Terminal Directive has just come out and with it is Ayla “Bios” Rahim, who provides a new perspective on whether to Mull or Keep.
Ayla’s ability lets you draw six cards and pick four to keep in an “NVRAM” area, shuffling the other two into your deck. This changes what you’re likely to draw in your opening hand, and also changes the value of your mull/keep. For example, if you have Magnum Opus in your NVRAM, you are less likely going to need it in your opening hand. In this episode of Mull or Keep, we are going to assess the NVRAM first and then work out whether to mulligan or keep the hand based on what’s in it. Tricky, right?
In this episode of Mull or Keep, we are looking at the Ayla’s default deck used for the Terminal Directive Campaign.. This deck is significantly weaker than you would expect from a tournament-ready deck, and will play a lot slower than you would like as a result. Similarly this also means that your mulligan doesn’t have to worry too much about what the opponent’s deck is capable of doing. You’re likely to be running against either Seidr Laboratories or Skorpios Defense Systems, both of which are slow decks.
Ayla’s Default Campaign Deck
2x Careful Planning
2x Deep Data Mining
3x Process Automation ●●●
3x Special Order ●●●●● ●
1x Stimhack ●
3x Sure Gamble
2x The Personal Touch
2x Biometric Spoofing
2x Dean Lister
Things to note about this deck
First weird thing… The deck is only 42 cards and is therefore an illegal deck by tournament standards. There are likely some campaign cards going in to rectify this, which does make part of the exercise I’m going through here slightly fudged.
This deck focuses heavily on the spare MU idea of the new Sage-style breaker Adept, to cover the ability to break barriers and sentries. This unfortunately does present us with a problem as we have a console that only provides +1 MU, and Magnum Opus that takes up 2 MU. The solution to this is to play Dhegdheer to free up MU, but this is an ordered install and significantly slows down your setup time. Both Dean Lister and Personal Touch add some additional bonuses to address the low breaker strength problem. We also have Datasucker to help with strength problems, and don’t have to worry about Cyberdex Virus Suite in our opponent’s deck, however this deck is not getting any additional value out of runs except for Datasucker, so there isn’t a lot of synergy here. Each Datasucker you install also makes your Adept weaker unless you put them on a Dhegdheer. Adept is an incredibly inefficient breaker, however this is somewhat balanced around the corp deck not having as many multi-sub barriers/sentries as a competitive deck might have.
As this deck has no recursion whatsoever, Skorpios’ ability is useless the entire game. That said, we still have to respect Hunter-Seeker, or a nasty Colossus faceplant, or hitting Ichi 1.0/Rototurret at an inopportune time.
In this deck, there is clearly one card that stands above all others as great to have in your opener. That card is Magnum Opus. If you can install this turn 1, then you are set for economy for the rest of the game, and you just need to find your breakers to get into other servers. To that end, some draw and some tutoring help immensely too, however your #1 priority is to find the Magnum Opus.
Some small statistics on Magnum Opus. You have a 36% chance of seeing a Magnum Opus in your NVRAM. If you don’t see a Magnum Opus in your NVRAM, then you have an additional 35% chance of seeing it in your opening hand. This equals roughly a 60% chance of seeing a Magnum Opus in either your NVRAM or your opening hand. If you mulligan again you have another 35% chance again of seeing the Magnum Opus, meaning your overall chances of getting the Magnum Opus are 73%. It is worth noting that the maths on this are slightly higher than otherwise expected because this is a 42 card deck, and you should expect slightly lower chances of seeing the Magnum Opus once the campaign cards are added. Nonetheless we will go with these hands since we don’t have access to the campaign cards. If our hands follow a statistical average then we should expect 6 of the 10 hands here to be keeps based on this criteria.
Even outside of Magnum Opus, it is worth thinking about which cards are valuable to keep in your NVRAM and which are not helpful there. In this deck there exist a lot of “click-efficiency” cards that are mostly there to provide a slight benefit over clicking to draw or clicking for credits. The most notable of these are Diesel and Process Automation, however Modded and Sure Gamble are arguably examples of this too. These cards are absolutely awful in your NVRAM. A Diesel is a great card to draw because it means “Oh you didn’t draw what you were looking for, but your next action has a strong chance of giving you that card”. Process Automation is worse but similarly says “Oh you didn’t find what you’re looking for, but at least make some money next time you look”. If you have to spend a click to get these out of your NVRAM, they lose a lot of their strength. On the flip side, if you have something like Gordian Blade, Mammon, Adept, Dhegdheer, Magnum Opus or Special Order in your NVRAM, then you are getting a lot of value here. For a start you know that you never have to draw if you are looking for this specific item, saving you time as you play. Secondly, having these in NVRAM increases the chances of you seeing these other efficiency-boosting cards as you draw. Your NVRAM should therefore prioritise cards that you would be digging for, rather than cards that help you during your dig.
