I have been playing NBN: Making News competitively for the better part of a year. NBN has always been my first love when it comes to Corps and Making News has been my go to even through the rise of NEH and, to a lesser extent, the recent TWIY decks. When I saw the spoilers for Data and Destiny, I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. As you will see if you do a card comparison to the decks that carried me through Store Champs and the first SMC event, the amount of upgrades that the Trace decks received is impressive with some absolute bombs thrown in the mix. While I don’t have a copy of Data and Destiny and won’t until general release, I fully intend to tune and stick to this archetype upon release and wanted to put a blueprint out for what is possible out of Making News, especially since so much of the focus is on the new IDs (including Haarpsichord). I would certainly appreciate feedback and thoughts. While the writeup is lengthy, I’ve tried to organize in a way that makes it easy to jump around and read thoughts on particular cards.
How the Deck Wins: You play the yellow cards, so any NBN deck worth its salt plays the best card the faction has to offer: AstroScript Pilot Program. If you score one copy, the game has a tendency to snowball out of the runner’s control. We’ve all witnessed the Astro Train more times than we can remember. The great part about Data and Destiny is that the available ice in the deck got a big boost and makes it much easier to create scoring opportunities without reliance on upgrades or fast advance tricks. Archangel and Keegan Lane are absurd cards that can come out of nowhere and completely disrupt the board in the middle of a run and that is frankly something that NBN has never had before (Architect in NEH being the closest thing). Additionally, runners that decide to float tags have to contend with Resistors that cost the Corp nothing and pump up to ridiculous strength levels with a strong base trace (plus the Making News boost), Closed Accounts and trashed resources. While the NBN decks of old relied on speed to close out the game, these new tools help keep the runner stuck in the early game trying to keep their rig from falling apart all while having to clear tags and keep their key economy engines from falling apart. NBN can still play the fast game they’ve always been accustomed to, but they have an extra punch that they’ve never had before and I couldn’t be more excited.
All that being said, the big NBN fast advance question has always been: What support cards do I need to put in the deck to reliably score the first Astro so the train can begin. Some combination of Biotic Labor, SanSan City Grid and even Psychographics are all great choices. My old decks favored SanSan and ran 3 copies. More recently, the rise of Anarchs has made this plan more difficult as Imps and even Whizzards abound and make trashing the SanSan much less of a tempo hit for the runner.
When considering this and taking a look at all the new cards, I decided to go for a Tag/Psychographics package. This is less interactive than SanSan in that you don’t have to leave an upgrade on the board and you don’t have to build a remote if the runner starts eating tags or is running a deck that floats tags. It also saves the influence of playing Biotic Labor and turns on a very powerful secondary win condition in the form of overadvanced Project Beales and a 3 point Market Research. Midseason/Psychographics decks have been relying on this win condition forever, and I started wondering whether there was a way to build a deck that wasn’t all in on burying the runner in a million tags in one turn and instead leveraging even a few tags to turn on an opportunity to fast advance and get value out of Psychographics. When you put all elements together, I think you have a very strong and comparatively efficient way to quickly close out games and score out 7 points (in many cases only having to score 2 or 3 agendas).
Additionally, a lot of the best decks (Noise comes to mind) are very resource reliant and don’t function at the same level if they are having to fight off tags and keep their resources from getting trashed. Having tag options are a very effective way to slow these decks down and create easy scoring windows.
Card Choices/Detailed Explanations
Nothing terribly new in this deck as the NBN agenda package has always been a major draw to the archetype. AstroScript is the best in the game. Project Beale is a 3/2 (already great) with huge upside in a deck that can turn on Psychographics. NAPD is a nuisance for the runner to steal and is made increasingly annoying with the additional tools that NBN has to force the runner to spend their money clearing tags and reinstalling their rig.
