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The Shaper's Handbook


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#1 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:27 AM

 

ABOUT THIS THREAD

 

This is the second of hopefully 7 threads (1 per faction) that will evolve as my limited experience and the LCG evolves. As with the other threads, a convention of 1.5 Core = adding the 3rd card of doubles is used. Once again, all suggestions, advice and criticisms are welcome as I am no expert, just good at analysing game mechanics.

 

WHY SHAPER NEXT?

 

Just as I believe Haas-Bioroid (the first handbook) is currently the strongest Corp, I believe Shaper is currently the strongest runner. This section explains my reasoning.

 

At this snapshot in the LCG’s evolution, Criminal is considered the strongest runner deck (based on results). But I suggest this is more a reflection of Corp players not knowing the safeguards to counter Gabriel’s tricks. Sure Criminal has strengths (great early game, Corp must protect all servers, credits, ice breaker search, anti-tag resources) that more than compensate for its weaknesses (no card draw, poor ice, no ice credits, poor late game). But the weakness of Criminal is that the hurt from its many events (resulting in program fragility) can be minimised. And without his tricks, Gabriel is mediocre.

 

Here are simple safeguards that any Corp player should take when playing against Gabriel.

1.       Place the your first 2 ice on HQ (vs. Inside Job)

2.       Have enough credit to rez any 1 ice installed (vs. Forged Activation Order)

3.       Leave an unrezzed ice on HQ (vs. Account Siphon)

4.       Install your 3rd ice on Archives (Sneakdoor Beta eats memory, cannot combo with Inside Job)

5.       Install weak ice at the front of each key server (vs. Inside Job)

6.       Create weak remotes with 1 worrying unrezzed ice for PADs (vs. Bank Job)

Following the above rules where possible, Criminal becomes far less effective.

 

Anarch suffers from poor credit, the cornerstone of any deck. No wonder Noise is so disaffected with society – he’s always broke, relying on Stimhacks for big runs. It’s no coincidence that the 2 most fun factions to play, Anarch and Jinteki, are also the focus of the first 2 data packs, as they need a boost.

 

Shaper (specifically Kate) is not about tricks and does not rely on weak ice. Her build is self-contained and hard to disrupt by the Corp. She builds an awesome rig then efficiently runs at any assets placed in the remote fort (and occasionally R&D). She is the runner clone of Haas-Bioroid, not just with her identity mechanic (more limited than HB) but also because both factions play the efficient long game that can’t be bypassed by good play. I contend both factions fear the other as their worst opponent.

 

Kate has weaknesses. The Corp never needs to spread thinly by protecting Archives, unlike the other 2 core runners. She is vulnerable to early quick agendas scored by NBN (but, much like Haas-Bioroid, who can be mugged by Criminal early game, eventually her long game should catch up against NBN). Kate has links in identity, console and Rabbit Holes. Prior to WLA, I play Sacrificial Constructs instead of Rabbit Hole against her most feared Corp (but ZU.13, Ash and Draco in WLA change this dynamic).

 

Just as Corps play differently against each runner (some Criminal safeguards above), runners should try to follow some basic safeguards based on the Corp faced.

1.       End turn with 4-5 grip vs. Weyland/NBN/Jinteki (vs. Scorched Earth, Jinteki ice & identity ability)

2.       End turn on 5-7 credits vs. NBN/Weyland (vs. Closed Accounts, threaten Gamble vs. Red Herring)

3.       Never run blind into ice without a killer (sentries trash programs, Rototurret is only 1 influence)

4.       Avoid running with less than 3 grip (Snare in HQ/R&D, a Wall of Thorns is only 1 influence)

5.       Take safeguards if blindly accessing advanced assets (6 grip vs. Junebug, Construct vs. Secretary)

6.       Prepare for first click runs vs. Haas-Bioroid (but also minimise click-intensive exploratory runs)

 

Currently, following rules 1 and 2 above, runners often ignore multiple NBN tags (save clicks/credits) and when a remote fort is empty, they hit HQ (if runner finds Psychographics in HQ, switch to R&D). This is another reason why proposed (pre-WLA) decks favour Sacrificial Constructs over Rabbit Holes.

 

Kate has another advantage over the other runners. Currently, due to the cost of Toolbox and having memory chips, she does not need 3 Core sets as much as the other runners (who want to install their console early). So this first instalment looks at the evolution of Kate from 1 Core to 2 Core + WLA.



