NRDB in Review 11-30-15: Yin – World’s Top Ranked PE

Yin – World’s Top Ranked PE on NRDB

We did it guys! We put a worlds-tuned deck on the front page! Give yourselves a big hand… you’re going to need it to survive all net damage you are about to take.

Jinteki: Personal Evolution
Agenda (10)
3x Fetal AI
1x Philotic Entanglement
3x Profiteering
3x The Future Perfect

Asset (13)
2x Cerebral Overwriter   ••••
1x Chairman Hiro
3x Jackson Howard   •••
1x Project Junebug
2x Ronin
1x Shattered Remains
3x Snare!

Operation (15)
2x Celebrity Gift
2x Hedge Fund
2x Medical Research Fundraiser
3x Mushin No Shin
2x Neural EMP
2x Punitive Counterstrike   ••••
1x Snatch and Grab
1x Targeted Marketing   •

Barrier (3)
3x Eli 1.0   •••

Code Gate (2)
1x Lockdown
1x Lotus Field

Sentry (5)
2x Cortex Lock
1x Komainu
2x Pup

Other (1)
1x Kitsune

15 influence spent (max 15)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Chrome City

Reading this decklist
My emotions are sundered
Hate PE, but Respect

— Confucius

hires samurai art
Let’s all stop for a moment to admire the rare lotus blossom that is this NRDB post. Outstanding formatting, a cool image, coherent and well-reasoned strategy, and a derived-from link! Edje may be 24th place at worlds, but he made the top cut into the finals of my heart this week.

When modern netrunners think of Personal Evolution, two archetypes come to mind: “1000 cuts” style decks that win games accidentally, and Philotic Entanglement combo decks.  Both of which are rarely played and even more rarely successful…

This particular deck however, is a descendant of the most successful PE archetype of all time – “Cambridge”

The name stuck after Chris Hinkes piloted his version to victory at the 2014 Cambridge regionals, but Geoff Hollis is the man who started it all with one simple Boardgame Geek forum post in 2013 that would go on to become one of the three most influential articles in Netrunner history:

My Secret Love Affair With Jinteki:Personal Evolution, by Geoff Hollis

The base concept is to take your best net damage cards, and rather than throw them around aimlessly slashing at your opponent’s grip trying to land a lucky snare, to instead use them to sculpt situations in which multiple damage effects will stack and demand that the runner give you wide scoring windows or die.

For example:

If you install Hokusai and Fetal into a server, you’ve just spent 2 of your clicks to tax the runner up to 5 of thiers – Gooru help them if it was a snare rather than fetal they just hit.  Anyway, follow this up with an install-advance-advance and you’re scoring 3 points off the table through this kind of bullshit.

Netrunner 2015 is a bit different. Orange Runner draw technology has gone completely off of the rails, and Levvy AR Lab access is a commonly played card.

To combat this, Cambridge and it’s many children became less about click-taxing their way into scoring windows, and more about forcing the runner to either gamble their entire game on Mushin no Shins or play whack-a-mole with your R&D.  Guess which one they pick?

Before you don your kimono and order a 6-pack of katanas from Dark Knight Armoury, let’s talk about the weaknesses of this archetype:

Account Siphon/Vamp – reducing PE to 3 cuts your potential R&D damage down to half, reducing PE to 0 means you can defuse every advanced card if you don’t care about ghost branch or shattered remains.

Keyhole/DLR – If you ignore remotes, you can possibly DLR enough points away to win before you lose to ronins or scores.

Cautious Play – A runner with a level head that knows that matchup generally understands that unadvanced cards are the safest to face check, and that pacing themselves to slow roll your R&D gives them the most opportunities for outs.

So if everyone you know is playing Cambridge, clearly playing Apex is the best way to hard counter them..

JK, don’t play Apex.


Yin has all of these same weaknesses, with more vulnerability to film critic than usual.  Most of these things are simply facts of life that you deal with as a PE player.  The current popularity of DLR does hurt this deck a little more than others though and should be your primary consideration before playing this deck at a tournament.

Regarding the construction of this deck, the Fusion-Haa team turned to US Nationals 9th place PE player Eris_Another for comment:

“Not playing scorched gives you the benefit of running more than one meat damage card while keeping Cerebral Overwriters a heavy threat, and the damage is there without needing to rely on a tag from Snare, which is usually the only tagging card Cambridge plays.  It has some great includes to deal with traditional Cambridge weaknesses, but I think they might be spreading the deck a wee bit too thin.”

Professional netrunner player and Dominos spokesman Josh01 added:

“Profiteering is a good choice, Pup makes no sense to me though.”

Yin and its pappy “bag of tricks” opened up a new door for cambridge by integrating punitive counterstrike into the mix.  This made profiteering even better which Edje rightly triples-up on. Profiteering allows for huge comebacks and fits the breakneck pace of the current metagame much better than the original false lead/Gila hands choices. At the same time it combines with the other tech choices like Targeted Marketing and Snatch and Grab to shore up some vulnerabilities.

Being a Cambridge player used to mean that you just change your junebug and ronin counts every week before game night to keep people guessing.  Now you also have a clear plan for mixing up your meat damage threats between punitive and scorch, and that is a great new option for what has been an otherwise rigid archetype for a long time now.

Before you sleeve up…

Ditch those pups! Swordsman and/or Yagura will do more work for you by a long shot.  Medical Research Fundraiser over hedge fund and celebrity gift is also really questionable to me.  It will depend on your meta, but I think profiteering does enough work fending off denial on it’s own to warrant excluding MRF.  The medical research gives you a line of play that allows you to score profiteering through a siphon, but a small amount of planning should help with that.

As mentioned before DLR is a nightmare matchup for this deck, and playing it in a field where you expect to see it is not recommended.  PE has always been a fringe deck, and it tends to rear its head most when people stop respecting it.  PE was hit extremely hard by I’ve Had Worse, and it gets a bad rap from players piloting and building it incorrectly.  I highly recommend that you try this archetype if you haven’t before.

Currently, the metagame does not favor it, but learning how to run this deck to play around it’s vulnerabilities will make you a better player.

Ruining the game,



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