Nightmare Moon: Friendship, Upgraded (1st @ NorCal regional)

tmoiynmwg 5600

I added a picture


The 2017 Berkeley regional took place on May 13th and boasted a field of 48 competitive players from the west coast. This corp deck went undefeated throughout the tournament with 6 wins and 1 timed win. My runner deck was Poutine.

Swiss standings and pairings are temporarily available here.

This was the very first corp deck I designed after the new MWL was announced, and I had high hopes for it. The Spooky HB shell was already absurdly strong, only kept in check by the ultra-powerful Whizzard decks that dominated the meta... that is, until MWL 1.2 hit Temujin, Sifr, and Faust. And while losing the card draw of Sensie was a huge blow for asset spam, HB was conveniently about to receive an in-faction replacement. (Only time will tell whether Estelle Moon or Sensie Actors Union is the more busted card!)

The stars seemed to be aligned for horizontal HB to shine, so I hoped to keep it under wraps until regional season began. Unfortunately @thebigunit3000, genius deckbuilder that he is, also recognized that Estelle is completely ridiculous and created a new and innovative horizontal HB deck to abuse it. Over the last month Mooninites has steadily gained refinement and popularity, to the point where many players recognized it as the strongest corp strategy. Runners were switching back to Whizzard and beginning to pack serious amounts of asset hate. By the week of the tournament, the surprise factor of HB asset spam had completely vanished.

In testing I also found Mooninites to be astonishingly difficult to defeat when it is piloted well, so I strongly considered switching either to that deck or to a completely different corp strategy. Ultimately, I decided to stick with my version of Spooky HB for several reasons:

  1. Familiarity. I'd spent more time tuning this list than any other corp.
  2. Personal pride. After the time I had invested into the deck, I wanted to see how it stacked up compared to Jonas's. My finish is of course very promising, so the verdict is still out on this one.
  3. Science. It didn't seem like anyone had found a reliable way to beat Mooninites yet. Even if I lost, learning how runners could successfully fight horizontal HB would be really valuable.
  4. I came up with a pretty hilarious name for this deck in the shower, and if I somehow won the tournament I would have an excuse to publish it. :D

Here's an abbreviated tournament recap.

  • Swiss round 1 against @tzeentchling on Whizzard. I cursed my luck at getting a bad matchup right off the bat, but my horror only deepened into the game as Kris revealed Slums, Maw, Hacktivist, and Rumor Mill. And somehow I still managed to grind him out and win fairly convincingly. Kris also had the misfortune of accessing a NAPD from HQ with only 3 credits, which is probably one of the worst feelings in all of Netrunner.
  • Round 2 against @alexstevens on Smoke; apparently the 2 of us flew up together just so we could play Netrunner with each other in the 2nd round. Alex pressured me very well early on, but he didn't draw an early Astrolabe so my board quickly outpaced his econ development.
  • Round 3 against @dickoff on Steve. Matt was running what looked like a cool mill deck, but giving free draws to an asset spam deck generally doesn't work out well for the runner.
  • Round 4 against @segin on Leela. Leela did her thing and bounced my HQ ice turn 1... luckily Winson didn't start with Account Siphon. I eventually stabilized and locked up my centrals well enough to secure the win.
  • Round 5 against @westonodom on Valencia. Wes turned out to be playing an Incubator combo deck. This could have been very dicey, but he made the crucial error of poking R&D and letting me rez an Enigma there. I accidentally cheated on the last turn by forgetting about the drawback on NAPD Contract until we had already began putting away our cards. Wes was gracious enough to concede anyway, as he had practically no outs to win at that point.

  • Cut round 2 against @crfluency on Whizzard. This was by far the closest game of the day; Ran knew what was going on in my deck and had plenty of experience with Turtlebacks NEH. I fired a rather questionable 17-credit Hellion Beta Test to trash her Slums, but she still managed to destroy all of my assets. Time was called with me up 4-2, but I think that I was likely to lose eventually if we had played out the game.

  • Winners' finals against @sirris on Whizzard. SoCal's #Tony car really crushed it this tournament! Jon opened up with heavy HQ pressure with Nerve Agent and eventually Maw, but NAPD was the only agenda in my hand. Then Jon made a critical mistake by playing Temujin while I had a rezzed AAL on the board, so I used it to block his Temujin; this tempo hit meant that he never had enough credits to make serious headway against my assets or break my ice.

