Tuition Sucks (Credits) - 2nd place Regionals Brno 2016

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PeekaySK 7646

This is the deck I used to great effect at the Brno 2016 Regionals (top seed after Swiss, 2nd overall). Some people have inquired about the list, so here it is. The runner deck I played was a Prepaid Whizzard build.

First of all, full credit and kudos to the guy I saw play this online, he’s the originator of the lion’s share of this (you know who you are, please let me know so I can credit you properly... "I love how people think this isn't a competitive deck" was the exact quote if memory serves) – I just polished it, optimized it and made it fit my playstyle more. (EDIT: it was @eedok - thanks for the awesome concept!)

Track record-wise, this deck has brought me through 5 rounds of Swiss (no super-bye or ID bullshit) and into the finals through the loser’s bracket, without dropping a game. Some timed wins against @Korrigan’s Hayley were involved, but those were in no way a clear-cut case either way.

So, what is this thing?

At its core, it’s a tax-you-out-of-the-game MN thing. However, two cards from the second half of the Mumbad cycle have pushed it from the “annoying” status these decks have always occupied into straight-up “trollificus magnificus” status. Those two cards are Aryabhata Tech and Exchange of Information. Let’s discuss them in a bit more detail.

Aryabhata Tech

So, one of the problems of a tax-by-trace deck has always been that traces give the runner two outs: either pay the trace, or face the consequences of being traced. That choice means they always get to choose the better option for themselves, easily making the trace war concept a losing proposition for the corp side in the long run. Aryabhata Tech changes that by adding two new consequences to letting a trace succeed: netting you a credit and costing them a credit. Might not seem much, until you realize two things:

  • Aryabhata isn’t unique and stacks just fine
  • It applies to every single trace all game long, until it’s trashed

Now, if only we had a way to trigger traces at will. Oh wait, we do – Restructured Datapool. Which brings us to…

Exchange of Information

Full disclosure: I honestly believe this card is stupid beyond belief in its published form. It probably shouldn’t have cost zero, it probably should have been neutral with 2 influence, and it most certainly shouldn’t have worked with a single tag. And don’t even get me started on the interactions with Breaking News, which only serves to further illustrate the brokenness of that particular agenda.

OK, with that out of the way, what does EoI do for us? It stops us from losing, and a lot of the time it actually scores our most critical agenda on the cheap. Restructured Datapool has always been a high-variance play: extremely brutal when scored, but a huge liability, and trying to score it and failing could easily lose you the game. EoI basically completely subverts the downsides. You just try to rush it out, and if you fail, no biggie – you’ve set up your opponent to hold it for you until you’re ready to steal it. Thanks to the agenda suite we have, this can even be delayed a little under certain circumstances. So, agenda suite:

Agenda suite

Only two Datapools because it’s enough, and you don’t want to risk random losses before you can swap one of the out. Breaking News because it’s just stupid with EoI, and because it’s super-easy to score – remember, you need to have an agenda to give to the runner in exchange. Quantum Predictive Model because nothing beats the opponent scoring your stuff for you (works extremely well with Manhunt), and Global Food Initiative because we’re aiming to win with 3 agendas, and at least one of them will be a 1-pointer.

So, why no Project Beale?

It might seem counter-intuitive at first – we’re playing a deck that has both Midseasons and Psychographics, and that actualy aims to bury the opponent under tags anyway. So Beale seems like it might be good here. But to make space for it, I’d have to drop two of the 1-pointers (packing a single Beale and a Fast Track), or a 1-pointed and a Global Food (making room for 2 Beales). But that gives more 2-pointers to the runner, making it easier for them to win in a single swoop. Also, I rarely have the money to do a 7-point PsychoBeale or the need to do so – sitting at 4 points is a frequent occurrence, so Psychoing out a Global Food works just fine. Given all this, the 1-pointers with their crazy effects seem simply better to me. Tl;dr: try the Beale version if you’re so inclined, I found it less dependable.


Simple: Aim to be annoying for Faust while packing as many traces as possible. Gutenberg is a particular MVP, given how full of kitty my RnD often is.

