Sunday, 8 September 2013

Decklist: Haas-Bioroid // Engineering the Future // HB Rush

While I played the original Netrunner a lot back in 1996 I’ve only recently started playing the new LCG version by Fantasy Flight Games.  Coming to it late has meant hitting a learning curve that was practically vertical in places, not so much in my style of play but the addition of things like Factions, Identities and Influence meant that deckbuilding was very foreign and unfamiliar.

I knew that my first tournament was to be a pretty small one - the Creation & Control release celebration in which all players would be required to play either Shaper or Haas-Bioroid identities.  That gave me a focus to work towards, but every Haas-Bioroid deck I tried to make seemed to struggle.

Haas-Bioroid is the faction that brings all the Bioroid ICE – both hugely powerful and tragically weak at the same time because the runner doesn’t need any Icebreakers at all if they run early.  My first intention was to try to build impenetrable servers, but the Bioroids were so easily ignored.  I tried to overload the runner with Bioroids they wanted to spend clicks on but that didn’t work either, and in the end I ran virtually no Bioroids at all.  But then my Ice was flimsy and couldn’t stand up to the Runner’s rig beyond the midgame.

I was close to giving up - nothing I made was any good at all.

The Internet Rule of Deckbuilding: If at first you don’t succeed, copy somebody else.

In attempting to find a solution to my HB nightmare I stumbled on THIS fantastic article by jopejope and the first decklist described something called “HB Rush” which I liked the sound of.  The one think I didn’t like about the deck was that it was 54 cards – that’s a big no-no for me.  I can understand the logic why some decks want to be 49 cards to dilute the Agenda density, but this deck didn’t seem like it wanted to do that.  In his article jopjope explained that the deck played lots of economy cards so it reliably drew them, but I felt that he was also undermining his plan of early game dominance by ensuring he didn't reliably draw Agendas.  Unlike many other decks HB Rush actually WANTS to draw its Agendas early  because early is when it has the best chance of scoring them.   In my view 54 cards was out of the question and I set about boiling the deck down to the essential 45 cards.

I set up a spreadsheet and measured a number of components in the deck 54 card deck (eg. 18.5% of the deck was Agendas, 38.9% was Ice and 28% was Ice that ended the run, the average cost of the Ice was 3.0 credits… etc etc).  By selectively trimming away the fat my 54 card deck quickly became a 46 card deck.  In it's new streamlined form my deck was virtually identical to the 54 card version but much more consistent and also more likely to draw it’s most important cards, like SanSan City Grid or Ice Wall.


The end result of my pruning efforts was this...

Identity: Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future

Agenda (9)
Accelerated Beta Test (Core) x3
Project Vitruvius (Cyber Exodus) x3
Executive Retreat (Trace Amount) x3

Asset (7)
Adonis Campaign (Core) x3
Eve Campaign (Humanity's Shadow) x2
Melange Mining Corp (Core) x2

ICE (18)
Ichi 1.0 (Core) x1
Rototurret (Core) x2
Viktor 2.0 (Creation and Control) x2
Chimera (Cyber Exodus) x2
Enigma (Core) x2
Wall of Static (Core) x3
Caduceus (What Lies Ahead) x3 (**)
Ice Wall (Core) x3 (*)

Operation (8)
Biotic Labor (Core) x2
Green Level Clearance (A Study in Static) x3
Hedge Fund (Core) x3

Upgrade (4)
Ash 2X3ZB9CY (What Lies Ahead) x2
SanSan City Grid (Core) x2 (***)

It was this list that I took to my first ever Netrunner tournament, and I won that tournament without my Corp deck losing a single game!  Only once was I ever close to losing a game, and I put some of that success down to the decision to trim the deck down from the fashionable 49 cards.

The key to the deck is that it is quick and extremely aggressive in the way it scores Agenda points and tries to win the game.  Most of your Ice is cheap and ends the run, meaning you very rapidly establish servers where the runner has to use Icebreakers to gain access.  You then score Agendas QUICKLY (ideally your first Agenda is scored in the second or third turn, and another Agenda immediately goes down for similar treatment).  The aggressive style of play is essential because once the runner has his rig set up you are lacking in the big lategame Ice like Tollbooth or Heimdal that is expensive to break though.

The main aim is to quickly get to a point where you are one Agenda away from victory, and you can then use Biotics Labor/SanSan City Grid to score that last Agenda directly from hand. 

The Agendas all help you in that aim as well, supporting the rush strategy.  Accelerated Beta Test is a calculated risk that this deck almost always wants to take: you’ll hit an Agenda every other time, on average, but will be installing an average of 1.4 pieces of Ice each time which is further strengthening your defences for the next Agenda to come through.  Project Vitruvius is a very efficient 3/2 Agenda so good for scoring points but if you overadvance it and get that Hosted Agenda Counter it that will usually mean you get the chance to play two copies of Biotic Labor in a single turn to aid scoring that last Agenda (I won one match by scoring Executive Retreat from hand with SanSan City Grid, Biotic Labour and Project Vitruvius).  Finally, Executive Retreat is the right 5/3 Agenda for this deck as the ability to suck up a new hand of 5 cards is the perfect way of finding the crucial Agenda and Biotic Labor you need to win the game in one single action.  A perfect fit.

Since I played this deck to win the Creation & Control celebration event we have seen Atman rise up to dominance and that would likely see me refresh the Ice mix slightly as I have a number of Ice clumped at 3 strength (Wall of Static & Caduceus) but otherwise I think this would still be the deck I played tomorrow, if a tournament was on.  It’s very direct, very consistent, and is quick enough to punish any runner mistakes by scoring Agendas and ending the game.

If you’re looking for a strong Haas-Bioroid deck then this would definitely be my recommendation - it's going to be a firm base that I can definitely see myself returning to in future when new sets are released.