To sum up the article for the TL:DR group:
1) Don’t loose your cool, i.e. Don’t go snowblind, stay focused
2) Low Click Econ (Daily Casts, Aesop’s, Account Siphon, reoccurring credits)
3) Run every turn (especially against Tennin), but more importantly, remain aggressive, no fear.
4) Run smart, keep track of how many traps you’ve seen, run with your sentry breakers, run with money to spare, keep track of splashes. Run with good situational awareness
5) Run without careless mistakes. Know the cardpool, know the possibilities given Jinteki’s credit pool.
6) Deny Economy. Any way you can, destroy econ assets, Imp Celebrity Gifts, Siphon away.
7) Hit HQ, it’s the stopping point for Snares … but also Agendas.
8) Use cards that allow you to do more in one turn than normally possible: Pro Co, Doppelganger, Security testing, even All-Nighter.
To start, credit is due to several people, and if you really want to play against Jinteki, you’ve got to fully understand their motivations and tactics. It took me a LONG time to figure that out, and a lot of that knowledge I garnered from other articles/blogs.Most notably, Hollis’ ‘My Secret Love Affair with Jinteki’ was eye opening and game changing to me, and several others have really informed my play with Jinteki, especially Sly Squid of Bad Publicity and DB0 with his “Untrashable”.If this article has any useable tips or knowledge, it is built on their shoulders. I find that I lose quite rarely to Jinteki decks. Maybe because other players haven’t had practice with Jinteki, maybe because they haven’t read Hollis’ blog, but I like to think that it’s because I’ve been playing the other end a lot, and I know what exactly what it takes to disassemble me, thanks to the runners in San Diego. I got to thinking about it, and talked about it on the SanSan South with my friendly arch-nemesis Vincent Perry, listen in for the auditory version.
I’ve been playing Jinteki for a while, and have, in many ways, trained the players in my meta on how to cream me. And they do: repeatedly. After going to the Phoenix Regional, I noticed that I did extraordinarily well with my Corp; far better than I would normally do here, and I realized there may be a need for an article. The Spin Cycle and Honor and Profit have given Jinteki a lot of new and exciting tools, and we’re about to see a lot of powerful new Jinteki players. This article, in reality, is a guide on how to beat me, and the different Jinteki Decks that I’ve had reasonable success with.
To really disassemble Jinteki, you first have to understand the true underlying mechanic, which is different from the other corporations’ in many ways. In short, Jinteki is trying to create several situations throughout the game in which the runner is forced to do more than whatis normally possible in one turn. This may sound similar to what other factions are doing, and it is, but Jinteki’s methodology is quite different. Jinteki does it via heavy ‘work compression’, Jinteki taxes the runner over several turns, doing it more subtly than does Weyland or NBN, and differently from the way HB taxes (though the Bioroids are the closest in style out of the 3).I won’t go far into that, as Hollis and Sly do a better job than I could. I simply want to explain what it takes to take Jinteki down.
So, without further ado here’s my list of how to take apart what soon will be a rising tide of Jinteki.
First, keep your cool, or more precisely; don’t go snowblind. By ‘don’t go snowblind’ I mean: Don’t let me (Jinteki) confuse you, and throw you off your game.A good Jinteki player is going to try to redirect away from your plan onto another, Jinteki is especially adept at this through the net damage mechanic, and RP’s forced central run before remote.Once you get thrown off, and are snowblinded by fear, weird mechanics, and traps, you tend to panic.Don’t panic.I’m trying to wear away at you until you need a turn and a half or more to complete what you’d need to do in one turn. Though you need to be more careful with Jinteki, you still need to drive through with whatever your initial game plan was. If it was R&D dig, stick to it (safely), but don’t let yourself get into a position where you don’t know what you’re drawing for. No joke: I have had a post game debriefs in which runners said “at a certain point I didn’t know what I was drawing for”, or “by those last few turns I didn’t even know what to do, draw, run, money up, I just wasn’t sure how or what to attack”. You can’t let yourself get thrown off your game. This is often the biggest advantage Jinteki has against the uninitiated; don’t get scared, don’t panic.Jinteki is a weird corp, but still a corp, and if your plan was going to mess up Weyland, HB, and NBN, it should work on me.Just remember your basic strategy and try to stick to it.
Second, and this is on a deck building front, you’ll need a ‘low-click’ economy. I’m trying to create situations in which the you need 5, 6, 7 clicks to get past taxing ICE, have drawn enough cards in hand to survive traps, and then also make the runs needed to score agendas. The low click economy helps with this, in that you’re not spending half a turn on a Magnum.Now Opus is a fantastic economy card normally, but it can actually be a detriment if not used with precision and experience against Jinteki. Cards like Daily Casts, Aesop’s, Account Siphon, Liberated Accounts, Sure Gamble, even Armitage can be a decent way to make a lot of money, fast, as opposed to Magnum, with which you spend your first 5 clicks on it just making up what you spent.Reoccurring credits, like those from Toolbox, Spinal Modem, Cyber Feeders and Omni-Drives and the stealth chips help tremendously, provided you actually use them. These allow you the clicks needed to draw up, the money to pay past Komainus, and enough cash to pay for the NAPDs and Fetals and install that 3rd critical ICE breaker.You need to be extremely efficient with the clicks you spend preparing because you’ll need those clicks for all the other ways Jinteki taxes. The all-star of this is, weirdly enough, Professional Contacts, because now every click normally spent drawing up for cards to keep you alive against Snares, Shocks, PE, Hokusai’s, Junebugs ect. is also now gaining you the credits you need.