Weird Assets

Aryabhata is the bread and buter of this deck, no need to explain its inclusion. Maybe just a comment that miht not be immediately obvious – if you get one out and have a Datapool scored, it becomes a superior version of clicking for credits. Should you be fortunate enough to get two of them to stick, it’s like having Capital Investors that make the runner lose money and give them tags. Needless to say, awesome beyond belief.

The thing that sometimes raises peoples’ eyebrows is the inclusion of Primary Transmission Dish – seems like overkill given the ID we’re playing, no? Actually, no – a lot of the traces we need to run are base 2 (Manhuntand Datapool), and also a surprise rez of Dish can get you +1 on a Midseason, which is sometimes the difference between conecting and not connecting it. As soon as you get to use its credits twice before the runner trashes it, you’re at +4 credits. Seems worthy enough of two slots.


Nothing spectacular to see here – bunch of tagging, bunch of tag punishment, some econ, 2 Archived Memories to recycle whatever’s needed – the most common targets are Aryabhata Tech and SEA Source, with the occasional Manhunt also thrown in for good measure.

Finishing Remarks

The list you see here deviates slightly from what I played at the Regionals – instead of the second SEA Source and The All-Seeing I, I played a Foxfire and a Tollbooth. Those were both mistakes and I found myself sorely wanting both of those cards, so I swapped them into further iterations.

The finals game against @hsiale’s Kate was caught on camera, you can watch it here!

25 Jun 2016 Saan

wow, using real 3-pointers and everything! Bold, sir.

25 Jun 2016 Orion

nice, is there a space for Closed Accounts?

25 Jun 2016 dragonblazer

Thoughts on Data Raven? Is is the case of the current ice's effects being too similar?

25 Jun 2016 shimya

Looks really good! However, it seems you are relying on a few assets outside of Museum/Asset spam deck. How do you deal with Whizzard: Master Gamer?

25 Jun 2016 moistloaf

I'm confounded as to what you do when your assets don't stick. Seems pretty easy for Anarchs to stay on top of those, leaving you with a measley ICE suite

26 Jun 2016 Spaceman_Spiff

I also fail to see how you pressure runners without Astro. You have to either try and score a 5/3 behind ice like Caduceus and Viper or have the runner make the mistake of running breakerless into a bunch of tracer ice. Exchange of Information seems like the largest saving grace here.

26 Jun 2016 PeekaySK

@Saan Well, only two of them, the rest is clearly fake :P

@Orion Closed Accounts is my card # 49.25. It would enable a lot of interesting plays, and it was a hot contender for the All-Seeing I slot. I do want it in, just not enough to go down to 12 ICE for it, and the second SEA Source proved hugely beneficial... also, Closed Accounts would be most useful in SEA-related plays, so losing one to add the other doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I just don't see any non-ICE cut to be made comfortably, or rather, CA is more of a luxury than any of the cards I'd cut to make room for it.

@dragonblazer Raven's great. But:

  • It'd be the most expensive piece of ICE, tied with Archangel. This thing often operates on really low money, and the difference between a 3 and a 4 rez cost is huge
  • It's really easy to Fork, making the high rez cost a further liability
  • I can't see it replacing any of the current ICE, Caduceus in particular (because that one has a rez cost of zero a lot of the time)

That's pretty much why it isn't in right now :)

@shimya, @moistloaf The Whizzard matchup is different in how you work with your assets. Think about how HB usually works their Campaigns and how Whiz changes that. Instead of spamming them out unprotected, you make a one-ICE remote and then feed them in there, one at a time. That takes away the "freeness" of their trashing, makes it at least somewhat taxing, and you're also doing other things while installing like this. If they destroy the ICE, fine - pretty much all my ICE is more expensive to nuke than it is to rez.

Two MVPs for the Anarch matchup: Manhunt and SEA Source/The All-Seeing I. Manhunt gets really draining on resources if you're not unlucky enough to lose it, like, the turn after it gets played. SEA/I hurts Anarchs a lot, since they are totally resource-dependent and operate on pretty low credits usually (so it's not unusual to be able to nuke both their card draw and their econ base at the same time). If they want to keep a bank big enough to be safe, they usually have to play at a much lower tempo, which you can use.

