Dia de Muertos

Jashay 705

I've decided to shift my runner focus mainly to Criminal. Shaper seems to consist of 'Kate or GTFO', and Anarch is absolutely everywhere, and I've been playing them for a while now.

Armand interests me, in that he seems to allow a very aggro criminal build. Free, clickless card draw is incredibly powerful, and it isn't limited to once per turn? Great stuff.

But my working theory is that people are playing him wrong. His ability is powerful, and so people go out of their way to make use of it, and paradoxically make their decks weaker because of it. I think that Forger is not Desperado, and would be bad anyway. I think the B&E suite is inefficient; you need loads to get through a lot of common ICE. Because of that, you don't really start using Geist's ability until later in the game. Unless you're running Faust, it's less useful at this point, as you've probably got most of the stuff you need.

Now, I'll freely admit that it could draw you an Account Siphon or something, but if I'm angling on drawing a high-impact card, I'd rather use Planned Assault, Hostage, Special Order instead of wasting 9 slots on temporary breakers.

So my thought is that you could start with a decent build involving trashes that would work in, say, Andromeda, and see if it works better in Geist. I feel like the ability is more powerful in the early game, so that's where I'll be concentrating.

The Build

Account Siphon is a beast, and I feel like Criminal decks have to really justify leaving it out. Same Old Thing couples well with this, giving me more Siphon action, and a ability.

DDoS looks like an incredibly powerful tool for enabling first-turn Account Siphon, remote access, or pretty much any run-based strategy. Also, another .

Muertos Gang Member fits well with an early aggression strategy; run an Account Siphon, and if they rez anything vaguely expensive, drop it with the Muertos Gang Member and run again. If they manage to get everything rezzed, pop them for 2 cards.

Initially I was also running Emergency Shutdown and Crescentus as well, but more on that in a bit.

Early Attempts

Early tests showed that it could work, but there were three major problems: Firstly, once you got rolling, Geist's ability could keep up the pace, but you needed to actually get those cards. Fisk Investment Seminar is a godsend for this, as it gets you cards, and stuffing the Corp hand with cards and then Account Siphoning them is a great pressure play.

A second problem was the clearing of tags, particularly from Account Siphon. The money wasn't so much the issue as the time, so I've gone for New Angeles City Hall for the avoid effect. This also meant I had a reason to play a couple of Fall Guy. More trash effects.

Playtesting this was really, really good at landing a lot of Account Siphon in a short amount of time. But when this worked well, it showed up the third problem:

I didn't have anything to do when I'd knocked the corp down. I could use Legwork or HQ Interface to rip up their hand, and do an Archives run in case they trashed one... but then I was kind of stuck doing single R&D accesses. Unless they kept drawing into agendas I didn't really have much going on. I had to kind of wait...

It did serve to put me in mind of an Iain deck I ran ages back; the idea was R&D lock in Criminal. That seemed a good idea here, so I dropped basically all the influence and stuck in two Medium.

In the only test so far, DDoS, Medium and Account Siphon won me the game in record time.

Choices, choices

So I feel like I've got the basis of a good deck here, and would like to see if I can take it further. Using Geist's ability is key, but not if it means I have to shoehorn in sub-optimal cards.

Medium or R&D Interface? I've gone for Medium despite the higher influence cost, as it is much better for applying pressure; you have to deal with it, or you will lose. Also, there is a knock-on benefit; if they spend a turn purging viruses, that's a turn they can't gain money or install ICE.

Cortez Chip or Crescentus? This is one I still don't know if I've chosen correctly. Crescentus is a brilliant card, and can apply a significant tax... or it can apply almost no pressure to, say, an NEH deck whose idea of expensive ICE is Eli. Also, you need to get the breakers running before you can use it. Cortez Chip is less pressure, but if it manages to stop a rez, that's super-powerful. It also has a slight advantage that I can use it at any time, and so is helpful for early-game clickless draw.

Muertos or Crescentus? Again, tricky. Muertos Gang Member is a lot easier to trigger, but you have no control. I've gone for it because of the cheap early pressure, and the fact that it can double as emergency Scorch protection.

Desperado or Forger? Haha, lol

Dirty Laundry or...? I mean, I'm meant to be running, so Dirty Laundry fits well. I certainly need money in case I can't get it from the Account Siphon... But it doesn't feel optimal. Also, I've only got 12 occurrences here, and in several cases (Muertos Gang Member, Fall Guy), I don't want to be trashing them unless I have to.

The main thing there is that I need money, and I'd like more trashes... but the only thing that fills that gap is Gorman Drip v1. Is that good enough? Is that fast enough?

The entire breaker suite... Yeah, so that's an issue. I basically have no influence, and Criminal breakers are a bit pants. Alias will probably become Mongoose when I get Kala Ghoda. Passport could become Cerberus "Rex" H2, but it has limited uses, and I have no recursion. But there isn't a lot I can do about Breach. This leaves me with pretty poor remote pressure, which is an issue unless I can get an R&D lock going. Which, frankly, is still plan A.

The Future

We'll have to wait and see, but I think Geist is going to be in a better place at the end of the Mumbad cycle. Political Operative is brilliant for dealing with Caprice and suchlike, Sports Hopper is almost a Quality Time you can hold in reserve, Tech Trader could be impressive... Spy Camera might have a place, High-stakes Job looks interesting... Yeah, interesting times ahead, assuming I can work the kinks out of the basic deck!

Thanks for reading! Comments, Criticisms and Questions welcomed!

