A silver bullet is best known as the only effective weapon against beasts and monsters, and Clot has been deemed the silver bullet for the biggest monster in the history of Netrunner, NEH Fast Advance. Not only does the runner have to own a silver bullet, but they also need to load it into the chamber, take aim and deal a deadly blow. A silver bullet is no guarantee of killing a monster and with such a powerful monster this wouldn't be easy
Clot is meta defining, Competitive constructed play was dominated by NEH astrobiotics, win the game before the runner can get set-up, and it worked for a long time. Every article/post/conversation I was having about clot was how it's going to stop fast advance. Clot is the talk of the town, and as a long time NEH player I wanted to explore the possibility of how i could play around Clot.
I had no idea what corp to play for regionals, I had tried a few in the break between store champs and regionals and nothing had grabbed me and I really dislike playing RP, A beast in its own right, but it's just not how I enjoy playing the game. I revisited a past deck I took to the Evesham store champs which is essentially a space ice trick of light deck that was built not to be as fast as the classic astrobiotics but with a sturdier mid game that packs a little bite with Nebulas, but still giving the ability to fast advance out those astro’s, and the best thing is you really do squeeze the effectiveness out of every single credit you spend. It’s called “NEH - Tricked out for Clot” it went 30 - 1 on OCTGN over the 3 days of testing, in a clot ridden environment. I had created a monster. I thought it slot quite nicely in a space between glacier and fast advance and would be too fast for most runner’s setup for glacier and too big for the quick out the blocks runners. Obviously this does not include Leela. Leela is a horror of a match-up against this deck and deserves a special mention as its nemesis.
So the night before regionals I built my deck and sent my decklist via email to lock it in. I was going to regionals playing a fast advance deck I built 3 days before the tournament, Fuck it, what's the worst that can happen?
3x AstroScript Pilot Program
2x Breaking News
3x NAPD Contract
3x Project Beale
2x Daily Business Show
3x Jackson Howard
3x Marked Accounts
2x Cyberdex Virus Suite
2x SanSan City Grid
3x Shipment from SanSan
3x Sweeps Week
2x Trick of Light ••••• •
2x Ice Wall ••
1x Builder •
3x Pop-up Window
2x Wormhole ••••
2x Nebula ••••
1x Mother Goddess
17 influence spent (max 17)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Breaker Bay
●Trick of Light - Trick of light moves 2 advancement tokens in 1 action, with an astro scored I can score out any 3/2 with minimal risk of clot. I will be advancing ice as much as possible. Wormholes and Nebulas will always get advancements so this synergises well.
●Blacklist - Primary focus is to stop that clot coming out using clone chip, the other is to stop sharpshooters coming out to break nebula. A well defended blacklist can also destroy maxx and really hurt any Kate deck.
●Cyberdex Virus Suite - Clears out the clot from the board to score. Also doubles as a great anti-noise card. Also using the after encounter payment window I can purge with Cyberdex to stop important ice going down. A mimic with Datasucker support is bad news for Nebula, but with Cyberdex you can rez on encounter giving the runner no way of breaking it and buying some time.
●Shipment From SanSan - Used to advance ice for free and to score out 3/2’s as long as an astro is scored. A supremely versatile card in this deck.
●Hedge Fund - The deck can run very low on credits, trick of light costs 1 credit, so theoretically I can score out with just 1 credit and at least 2 advancements on the board. The deck wont usually go above 5 creds so the opportunity to hedge fund would be minimal
●Biotic Labour - doesn't work with Clot, after each manual advancement the runner gets the opportunity to bring out clot.
To further help me understand how my deck uses the paid abilities windows I created this diagram.
