Puppy Butcher - 4th place PDX Regionals

Saan 2795

The Deck

So this is yet another slight variant on the ever popular Butcher Shop archetype. I played another version in the Boise regionals, where it went 4-1, but I failed the hell out of playing my runner deck, so overall I landed somewhere middle of the pack, splitting literally every game. In that version, I ran only 1 Pop-up Window, 2 Gutenbergs in addition to 3 Data Ravens, and 2 Enigma. And maybe an Information Overload? It's hard to remember because I made alterations literally minutes before handing in my decklist. Anyhow, there was more ice, but I'm just mentioning these as these were the ones I changed. I was also running 3 TGTBT and a Restructured Datapool in place of the Project Beales. I'll talk about why the change back below, and my thoughts on both builds.

The Cards

A lot of Butcher Shop decks have been taking out the usual Reclamation Order. Obviously I did the same. I just found that I rarely needed it to recur things, and if the game ever got to the point where I needed to blow of a plascrete one turn, use Reclamation Order order to reclaim my meat damage the next turn, and then try and kill them again on the third turn later, the runner can usually just use that time to close out the game, since if I have all those cards, the game has probably gone on long enough for the runner to get a couple safe agendas. I decided I'd rather use the influence on something else. I tried a lot of different things, but landed on Pup.

Basically, Pup acts like Pop-up Window #5 and 6. While it doesn't hand you money like Pop-up does, it does make a 2 credit swing every time the runner runs through it for a very, very low investment, which is what the deck wants to be doing. If you get the runner to have to run through a Pup and a Pop-up, that's a 4 credit swing for a 2 credit investment (one for Pup, 2 to install the outer ice), and that 4 credit swing happens every time they run. And it never costs you anything beyond the 2 credits. It's bonkers. I love it. HOWEVER. It is another 0 STR ice, and Parasite is a thing. So that's something to keep in mind.

But wait, why have so many effective Pop-ups if the last deck I was running ran literally 1 of them? Well, I took out the Pop-up Windows in my last deck to make room for the Gutenbergs and the TGTBTs and all that noise, and when they left, Pop-up Window came back. I also just decided that after playing against Butcher Shop more, I really, really hated seeing Pop-up Window in front of me, so I clearly wanted it in my deck.

The other ice option I have seen is 2x Eli 1.0. It's great against Criminal and Anarch, but kinda balls against Shaper, who just walk through it for a buck with Lady. I anticipated seeing more Shaper than I did (I played against 6 anarch, 1 shaper, and 1 criminal), but Pup still did fantastically. Just can't beat that 1 rez cost! Plus, you can't click through for 0 credits in a pinch.

Next, I decided to have just a ton of assets. This leaves me fairly light on ice, and it's not uncommon for me to just keep an ice-less hand, if it has good cards. Since each time I install an Asset I draw, I'll draw into my ice along the way. It's rarely been a terrible decision. Anyhow, I aim to install an Asset a turn, and will try and keep one in my hand if I have 2 of them if I plan on having a free click to install on the next turn as well. I aim to have this deck draw and play very quickly, because it helps me draw into my kill combo all the faster. If I play 2 assets one turn and 0 assets the next, I'm down 1 card. Sometimes, though, it's still correct, in order to overwhelm the runner with assets. It's also good to hide a naked AstroScript Pilot Program in occasionally.

I've gone back and forth on SanSan City Grid. On the one hand, I never want to rez and use one if I'm on the Midseason Replacements plan. It sets me behind 8 credits to rez and use it, and it's hard to recover from that. However, it gives me a chance to FA out Project Beale and save an Astro token if I need to score out. It also enables kill combos not otherwise available. Scoring an Astro is something you want to do early in this deck, because it sets the runner on a clock and can force them into uncomfortable/bad runs. If an Astro is scored and there is a SanSan on board (rezzed or unrezzed, it doesn't really matter), you can install a Breaking News on it, rez the SanSan and use the Astro token to give the runner 2 tags in one click. Then you just kill them. If you're using a Traffic Accident and a Scorched Earth to do it, this only takes 9 credits total, and it doesn't matter what credit total the runner has, and you can just do it from hand. It just kills fools. At the very least, SanSan is a card that I can play that replaces itself in my hand from my ID ability that can make the runner spend 5 credits without me even having to rez it. It's just value.

I'm running 2 Daily Business Show to further speed up the deck. Often I won't want to rez more than 1, because sometimes I'm looking for a couple different cards to help me out, and I hate seeing all of them at once. If I'm looking for that last magic card, though, having both rezzed feels like a dream.

I opted for 3 Marked and 2 Pads, because if the runner is going to trash my economy, I'd prefer they pay more to do it. It's annoying, though, having to upkeep them, so I'm on the fence about going back to 3 PADs. Time will tell.

Quandary is in for Enigma because Yog is back, boys. Why pay 3 for a card that's just a gear-check when I'm trying to be as frugal as possible? HOWEVER. This shit dies to Parasite too, which is pretty annoying.

