Decklist of the week

"How much influence is Fast Break?" 1st @ Norwich CO

Identity

Description by the author: Kikai 1034

"If only we'd come up with this a week ago, we could have taken this to CBI" - The King

"Broooooooooo this is hilarious. Damn we have some cool ideas around here" - Sokka234

"I knew Arella FoI had potential, and this is indeed glorious" - Jinsei

"Wait, how does that deck make money?" - Peter H


1st and undefeated at Norwich CO

Last chance to have some actual fun with R+, before a banlist update sends it down the memory hole. (Fingers crossed the SBT bans Degree Mill instead.)

With thanks and love to @Havvy and @Cobrabubbles for organising such a fun event, and to @Bartman for being my hero when my travel plans fell apart.

Special thanks to Unband for being just a great group of people to practice netrunner with, and especially to @The King who's done nothing but inspire me with the wildest Corp deck ideas ever since Parhelion came out.

Results

3 wins, 1 timed draw.

Wins against @J0N4LD on Hoshiko, @CobraBubbles on World Tree Adam, and @Fridan on Hoshiko.

Draw against @Joel on Hoshiko (4-4, probably should have clicked 15 minutes back at some point).

The best combo turn that I managed, on the day, was 5 points. Fast Break (1 click) -> Post-Truth (1 click) -> Post-Truth (0 clicks) -> Fly on the Wall (1 click) -> Freedom of Information (0 clicks). This was against @J0N4LD who had floated a tag.

In practice I managed 11 points in one turn, without Fast Break, and without the runner floating any tags. Although they were kind enough not to contest the remote, and not to steal any of the many (many) agendas that were built up in HQ.

Tournament Afterthoughts

Funhouse continues to be a very expensive piece of ICE that doesn't necessarily give the runner a tag. As a result, I clicked for credits a lot more in the tournament than I did in practice. I think maybe I played too cautiously against Hoshiko, when I could have left HQ open for random accesses. It could be good to replace one of the Stock Buy-Back with 2x Hansei Review, but damned if I know where the extra slot comes from.


Premise

If we're being completely honest, scoring agendas behind ICE is kind of miserable atm. It has been pretty much since Endurance came out, and nothing has really changed since then (if anything the situation has gotten worse with K2CP Turbine).

Popular Corp strategies in this 22.09 Parhelion meta continue to fall into one of two categories. The first approach is to play a very minimal agenda suite (6 or 7 agendas), with no intention to score any of them, and instead leaning on alternate win conditions such as Drago Ivanov or Dr. Vientiane Keeling.

The second approach is to go in the complete opposite direction and play a large number of very small agendas (with some negative agenda points mixed in for good measure) to get some pretty crazy value out of Fast Break and Stock Buy-Back. Obviously, we would only ever even consider doing such a thing in Sportsmetal...

"How much influence is Fast Break, anyway?" - The King

There are two considerations for deciding which faction to splash Fast Break into. First, which in-faction upgrades are we installing on the combo turn in order to close the game? Second, what low value agendas are available to feed to the runner to power this turn? In NBN, we have some obvious answers in SanSan City Grid and Arella Salvatore, and in 15 Minutes, Post-Truth Dividend and News Team.

Piloting

Use Arella to jam one agenda after another behind a funhouse or a turnpike. It's okay for us if the runner steals an agenda out of the remote every turn, as long as they take a tag as well.

If the runner doesn't bite, then we can slowly tick up our side of the score area 1 agenda point at a time, gaining tempo as we go. If the runner doesn't steal QPM from the remote (and it's behind Funhouse), then we can advance it twice as a way of setting up a big combo turn.

Arella and SanSan are both good to install on the table before the first Spin Doctor pop. It's rare that the runner will trash Arella, but we need to be able to recur both with Spin Doctor if they do. As Spin Doctors are burned, it becomes more important to hold these key pieces in hand for the combo turn.

Aim to hold on to Stock Buy-Back until there are 3 x agendas in the runner score area is poss (or 2 x if desperate) . Hold on to Fast Break until we have played our first Stock Buy-Back. Once we have the cash we can play it and see how many agendas we can score.

If we manage to install the dream remote of Arella Salvatore and SanSan City Grid, then we can score an insane number of points in one turn (all our 2/1 agendas score for 0). Otherwise, we have at least created a remote that the runner needs to contest, and that might open up a Hard-Hitting News window.

If the runner has opts to float any number of tags, then that opens up some Freedom of Information scoring lines.

Matchups

None of the matchups are easy, but they are all winnable.

Criminal forces us to ICE HQ, which is usually the server we are least worried about (as that's where the News Teams tend to gather). As we are trying to give the runner tags on the runner's turn, Citadel Sanctuary is also a bit of an issue. As is Miss Bones, who is quite happy to trash our (installed) upgrades. The best option is to hold them in hand until the combo turn. Alternatively, we can protect them with News Team.

