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Tennin Institute- the answer to DLR decks?

Last year, I had a thread about a Tennin institute deck that I had played to significant success, taking me to the top 16 of Canadian nationals and only dropping a single game. The metagame shifted, and the deck stopped being competitive. But I still remembered it fondly, and with the rise of DLR decks, plus the addition of assassin, I think it’s time may have swung around again. Here’s the list, which I’ve been tweaking for the last few days.

Tennin Institute

Agenda (9)
3x Medical Breakthrough
3x Nisei MK II
1x Philotic Entanglement
2x The Future Perfect

Asset (3)
3x Jackson Howard •••

Upgrade (6)
3x Caprice Nisei
3x Crisium Grid •••

Operation (12)
3x Celebrity Gift
3x Hedge Fund
1x Interns
1x Medical Research Fundraiser
2x Successful Demonstration ••
2x Trick of Light

Barrier (6)
2x Ashigaru
3x Eli 1.0 •••
1x Himitsu-Bako

Code Gate (7)
2x Enigma
1x Inazuma
2x Wormhole ••••
2x Yagura

Sentry (6)
2x Assassin
3x Pup
1x Susanoo-No-Mikoto

What makes this deck well positioned right now is that you can happily play a full 3 crisium grids, and have them be great in any matchup. They turn off siphon, maker’s eye, and even security testing on archives, but even better they let you keep firing your ID ability even if they can get in. Just plunking one on archives early game is good for a few free advancements. This deck also uses successful demonstration very well, since your opponent is incentivized to facecheck early to turn off your ID ability, letting you often cash them in early.

Your gameplan is to shore up centrals with taxing ice like eli, pup, yagura, and so on in the early game, and accumulate some free tokens and build a bank. Then you build a remote using the heavy hitters like ashigaru and wormhole, plus a caprice, and start playing a never advance game. One of the benefits of this deck is that, while it can grind out long games very nicely, the burst econ lets it play a more rush-based strategy as well, and this flexibility is key. From there, the proven strength of Nisei Mk II, future perfect, and caprice help smooth your path to victory.

It might look as if this deck doesn’t have a lot to do with the advancement counters it accumulates, but this is deceptive. If you use a single trick of light in the game, that’s the equivalent of a biotic labour+ 2 credits to advance for 1 cred- a saving of 5 credits. If you advance a wormhole 2, that’s another 6 credits. If you score out a Nisei with the ability, its another biotic+advance, for 4 credits. It’s easy to generate 10-16 credits of value in the course of a game, comparable to ETF.

Now, I’m not sure this is the optimal list. In particular I’m conflicted about the agenda suite. I’ve considered replacing medical breakthrough with NAPD, or even going to 3 future perfect, 1 global food, 1 philotic, 3 Nisei Mk II, to save a slot. More testing needed there. I’d also love to fit a fast track to help you rush against DLR decks, or just find a Nisei when you have a scoring window. The ice count may seem high, but you need a lot of ice early, since you want ice on all three centrals plus a 2 ice remote as soon as possible.

So if DLR is getting you down, give this deck a whirl. IMHO I think this deck is a solid tier 2 deck, and with the right tweaks for the right metagame could be tier 1.5. It’s also blast to play- very decision intensive, and it relies on your ability to detect subtle scoring windows and go for them. Any feedback or thoughts very much appreciated.

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In a 54 card deck, this agenda have no real effect. I’d change them or go back to 49 cards. I think you could also have triple Icewalls instead of Elis and somewhere a trash program sub to copy with wormholes.


NAPD makes sense to me. If you’re doing a never advance remote, Braintrust is your only other option at the moment. But with so few assets/upgrades, never advance is perhaps a tough sell with this deck. I wonder if short-lived asset econ like Launch Campaign might do some work here. Or the new Jinteki agenda that’s supposedly a 4/3, that’ll crush in a deck like this.

My main thought, though, is that Biotech might be the ID. Shuffling Archives into RnD, even once, can kill the mill plan and yet Greenhouse rush is available against other runners. It’s probably a better starting point if you’re worried about DLR in your meta.

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Putting someone on DLR is quite hard from just the ID. Interesting thought though!

i remember Tennin being really strong at the beginning of the year, and the main thing that hampered it was Clot preventing Tennin from scoring out in open remotes with Trick of Light. so with that said, i’d say at least one CVS is probably desirable.

