The current version of my NEXT Design deck. Still not quite there, but I like to keep records of all the changes I make.
With NRDB having been temporarily gone, there's a few iterations of this deck that do not appear on here, but I'll quickly run through the changes from the last one published here.
The problem with v1.3 and the previous iterations was that once the runner got a rig rolling, there was not a lot I could do to stop them. I tried to fix this by adding in 2x Ichi, some Aggressive Secretaries, and a corporate troubleshooter. I don't think this worked any better than the previous iteration... the Ichis worked well, even though it was occasionally frustrating early game when a runner hit them with no programs installed. My inexperience let me down there, though, more than the card itself. Corporate troubleshooter was pants; all my non-Bioroid ice bar the Rototurrets and the Ichis was simply ETR, so the corporate had very few decent targets. A third Ash would have served just as well.
The next iteration went all-out rush. The operations were completely revamped; fast tracks, GLC and BLC were all added, with some Shipment from Mirromorph. Assets were Jacksons. The ICE count was slightly lower, but all the ICE was cheaper and almost all of it was ETR. It was, in all honestly, a quite different deck with a similar agenda composition (Although all the Man Ups became efficiency committees), and whilst it was often blisteringly fast (having been 6-0 up in 6 turns once or twice), when it fell behind it generally stayed there.
So I went back to the original-ish version and had a rethink. I tried swapping the Agg. Secs for Will o the Wisp, but this deck is always so short of money that being able to pay 4 in a pinch was never guaranteed. Similar problem with the Secs; sometimes you don't even have the 2.
So really, I wanted the disruption to come from the ICE, which basically meant destroyers. But they're never cheap, and very rarely have ETR, which I value highly. Only Rototurret and Archer have both, and I'm already running 2x rotos.
Enter the Grail Ice. By switching Ice Walls and Caduceus for Galahad and Lancelot I can sort of have a bunch of destroyers that can sort of end the run. Delightfully, Galahad with a revealed Lancelot is immune to sharpshooter/faerie, too.
This is pretty cool, but it has slowed the deck down in three ways: Firstly, the average cost of the ICE has gone up. Only minorly, but I'm also missing out on the Caduceus occasionally paying for itself, which has been surprisingly painful. Secondly, this deck works best if you can play three ICE with your ability, but you don't want to play all your Grail ICE if you get it. Holding a Lancelot or Galahad makes all the others better. This means you will sometimes make suboptimal plays because of those ICE, which is inefficient. Thirdly, the slight increase in cost plus the increase in non-ETR ice means it's trickier to pull off a real blitz start. Previously I would frequently score turn 2, and sometimes again on turn 4, but this setup is less adept at pulling it off. It does fare far better in the mid-late game, but it's galling when you miss an early advantage.
This deck still isn't where I want it, and there are a few areas I'm considering trying in the future:
Money is always a problem, finding the last agendas is always a problem, and ABT can sometimes be an issue due to agenda dumping, or me ending up with Wotan in my hand, say. Jackson would seem a decent way around all of these issues. He would also help draw into more Grail ICE should I need it. Honestly, I'm clearly a madman for not including it sooner.
Considering it as a single card. Again, it can rescue cards, and it can help my setup. But it doesn't immediately slow the runner, and it doesn't force an equipment check. It does look good though.
Do I go all out on the Grail ICE when merlin comes out? Not sure. It would make all the other Grail Ice even deadlier, but it would slow me down even more with its higher cost and nature as Grail ICE. I'll give it a whirl, but not 100% sold. As for Excalibur, probably of little interest in this deck.
5-costs are not conducive to a blitz start, but nor is Tollbooth, and Lotus Field gives Anarch a lot of headaches.
I'm genuinely interested in this. As long as you click it twice or more, it's at least as efficient as Private Contracts. It's also an upgrade, so I can leave it in a well defended server whilst doing other things, whereas Private Contracts often needs its own space.
Anyhow, this is where the deck is now, although as ever I expect it to undergo a lot of changes over the next few months. I'll keep you all posted!