Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Whilst Netrunner isn't set in the 1984 world, I don't think anyone would have any qualms about describing them both as dystopian futures. And, conveniently for the narrative of this deck, they both have societies dedicated to controlling how people think and act...
I've been noodling around with Chronos Protocol for a little while now, and whilst I've very much enjoyed the mechanic, I've found it difficult to actually leverage it into a deck that's better than other IDs. It's a damage based trigger, so flatlining is what springs to mind, but PE does outright murder more efficiently, as can IG when it very slowly gets going. The new ID, Potential Unleashed, can leverage damage more effectively even when not flatlining.
So where does that leave poor old Chronos Protocol? Well, their strength is clearly in the information game, and to a certain extent they have a very controlling ability. What they've lacked, however, is ways to use the information, and ways to make their control games stick. Which is basically why they've been sub-par. It would be akin to playing CtM without tag punishment.
So what's changed? Or is changing?
Controlling the Past
As soon as Chronos Protocol was released, people saw the synergies with Blacklist and Chronos Project. Picking cards to trash, and then sealing them away? Yes please. To add to that, there is the new Ark Lockdown. Blacklist is a temporary bandage, Chronos Project is a hammer, and now we have a scalpel. I'm reasonably certain that people are just going to expect CP to run this card all the time, as it is freaking brutal. I've only got a few tests in so far, but it outright won me games. The game currently favours recursion over redundancy, so lancing a key breaker is crippling. MaxX in particular is vexed by this card, although she's so heavily redundant that it's tricky to knock her out completely.
Controlling the Future
How do you get to the Runner's cards before they get a chance to play them? This is where I had to get a little creative, and I still don't feel like I've got it quite down, but it's where CP has received some subtle benefits.
A problem Jinteki decks often encounter is that people won't risk their cards. They'll sit and wait until they're set up, or simply play any valuable cards before running. The former problem has been partially mitigated by the delightful trifecta of Bio-Ethics Association, House of Knives and Neural EMP. If they don't run, you keep pinging them. If they run, you ping them, and then ping them again on your turn.
But even that doesn't help if they're fastidious about playing valuable cards before you can get to them. However, I was playing against a Hayley deck with both Drug Dealer and Astrolabe, which had left them with 7 cards in hand when I installed a card. It struck me that with the cards already played, those cards represented 20-25% of her remaining deck. I used a Neural EMP to have a look, and pinged a Mimic they said they just drew. Good times.
Which led me to the revelation that for CP, unlike every other damage-based identity, the Runner having more cards can actually be beneficial. After all, your chances of hitting the card you want are 100%. And even better is if the runner cannot use the extra cards before you ping them... So now I'm trialling two new cards; Aiki and Pālanā Agroplex. Both have fantastic rez-to-break/trash ratios, and now I can actively use their downsides? Lovely.
And of course, there is Kala Ghoda Real TV. I still cannot figure out if I like this card or not. It's more information, and more trashing, and I don't know of any way to prevent it firing. You might never see anything useful, and you can only ever get to hit one card... but if you hit their fracter with Ark Lockdown handy, you've likely won.
And then of course there are the staples for these decks; all the little damage cards, plus Targeted Marketing and Salem's Hospitality to take advantage of the information you have. I considered Ibrahim Salem as well, and simply decided not to use him here. Space is a little too tight, I feel.
Controlling the Present
This is a weakness of the deck; once they get a program/key piece down, I can't really do anything about it. I've tried to make the ICE as broad as possible; if you lose any main breaker, you've got hard stops and big damage. There's a bit of AI hate, although I'm considering swapping Chrysalis for Swordsman. Damage prevention is obviously an issue.
I feel like things could be tweaked to make a 54 card Museum of History deck; drop the Jackson Howards for 2 Museums, add in another KGRTV and Wraparound, Bio-Ethics, Palana, something else, drop a House of Knives for a Global Food Initiative.
I keep see-sawing between Blacklist and Kala Ghoda Real TV, and Ibrahim Salem keeps pushing for a place. Striking a balance between hitting cards and removing them completely them is key here. One without the other is a little pointless. But one massive advantage of Blacklist is stopping Clone Chip from instantly playing whatever you ping... Gah!
Overall it feels like I'm kind of on to something, but this deck doesn't play as smoothly as I would like. Is it something fundamental with the idea, or just that I haven't struck the right balance yet?
Thanks for reading! As ever, comments, questions and criticisms welcome!
21 Nov 2016 Ian517
29 Nov 2016 Jashay