So then, why the agenda suite if the TGTBT 1 Restructured Datapool build was working out so well? Well, I found that in games I needed to score out in, having no Beale made things a lot harder. It's hard to score out an NAPD when you've given up on the Midseasons plan, and scoring a TGTBT feels terrible, since it's just 1 point and is useless to FA. There were games where I was stuck on 5 points with 2 Astros and a Breaking News scored, wishing I could do something useful with the Astro counter I had, knowing there was only 1 agenda in the deck to use it on (or worse, seeing that 1 Astro already scored in my opponent's score area and knowing hope was gone). So I opted to go back to Beales, since it also freed up a precious deck slot as well.

Overall, I think I might actually change up the ice suite just a little bit, since a lot of it dies to Parasite as noted, but I'm not sure what yet. Also, I love Gutenberg, and would love to get at least 1 copy back in the deck. Maybe over a SanSan? Not sure yet. Also, I really do miss having TGTBT, but hate running the Restructured Datapool in order to fit 3 in there, as running a free 3 pointer that I can basically never score just feels like a stupid risk. However, I might take out 1 Beale and run 2 TGTBT, as having the runner take an unexpected tag on their turn can sometimes win the game. But again, that requires me to free up a deckslot, and there is very little space. I'll keep playing with it =)

I'd do a corp tourney report like I did for my runner deck, but the truth is that most of my corp games are kinda hazy. I killed some people, people won with medium runs, and Whizzard was everywhere. @nobodyhasthis's Val deck was a terror to behold, and put Whizzard to shame. @jakodraco made a 9 card double-medium dig last click for the 4th/3rd place match, and hit the winning agenda on the last card, on his last click. I could kill him next turn, and he told me afterwords that he had 0 IHW in hand. It was a hell of a game. But other than random highlights, I don't remember much. Sorry!

12 Jun 2015 clercqie

This looks a very reasonable build to me. Much congrats on your performance.

I agree with you that the ICE mix is not optimized yet (for most Butchershop decks imo), but we're getting there.

For agenda composition you have 2 options I think: the one you're playing here or a 12 agenda one (-1 Beale +1 BN +1 TGTBT). Don't contemplate the 3-pointer, it adds way too much variance to an already variable deck.

Then, -1 Sansan because 2 is enough I believe.

Operations are rock solid. I play my version with -1 Midseasons +1 Restructure, because I usually find the Midseasons in time, and because Sansan allows for alternate kill methods. More money is obviously nice. Maybe cutting 1 Midseasons is a bad idea though. I just hate having superfluous cards in my deck.

Now for the ICE suite, you're running very few which is reasonable because of the asset draw, but in a Whizzard/Val meta, egh. You noted yourself this was kind of iffy. The numbers are definitely meta-dependent.

What kind of ICE to run though? IMO, you need to have strong rush potential for aggressive plays with Breaking News, and strong stall potential for the RnD race after a Midseasons. If they start to tag float and you don't have the kill yet, you absolutely have to be able to slow them down with regards to the RnD lock. For the remaining 2 influence, it's either 2 Eli or 2 Pup. If you run Eli, combine with Quandary; if you run Pup, combine with Enigma. You don't want all your ICE Parasitable, but rez cost is an issue. In any case, installing breakers is a tempo hit against this deck. Make them do it.

Sorry for the massive (and quite rambley) post. I do believe there's been little talk about optimizing this archetype though, which is a shame because it's obviously Tier 1.

12 Jun 2015 Saan

Actually, everything you said is more or less on point with what I've thought as well. I've considered doing +2 TGTBT instead of the +1 TGTBT +1 BN, just for the greater accidental tag potential, but BN has such large game ending potential that it's probably better running 3 of them, as you've noted. I also agree that the SanSan is the logical choice for making room, as they're the set piece I use the least during the normal course of the game.

I had originally been using an enigma as my Code Gate gear check, but switched to Quandary once Yog.0 became a thing again to save on money. But, as noted, it becomes bad vs Parasite. I think your suggestion of moving back to the Enigma is on point, even if I do burn a coupe extra dollars to do so.

As far as cutting Midseasons goes, I actually ran a version with 2 Midseasons for quite a while in testing (in the version with 3x TGTBT and 2x Gutenberg). My thought process was that the added draw power of the DBS's as well as the super-heavy asset spam would draw me into the Midseasons faster, so I would only need 2 of them.

In practice, this doesn't always happen. The deck still usually runs okay, and you will usually find a Midseasons, and even if you can't, the runner kinda has to assume that you have it if you act like you do. But if they call your bluff, you're kinda boned. And you can't always find it, which slows the deck down, and slow is something this deck can't afford to be. So I went back to 3 Midseasons.

Also, I think all the games I lost over the weekend were due to deep Medium runs. They all ended with the runner getting the winning agenda on the last draw of their last click, with me being able to score out or kill them or both the following turn. But the fact that Medium can be a problem kinda makes me want to run a copy of Cyberdex Suite. Again, though, deckspace issues. Maybe going up to 3x Breaking News could help solve this simply by ending the game before it gets to that stage. I'll have to test it!

Thanks for the good commentary and suggestions!