The idea of the deck was to reduce the power of the threatening clot. Clot on the board isn't a huge deal, you can purge and it goes away, although it is a fairly big a tempo hit. CVS is the best way to do this, but a good old fashioned virus purge will also do the job. The key concept here is to make it much less obvious when an agenda hits the board. An install advance is obviously an agenda so if I can use a single action to move 2 or more advancement tokens at one time then the window to use SMC or Clone Chip is greatly reduced and it’s much less obvious. If an astro is scored then any install can theoretically be an agenda, if I don’t have a blacklist on the board then I install the agenda and wait for the runner to react. When they do/don't react I can either shipment from sansan/trick of light to score the agenda or they guess right and you lose agendas, it's quite a lovely game to play actually and something Netrunner has been missing. This is the primary way to score while clot is online, another good play is to install a blacklist and rez the blacklist, then install the agenda and trick of light to score the 3/2. I could also use an installed CVS to purge the clot away and score an agenda. There are a few ways in which I can score out, but these all require a scored astro on the board. The first thing I need to ask myself is; do I need to use these tricks? Surprisingly enough, the answer was no! Apparently no one feared NEH and with 3 of the top 8 packing NEH this was a mistake. If people thought just including clot in their deck was going to guarantee wins against NEH fast advance then they are in for a surprise.
When I sat down to play any runner in this tournament the first question I ask myself is, ‘do they have Clot’, and subsequently how reckless do I need to be to score out that first astro? Astro is a great agenda, and with clot around, it all hinges on it. The thing about threatening clot with SMC is they don't want to use it for anything other than clot. Putting cheap ETR ice over an astro is a big gamble for both runner and the Corp, but if they are running clot they won't want to pop the SMC, if they are not running clot they usually pop that SMC as fast as possible. The key is to try draw out the clot by using NAPD over an upgrade. Install over an upgrade (CVS or SanSan City Grid) and advance once. At that point the runner can react. If they pull clot then you just leave your NAPD on the table and wait for them to run it. It’s a costly test, but information is expensive and if you installed over a CVS then hopefully you have a window to score something juicier.
My runner is a standard Prepaid voicePad Kate deck with clot. In my opinion clot is a no brainer. It fits in the deck and works with everything, removing ETF’s abilities to biotic labour out agendas is a big deal too. I wanted to have my silver bullet loaded and ready to go. There isn't a whole lot to say about this deck other than the economy is incredible, it's fast and the breakers are formidable. This deck does everything well.
3x Dirty Laundry
1x Legwork ••
1x Levy AR Lab Access
3x Lucky Find ••••• •
3x Sure Gamble
2x The Maker's Eye
3x Clone Chip
1x Plascrete Carapace
3x Prepaid VoicePAD
1x R&D Interface
2x Professional Contacts
2x Same Old Thing
2x Cerberus "Lady" H1
1x Deus X
1x Gordian Blade
1x Mimic •
1x Clot ••
2x Datasucker ••
1x Parasite ••
2x Self-modifying Code
15 influence spent (max 15)
46 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Valley
No Clot! Turn 1 Hostage for an Oracle May, I know this deck! A friend of mine from the Leamington meta plays this Ken Tenma deck and I’m scared. Basically all they do is call Event using oracle may and only play 3 breakers. If there is one thing this deck doesn't do amazingly well is early game, and Ken is the daddy of early game aggression. I joke around and explain how playing against a Ken deck is like holding back continuously in street fighter to block a barrage of attacks, you may not get beat but it's still going to hurt. Johno got up and running so fast, he had a full breaker suit of Gordian Blade, Garrotte and Corroder up before I could say astroscript pilot programme. After some back and forth he was on 6 points and I was on 5 with a breaking news in hand. I didn't really want to score it as its 2 wasted creds, but I should have, I really, really should have. He legworked into HQ and picked up the Breaking news for the win. A really solid game from Johno but with 3 advanced tokens on a wormhole over RnD and nothing else in hand I feel like it was my game to lose. A poor showing from me for the first game, but a very well-played game from Johno.
Again lucky for me another friend from the Leamington meta has been playing with Custom Biotics. Although this is a completely different deck I know what the different identities do and how to avoid a possible death. This deck is purely geared towards rushing out agendas. He scores an early braintrust from behind an ice. Then install and advanced another card. This time the server has 2 ice and an upgrade, I leave it be, thinking it was an NAPD, it wasn't. He flipped his identity to score out a future perfect. I poke his HQ a few times to see what kind of deck this is and see a biotic labour. So Johno is on 5 points with a biotic labour in hand and I’m on 0. There is a lot of work to do here. I manage to lock down RnD using an RDI and the odd maker’s eye. I score a philotic and keep the lock in place. I manage to win out the game with Kate’s money cards showing up just when I needed them. I saw a lot of cards on RnD so I think I did just enough to win this game, but a very close game that could have easily gone to Johno.
