Brain Damage Association

Joseki 2470

alt text


This deck won me 250$ at the VS. Games 500$ event, has racked up a couple GNK wins, and has regularly defeated some of the best players in the SF Bay area since I created it. It is part mind games, part inevitability, and 100% enjoyable to play with.

I've been playing ANR since November, and during that time I've noticed that pretty much every top player I meet completely dismisses PE as being a non-viable choice for serious tournaments. I absolutely think this deck is powerful enough to take down a large event, and it is certainly very hard to play against, even if you know the match-up well.

PE has gained a lot of new tricks since it was last popular. The two key components are:

  • Bio-Ethics Association - PE had a weird issues before this card where the Runner had no reason to ever run an unadvanced card. This card single handedly brings the shell game back to life. If the runner refuses to run unadvanced cards, you now can rez 1-3 Bio Ethics in conjunction with a kill, which is often much more than enough to seal a game.

  • Dedication Ceremony - The existence of this card also forces the runner to check unadvanced cards. You will often get kills where you have a 3x advanced adenda, a Bioethics or two, and an unadvanced Ronin. This is three "out of hand" Net Damage, and is absolutely a serious win condition.


I'll briefly talk about the "Yomi" or "Mindgames" aspect of playing PE, but I think its the least relevant aspect of what makes the deck work. Your deck has natural variance to it - You draw a combination of traps, agendas, and ronins throughout the game, and you pretty much install them all immediately, and advance some of them immediately. You usually Mushin + Ronin or a 1 pointer with a relevant effect, you usually install, advance, advance, with Cerebral Overwriter. In a high level tournament, these are generally the most intelligent plays, against opponents who know your play style well, you just mix it up.

  • Advance every card to 4 advancements over time. This gives the illusion of imminent death by Ronin, whether or not its true, and forces the runner to play more aggressively, which, as a PE player, you should enjoy some good variance from. Runs on installed cards are not in the runners favor, you have many ways to punish them for it.

  • Install Snare! - This is different from previous iterations of the deck, but in general, installing Snare! helps contribute to the minefield of unadvanced cards in a way that was not previous relevant in PE decks of the past. As soon as your opponent knows you're on Bio-Ethics, they will need to start checking your remotes. Abuse this! If you know your opponent won't check remotes (or hasn't been all game), you can hold onto the Snares! or just try and get them back into R&D with Jackson.

  • Install and advance 100% of your Cerebral Overwriters. Install advance, advance, or, install, advance are both reasonable options. Any amount of brain damage essentially locks the game in your favor. If the runner refuses to run on advanced cards, rush out Ronins as fast as possible and try to set up for a big turn.

  • Players who completely ignore the shell game will almost always lose. Your deck has traps in it, and most decks will struggle to stay at 5 cards after every turn, especially if you're scored House of Knives, or, if they are trying to rush out the game with Multi-Access.

  • Score Profiteering as fast as possible. Just do it.

  • Snatch and Grab Political Operative and Film Critic. Profiteering should help you achieve this pretty easily in most games.

  • Only ice centrals.


  • Snatch and Grab is really important. Cerebral Casts might be OK too, but Snatch and Grab has worked out better for me in general. Picking off Pol Op, FC, or Councilman, dramatically increases your chance of winning.

  • Having a horizontal facedown card in front of a central server is really the most important thing about the ICE in this deck. Yagura is the cheapest//best in-faction option for representing a spooky piece of ice while being mostly harmless/slightly taxing. Komainu is just strong in general, and must be respected by Faust decks. Usually gets parasited, but its a good road bump.

  • I keep going back and forth on Gila Hands Arcology over 1x Profiteering. You're welcome to try it out!



16 Jun 2016 syntaxbad


16 Jun 2016 ryanbantwins

Isn't sports hopper really annoying?

16 Jun 2016 Joseki

Yeah Sports Hopper is pretty good against flat line in general, but its nothing you can't overcome. A lot of it boils down to making your shell game big, and getting them to run a P. Field or Snare! so they have to crack it before your turn begins. You never want to force them to use Hopper with Bio-Ethics though, just general shell game tricks will generally do it. Also, the only trap Hopper is particularly strong against is Junebug. If they run an overwriter they still get brain'd.

17 Jun 2016 Simone Suka

so you meet keyhole + siphon (or just siphon) and gg?

17 Jun 2016 Joseki

Not really, no. You play Ice, and do your best to keep the shell game afloat. Getting siphoned a bunch sucks, but, you play a good chunk of traps and can generally make enough money to dig out of siphon/vamp stuff. PE ice is pretty bad anyway, so I'd say its not really worth worrying about big keyhole runs. If you suspect your opponent won't interact with you much just rush the kill. =)

17 Jun 2016 Dothanite

Congrats on the wins! I've been thinking something similar, however I went -1 Cerebral Overwriter, +1 Clone Suffrage Movement for EMPs, Mushins, and Ceremonies.

Also Profiteering is a beautiful card.

18 Jun 2016 SourSweet

awesome deck!... had a lot of fun with it. one prob is that the deck gets almost neutralized if the runner runs aggressively from the beginning, makes it a hard time to build up a flatline. i mean that he runs and takes a few net damage here and there. so far the best balanced PE deck I've played. even Apex has a rough time. Good Job

19 Jun 2016 TheBigBoy

Councilman actually does very little. You can rez Ronin at the end of the runner's turn and then re-rez on your turn if they derez it. They would need 2 Councilmen to stop a Ronin.

2 Jul 2016 Hayati

This deck works a treat! The shell game is really enhanced with Dedication Ceremony and Bio-Ethics Association. If you can get 3 unrezzed Bio-Ethics Association in play and a Ronin, you can cause a massive 6 net damage in your turn! Rez Bio-Ethics Association for 3 at the start of the turn, then rez Ronin, advance once and play Dedication Ceremony, the click for another 3. Awesome!

Because of this, the Runner will be afraid to leave things lying around. Getting the other cards slowly to 4 advance tokens gives them a terrible dilemma, and one wrong run on a Cerebral Overwriter or Project Junebug will end them.

Regarding Sports Hopper, I killed a Runner who had two of them in play. Also, Armand "Geist" Walker: Tech Lord who could trigger numerous trash effects to draw up and save himself from flatlining. And, a Runner who played Levy AR Lab Access twice!

The thing is, the deck wears the Runner down. I tend to try and play a single card out and click for credits twice. You don't want to be running out of deck before the Runner.

So far I have not lost, which is incredible to me! I started playing Netrunner in mid-2015 and was drawn to Jinteki: Personal Evolution, but it had serious limitations. With these new cards, this may be a viable surprise ID to bring to a smaller tournament.

Excellent work on the deck pal! The only changes I may make would be to the ice suite and a few other minor card changes.

5 Jul 2016 Hayati

To supplement, I ran this (with minor changes) 10 times on Jintetki and scored 8 wins. Not bad at all! Most of the wins came late as the Runner perhaps thought they were safe, quite often when they had 4 cards in hand. One loss was to quick agenda flood from R&D; the other to a very careful player with a Sports Hopper.

11 Jul 2016 Joseki

Glad people are having success with this list. :)

11 Jul 2016 phette23

Would you say Voter Intimidation over Snatch and Grab now? Profiteering makes tons of money, but so do runners, seems like the VI condition is easier to meet.

14 Jul 2016 Caïssa

Nice deck. I wish there were a bit more money in it. What about Medical Research Fundraiser?