An addendum to the previous point is clickless installation and tutoring. Things like SMC and clone chip are great when you can save the install click for early in the game. Keeping critical cards in hand, vulnerable to net damage, or instead using clicks in a critical turn just to install can be the downfall of a runner.
Third: Don’t let fear get the best of you. You gotta run, you gotta make the corp rez ICE, you gotta still run your game plan, you can’t let the fear of net damage totally shatter your plans.However, don’t get cheeky. Don’t run on Jinteki without a sentry breaker. This is usually only true for other corps once you have a program out, or something you’d like to protect. In the same way you can’t be super aggressive with GRNDL until you’ve got your plascretes out or a ton of money. You don’t want to face-check too much without a lot of money and/or your sentry breakers. You can’t let the fact that Inzanuma exists stop you from running 2 stacked servers … but you gotta do it with respect to the possibility that you might hit something nasty.
Fear is as powerful as an Ash or a Shinobi for generating a scoring window if you let it. You must do it with respect for Komainus and Neural Katanas, but respect and paralysis due to fear are completely different things. But how do I do this? What eliminates fear though? Knowledge. You need to know that with 4 credits, the worst that will happen is a Neural, and keep that in mind. You need to know that with 3 credits, and having an HQ/R&D interface you’re still going to need 3 or maybe 4 in hand to survive a Shock & Fetal AI. With knowledge, not just of the card pool, but of what you’ve seen. What is this player splashing? What is this player’s strategy? How many credits does the corp have? Has the corp held on to or ditched a lot of cards? What could this corp be drawing for? ICE? Traps? Agendas? Intelligence is one of the keys to overcoming a fear inducing opponent, and you need to run, watch, and listen to what’s going on in this game even more carefully against Jinteki.
You must deny me money. Without money, I’m not scoring agendas. Without money I’m not advancing traps. Without money, I’m not rezing ICE. This economy denial comes in many flavors. Maybe it’s good old Account Siphon, but a smart corp is going to make you pay for that Account Siphon dearly, most times in a credit taxing HQ or with tag punishment, but in Jinteki that payment is in cards. Make sure you have them in hand. Here’s a specific example:I love my RP deck and with it come Sundews. I’ll protect those Sundews with Chimeras. Once I rez them a couple times the runner will get disheartened (See snowblind) and look for all their breakers, or just ‘let me have it’. This is a mistake. Make me stay broke if you can. You CANNOT let the me generate an overwhelming monetary advantage. If a corp had a Chimera over R&D and that was it, you wouldn’t stop running there would you?You’d keep running and tax that corp 2 credits every time.Get an access on R&D or HQ then make me rez that chimera!Now, If you can’t stop them from generating a ton, you need to generate a ton. You can’t let me do what I call “Yank the money lever”. You can’t let me flatline you to a Shinobi simply because you let my Mental Health Clinics run rampant. You cannot just let me have enough money to overcome your whole economy with my Ash’s multiple times. You’ll be having a hard enough time with Caprice for Pete’s sake.
Yes, Sundews and PADs are taxes on the runner. Yeah, I’m going to Interns them back, but eventually, and if you keep your low click economy going, I’ll run out. And buddy, when I run out its bad for me. If I’m clicking for credits, you’ve done your job well. Those are actions not installing ICE, not advancing Agenda’s and traps, not drawing my kill combo, and not getting the runner into impossible situations at game point. Jinteki is going to push you around with net damage, traps, and clicks; don’t let me push you around with money too.
As we near the end of the list, we go from general deck building and playstyle to specific tips.
Run HQ. Yes, it is the last stop for Snares, but if you’ve been doing a good job denying me my econ, I’ll go broke setting them off! HQ is also the stop for Agendas, until most Jinteki is ready to score them. Play smart, but be aggressive, and that means on HQ as well. If you watch what happens at high play level game casts when a Jinteki player loses, its not because the runner managed to read the mind of the corp and dodged every trap. Its because when they got hit, the runner took it on the chin, and soldiered on, remaining aggressive, and kept on running, with focus, control, intelligence, and knowledge.
The last bit of advice I can give is a reminder: Jinteki is trying to slowly, grindingly, put the runner in a situation where they cannot do in one turn all that must be done in order to stop the corp. Cards that allow you to do exactly that are what will help fight that effect. Oddly enough, most Jinteki:RP players fear a Whizzard Doppelganger deck. When I see this deck I just throw my hands up in disgust. This combo will wreck RP, but what about PE? Or Tennin? If you build a deck to troll RP, when you hit a NBN FA deck you’re hosed. What do you do? Put cards in your deck that allow you to store up clicks when you aren’t being pressured. All-Nighter is a perfect example, though not classically a great it does help you fight work compression. Find cards that allow your deck to do several things with a single click,
Certain cards are great against some Jinteki, terrible against others; Wyldeside is a great example of this.Wyldside is fantastic against PE, but terrible against RP and Tennin. You’ve got build against the underlying mechanic, not the specific ability.Playing Net Shield against PE is a pretty decent idea, any other Jinteki player, it will probably not carry its weight.
The only deck that beat me at Regionals was an Andromeda, running Scrubber, Doppelganger and Security Testing. It allowed him to run Archives without fear, gain money, and then wipe out assets cheaply when he did hit them. I would have never thought of that combo, and I’m not sure how he did in the rest ofthe tourney, but he tore me up. And I feel he’d tear up PE, as well Tennin. He was also relentless in his intelligent aggression. Always hitting HQ, always trashing my money assets, and trying to get an R&D lock going through Komainu’s .
All in all, I hope this helps you out fighting those Red Corps out there, but I also hope that this article breeds a better form of Jinteki player as well, as your competition will be even fiercer!
Good Luck, and run well