The Many-Headed Loch Ness Monster (6th at Worlds)

Seamus 3825

Hail Hydra!

This is the Aginfusion deck I took to sixth at worlds, dropping one game in the Swiss and one in the cut. This list is based on Dave Hoyland's Hydra list from this year’s regional season. Most of the credit for the deck has to go to him but since he betrayed team Hydra and secretly switched to PU filth the night before worlds I get to publish it. My runner was Sam Burdock's excellent Dark Web Hayley with the addition of a much needed Feedback Filter.

I’d really enjoyed an exceedingly fair Aginfusion build of my own earlier in the year but following rotation and the MWL update, I quickly decided that fairness wasn’t going to get me anywhere. This being the case it was obvious that I’d need the assistance of a monster and spoke to Dave.

He and Mark Mottram had been testing a post-rotation version of Hydra with decent success and so I joined the dark side and this is what we came up with.

Agenda

The agenda suite was the only area of the deck that was quickly settled. Without the power of CI, I think Obokata Protocol would have been the defining card of the Worlds Tournament. It did work in a number of net damage based decks but was still a valuable include in our otherwise damage free deck.

Whilst it’s somewhat rare that the runner ends up in a position where Obokatas become unstealable, stealing one frequently leaves them out of position, opening a window for a more valuable score. Similarly, with varying ICE types including Excalibur and Mother Goddess, combined with the Aginfusion ability, Batty and Nisei tokens, Obokata becomes a risk free final score if the runner cannot fulfil all the conditions to get into your remote multiple times.

In essence, if the runner lacks either the money, a breaker or four cards in hand at the beginning of your turn you have a very good shot at click-compressing them out of the remote.

Nisei speak for themselves and The Future Perfect adds to the difficulty of stealing your agenda for the runner. The Philotic Entanglement presents an interesting out in that if you reach five points the runner can no longer camp the remote until you advance in it. There is also the side benefit of the cards tax which, with Obokata in the deck, is relevant and can be particularly painful for shapers sitting on multiple scored fan sites.

Assets

The showiest part of the deck is the assets, or the many heads of the hydra. Two Tech Start-Ups allow you to search for the tool you most require at any given time.

IT Department is perhaps the most memorable since it can lead to complete lock outs if the runner lacks very specific tech. Long have people bemoaned that subroutines very rarely fire in Netrunner. Making an ICE strength 70+ is just about the most reliable way of making sure they do.

Blacklist fell out the list in early testing but I found it was a necessary out against Opus/Conspiracy Breaker Anarchs that aimed to remote camp and provided free wins against careless or unlucky players.

MCA also found its way in relatively late in testing as another tool to force the runner to interact with your remote without risking an agenda and against non-clot runners is excellent value when traded for a Nisei from hand. You can also use it to fire five tokens onto an IT Department if a smug shaper thinks they can just clot lock you.

Some form of recursion and hand management is required now that we’ve lost Jackson Howard and Whampoa had the benefit of being tutorable. As flood management it’s particularly strong with three pointers, sometimes effectively removing six points from the game before your opponent has a chance to interact at all. You also have multiple shuffle effects in the form of Fast Track and Tech Start-Ups should you need to see the cards you bottom again.

Melange is the final and perhaps least interesting of the heads but is frequently required both to actually be able to rez your large ICE and to just threaten to do so, preventing the runner poking around when you’re not ready for them.

ICE

The ICE suite was the biggest point of contention between the various Hydra testers. You need ICE that works well with IT Department, this being reasonable strength ice with both an End The Run sub and some kind of punishment. For this reason IP Blocks and and News Hounds were tested but dropped.

Tithonium is obviously perfect for this with a hit usually ending the game. It also has great subs for Batty triggers. Significant testing against Smoke convinced me to up the count to three.

Rototurret works nicely as an early rush with a Batty and can also be made impossibly strong by IT Department. I opted to include a Chiyashi as well for an additional stopping piece and as one of the few pieces of ICE that can reasonably tax Smoke. In testing I found the anti-AI clause pretty useful with runner recursion being somewhat limited. Others opted to keep the cost-curve lower with a second Vanilla in this slot which is probably also fine but I found in a world of Smoke and Paperclip it wasn’t doing me a huge amount of good. 
While not ending the run, the hit of a DNA Tracker is devastating and an excellent way to discourage central runs while you’re setting up your remote. I found this ICE to be crucial in defeating Hayley. Whilst she frequently has tools like D4v1d and Femme to make her surgical runs efficient she usually has to rely on Gordian for DNA which is a huge tax on her limited econ.

All sounds pretty good so far, right? Enough big ICE to tax out D4v1d and all but the most insane runner economies and IT Department to make those lovely trashing subs fire. So we hoped, but no. We still found we were giving the runner too much opportunity to play fair Netrunner.

Enter the Mythic ICE. All credit to Dave for convincing me that the second Mother Goddess was necessary. Being able to squeeze out an early Nisei before the runner can assemble their AI solution led to a lot of wins that would have turned into losses with a slower game plan.

Upgrades

Batty is no Caprice but is still an obvious include in a deck trying to score out a remote. Program trashing is the most obvious use but even a simple ETR can get an agenda through if the runner’s clicks are otherwise taxed. The final use for him is firing the Excalibur sub followed by either an Aginfusion boop or a Nisei token.