I started this game out well, getting an early Datasucker and killing an oversighted curtain wall to deny some econ but then an Adonis came out and Blue Sun econ got crazy. I was picking up the odd point or 2 from HQ and RnD. To get a better econ engine behind me I installed a professional contacts so my draw would get me some cash, unfortunately Abdu had Snatch and Grab and killed my ProCo the very next turn loosing me a ton of tempo. I managed to scramble my way to 6 points by keeping RnD wide open but after he scored an overscored project Atlas putting him on 5 points he Atlased counter for another Project Atlas and installed it in his remote, then icing up RnD twice and passing the turn. He had all the money in the world and i did not. Very well played here by Abdu and a deserved win.
Clot right? This is what I’ve been waiting for. Let’s see if he is running clot! I managed to rush out an astro using trick of light before an SMC could hit the board. From then on I just scored out another astro from hand using shipment from SanSan and Trick of Light out a Beale. I think he left his SMC on the board in an attempt to fake out the clot but I just kept scoring with a reduced paid abilities window and I was on match point in no time at all. After he popped his SMC for a lady I had the cards in hand to close out the game. No clot but even if he was playing clot my blacklists and CVS were out on the board, and the way I was scoring the agendas he would have had to Pop the SMC on every naked install. This is very hard to do.
No Clot! I saw a wraparound in my opening hand, and knowing Dan’s deck a little I held it back until I needed it. I wasn't sure if he was running corroder but I know he was playing eater Keyhole Maxx so I kept it in hand so I could see where the pressure was going to go early before putting it down. HQ looked like the first target so it went over there, and locked it down. I saw another Wraparound later when he switched his attention to RnD. I had a builder over an Ice wall, he decided to put the a knight over the ice wall and run his keyhole letting the builder fire, I had a Jackson on the board with only 1 agenda in the bin so I wasn’t too concerned, he saw an astro then ran archives, I popped Jackson then I installed a wraparound over the builder (it had done its work with a 7 strength Ice wall). With no corroder on the board those wraparounds and ice wall may have well been brick walls. So with my centrals locked down i had all the time I needed to fast advance my way to victory.
Now I was sat on the other side of the table with my silver bullet ready to take down NEH. It was a tense first couple of turns but I managed to find my SMC early. Clot is online and ready to go. I saw an Architect over RnD and it kept me out for a long time. I didn’t want to pop the SMC without a solid way to recur it so I just drew and pressured HQ and the remotes. My Lady went dry and Dan rezzed a blacklist from behind a wraparound, I knew that this was dangerous, with my other lady in the trash I couldn't break in or even recur any more lady tokens. Still I had my SMC on the board and I managed to parasite the wraparound and kill the blacklist. That very almost completely derailed me and was a very good play by Dan, and certainly reminded me to always respect the power of NEH. Dan scored an astro with an install onto Sansan with a Cyberdex installed on RnD he purged after I clone chip SMC the Clot out, but that made him poor and I then started to pressure HQ and picked up some points. Clot really does work against NEH, even if it slows them down, that’s a tempo hit that can only work in your favour, you still need to take advantage of the every opportunity clot creates for you and always be aware of the threat of blacklist. I won the game out of RnD with a final Makers Eye.
Arrrghh! I expected to face at least one Leela today and I do have a game plan but I do sigh when I see this identity. I need to rely on my cheap ETR ice like wraparound and ice walls and use my space ice to host the advancement tokens to score. There is no worry about clot here but Account Siphon is still an extremely good card. I managed to score an astro off a SanSan city grid on turn 2 making me completely broke. He bounces RnD lays down an RDI and scores another astro. After that first astro was scored I was completely on the back foot. It seemed every time I landed a sweeps week he would account siphon. I counted at least 4 full 5 credit account siphons. Ben kept me poor whilst he was rich and had really good access over RnD. I managed to score out another astro but it was too little too late. RnD gave up the agendas. Very well played by Ben, I feel like I was too eager to sweeps week and should have stayed at a lower running credit pool to deny much of his econ from the account siphons.
