In my last article, I talked about some problems Weyland has, and my attempt to try and make a deck that addresses them. One of the points I talked about was the pitfalls of rush deck consistency in Weyland. Basically, runner decks have gotten so fast that gear-checking them sometimes just doesn’t work, as they find their breakers almost as fast as you can put out your new ICE. You can often get to 5 points, but then they lock you out of your scoring remote, and you end up losing. You build a glass house, and then the runner finds a few rocks.
A couple things have happened since the last article. The first is the Most Wanted List. This list of cards has made it harder to include specific cards in a deck due to influence limits, and has slowed the game down a bit. The second thing is that Dedication Ceremony got printed.
Lemme pause there for a sec. Now, Dedication Ceremony is a card that had me scratching my head when I first saw it. Generally, the things you want to advance in Weyland are face-down (the Space Ice, most of the agendas), and you don’t get the benefit of the Public agendas (Underway, Oaktown, and Hollywood Renovation) since you don’t advance the agenda, you simply place advancement counters on it. So, this card looked like more support for the really, really bad “advance only while rezzed” ICE. Basically, binder fodder.
Okay, un-pause. Dedication Ceremony is really, really good in one specific scenario. Have you ever wanted to score 5 points all at once? Me too.
I said that Weyland Rush is too slow and brittle; I think the mix of the MWL and Dedication Ceremony fixes that. I brought the deck below to a tournament, and came out undefeated on the other side. I’m positive it’s not perfect, but by god is it fast.
Code Gate (6)
So, I mentioned scoring 5 points at once. The idea is that you install Hollywood Renovation for click one. Click two, you advance it regularly. Click three, you use Dedication Ceremony to add 3 more advancement counters. The next turn, you install a Project Atlas for click one. Click two, you advance Hollywood, advancing the Atlas. Click three you advance Hollywood, which advances Atlas twice, since Hollywood now has 6 counters on it. You then score 5 points.
This is bonkers for a couple reasons. The first is that you scored 5 points in two turns; this means that you can be on two points and threaten to win the game the next turn with the Hollywood install. Second is that it only costs 4 credits total for those 5 points. It’s almost like you scored a 4/5 agenda. Yeah, it takes 3 cards, but the deck is set up to make that happen with fair regularity, and it’s thanks to Project Atlas.
The reason the deck is in Titan is because scoring a Project Atlas with 2 agenda counters on it is very important, and in Titan you only need to over-advance Atlas once to get those counters. This means that when you have a window, you can use Fast Track to find Atlas, install it, and advance it. Next turn, you have your counters. Now, whenever you find either another Project Atlas, Dedication Ceremony, or Hollywood Renovation, you can win in two turns. Combo decks are usually bad, since they rely on seeing multiple cards, and there’s usually no way you can guarantee that will happen. Atlas brings it all to you.
There are several fun plays you can make with this, depending on the board state. Let’s say you scored the Atlas first with the 2 counters on it, and you found and scored an Oaktown next. If you have a combo piece in hand, you can feel perfectly fine sacrificing the Oaktown to an Archer on your remote by installing, Dedicating, and advancing a Hollywood Renovation. Normally sacrificing Oaktown’s 2 points would keep you off the win, but instead you just get the points back with the fast advancement. If you are on 2 points and firing off the combo, you can still sacrifice your first agenda to Archer as well, since you can jump up to 5 points the next turn. The turn after, you can use the Atlas token that Titan gave you to go find your winning agenda. Or, if you’re reasonably sure you have a window next turn too, you can leave the Hollywood in the server. Next turn, you can use that Atlas token you got from Titan to go find either another Atlas or an Oaktown to score off the Hollywood Renovation. Obviously leaving a 5/3 in the server isn’t without it’s risks, and I usually try not to, but if I have a Caprice, hey, who knows. Heck, even if you just install Hollywood and Dedicate it twice, you can score a 5/3 the next turn off of just 2 credits.
So, now that I’ve talked a bunch about the neat things you can do with Hollywood and Dedication Ceremony, lemme throw out a cautionary note. This can be a combo deck, but it’s easy to get caught in the trap of just playing for the combo. There are six other non-combo-required agendas in the deck, and if you have a chance to score them you usually should. Oaktown and Hostile Takeover all make money while you score them, creating tempo for you. Depending on your hand, you might want to just score out the Hollywood and get the three points while you can. My point is that your goal is to win the game, not lose the game because you wanted to see a cool combo. That being said, the combo is cool as hell.
Before I get into the choices themselves, you’ll notice that I’m going to talk a lot about a lot of possible changes to various card slots. This is because I played only a bare handful of games with this deck before bringing it to a tournament, and since the deck was working, I didn’t want to make many changes. This is a deck in its infancy, however, and I’m positive there are tons of potential improvements to be made. Anyhow, on to the cards.
I wanted two copies of both Hollywood Renovation and Dedication Ceremony to increase my chances of seeing them. Running two copies of Hollywood is risky, but seeing one can give an opportunity to simply end the game. I haven’t had many issues with running two 3-point agendas in the deck, though, because it scores out fast enough that the runner doesn’t get too many chances to see one. The rest of the agendas are picked because they’re either Project Atlas or make me money. The Future Is Now fills the odd 1-point slot because I needed another agenda to be at the legal point limit, and because it has a powerful effect. Paying 3 credits for 1 point, though, can feel slow in this deck, and sometimes I really don’t feel like scoring it.
The ICE is your standard rush ICE – cheap, and ends the run. Right now I like 3 Enigma, because if I have to rush an agenda behind a single ICE early in the game, the fact that it steals a click to a face check often means that I get to score it and they don’t. Meru Mati is nice over HQ, but I’ve used it on R&D or the scoring remote as a 4th Ice Wall if I need a gear check. Changeling can be a 4 strength sentry, which makes Mimic unable to break it without Datasucker support, although it’s expensive to rez. Wendigo has similar use as a strength 4 code gate against Yog.0, but can also be placed in front of a code gate itself if it’s advanced to become a barrier. They also have mild synergy with Hollywood Renovation, giving a target to advance once if it is a good idea to, but it rarely comes up, and is more serendipitous than planned. Chimera makes me sad to play because it feels like it always dies to parasite, and can be expensive to rez over and over, but it can be a sentry that ends the run and doesn’t require me to have an agenda to sacrifice to it (unlike Archer).
Caprice is my answer to Weyland’s agenda protection problem, and increases the deck consistency a thousandfold. This deck can require you to leave a 3-point agenda on the board, face up. It’s not like you’re bluffing something; they can see the agenda right in front of them. Caprice makes that a safer proposition. With Anarch running rampant with Faust and D4v1d, it feels like remotes are more porous than ever, and Caprice helps shore that up as well. Sometimes you have to lean pretty hard on the Psi game to close games out, but Jinteki has been doing that for well over a year now, and it seems to be doing alright for them. Taking Bad Publicity does real weird things to Psi games, so try and keep that in mind before you decide what to bet. I also included a copy of Interns to recur Caprice, should I be unable to find another in a reasonable amount of time, but honestly I find myself almost never using it.
I honestly wish I had more economy in the deck sometimes, and might try and make room for more in future incarnations. The nice part is that we’re Weyland, so half of our agendas make money. Money is indeed needed, especially if you need to lean on the Psi game to close games out. I chose to spend Titan’s extra two influence on Green Level Clearance, and it rarely feels bad, but gaining only two credits isn’t that big a deal. The card draw is the reason it’s still in the deck. We want to go fast, and this helps accelerate it slightly. Mark Yale only gets one slot, because, frankly, he is unreliable. If you draw him in the early game, he’s almost worthless. You can maybe throw him down and make the runner waste a click running him, and maybe waste 3 credits to trash him. However, if you can score even one Hostile Takeover, he can be worth 4 credits, which is another Hedge Fund. Two agendas makes him worth 7 credits, and that’s damn good. But since your first agenda is, ideally, Atlas, and you don’t want to sacrifice Atlas counters for cash, he’ll often sit in HQ collecting dust. So right now, he’s in, but only as a single copy; when I had two I drew him more often than he can be useful.
Fast Track is the hero of the deck. It gets you your first Atlas and gives you time to get 2 counters on it. I’ve used Fast Track to close out games by fetching Hollywood and using Dedication Ceremony on it to score it out the following turn. It can fetch an Oaktown to install and advance if you have a scoring window, but little money. It circumvents R&D lock. It costs 0. I couldn’t really ask for anything more in a deck that wants to go fast.
I already mentioned that maybe it’s too risky to run 2 copies of Hollywood, and it might be safer to remove one of them as well as The Future is Now, and add a third Oaktown and maybe a Geothermal Fracking. Titan can make a truckload of money off Geothermal, but there’s a huge risk in taking on large amounts of Bad Publicity, and this deck already runs a bit. Also, if you lose your lone copy of Hollywood then the deck slows down a lot, which really isn’t good at all.
I already said that I liked Green Level, but when this deck runs low on money getting only two credits can be sad. It might be better as a Sweeps Week and a third copy of Beanstalk Royalties. I could also turn them into a Beanstalk and some other economy card, and replace an Ice Wall and the Meru Mati with a couple Wraparounds to improve the AI matchup slightly. Swordsman is less tempting, since it doesn’t end the run, but program destruction can be nice. This is really more of a meta call. Either way, these two influence are the cream influence, and can go a number of ways. I chose Green Level because it’s a nice accelerant, but there are many choices here.
