Gateway Meta – Part 3

(Written by Europe & Africa 2020 champion ChrisFerg)

A couple of us will likely be playing in NtscapeNavigator’s Store Champs tomorrow (8th May), but have struggled wildly with settling on lists for it, particularly on the runner side.

Given what seems–even after the VLC ban–to be a strongly corp-favoured meta, and with such a variety of corp wincons to deal with, runners seem to be in a tough spot at the moment. Given the strength of decks such as Red Planet Couriers/Government Takeover BTL and Spombo Lite, both of which seem all but impossible to beat with reg decks, the obvious direction seems to be with some kind of disruptive runner that messes with the corp’s gameplan. At first this pointed to Hivemind Maxx, which is both very powerful and able to disrupt the corp’s HQ with Knobkierie and Imp. However, this deck is a bit of a glass cannon, and it being the obvious choice has led to a truly staggering amount and breadth of hate tech in testing, from Magnets and Macrophages, through Reverse Infection and Ark Lockdown, to just sticking three Snare!s in everything and waiting for Maxx to die.

With this in mind, we have spent most of the last week sticking imps in everything to see if we can find something that is able to disrupt corp gameplans while also being strong enough in more straightforward games like CtM and Palana and fast enough to contend with PD, but without the weaknesses to hate that Maxx has. We tried Imps and Knobkierie in smoke, imps and simulchips in Steve Cambridge (the idea being that imp is way better if you can legwork to use it and find the key piece you’re looking for), before taking the–in retrospect–more obvious choice and looking hard at other anarch options. In this, we started with Limes’ Worlds winning list, which uses Imp with Friday Chip and Consume to build an engine that disrupts the corp while fueling your economy, powered by Patchwork and Paladin Poemu. This felt like a plausible route, but felt a bit slow for the current super-charged corp meta, so we added some Zer0 and made some corresponding tweaks to cut out cards, such as Overclock and Legwork, that need to sit in hand ready for the right moment.

The list we’ve come up with is (for now):

Hoshiko Shiro: Untold Protagonist

45 cards

Influence: 14/15 

Event (10)

3 Dirty Laundry
3 I’ve Had Worse
1 Rebirth ●​
3 Sure Gamble

Hardware (12)

1 Docklands Pass ●​●​
2 Friday Chip
3 Hippo
3 Patchwork
3 Zer0

Program (14)

3 Black Orchestra
2 Consume ●​●​●​●​●​●​●​●​●​●​
3 Imp
2 MKUltra
3 Paperclip
1 Stargate

Resource (9)

2 DreamNet
3 Liberated Account
3 Paladin Poemu
1 The Turning Wheel ●

Not only does this have a floating influence, it could also do with another Stargate (because an early one is likely to get Zer0’d before you want to install it), so last minute tweaks are likely. It is also quite possible that in the morning we might decide to fall back to our backup option of just playing reg 419 and hoping to dodge the BTLs and Spombos, but at this point that sounds like a potentially distressing day of netrunner.

For the corp side, we collectively have played very few test games, focused as we have been on finding a decent runner. We’re pretty spoilt for choice for decent lists, particularly PD, Built to Last, and Spombo, but any of CtM, Asa, Palana, and the Outfit all seem decent too. We will probably fall back on playing Spombo, mostly out of familiarity.

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