for this reason, play 2 film critic).

So your deck will look like this, roughly:

3 Sure Gamble
1 Refractor
3 Indexing
1 Clot
2 Temüjin Contract
1 Dagger
1 Mad Dash
2 Net Mercur
1 Corroder
1 Beth Kilrain-Chang
2 Film Critic
1 Same Old Thing
3 Astrolabe
3 Dirty Laundry
3 Self-modifying Code
3 Diesel
1 Interdiction
1 Clone Chip
1 employee strike
3 Sacrificial Construct
1 New Angeles City Hall
3 Aeneas Informant


I will be sleeving this up for the weekend. This is pretty much exactly what I was hoping to do. I just wish I could find the influence for Aaron Marron.

But you sidestep this with minimal deck space with NACH and Film Critic.

I like it.


I think you bring up some interesting points and different angles I hadn’t considered. I do wonder if Astrolabe might be the right call, and by dropping Desperado for Astrolabe, you can use that extra influence for a lot of cards that might improve your overall game strategy – like bringing back Clot to get more mileage out of SacCon.

I don’t think I agree with some of your other suggestions, though.

For example, Slums might not be tutorable, but even if you find it mid-game you can break the oppressive cycle against decks like Mooninites by removing the cards that allow them to keep recurring their assets.

When I have played Shaper against asset spam decks, I usually find myself struggling in one or both of the following areas:

  1. I don’t have enough clicks to run everything important.
  2. I don’t have enough credits to trash everything important.

In theory, Aeneas Informant penalizes unprotected assets by giving you hyper-efficient clicks for credits. It doesn’t help with #1, but it helps a ton with #2. Desperado helps with #2, but Astrolabe helps indirectly with #1 by giving you burst economy so you can more efficiently run and trash the remotes. Slums helps with both #1 and #2 indirectly by undermining the Corp’s recursion strategy, so you have fewer things you need to run in the first place. So, if I had to pick a tech card to cut, Slums is definitely not first on that list.

Temujin, while an amazing economy card I have really been enjoying out of Smoke, doesn’t seem to solve the glacier problems that I’m facing. As soon as they ice up archives, it really undercuts your economic engine, and it doesn’t give me the mid- to late-game burst economy that I need to grind out that final access or two for the win. And against asset spam, in the mid- to late-game I’m running just as efficiently with my clicks for credits against every single unprotected asset remote without installing Temujin just by running Net Mercur + 3x Aeneas Informant (and + Desperado, if it stays). I’m not sure I want to spend 6 influence for the possibility of drawing Temujin early in hopes of using it for early-game burst economy, when I could instead focus on setup and getting into the mid-game faster.

Your point about including Beth is a great one, and will help with either #1 or #2 above, especially if they’re high on credits and it gives me more clicks. I think I will need to test NACH to see if it suits my style. I really don’t like decreasing Mad Dash, and I especially don’t like the anti-synergy between Mad Dash and Film Critic. I think we might just have different views about the best way to pilot Smoke against asset spam.


Yes, eventually iy all comes down to different ways to play Smoke vs Asset Spam decks. Given that the only asset spam deck that’s dominating the meta is Mooninites, I have found that ‘pretending’ to play like whizzard in Smoke just doesn’t work. Simply because you don’t have 3 recurring credits each turn to trash all the assets. nor you have influence free access to scrubber and slums…and also because as a shaper you don’t need to trash any asset vs Mooninites, besides Jackson as well as Clone Suffrage Movement to prevent endless recursion of Friends in High Places or Mirrormorph. Other than that, if you are playing smoke, this means that you can

  1. easily steal any agenda that they can put in a server. Most mooninites deck play lakshmi in multiple copies, and that is what film critic is for (besides being useful vs Sync, Skoprio to nullify Hunter Seeker, any RP matchup, especially with Obokata Protocol soon to be released). Of course FC is anti sinergistic with mad dash, but you can always let one FC3 fire, trash FC and Mad Dash Archives for 3 points, it’a totally legitimate play.

  2. If they try to fast-advance, they can’t because you have clot and 2 or 3 sacrificial construct.

  3. the only way they can score is by sneaking some agenda out. That’s why you need to check every single remote. If you play interdiction is even better because this incentivizes the corp to pre-rez so you know what server you might want to run and what not. In this regard, astrolabe is the better choice because it draws you all your deck, so you end up having 7-8 cards in hand at the beginnning of your turn, often 5 clicks with a beth on the board (since the corp will be making money from Adonis/Marilyin/Turtlebacks and Estelle) so you can afford to run 3-4 times a turn without losing too much tempo. If I would be playing slums my biggest concern will be the fact that I would need to drop clot ( no way I am going to cut corroder for blackstone or any other shaper fracter). And if you don’t play clot the corp can easily fast advance an agenda, maybe a Succesful Field Test and if they have Team Sponsorship it’s gonna be even more trouble.