The 2 x Mavirus, and the instant scoring power of Arella, make it difficult for Shaper to establish a Clot lock. Conduit digs are only good if they hit Freedom of Information, otherwise stealing agendas and accessing News Team only powers-up our combo turn. That being said, if the runner decides to go tag-me, then conduit digs become a real problem. For this reason, it's important to put our (limited) ETR ICE on R&D, and to hold FoI in hand (rather than shuffling back with Spin Doctor).

Without AR-Enhanced Security it becomes even more important to ICE R&D against Anarch, as our whole plan can easily be defused by Stargate. Twinning can be used to sweep our hand for FOI, although, usually, that play is pretty well telegraphed. Both of these threats make Spin Doctor highly valuable in the late game. Mad dash isn't a huge concern (as it counts as another agenda added to the score area), but it is something to bear in mind when considering how many agendas we can safely feed to the runner.


Card Choices

SanSan City Grid is the workhorse of this deck. 5 to trash is a lot, even before having to clear any Funhouse tags taken to get at the thing, and a rezzed SanSan (or, sometimes, even an unrezzed SanSan) is a must trash.

Arella Salvatore combos with SanSan City Grid to allow us to score our 2/1 agendas at instant speed, without passing priority, so there is no clot window. It also gives us some tempo when scoring agendas off the board. It is also 5 to trash.

Fly on the Wall is great for the combo turn (giving the runner a tag, reducing Freedom of Information cost to score, and triggering our ID ability to draw us even more cards). If the runner floats a single tag, then we can score this off SanSan to turn FOI into a 2/2, which we can use Arella to score for free (at instant speed). This deck is very poor before the first Stock Buy-Back, so the 2 credits we get from our ID ability when scoring Fly on the Wall off the table in the early game is also important.

Quantum Predictive Model is 3 less points that the runner can steal if they go tag-me, but, also, it can be used to set up a big combo turn with (relative) safety. IAA in a remote behind a Funhouse, and, if it doesn't get stolen, next turn we can Fast Break Arella and SanSan on top and just start scoring. QPM -> Tomorrow's Headline -> Fly on the Wall -> FOI is the dream. The best I've managed is 11 points in one turn.

It's tempting to cut the 1 x Hard-Hitting News, but, as @Meryu pointed out in testing, without it there is nothing to stop the runner from spending the 10 credits to trash Arella Salvatore and SanSan City Grid. Although I never played it, the threat of HHN was clutch in the last match against Fridan, and was the only thing that kept me in the game.

Magnet is there to pull botulus away from other ICE, and to force the runner to pay for our ICE with real credits (or, at least, boat counters). Although having a third ETR can be important against any Shaper who decides to go tag-me.

Funhouse is very expensive to rez, possibly too expensive for the early game, but it gets us consistent value over time, and it protects our kitty-cats.

Notable Exclusions

Calibration Testing can be used in addition to SanSan City Grid to power-up the combo turn. If we can find the slot for it, then the temptation is to also play License Acquisition, which we could then score for 0 clicks and 0 credits (Arella install onto SanSan, pop Calibration Testing, score License Acquisition, reinstall Calibration Testing, next Arella install please). Very showy, but, I think, Fly on the Wall is more consistent.

Alternatives

If we swap Freedom of Information for Project Beale, then we can also swap out Fly on the Wall for Global Food Initiative, and ease some of the slot pressure. However, we still need some tag punishment, so these 2x slots quickly get filled by something like Shipment from Vladisibirsk, and, overall, I'm not sure if the deck is any better for it (but maybe).

AMAZE Amusements allows us to drip feed our small agendas to the runner one at a time, giving them tags as they steal them, and triggering our ID ability. Very build your own Sportsmetal. Slightly awkward in that, if the runner doesn't steal, we can't just score, we have to score and push the next agenda in the same turn (otherwise the runner just runs and trashes AMAZE without taking any tags). Arella Salvatore helps with this. Dies to pinhole (but what Corp strategy doesn't). Enables a faster game plan, but, after some testing, it seemed to me that a slower game plan (using Funhouse to defend a remote) was more consistent.

An early AR-Enhanced Security score sets us back to begin with, but pays dividends in the long game. It protects our must-trash upgrades, and, once it's scored, the runner will take a tag even for trashing Mavirus out of R&D (say, on a Conduit run), or every time they use Stargate.

If we want to force a fracter install, then Ping is probably our best bet (as an alternative to IP Block). Personally, I am not that fussed about keeping the runner out of servers. Just as long as they are taking some tags in the process.

Authenticator does a similar job to Funhouse, but for much cheaper, and is guaranteed to pay for itself unless there is a relevant breaker on the table.