#2 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:37 AM

 

KATE: 1 Core

 

Kate (like Haas-Bioroid) should install once per turn if possible to make full use of her identity ability. There the similarity ends because, once Kate has built her rig and built up credit, she starts running and spends her ice breaker credits, pausing only to refill credits and find solutions to new ice faced.

 

It goes without saying that 9 points of influence are spent on 3 Special Orders (getting the rig set up as fast as possible) and 3 Cyberfeeders (cost 1, generating 1 ice credit), leaving 6 influence to replace Shaper’s weak killers and to leverage Special Orders. 2 Ninjas (large sentries), 1 Femme Fatale (small sentries with ice like Tollbooth in play) and 1 Yug 5.0 (small code gates, obscene with Personal Touch and Tinkering) fill up the last 6 influence. Shaper even has extra memory to accommodate a toolbox approach. After choosing the above 10 off-faction cards, the rest of Kate’s deck builds itself.

 

With 6 Special Orders, 3 memory upgrades and 2 copies of each primary ice-breaker (and 3 specialist ice-breakers) Kate quickly builds her rig funded by 11 credit generators (3 Sure Gamble, 2 Modded, 3 Armitage Codebusting, 2 Magnum Opus, 1 Pawnshop) while 6 run credit generators (3 Cyberfeeders, 1 Toolbox, indirect by 2 well-timed Personal Touches) make runs more cost-efficient hence frequent.

 

Diesel, Tinkering (best on unrezzed ice, use to foil early agendas, more flexible than Inside Job at cost 0), Modded (Easy Mark saving install click) and just the threat of The Maker’s Eye (diverts more Corp resources to protect R&D) show that Shaper events match Criminal (without any Corp workarounds).

 

Hardware (8, 3#)

1x Toolbox

2x Akamatsu Mem Chip

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

2x The Personal Touch

 

Decoders (3, 1#)

2x Gordian Blade

1x Yug 5.0 (1#)

 

Fracters (2)

2x Battering Ram

 

Killers (3, 5#)

2x Ninja (4#)

1x Femme Fatale (1#)

 

Other Programs (3)

1x Crypsis (ok with Cyberfeeders)

2x Magnum Opus

 

Resources (6)

1x Aesop’s Pawnshop

2x Sacrificial Constructs

3x Armitage Codebusting

 

Events (20, 6#)

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x The Maker’s Eye

2x Modded

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration



#3 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:38 AM

 

KATE: 1.5 Core

 

The list below focuses on building her cost efficient rig even quicker to then run on the remote fort. It drops The Maker’s Eye (threat is sufficient to divert resources) as this great 2 cost event does not synergise with her identity ability. She just gets her rig pieces quickly then puts the pressure on.

 

1x Toolbox

3x Akamatsu Mem Chip

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

3x The Personal Touch

2x Gordian Blade

1x Yug 5.0 (1#)

3x Battering Ram

2x Ninja (4#)

1x Femme Fatale (1#)

1x Crypsis

3x Magnum Opus

1x Aesop’s Pawnshop

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x Modded

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration



#4 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:44 AM

 

KATE: 2 Core

 

This is only a tiny increase in consistency, changing the prior list’s 3rd Battering Ram and 3rd Magnum Opus for duplicate unique cards, The Toolbox and Aesop’s Pawnshop, increasing their draw chance.

 

2x Toolbox

3x Akamatsu Mem Chip

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

3x The Personal Touch

2x Gordian Blade

1x Yug 5.0 (1#)

2x Battering Ram

2x Ninja (4#)

1x Femme Fatale (1#)

1x Crypsis

2x Magnum Opus

2x Aesop’s Pawnshop

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x Modded

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration



#5 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

 

KATE: 2 Core + WLA ("look Daddy, no console!")

 

This is a radical rebuild. It is listed as an example of how Shaper can be built another way. It needs no extra memory hence no console (Spinal Modem is closest to useful). With 7 ice breakers costing Kate 0, 1 or 2 to install, the set formed using Special Order, stored simultaneously with Magnum Opus (as 2 links is simple with 3 Rabbit Holes and 3 Helpful AI) and fuelled by Cyberfeeders, it needs Sacrificial Construct protection, especially as a single Personal Touch on a Mimic cheaply passes most sentries (except rarely encountered Archer and Janus, your links handling Draco). The Helpful AI’s boost lasts for multiple runs that turn (compensates for losing entire run boost of Shaper’s core ice), well worth its 2 investment, setting up nova turns to run at different servers.

