The Colours of Disease - 11th & 12th - Euros 2018

ff0X 786

urgs

The Backstory

It all started the Friday before Euros, we chatted a bit about possible decks and @Percomis said something like: “Knobkierie and Imp combo is really annoying as Skorpios.” and my not quite serious response was “Play it out of Smoke.” We started talking a bit more and @JackMade joined and pointed out that Cache might be a nice addition to have a once a turn Desperado. Eventually the question “You are not seriously building and Knob + Imp + Cache Smoke deck, are you?” was asked and by that point I was intrigued decided to throw something together for the GNK the next day. I wanted to test Skorpios and I felt comfortable enough with a FTT + RNG Key Smoke to try something else as Runner.

The Result

The deck did really well at the GNK, even beating IG Asset Spam, which usually is a nightmare for Smoke and only lost a single game to Azmari due to mistakes and leaving Dai V at home in favour of Atman. But without boring you any further with stories about the conception of the deck, here is a breakdown of the more ‘unusual’ cards and some thoughts about them.

The Cards & Combos

Imp

One of the cornerstones of the deck and a part of the main combo with Knobkierie. The trash ability of Imp is really good in a lot of situations:

  • Trashing a Mumbad Virtual Tour without having to pay money against CtM.

  • Trashing nasty operations – i.e. Hard Hitting News, before they hit you or just get rid of fast advance tools.

  • Allowing to improve R&D or HQ accesses by trashing a card and running again.

  • Trashing any agendas, especially against Skorpios when you have no Film Critic and in general all of the annoying ones against other decks. This helps getting around Punitive Counterstrike, Hunter Seeker, etc.

  • Trashing high cost assets or upgrades for free

Now all that is pretty awesome, but with the limit of two counters and the ability to have them purged, the card seems fairly balanced. Which brings us right to the next card.

Knobkierie

The first successful run in a turn lets you put a virus counter on a virus card and provides 3 MU just for virus programs. With Imp you get the counter after the run is successful, without the corp being able to use a Cyberdex Virus Suite to purge the counter away. Which guarantees the trash ability of Imp to be available. But what if Imp still has counters? You can only spend one a turn, luckily we have a few more MU to fill.

Datasucker

The other anarch virus in the deck. It works really well with the breaker suite to make some annoying ice a bit easier to handle. A sucker will get an Archer down to strength 5, which makes it a lot easier to break with Dagger. The same works for DNA Tracker and Refractor and when it comes to Blackstone, boosting strength is something you really want to avoid. In addition, value runs on archives just to build tokens and gaining a Net Mercur credit are quite nice, especially if you can get two virus counters thanks to Knobkierie. Another small benefit thanks to the console, but hasn’t come up in any game yet, is that you can get a sucker on a remote, too. Which might help with a lockout in centrals after a purge. But so far we have only covered anarch virus programs, why is the deck called The Colours of Disease?

Cache

Let us have a look at Cache next. In itself a minor economy gain for a lot of effort and even influence, why bother with it? Well, as mentioned in the introductions, it turns Knobkierie into a Desperado for the first run, especially if you already have the one virus counter you need on Imp. Running a remote for a Stealth credit with Net Mercur and a credit from Konbkierie and Cache helped tremendously during the whole tournament and when Archives is open, it becomes even more interesting if you have a Datasucker on the table, too.

Chakana

This leaves Shaper, the only legal virus you can play there is Chakana. It has been with us since Creation & Control and was never really a thing. Why did it change? The answer is twofold. On the one hand, Knobkierie reduces the setup time to just two R&D runs, which is a huge difference. Making two runs on R&D is actually something you do fairly often in Smoke, usually when you play an Indexing. You index go back for the agenda and fast advance or rush becomes just that much harder without barely an extra effort. On the other hand, the rise of rush and fast-advance decks increased its significance by a large margin.

Dai V

Even with Atman seemingly be the more obvious choice, Dai V brings something to the deck that Atman does not (thanks to @JackMade for the suggestion). - Breaking multiple subs with very few credits. It is really helpful against Tourguide, Ashigaru, Komainu, Brainstorm, Endless EULA and others. Overall it is more of a tech slot, similar to Misdirection, since two stealth credits is a harsh tax.

