The Vanity Project - 1st and Undefeated at Guardian Games GN

Saan 2265

Yeah, it was just a GNK, but there were some hard matches that I won, so I'm pretty happy with myself and my creation.

My previous Jemison deck A Ramp to Mars had the full-on kill plan as a backup, which I really enjoy, but I thought I'd try and tackle a full Fast Advance Jemison deck and see what that might look like. So far, it looks like this!

If you can get a 1-pointer scored early (Mulliganing for Hostiles is rarely a bad thing) and get a double-overadvanced Atlas scored off an unrezzed Oberth, it's very, very hard to lose. Don't get me wrong, scoring a Global Food from the Hostile is great too, but those 2 Atlas counters can literally find you the win. On the day of the tournament, I FA'd the Vanity Project twice because of those Atlas Counters, using Biotic and Couriers to get the job done. I'm not at the point where I feel comfortable throwing a Government Takeover in (at least with this version), but scoring 4 points out of nowhere is gigantic.

What's Inside the Rocket

Anyhow, I think the most important part of any Jemison deck is its agenda composition, so let's start looking at the deck there. I've tried making Jemison decks without 3 Hostiles, because taking bad pub always feels terrible, but the ability to just fire it off from hand in relative safety and get that money doing so is just too good to pass up. I also have a 4th 1-pointer in there, in the form of Firmware Updates. I chose this one because it can fully advance a Hortum or a Mausolus, helping fuel the Couriers play later in the game, and giving Maus a hard ETR. Atlas is also in, because it's a the best agenda in the deck, able to find everything a young, burgeoning corp could want. I chose Food over the real 3-poiners that Ramp to Mars played, mainly because I also included Vanity Project. Vanity almost never gets stolen, but if it does, I'm not okay with losing the game on 2 agendas, so the 3-pointer has to be Food.

Rather than focusing in on one way to FA agendas, I've included a smattering of tools to help get the job done. Obviously I'm doing 3x Oberth, because it fires Jemison when rezzed as well as becomes akin to a SanSan once it's up and going.

With things like Audacity, though, I found that I never wanted more than just 1. There's too many things you want to keep in hand with this deck to want to go pitching it all over the place, so you never want to see more than 1 Audacity. If you really need it and you don't have it, you can usually either find an alternative, or use Atlas to go find it. It's the same with Red Planet Couriers and Success. I'm not spending the time advancing my ICE more than the one time to fire off a single Couriers, so more than 1 is bad, and I don't have enough worth-while agendas to sacrifice to make Success worth much either.

As for the actual tools, Audacity is usually used to score an Atlas from hand when needed, hopefully off an Oberth in order to get the counter. It can also be used to never-advance a Food off an Oberth as well, or score a Hostile Takeover from 0 credits. Red Planet almost always scores a Vanity, but can score whatever wins you the game, really. I'll almost always combo it with a Biotic, but if your remote is secure, you can just toss the agenda in the turn before instead. Success almost always combos with Biotic as well, and can FA a Food from an Atlas (boring) or a Firmware (way better), or from a Hostile if you have a rezzed Oberth (also great), since it actually advances the agenda, rather than simply places advancements. It's also great to FA a Vanity from an Atlas, but I really do prefer scoring the Vanity with a Couriers if I can help it, because 4 points is really quite better than 2.

ICE

I wanted a good deal of the ICE to be advanceable, since Couriers wants advanced ICE, and fortunately Weyland actually has good advanceable ICE now, and reasonable ways of advancing them. Most of these are Code Gates, in Maus and Hortum; I've included 3 Hortum because of the possible AI knockout and the hard ETR, but the 2 Maus are great as well, able to become very scary with 3 advances. 2 Ice Wall are there mainly for the only reason Ice Wall is ever in a deck: a cheap gear check (but also advanceable in a pinch!). I like the single Changeling, because it can become an ETR sentry (that can also be advanced more if you're starved).

Spiderweb is there because it's a reasonably costed barrier that taxes well for what you put into it. Same with Veritas; it's a great cost ratio, and even if they walk through it, it's doing good work. Pop-up is there because I wanted another ICE, and felt a little poor some times, so I figured what the hell. I also considered an IP Block, which is also good. So far I like the extra money from Pop-up, even if Bad Pub sometimes makes it shit.