 

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

3x The Personal Touch

3x Rabbit Hole

3x ZU.13 Key Master

2x Corroder (4#)

2x Mimic (2#)

3x Magnum Opus

2x Aesop’s Pawnshop

3x Sacrificial Construct

3x The Helpful AI

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration

 

The deck above is untested but feels fast and safe, Rabbit Holes cascading for 4 links and 3 Helpful AI (take that, Ash!). WLA gave Noise a great new virus (use Imp with Medium and The Maker’s Eye) but it is Shaper’s cards (plus Corp agendas and Ash) which excited me most. With Gabriel gaining nothing playable in WLA, this strengthens my view that Shaper is currently the best runner. If the meta-game still plays Scorched Earth outside Weyland, add and install Carapaces (safe from thrashing) for cost 2. Kate’s rig is now built fast and lean, running on just 4 MU including a Magnum Opus credit generator with answers to trace effects (like Ash, Draco) and program thrashing. What more could you ask for?



#6 Brighton

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:40 AM

 

KATE: 1 Core (correction)

 

Apologies but the list below is definitely a stronger 1 Core build. There have been 2 changes: lose 1 Ninja and 1 Crypsis for 2 Mimics. Place any Personal Touch on a Mimic (only Ninja gets round Ichi 1.0 and Data Raven without it). Femme Fatale deals with an Archer or a Tollbooth on the remote fort while Yog 5.0 ignores weaker code gates. Silver bullets are protected by any Sacrificial Construct in play.

 

1x The Toolbox

2x Akamatsu Mem Chip

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

2x The Personal Touch

2x Gordian Blade

1x Yug 5.0 (1#)

2x Battering Ram

2x Mimic (1#)

1x Ninja (2#)

1x Femme Fatale (1#)

2x Magnum Opus

1x Aesop’s Pawnshop

2x Sacrificial Construct

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x The Maker’s Eye

2x Modded

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration

 

The same change (lose 1 Ninja and 1 Crypsis for 2 Mimics) should be applied to the subsequent 1.5 Core and 2 Core lists above. The 2 Core + WLA (console-free) deck list needs no change.



#7 RanisTheSlayer

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 04:23 PM

Brighton said:

 

KATE: 2 Core + WLA ("look Daddy, no console!")

 

This is a radical rebuild. It is listed as an example of how Shaper can be built another way. It needs no extra memory hence no console (Spinal Modem is closest to useful). With 7 ice breakers costing Kate 0, 1 or 2 to install, the set formed using Special Order, stored simultaneously with Magnum Opus (as 2 links is simple with 3 Rabbit Holes and 3 Helpful AI) and fuelled by Cyberfeeders, it needs Sacrificial Construct protection, especially as a single Personal Touch on a Mimic cheaply passes most sentries (except rarely encountered Archer and Janus, your links handling Draco). The Helpful AI’s boost lasts for multiple runs that turn (compensates for losing entire run boost of Shaper’s core ice), well worth its 2 investment, setting up nova turns to run at different servers.

 

3x Cyberfeeder (3#)

3x The Personal Touch

3x Rabbit Hole

3x ZU.13 Key Master

2x Corroder (4#)

2x Mimic (2#)

3x Magnum Opus

2x Aesop’s Pawnshop

3x Sacrificial Construct

3x The Helpful AI

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Special Order (6#)

3x Diesel

3x Tinkering

3x Sure Gamble

3x Infiltration

 

The deck above is untested but feels fast and safe, Rabbit Holes cascading for 4 links and 3 Helpful AI (take that, Ash!). WLA gave Noise a great new virus (use Imp with Medium and The Maker’s Eye) but it is Shaper’s cards (plus Corp agendas and Ash) which excited me most. With Gabriel gaining nothing playable in WLA, this strengthens my view that Shaper is currently the best runner. If the meta-game still plays Scorched Earth outside Weyland, add and install Carapaces (safe from thrashing) for cost 2. Kate’s rig is now built fast and lean, running on just 4 MU including a Magnum Opus credit generator with answers to trace effects (like Ash, Draco) and program thrashing. What more could you ask for?

 

I really like how simple and clean this is. I'm going to test it out. I can see this becoming a beast with some slight changes running Chaos Theory when she comes out using Gordian Blade instead of ZUUL.



#8 TheRedArmy

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

First off, love your handbooks so far. HB and Shaper are my two favorite factions to play as, so it's awesome for me that you started with both. I'm eager to see what you have to say about the rest, so I can begin forming counter-strategies when I play them. I'm posting my own deck, based off of your own (Core+WLA) deck above. I've played it for a few games now and while I like most of it, there were some things i disliked and based on my own experiences, have changed them to better suit me. I don't post this as a better deck, merely a different one, to suit a slightly different playstyle.