Clot not only holds back NEH but it really works against ETF. I knew that he had agendas in hand so I hit HQ regularly seeing 4 points early. I managed to get out the Early Professional Contacts which really helped out my card draw and econ. Much of my time after that was spent with SMC out on the board stopping him using biotic labour, at one point I misplayed and dropped to 2 credits. Ben jumped on the opportunity to biotic out a Vitruvius and the game was afoot. I had HQ locked down and he cycled the agendas with all 3 of his Jackson’s very early. I started to pressure RnD but this was mainly to move his attention away from HQ. I knew without any more Jackson’s that agendas would build up in there and sure enough a few turns later a legwork into HQ scored me a Utopia Shard for the win. Clot doing work here once again.
Pete was such a lovely guy to play Netrunner against, Turn 1 Pete Hedge funds, install ice over remote and install in remote. And all I could think to myself was “I want that astro in there and i want it now”. I face checked the ice to see a Quandary, I have a Gordian Blade in hand. With only my starting 5 credits I installed the blade and ran. It worked and I scored the astro, but this left me with 1 credit. Next turn Midseason and now I’m 2 points up with 8 tags on me, I am now at full tilt. I take a credit and legwork into an unprotected HQ hoping to kill this game as fast as possible (before this game kills me), i score another astro and a breaking news giving me 5 points. So here we are, I’m on game point by turn 2 and Pete has no money but I’m tagged, things got tense. I check RnD and see an Information Overload, the last ice I wanted to see. Pete was left broke after the midseason so he started to gain money and draw. I decided to check RnD again and saw nothing. I still have no money and Pete is drawing hard, I wonder what for? I start to draw and gain money whilst ensuring to check RnD every turn. All this while Pete has 6 creds and he is just drawing. I eventually find my Plascrete and slam it down with pleasure. From here I was safe (ish) I check his hand because of all his draw and see 2 scorched earths, I guess they could have been the same one? Something tells me I should just install my Plascrete the turn before I was about to die (and it turns out I did). Pete then puts the information overload over RnD , this had me very worried as I was low on cash with no way of breaking the sentry tracer, but luckily for me it's expensive to rez so he leaves it unrezzed. After seeing nothing in RnD I decided to take a peek at HQ and score to win the game. On paper that looked like an easy win, but I know I was so very close to losing that game.
“Sigh” Leela again, well she is a very strong identity but I know that if I can play carefully enough and see the right cards I can do enough to win here. I see a tonne of cheap ice early and get my money and fast advance online quickly. Leela didn't really get going in this game as NEH had one of those games that we have all experienced. Astro after Astro coming down the pipe and a breaking news for the win, or as Pete would put it “Choo Chooo”.
So d4v1d hurts this deck a lot and Maxx’s inbuilt ability to recur him makes me nervous. I manage to score quick astro from behind wormhole and I have a wraparound over RnD, I feel pretty good about things. I install a Beale behind the wormhole looking to score it out the old fashioned way and he slams down his D4V1D and busts in to steal the agenda. From then on he kept his D4v1D tokens making sure he could pressurise that remote. I spend the rest of the game installing assets in that server and scoring agendas out of hand. It took him a full cycle of the deck to find a Corroder which really hurt him.
Danny just didn't find his money cards, and Kate did. I managed to keep good pace with Blue Suns' economy and when Danny tried his luck to score out an over advanced atlas I was there to pick it out of the remote. I was getting very good RnD access all game and we were both really just waiting for me to win the game. I let him score an NAPD mostly to get a free turn on RnD again. The pressure paid off and I won out of RnD. A really tough draw for Danny and a great draw for Kate was all the difference here.
