Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

Where are the Penguins?

I’ve asked this on Slack, but it is hard to get serious and sustained discussion going there.

In the last few weeks, some players have raised the concern that the 7 Penguins deck is way too strong and too fast. And yet, it has made rather limited appearance in recent tournaments.

Even taking first at US Nats has not led to a glut of such decks at following events.*

Compare this to Moon or previously CtM. When those emerged as the strongest deck, the top tables at tournaments were flooded by them.

We have seen some of the new CI7 at events, just not the number I would anticipate based on the conversation about how strong it is.

So if Penguins is so strong, why is it not being played by more people?

*Error in this comment has been pointed out to me. Not edited out to avoid confusion when reading subsequent comments in topic.

1 Like

CI7 (even the new builds like the one from Joseki that won US Nats) and 7 Penguins are not the same deck. They share a lot of similarities, but in the end, it’s two similar but different archetypes.

On your real question I can only speculate, so I leave this to others.

1 Like

I suspected they were different given the lack of Penguins in Joseki’s deck, but it looked to me like they both tried to win by drawing nearly their whole deck, so they looked similar in game plan to me.

I hate to derail this by going into that too deep, but would be interested to have the differences explained.

7 Penguins gets it’s name from Hasty Relocation (because the building in the art looks like a bird). The basic premise is that you draw most of your deck, then use Hasty Relocation and Accelerated Diagnostics to install an Estelle Moon and score a Successful Field Test. That let’s you install enough stuff to draw the rest of your deck, and from there you can use Jackson and more Accelerated Diagnostics to score the other five points.

Joeski’s CI is similar, but has even more draw cards and doesn’t use Hasty Relocation. Again, the basic premise is to draw your entire deck (or most of it), then use Jackson Howard and Accelerated Diagnostics to install and score seven points in one turn. The first agenda scored is almost always Efficiency Committee, which gives you the extra clicks needed to combo.

They’re functionally very similar; they both aim to draw the majority of the deck and then score seven points from hand in a single turn.

Anyway, there are a few reasons that these decks aren’t sweeping all before them:

  • They are relatively hard to play; particularly Joseki’s version, as you have to learn the combo and the various substitutions you need to make for different circumstances (particularly how you combo through hate cards)

  • A certain section of the player base don’t like playing with or against CI

Those two factors mean that CI, even when it’s the strongest deck, doesn’t tend to be that well represented at tournaments. The real kicker though, is:

  • CI is vulnerable to hate cards. Employee Strike, Account Siphon, Clot and Sacrificial Construct are all showing up in significant quantities at the moment because they combat other popular archetypes, and CI is suffering collateral damage.

So, they are both combo decks out of CI. The main difference is the way how they want to combo out.

  • The Joseki style is to draw your entire deck and then run the combo like you would in the old Power Shutdown decks. That deck now runs a bit more draw in place of Power Shutdowns, otherwise it’s pretty much the same. All the comobs from the old CI7 guides still work, although with so much cards in your deck you usually can go for the easier ones. The base combo works with three Jacksons (you can combo with less, ofc), and you want to score EC as your click-gaining agenda.

  • The 7 Penguins evolved from Hasty CI, and I think with the newest versions you can basically play Hasty (that is, scoring over multiple turns with Hasty/AD/EC). But the real thing is also a 7-point combo-turn, but it works differently. You don’t need to draw that much deck, but only to a point where you can Hasty-combo out a Moon/Succesful Field Test. With that you spam the board, draw the rest of your deck with Moon and start the combo (but now you already have nearly everything installed and an agenda scored).

I think you can compare them to the different Whizz variants (like Temüjin/Dumbes). They run the same ID, a very similar core of draw/setup, but differ in economy and breakers. The CI variants differ in agenda suite and combo pieces, but share a big part of draw cards and anti-hate.

1 Like

And are all of these CI combo decks which rely on scoring a combo for 7+ agenda points in a single turn superior to Killer Penguins, where you combo out a Brain Rewiring and a Show of Force on the same turn to flatline the runner? I’d be interested to know what makes these 7 point CI combo decks stronger than the CI kill combo…

In kill CI you need to deal with Plascrete or Citadel Sanctuary (and other less common ways of damage prevention, even bloody Muresh) on top of dealing with the same things as scoring CI.


As @enk writes: Killer Penguins is reduced to being an inefficient scoring deck if the Runner has some way to avoid even one meat damage from the Show of Force. It can score out, but it is not nearly as efficient at doing that as a deck that is not using Brain Rewiring and Show of Force.

Killer Penguins – it seems to me from playing against it – really counts on the opponent thinking it is some other variant of CI at least until after they discard their Plascrete.

1 Like

Thanks for all the responses.

Someone said people should not write about the power of 7 Penguins or speculate about ways to beat until they have played against it several times. Now that I have played against it several times, I take entirely the point about it being crazy fast. And I have no contribution to the “how to beat it” conversation.