Another thing I am strongly considering is turning the Green Levels into Targeted Marketing. Usually I don’t like Targeted Marketing because it’s easy to play around, and can just be a blank card. I think it might be good in this deck, though, because you put so much pressure on the runner to find answers, that they might just have to give you 10 credits. If you don’t have much money, but have a Caprice in the scoring server, you can Target whatever you know will get them in it, and install an agenda. If they don’t run, yay agenda. If they do, you get the money for the Psi game, and still have a good shot at getting the agenda. It seems like it might be a strong change.
Chimera makes me sad whenever I mulligan away a bad hand and I get it in the second one. Defending R&D or HQ early can be important against some decks, and having to use Chimera in front of one is terrible. The runner can simply run once a turn on that server, making you either spend 2 credits a turn or give up free accesses. It’s just really bad. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of ICE that Weyland has that makes sense here. Their only good Sentry that ends the run is Archer, and that requires an agenda to be scored to work. Caduceus is a good ICE, but gets exponentially worse if Bad Publicity is thrown in the mix. Guard is an option, but a rez cost of 4 places it on the higher end of what I want. Mainly, the issue is that Sentries don’t usually end the run, and this deck really wants ETR subs. Going back to the influence thing, it might be okay to throw in a Rototurret. It’s also a little pricey at 4 to rez, though, and you don’t want to rez it unless the runner has a program down that’s worth trashing, since it dies instantly to Parasite. Still, it might be worth considering.
Interns almost never gets used, and I really want to make it another economy card because the deck sometimes can feel a little light on the econ. The problem that I have is that while Weyland gets bandied about as the faction who’s apparently dripping with cash, they have almost no good economy cards. A thought is to maybe shuffle some slots around to fit in 3 Dedication Ceremony and 2 GRNDL refineries, but that might be too slow, and probably requires taking out additional econ to fit it. Maybe a third Restructure would be nice, but it’s a hard card to play sometimes, seeing as it costs 10 credits. I also mentioned that the Interns could be a Cyberdex, and that’s both good against Clot (which is only really seen out of Shaper these days) as well as Anarchs and their Datasucker ways.
Something the astute reader (that is to say, one with eyes) will notice is that I am not trying to kill the runner, despite a Supermodernism-esque dedication to the rush strategy. Mainly, I wanted to dedicate as many card slots to the rush as I could, and not having a SEA Source and three Scorched Earth cluttering up the deck helps that. That being said, I have thought about dropping the Green Level Clearances, Interns, and maybe Wendigo in favor of those 4 cards. It might lead to free wins, especially since the deck’s first agenda is usually an Atlas with 2 counters. I’m just really not sure it doesn’t make the deck worse instead of better, though. Corp card space is so damn tight, and taking 4 card slots and filling them with potentially dead draws doesn’t excite me very much. If I were to do this, I’d be very tempted to make the above agenda changes in order to have more money, since it’s not like the deck runs super rich for the traces. Bad Publicity is… well… bad, but a turn of “take 21 credits, go” from a scored Geothermal does have its merits in a deck trying to out-pace the runner, and would probably fuel the entire rest of the game. But man, there’s a limit on how much Bad Pub the corp wants to take, and this plus the Hostile Takeovers (and god, the Grim) might just fly right over that line.
Hive is an ICE consideration for this deck. Going from 2 points to 7 points in one turn means that Hive has at least 3 subs all game long. I played an older version of this style deck in Blue Sun (I was using a single Biotic Labor as the Hollywood combo tool rather than Dedication), and in Blue Sun Hive is good anyhow, but I took it out for this version of the deck, for two reasons. The first is that it costs 5 credits, and that’s a large investment. The second is that sometimes you really just need to score out without the combo, and in that case your 5 cost ICE now has no subs for the last couple points. It might still be good though; I never actually tested Hive in the deck, so I don’t know for sure.
So I just spent half my time talking about potential improvements. Again, this is because I basically just threw this damn thing together with minimal testing. I don’t want to be one of those people that brags on and on about a potentially mediocre deck that happened to do well once, but I honestly think the deck has legs. It just refuses to stop winning. It can go blisteringly fast. The amount of pressure a 4-advanced Hollywood can put on is just unreal. Like NBN, though, you have to know when to pull it back and play a little safer. Be good to Caprice, and she’ll be good to you. Bask with her under the glow of your new Hollywood lights as you watch the look on your opponent’s face, blank with horror, their parting words echoing in your ears.
“Holy shit, dude.”
Good game, man. Good game.