Running the Nets: Sneaky Thiefses

With the release of Honor and Profit (my copy taking its sweet time to finally arrive here in Oz) I finally had the pieces I needed to try out my latest bad idea: a criminal deck that uses the new suite of central-server-only icebreakers (Alias, Breach and Passport) in conjunction with the otherwise abysmal Quest Completed to skip straight into remote servers, avoiding all the ice around them. The biggest problem with the idea – how to know when to pull the great heist or not – is solved with the amazing new identity Silhouette, who lets use expose a card the first time we successfully run HQ each turn. Not a bad start, let’s see where this goes.

Only being able to break subroutines on central servers makes running against ice on remote servers quite dangerous, so we’ll make use of Snitch to allow us to jack out after we’ve peeked at what we’re up against. All this expose flying around naturally fits in with Blackguard, an expensive but potentially brutal console that I’ve been looking to try out ever since I saw it. So: this gives us the basic outline of the deck. We’ll be controlling the corp’s economy by forcing them to rez all their ice unneccesarily, and then hammering the centrals as much as possible, using Quest Completed to score any well-defended remote agendas when we have to.

For economy, I’m going to try an all-event setup, using Prepaid VoicePAD to wring even more juice (juicy credits? That would surely be bad for the machines. Also it would get sticky) out of each one. Sure Gamble, Lucky Find and Dirty Laundry all become a lot more appealing when they cost 2 or even 3 credits less to play. We’ll be able to use the VoicePADs to make some of our favourite criminal events even cheaper, so I’m going to go with 3 Special Order and just a single copy of each of our icebreakers, with a couple of Deja Vu in order to get back anything that gets trashed. Since we’re already trying to control the corp’s economy, and since let’s-face-it-you-can’t-not-include-it, we’ll add a full set of Account Siphon, and Emergency Shutdown for good measure. That’s most of the deck right there, and the last few bits you can probably fill in for yourself. Since I find traditional criminal decks rather boring, I decided to avoid Sneakdoor Beta completely and instead replace it with Pheromones and another card I wanted to try out from Honor and Profit (mostly because the general consensus is that it isn’t very good at the moment), Feint. Feint is like a super-Inside-Job but only for HQ, with the additional penalty that you can’t access cards with it. In pretty much any other deck I’d want Inside Job instead (and I did consider it, since it can get at remote servers for us), but Feint actually works pretty well here. In my experience the corp tends to ice up HQ heavily, so sometimes it’s hard for us to really get our combos going, but with Feint we can boost Pheromones, enable the Silhouette/Blackguard combo, get one of our Quest Completed runs going and enable Emergency Shutdown, so it actually works out pretty well for us. That said, one of the hardest decisions in the making of this deck was to cut Inside Job, and it’s one I’m still not totally happy with. Well, truth be told, the deck would probably be a little stronger with Sneakdoor Beta and Inside Job instead of Pheromones and Feint, but that’s so 2013.

In fact, let’s talk about a wishlist for this deck. I wanted a full set of Blackguard and Snitch to ensure that we get the full rig out every time, and a set of Inside Jobs as previously mentioned. I also think it’s a pity that I can’t find room for a set of Notoriety, since we’re already hammering the centrals efficiently and often, and it helps us get those final couple of points to get over the line. Also, it would be nice to have a way to place even more pressure on the central servers with Legwork and The Maker’s Eye. If you want to move the economy to a different place, maybe Security Testing will work well to allow us to get more out of our archives runs for Quest Completed, or perhaps Oracle May given the sheer number of events in the deck. In fact, the more I think about it… damn, building a 40 card deck is really tough. More than once I found myself wishing that Silhouette didn’t have that minimum 40 deck size (maybe with a few extra influence to make up for it? Eh? Eh?).

As far as play styles go, try not to be too balls-out with ice checking because program destruction really hurts here (unless you have the Snitch/Blackguard combo out, in which case go nuts). You’ll find yourself drawing a lot (I once drew the entire deck) but since almost 2/3 of the deck is events you’ll find most of those draws are useful. Try not to reveal your breaker suite too early in case your opponent realises they don’t need to defend remote server very heavily. I’ve intentionally built the deck to be resource-free, so you can play tag-me if you think the opponent isn’t able to punish tags, but don’t take that risk too early on.

Find my deck on Meteor here. It’s super fun to play with, and feels a little different to the standard criminal setup. If you tweak this, let me know in the comments! Either way, hope you have fun with this deck and happy running!

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