“Is there anything better than Free Money?” -419
As a Criminal player since I started playing, I was very excited once this ID was spoiled. There are a lot of cards from this cycle that synergize with it, and while a little bit fragile, I think this archetype can be really powerful.
GPI Net Tap / Zamba / Turtle – this is the bread and butter of how to both make money, and break ice. Each turn the ID gives you a shot at adding a Turtle counter + gaining a credit with Zamba. If they choose to pay, you denied them a credit.
Once you’re set-up, it’s run, expose 3x with GPI, gain 3 credits, break. Easy peasy.
Cards like Deuces Wild and Falsified Credentials allow you to get some counters if you’re worried about ice with strength 4 or more before you have any.
This becomes a pretty important part of the deck as well, as eventually if you’re only relying on the Turtle, they will purge to try to keep you out, especially with all the outermost pieces of ice rezzed. This is where the Bird Breakers (Peregrine / Saker) come in handy. Emergency Shutdown / Feint is another good way to get ice derezzed so you can profit from it. Maxwell James also triggers on Feint if you need help in the remote. Leave No Trace is also great if you want them to spend money rezzing while you build counters, and can do it again the following turn.
Other card choices:
The Supplier is great here because you have so many targets. This is arguably the card you mulligan for, then every turn you should be jamming either a GPI or a data Folding on it if you can.
Interdiction – both because you need something to clear scarcity, and also because you can avoid them rezzing their NGO’s (bonus points if you know it’s an NGO and you pop this then used Falsified to gain +5 credits and counter with Zamba/Turtle before you trash it). Also can stop Batty, Ash, Bio-Vault, etc.
Film Critic over Employee Strike – Net damage can really hurt, because you have so many key pieces you need to protect. You don’t really want to eat an Obakata or a Degree Mill, so IMO this is an easy choice for a restricted card.
Diesel for draw – getting your engine set-up fast enough is one of the main weakness of the deck, so being able to draw quicker helps with that, and you can put stuff on The Supplier if you don’t have enough money yet.
2x Hunting Grounds – If you’re relying on Turtle, you know how annoying IP Block / Chiyashi can be. Plus with the popularity of Tollbooth, Data Raven, Data Loop and Jua, this card is very important. Most of the time you want to see one as early as possible, and install both as you find them.
The Turning Wheel – once you’re set-up, you’re going to want to run a lot, so this is a great use of 1-influence.
Data Folding over Daily Casts – With Zamba, you are always going to have the MU free for this card to be in play. Install it early enough (especially on The Supplier) and it will have more value than Daily Casts. Plus, late game if they purge, you’ll still be getting money while you dig for derez tools vs a Casts that will dry up after 4 turns.
It’s relatively slow to set-up and pretty fragile even when set-up. Caldera helps with the spikey matchups, but you’re only real answer to Fast-Advance is to just hope they give you some free counters and you can get at least your Turtle / Zamba out early.
Avoiding tags is an issue as well. Eating a HHN early sucks because you rely so much on resources for money and installation. Losing a Supplier or Hunting Grounds or Film Critic can be brutal.
If the game ever gets past the middle stage, however, the engine is absolutely ridiculous and you can pretty much do whatever you want.
Other cards to consider:
Rubicon Switch & Drive-By were in early versions of this deck, but I couldn’t quite find room for them here.
No One Home or On the Lam would probably be a good idea too to help with Hard-Hitting, but I’m not sure what to cut yet.
Any and all suggestions welcome!