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Tennin institute: FA or taxing?

I want to start a discussion on the two styles of Tennin deck that I see being viable. We’ve probably all heard of the FA deck that took Chicago regionals- the key is to ice up central servers and turtle while you build up counters, then use trick of light to score agendas out of hand. Finally, you use archived memories and reclamation order to recur the trick of lights and do it again, until you score 7 points. Here’s an example of this style Tennin deck: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/5430/tennin-lightning-chicago-regionals-2014
This deck is pure FA- it runs as many 3/2’s (and medical breakthrough, a virtual 3/2) as possible.

On the other hand, you can run Tennin as a kind of red coats taxing deck. The idea here is that you make it as expensive as possible to run on centrals, and then you build a remote server that’s moderately expensive as well. Then you install into the remote, sometimes bluffing with caprice or an asset. If they can’t run, you get to advance and then score a 4/2 in one turn. Rather than running a blank 3/2 like braintrust, you get to run and potentially score Nisei MkII’s and NAPD contracts. I’ve been playing this deck a lot lately, and came in 14th with it at a local 41 person regional (my corp lost 2 games, both to top 8 finishers) . Here’s my list:
Identity: Jinteki: Tennin Institute: The Secrets Within

Agenda (11)
2x Clone Retirement
3x Medical Breakthrough
3x NAPD Contract
3x Nisei MKII

Asset (3)
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Ice (19)
1x Archer ●●
2x Bastion
3x Eli 1.0 ●●●
2x Enigma
3x Ice Wall ●●●
2x Inazuma
2x Komainu
1x Neural Katana
1x Pup
1x Rototurret ●
1x Tollbooth ●●

Operation (13)
3x Celebrity Gift
1x Fast Track
3x Hedge Fund
3x Medical Research Fundraiser
3x Trick Of Light

Upgrade (3)
3x Caprice Nisei

So that should give you the general idea. I generally try to score around 4 points from my remote, and then fast advance the last 3 through some combination of trick of light on medical breakthrough and scoring clone retirement’s out of hand. I don’t think the build is fully optimized yet. I keep messing with the ice mix, and I’d love to find room for some snares or shocks to keep the runner honest. Running clone retirement with NAPD contract is a bit of an issue - if the runner steals one and gives you bad pub, it gets hard to score the NAPD’s.

Now, I’d welcome thoughts on my particular deck, but I’m also interested in the more general issue of which of these two builds people think is superior. The FA version has the advantage of needing to protect fewer servers, and exposing agenda’s less often in remotes. But they are stuck running a sub-par set of agenda’s, whereas the taxing version can take full advantage of the 2 best 4/2’s in the game- Neisei and NAPD. What do people think?


There’s also a third style - from my results so far, it seems pretty viable. The idea there is to be a rush-style deck that transitions into a taxing one after scoring a few agendas. The Identity (and Tricks of Light) are then used both to reinforce the taxing aspect (huge Ice Walls) and to sort of “bank” scoring windows to be used at a later, more convenient time. General Jinteki nastiness is used as an enabler to the rush part of the game plan, as well as some very good agenda effects.

I’ll have a decklist for you in a week, still considering playing it at one more regional (and I’m not really done tweaking it yet, anyway).

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I ran a deck similar to yours at our regionals this last weekend and it did quite well, 5-1 in the Swiss, but then flopped 0-2 in the double-elim. With sleep and hindsight though I think that at least one of those two losses could have gone differently with smarter plays.

I like your inclusion of Fast Track. Even though I only run one fast-advanceable agenda, there were certainly times when my remote ICE was rezzed and the runner had bankrupted himself on taxing runs, and in those cases a Fast Track may have enabled a Nisei score.

How did Medical Research Fundraiser work out for you? I debated putting them in. On one hand it seems giving the runner money in a taxing specific deck is counter-productive. On the plus side though, they could help you stabilize early and help get your taxing ICE rezzed earlier.

