Val versus MaxX (tips required please)

Dear all

I have returned to the game after a hiatus and am interested in playing Runner only for a while, as it was always my weaker side. I am looking at the following three deck types:

As can be seen, I plan to work on aggressive decks this time round. No more fear of the Corp! LOL

Please could you help me to understand the decks better in terms of how they are played and how they handle different Corp IDs?

Val seems to hammer R&D with Eater/Keyhole and then Apocalypse in the mid-game?

MaxX Wireless applies the DLR to tap out R&D? I note that Wireless is now unique, how much does it hurt the archetype?

And other MaxX, aggressive and disruptive? But no cutlery here?

Comparing Val and MaxX, Val seems slower due to the lack of draw, whereas MaxX is more complex to use presumably?

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Eater/Apocalypse decks usually want to make a shitton of money, pray the corp doesn’t get Crisium Grid online, then fire Apocalypse. With all their ICE gone, you can go ahead and keyhole the shit out of the corp.
Val can threaten remotes with DDoS and Blackmail, MaxX can’t do it as easily but has a faster setup.


I can’t comment on the DLR decks, but I can comment on the Apocalypse ones.

The main difference between Val and Maxx, as was mentioned, is Val has Blackmail and Maxx is faster. Val can get screwed if key cards are at the bottom of the deck, while Maxx has to be careful with using recursion so you can still play your Levy.

While the basic idea is to get money, then Apocalypse, then Keyhole, there’s a lot of variations on how to go about it. And as always, you have to react to what the corp is doing. Don’t be afraid to install stuff early, if that means you can get good accesses’. Sometimes you can win just by Keyholing, if the Corp has left R&D too unprotected. Installing DDOS and Keyhole, then making 4 Keyhole runs on the next turn (or more with Amped Up) can be powerful. Point being, don’t get too caught on thinking you have to Apocalypse.

Cards to consider that aren’t in the decklists you linked to: Sports Hopper (great to fire before Apocalypse so your hand won’t get left too small on an Apocalypse turn), Making an Entrance, Hactivist Meeting (stays after Apocalypse!).

Cards to fear: Hostile Infrastructure (IHW works against it though), Turing, Crisium Grid, Architect, Jackson. Maybe some more, can’t think of others at the moment.

Also, Amped Up is great. Don’t take it out.

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+1 on this. It is nutzo on the Keyhole turn after the Apocalypse.

Hey, that Apocalypse MaxX list is mine!

So the Val vs MaxX differences have already been addressed here, but I think one caveat was missing. In addition to getting blackmails, Val’s bad pub is actually pretty good in conjunction with Eater (effectively making it 3 strength or breaking a sub on a 2 strength piece of ice for free once per run).

That said, I think that MaxX is superior simply because this sort of deck hedges all of its bets on the early game. Taking away the free clickless draw and access to cards in the heap for the bad pub start and the 50 card deck feels bad to me. If you think you can handle the slower pace, by all means try the Val list. It is a bit more versatile, being able to snipe the remotes, but most good players won’t let you get much value out of your blackmails anyways so the threat usually counts more than the actual practice.

The reason my MaxX list doesn’t have cutlery is that ideally you want to deny them as much as possible and hopefully keep them from rezzing anything that you would desire the cutlery for. The real secret to winning with a Keyhole deck like this is getting as many free (or close to free) runs on R&D as possible, via DDoS and economy denial with Siphons.

Another thing you should try to do while playing this is use deduction to determine what pieces of ice your opponent has where before they rez them. What I mean by this is that if you Keyhole R&D while they have 4 credits and they decline to rez, you should assume that the ice in front is 5 cost or higher and plan accordingly. It’s something you have to get a feel for as you play the deck, but there are some pieces of ice that are an absolute nightmare to deal with that you would much sooner not let them rez - namely Turing, Architect and anything that is too costly for Eater like Hive (which is why I had the one-of Morning Star).

Good luck! It’s a super fun style of deck to play and I hope it serves you well!


Thanks for all the tips pal! Really appreciated. I didn’t try that MaxX deck yet (tried the other two first, thought this one looked more complex) but am looking forward to it. Great work!

Okay, MaxX DLR. Played a few games and have some observations/questions.

With WNP being unique the Corp can trash your stuff for 4 resources. With one Fall Guy this means 8 resources to remove DLR. It then becomes imperative to keep the Corp very low on credits.