Generall Thoughts

Having a strong incentive for successful runs on all centrals and remotes, it is far easier to get value out of every turn. You disrupt the corp by trashing anything for free, increasing the difficulty of fast-advancing, never-advancing or even install-adv-adv an agenda. With the stealth breaker suite getting the one access you want every turn is quite easy and with SMC the initial rush is a lot harder and once you are setup almost impossible.

The deck feels klunky when you have all your breakers installed and don’t have the virus you want yet and cannot get it with the SMC in your hand, since Knobkieries MU doesn’t help at all. But that is a minor drawback for all fun it provides.

I would like to thank all my opponents for their confused looks, useless purges, and overall a good time in the tournament. Special thanks go to @Percomis (who placed even higher then me), @JackMade and @Lime who believed in the deck and played it at Euros, too.

25 comments
5 Jun 2018 percomis

Grats on the finish and figuring this list out! It took me I think like 3 rounds of swiss to get over the fact that I'm installing Chakana. :D

5 Jun 2018 Cluster Fox

Top notch write-up. I watched this deck being played on stream and it's an absolute monster. <3 Smoke.

5 Jun 2018 Kelfecil

Gratz on the placement ff0x! Love the deck! I've been repping Chakana for a while in my Smoke and you and percomis sorta ruined the surprise now, but it's all good, cuz you made Smoke famous once again! xD I also enjoyed your commentary on stream!

Still not sure about the Dai V though. How often did you even use it? and also, do you think Atman would have been more useful after having ran the deck at Euros?

Also, why Daily Casts instead of Dirty Laundries (since you got Net Mercur / Cache / Knob)? How often did you end up filling up your Cache (as the one-off Desperado that you mentioned)? Isn't Imp more important to fill up every time against any corp (especially since most of the ones at Euros on the high tables combo-ed in one way or another for FA)?

I have so many questions about this, but I guess it's just a completely different Smoke playstyle from what I am personally used to, which is why I wouldn't be able to run this as it is, but I'm defo gonna give it a try seeing how you managed to make it work so well!

5 Jun 2018 Krasty

Can I ask you, if 1x Ghost Runner, 2x Net Mercur and ID is really enough to feed all your stealth breakers?

5 Jun 2018 ff0X

@percomis I am really happy you like it and managed to grab a seat in the top cut as well.

@Cluster Fox You know how much I like Smoke. :)

@Kelfecil I used Dai V in about 30% of the games and was always more useful then Atman. Atman is only good to avoid a huge taxing ice, but Smoke handles those quite easily anyway.

About Daily Casts over Dirty Laundry: I would have liked to play 6, but I am not allowed to. ;-)

Imp and Chakana both have a ceiling of counters you need on them. For Imp it is 0 and for Chakana it is 3, after that you can utilize Datasucker or Cache. A typical situation is this: You run HQ, take the Imp counter, find an Agenda or trash with remaining bad publicity or stimhack credits. Next turn, you still have the Imp counter, so you can take Cache instead to make the run more efficient.

@KrastySince I used Dai V only in a utility slot and the Datasucker helps a lot with ice you would need more then one stealth credit it was working quite well. The first iteration of the deck wasn't running Misdirection and instead a 2nd Ghost Runner, which was fine, but Misdirection is far to important.

5 Jun 2018 Kelfecil

Awesome! Cheers for the reply! I like the reasoning on Imp/Cache and Dai V. My question on Dai V I guess was more on "is there enough tricky ICE that make Atman better than Dai V or not really?" in that case but I guess CI with non-type ICE is no longer a thing therefore making Dai V way better than Atman. Or you do not see AgInfusion as much anymore making Excalibur a thing you do not have to deal with much.

Daily Casts over Dirty Laundry I guess is just your personal preference in this case! ^^ I just fear it a lot in a meta full of Scarcity and I try to keep my resource count low. Especially when Smoke finds it hard to include any current and since Film Critic is the best go-to choice for a restricted card.

5 Jun 2018 ff0X

@Kelfecil For most of the tricky or annoying ice I need Dai V and not Atman. Dai V is still an AI that will break Mother Goddess or Excalibur just fine.

Daily Casts / Dirty Laundry: I play both ...