The main change I settled on was dropping the two Breaking News in favor of a Market Research. I’ve been playing a one-of Market Research in Midseason decks since its release and have been generally impressed with the card. I basically serves a similar function to the new Global Food Initiative in that it is 2 points if stolen and reliably 3 points if scored without having to dedicate influence to put it in your deck. Additionally, it opens up the additional possibility to win by only scoring 3 total agendas, which can really improve NBN’s ability to close out the game before the runner can stabilize and gain control. While Breaking News is great, the temporary tag ability is less good in a deck that plans to deliver tags and in many cases make them stick. Having the extra card slot to include some new tricks was also a major selling point.
I’ve been playing an operation heavy economy for a while and been very happy with it. While I made a couple of minor changes, the core very much resembles my old Making News decks. I feel like 3x Hedge Fund, 3x Sweeps Week and 3x Beanstalk Royalties is pretty much my starting point for all my Making News decks. The deck can operate on low money and having Beanstalk and Sweeps to recover quickly from Account Siphon or Lamprey is really important. You have some additional top end in the form of a Restructure and a Celebrity Gift. I’ve never had any problem getting to 10 credits to use the Restructure and Celebrity Gift becomes ever easier to play in a deck that is happy to bait the runner in to take some tags or get their rig bounced. 2x Caduceus is also a welcome side effect and a great econ boost. With the addition of Archangel and Keegan Lane, NBN finally gets an in faction solution to bully Mimic and fixed breaker rigs and that makes Caduceus exponentially better. This econ package has been well tested and is even better given that the deck needs less money than my old decks to operate.
Your ice in this deck falls in one of three main categories, often crossing over more than one category: 1. Tag Delivery (Data Raven and Turnpike), 2. Runner Credit Denial (Tollbooth, Turnpike and Archangel and 3. Efficient End the Run Ice (Resistor, Tollbooth, Caduceus, Flare, Viper, Data Raven). Most of these ice have been all-stars for a long time, so it should be no surprise to see them here given what the deck is trying to do. I’ll give some brief commentary on each choice, but these combine to form the most potent NBN ice suite I’ve ever seen.
Viper - Any Making News deck should be playing this card - period. It is so good that I frequently see it played out of Replicating Perfection or HB. 3 cost for a 4 strength code gate with two relevant subroutines is just a great value. The fact that your ID gives you a boost to the trace makes it that much better. WIth additional ways in the deck to challenge Yog/Net Ready Eyes, Viper gets even better. No reason not to play 3 copies.
Tollbooth - Arguably the best ice in the game since the beginning. While it isn’t trace ice, it is still the best top end to any NBN ice suite with the economy to support it. When you pair this with the cheaper Turnpike and Data Raven, you have 5 ice that trigger “On Encounter” effects that trigger regardless of whether the runner can break the ice and continue to tax the runner every time they run through.
Caduceus - This is a fantastic card that got marginalized with the presence of Mimic in every top tier runner deck. While I’m not sure Mimic’s time at the top is over, Archangel and Keegan Lane have given NBN new cards to compete with that can target Mimic and either bounce or trash Mimic to turn Caduceus into a threat beyond the early game.
Resistor - Wow. This card was probably the first to catch my attention when I was glancing through the D&D spoilers. It’s like a Paper Wall that stays on the board with huge upside once the tags start rolling. The base trace is also excellent for a zero rez cost card. The fact that it can grow out of the base strength range of most breakers with a few tags makes this an auto-include for any Making News deck going forward. While Wraparound is still a fantastic option, I think Resistor just became a signature Making News card. Just a simple, efficient, end the run barrier that lets you get some defenses up early and force the runner to grab a breaker.
Data Raven - Any tagging deck needs to be playing some number of this card (Gutenberg also a good option). I settled on one since I’m less all-in on needing the tags to stick to win, but I think this will always be a high value card you are happy to see. It is usually a hard end run ice as runners think better of piling up tags early on (they certainly will once D&D is released). I may go up to 2, but I’ve always been happy having at least a copy of this in my Making News decks.
