NRDB in Review 11-2-15: The Novelist

The Novelist

The battle for the front page started early this week.  Liiga Smilshkalne Tribal failed as a coherent deck, but succeeded in proving the meaninglessness of tournament badges and that Liiga draws a lot of dogs.
Thankfully we have a real deck to discuss, with no false pretenses, a clearly defined lineage, and more cyber animals by Liiga Smilshkalne.


Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar
Event (7)

3x Diesel
2x Quality Time
2x Scavenge

Hardware (11)

2x Astrolabe
3x Clone Chip
3x LLDS Processor
3x R&D Interface

Resource (6)

3x Aesop’s Pawnshop
3x Technical Writer

Icebreaker (5)

1x Atman
1x Cerberus “Lady” H1
3x Chameleon

Program (16)

3x Cache   •••
1x D4v1d   ••••
3x Harbinger   •••
1x Parasite   ••
2x Sahasrara
3x Scheherazade   •••
3x Self-modifying Code

15 influence spent (max 15)

45 cards (min 45)

Cards up to Data and Destiny
Decklist published on

Building decks is hard.  The Prepaid Kate deck that we all know and love has been iterated upon for longer than many people have been playing the game.  It is unquestionably, a first tier runner deck. The author’s stated goal was to create a tier 1 hayley deck; he has failed, and here is why:


Card draw and tutor effects smooth out the setup time on rigs and engines, while this deck has the same draw and tutor package as a typical Kate deck, too many of the cards are dependent on being drawn in a certain order to be threatening.

Scheherazade is required, you aren’t really even in the game until you get it installed.The technical writers want to come up early game, by the time you are setup they probably won’t be worth the clicks to play and unload.

Chameleon without sahasrara and LLDS installed is sort of a runner Chimera, the corp can just bait you into installing it to drain your shallow credit pool.


A tier one runner deck needs to threaten the corp and force them to react to your gameplan.  The combo nature of the full rig here spreads SMC far too thin, you need it to get rara up to make your chameleons relevant, but you also need it to fetch your lady and threaten to clot.  This is the primary flaw of cache-based economy, your clone chip and smc decisions are limited because your economy is less fluid.

The engine has a strange feel to it, you are trying to setup a 5 card combo and you commit almost all of your clicks every turn to assembling it, but until all of the pieces are in place your board position is in stasis – you activate SMC to find a rara and hayley in a cache onto your charizard, but when you finish shuffling and pass your turn you’re only up 1 credit and the corp just shrugs and continues scoring behind their wraparound.

Granted next turn you can pawn something, and if you have a chameleon and a technical writer you might be able to play a little netrunner that turn, unfortunately that’s the best case scenario.

I also think the R&D lock isn’t a great vector for this rig to take, a tollbooth rezzed probably gives your opponent enough time to win.

Metagame Considerations:

It’s hard to build decks, one thing that makes it harder is that other people are building decks too. In this environment, a lot of the decks being played are scoring in one turn or trying to kill you.

The novelist is a deck outside of the current meta, I don’t think every deck needs clot and plascrete – but every competitive deck at a minimum needs a plan to not get flatlined or astro-trained.  “Just be lucky” doesn’t count.

I spent a lot of long hours in the study with a chalkboard and a bottle of jack trying to figure out if this deck had any favorable matchups – after my second blackout I arose from the ground covered in tear-stained copies of chameleon. I began furiously scribbling notes and drawing spiderweb diagrams… It was right in front of me the entire time…

I had cracked the code…

At last we have a perfect hate deck to dethrone the Liiga Smilshkalne theme deck!


Not every deck needs to be a Kate deck, but if you are trying to compete in the current metagame, it certainly helps.  I get that players are really fatigued with the prepaid gameplay and The Novelist’s popularity is endemic of that desire for something new and different to play.

This deck certainly has a home on the kitchen table, and if you want to play a janky durdle deck this is a great place to start, it’s not trying to do too much and you can coast through your games with liberal use of your click-draw and click-credit actions.

For instant improvements I would suggest swapping the harbingers for street peddlers, change 1 chameleon to a lady, and parasite to clot.  I’d also cut the scavenges for plascretes, because you can’t jank when you are dead.


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