Califairna CI

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presheaf 342

This is a 7 point combo CI deck. It's locally homegrown, artisanal and uses Cali testing, and it's fair trade in the sense that the inclusion of Director Haas it plays 20 real points as opposed to the unfair 18 points CI decks of old played, so I think the name is appropriate.

Anyway, the brief version of this is that Calibration Testing is the game's first way of turning installs into advancement tokens, and this combined with the multitude of ways HB has of generating installs and clicks lets you build a combo deck which doesn't really rely on any one piece to win. While there was always the 'boring' combo of

Biotic x3, SfMM(PV, EC, GFI) Advance EC x4, score, take clicks SfK x3, Audacity

that has the disadvantage of requiring you to have pretty much exactly these four cards. Without drawing all 3 SfKs and Audacity, it gets very tricky.

Why does Calibration Testing change that?

To take a simple example, Calibration Testing being printed means that the Audacity in the above combo can be replaced by SfMM for 2x Cali and one more of whichever card you like. In fact, there's now a free SfMM slot, so you could even drop a Biotic from the combo by putting a Jeeves or Director Haas in the first SfMM. This means that the following combo needs one less SfK/Audacity and one less Biotic:

SfMM(Jeeves, EC, PV) Biotic Advance EC x3, click from Jeeves Biotic Advance EC, score, take clicks from EC SfMM(GFI, 2x Cali) SfK/Audacity x3

Next, you might notice that an install of TS before the EC is scored gets you two TS triggers, so it can substitute for two advancement tokens as long as you have a Calibration Testing in HQ or Archives. This means that the following combo works:

SfMM(Jeeves, EC, TS) Biotic Advance EC x3, click from Jeeves Biotic SfMM(Cali on EC, GFI, PV) Score EC, use TS trigger to put a Cali on GFI take EC clicks SfK x2 AM for SfK SfK

This lets you survive missing a Biotic, a SfK and an Audacity, replacing them with other pieces and a bit of credits. For a combo deck, this is great because you then lose a lot fewer games because you just didn't draw the last copy of a critical piece - in this deck, I think almost every piece is replacable. You can combo with no PVs, you can combo with no GFIs, you can combo with only 1x Biotic. To me, that's amazingly cool.

I didn't really follow along. Can I do something simpler?

Yeah. You often draw enough pieces to spend a turn scoring an Efficiency Comittee early. (SfMM + 2x Cali, or 2x Biotic, or SfMM + Jeeves + Cali/Biotic all work) So you could just do that. It's a lot easier to assemble a mini-combo which scores the last 5 points. One example is as follows: SfMM EC, GFI, TS, advance GFI, take EC clicks, SfK x2, AM, SfK, score PV, trigger TS to put a Cali Testing on GFI, score GFI. I suspect this will often be a better way to win than waiting

Is it good, though? Like, good good?

It's good enough to beat a lot of decks, but I think the good decks probably beat it. It's not nearly as good as Shutdown CI was. I can't really quantify that except by going with my gut feeling that although you can combo through most things, it gets expensive and piece-intensive, so if the Runner can keep applying pressure while you dig, it can be a rough game.

So if you want a Good CI deck, play the World Champion's CI instead. But if you, like me, like the puzzle aspect of looking at your hand and wondering whether you could get something done, I think this is at least passable. I think it would be better to play a version with a couple combo pieces cut and a bit more ice/money, so I'm looking at putting in FC3 instead of GFI and playing extra clearances instead.