@Spaceman_Spiff There's ways of pressuring runners without AstroScript Pilot Program. Rushing out a 5/3 behind annoying ICE and leaving you with the necessity to be flush with cash after successful runs lest you lose it seems to work well enough. Also, there's a bunch of other things going on, like Manhunt annoyingness, the ICE used having a very favorable rez-to-break ratio, and so on (so even if they're not breakerless, I do end up ahead on the exchange of running through ICE, it doesn't matter terribly that the subs don't get to fire).

If it helps, think of Exchange of Information as taking Astroscript's "Retarded Card Of The Day" job in this deck :)

26 Jun 2016 MikeJS

This deck is ridiculously fun to play. Thanks so much for sharing :)

26 Jun 2016 sdxbbs

this deck is evil incarnate

26 Jun 2016 Gerrark

Firstly, I love this deck, and am so glad when I see one of my favorite IDs being made to work so, so well. Using Psycho but not using Beale always seems like a mistake at first, but you've obviously proven what few of us have always known: the two cards are not mutually inclusive, and are just great on there own. Secondly, I'm sorry I can't say this privately, since I don't want to make this into a big thing, but I'd really appreciate it if you held off on the "r" word. I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

27 Jun 2016 Calimsha

Lol that's funny. We've been brewing similar stuff with @Thebigboy and we almost ended up with the same list. The Aryabhata / Datapool / EOI / Manhunt is really really fun and i'm glad someone managed to make a strong showing with this list :).

Feel free to connect on slack if you want to discuss about it, i've got a tons of ideas :)

27 Jun 2016 Eji1700

1 of Troll?

Cheap to rez, can't be broken, isn't super easy to parasite, and is obnoxious as hell to pay for when you don't need to. Its weak early since they can just run last click to void it, but once you get your tech's up it seems like it'd be taxing as hell.

Maybe instead of a pop up window or viper?

27 Jun 2016 PeekaySK

@MikeJS, @sdxbbs Thank you!

@Gerrark I didn't realize it at the time of writing, but you're right of course. Can't edit comments like you can the main description, so please substitute "Bollocks" at your convenience!

@Calimsha Yeah, the main shell is compact enough to survive porting to various places, I just like this version best. We'll see about Slack.

@Eji1700 Running a Troll last click doesn't void it, because you have to do one of the two results of losing a trace, and if you can't do one (i.e. you have no clicks left), you must do the other (i.e. lose the run). So it's actually a little bit better than you think :)

On its inclusion: If I had one more piece of ICE, it could easily be a Troll. However, I'm not losing a Pop-up Window to get it (because that would be cutting down on econ), and Viper is one of the meatiest pieces of ICE in this deck (STR 4 and two subs make it suitably annoying for Faust, and running two copies makes it annoying for Cyber-Cypher, eventually). If you wanted to fit it in, try it in place of the Archangel (that thing is really expensive in here).

27 Jun 2016 MrHuds0n

Your games with this deck were probably some of the most funny games I've ever watched in Netrunner. Well done :)

28 Jun 2016 Spoonfunk

I play a DRT variant that is really similar to this...its something that has been a work in progress for quite sometime.

29 Jun 2016 PureFlight

When I saw the deck name, I fully expected to see a Student Loans in here. Ha! Take that, Exclusive Party!

29 Jun 2016 thecodetroll

I know its going to be massively unlikely in competitive, but what the heck does this do vs NACH and / or decks with a lot of link (Nexus etc)

29 Jun 2016 Calimsha

@thecodetroll : you can cry.

29 Jun 2016 PeekaySK

@thecodetroll actually, don't listen to Calimsha. There's a couple of outs, and it al depends on what kind of deck that NACH is in and when exactly they get it.

