RtNfFaP – Rigging it up as an Anarch

So, back a bit ago, I spent about a  week toying with trying to make a “Big Rig” Anarch deck. For those unfamiliar with the idea, a “Big Rig” deck is one based around the idea of the Runner assembling their complete rig (full set of breakers + any tools they need to help them out) quickly, and then sustain it with a powerful economy. This deck (at least until the release of Cyber Exodus) was the domain of Kate both because of her ability and the relative power of the Shaper card suite.

For those interested in seeing the original of the version, the earliest version I am familiar with originates from here.

kate_mac_mccaffrey_core
This young lady knows her way around a computer.

So, why bother with an Anarch version when there is a perfectly working version of the deck already? Because I hate myself. And because an Anarch version has its own unique advantages. Thanks to the relative power of the fixed strength breakers, an Anarch “Big Rig” deck, if properly supported with ICE strength reduction (Parasite, Ice Carver, Data Sucker) and breaker strength increases (Personal Touch) can run servers surprisingly cheaply.

Obviously elements of the deck can be mimicked by other factions, but running cards like Morningstar, Ice Carver, and the virus suite can take up a LOT of Influence. So, if you want to run a Big Rig deck based around the premise of assembling a powerful rig that runs cheaply once in play? Then Anarch is still likely to be your best bet, as they have easy access to the support system that Yog and Morningstar really need.

So, after spending a week playing around with the deck, I cam to a fairly important conclusion.

I can’t make the deck work.

That isn’t to say that the deck CAN’T work (more on that a little further down). Just that I really can’t make it work. Despite several wins with different iterations of the deck, I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. If you follow my blog (or play locally), you’re probably aware that I play Criminal and the playstyle difference between aggressive decks and Big Rig decks is substantial. I’m just not comfortable spending several turns in a row passively building a rig. So, in general, I don’t think you’re going to see me playing too many Big Rig decks.

That said, I do think there is potential to an Anarch Big Rig deck. If you can assemble the pieces quickly enough, the deck applies immense amounts of pressure due to the low cost of running, meaning it can hit servers over and over without needing to spend much. Medium is an incredible threat, as is the newly released Nerve Agent, further increasing the pressure on the Corp’s central servers. Depending on the ICE a Corp has, Cyberfeeders and Spinal Modem will be sufficient. While it does rely on outside Strength modification to handle a number of ICE, once you’ve got things in place, the deck hits brutally hard with minimal downtime.

With all that in mind though? I think there’s still some tools missing to make the deck really shine. It isn’t bad! But there are a couple of things holding it back.

Memory

The Anarch version of this deck EATS memory. While Shapers can get away with their base 4 memory these days to make a complete rig (Snowball, Zu.13, Pipeline/FF, Magnum Opus), Anarchs aren’t going to have the same luck.

morning-star-what-lies-aheadIt takes a lot of memory to figure out how to smash a wall, eh?

Guaranteed to need at least 4 memory for breakers (2 Morningstar, 1 Yog, 1 Mimic/Ninja/Femme) and then additional memory for whatever viruses you want to run, or extra Femme Fatales. Djinn does exist to help out with the memory issue but it requires 1 memory itself, meaning the ideal Anarch rig is STILL going to need at least 5 memory. Oh, and if you want to play Parasite or a second Femme Fatale, you’re going to need even more actual memory.

Worse, Djinn chains make you very vulnerable to program destruction, a single instance becoming capable of wiping out every non-breaker program in your rig at once.

Sentries

Anarch sentry breaking options suck.

mimic_coreSorry, man.

Well. That’s not fair. They are fine. Mimic works okay in the deck due to the Strength reduction you’re running anyway. Ninja is always a solid choice. Femme Fatale is awesome if they get a problem piece of ICE out.

The problem is that, compared to Yog and Morningstar, they are fairly expensive to deal with. Which, if you’re running low on credits because, well, that’s the optimal way for the deck to function (barely ever needing to take money due to low breaker costs), breaking Sentries is going to eat up a lot of your credits and slow you down. Worse yet, some of the game’s serious problem ICE (Archer, Janus) are sentries, meaning that they are REALLY expensive to break when you need to.