I really like Subliminal Messaging as it rewards you extra when the runner decides to leave you alone. Also combos well with Celebrity Gift. I’ve played a couple runners using Donut though, and that made me sad!

With respect to ICE, I had one Susanoo in the deck, and although it can win you games (mimic, clear viruses) but I think it might lose more games than it wins due to knocking my credits too far down when rezzing. I’ll probably switch out with a Wall of Thorns? Pup is great. I run two, and thinking of running 3. At the very worst, it eats a parasite.

How about Komainu? Do you like that? It seems like it would be better if you ran Shocks, so the runner has to keep some cards or possibly die. I have gone with Tsurugi’s and think they are the backbone of my ICE defenses.

I am wondering if some tag ICE might be useful. Kati and Security Subcontract can be pretty hard on this deck.

I’m liking a one-off Interns. Can be used to retrieve a Caprice or Jackson, or also be used to save 3-4 credits by boosting another ICE out on top of that mega-server.

I run 3x power shutdown in my current tennin list. its a good way to punish runners who run just to deny tennin’s ability. i think you could import Gozik’s entire shutdownteki list from PE into tennin and win a lot of games. part of the problem i had with PE shutdownteki was closing out games when i had to score everything in the remote and tennin solves this by letting you score a couple out of hand.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to play tennin. power shutdown makes the most sense to me because i like to proactively try to turn on the ability. i like replicating a lot better for taxing and if i were going FA i would make it easier on myself and play NBN or HB.

Susanoo I’m convinced is a trap card sort of like flare. You hit the runner with it. the runner looks shocked and then relieved he isn’t dead and the game continues …and you are broke. my problem is actually not with susanoo…she would be fine if tollbooth didn’t shame every other 8 + cost ice in the game.

It’s an ETR that can also deal 3+ Net Damage and give them negative agenda points. With the ability to use Snare from Archives (assuming that materializes in the most straightforward way), then that becomes a very real possibility of either a kill or a MASSIVE inconvenience.

I think that both it and Flare work pretty darn well. Tollbooth is very good, don’t get me wrong, and Susanoo and Flare both suffer somewhat from being Sentries, but… Flare until recently was one of the only things that did Hardware trashing, and can help set-up a Scorch like nobody’s business, and Susanoo can put Runners in a position to be forced into taking -1 or -2 AP pretty easily.

Tollbooth’s strength is that it’s taxing to break, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head besides Femme that can go by it for less than 5. But hitting it isn’t going to put you in position to be killed, except perhaps economically speaking. The others very well might.

I messed around with a Power Shutdown-based Tennin, my findings were that the random net damage killing relevant programs is not to be underestimated. I couldn’t fit in both the standard package and the Tennin FA package without skimping on ICE - that became an issue vs parasite recursion.

5tman has you covered. Toklbooth kills alright, it’s just using agendas to do it :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: Susanoo isn’t a trap card per se, it’s more like SEA Source. You just don’t play it without running enough archives punishment to justify the rez cost… I suspect that its main problem is that just 3x Shock isn’t enough, and packing 6 slots is problematic.

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Only 4! Good point!

And yeah, the econ hit is huge, especially in a taxing deck. I suppose also the kind of deck I’ve found Susanoo most useful in is decidedly not Tennin, but RP – pop an Inazuma over Archives, and Susanoo them right into your Shocks. Possibly for the second time, if they facechecked poorly. Functions very differently in Tennin, since forcing them to be successful isn’t necessarily the most helpful.

I think 3 Shocks is enough to justify 1 Susanoo, and 3 Shi.Kyus makes it a happy inclusion. Still won’t kill, but slamming the 3 minus AP is always nice.

But again, both these examples made as part of defending the Ice in a manner regrettably out-of-context for these decks.

