I tried the usual “put in almost all of the theme stuff” deck with the new Shaper ID Smoke to learn what worked. This is what we discovered…
There are some conspicuously good cards.
Beth Kilrain-Chang and Net Mercur are great: Beth universally, Net Mercur in stealth. Houdini measures up nicely compared to Refractor and eats DNA Tracker for breakfast. The rest needs at least a little further examination.
Mirror asks you nicely to pair it with Indexing, Data Breach, Notoriety, Encore, Medium, or even PrePaid Voice PAD. Its main outcome is to make repeat runs on R&D possible with minimal stealth support.
Encore is weird. I guess you want it if you have a lot of start of turn triggers and can exploit those central runs for high value/make them cheaply it’s good. Definitely an achievement card. Props if you can chain them.
Top Hat and Equivocation are funky and, I’m pretty sure, a pair. Together they give some interesting control and let you dig through R&D to a fair extent in one turn. Cheaper than RDI too and pair with the aforementioned Indexing and Data Breach. They also let you potentially see 2 new cards every time you run R&D successfully. Which is pretty crazy. 2 Mediums lets you do that. This is 3 credits and 1 MU cheaper and can’t be purged. Downside: the corp draws every time you use Equivocation to dig deeper. Keep up some credit pressure on the corp and maybe that won’t matter so much. I can see these replacing R&D Interface.
Fawkes and Blackstone have some interesting numbers. Fawkes, on the face of it, looks worse than Dagger. Dagger was one of the main reasons to play classic stealth, with that impressive pump ratio. Needing support programs to be able to play a decent killer in faction is a very Shapery thing and the conceit of stealth as we first saw it. The old counterplay to stealth Shaper was to tax out stealth credits by stacking ICE of the same type on a server. Fawkes dodges that and makes Eschering a server into the same type somewhat economical, at least in theory. At 5 to install and 1 base strength, it’s money hungry but it compares favourably to Garrote and almost measures up to Mongoose. Golden, Switchblade and Dagger give some pause with their ratios. If you want to go back to Dagger, just add a Lockpick or a Cloak and you should be sweet for a 2 sentry server.
Blackstone’s numbers are just a bit too awkward for me to pick it over Paperclip, Corroder or even Inti (depending on the meta) but follows form nicely and it could be choice with Datasucker support.
Dai V is contrary to the other breakers because it’s so stealth credit hungry. It wants to be played in a deck that has stealth credits to spare and perhaps be paired with Sifr or the recently released System Seizure current.
Misdirection answers Hard-Hitting News, sort of. In the ideal scenario, it throws off the corp’s maths and lets you bait the operation. Practically, it’s great against HHN in SYNC and decent vs HHN in everything else. If you play Magnum Opus in Smoke like I do, double click for 4 credits, double click Misdirection lets you clear 4 tags. That ain’t nothing.
Cold Read plays like stealth Stimhack, exactly like it says on the box. Trashing a used Cloak at the end of the run is pretty ace. Trashing a Paricia is better. Trashing no programs because you used it to trash a naked asset and get a free Net Mercur credit/draw is the best. Seems best in one of those mega stealth Dai V/Switchblade decks.
And Algo Trading… seems okay in Nasir?
I think the mega stealth version of this deck wants to smash R&D and build up to the point where it haunts every server. The many installable things like Lockpicks and Cloaks also mean that it might be better in Kate too.
We’ve learned that with just Fawkes and Houdini, you’ll only need a Net Mercur to have a functional stealth suite out of Smoke. Add a Mirror if you want to play Indexing or Data Breach/Top Hat/Equivocation.
With the Smoke stealth suite, you’ll never need more than one stealth credit per breaker, per run. In exchange, you get a fracter and killer that are ahead of the faction’s curve, which is the core conceit of stealth – above par breakers for the trade off of card slots. Smoke gives you a “free Cloak” to start off with and the consistency of a smaller than average deck. The smaller deck makes sense since you’ve ditched probably 5 cards worth of stealth support you’d otherwise be packing in Kate.
Then the question becomes what to do with that consistency. 3 Sure Gambles seems good. So does at least 2 of Beth Kilrain-Chang, the best turn one connection. After that, I don’t know.
I’m enjoying the below list. It’s good honest Netrunner.
Ol’ Dirty Smoke (Baby I Got Your Money)