Speed

Based on what I’ve seen from some very solidly built Kate Rig decks, the Anarch version just isn’t that fast. Not only do you need more cards out for your rig to reach the really tricked out point (Breakers, Ice Carver, Viruses, Cyberfeeders, Console, etc), but getting up the required credits for assembling the rig can be a bit difficult. Liberated accounts is a great shot in the  arm, but, when one of your primary breakers costs 8? That’s not really a huge amount of money. Presuming Mimic as your Killer, your three breakers alone are going to cost 16 credits.

This means that, in general, you’re going to be spending more time than Kate building your rig, which is a huge problem. Kate is already in danger of losing out to Fast Advance strategies before you can get your rig assembled. A subpar start with the Anarch rig deck will bury you.

Fixed Strength Breakers

This is sort of a no brainer, but fixed strength breakers do have some notable weaknesses.

Archer and Janus are already obvious problems on multiple counts, though the release of Emergency Shutdown may cut back on their usage a bit. Where you really get into trouble is with advanceable ICE.

hadrians_wall_coreBad news.

Unless you run alternate options, Hadarin’s wall will end you. A few advances followed by, if necessary, a virus counter wipe will make that server very difficult (if not impossible) to access. You can, of course, splash into other breakers, but then you’re further diluting the primary strength of the deck and, without that strength, it becomes fairly questionable to run Anarch over Shaper.

Overkill?

There is a distinct possibility that the fully loaded Anarch rig, while much scarier than the Shaper one, is simply too much. Yes, a situation with three breakers, a few cyberfeeders, and a Djinn loaded with Medium, Nerve Agent, and Data Sucker would be pretty awesome and pretty much assure the loss of the corporation. Is it really that much more effective than a normal Shaper rig, though? And, especially now that Test Run exists, is that critical mass much more effective than just splashing a choice card or two into Shaper?

I don’t really have answers to those questions at the moment, but my initial guess on pure play experience is no.

So there you have it. A week and some spent toying with Big Rig Anarch and thinking about it.

Setting aside my own reservations about the deck type in general (I get twitchy when I’m not running multiple times a turn!), the deck, while scary looking, just doesn’t really seem to have the tools at the moment to really click. There are builds that, at least, work decently. I’m just not convinced they are better than (or even as good as) a similar Shaper deck.

If you’re curious  about some of the builds I was toying with, here are the lists. Take these with serious salt, though, as I was experimenting fairly broadly with them.

DECK 1

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder

http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/netrunner/android-netrunner-deck-builder

Identity:
Whizzard: Master Gamer (What Lies Ahead)

Total Cards: (45)
Event (9)
Sure Gamble (Core #50) x3
Deja Vu (Core #2) x3
Modded (Core #35) x3

Hardware (8)
Spinal Modem (What Lies Ahead #2) x2
Cyberfeeder (Core #5) x3
Akamatsu Mem Chip (Core #38) x3

Program (17)
Mimic (Core #11) x3
Morning Star (What Lies Ahead #4) x3
Yog.0 (Core #14) x3
Datasucker (Core #8) x3
Parasite (Core #12) x3
Wyrm (Core #13) x2

Resource (11)
Liberated Account (Trace Amount #22) x3
Ice Carver (Core #15) x3
Wyldside (Core #16) x3
Aesop’s Pawnshop (Core #47) x2
Influence Values Totals -
Anarch: 68
Criminal: 0
Shaper: 13

DECK 2

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder

http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/netrunner/android-netrunner-deck-builder

Identity:
Whizzard: Master Gamer (What Lies Ahead)

Total Cards: (45)
Event (6)
Sure Gamble (Core #50) x3
Modded (Core #35) x3

Hardware (11)
Spinal Modem (What Lies Ahead #2) x2
Cyberfeeder (Core #5) x3
The Personal Touch (Core #40) x3
Akamatsu Mem Chip (Core #38) x3

Program (17)
Mimic (Core #11) x3
Morning Star (What Lies Ahead #4) x3
Yog.0 (Core #14) x3
Datasucker (Core #8) x2
Djinn (Core #9) x2
Medium (Core #10) x1
Parasite (Core #12) x3

Resource (11)
Liberated Account (Trace Amount #22) x3
Ice Carver (Core #15) x3
Wyldside (Core #16) x3
Armitage Codebusting (Core #53) x2

Influence Values Totals -
Anarch: 64
Criminal: 0
Shaper: 15

 

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