Hands in the Sky (Critical Run Jan 2020)

Navigator 1

Self-designed, no grand innovations, I just can’t play kill decks since Scorched Earth rotated. Personal choices reined in for a more effective build. Earth Station provides all the defence I ever wanted from Gagarin, without squandering Gagarin’s application in asset spam.

Changes from December’s list:
-2 Oaktown Renovation
-3 SSL Endorsement
+3 Hostile Takeover
+3 Global Food Initiative (3 INF)
+2 NGO Front
-1 Masvingo
+1 Akhet
-1 Fairchild 3.0 (3 INF)
-2 Hortum
+1 Afshar
+1 Oduduwa
-1 Archer
-2 Surveyor
+1 Colossus

Agendas: Nothing special. Global Food Initiative to force the runner to steal 4 agendas for the win (barring shenanigans), occasionally get added value from Atlas, a token Oaktown. Bad publicity only trickles in after additional costs to run have been paid, which was a good thing to be reminded of. Don’t be afraid of taking additional bad pub, your servers should negate the drawbacks.

Assets: The all-star Wall to Wall, plus some NGO Fronts to tempt runs on the remote. The ploy didn’t work, but the NGOs pulled their weight recovering from Diversion of Funds. I’m considering replacing the NGOs with Too Big to Fail, I’ll see how the bad pub vs clicks saved works out.

Operations: Money, money, money, plus Digital Rights Management. Maybe it was the draws (regularly sitting on 8 points from turn 5/6) or my playstyle, but I resented drawing this card every time I saw it. Included as a better Fast Track, the fringe value of dropping an asset or upgrade was lost on my games. I might slot DRI in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

Upgrades: Ash was an old favourite, but I often found the trace unreliable. Cayambe Grid delivers though and is in-faction. Still not used Bio Vault, but considering the costs of your servers, it’s a must-trash for the runner and there are only so many Border Patrols.

Masvingo: Once I finished crying about this personal favourite (scaling against Turtle and Paperclip, RIP Laamb), I accepted Akhet’s greater synergy and bounce deterrence while keeping the visceral appeal of advance-able ICE. A single copy was kept for late-game extortion.

Fairchild 3.0: Despite never firing a subroutine, I regret nothing. Must-break routines, solid taxing, intimidation value, forcing runner to reassess, it ticks all the boxes. Fairchild 2.0 and Slot Machine have been considered, but I’m attached to the ETR and higher strength. Plus, I’m not sure what I’d do with the additional influence.

Oduduwa: Performed admirably in his designated role as the third layer of ICE on R&D. As the deck’s only target for stray Hunting Grounds, the King might leave you feeling hollow if the runner saves it until late. An early rez will hurt badly; runners will go elsewhere rather than hand out scaling advancement counters, YMMV.

Colossus: I can’t overstate its ability to force trashes via scaling strength. Str10+ was reasonable to expect with Wall to Wall and Cayambe Grid in the remote. If the runner assumes you’re on a kill deck, the tags aren’t anything to sniff at either. Engolo and Afterimage require some manoeuvring on your part to secure the remote, but they aren’t insurmountable.