Morton's Fork (a new take on Credible Threat)

Killerabeja 78

This deck went 5-1 in the US Nationals tournament at Origins (2016). Is that spectacular? Probably not, but it's the best I've done and as this biggest tournament to which I've ever been, I'm rather proud of myself and thought I'd do a write-up.

This deck is based heavily on Credible Threat with some innovations that I think make the deck much more aligned to my play style. I want to thank dodgepong for the wonderful deck idea. It came when I wasn't having a lot of fun as Corp and this reminded me why I play Netrunner. Please check out their write up as well as the write ups for similarly inspired decks like Xanatos Gambit and Mindless Mind for more strategery advice and well-written commentary.

I've been toying with the archetype pretty much exclusively since it was published and have been updating it to deal with MWL and an increasingly brazen runner meta. The beautiful thing about runners that can trash anything and get in anywhere is that they often forget the difference between can and should, and if your play is inscrutably insane enough, they'll all eventually fall, even knowing the risks.

Here's the elevator pitch: with this deck, you advance just about all your "agendas" naked and invite the runner to make a choice: die or let you score out. It's a choice that leads to about a 50/50 split of flatline or scored wins. Sometimes they take the third option of tearing apart your Econ, running everything and leaving you broken and shamed, but usually you can avoid that.

Most games begin with icing HQ and mushining out a card. Sometimes you'll IAA, leaving everything naked. Most runners don't want to get hosed the first turn and will avoid running the "trap," and you'll either score or set yourself up for money later through Back Channels. It's beautiful. Sometimes they'll run and get junebugged and die, or get overwritten and tilt for the next several turns while you giggle. Sometimes you'll let the Global Food Initiative sit for a few turns while you protect your centrals and money up, and then score it, which is good for a laugh.

There's really two things you need to play this and win and it's the balls to look your opponent in the eye and lay an agenda on the board and convince them you're sad they didn't run it. You will be, a little. Giving up two agendas is worth flatlining them when they go for the third.

Like I said, there's more coherent descriptions available, but here's my explanation for the adaptation of Credible Threat:

Firstly, there's been several changes simply necessitated by the most wanted list. The loss of the deuces of Eli 1.0 and Architect seemed devastating at first, but in reality hasn't turned out too badly. The deck leaks agendas a little with the new ice suite, but Viktor 1.0 and to a lesser extent Markus 1.0 fulfill the same role as Eli quite nicely. I miss the recursion shenanigans that Architect provided, but I may switch out the Eli and get some of it back. With Ravana 1.0 out, I think the ice is only getting better. I dropped pretty much every ice with a Rez cost over 5 because money's tight in this deck. You're real boom and bust based on the balls of the runner and I didn't like the bust so much. Vikram 1.0 is on the chopping block because of this, especially if Ravana 1.0 continues to be the power house he was on the day. I have weakened the NEXT suite with the pull of Mother Goddess and I may drop it altogether, but they still do enough work to make that a hard decision.

I also had to free up influence for Global Food Initiative which I think is the main innovation here and one I'm surprised that isn't used more often. The usual agenda with this deck is Mandatory Upgrades with all the players saying that they don't often need the click. Then why the hell work for it? The way that I see it, GFI saves an entire turn of clicks in the agenda you don't have to score and that's leaving out the clicks to find an agenda and money up whilst attempting to tease the runner into killing themselves. Further, I kept running into the problem of getting to match point without a Mando and then, the runner has pretty much no choice but to hit everything and, if they've lived that long, they're unlikely to die now unless they're forgetting to count the Overwriters. GFI solves this problem perfectly and can be bluffed without mushin much more easily.

Let's talk money: the ancestral deck had very little of it and was super reliant on back channel landing. The surefire way to make me sad with this deck is to Account Siphon below 3 credits and run the traps. Green Level Clearance is the main answer to that, as it can get me back off the ground and has the added benefit of letting me draw into the good stuff faster.

Project Junebug is a cheaper kill and another back channels target, which is nice. It's the easiest to tech against in a meta that is dealing with a bunch of Jinteki bullshit, but it lands or is money as often as not.

The Biotic Labor is a holdover from the ancestral deck and after this tourney is on the chopping block because I never care to use it even when I have money. Right now, I think another Archived Memories would be nice so I can get a trap back if I get RD locked to shit and lose all the fun stuff.

Let me know what you all think: if nothing else, I think it shows that old school, cat-and-mouse Netrunner can still win games. But frankly I barely care about that. This is a deck that is as much fun to lose with as it is to win with. Every match was full of groans and laughs (and more than made up for going 0-0-1 with my runner). I hope you try it or its relatives and have as much fun as I have.

6 comments
20 Jun 2016 dante77

Good job! Congrats!

22 Jun 2016 Killerabeja

Thanks!

22 Jun 2016 Eji1700

Never seen this before but I love it. Made two tweaks and took it for a spin on jnet casuals.

Changes:

Took out eli and biotic.
Replaced with architect and successful demonstration.

I've yet to rez architect just due to draws so no comment.

Successful was an idea to help with the econ since you often get at least one unsuccessful run due to the quick nature of the deck forcing facechecks, but with an archived memories/over advance it's easy to just grab it from your heap when it can be fired (i've used it every game so far). Can't say it's better than biotic though since that'd help a lot with the end game.

Anyways holy crap this is fun, and it makes me sad that more people haven't tried HB bluff games (and I hope we get more cards to encourage it). As is the way with new decks i've hit nothing but andy/leela's running triple driveby and same old thing, but even then it was fun as hell (and I guess at least wasn't apex). Turn one ice HQ, mushin a GFI/overwriter is so disgustingly silly it's hilarious, but I don't think i'd have the nerves to play this one in person.

Finally given the absurd recursion and consistency, have you considered -1 mushin and +1 snare? Granted it lowers your chance of obnoxious t1's but gives you a no advance bluff that's also annoying if you get an overadvanced virtruvious to stop HQ runs even with it in archives.

22 Jun 2016 Killerabeja

So I would never drop a Mushin No Shin -mainly for the reason you've suggested*, but I have had Snare! in (sans Eli 1.0 and Project Junebug). I was rarely happy to see the Snare! though because of the generally low money I have. 3 of those 4 credits are better spent on the Cerebral. I was considering a Shock! but settled on the Junebug to help the money and the threat side of things. I never even considered Successful Demonstration but will as it might help with the early game (and that would make the snare make more sense).

I have found that I can lay an agenda down and ignore it for a few turns if they've hit an Adonis. Even Whizzard runners want to wait until you Rez it to trash, so facedown cards get checked way less frequently than I would've expected. In that scenario, the Snare! is RD protection and I'm cool relying on the density to protect me there. (My sleeve choice might be helping, too)

Biotic Labor is poor choice the way I run the deck: with only 6 viable targets. The chances of getting the agenda, the Biotic, right after landing a solid Back Channels for the cash to pull it off (not to mention Clot) are pretty slim. I've never been a big user of Biotic, though, so I'm probably not giving it a fair shot.

Yeah, Drive By sucks. Just Rez the trap until you pull off the Back Channels and then rely on your recursion to smoke them out.

Glad you're enjoying it: feel free to post updates as you tweak it! I'm especially interested in the Architect; I think without your no advance trap, there's not much fear in just running it.

*in order for the deck to work, in my opinion, you need to communicate to the runner very early that they're dealing with a raving lunatic.

30 Jun 2016 PanzerD

Brad, excellent job! Congratulations.

15 Aug 2016 Killerabeja

Thanks!