The Current Meta (Runner)

The Current Meta (Runner)

05/12/13

Dave 'Cerberus' Hoyland

 

Recently I wrote an analysis of the current meta covering off the top three corp decks. I thought it was time to do the same for the runners...

 

I've looked at both the Plugged In tour and Worlds decks and can see that there are two decks that are consistently winning. The first to talk about is Andromeda, which took both by storm. It won 12 of the 30 Plugged In events and was present in 7 of the top 8 places at Worlds. I think this is conclusive evidence that this is a strong deck.

 

Here is an example of a strong Andromeda deck.

 

Identity:

Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie (Humanity's Shadow)

 

Total Cards: (45)

Event (16)

Account Siphon (Core #18) x3

Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus #43) x2

Inside Job (Core #21) x2

Special Order (Core #22) x3

Sure Gamble (Core #50) x3

Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control #52) x3

Hardware (9)

Desperado (Core #24) x3

Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead #9) x3

R&D Interface (Future Proof #107) x3 ■■

Program (12)

Femme Fatale (Core #26) x1

Corroder (Core #7) x2 ■■

Datasucker (Core #8) x3 ■

Yog.0 (Core #14) x1 ■

Faerie (Future Proof #104) x1

Ninja (Core #27) x1

Crypsis (Core #51) x2

Mimic (Core #11) x1 ■

Resource (8)

Kati Jones (Humanity's Shadow #91) x3

Daily Casts (Creation and Control #53) x3

John Masanori (Opening Moves #9) x2

 

Influence Values Totals -

Anarch: 9

Criminal: 43

Shaper: 6

 

The question is what to do against this deck, as it doesn't have obvious weaknesses. First, be prepared for certain key cards, Account Siphon is the main one. I believe that generally the community is well educated on how to deal with this but here are a couple of suggestions in case you're struggling. The first suggestion is to keep something to rez which will make the Account Siphon unappealing. If you are sat with 7 credits for example, a San San City Grid or Eve Campaign can be rezzed stopping the large credit swing. The second suggestion is to have a piece of ICE on HQ that you do not rez even if that means allowing access. Effectively. this means that the runner needs their entire breaker suite out before they can safely use it. A specific card that is good at defending against this is TMI, this is because when you rez TMI it forces a trace, this allows you to burn credits into this to stop the huge credit swing. Other cards that initiate a trace which the runner cannot stop are also good, for example, Caduceus, Ash, Bernice Mai etc.

 

The breaker suite in Andomeda is generally the fixed strength anarch breakers (Yog.0, Mimic) with datasucker support. Corroder, Ninja, Fairie, and Femme Fatale will also be in most decks. This is a very robust suite, but there are sometimes opportunities the corp can take advantage of. Firstly, purge virus counters to make high strength ICE dangerous again, often you will want to secure something up or play an agenda and so Cyberdex Trial is useful. Also as you will see later in this article, most top decks run Datasuckers and this means that this card is useful more often than not. Secondly this breaker suite is very weak without Datasucker, so if they haven't played one yet cards such as Tollbooth are very strong. Also Corporate Troubleshooter is strong when combined with Grim, Archer, Rototurret etc as the increased strength is difficult to overcome for this suite. These options have definitely been discussed before, but they are worth noting if you are seeing a lot of Andy.

 

 

Another strong card against this deck is Closed Accounts, this is because the deck often goes 'tag me'. Once it goes 'tag me', it is relying on Account Siphon credits and event economy for credits as resources can be trashed. A Closed Accounts just after the Account Siphon is very powerful. I would recommend this card even if you are running limited ways of tagging, and it is likely a better splash than Scorched Earth, both due to influence and the fact that runners will often play a Plascrete Carapace just to be sure when playing 'tag me'.

 

 

The next deck list I want to talk about is Katman. This became popular when it won Gen Con but has been doing well since, many of the top 32 at Worlds were playing Katman including second place. I don't think this is as strong as the Andromeda deck by any means, but it is still strong.

 

 

 

Here is an example of the Katman deck.

Identity:

Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker (Core)

 

Total Cards: (45)

Event (10)

Escher (Creation and Control #31) x1

Modded (Core #35) x3

Sure Gamble (Core #50) x3

Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control #52) x3

Hardware (14)

Clone Chip (Creation and Control #38) x3

Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead #9) x3

R&D Interface (Future Proof #107) x3

Desperado (Core #24) x3 ■■■

Rabbit Hole (Core #39) x2

Program (12)

Atman (Creation and Control #40) x3

Self-modifying Code (Creation and Control #46) x3

Datasucker (Core #8) x3 ■

Parasite (Core #12) x1 ■■

Deus X (A Study in Static #66) x1

Femme Fatale (Core #26) x1 ■

Resource (9)

Daily Casts (Creation and Control #53) x3

Kati Jones (Humanity's Shadow #91) x3

Professional Contacts (Creation and Control #49) x3

 

Influence Values Totals -

Anarch: 5

Criminal: 10

Shaper: 50

 

One of the key strengths of this deck is that it makes money doing anything when set up, Desperado, Datasucker, and Professional Contacts are a great combination. Equally, all of its runs are very cheap as it only pays to break subroutines. The key to these cheap runs is Datasucker, therefore, ideally what we want to do is shutdown access to all central servers and purge virus counters. This is very difficult to do as you need to get your ICE in the right place AND purge virus counters to get control. This brings me back to Cyberdex Trial being a strong card again, I don't think this is a must include but it will certainly be useful in many situations.

 

The other thing to note is that this deck has a resource based economy. It is weak against tags, and the NBN deck I wrote about in the previous article is likely one of its worst match ups. Adding a way of tagging into your deck is a good idea, especially when backed up by Freelancer and Closed Accounts. Even without these, getting rid of Kati Jones and Professional Contacts can be game changing.

 

In order to defend well against Atman it significantly helps to have ICE, specifically sentries, at various strengths. For example Rototurret and Grim work well together to force two Atman to be out at different strengths. This requires more set up for the runner and therefore more time and credits. Generally, because of Atman, corps need to ensure they have a wide range of ICE strength from 0 through to 5 or higher. As Atman only works with Datasucker it is another deck vulnerable to program destruction ICE and Corporate Troubleshooter.

 

 

 

Though I've only covered two Runner decks here (which are undeinably strong), there are definitely other strong decks out there such as the standard Aggro Gabe, toolbox Shaper decks and even Noise mill. I don't think they are as competitive as these two decks, especially the Andromeda deck which I place far higher than Katman.

Things will likely change a lot for Atman now Second Thoughts has finally made it to the UK, and Swordsman is available, and the soon to be released Wraparound will kill it stone dead.

 

Hope you've enjoyed reading my thoughts, and please feel free to comment and discuss.

 

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