Nerdbears, I want you to know that I’m not mad at you. Your mother and I are just very disappointed. We really had high hopes for you this week, all those awesome worlds decks… you really let us down. Also your mother is a tentacle monster and we’re getting a divorce. Happy Thanksgiving.
Alas, the wants what it wants, and your hearts want Apex. Thematically, Apex is quite cool – mechanically… not so much. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Apex was designed as an afterthought solely to house apocalypse. Yet, There is still some deep, primal part in the hearts of every netrunner player that wants to believe that anything is possible; anyone can win with anything…
Unfortunately, this only seems to be in true at low levels of play, we have progressively more similar decks as we rise up the competitive ladder at events. Still, that primal belief endures and many players have taken on the challenge of building a working deck using what is literally the worst Identity card printed to date.
Worth noting, is that none of those people chose to bring Apex to worlds 2015. Let that sink in. Out of 269 players, with almost every single runner ID played. Not a single one of them chose to marry a malevolent AI squid. Comparatively, Exile made the top cut at worlds 2013 post creation and control release.
Can Apex get there?
|Apex: Invasive Predator|
3x Account Siphon ••••• ••••• ••
3x Dirty Laundry
3x Quality Time •••
3x Sure Gamble
2x Traffic Jam
1x UninstallHardware (3)
3x HeartbeatResource (7)
3x DDoS ••••• ••••
3x Hunting Grounds
1x Utopia Shard •
3x Endless HungerProgram (3)
|15 influence spent (max 15)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Data and DestinyDecklist published on http://netrunnerdb.com.
First, I want to give the author credit for following a reasonable line of design thinking:
“I thought, what is Apex’s greatest strength?
What supports Apocalypse?
What else gets me value combined with DDoS and Apocalypse? Oh, Account Siphon.”
This deck has no multi-access, so your strategy is to simply poke until you get lucky, Through innumerable types of commonly played ICE, diminishing the threat of your single random access pokes is extremely trivial for a corp to do – to combat this, the deck runs board resets and denial, but has no room for anything else.
The flaw here, is that apocalypse and denial do not win the game, they prolong the game. You poke trying to get lucky, then reset the board and take more pokes trying to get lucky. You winning the game is entirely predicated on how lucky you are. I cannot overstate how bad this is.
When two foes are equally matched, the deciding factor is almost exclusively luck. There is not much you can do about this; however you can work to ensure that luck is not a deciding factor in games where you are able to outplay your opponent.
This deck needs to roll the dice and win constantly, regardless of who you are paired up with – you are only going to peel 4 agenda points from the least observant opponent out there (‘Oh!, I guess he plays siphon’, ‘Oh!, I guess he plays DDOS’) – the rest of the agenda points are sadly, completely out of your hands.
For a deeper analysis, let’s refer to the author’s strategy write up for tips:
“I’ve won games without installing a single card beyond DDoS, between economic annihilation and board annihilation.”
This is my favorite quote. NRDB comments are like stories about fishing. Let’s think a little concretely about this comment. Only installing DDOS and “annihilating” economies means your opponent failed to defend their HQ against siphon, then proceeded to not draw anything but adonis campaigns between random single access agenda steals from Apex.
Seems less like skillful play and more like RNG, it sounds like the author had a good time with it, but “hope my opponent gets agenda flooded” is not something that I want to base a runner strategy around.
Note that the deck does have a lot of weak neutral cards, but you want the fodder so you can Prey between Apocalypses.
Hark back to the Adam review and you may recall my aversion to cards that do nothing. We’ve got a wide pool of cards to choose from with powerful effects that are competing with card slots in typical runner decks… And then we have these little minifaction gems that do adorable things like run Ghost Runner without stealth breakers to get their deck size up to 45.
You can build a ‘good stuff’ runner deck packed with powerful multi-use cards and still not have room for everything you want in a modern runner deck — It’s 2015 people! Why in flying spaghetti monster’s name am I putting cards into any deck with the express purpose of doing literally nothing?
Make this card blackmail at the very least, then the one time you can actually use it, you will score points with it.
And while we are at it, let’s all sit down and have a frank discussion about Prey.
What a card. It’s like a parasite that is more devastating to your own board than your opponent’s board. The thing is, the ice you want to remove is the ice that you have a hard time dealing with (Viper, Resistor, any NEXT ICE, any Sentry, Architect, Enigma, etc), but you can’t remove it until you deal with it – with a big pile of cards left over.
Anything that you eat using Endless Hunger you probably want to leave in place, to Prey you are going to be throwing away 4-5 face downs, so it is hard to find something that will be more efficient to Prey than it is to Eat (and love).
Prey is for problems, and it’s pretty comparable to crypsis in that regard. It’s costly, but it might keep you from losing right away.
So how do we salvage this deck, is there anything we can do to save this relationship?
As I see it, this deck does only three things well, none of which involve winning games:
With a siphon hunger draw, you are able to ace HQ ice pretty well and guarantee access through a lot of cards. At the same time, there are many ICE which instantly give you problems on HQ namely caduceus and viper. Quality time works as well here as it did in classic criminal as a siphon tutor. Overall, it’s probably about the same as Knight Gabe style decks.
Tollbooth is one of the most played pieces of ICE, and endless hunger wrecks it. It’s cheaper to break a tollbooth with endless hunger than it is to used D4vid. The option of wastelanding the 3 credit tax is there as well, a tollbooth rez against Apex will be a mistake more often than it is correct (because resistor taxes him better).
Apex’s console offers some unparalleled protection from damage that can put the flatline well out of your opponent’s reach. Apex can handle an “all-in” damage strategy better than most runners. Whether this buys the deck enough time to mount an offensive or not is up for debate.
Runner-up would be “threatening apocalypse” but unfortunately, there is a huge distance between “having” apoc and “using” apoc. The triviality of denying the apoc turn balances out the threat of getting apocalypsed.
THINGS I WOULD RATHER DO THAN PLAY APEX:
- Arm Wrestle Goro
- Get an actual size tattoo of myself on my entire body
- Wear a three piece suit made entirely out of fire ants
- Forget how to use a computer, then relearn by attending ‘facebook 101’ classes at the senior center.
- Eat at Papa John’s
Apex baby, I think we should just see other people…
If you want to roleplay as a cthulhu computer, my best advice to you is to start with a functioning anarch deck and use your imagination. LSK’s Max deck made some waves at worlds and inspired a lot of players to iterate on apoc+anarch in the weeks following.
In this metagame, remotes can run wild and pull a game out of your hands. When that happens Apocalypse is the younger guy in a leather jacket ready to sweep you off your feet and make you feel pretty again. He won’t pick your kids up or call the next day, but a keyhole will seal the game afterwards.
We really tried to make it work, we stuck together for the kids long after the magic was gone. The big secret here is that, while you can win games with apex and blow shit up and have a great time – you would have won those games no matter what ID you chose.
It’s not just a blank ID, it’s a blank ID with a drawback. Apex is the Papa John’s of netrunner cards, and apocalypse is just the garlic sauce on the side. Don’t fall for it people, you don’t have to order from Papa John’s to get the cup of garlic sauce!
Ruining the game,