A lot of really expensive ICE, only two Wormholes as your useful token targets (no Ice Wall?), vulnerability to D4v1d, only two Trick of Light for the fast advance and notably no CVS to prevent the Clot, Inazuma with only two punishing pieces of ICE to move the runner into, five ICE can be just walked through and provide no siphon protection (Pup, Yagura)…

There’s some basics there, but overall I think you need to look more at the game plan of how you’ll win, rather than stopping DLR.


I do think it’s time to take a new look at tennin after clot killed polish tennin (the only deck I ever took to a final:)). The id loves Crisium, which is very strong right now. That said, a few issues in this list pop out at me:

  • 54 cards is not anti dlr tech- it buys you two turns at most, at the expense of slower and less reliable play, which is the opposite of what you want.

  • I like wormhole as a splash, but 3x ice wall and 2x commercialisation will do way more work; it’s easy to get tons of counters; in many games with polish tennin I’d end up with a strength 10 ice wall.

  • lots of pricey ice- 5 pieces over 6 (7 if you include the wormholes, which you really should) these cards should be first on the chopping block as we trim down to 49


Something that’s important to point out: when you win from milling with DLR, you don’t really win from milling. You probably can win the game from a long time ago if you pop your Hades Shard, but what’s the rush? There’s very little point to pop your Hades Shard earlier than exactly the last paid abilities window before the game ends.

54 cards is bad for a lot of reasons, but it certainly does not make you stronger vs strategies that can sometimes ‘accidentally’ win via milling (i.e. DLR/Noise).


The fight against DLR is not just lost from the cards that are trashed but also won from the cards that are drawn, and an increase deck size is going to make that draw worse. Instead of increasing the deck size, try to find room for Fast Track. It increases your opportunities to get an agenda into HQ without risking more agendas being trashed or lowering the quality of your draw.

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I played against a Mushin no Grid deck out of that Biotech ID on Jnet. It was … surprisingly OK. It used Panic Button to make a huge Ashigaru on HQ when I was in danger of stopping its remote. :smiley:

Then again, I was playing Apocalypse Kit, so it was pretty much my nightmare matchup.

Thanks for the comments everyone. First of all, it’s actually a 49 card deck- Syntax seems to have miscounted, and I guess everyone else followed his lead? Anyways, I agree that 54 cards is a bad idea- this is a standard 49.

I love the idea of trying out launch campaign- that seems worth a shot, and synergizes with the strategy. Ice wall is something I had in earlier versions and cut, but perhaps that was premature- I’ll give it another shot. I agree that the ice cost is high, and maybe 1 or 2 of those should be cut, but my thinking is that I run 19 ice, and some of that ice is for different matchups- so I don’t plan to install and rez all of this expensive ice, instead I want to make sure I have the right taxing ice for the right matchup. That being said, perhaps the susannoo is overkill.

Oh, and Evilgaz, I couldn’t disagree with you more about inazuma. You do not need punishing ice to make it good- a server of inazuma into eli is awesome and cheap to rez. Now, I do worry about it being positional ice, so it might be questionable for that reason, but not due to lack of damaging ice. Likewise, I don’t need CVS because I very rarely fast advance. You seem to be assuming this is a fast advance deck, but it isn’t. The trick of lights are used for surprise Nisei scores when your opponent assumes they’re safe because they turned off your ability, or surprise future perfect scores when combined with the ID ability.


What’s your thinking on Medical Research Fundraiser? If the goal is to be able to tax the runner out of running every turn, giving them credits seems to go against the plan.

Maybe it’s just the inner PE in me but I feel this deck could use Shock and/or Space Camp to make archives more punishing. I like it against DLR. I agree the ice wall is better with the ID and gives you something to trick of light off of. The nesei would be better if you ran something such as Excalibur and is a good agenda but brain trust is better just cause it’s a 2/3. Otherwise though, seems like a good build. Also celebrity gift is always a good card

The medical fundraiser is here under the theory that rezzing a piece of ice early will cost the runner way more than 3 since they will need to run through it over and over. It is a bit questionable though, might remove it if I use the launch campaigns

Nisei is perfect for this deck because I can score it from face down in one turn. I also think you’re underestimating the ability. You don’t need Excalibur, a pretty bad piece of ice imho, to make it excellent. Taxing ice and caprice is plenty.

Oh and I tried shock and it was underwhelming. You need to draw it then overdraw and discard and even then it’s useless if they have sec testing. I don’t have the influence for space camp, but it’s a neat idea- probably still too much set up though.