I found that it is hard in the mid-game. For instance, HB may install an asset in a protected remote. It looks like Faust or DDoS is the way to get in? Then again it seems expensive to use DDoS like that since they can just replace the asset with another and another. Faust then?

Ditto if they have protected HQ with two ice, it can again be hard to get in and Siphon without burning too much effort. And even then, they can quickly click for 3 credits per turn, and you can’t keep Siphoning forever.

I suspect I am not aggressive enough on runs though. I thought it would be better to keep the ice unrezzed for Siphon purposes. I still imagine that I want to keep Archives unrezzed in case I need a DDoS glory run to finish.

But should I be aggressively challenging all the ice on R&D, HQ and remotes to force them to spend more?

The deck is a blast btw!

I think letting the corp get ice rezzed is actually a good thing when you’re playing a DLR deck. Credits they spend rezzing ice are credits they can’t spend trashing your DLR package. Beyond that, once you’re set up you won’t really be running much at all outside of the occasional Siphon/Vamp to keep the pressure on.

You’re right pal, I tried out the theory and it worked a treat. I think I kept the Corp below 6 credits throughout the game (death by mill the result). Running ice with nothing in play is ace as most ice can’t do too much damage; it’s also okay most of the time with Eater as he can break the dangerous routines where necessary. So yeah, I think we have to run to keep the Corp honest.

Problems can arise if powerful ice gets rezzed in front of HQ, so we got to make sure it doesn’t happen! ABT is a real problem if the Corp gets lucky.

That can screw any runner though, sometimes it just happens.

For the most part, I still think the scariest thing they could really have is probably Turing. Swordsman you can just shrug off and install another Eater or Mimic later if you need to.

Hey rubyvr00m, I played your deck a lot after your Regionals win, and enjoyed it a ton! I’m now looking at it again, and wondering if there’s room for Fear the Masses/Bhagat nonsense in the deck somewhere? Have any new cards found slots in this deck, do you think? I’ve also flirted with finding influence for a PolOp (anti-Crisium tech) or a Hades Shard (because Hades Shard from hand is always hilarious). Would love to know what you think of this deck and its viability nowadays.

It’s actually really funny that you bring this up and I’ll tell you why. I was originally planning on taking Apocalypse MaxX to Nationals at Origins, until about 2 weeks or so before when Exchange of Information was released. MaxX already had a dicey matchup against Sync, and I think with EoI that deck has one of the most favorable matchups against this sort of tag-me, aggressive deck.

Fearing the Sync (and other varieties of tag-punishment NBN, namely Sol and NEH kill), I opted to take a swiss army Kate deck. In the swiss rounds at Origins I played 4 NEH fast advance and 1 Palana Foods (Eric C who eventually got 2nd place on Josh’s Half-Foods list). I joked with some of my opponents on the day that I shouldn’t have chickened out because Apoc MaxX would have been a stronger choice in basically every game (in my opinion at least, I think I’m a better MaxX player than a Kate player).

So to answer your question, like most things in A:NR it is a meta call. Every deck is going to have good and bad matchups, but I think tag-me decks in particular will always play a risk vs. reward game. Your good matchups are almost auto-wins, but your bad matchups can just as easily be near instant losses.

As for card slots, I have experimented a bit with Making an Entrance (in place of the Injects and also with Injects) and it always seemed to feel better than it actually ended up being in practice. I haven’t experimented at all with Fear the Masses or Bhagat. I would worry that Bhagat would get trashed while floating tags and I have yet to play any of the 6-of cards with much success. I worry that a 1 or 2 of Wanton would effectively do the same thing as Fear the Masses but cost you 4 less slots. That said, I think this archetype is really solid to begin with, so by all means, experiment and tweak it to your liking. The core shell of the deck is actually pretty small - Eater/Keyhole/Siphon/Apocalypse/Levy are basically the cards that define it, most of the other slots go to recursion and money so go nuts!

As a side note, I’ve been really impressed with how many people have picked up this style of deck and have come to me for advice. It’s been very flattering! The highlight of this was when @cranked beat on me at an ANRPC qualifier and after the match said, “I have to tell you something, man. This is your list from Madison card for card.” So I got a taste of my own medicine I guess.

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Ha, I did the very same thing. I had an Apoc MaxX (like 3 cards off of yours) sleeved. Drove to Origins, unsleeved it and went with a Noise deck that lost every single game all day. I faced a Palana, a Hot Tub Gagarin, a Titan, a Blue Sun (I faced all the Weylands and lost to all of them!), and finally an EoI Sync. Ugh, should have stuck with MaxX if just for fun – though against all those Scorched decks, I would have died even quicker than I did. What a shitty tournament that was for me.

Thanks for the advice!

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That’s honestly kind of remarkable that you hit 3 different Weyland ID’s. Unfortunately for me my bye landed me at the top tables early where I faced nothing but Fastro and the Whizz. The only runner I played against that wasn’t Whizzard was a no breakers Quetzal with Always Be Running which turned out to be a surprisingly difficult match for my temple NEH.

But yeah, with EoI and the various new kill enablers like Consulting Visit and Subcontract I think going tag-me is definitely rolling the dice. You used to be able to count on holding one or two I’ve Had Worse and being OK but with Salem’s that plan is also out the window.

If I was going to take Apoc MaxX to a major event I think I would strongly consider playing two or even three Sports Hopper for kill protection. It gets the edge on Plascrete I think because you can pop them before Apoc and you don’t lose your investment.

I do think that if your meta doesn’t have a lot of Sync or Weyland that this deck still absolutely hoses most flavors of NBN fast advance as well as Palana/HB glacier. It may still be a pretty safe pick if you expect a lot of those style decks. It also laughs in the face of asset spam as long as they don’t have Hostile Infrastructure on the table.

Yeah, that was one of the changes – I’ve been on Sports Hopper as a Plascrete replacement for a bit now. It seems less and less hospitable for tag-me decks, so I might have to shelve it. Hell, I kind of wish I could find a way to play Paper Tripping in this deck. :slight_smile:

It’s just an unfortunate reality that you can’t really clear tags when you play this kind of deck because tempo is so important.

That said, I find it awfully flavorful that you kind of have to rock a million takes and just tell the corp you don’t give a shit. It’s what I believe MaxX would actually do.


On meta, indeed, last year when I went to the Singapore nationals, I took PPVP Kate. Although I love MaxX, I thought that Kate should be stronger overall. Also, I had only been playing for 6 months and thought that MaxX may be too complicated for me. And, the nationals were my first EVER RL games so I thought that handling the discard pile may be a problem.

On the day I only went 2-3 with Kate, though my Corp (Haarp) was 4-1. On OCTGN I was about 50/50 with Kate, so the result was in line with my average performance.

After coming back, I played with MaxX more and had a great (80%+) win rate! So I too should have taken her there. Even if I lost, I still enjoy her a lot more :stuck_out_tongue:

Based on this and your experiences, it seems that we should play what we like best. Because even if we lose, we enjoy it regardless.

Me again…I tried the Apoc MaxX deck out, it was a lot of fun! I think I slightly prefer MaxX over Valencia overall, now I am wondering about Apoc versus DLR.

Do you know how these match up to the various Corps in play nowadays? I am trying to get a feeler for which is sound overall, and which has the more skewed matches (for and against). I note that DLR is very poor against SYNC for example, but seems excellent against some other archetypes.

I think either style of MaxX is pretty bad against Sync honestly.

Apocalypse has a better chance against: EtF, Palana, and probably Blue Sun (though this is a tough matchup for both versions).

I haven’t played as much DLR MaxX so I don’t know if I could really say much about it’s favorable matchups. Broadly speaking it tends to do well against slow decks, but Museum of History could be a real problem if you get in a situation where it is difficult to trash.

DLR is also better against Hostile Infrastructure because it won’t make you take damage, while Keyhole will. So it might have a slight edge against decks like Gagarin and IG if you can keep the recursion under control. I’d have to test it to be sure though.

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An update…I think I will focus on the Apocalypse decks, as the DLR deck is highly dependent on the match-up. DLR is great in that it can absolutely blast through certain decks, and it is not too taxing on the brain- but it also has almost no chance against certain other decks. A lottery in other words!

Indeed, Blue Sun is a nightmare for both! I tried both out; it felt like I had zero chance to win. SOMEHOW I managed to narrowly win with the Apocalypse deck, even though I had no chance to use the signature card. With DLR I managed to get 6 points on the penultimate turn when my opponent was scoring out with an Off the Grid, before losing.

Keyhole really gets hurt by Crisium Grid, especially if there is mean ice on R&D. Then you have to go through once just to remove it (for 5 credits). Nasty!

How do you recommend we deal with those situations where the opponent produces a nasty piece of ice on R&D? It seems that if we start slow then we can fall behind and get locked out of contention.