Last game got a fantastic draw with @thebigboy’s Noob Kit. Had MOpus turn 1. Beth turn 2. Inversificator turn 3. Was able to Legwork and made repeated runs using RDI. Got some lucky pulls to get 6 points by turn six (2 PV, 1 SFT), when the Penguins combo’d out. I can’t think of another deck where if I had that kind of first 6 turns where I would not feel very confident I could win the game.

If Boggs puts AD on the next MWL, is the deck tight enough that a 3 influence hit will kill it? Or does it have to be at a higher tier?

Yeah. I personally also underestimated it severely when I started playing it myself. When I had a streak of 5 wins on turn 5, two of them through a single Clot, I couldn’t believe how explosive and swift the deck could be.

Dyers post on the decks is spot-on. The main difference between playing these two is that DrawCI7 seems more resilent to hate, while 7Penguins often wins earlier.

-1 Hasty to play 2 (like I did at Euros) and -1 Shipment from SanSan, +1 Biotic (which is basically a SfSS in an AD pile except it costs 6 extra credits) + 1 flex spot (probably a CVS). It means that Siphons matter more, since you’re more likely to need 10 credits rather than 4 for your basic combo, while also slowing the deck down a tad and making it harder to do these crazy Hasty-piles that end with UVC.
It would definitely matter to have it as MWL1, but the Whizzards deck there were popular at Euros basically do not gain any extra tracton. Ideally, however, we’d also see Moons as MWL3 (which kills 7Penguins but not Josekis deck).

Can we not just ban AD? Like, what good does it bring!? I love it. I love playing 7Penguins, and playing it at Euros was a blast. I like cards with rules on them, enginebuilding and a machine that churns - but it’s unfairly strong, and in general a negative play experience, especially when you’re playing deck that isn’t teched to win against 7Penguins.

Ps. the deck did just win Spanish Nationals this weekend. It’s not gone from the surface or anything.

1 Like

I think this game was against me. I’m having a hard time finding a corp deck to play so just looking for the ebst moon list there is. I think i made comment at the end of the game that it was the amount of cards left in my deck that is the problem.

The deck has crazy draws and I would say on average the way that i play it can go for the win on turn 7/9. I’ve also been trying to get scoring combos that need 4 agendas stolen so i’m a bit more ready when the runner steal all my GFI’s

1 Like

In a normal situation, you can just make your 2nd (post-SFT/Moon) pile 2xSFSS + Biotic to score Vitruvius with 1 counter and 2 clicks left, then pull back something with Vitruvius, make another 2xSFSS + Biotic pile to score another Vitruvius with 1 counter and 3 clicks left, then triple-advance a Vitruvius, or use the counter for Biotic to have 4 clicks and 4-advance an EC/SFT. It’s surprisingly easy to score 4 agendas, actually.

Well in that particular game I did steal two Vitruvii, so scoring more than one on his side was not going to happen.

Luckily, it’s very unlikely that we end in a situation with two stolen Vitruvius Projects and two stolen GFIs without the opponent winning the game.

Nemamiah mentioned it above but it really does have to be emphasised, CI and other combo decks (well, these days post Shutdown errata it’s really just CI) get significantly worse as a meta call the more people are playing them. There can almost never be a meta where CI is the best, most played deck because it’s relatively easy to build a runner deck that crushes it 9 times out of 10 by just piling hate on, the only reason people don’t is if the corp meta is pulling them in multiple directions.

While right now both 7 Penguins and Joseki CI are very strong, they’re unlikely to break through to a higher tournament representation than they already have for that reason if nothing else. Also the emergence of Aginfusion as a potentially powerful ID is already pushing the number of e strikes up which is naturally problematic for CI, it’s not an instant loss but an anarch deck that can recur strike over and over again in the early game can be a huge stumbling block.

Gonna need you to elaborate on this.

1 Like

Having hate somewhere in the deck is not the same as being able to use it by the time the Penguins combo, though.

It does feel like in a meta full of hate you would have more games where things go wrong for the Penguins, but speed really covers a lot of weaknesses, I’ve found in playing against it on the competitive tab.

Okay that was an overexaggeration, I know the speed of (particularly) 7penguins means hate is problematic to even find, but I’m decently confident I can beat it consistently by playing Siphon Hayley with triple strike triple sac con clot and Joseki CI even moreso. Obv 9 times out of 10 is excessive but I stand by my general point that it is not a deck that would thrive in a meta designed exclusively to kill it in the way moons has.

As I said though, this is particularly if you build a deck that warps itself to play hate for CI and breaks all the rest of its matchups which no one does (where people actually did that for moon at euros, and still a huge amount of moon hit the cut) because not everyone is on CI.

And yes, I know it can combo by turn 5.