Archer and Sapper are there for the reason anyone runs ICE with trash subs. Sapper does a lot of work from R&D. Sure, it gets trashed sometimes without getting anything done, but many times it stops Medium digs, or kills the breaker that they're running through Hortum with. Once Hostile is online, Archer is something that needs respect, and will slow a lot of runners down. A fun play is to throw an Archer somewhere in your remote, throw an Oberth in, and plop a Food or an Atlas on to top it off. If they run and hit the Archer, the run's over and you get 2 advancements on your agenda. If they don't run, you get a Food or a double-overadvanced Atlas in 2 clicks from the Oberth!

Space Tech

The best card in the deck is Hunter Seeker. Okay, that's a lie, it's Hostile, but I love me some Hunter Seeker. You can specifically set up plays to snipe their breakers, or just use it as a punishment for daring to steal an agenda off R&D. Sure, FC turns it off, but if they want to spend an extra 2 clicks on every agenda they steal, they're welcome to it.

Dedication is just support for Couriers, as well as a faster way to make Maus respectable. I'm rarely sad to see it. Cyberdex was added not as a counter to Clot (which I almost never see), but as a counter to Yog + Datasuckers. When 6 of my ICE get walked through for free, advanced or not, it begins to wear upon a man. An unexpected Cyberdex purge of Datasucker tokens can make hilarious things happen, like a tripple-advanced Maus or Hortum firing. Finally, Friends does that thing that Friends does: make Interns a sad, sad card.

Oh yeah, only 2 Jacksons! It seems like enough. Usually I'm scoring my agendas, and if I need a card super badly, I often have an Atlas counter to use.

GNK Breakdown!

Round 1 - Vee (spelling?)

Vee (or, as I'll refer to him from here: V) is a super-duper new player, having just bought his full set off someone after learning the game the prior week. I love this kind of player, because he's having a blast, willing to learn, and diving right off into a tournament. He's playing Gabe for his runner, and one of the first things he does off my Ice, Ice, Credit opener is to slap down a Sneakdoor and start hammering HQ by means of Archives. I have 2 agendas, and lose one. On my turn I can either score my Hostile (turning on Archer over HQ, which was also defunct on my first turn) or ICE Archives and take 2. I go for the Hostile play, as it empties HQ of anything he can interact with and pays out more. At this point he gets out Massanori and Despy and does Crim things, drawing and making money, but I'm able to shore up my centrals, and start FAing things in a remote. Eventually he gets in my remote to shut off the Oberth, but he's completely broke at this point, so I just score out. It was a surprisingly good game for his knowledge level, and while I felt easily in control the whole time, I'm super impressed by his play at such an early stage.

Round 2 - Kyle

Kyle (aka bluebird503) is probably the best player in Portland, having won more regional championships than... anyone. Ever. Seriously, this is an actual fact. Anyhow, he decided to take Cold Ones, the US Nationals-wining deck. He didn't do it because he was trying to spike the tournament, mind you, he did it because the deck is actually very fragile, and wanted to play it but would never bring it to an actual event. Anyhow, that deck wins in like 6 turns, so I knew I was on a hard clock. I had an easy line to hit that clock that I was bad and didn't see til one turn too late, and that was the turn he went off. He pops all the Hyperdrivers, Appocs me, and then sets up 3x Encore. He lays down Equivocation and starts hammering R&D, making me draw everything that's not an agenda. Hilariously, that's everything he's seeing. I figure at this rate, I can probably use my 2 Atlas counters to bring my Vanity and an Atlas to my hand, since it's like 16 cards and 0 agendas in order to make them disappear for him, but then something better happens. He accesses a Sapper =) He never got the Chameleon down, so Sapper trashes his Equivocation, shutting him out completely, leading to a concession. Sapper MVP.

Round 3 - Eli

Eli is a strong player who likes experimentation, and today's experiment is this: big-rig Hayley with click-gain (Hyperdriver, all-nighter, Beth) in order to use Artist Colony/Liberated Chela to either score points or deny yours. This deck is a good bit better than it sounds, but can be slowish to set up if ProCon isn't found early (and good news for me: it wasn't. However, this game win was brought to you by our hero Hunter Seeker. I forced him to get his Corroder early with an SMC (he only runs 2 of both, I believe), and then trashed it with the Hunter. I was then able to score fairly easily as he looked for his second copy of either, which was pretty near the bottom of his deck. He finally found the second SMC and went after another agenda score, but second Hunter Seeker was there as well. He Levies, but I drop a Vanity Project from the sky to win.