Those are really excellent points I didn’t consider yesterday. I personally do think Blackstone is acceptable, and I really have been loving Switchblade, but I’ll take a more critical look at my deck composition again and review some of your ideas. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.


Has anyone run into trouble by playing only one copy of each breaker? I had been playing two copies of each, but it felt too slow against CTM and Mooninites.


I’ve been mixing it up a little bit. Right now I’m trying 1 blackstone, 1 inti, 1 dagger, 1 refractor, 1 Dai V (basically as backup). Inti is sufficient on its own against a lot of ice, and dedicated processor might get blackstone booted off the list entirely.


I used Desperado and PPVP at euros today. It did not go well, but I at least split my first two rounds, giving me a taste of the mid tables.

Singleton breakers cost me a game vs Skorpios - but that situation could also have been solved by running two of each of film critic and sac cons, instead of one of each as I did. With FC and SC, no one is touching your breakers.

As for my despvp deck, I knew going in that I should have run temu instead (it’s just too slow to set up), and I was not disabused of that. I also spent inf on employee strike, which was a huge mistake. Interdiction is clutch with Indexing, and clot wins games.


the deckbuilder’s dilemma (looking at you @CodeMarvelous).

Is it possible to build a smoke deck which can reliably beat Moon, Sync and Aginfusion? Seems extremely hard, at least in my experience. Any thoughts?


I think Whizzard has a good shot. I don’t think Shapers (especially smoke) can right now.


Clot, sac con and clone chips helps with both Moon and Sync, while providing backup in some other matchups (Skorp, anything with Batty).

Employee strike is good against Aginfusion, and I predict it will come back into the meta. Poli op is decently helpful for Aginfusion, and more helpful that it might seem against Moon (running hq, installing it and nuking a loaded Moon is a nice play). Running an AI breaker helps for the Aginfusion matchup, but is a really annoying thing to have to include in a Smoke deck, where atman has little benefit.

Is it blasphemy to suggest trying more RDI/Makers eye based pressure rather than indexing, to beat Moon more reliably??


I tried RDIs and they were not very helpful vs Moon, but was just a single game. I’d imagine that playing RDI vs Moon means locking hard the remote and only run with temujin where you can make the most money, while you slowly install RDIs and try to close out the game in the late stages. RDI is also good vs aginfusion because, barring employee strike, indexing is useless.

The only problem I have with rdi is that is too expensive for smoke.

Maybe a combination of councilman, estrike and interdiction (+ the usual package of clot, fc, nach) can work vs all of them. Will have to test a little bit more


I don’t know. I’ve seen euros and whizzard was dominated by Moon AND Sync decks. I really don’t know wht everyone is playing Whizz vs Moon…that deck is simply too fast for Whizz


I play a Kate deck regularly that uses 3 RDIs and 1 makers eye and don’t find it too expensive, but that is a completely different build. But given that indexing is poor against both Moon and Aginfusion, it seems to me RDI must be better to an extent.


no but its pretty much impossible to do that with any runner.


I was having some surprisingly good success recently with a PPVP Kate deck running Indexing + Mad Dash + Freedom Through Equality. A lot of people directly substituted Mad Dash for FTE, but you can actually run both and it means you can win with only 2 accesses. But against decks that can easily shuffle R&D, I’m toying around with a different PPVP Kate deck that uses FTE + Deep Data Mining, with Zu.13 + GS Shrike? (the killer, always forget the names) + Corroder, using Dyson Mem Chip for both link and memory.

Out of Smoke, though? I tried running Aeneas Informant and it just wasn’t reliable enough for the economy I needed. Temujin + Maker’s Eye + Turning Wheel or HQI maybe? And maybe squeeze in Equivocation? I’m struggling to make my Smoke deck feel consistent lately.


I think I’ve seen your kate build on jnet (Faust + Proco, as far as I remember) and It definitely works well. I guess i am too accustomed on indexing +mad dash giving me easy wins and I don’t know how to fit RDIs in a smoke shell. Maybe I need to put some modded in, I don’t know :smiley: