It’s the end of a cycle and over the course of it we’ve seen the meta shift all over the place. Flashpoint has added a significant number of very powerful and meta-defining cards, arguably more than any cycle before. Quorum in particular seems to have been the most controversial pack and has resulted in a strong shift towards runner dominance. Let’s go through and have a look at what decks are making a splash right now.
We’re going to tackle the Runner side first because it’s a bit more straightforward. TLDR: be Whizzard, make good decisions, win gamez. Also interesting – Employee Strike’s value is at an all time high, showing up as a 2x in the majority of decks.
For real though:
The card that generated the most discussion out of Quorum was undoubtedly the new Anarch (or Shaper, or Criminal, it’s one influence) console Sifr. Its primary value comes from either comboing with Parasite to destroy any ICE instantly, or the less powerful combo with Atman 0 to break any ICE for the cost of the number of subroutines. While Sifr has led some deckbuilders to go all in on ice destruction, the most potent use seems to be coming from simply adding it to already strong decks. Dumblefork is probably the archetype that gains the most from it and it has been putting up strong results so far, while Temujin Whiz can also do very well as it gains an additional synergy with Yog.0.
The other side of Anarch at the moment relies heavily on Account Siphon, whether it’s out of Whizzard or the Blackmail/En Passant Valencia version. This archetype does not get as much value out of Sifr, preferring the synergy with Obelus.
On Criminal side, the primary Andromeda variants are currently a broad good stuff deck popularised by Rojazu and the DLR combo deck that is also notable for being jammed with anti-CTM hate to the degree that it’s hilarious. The re-rise of Cerebral Imaging has also led some players to go all in on Leela anti-combo lists.
Shapers remain the weakest faction at present due to their lack of in-faction answers to asset spam (barring Paricia). Smoke does put up some results – special mention to this pretty cool deck featuring Desperado. We’re also seeing some builds that are essentially Congress (massive drip econ) paired with Sifr/Parasite. Dyper also still exists.
So at this point I should explain the title of this article – first of all, it’s a reference to this classic story about a malevolent AI .
Secondly, right now we’ve reached a point where every Corp strategy now has a viable, powerful and widely played counter (otherwise known as hate) against it. Look no further than the DLR Andy deck designed to unload as much hate as possible upon one archetype. Seriously, think about it:
Tagstorm – Aaron Marron. Tag and Bag – Aaron Marron again, Plascrete, NACH, On the Lam. Agenda-based kill strats (PE, Argus) – Aaron goddamn Marron. Fast Advance – Clot. Glacier – Rumor Mill and Sifr. Asset Spam – Salsette Slums and Whizzard. Basically any deck, but primarily CTM, CI and PU – Employee Strike. Corp players really need to be on their game right now because it’s not only possible but likely that you’ll be put at a massive disadvantage as early as turn 1.
So bearing in mind that Corps are in a rough spot right now, what are you likely to see? Well…
CTM actually is still pretty strong. Even in the Quorum meta, results are coming in with decks that are pretty close to the Worlds-winning list. The archetype does have enough outs available to it that unless your opponent has a godlike opening you’re still likely to have plays available to you. Even then, you still have the capacity to punish mistakes and enact your plan. It’s less powerful than previously but in the right hands remains devastating.
Railgun (NEH Power Shutdown Boom combo) has also been making a bit of a comeback. The combo itself is quite flexible and can trigger multiple 24/7’s or Booms as required. More importantly, it’s immune to Aaron Marron as paid abilities can’t be triggered in the middle of an Accelerated Diagnostics. Midseasons Butchershop has also reared its head on occasion.
Haas-Bioroid has a few options available to it. CI7 has made one of its regular resurgences thanks to Violet Level Clearance and its decent Anarch matchup. Hilariously, this led to a brief period in Jnet Comp where people were running dedicated anti-CI Noise decks with Shards and Employee Strike, presumably for the lulz.
Sleeper Hold has also made a comeback, partly due to its Parasite resistant ICE suite. It’s essentially HBFA with 3 Enhanced Login Protocol and a lot of assets as its distinguishing features. Since this is a BigBoy list, expect to see it! The Friendcoats lists initially popularised by Spags enjoyed a brief period of being played absolutely everywhere, but it has a very poor Dumblefork matchup and is probably much worse in the Quorum meta.
I’d also like to highlight this interesting HB list featuring Marcus Batty, which you’ll also see in the Friendcoats list above. Want to know why it’s interesting? Since Blood Money, Rumor Mill has been the boogeyman of Glacier decks. “Dies to Rumor Mill”, everyone cries. However, if you take a look through what people are playing right now…very few people are actually playing Rumor Mill. As I mentioned before, Employee Strike is incredibly strong right now, and it’s pretty unlikely that people are going to include two different currents in their decks or overwrite their own Strike. Might be worth considering those unique upgrades again.
Jinteki’s major offerings right now appear to be asset spam decks out of either Industrial Genomics, Potential Unleashed or occasionally Replicating Perfection. These grindy Jinteki decks tend to have a pretty reasonable Criminal matchup but struggle against Whizzard, so it’s worth considering as a meta call. If you’re not afraid of psi games, there’s also a rushier option like this.
Finally, Weyland gets aboard the prison deck train with Gagarin. We saw quite a lot of Blue Sun last month, but the prevalence of Employee Strike and Sifr puts that ID in its worst position yet.
Corps are in a weird place right now, but it’s happened before. Rumors continue to swirl of a Core 2.0 and Terminal Directive and Red Sands are on their way. If nothing else, Damon has shown that he likes massive meta swings to happen every pack. Thanks for tuning in, let’s see what happens next!