 

Shaper Deck (45 Cards, 15 Influence)

Kate "Mac" McCaffrey (Core)

Events (15 Cards, 6 Influence)

3x The Maker's Eye

3x Infiltration

3x Sure Gamble

3x Diesel

3x Special Order (6 Influence)

Hardware (9 Cards, 3 Influence)

3x Cyberfeeder (3 Influence)

3x Rabbit Hole

3x The Personal Touch

Programs (11 Cards, 6 Influence)

2x Net Shield

1x Battering Ram

2x Ninja (4 Influence)

3x Magnum Opus

1x Corroder (2 Influence)

2x ZU.13.Key Master

Resources (10 Cards, 0 Influence)

2x The Helpful AI

3x Armitage Codebusting

3x Sacrificial Construct

2x Aesop's Pawnshop

 

The main changes are the removal of a Corroder and the Mimics in exchange for a Battering Ram and Ninjas, as well as removal of Tinkering in place of The Maker's Eye, and the addition of Net Shield. Addressing each type of card in order - 

Events: Despite Tinkering's awesome ability (and it is awesome), I rarely find myself using it. The Maker's Eye, on the other hand, can change a game around (and has for me in the past). Information about the corp is not easy to come by for Shaper's either, and so I value getting that information. With ample credits later on, I can also trash assets my opponent may need in the coming turns, or trash ambushes before they ever reach the field.

Hardware: Basically untouched from your deck. The Personal Touch was more useful with Mimic, undoubtedly, but the prevalence of Janus 1.0 (both in people liking HB and unexpected splashes) made me ditch Mimic, as I was tired of not being able to handle Archer (without Helpful AI) or Janus (guaranteed brain damage with Mimic, even if you have 3 clicks left). However, putting Personal Touch on Ninja let's it handle Archer with only one increase (saving 1 credit the first time you use it) and improving ZU to str 2 so no strength increase is needed for Enigma (popular, in my experience). Tollbooth being a popular splash also saves you money in the long run with Personal Touch on it. Rabbit Hole and Cyberfeeder need no explanation.

Programs: The meat and potatoes of my changes. Taking out a Corroder for a Battering Ram hurt (I like Corroder over Battering Ram) but was necessary to fit a second Ninja. One possible change is to remove a special order for the second Corroder. I intend to see how well this configuration gets set up quickly, and judge from there if a third Special Order is necessary. As above, Ninja allows me to combat Archer and Janus, something I encounter more than I would like. I think Janus is becoming more popular, and feel the deck must adjust to compensate. Further, Rototurret is a common splash, and Ninja can handle it without a strength increase as well. Net Shield is clearly a sub-par choice overall, but constant Jinteki net damage has screwed me in the past, and I feel comfortable ignoring it against most other corps. Losing a click in several games may be worth saving myself several cards from Jinteki the few times I play them. Playtesting is obviously needed. 

Resources: Removing one Helpful AI is the only change. I really liked having three until I realized it was unique (stupid me looking over the dot) and instantly hated it. If it wasn't unique, I would consider keeping in Mimic and counting on having two out for encountering Janus (or one, should I put all three Personal Touches on Mimic), but as it isn't, I prefer having just two. The extra link is helpful, and gives the option of trashing a rabbit hole or two against NBN if I need the credits badly. With all the money in the deck, I doubt that will be necessary, however.

 

Overall: So the overall theme of the deck is primarily the same, but slightly different - you need to build a rig to take down ICE quickly and efficiently. With link, you can maintain a full rig several different ways, depending on the opponent. Net Shields get ignored against everyone not Jinteki, which is unfortunate, but necessary to maintain protection against them. Jinteki will be powerful in the new data pack, with a new identity that is quite powerful, and new cards to help them mess with the runner's head. Better start planning now. The Maker's Eye helps put pressure on an opponent, and once they see one, it's on their minds for the rest of the game. With the money available in this deck - a quick Aesop's combined with 3 Money making clicks (Armitage/Magnus/Sure Gamble) can make an inpenetrable R&D suddenly seem undefended. Catching an opponent off-guard like this is not the Shaper's forte, but having the option to do something along those lines can make an opponent worry about many more things and possibly cause him to play more cautiously or more recklessly than he otherwise would.



#9 Tolsmir6891

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:48 AM

Brighton, just wanted to start this off by saying thanks for your most insightful posts. 

I noticed while perusing your deck lists for the shaper that you dont have one for 1.5 core + WLA. Do you have any recommendations for that?






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