NVRAM: Diesel, Process Automation, Datasucker, Dhegdheer, Biometric Spoofing, Dean Lister
No Magnum Opus here, which is a shame. As mentioned above, certain click-efficiency cards are a lot worse if you have to click to take them out of NVRAM (without thinning your deck in the process). This NVRAM has exactly two of these cards, so we put back Diesel and Process Automation.
Hand: Magnum Opus, Magnum Opus, Adept, Mammon, Dean Lister
Verdict: We’ve got the golden Mopus. Keep.
Ideal T1: It is tempting to install Dhegdheer first, as we have Adept in hand and can make use of it quickly. Get Dhegdheer from NVRAM; Install Dhegdheer; Click for a credit; Install Magnum Opus on Dhegdheer. 0C left and 4 MU free.
Alternatively: Install Magnum Opus, use three times. 6c left and 2 MU free.
NVRAM: Deep Data Mining, Sure Gamble, Personal Touch, Ubax, Datasucker, Magnum Opus
This is actually a pretty good NVRAM. It is filled with pieces that we want to keep. Magnum Opus being the obvious good one, but Ubax will also help fuel our draw all game if we install it early, and Deep Data Mining may be worth playing early if they leave their servers exposed. Sure Gamble isn’t awful if we have to pull it from NVRAM first, but it is still a click-efficiency card so has to go back in based on the same reasoning as Diesel and Process Automation. After that it is just a question of “which of these cards is least useful in the early game” and the answer here has to be the Personal Touch. Put back Sure Gamble and Personal Touch.
Hand: Diesel, Personal Touch, Dhegdheer, Dhegdheer, Gordian Blade
Verdict: We have Diesel, and Dhegdheer to make our Magnum Opus cheap. Keep.
Ideal T1: Install Dhegdheer; Get Magnum Opus from NVRAM; Click for a credit; Install Magnum Opus on Dhegdheer. End turn with 0c and 4 MU free.
NVRAM: Diesel, Diesel, Special Order, Sure Gamble, Personal Touch, Dean Lister
We’ve made the argument about click-efficiency cards and Diesel is super important to be in your deck. Both of these are the obvious choices here. Diesel and Diesel go back.
Hand: Process Automation, Special Order, Ubax, Dhegdheer, Gordian Blade
Verdict: No Magnum Opus, so we have to make this a Mull, however this is not a great hand anyway, as Process Automation is poor draw and Ubax is expensive.
Ideal T1 (anyway) Dependant on draw: Process Automation; Draw; Get Sure Gamble from NVRAM, Sure Gamble. End turn on 11c and 6 cards. Likely discard is Special Order.
NVRAM: Careful Planning, Deep Data Mining, Diesel, Stimhack, Magnum Opus, Adept.
Put back: Diesel is an obvious choice for a card to send back. After that it is a bit difficult, but I’m going to say Careful Planning is the strongest contender, especially considering it is a Priority event, so you can’t even “Get Careful Planning from NVRAM; Play Careful Planning” on the same turn.
Hand: Careful Planning, Modded, Special Order, Personal Touch, Dean Lister
Verdict: Modded in hand and Magnum Opus in NVRAM is very nice. We also have Adept in the NVRAM and can use Special Order to get Gordian Blade. Keep.
Ideal T1: Get Magnum Opus from NVRAM; Modded Magnum Opus; Magnum Opus for money twice. End turn on 7c and 2 MU free.
NVRAM: Deep Data Mining, Diesel, Modded, Special Order, Adept, Gordian Blade
Diesel and Modded are both perfect examples of click-efficiency based cards here, so have to be put back.
Hand: Diesel, Modded, Special Order, Mammon, Biometric Spoofing
Verdict: No Magnum Opus, so this is a Mull. This hand isn’t super awful, as it has a Diesel that gives us a reasonable chance of seeing Magnum Opus, however we have better odds if we perform the mulligan. Worth noting that we have Mammon in hand and both other breakers in NVRAM, so the Special Order is particularly dead here.