Turnpike - For 2 credits, this just does exactly what you want: Drains runner credits on encounter and gives a high base trace that will land in the early game. Same logic that applies to Caduceus applies here as well. When Mimic starts getting bounced, this thing becomes a serious threat again to keep the tags piling. I’m very excited to try this out although I will also likely be swapping between this and Draco to see which one I like better (as they are both similar in function).
Flare - This is one of the most underrated ice in the game. Similar to Susanoo, there are just a lot of runner rigs that struggle to deal with a 6 strength sentry. I have been playing this card for months and get so much value out of it. The fact that you can snipe a Desperado, Grimoire or Prepaid Voicepad, hit two key cards and end the run is just fantastic. Alongside Tollbooth, this is a great top end to any Making News deck and this has a permanent one-of slot in this deck as far as I can see.
Archangel?!?!?!?! - Every time I read this card, I’m convinced that this can’t be a real card. I could literally do an entire writeup on all the crazy things you can do with it. For 4 freaking credits (3 if you didn’t bother to install it), you get a 6 strength code gate with a huge trace that bounces ANY installed card of the CORP’s choice. What? Are you kidding me? To present a few real examples, you can: 1. Bounce a Supplier full of resources that go to the bin, 2. Bounce a loaded Medium that was about to win the runner the game, 3. Bounce a parasite about to kill your Tollbooth, 4. Bounce an expensive console or program (Opus comes to mind) and force the runner to spend money they don’t have or find another Test Run/Scavenge combo, 5. Bounce a loaded Kati Jones and hit the reset button on the runner’s economy, 6. Bounce Net Ready Eyes to force an additional 2 meat damage on reinstall. I think of new things to do every time I read the card. The fact that this triggers when you access from R&D or HQ sends the power level on this card through the roof. This does so much to keep the runner poor and unable to maintain an efficient rig without costing the corp much of anything. You sit back, have a little money, then watch the runner beat their head against a wall. This card is a bomb for NBN and made even better by Making News. I literally can’t wait two months to actually play it.
Jackson Howard - Play 3 copies. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that, but just in case.
Lily Lockwell - I missed the boat on this at first, but was reminded of what this offers by my friend Cory. Simply put, Lily lets you play fewer copies of “silver-bullet” operations while still being able to access them. I want to play Closed Accounts in any NBN deck I play with tags, but I really don’t want to play two copies. Lily lets me play it once, shuffle my one copy back with Jackson, tutor for it and play it again. You are happy to give up a single tag when you have more than 1 to get this effect. Same goes for getting my Psychographics that I need to win the game (going from 3 tags to 2 is still enough to fast advance and score an Astro). Tutors are a very powerful effect in any card game and Lily is no exception. The fact that you can also rez her to draw cards, which can especially useful if you are getting Legworked and want to overdraw in response to thin the agenda density in your hand is really good. The way I see it, any NBN deck with power operations where they want access to a card without playing 2 or 3 copies should consider starting with 3x Jackson and 1x Lily.
Ash - Needs almost no explanation. Fabulous card played in tons of decks with a higher base trace when played out of Making News. I cut to one due to influence, but he’s an auto include in this archetype as he creates scoring windows and defends key servers when you need to buy time to win the game.
Bernice Mai - If you haven’t played with this card, Bernice does work. For zero credits, you get a guaranteed tag - pretty simple. I have installed her turn 1 so many times where the runner accesses her, pays 3 to trash her, pays 2 to clear the tag and is flat broke. Any tag deck should consider her as she is all upside for the corp and in many cases causes the runner to give up and let the tags stick (if you take 3 tags running through Data Raven and Bernice, do you really want to spend 3 clicks and 6 credits to clear tags?)
Keegan Lane - Another superstar of Data and Destiny. Even if you abandon ship on the Psychographics plan, spending 1 tag acquired mid-run and zero credits to trash a program is huge value. I may consider trying to go up to 2 of this card, but he seems like a complete no brainer given the power level. Even more so when you’re also presenting the constant threat of Archangel.
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