It’s been a week and a bit since the last post and, in theory, we’ve been looking for a corp in that time. Runner is far from solved (more on that later) but we were all pretty happy that, at the very least, we could play Steve and not feel too bad about it, it’s not a perfect deck but it’s fine. On the corp side though we weren’t feeling great about any of our options including the default fallback (PD) and were hoping that with a bit of a focus we could sort that out. Unfortunately we’re still not quite there, we’ve definitely made some progress but it’s starting to look like like worlds is going to be deeply, deeply weird.
Just as a quick note here, any result stats are from my own (Mike) games on jnet, they don’t necessarily reflect the whole team’s results although I think we’re mostly in agreement about each of these decks and they don’t really reflect tournament conditions given the extremely wide range of stuff you can run into throughout a day on there and the difference between playing a few games back to back on purpose with known decks against one person and playing random matches without talking about decks at all. Take them with a very large pinch of salt but hopefully they add a little bit of context.
The list here is still in flux a bit but it’s essentially the same as all the other PD lists that have been about for months. The Crisiums are gone for now – that could end up being wrong in the long term but right now there isn’t much apocalypse about and, as much as I like stuffing stargate, I like having a second copy of Anoetic Void more. The red levels are not necessarily correct but they’re an experiment in getting some of the same power as the more traditional Assembly Lines without letting the runner double dip on Pad Tap money so much and open up a few slightly different lines.
Overall this list has felt… flat. I’m 15-5 overall with it in my last 20 odd games, with things going fine against Anarch and miscellaneous mini faction lists but much shakier against Criminal. Both in testing and out on the ladder, the crim matchups feel much harder than the did before the MWL. The cause seems to be a mix of things, their economy is better with Pad Tap (and you can’t really afford to stop and contest it because doing so drops too much time that they can use to catch up), they can sneak a win with falsified dash or wheel dash and they all seem to be playing more tricks to get into the remote now they don’t need to worry about Sportsmetal. Even within the Anarch matchups there are rumblings of ever more tech being poured into improving this matchup for the runner, with Frantic Coding, triple Boomerang and Run Amok all appearing all over the place.
From my results I’m pretty sure that this is still an 8/10 deck, none of the factors above push it down a full step to B tier and we still fully expect it to be the most played deck at worlds, but none of us is super happy about the prospect of actually playing the thing. Where before it felt like you never actually had a bad matchup, just some where you were even and could get stomped with a bad draw, it now feels like there are runners you actively don’t want to play against which isn’t ideal. That said, if the right field turns up on the day (from the current looks of things, Anarch is pushing significantly ahead of Crim in the popular zeitgeist) and you find the right set of tweaks to make yourself feel comfortable in the meta, this is still old faithful,
This one started as a bit of a joke about which deck Azmari was actually about to unleash on the meta (with none of us being real believers in 6mari glacier but knowing that the ID is always to be respected). Starting with the Boomspike r+ list from OTG and porting it into Azmari then fiddling with it a bit we were kind of surprised to find that it seems genuinely quite powerful. While it is, absolutely, a meme and not very resilient to dodgy draws, tech or Gate + Mad Dash, it’s wracked up an absolutely disgusting kill rate against criminal in testing. At last count I think we were collectively about 20-0 against all blue decks, while a much more sedate just-better-than-evens against Anarch.
From what I’ve seen, a few other people are looking in the same direction and they’re running various slightly different lists, some completely eschewing the HHN plan (which seems like a mistake to me, you gain a faster combo but a big part of the game against Crim has involved landing an early HHN with warfare to reset their initial flurry of econ, then running out the Reeducation onto an upgrade behind some tag ice and presenting them with a lethal fork) and some twisting the influence a lot to fit Seamless in to speed things up.