I've played against NACH twice in the tournament, actually - those were the only games that were anywhere to close. The thing with NACH is that if you want to keep it around, it both slows down your agenda-stealing, and you have to keep a reasonable amount of credits. Also, remember that the thing keeping NACH around (namely Critic) stops Manhunt from being trashed... so every successful run costs them at least 2 credits extra. Overall, it's not that horrible.

Needless to say, If you manage to SEA/EoI before they find their NACH, you're golden. Scoring a Datapool the old-fashioned way also works.

30 Jun 2016 muitomau

Rutherford Grid?

2 Jul 2016 goodknite

I ran something very similar to this, I put a 15minutes in over 1 of the quantums and executive bootcamp to search up my Aryabhata Tech's. Also put 3 Troll's in as well because a trace they can't break is just too much fun.

2 Jul 2016 esutter479

Really great design, Peekay! :) I love that the Dish is in here. I will undoubtedly be trying this deck out in my local store league.

3 Jul 2016 eedok

This looks very similar to a deck I was playing online for a long time, were you a spectator when I played it against TheBigBoy like 3 or 4 times?

4 Jul 2016 PeekaySK

Hooray, the progenitor surfaces! Editing you into the description for proper credit.

@eedok I only came in for the last turn of the last game, but saw enough to pique my interest (Aryabhata Tech with Restructured Datapool, EoIing to score it, Manhunt brought to mega-oppressive levels with Primary Transmission Dish) and try to re-create what you were playing. Then I messed with it some more, and got here. I remember you mentioned going to a GNK with your deck the next day, how did you do there?

@muitomau Only works on one server, and quite a few of the traces we're running aren't run-related. Primary Transmission Dish is the slot this would go into, and the Dish is just plain better there, I think.

@goodknite Yeah 15 Minutes works well with EoI, I just prefer the trolliness of 3 Kitties (they're surprisingly easy to score with Manhunt). Troll is an awesome piece for this plan, I just can't really justify replacing any of the current pieces with it.

Also, footage from Brno's finals is now available to watch for anyone interested (also adding the link to the main deck description).

4 Jul 2016 eedok

@PeekaySK No one saw it coming and it got 1st place, unfortunately the attendance of the GNK was like 1/3 what I was expecting

4 Jul 2016 coyotemoon722

Thank you for helping me play core NBN again, one of my favorite IDs in the game!

6 Jul 2016 Tirranek

It might sound like a silly reason, but the key thing about this deck that got my attention was a lack of AstroScript Pilot Programs. I've still not played all that much but I know how ubiquitous it is, so something that experiments with an alternate approach instantly gets my interest. I look forward to trying this out!

6 Jul 2016 Mr_Console

@PeekaySK I realise troll has been mentioned already, but it seems like exceptionally good ice in this deck. Also Rez cost aside, no Muckraker? Seems like even a one of would do serious work in the deck, surely enough that the bad pub isn't enough of a drawback to using the card?

I really like the ideas in this deck.

7 Jul 2016 meta4

Cool deck @PeekaySK. I'm a non-NEH NBN player for life, and this deck really piqued my interest.

I have a couple thoughts on it. First, how necessary do you think Midseason is in this deck? I noticed you didn't mention Midseason at all in your description. It seems to me that it might be overkill in tagging. You have 2 sea source to trigger EOI for Data Pool, and once you've done that you'll be able to tag the runner fairly easily if you have a credit advantage, assuming they have 0 or 1 link. If they have 2 link you might still be able to pull it off, but if they have more link than that you're probably going to lose the matchup regardless (midseason isn't going to help very much). At the very least, I could definitely see you go down to 1 midseason. In its place, a couple cards strike me as being useful, and the ones you choose to go with really depend on which matchup you think is worst. First of all, Interns seems great to recur your assets and ice against destruction decks. Keegan Lane is great against any runner you can land tags on with sea source and data pool. Furthermore, Keegan will allow more traces to trigger as you kill programs mid-run, thus triggering Aryabhata. If you decide to include Keegan I would also probably try to include at least one data raven for combos with Keegan. You mentioned closed accounts before, and I think it would be a great include as well.

