Testing Ground – Better Call Solo Boy

This week’s Testing Ground sees me returning to my first love, NBN. I haven’t had a chance to try out the Sol ID yet but I saw its potential with things like Enhanced Login Protocol, Paywall Implementation and Housekeeping. In a slight change to the norm I took this deck to the first of our local Winter Kit tournaments, so 4 of the games are from there and the last is against another local player.

Corp: NBN (New Angeles Sol)
Deck: Better Call Solo Boy
Architect: gumonshoe

I played the deck five times, winning three times and losing twice.

vs. Hayley

I’ve got my own Hayley deck brewing so was delighted to see a couple of people were also rocking the scholar. This was a slow win as I was totally unfamiliar with the deck, and I didn’t play Targeted Marketing when I should have, being unsure exactly what I should go for. However I got it going and built up a nice little scoring server to win the game.

vs. Kit 

This game was against Seamus, yes that Seamus, who I hadn’t played in a good long while. Our games are usually close and I was looking forward to testing my mettle against him once more. Unfortunately I got a little flooded after a good start and couldn’t quite find the gap to score out before losing. My major mistake was using the SanSan City Grids too early as bait to keep Seamus low on money on clicks. If I had kept them back I might have been able to score out a bit easier.

vs. Hayley

This was against the Novelist deck, with some twists, that was knocking about a few weeks ago. I’d given the deck a go myself so knew what to expect so quickly got my Targeted Marketing out against Chameleon getting me a lot of money over the course of the game. It really is a strong card when you can just reissue it against any card on an agenda score or steal. I built my servers cautiously, played well and ended the game reasonably easily.

vs. Kate

I got very little in the way of Ice in this game and despite scoring out a couple of Agendas just couldn’t keep him out long enough to win. This was the last of the tournament games.

vs. Nasir

This was against a local player who I play with regularly. I hadn’t played against Nasir in a while but I knew Pop-up Window would be a pain for him. I built slowly, got a scoring server open and just plugged away at agendas for the win. Paywall Implementation did a lot of good work in this game, netting me something like 12 credits.

I really liked playing this deck, as it finally gave me an opportunity to play this interesting NBN faction. The ability to just reuse Targeted Marketing is fantastic, though I would still be interested to see something using Housework and Enhanced Login Protocol.

I knew the community was excited by News Hound when it came out, but my god that thing is monstrous. 2 to rez, 2 nasty subroutines, 4 strength. Yeah it’s vulnerable to the preferred strength of Atman but it’s still worth packing. I don’t think it’s got much merit outside of Sol but it’s so good in it.

I totally see the purpose of all the other cards in the deck, with the notable exception of Lily Lockwell. I can sort of see it, wanting to go and get an operation could be handy if you don’t get any currents, but you have no way to really reliably land the tag. I would be looking to swap the card out for more economy or another piece of Ice.

This was a really enjoyable deck to play and it made me realise that I had learnt a lot more about the meta than I thought, something you need to land Targeted Marketing reliably. I still need more practice with my runner deck of choice as I came close to winning a couple of games, but just not close enough. I also learnt that I shouldn’t sacrifice cards early to bait the runner too much as it left me stranded for ways out later in a couple of games. Hopefully I can get those lessons into my head for the GNK and Store Championship season!

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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