5 Jun 2018 JonathanJones

I rebuilt your deck from watching the vod of you against Jemieson because it looked so interesting but could not stop wondering about how I would lose against turn 1 Scarcity of Resources. Have you faced that card and how did you handle it?

5 Jun 2018 JackMade

Well deserved! Was a pleasure working and tweaking this deck with you. <3

5 Jun 2018 ff0X

@JonathanJones I have faced turn one Scarcity in testing, not during the tournament. But you just focus on non resource installs, unless they are really important, i.e. Net Mercur. It is a huge annoyance, yes but you can weather it.

@JackMade It sure was. :)

5 Jun 2018 Saintis

Great deck against Titan FA. Losing an FA tool per turn to Imp makes you very sad. More disruptive than Maw. If you had played Chakana against me as well I probably would have conceded ;)

5 Jun 2018 ff0X

@Saintis Thanks, I was looking for it, but sometimes it is a bit elusive.

5 Jun 2018 percomis

@KelfecilDai V isn't that bad at breaking an Excalibur either. Sure, it's not as effective as Atman, but I think EULA, Komainu and Tour Guide are bigger threats Dai V is better at handling. Also if you lose a breaker to Skorp, Dai V is more flexible as backup.

@JonathanJonesturn 1 Scarcity sucks badly, but you have 3 Indexing and incredibly efficient and easily fetchable breakers so you can try to steal an agenda before slamming down all your important resources.

5 Jun 2018 Neitherworld Gamer

Loved the idea of this when I saw it on stream ; Not having many sources of stealth credits kinda feels like it makes you all in on Net Mercur. At anytime did you struggle to have enough?

6 Jun 2018 Simone Suka

why not laamb over that awful blackstone?

6 Jun 2018 Cluster Fox

@Kelfecil one of the main advantages is that Daily Casts saves you a click. Start of your turn gain 2, even if you're broke you can credit credit Misdirection. Dirty Laundry would require an unprotected server for the same effect, and that would also require a succesful run so there's nothing stopping them from just Hard-Hitting News'ing you again. Seems like that was what Peter was struggling with in the last round, just value tagging for tempo. DL would have made that much less consistent.


@ff0X what are your thoughts on Laamb in the Dai V slot? Also gets you through big ice like Tour Guide and Endless EULA, and saves you stealth credits at the cost of an extra MU.
6 Jun 2018 ff0X

@Neitherworld GamerHaven't had any issues in regards of stealth credits yet. However, you'd better not discard the 2nd Mercur, because it will get destroyed from time to time.

@Simone Suka Blackstone breaks subroutines for just one credit and with a lot of rush from the corp, there are a ton of Vanilla and Icewall around. In addition, if breaking costs only one credit you can use the recurring credit from Smoke and still make money with Net Mercur. With Datasucker bigger barrier are quite easy, too. Furthermore, When you have Laamb and another breaker installed you cannot install SMC to fetch the last one.

6 Jun 2018 Saan

Day of the Tenticle gif? Holy shit, I've never slammed the Favorite button harder.

Also, sick list =D

6 Jun 2018 ff0X

@Saan Well, purple and green were the colours of corp and runner in ONR, so Day of the Tentacle always seems fitting. :)

6 Jun 2018 Saintis

Any thoughts on Kampala Ascendent cards for this deck? Does Reclaim fit?

6 Jun 2018 ff0X

@SaintisI haven't thought much about it, yet. But I do think that Reclaim is nice to get back Net Mercur or a program in case something happened. Another option is to get back a Ghost Runner if you are desperate for stealth credits. But I consider it mainly a safety net, that you might not actually need at all.

7 Jun 2018 Longi

I love the new orange facelift of Smoke :) Congrats both of you on your standings;)

7 Jun 2018 ff0X

@Longi Thanks, it is kinda funny, you import anarch cards into shaper, so it plays more like a criminal. :D

11 Jul 2018 rattkin

How do you usually handle MU? I imagine the "target" virus suite is Imp, Datasucker, Chakana. You want 3 breakers out, Dai V is an option. How do you (tactically) find space for Misdirection or Cache (especially if you draw it mid-game and MU is tight)?

28 Aug 2018 met4

"you import anarch cards into shaper, so it plays more like a criminal. :D"

i like that remark. and the deck. i might steal it for the nationals ;-)