Props to:

  • @yeoda for publishing the original deck
  • @sirris for beating me with it at a store championship, and for getting top 4 at NorCal regionals four years in a row ( ⚆ _ ⚆ )
  • @beyoken for helping me test different versions of HB spam, losing much of his sanity in the process
  • @alexstevens for taking this crazy mini-vacation with me, and for making his first regional top 8 in a truly stacked tournament. Mega congrats dude!
  • our friends Amy and Tecson for letting us crash with them in Berkeley and play Zelda. You guys are seriously the best.
  • all of my opponents for putting up with my degenerate trigger-city decks
  • all of the Bay area Netrunners for being gracious hosts, lovely people, and fearsome netrunners
  • everyone else who traveled up from Southern California to prove that we're still better than them ;)
  • and of course the MVP: Ronald Five. Friendship, Upgraded.
41 comments
15 May 2017 TR1S

10/10 deck name.

15 May 2017 ANtheguy.brush..

Estelle Moon is ridiculously busted and will end up on mwl tier 3, calling it out now.

Still needs a good deckbuilder and pilot to use her full potential, so congratz.

15 May 2017 FightingWalloon

Could you explain your ice choices a little? I'm just curious how you arrived at this particular mix.

15 May 2017 Zankoku

Congratulations on winning a 2014 Regionals with this list! Looks really solid.

15 May 2017 yeoda

Ronaldinho!! Congratulations, man.

15 May 2017 sirris

Ronald Five straight up beat me. 10/10 would lose to again.

15 May 2017 tzeentchling

The third Clone Suffrage Movement was crucial in our matchup, and the NAPD definitely put me on tilt. I was playing and expecting the established Moonites list and didn't mentally readjust in time; in retrospect, seeing the Turtlebacks should have made me stop and think a bit harder! Great game though.

15 May 2017 tmoiynmwg

@TR1S @guy.brush @yeoda Thank you!!

@FightingWalloon With Sandburg and so few ice slots I needed most of them to be actual gear checks. And Fairchild 3.0 and Architect are hard to break and inflict ridiculous facecheck penalties so they also earn slots.

@Zankoku Thanks, it's actually a tribute to @sirris's regional win in San Rafael 3 years ago. Hopefully someone can post a comment when @Alsciende adds the 2017 regionals category so that I know to update the tag.

15 May 2017 tmoiynmwg

Thanks for the great games @tzeentchling and @sirris! Finding a way to win through all the hate was really fun and definitely boosted my confidence through the rest of the tournament.

15 May 2017 Segin

How did you know who I was!?

Thanks for the game and I will forever regret not playing Andromeda for this tournament just for better opening hands hahaha.

15 May 2017 Alsciende

@tmoiynmwg Thanks for reminding me! Tags added.

15 May 2017 crfluency

congrats Timmy! This match up is so hard that I took a long time to think, I never thought there will be a game where I had to say to you 'sorry I have to take a bit longer to think' lol

15 May 2017 crfluency

omg Timmy I definitely didn't know what's going on in your deck. ONE AAL, ONE ARCHITECT, TWO FRIENDS, this is insane

15 May 2017 tmoiynmwg

@Segin Saw ya posting on Slack. It was great playing with you!

@Alsciende Awesome!

@crfluency Ronald demands sacrifice from his true believers ;-)

16 May 2017 Segin

"You don't need to think that hard on your first turn. It's only Leela! What's the worse that can happen?"

Turn 1 click 1 run R&D and steals Global Food Initiative

"Whelp it happened."

16 May 2017 ZiNOS

@tmoiynmwg. When Timmy Wong, Deck Builder extraordinaire, starts to play asset spam, something breaks in me.

On another note, really solid choices, Ronald Five and Encryption Protocol paired with Friends in High Places is a match made in Hell!

P.S. You know that you have a degenerate deck when you see Mumba Temple in the list :(.

P.P.S. @tmoiynmwg, I think that you just destroyed the European Nationals :D.

17 May 2017 TR1S

@tmoiynmwg What are your thoughts on scarcity over ELP? It seems to me like the biggest threats to this deck are durdle shapers or Geist where the click tax doesn't matter either because Beth is on the table or they use the Conman breakers to bypass FC3. Seems like the ability to slow their setup down would be more helpful than click taxing them late game.

18 May 2017 BobAloVskI

Is the deckname a My Little Pony reference? My, ummm, daughter wants to know.

18 May 2017 Cyberzack

@TR1S I would assume against the 'durdle shapers' your talking about, you can use ELP to help score a 3/2 off the table, if they are too focused on setting up and ignoring your assets.