I’m really not sure whether we can seriously recommend this for play, it’s very unlikely that any of us will be on it unless we manage to improve the list somehow to make it more resilient against a runner that unloads a liberated early then starts trashing ice off the remote or who has Misdirection, but it is a much more real thing than we initially assumed. At the very least it’s worth trying so you know what you could be up against when someone on Azmari suddenly triple advances a card in the remote.
This is another one in the “performing better than expected” club. Obviously it’s a good list, it won a continental and the fundamentals are very good, but there was a bit of concern about how it could perform in a meta where Gagarin had returned encouraging additional bones and where runners have even more money than ever. Fortunately, in the crim matchups those gains seem fairly evenly offset by the loss of 419 (both the ability and the link) and the reg Hoshiko decks about aren’t amazing at handling AR Enhanced. Apoc has also gone off a cliff which is another nice point in favour of playing an asset deck right now, although that could change at any time.
CtM is going to be at the forefront of our next set of corp testing as we try and find something to actually displace the two corps above (the boring one and the stupid one) but for now we could do with some more data.
Imagine your sports list of choice from the continentals season and replace the Vacherons with a worse agenda
This seems to be creeping back into some popularity, we’ve only given it a little bit of testing but none of us is particularly convinced. While you do still get some absolutely storming starts and if things come up in the right order it can mess runners up but it’s way, way more fragile than it used to be. Back in continentals/inters/otg season it was already a bit less good than it appeared to be, it was all over cuts because it beat unprepared runners and because so many people were playing it but it lost a very large number of high table games against prepared runners and that has just gotten worse with the additions of Dash and Tap (while an econ card might not seem like a big deal, a constant drip of money that costs 0 is very good when you just want to break their Drafters as often as possible to maximise your chances to win before they do).
So here, we are not believers. While the ID is very powerful and we’ve all played it a whole bunch before, it just doesn’t seem to be popping off right now with too many tools missing and some powerful runner responses available. While Econ Warfare + HHN out of Gagarin remains one of the most disgusting things in the game and there is likely still something left to squeeze out of the card pool that we haven’t seen yet, for now we’re marking Gagarin firmly as “CtM but worse” and not testing it further until proven wrong.
Overall things are looking a bit weird on the Corp side, while as I said at the top, we can’t take the data too too seriously with small numbers and closed lists, it’s a little concerning that the list with the highest win rate for any of us on the Corp side is something none of us is willing to take particularly seriously or say that we actually want to play. Most of the other decks (PD, fast advance Azmari, ACME, CtM) can likely get their win rates up with some practice and some serious deckbuilding work but for now the meta is looking decidedly silly. Make of that what you will but we’re going to keep working and hope something more sensible emerges.
Returning to the runner side briefly, this one caused us a bit of consternation. Despite the aesthetic issues with the list I mentioned last week I have been giving the various versions of Big MaxX a go over this week and winning quite a lot with it. There is definitely quite a lot of power there and, while we have debated quite a lot whether it’s a fallacy or not, there does appear to be some truth to the idea that by playing more cards in this particular context you allow yourself more turns to take advantage of the power you get from MaxX’s free draw, before settling into the Labor Rights selection phase of the game.
Despite that, some of us remained convinced that you could refine the list down to something closer to its fundamentals and get something more consistent and quicker that wasn’t quite so upsetting to look at. John put together the basis for the above list and we’ve tinkered with it to a point we’re fairly happy with it.
Overall I am still not 100% convinced that it’s better than the Big lists Snarebears and others have published and have been testing around on jnet. This particular version has a faster, more consistent start than those I believe and can get to a solid board state to fight “””reg””” corps more quickly, but has a significantly less crushing late game without Maw, Stargate or the possibility of DJ Fenris for Steve. It’s also probably more vulnerable to Grinder Palana but fortunately that seems less popular than a couple of weeks ago (your line is pretty much rebirth early and hope). I do think it’s a decent competitor to that list though if you’d like to play something closer to 45 cards and we’ve all been significantly happier playing it than any other reg Anarch list we’ve run across in Hoshiko or Valencia.