Probably my favourite card in the list is Navi Mumbai Grid. In a meta full of shapers the ability to rob them of their safety nets is fantastic. Self-Modifying Code, Clone Chip and Sacrificial Construct are all off the table with this bad boy installed. It also stops D4v1d, making a set up IT Department very difficult to challenge.

Operations


Everything here is pretty self explanatory. You need all the econ you can get. That means sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your spicy tricks to Celebrity Gift or give your opponent a boost with Medical Research Fundraiser. Getting to the point at which you can threaten big ICE fast is important for dissuading your opponent from poking around for accesses.

Fast Track is great with Nisei since a window to score one can swiftly turn into a second via the token and the deck can be slow at times so being able to tutor an agenda can be handy.

Final Thoughts

It’s a deck that really rewards knowing your best lines depending on what you’ve drawn and your opponent’s deck. Against many you are safe to play for the ITD lock with Batty in support but it became clear in testing that Hayley had the upper hand in the long game.

Against well piloted Hayley you need to mulligan for a quick starting hand, ideally looking to threaten a score in the first two or three turns. This ups the value of Mother Goddess and Excalibur significantly as Hayley’s answers to these are generally expensive to get on the table while a Tithonium can be breezed through with a D4v1d.

If you can’t rush out you can instead play slowly, aiming to tax out the runner by repeat bounces into big ICE, opening the narrowest windows to score.

Against less wary opponents you can still get free wins from unexpected Tithonium hits or an uncontested IT Department but the way you win tough games is the deck’s flexibility rather than the full lockout.

I’m very pleased with the list and my performance. I didn’t have an easy game all weekend so a big thanks to all my opponents for being excellent netrunners and lovely people. Thanks also to Dave for the original list and the entire UK team for testing support.

Finally, congratulations to Alex Hilson for also making the cut with an almost identical list!

17 comments
8 Nov 2017 Conphas

I can easily see how this list and mine share the same DNA with Hoyland's Hydra list, but some of these choices are inspired. Tithonium with ITD is outstanding considering most runners were prepping for Chiyashi and running free when on 11 credits.

Thanks for sharing the list.

8 Nov 2017 Cerberus

Team Dog

Glad the deck did so well for you. Your play throughout the tournament was really impressive.

8 Nov 2017 FightingWalloon

I'm missing the section of the write up about how to beat this deck.

8 Nov 2017 whirrun

Congrats, this was my favourite for the win, and I loved the uk hayley deck as well. Well done!

8 Nov 2017 CritHitd20

Favorite deck at Worlds, this list is incredible. Congrats!

8 Nov 2017 tzeentchling

Obviously this did great for you, but would you consider playing Eliza's Toybox in place of Melange if you could find the influence?

8 Nov 2017 laminatedsmore

@FightingWalloon From a shaper perspective, imo a) polop b) david / femme + scavenge c) be able to contest an early IT department - it's particularly vulnerable in the first turn it's rezzed.

Dedicated processor makes the IT department lock slower but not impossible

Video with comms of Seamus (Hayley) beating me (Hydra) at youtu.be Fwiw my goal in this video was to quickly setup IT department and use it to keep Seamus out of HQ as I knew he had polop, but maybe that wasn't the correct line.

8 Nov 2017 leburgan

Nothing like breaking a 57 STR tithonim and getting shunted into a second 54 STR tithonim to make me scoop .

Excellent meta call

9 Nov 2017 BenjayC

First off congratulations on a great deck and a great finish!

I asked the same question on the uks runner deck and wanted to ask the same here:

After your experience at worlds are there any changes that you would have made in hindsight?

9 Nov 2017 Seamus

Interesting question. I think the deck was tuned against Smoke and a variety of Anarchs. There is probably room to improve its Hayley match up but I don’t have any immediate ideas.

I suppose a Crisium would be good to protect against run events and pol op. Maybe you could swap Blacklist.

9 Nov 2017 Zouavez

What an oddly effective deck! Great job!

9 Nov 2017 neuropantser

Glad I got to see this on stream--I was just as surprised as the runner when he accessed IT Department. Having the hard lock to supplement the typical rushy AgInfusion tricks is just mean. Congrats on the finish!

11 Nov 2017 lukesim3

Wait a minute. I don't even have a Tithonium.

18 Nov 2017 EnderA

Would you consider 1x Shipment from Tennin to score unadvanced Nisei?

19 Nov 2017 Seamus

Slots are really tight and it’s very situational. I think you’d end up not using it in nine games out of ten while every other card is useful and used in just about every game.

5 Dec 2017 solknar

@Seamus : Congrats on the finish, impressive decklist.

Could you explain a little more for me the 1 of vanilla and the two enigmas ? Save for the mythic ices that serve a very specific purpose, these are the only ices without teeth. You don't want them on HQ or R&D as they tax pretty much nothing and can be used to build a turning wheel, and in a shaper world they can hardly be used to rush.

I kwow that Kakugo does not fis as in potatoesi n the list, but is it really that bad, especially with Obokata? Also, don't you miss miss miraju against indexing+mad dash?

Thanks for your insights!

15 Jan 2018 Seamus

@solknar Apologies for the slow reply. I don’t seem to be getting notifications!

Cheap gearchecks are generally good and there aren’t a lot of other alternatives, is the basic answer. Having a bunch of etr ice types also helps with turning Batty trashes into wins.

Kakugo is going to end up being a four cost vanilla half the time as the deck lacks any other damage back up to assist with stealing obokata.

The deck is actually very taxed on econ, despite all the burst money.