19 May 2017 kevo31415

I sleeved this up and played a few matches with this thing and it is absolute poison in the most beautiful way possible. So many lines and options at all times once you get built up. Person I was playing against gave up on my Estelle Moons and recurring FIHP/CSM bullshit and I cashed her in for 19 cards and 38 credits during their turn, rezzed Smartfabrics and 5 other things, showed them GFI out of HQ and gg.

20 May 2017 WhyohWhy

There is something very wrong when Whizzard can't keep up with asset spam. What chance does any other runner have? FiHP is extremely broken, probably Estelle Moon too. I guess in a tournament, you play to win. But casually on Jinteki.net, I wish people would stop playing decks they know are broken.

20 May 2017 ChairmanHiro

Everyone is running slums to counter asset spam decks. But this one in particular may call for a long-forgotten card to deal with it..........Archives Interface. Some of the biggest threats (FiHP, BioLab, AAL, Moon) are either not assets or can be used during a run and are thus immune to slums/whiz. The deck runs paper-thin ice, so getting into archives regularly isn't a problem. Granted slums/whiz/hacktivist/rumormill SHOULD be able to destroy this deck, the fact that it can't is basically 100% proof the deck is 100% degenerate and broken. BUT imagine this matchup when you only get to use AAL or moon or FiHP or BioLab ONCE and then they are gone forever. This also removes the threat of Clone Sufferage movement without actually bothering to trash the card itself. It also removes Login Protocol from the equation AND gets around Hellion Beta Test because you aren't actually trashing the cards in archives. It's probably worth testing out, especially if this deck ends up like CtM was a worlds last year (nothing but 1 asset spam deck and nothing but whizzard in the hopes of countering it).

20 May 2017 ChairmanHiro

Archives interface even gets around ronald 5 and best of all isn't limited to once a turn like slums. You can drop it then run archives 3 times and permanently remove 3 major threats in one turn without having to pay ANY money other that getting into archives.

20 May 2017 tonybluehose

@metafoxx, I think you might be onto something--I'll probably experiment with an Archives Interface, though I think Salsette is a quicker response.

Also, happy to see 48 players at the regional. Hopefully we can get similiar numbers down here in Georgia. Good stuff, NorCal!

20 May 2017 spags

Lovely deck, Timmy.

I have one issue: where's the bloody MLP:FIM pic in the description?!?

21 May 2017 tmoiynmwg

@TR1S Probably not, as ELP is way too important against disruptive runners like Whizzard.

@kevo31415 Amazing. Do take care not to deck yourself!

@WhyohWhy @metafoxx While HB spam is quite resilient there are definitely some effective counters available. I think it should die down a bit soon. This week might be pretty rough on Jnet though :-/

@BobAloVskI @spags I've long resisted the trend of posting clickbaity pictures in my decklists. However, if someone can find an appropriate image I could make an exception in this case. :-)

23 May 2017 Gargulec

The name is disturbingly appropriate. Great deck, 10/10, would not play against again.

25 May 2017 erasurehead

Hi, beginner here. Could somebody plz do a write up about the essentials as to how to pilot this deck? Thx!

25 May 2017 kevo31415

@erasureheadI don't really recommend this deck for beginners as it's not a good encapsulation of Netrunner fundamentals. But basically you want to create and install as many servers as you can, forcing the Runner to trash things like Estelle Moon and Clone Suffrage Movement. ETF's ability, Turtlebacks, and Estelle Moon will make you rich by midgame and gives you the ability to keep installing and rezzing things, recurring them with Friends in High Places or Jackson Howard as needed. Eventually the Runner loses the ability to keep up and your Clone Suffrage Movements will bring back Biotic Labors so you score 3/2's over and over again, and more Friends in High Places.

That's a really basic writeup of the main goal of the deck. I'm sure the author can articulate it better than me, tho.

25 May 2017 erasurehead

@kevo31415 thx for your quick reply. Should have been a little more explicit...I'm a beginner compared to the people creating decks like this, but I have been playing for a little while and know the main archetypes, though I don't have experience playing all of them. The general idea of asset spam is known to me and I've played some IG prison on jnet. I wanted more of the finer details about piloting this deck that aren't obvious to me, which seem obvious to more experienced players. E.g. everybody says there's thousands of triggers to think about...which ones are easy to miss but important not to?