9 comments
28 Jan 2016 esutter479

This looks pretty sweet! I must admit, personally, I was a sucker for the B&E suite when using Geist...also the Interfaces. I'm wondering...would it be totally out of the question to go -1 Medium for +1 DDoS? Would that help put more pressure on I wonder...

This is just me, but I LOVE Cortez Chip in Geist. It's a nice early tax, and even if they do get the ICE rezzed, can always use Emergency Shutdown and laugh in their face. :)

28 Jan 2016 forktines

Have you considered using Crash Space instead of NACH? It's more click intensive, but makes the tags cheaper and is great scorch protection for Geist.

28 Jan 2016 RubbishyUsername

For breakers, have you considered the classically Criminal mix of all the alright breakers? Playing 1x Passport and 1x Rex, playing 1x Alias and 2x Faerie, and so on? That's what I tend to see people doing. Although I will say that Mongoose is definitely the right choice for sentries.

And I'm sorry, but I cannot believe that Cortez Chip is ever a good card. I just.... Crescentus has to be better, right? Cortez Chip only matters early game, but you use it on unrezzed ice, so you don't know whether the two creds is the difference between a blind siphon working or not, so it's not like it's an Inside Job, but then for the purpose of taxing the corp out on an ordinary run that's still something they might not care about, and even then Crescentus will almost always tax for more.

28 Jan 2016 GrantZilla1979

I guess the gold standard is...does it do what it does with better than Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional's 2 could?

Seems so. Less reliance on the really flaky-at-the-worst-possible-time John Masanori.

29 Jan 2016 Jashay

@esutter479: Thank you! I feel like it's got a way to go before it's it's a deck to take to tournaments, but I think the idea has legs. Regarding the Medium/DDoS switch, it's not totally out of the question, but I feel like I don't have enough card draw, or indeed any tutoring, to drop to 1 of what appears to be a key card. If I had more draw or tutoring, then yes, that would be a great switch.

I find Cortez Chip difficult to judge; paying a to draw a card and tax the runner by 2 is okay, but not great. If you push their ICE beyond rezzability and land an Account Siphon/entire turn of Medium runs, it's incredible. But I'm still not 100% sold. Sometimes I want Cortez Chip, sometimes Crescentus.

@forktines: I did in one of the earlier versions. It's okay, and it saves a lot of money when you spam Account Siphon or keep seeing News Team or Data Raven. But I found the time more important than the money, especially in the early game. Account Siphon with two Crash Space is 3 to play and clear tags for a max profit of 10. New Angeles City Hall means I can Account Siphon for up to +6 in a single click. It also allows for multiple Siphon in a turn, which is disgusting. Meat damage wise, being able to ignore tags off-turn if you have the money goes a long way to protecting you from Scorched Earth. Also, in a few sets' time, I would absolutely run Sports Hopper over Crash Space for protection against all damage.

@RubbishyUsername: That's a good shout, actually. They're all efficient enough for early pressure, and give me some remote ability along the line. Do you have a suggestion for the Fracter? It's so hard to find that 1 inf for Corroder...

Cortez Chip isn't as bad as all that. Usually, I'd agree with you entirely; Crescentus is more taxing in almost every situation, and you have a better idea of when to use it. But there are a few things that increase its stock with Geist, and this deck in particular. Firstly, in the early game I almost certainly will neither have nor play my breakers, but this is the time I intend to do the most damage. Crescentus is useless here, but keeping the Corp down to a smattering of credits in the early game really, really slows them down. Secondly, it was based on my Icebreakers; no remote pressure. It is possible (although unlikely) that I could use a combination of DDoS, Inside Job and Cortez Chip to muscle into a 3-ice server without any breakers. They also stack. Thirdly, sometimes I just need to pop something and draw a card. Crescentus has a limitation on its use, Cortez Chip does not. Better for off-turn draws.

But this is early days for the deck. It might turn out that quick breakers and Cortez-Crescentus or Muertos-Crescentus works better. I need a lot more testing before I throw anything out.

@GrantZilla1979: Glad you think so! I ran John Masanori in the very first version. It went so well, until it didn't... :S

29 Jan 2016 Tbone6963

Another way to go for killers might be ghost runner/switchblade. Its more expensive then faerie but the ghost runner credits are a bit more flexible. I am probably wrong but faerie does not trigger geist's ability... Right? I tried coming up with a Ice Breaker suite from with in crim just now.

1x Alias 1x Aurora 1x Breach 1x Cerberus 1x Passport 1x Switchblade

I also dropped a muertos and a sec test for 3x ghost runner. Idk... Crim really does have some bad in faction breakers.

29 Jan 2016 Jashay

@Tbone6963: Ghost Runner credits are flexible, but very limited. A fully supported Switchblade is pretty much the last word in shredding Sentries, but it is literally useless without support. I'd need Silencer at the least; Each Ghost Runner could only get me through 1.5 Sentries. I'd much rather have a less efficient breaker that I can just plonk on the table and use, as any extra support I need slows me down.

Faerie does not trigger Geist, but it is amazing. Taking good cards even if they don't get added value is fine.

I hope I never reach a point where I need Aurora or Peacock in a deck

30 Jan 2016 Tbone6963

Ignore me! For some silly reason I was thinking Faerie cost 1 cred to install. But Aurora is sort the only option for fractor yeah? I don't know...

31 Jan 2016 Jashay

@Tbone6963: Yeah, but I would rather free up one influence and run Inti or two influence and run Corroder.