I’ve never made the cut in a Netrunner tournament. I lost a coin flip against Alex White (vinegarymink) in the Leamington store champs, I was 5-1 up in the Bristol store champs and took a double loss to Dave Hoyland (Cerberus) in the last round of swiss in Bristol, finished 9th in the Oxford store championship losing out on strength of schedule. It was tense and everyone said it was a sure thing but you just never know. I squeaked in at 7th, and I’m ecstatic! From this point I’m just playing for fun. I was paired up against Chris. I knew Chris was playing NEH Grail as I had played him at the Bristol store championships and had lost to this deck in swiss.
Clot was going to do work here, but it turns out not nearly as much as I’d hoped. I drew an SMC and Datasucker in my opening hand and ran an unprotected HQ to see nothing. Chris Ices up a new remote, HQ and passes, then I draw into Clot. Now I’ll have to fake out the clot with my SMC but the truth is, I can't actually do anything with it. So I run RnD and see a Galahad with a Merlin sub. I could take 2 net and end the run, but that risks my clot going in the bin with no way to recur it and totally giving up the clot threat or I could parasite the Galahad to ensure some accesses on RnD and install Clot next turn. I had no idea that this was the window NEH was waiting for to unleash the beast. RnD pays off and I score a Beale. I can’t afford to install clot this turn so I pass the turn. Chris rez’s a SanSan and score the first astro. My money situation isn't great but I check RnD and see a breaking news. I take a credit and install clot. So I have bought some time and opened up RnD to good pressure but I’m on no money. Chris is also broke and spends the turn taking money and drawing cards, he leaves RnD open and I run it again to see nothing. Chris then ice’s up RnD ready for the purge next turn. All I can do is try and gain money. I see a lucky find which gives me the money and Chris purges the clot away. So with a rezzed SanSan I’m expecting Chris to have drawn into agendas so I start hitting HQ, it's just a pop up so I pay the 1 and score an NAPD. I’m pretty sure he wouldn't purge to score an NAPD so I go back in twice to try and find the 3/2 for the win but got nothing. Next turn Chris scores the astro out of hand on the SanSan giving him 2 astro counters, this is going to be tight. I play another lucky find to get cash and draw into a maker's eye. I pass the turn. Chris scores out a Beale off the SanSan, NEH is really singing now. With a rezzed SanSan and 2 astro counters so he can score anything next turn. I have to assume there are no more agendas in hand so RnD will be my one shot or at least lock him out for a turn. I installed a mimic and Maker's eye RnD, Chris rezz’s a Lancelot and shows merlin. I have 5 creds left so I decided to take 2 net damage and break the trash a programme subroutine to leave me on 4 credits and access 3. No score, No score BEALE!! I am counting my blessings here, the game was on a knife edge and by tilting so early I very nearly lost it. Thanks Chris for one of the tensest games of Netrunner I’ve ever played.
I can't remember a lot from this game. The main thing I can remember is thinking, hmmmm this is probably stealth Andy, I didn't know that but I decided to go as fast as possible because once set-up stealth Andy can really eat into my space ice using switchblade and refractor. Seeing an ice wall and trick of light in my opening hand I decided to stick. Score an astro very early and get to match point with a Beale in hand .Will has his stealth rig up and running and goes fishing in my hand 3 times and didn't catch it. Next turn I score the Beale for the win. NEH did its thing against a runner that needed a little more time to setup.
Andrew didn't know it, but I have a personal grudge against this guy. In my very first tournament in the summer of 2014 in Birmingham Andrew showed me how real players play Netrunner. He destroyed my NEH deck in 3-4 turns with his Andromeda deck. This wasn't a grudge on the man, in fact he is a thoroughly nice chap and really enjoyed chatting on the train down to Oxford together. This was just a personal goal of mine to beat him. We knew each other’s deck pretty well. I don’t have a great record against RP, I usually start strong but can fade out. All of the match’s finished very quickly so all my games were quite rapid fire, I didn't even realise this was the winners semi.