I took this deck for a spin a few times this morning on jnet...had a couple crashes and then a good win. On that last game I couldn't believe how the combo of Clone Sufferage Movement + Diversified Portfolio was netting me 10-15 Credits per turn. It ended spectacularly 7-6 with a suprise Architect + Sandburg rez (financially unbreakable for runner because of Sandburg + ~50 credits after CSM+DP) ->Agenda install on Runner's last click, then an AAL->Jeeves install + Biotic Labor enabling the advancing and scoring of GFI on one turn. First game had no ice even after a mulligan and the runner dug with Maker's eye, scoring two agendas and got a third out of HQ in the second turn. I still scored four agenda point before he got the seventh, tho. In the second game the econ just didn't come till too late.

People talk about this deck (and others) going undefeated. I agree asset spams are monsters once they get going, but don't know what you do if you can't get some early econ and ice going, which seems to happen to me not too seldomly. You can only mulligan once. If you don't get an ice on the mulligan and recurring criminal siphons you after each of your three clicks for three credits to try to get back in the game, seems like you're finished...at least I am, when it happens to me.

If anybody could point out the details of piloting this deck, combos to think about, main targets for friends, etc. I would love to hear it. Thx!

25 May 2017 erasurehead

Other questions I have would be: what are the main cards to mulligan for and what to do when playing against slums, hacktivist & rumor mill (only 2 ELPs against ~4 RM+Hacktivist and no Lizzy for slums, so...)?

26 May 2017 tmoiynmwg

The mulligan is matchup-dependent, but like most corps you're generally looking for economy assets (Estelle, Temple, Turtlebacks), ice, and not too many agendas. Try to be ready to score or play ELP at almost all times so that you can clear a runner current. You can either simply outpace Slums, or trash it with Hellion Beta Test if you can provoke the runner into trashing a second card during their turn.

The sheer number of options available here make it very difficult for me to give a detailed strategy guide. Your goal should be to maximize the efficiency of every click while playing around possible threats from the runner and devising a plan to win the game. If you enjoy the deck, I can only recommend playing it as often as you can without upsetting your opponents, and discovering all the fun tricks yourself!

2 Jun 2017 solknar

@tmoiynmwg : this deck is a masterpiece ! Could you just elaborate on the presence of Lakshmi Smartfabrics ?

24 Jun 2017 Skandrino

There is very little ice so it seems the only way to score is FA with Biotic Labor and retrieving it. But there's only one and what if it's on the bottom of your deck? Is it possible to win then?

24 Jun 2017 erasurehead

@Skandrino Don't know what the Experts have to say about this, but personally, I also shell-game quite a lot with this deck...after you get a bunch of servers installed, and have several unrezzed, many runners give up running all of them, so I occasionally slap down a naked ABT or Vitruvius amongst the others and adv,adv,adv,score next turn. Biotic labor+adv,adv,adv is expensive and I usually save that for a winning score. That being said, I have been running a 54 card version of this deck with 10 ICE, 2 Div. Portfolios, and 2 Biotic labors.

@solknar Lakshmi has saved my butt with this deck a number of times (see above re naked agendas). If you've got a second ABT or Vitruvius in Hand and a Lakshmi installed, the naked agenda install is a sure thing.

How do the Experts weigh in on this?

24 Jun 2017 Skandrino

Nice suggestion, will try playing it like that, thanks!

24 Jun 2017 Skandrino

Thanks! One more question, how do you score GFI? Even with Biotic Labor and Jeeves, install + score is 6 clicks and you only have 5.

25 Jun 2017 erasurehead

@Skandrino Again, we'll have to wait for the Experts to weigh in, but GFI is, I think, as a 5/3 mostly in the deck to help reduce agenda density. I usually end up putting it on the bottom of R&D with Daily Business Show or discarding it and popping Jackson. However, as I posted above, I did also manage to advance and score it in one turn once w/ a combination of Architect, AAL->Jeeves, and Biotic labor. Your mileage may vary.

25 Aug 2017 Bigboss017

@tmoiynmwgWith new data packs released are there some changes you make with those new cards.

25 Aug 2017 tmoiynmwg

I would definitely try to fit in MCA Austerity Policy, that card seems bonkers strong. Other recent options you could look at are Warroid Tracker and Bioroid Work Crew. Cut whatever cards you find least helpful.

27 Aug 2017 BobAloVskI

I would recommend Bioroid Work Crew. If your opponent is on Rumor Mill it can be hard to score an agenda without it being on the table. With Bioroid Work Crew (and it not being unique) you can score a 3/2 or 4/2 from hand after playing a Biotic Labor.