One guy in our meta plays a Tennin deck that chains both Nisei MK II and Unorthodox Predictions. We call in NiseiTrain :slight_smile:

It’s a 7 str sentry ETR - it’s really expensive to break with a conventional sentry-breaker and laughs at Mimic. Being able to hurt the runner is gravy and makes it work on centrals in Replicating Perfection as well as a scoring remote. There aren’t many ways in Jinteki to secure a scoring remote and its a very different threat to your usual low-str taxing Jinteki sentry.

The downside, which is huge, is that Knight and the bypass on Feme laugh at it. Unfortunately that (and its unique-ness) makes it a one-off at most, the cost is simply too high with such easy ways to get around it.

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Exactly what I’ve been saying on here for a while now :stuck_out_tongue: (in the 1-pointer topic)

I’ve played 60+ games with a Tennin deck that’s primarily FA. Going to Boston regionals soon but no tournament reports yet, just a 36-3 record on OCTGN for what little that’s worth.

Do you have any stats on how much you actually trigger your Tennin power? I have a median of 7 tokens from Tennin and a median game length of 15 Corp turns, and that’s with devoting 100% of my resources to preventing successful central runs.

Intuitively, spreading our your ICE over a remote also means you’ll get even fewer tokens, at which point you might as well play RP.

Here’s my current list. Typical scoring is three Tricked 3/2s and a Clone Retirement, but I don’t hesitate to rush out a NAPD or MB behind a cheap remote like Caprice + Quandary + Eli if I see an opportunity.

Greased Lightning 1.5 (49 cards)

Tennin Institute: The Secrets Within

Agenda (11)
3 Braintrust
2 Clone Retirement
3 Medical Breakthrough
2 NAPD Contract
1 Philotic Entanglement

Asset (5)
2 Jackson Howard
3 Shock!

Upgrade (3)
3 Caprice Nisei

Operation (12)
2 Archived Memories
3 Celebrity Gift
1 Commercialization
3 Hedge Fund
3 Trick of Light

Barrier (8)
3 Eli 1.0
1 Himitsu-Bako
3 Ice Wall
1 Wall of Static

Code Gate (6)
1 Enigma
2 Inazuma
2 Quandary
1 Tollbooth

Sentry (4)
2 Grim
2 Komainu

Main changes from Chicago list:

I have to say the Chicago list didn’t work at all for me. I felt constantly poor, and if my opponents were aware of Inazuma there’s no way to land a destroyer hit. The matchup against Security Testing was terrible with 6 dead cards in the deck and many cheap gearcheck ICE that could be run through at a profit. I changed it a lot to fit my play style:

  • More economy - Celebrity Gift is too good not to play and you can Archived it for a pseudo-Melange.
  • Mix of gearcheck and taxing ICE - the original was essentially 9 gearcheck and 6 destroyers. Once they started getting in, unless you nailed them with a destroyer your ICE was done. This has chunkier ICE that costs to get in even late game.
  • Cut Shi Kyu - they are terrible against Security Testing and also take money away from rezzing ICE. While the Shocks are also terrible against Security Testing, at least they do something in R&D and in non-Criminal matchups.
  • Cut Swordsman - it does nothing in your worst matchup (Andysucker) and most of the time Katman can answer it with instant Parasite or just Clone Chip the Atman back.
  • Cut Nisei MK II - too hard to score, NAPD is much safer to risk in a remote when the opponent is low on credits.
  • Cut Rototurret - it instantly to Parasite even if you put Inazuma in front of it, and everyone has a killer against Jinteki anyway. Eli is an all-around better use of influence.

Advantages over NBNFA or HBFA

  • 3x Caprice. On HQ this prevents the majority of Siphons and anybody without Sneakdoor is going to just give up on HQ.
  • There are few good answers to a 6+ STR Ice Wall. Often it gets Femmed which is good value for you.
  • Unlike HB (pre-Domestic Sleepers), you get to play a 2/1, which I score in the majority of my games.
  • With your tokens you can score a 3/2 or 4/2 for $2, which is even less than a Biotic + SFSS.