My main concern with a deck like this is a runner deck with 4+ link, but I'm not sure there anything you can do to salvage that matchup. If only net police was better...

20 Jul 2016 menghoff

I've played a few games with this deck and it's the most fun I've had with a corp deck for a good while, so a big thanks for that! How would you make it compliant with the updated Most Wanted List?

-1 Archived memories +1 Closesd accounts

or -1 Caduceus +1 Something

or something else?

20 Jul 2016 eedok

@menghoff switch out a Caduceus for a News Hound

21 Jul 2016 PeekaySK

Hey, sorry it took me a while to get back to comments here. Let's dive right in!

@Nooblix To explain ICE choices, first an observation: Games with this deck have a distinct 2-phase feel to them, usually. The first phase is where you're trying to get your stuff to stick (Aryabhata, getting them to a perma-tagged state, disrupting their econ enough to make several runs per turn unfeasible). Some games you never get out of that phase, and those are the games you lose. If you do manage to transition, the second phase becomes about winning before the runner manages to win despite all odds (like, grabbing 4-5 points in a single turn before you can swap out a Datapool on them, etc).

With these phases in mind, consider the ICE pieces you mention:

  • Troll is awesome in Phase 1 (because it's a 3-4 credit tax, or a click tax that also creates a 2-credit swing with Aryabhata Tech out), but in Phase 2 goes down in power unless it's specifically placed (can't be too deep on the server, etc). It's also less taxing if you also have Manhunt out (because you have a limited supply of recurring credits), relatively speaking. Those are the reasons I chose not to include it originally, given the limited amount of ICE slots available. If you choose to include it, I'd suggest you do so in place of a non-ICE Phase 1 card
  • Muckraker has several issues in my opinion: it's expensive, becomes mostly useless in Phase 2, and the worst problem - it not only funds its own breakage (as it has exactly one sub you need to break once you resign yourself to the fate of being tagged), it actually weakens all your other servers and helps the runner with making more than one run a turn easier. I literally can't imagine a situation where I'd like to rez Muckraker over a Data Raven, and I personally don't feel like the Raven is a functional enough include.

@trevaur I didn't mention Midseason Replacements specifically because I feel like its power and usage is self-evident and well covered by now.

As for it being overkill and needlessly duplicituous with SEA Source - SEA is here for when you need to trace them to do one thing (typically either trash Professional Contacts/a loaded Kati Jones, in order to get an upper hand in the econ war, or quickly grab a Restructured Datapool before they hit 7 points by accident)... and you need to trace them right now, because if you wait for a Midseasons trace you might not be able to out-money them, they may find their Film Critic by then, and so on. Midseasons are more conditional and potentially more expensive (because you have to play them when you have the opportunity, not necessarily when it's convenient for you), but have longer-lasting effects and fewer/different counterplay options.

If you really wanted to lose the Midseasons, I'd definitely add either more ICE (Troll, Data Raven and possibly News Hound) would be my short-list) before adding things like Keegan Lane (whose usefulness scales with the number of ICE pieces and is useless if you can't land tags) or Interns (which would serve to make your primary plan more oppressive once it's working, but not necessarily help make it work).

As for the Link 4+ situation: The amount of Link that is unsolvable takes a bunch of credits and time to set up (Manhunt with a Primary Transmission Dish out and the NBN: Making News credits is still a 3-credit tax each turn, even with Link 4), so it's one of those matchups where you should really be rushing. Also, high-link decks traditionally have a lot of expensive infrastructure which is resource-based (Data Folding, Underworld Contact and the like) - if you manage to pull off a Breaking News/trash kind of situation (whether with The All-Seeing I or old-school), that buys you a lot more time to keep rushing out stuff.

@menghoff My personal solution is to go down to 1 Archived Memories and add one of the following:

@eedok Not so sure about News Hound being a good fit - the way I play this, Manhunt often gets sacrificed for some greater cause, and especially once we're in Phase 2, there's no need to re-play it. If I had News Hounds, that would make them useless. Think I'd rather have a Raven then - it's equally useless once the runner goes tag-me, but is more oppressive before that point.