Round 4 - Ben

Ben is amazing. He takes deck concepts that he has and works them into the ground over months, gradually refining them until what is left is sleek and flowing. He has been working on a Los deck that uses Compromised Employee and Rubicon Switch to ask you to rez ICE, get paid for doing so, and then shut that ICE back down, getting paid from Keros. If you decline to fall into that trap and don't rez, he gets free accesses, and will occasionally punish you by En Passant-ing your unrezzed ICE. All the while he's building Turning Wheel counters. I think maybe he's also running Maw as well, but I can't remember right now. This deck can do so much with 0 breakers installed that it's scary, and by the time he actually installs some, the game is often close to over. Fortunately, I know this and sit back, triple advancing ICE like Hortum and Maus, knowing that he can no longer facecheck these with impunity if they're advanced. The Ice Wall on top of my remote is making him a rich, rich man, but is also cheap enough I can feel fine rezzing it to score behind while he looks for an answer instead of pressuring me. Sadly, he's already gotten both my Foods off of R&D early in the game and found my Firmware updates in HQ shortly after that, so he's been at nearly game point for a while now. I was able to get that 2-counter Atlas though, and just drew a Hostile. I already have Couriers i hand, and know that the game is mine in 2 turns. I fire off the Hostile to give me some more money and bring me to 3 points. He pokes my servers and trashes Oberth, but doesn't find anything. I'm at 10 credits, so I tutor up a Biotic and the Vanity and put those early safety-giving ICE advancements to work, throwing down 4 points and winning the game.

11 comments
4 Jul 2017 Stoned44

Great work.

5 Jul 2017 moistloaf

Dope Dude

6 Jul 2017 Saan

Thanks, both of you =)

8 Jul 2017 DrTalos

I've mostly been running HB FA, but I desperately want to make something similar out of Weyland. I also love that this deck has some teeth (Hunter Seeker, Sapper). I don't currently own all the cards needed for this, but I plan on using this as an inspiration for mine at some point.

9 Jul 2017 dawspawn

Do you have 3 advanced ice often enough that Mass Commercialization would make sense over IPO?

9 Jul 2017 Benjen

You forgot the part where you killed both my fracters with both your sappers. That basically sealed the game. Well done.

10 Jul 2017 Saan

@Benjen Oh yeah! Man, Sapper is such a good frickin card. Between that and Hunter Seeker, sometimes you just win the game outa nowhere.

@dawspawn Usually not. There's not much reason to advance the ICE unless you really, really need to make Maus an ETR, really really need to make Hortum immune to AI breakers, or draw a Dedication Ceremony. There's little enough econ as it is without taking some and making it conditional. I guess technically IPO is conditional too (gotta have those 8 credits!), but I feel like that condition is met much more often than advancing ICE. After all, if you're hard advancing ICE just to make Mass Com worth it, all Mass Com is really doing is paying you back for the clicks you wasted advancing ICE instead of clicking for credits!

11 Jul 2017 ilyanep

Have you had to play this deck against a Smoke deck? If Yog+Datasuckers were wearing you down, I'm curious how you'd respond to "oh I just use Net Mercur to break through this ice for basically free".

11 Jul 2017 Saan

@ilyanep The usual answer to that is to rush faster than she can get set up, and then to kill her breakers with Hunter Seeker once she gets there. Shapers are slow (yeah, even Smoke), so it's not too hard to abuse that. If she's using Sac Con to try and keep Clot in play, force her to use them on purges instead of keeping her breakers alive (vice versa works too, actually). Heck, Net Mercur is a fine target to kill with Hunter Seeker as well, if it's her primary stealth source.

If she's not on Clot, stack sentries over R&D to tax out her stealth credits, and just FA out the agendas you draw.

Generally, if possible, I try and avoid ICEing HQ at all vs Smoke. This ICE can then be used on the remote to facilitate rushing, or R&D to keep it safe so I can draw the agendas I need.

11 Jul 2017 erasurehead

Excellent write-up! Love all the piloting details, thx. Makes me want to run right over to jnet to try this deck out! :-)

It took me a minute or two to understand your 'fun play' in the third paragraph on ICE (rezzing Archer requires an agenda forfeit which triggers Jemison resulting in the two adv counters...), which I mention here in case anybody else is briefly confused as I was.

What I still can't figure out is what you mean in the second paragraph on Space Tech about Datasuckers causing a triple adv Maus or Hortum to firing. Could you please elaborate?

12 Jul 2017 Saan

@erasurehead I see the confusion with that second paragraph, so I changed the wording to better reflect my meaning. Basically, I mean that firing a Cyberdex when they're approaching an ICE, wiping the Datasuckers, can make the triple-advanced ICE fire, since Yog.0 can no longer break them. Sorry about the confusion; I wrote the write up at something like 4am. Really, I'm surprised it came out as coherent as it did!