Possible changes

  • Subliminal is good but hard to find space.
  • Biotic is good too as a backup for the ToL, but influence is tight.
  • Komainu is either great or useless depending on the amount of instant Parasites. Could be Tsurugi or Pup or something else?
  • Interns is another nice to have. Often I want a 4th ICE on R&D late game, or to recur Caprice.
  • Grim loses value against good players, but I do want minimum 5 ICE that beat fixed breakers.

I find that my list can trigger Tennin’s ability 4-6 times a game, which is usually all I need- I generally only end up finding 2 trick of lights anyways, and advancing an ice wall manually is not the end of the world if it does become necessary. It can be an issue if your trick of light bank gets trashed- parasite/datasucker on your ice wall for instance, but otherwise I always feel that I have enough tokens by the time I want to start fast advancing. I definitely feel I get value out of the ID, although your right that needing to build a remote slows the set up down.

I like your changes to the Chicago list. I agree that security testing is a real problem, and I was unimpressed with Shi Kyu in Tennin. Instant parasites are everywhere in my meta, so inazuma into rototurret is a bit of a liability- suprise parasite and you’ve wasted 8 credits and two cards. And caprice on HQ is amazing- I play it there at least as often as I play it in a remote.

I like your list. The commercialization is a fun one-off. I would guess about half the time you are happy to see it, but can be a hand-clogger if drawn early?

I’d have a hard time playing 3 Yog-blanked ICE. Has that been a problem for you? Maybe swap out one for a Tsurugi?

Has anybody tried a single Chum in their list? For the regionals I threw one in as my 20th ICE with the idea being to revive a Femmed ice-wall/tollbooth/susanoo or an Inazuma that got its backup parasited, but the situation never came up. I think I’m going to replace it with a Fast Track.

re: unorthodox predictions

For a while I was playing
2x unorthodox
3x nisei
2x Future Perfect
with a couple of Rainbows. Rainbows are great when you score that Unorthodox as they are your wildcard unbreakable ICE.

But I found

  1. Rainbows don’t tax Yog+sucker at all, and Mimic+sucker very little
  2. With my agenda distribution the scored unorthodox predictions was almost always an extra point. That is I didn’t need it to win, since I would end with 8 or 9 points. Probably would work better though with a different agenda distribution like the one I assume Peekay is teasing us with
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Commercialization in the opening hand is moderately annoying, so I think only one copy is correct in this list. I try to hold it as long as possible but if I run out of hand space, it’s rarely worse than a Beanstalk and the upside is huge. It goes really well with Archived Memories in the late game and is the fastest way to recover from Siphon.

3 Yoggable ICE is about the right amount that they have to get Yog sooner rather than later, but then they don’t get much value out of it. The deck is running 18 ICE to guarantee covering 2-3 centrals early, but you don’t actually need to rez more than say 9 ICE per game, so you can just chuck the ones that aren’t good in a particular matchup.

Chum has potential since you actually want them to jack out upon encountering it. Haven’t tried it but it would easily swap for Inazuma. Running both would make for some awkward opening hands, though I suppose at worst you could do Chum -> Inazuma for a pseudo-Katana.

I can see how that would be a problem for you. Here’s my agenda distribution:

3x Clone Retirement
2x Unorthodox Predictions
3x Nisei Mk. II
3x The Future Perfect

It used to be just 2 TFP, with an extra UP and a Philotic thrown in for good measure, but I found that setup had some issues, this is much much better.

In my deck the usual agendas on the table upon victory are 1x UP, 1x CR, 1x Nisei and 1x TFP. Alternatively, chained Niseis take the place of the 1-pointers.

That looks like a good way to score out, as well as open up Shinobi and/or Grim as ICE choices.

edit: So do you run Rainbows to combo with the Unorthodox Predictions?

Nah - I have pretty strong feelings both on the subject of “Rainbow blows” and “There’s a pretty obvious subtype to name whenever you score UP”.

So while I agree Tennin tax can be pretty strong, the question I always find myself asking is - why not just play RP?