I try and pressure HQ early and face checked an Enigma with a cyber-cypher in hand. Next turn he installed an ice and 2 sundews, leaving him with only 3 cards in hand. I installed the cyber cypher and legworked in, stealing 2 Nisei Mk II and trashing a Caprice Nisei. This was the point in the game where I actually thought I might win, Andrew had other ideas. He switched it on from then powered by his sundews he started to edge out and scored out a hades fragment, all the while I’m looking in RnD fairly regularly. Andrew then installs the FP and advances, I have the money to challenge it but only 2 cards in hand, I can't risk the Tsurgi so I jack out and let him score. So the game is on 4 - 6 I have enough cash to score anything and access to RnD to see 2 cards a turn. His money has gone insane and he is looking for the next agenda. I Makers eye into RnD and see another Nisei MkII and then a Future Perfect, I win the psi game for the win. This could have gone either way. I was the winner in the final, giving me 2 shots at a win, I really couldn't believe my luck.
Clot is definitely an issue, this is the test I’ve been waiting for. My opening hand is “wormhole, wormhole, mother goddess, sweeps week, CVS and I draw into a Beale. I had to really think about this 1st turn. Scoring the Beale is 2 points, the odds of him having the ability to break mother goddess is slim and RnD looks too juicy not to run. Also I wanted an ETR sub to bounce my wormholes with for the mid game. “Fuck it” I sweeps week, install mother goddess and install Beale, I don’t draw into an agenda with the NEH draw. Andrew runs RnD sees nothing. Runs my remote and I rez the mother goddess. He sure gambles and draws. I score out the Beale next turn and he hits RnD scoring a Beale and a breaking news. Not great! But it’s okay. If the Beale was an Astro I would be very happy with the early game, but with it just being a Beale I think it’s about even. I install the wormhole over RnD and install a CVS behind the mother goddess for a potential anti clot play to score an astro. Andrew installs and atman at 4 and runs the CVS and trash’s. This was a great play, but again I think it’s about even. He dropped a lot of money on that Atman and I don’t run Eli and he gets to deny me an anti-clot play. I advance my wormhole 3 times and pass the turn. Andrew legworks and sees nothing in my hand, well he sees a trick of light. So he knows my fast advance is online. Andrew takes this time to draw like a mad man for an SMC or clone chip, all the while gaining lots of money. He installs a ZU and Makers Eye RnD, I rez the wormhole and he spends an eye watering 7 creds to break, but finds nothing. I ice up HQ and get tokens on it for the second wormhole. I find the astro in this time and TOL it out, Andrew is lock out of Both RnD and HQ. He installs a Clot and I draw an astro. I have to leave it in hand for 1 turn but with a wormhole over HQ and RnD and the only way to break them Zu I feel pretty happy with the board state. I purge the clot away straight away, and score out the astro next turn using the astro counter. So I’m on 6 points with Andrew digging for clone chip. I have Jackson in hand so I install and draw once. In those 3 cards i see Trick off light NAPD and Blacklist. I decide to keep what I have, I could have drawn again and for a 3/2 so I can install blacklist and rez it straight away so I can TOL out and astro counter if he finds the clone chip next turn. But I decide to stick with the NAPD, TOL advance and astro counter play. He finds the clone chip and installs it, and crucially he pops the clot out before my turn starts, looking to stop the blacklist play. It delays the game 1 more turn, I purge it away again and pass the turn. I’m only on 3 creds, with an unrezzed wormhole over HQ and a rezzed wormhole over RnD. Andrew tries a vamp play looking to hit a Nebula but it was the wormhole so he gets bounced. Next turn I score out the NAPD with Trick of Light, astro and advance for the win.
I don't think Clot is NEH’s silver bullet, with a few key cards you can actively affect what the Runner can and can't do. I by no means think this deck is all powerful, I definitely think RP piloted by a skilled player like Andrew will be stronger overall but damn it was fun fast advancing. After playing with RP I realised how much I enjoy fast advancing and I’ll be damned if Clot spoils the party. Thanks to everyone who I played and spoke to on the day, it really was a fantastic tournament with amazing people and the best organisation for a tournament I’ve ever seen. Serious Kudos to Filip for putting it together for us.
I'm really looking forward to Nationals now, even if that does mean getting destroyed by Dave Hoyland’s Leela deck in round 2 of swiss.
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