GRNDL, v. 1

Oct 05 2015

The initial version of my GRNDL deck has, honestly, not been doing as well as I expected. It sometimes manages the double-Scorched win, Midseasons is sometimes doing double duty by hobbling resource-dependent decks in non-kill situations, and in general all of the out-of-faction cards seem like they’re good choices; but I expected the deck to be able to win through agenda points more often, and I think it’s only done that once.

Part of that is that I have the wrong mix of cards, at multiple levels: the wrong agendas, the wrong ice, the wrong assets. In terms of agendas, the problem is Underway Renovation: as far as I can tell, it’s simply not a good card. If the runner’s deck is fairly full, then I’m doing nothing to change the odds that the next card that they draw will be useful, and while I might happen to hit a card that is painful for them to lose, runners frequently have better tools to get cards out of the heap than out of the stack, so I might actually be helping them by forcing them to trash a good card.

Underway Renovation still probably hurts the runner if I ride it for long enough, but that’s expensive and, if that really is hurting them, then they’ll eventually get in there to grab it; it’s also probably helpful if they’re playing a high-draw deck and I can cause them to run out earlier than I’d like, but that’s going to be a middle or end game situation, and if I can defend an agenda long enough to cause problems there, then I’ll be better off scoring a 2-point agenda instead.

The ice problems are a little more subtle. I love Archer, but I think three of them are a bit much (especially since I don’t like two of my 1-point agendas); and the experimental ice (Swarm, Taurus) hasn’t been working out in practice. Also, I need to give up on trying to use Errand Boy, it’s not a good card. Finally, the ice is a little barrier-heavy, which is especially problematic with the bad pub: e.g. once they get Corroder out, Ice Wall is useless.

The basic problem with assets is PAD Campaign: with the bad pub, it’s too cheap to trash. So I either need to have defended agenda assets or I need to switch my economy more to operations. And I have yet to use Corporate Town as anything other than run bait. (Though I will say: run bait is pretty useful, especially when your opponents are playing Blackmail…)

With that in mind, I made a bunch of changes (bringing it from a 54-card deck to a 49-card deck in the process.) I got rid of two copies of Underway Renovation, one Corporate Town, one Archer, two Pad Campaigns, and Errand Boy. And I added in a second Spiderweb (which makes me still more barrier-dependent, but at least it costs a bit of money to get through…), and an Amazon Industrial Zone as experimental Blackmail protection.


Here’s the result:

GRNDL, v. 1

GRNDL: Power Unleashed

Agenda (10)

  • 2x Corporate War
  • 1x Government Contracts
  • 1x Hostile Takeover
  • 3x Oaktown Renovation
  • 3x Project Atlas

Asset (5)

  • 1x Corporate Town
  • 2x Jackson Howard • •
  • 1x PAD Campaign
  • 1x Shattered Remains

Upgrade (2)

  • 1x Amazon Industrial Zone
  • 1x Shell Corporation

Operation (13)

  • 2x Aggressive Negotiation
  • 2x Hedge Fund
  • 1x Midseason Replacements ••••
  • 3x Restructure
  • 3x Scorched Earth
  • 2x SEA Source •• ••

Barrier (10)

  • 2x Fire Wall
  • 1x Hadrian’s Wall
  • 3x Ice Wall
  • 2x Meru Mati
  • 2x Spiderweb

Code Gate (3)

  • 1x Builder
  • 2x Wormhole

Sentry (5)

  • 2x Archer
  • 1x Nebula
  • 1x Swarm
  • 1x Taurus

Multi (1)

  • 1x Orion

10 influence spent (max 10)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Underway


It’s still not great, though I still think there’s a seed of a good idea here. And, more importantly, I frequently play it wrong: it’s tempting to use GRNDL to get out some agenda early, but if I do that, I’ll lose my economic advantage (unless the agenda is Oaktown Renovation or maybe Government Contracts, but those are the two hardest to score early), and I may even lose an agenda from my hand or deck in the process. And, if I don’t have an economic advantage, then I’ve lost my identity power benefit and I’ve given my opponent a bad pub, which means I’m behind with nothing to show for it. (There’s a variant of this where I try land a Midseasons early; again, though, that’s not useful because I won’t have the Scorcheds yet for the kill and they won’t have resources out to trash, and I’ll be behind on money anyways!)

So I need to slow down. I should start by defending centrals and starting to build up a scoring server but not actually trying to score right at the start; then I can get to a situation where I’ll be excited to see a Corporate War, because I’m pretty confident that I can score it and increase my economic advantage in the process, instead of going broke. Or, indeed, to see any of the agendas, because they all have their uses: Government Contracts gets me money; Hostile Takeover feeds into Archer and Corporate Town (if I keep the latter in here, which I probably won’t); Oaktown Renovation and Corporate War get me money; and an overadvanced Project Atlas sets up a kill combo as well, and in a pinch a 3/2 agenda is never a bad thing. Also, these all feed into Aggressive Negotation, which has been a very useful card for setting up the kill combo.

But I also need to fix the ice. There are too many barriers; and one of my coworkers is having great success playing a strength 5 Atman against it. (And, like I said, it’s vulnerable to Blackmail; I’m not sure how much I should worry about that, but in general baiting non-agenda runs to drain my opponent’s economy is probably useful.) I’ve got another week before the tournament; we’ll see if I manage to improve the deck and, more importantly, improve my playing of the deck enough that it can hold its own.


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  1. […] noted in the prior version of my GRNDL deck, I thought I was playing it wrong, and I also needed to fix the ice. Amazon […]