By David Kempe
Let’s talk about Jinteki. At the Gen Con Icebreaker Tournament, I piloted a Jinteki deck built around scoring agendas rather than flatlining to a win. Since then, Jinteki has not seen much play as demonstrated by its lack of play in the first online Android: Netrunner tournament; there is a total of one person playing Jinteki. Jinteki has some of the best card in the environment, so it stands to reason that it should be a popular Corp faction: Nisei MK II is easily the best agenda; Precognition destroys Anonymous Tip for the award for best card manipulation; and Snare! is so good that I can’t imagine a Corp deck not running the card.
The problem with Jinteki lies in its ICE and its tempo. It is the only Corp faction without access to a 3 or less cost agenda, and none of the cheap ICE shines on its own. In a deck running Chum, Data Mine, and Cell Portal, a starting hand of ICE may actually be worth a mulligan which is a scary thought. So, with these ideas in mind, let’s build a deck to help Jinteki:
Let’s start with the easy choices, the agendas:
3 Nisei MK II
3 Priority Requisition
3 Private Security Force
With exactly 21 points worth of agendas, we will need to have between 45 and 49 cards in our deck. Nisei is the reason you’re playing Jinteki, right? If it isn’t, it should be. Jinteki needs more ICE than most decks, so we’re going to shoot for between 20 and 23 total ICE.
3 Wall of Thorns
3 Neural Katana
3 Wall of Static
1 Rototurret (1)
2 Viktor 1.0 (4)
2 Ichi 1.0 (4)
20 Pieces of ICE later, we have 6 Barriers, 8 Code Gates, and 6 Sentries. The Bioroid Ice is very important here: you absolutely must slow the runner down, and forcing her to use clicks to break your ICE is going to earn you some of the tempo you desperately need. Tollbooth is missing from this count because the deck may have some money problems, and spending 8 for out of faction ICE (no matter how good it may be) is not going to help. The Code Gate number is inflated by Chum, which the Runner may not need to break, but Chum is acting as a pseudo win condition: Chum in front of Neural Katana will stop the runner just as well as any ICE that ends the run. I have left out both Cell Portal and Data Mine because both cards require you to put them in specific areas of a data fort; Data Mine can do 4 damage with support from Chum, but it won’t be there for long, so it may get stuck in your hand when you would have preferred more meaty ICE. Cell Portal gets the boot because of its reliance on Akitaro Watanabe and your need to draw it early; even if you hit Mr. Watanabe, Cell Portal will empty your coffers in a hurry. Speaking of coffers, we can now look at Money Generation and Card Manipulation:
3 Melange Mining Corp
3 Hedge Fund
2 Akitaro Watanabe
I’m filing Mr. Watanabe under money generation because he can keep your coffers fuller than expected. As I mentioned before, Jinteki’s biggest problem is tempo. Their Identity ability will help a bit by forcing the runner to take clicks drawing cards, but we’re still a little behind. Here are the cards with which I intend to counteract the loss in tempo:
3 PAD Campaign
2 SanSan City Grid (6)
I did not include PAD Campaign with the money generation cards because money is not the card’s purpose in this deck. With a 4 trash cost and the ability to annoy the Runner to no end, PAD Campaign is the perfect red herring to compliment Snare!, which is easily the best trap in the game. However, I would suggest against installing an unprotected PAD Campaign against Gabriel because one credit a turn is not worth the tempo loss the Runner can get off of Bank Job. Snare!’s ability to work from your R&D can win you games against “big dig” decks built around Medium. Snare! makes accidental flatlining possible, but more often it will make the runner lose a turn or two drawing cards and removing the tag. The surprise tag can be nice as well if you have a Private Security Force in your score pile or the Runner has a Wyldside in play. After all this talk about tempo, SanSan was the most obvious edition; the extra turn it takes to score an agenda can and will be the difference between wins and defeats.
Now that the deck is finished, there are some popular cards missing, and there is a very good reason: when deck-building, I like to be very focused on what I want the deck to do. My NBN deck doesn’t run Scorched Earth because I don’t plan on winning by flatlining the runner, and my Weyland deck doesn’t run SanSan because I don’t plan on winning by agenda points. Similarly, this deck doesn’t run Data Mine, Neural EMP, or Project Junebug because none of these cards helps the deck towards its ultimate goal of scoring agendas. While it’s possible to win with Junebug or an EMP, I think of those wins as the exception, not the rule.