Ideal T1: Dependant on draw: Diesel, Click for credit 3 times. End turn on 8c and 7 cards, likely discarding Biometric Spoofing and Special Order.
NVRAM: Diesel, Dhegdheer, Adept, Gordian Blade, Dean Lister, Dean Lister
We only have one obvious card to put back, that being Diesel, so we have to think which of these cards is least useful otherwise. Dhegdheer gives us value with our Magnum Opus, and Adept/Gordian Blade both cover our full breaker suite. Dean Lister is the obvious second choice here, and we have 2 so it is not even a big deal. Put back Diesel and Dean Lister.
Hand: Diesel, Sure Gamble, Personal Touch, Personal Touch, Ubax
Verdict: Again, no Magnum Opus, so this is a Mull, however this isn’t the worst keep ever, as we have Diesel and Sure Gamble, giving us a good chance of drawing the Magnum Opus, and if we don’t we have money to install Ubax we have a chance of getting it soon.
Ideal T1: Sure Gamble; Diesel; Install Ubax; Click for a credit. End turn on 5c and 5 cards in hand.
NVRAM: Careful Planning, Modded, Process Automation, Stimhack, Sure Gamble, Ubax
We actually have 3 click-efficiency cards here, however Sure Gamble isn’t the worst to have to retrieve from NVRAM. Put back Modded and Process Automation.
Hand: Diesel, Process Automation, Special Order, Datasucker, Magnum Opus
Verdict: We have the golden card, so Keep.
Ideal T1: Install Magnum Opus; Click Magnum Opus 3 times. End turn on 6c and 2 free MU.
NVRAM: Deep Data Mining, Personal Touch, Ubax, Dhegdheer, Magnum Opus, Gordian Blade
This is actually a really good NVRAM, setting us up with the majority of everything we need to get through the game. Personal Touch is an obvious choice to lose here, and we want to keep both Magnum Opus and Dhegdheer. So that leaves the remaining card to put back between Ubax, Deep Data Mining and Gordian Blade. I’m going to go on a whim and choose Ubax here, but I can definitely see the argument for one of the other cards like Deep Data Mining. Put back… Personal Touch and Ubax (hard one)
Hand: Diesel, Diesel, Special Order, Personal Touch, Dean Lister
Verdict: Keep. All the draw in the world, so we can get out the Magnum Opus and later draw the other cards that we need.
Ideal T1: Get Magnum Opus from NVRAM; Install Magnum Opus; Click Magnum Opus twice. End turn on 4c and 2 free MU.
NVRAM: Deep Data Mining, Deep Data Mining, Process Automation, Special Order, Sure Gamble, Ubax
There are 2 click-efficiency cards here, so we choose both of those. Put back Process Automation and Sure Gamble.
Hand: Diesel, Personal Touch, Adept, Mammon, Biometric Spoofing
Verdict: Mull. No Magnum Opus, no money and while the Diesel is nice this hand is tough to use.
Ideal T1: Dependant on draw: Diesel; click for credit 3 times. End turn on 8c and 7 cards (likely discarding Biometric Spoofing and the Personal Touch).
NVRAM: Process Automation, Special Order, Stimhack, Personal Touch, Ubax, Adept
Personal Touch is a weak card to have early, and Process Automation is bad in NVRAM. Put back Personal Touch and Process Automation
Hand: Diesel, Diesel, Ubax, Datasucker, Dhegdheer
Verdict: There is actually a lot of draw here, so you might consider keeping this, however money will be tough too. No Magnum Opus, so this is a Mull.
Ideal T1: Dependant on draw: Diesel, Diesel, Install Dhegdheer, Install Datasucker. End turn on 2c and 7 cards (almost all of which are new draws, pretty good odds of having a Magnum Opus to install here instead).
In the end we had 5 mulls and 5 keeps, so we’re slightly behind on our luck compared to the average. The decision whether to mull or keep here depends almost entirely on Magnum Opus, so this may seem a bit of a straightforward Mull or Keep article, however NVRAM presents interesting new problems on whether cards are more useful in your deck or NVRAM, so I hope you found some value in it.
Thanks again to @inactivist for his fine editing skills and publishing this article. Also thanks to the designers at FFG for creating Ayla, an interesting Shaper ID with a lot of thought processes. Good job guys.