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Frisky's Corner

by Frisco Del Rosario

Thinking outside the Mystery Box

It was immediately apparent how some Proteus cards altered the use of cards from the original set. Disinfectant, Inc., and Code Viral Cache were suddenly fine cards, because the Proteus viruses are so ridiculously powerful. Schlaghund was Manhunt's best friend. Red Herrings and Fetal AI were instantly combined. Sentry breakers like Forward's Legacy and Redecorator are much better suited for Clown decks than the earlier sentry breakers.

It took a little time to understand some of the other relationships between Proteus and version 1.0. Department of Truth Enhancement (and to a lesser extent, Corporate Negotiating Center) became more popular cash nodes since many runners were On the Fast Track. After two years of Proteus play, it dawned on me that Mystery Box benefited nicely from the Proteus expansion (sudden thought -- in my writing I can use "only" as a synonym for "Proteus", as in "only expansion").

Before Proteus, you used Mystery Box to cheaply install AI Boon, Raffles, Dwarf, and Cloaks. The only drawbacks to the plan occurred infrequently. Sometimes all three AI Boons would lie at the bottom (by the way, remember that Boon is zero strength during a Box run, and that installing more than one Boon means rolling more than one die), or, even more ironic, is drawing all three to start the game, and having to pay real money to install them.

Proteus improved Mystery Box decks by giving them blazing speed in the form of Morphing Tool (forget Fubar -- you can't pay for Fubar with Cloak bits). Morphing Tool's chameleon quality meant that Crash Everett could always leave the "right" icebreaker on top of the deck, and runners were able to break ice sooner in the contest.

In fact, the faster Mystery Box decks are so good that corporate players in my neighborhood are asking runners not to play with them, but I'd rather construct a corporate deck which is loaded with Experimental AIs. Experimental AI might be the corp's best defense against runner decks which install huge programs for free (and not so bad against typical green-backed decks), because you might find that Mystery Box decks don't always include a regular income source, therefore hard-pressed to re-install trashed programs, and don't have much deck recycling, either.

My Experimental AI assortment is an odd deck. Because Experimental AI takes up so much room, there's no space left for cash nodes, and agenda has to provide the income. Morphing ice is included for the unlikely chance that a conveniently-morphed Caryatid will keep the runner away while the ambush is advanced. It is not a Falsified Transactions Expert scheme, so an ambush which is detected by card or by instinct will be overwritten, as often as twice per game.

I have a dream for the Twenty-Four Hour Surveillance in the deck. I want to compel the runner with three Morphing Tools and three Cloaks to run a fort with nothing but his stealth bits, and then I want to rez Twenty-Four Hour Surveillance only when the runner encounters Ice Pick Willie. (Keep this tactic in mind when playing with Antiquated Interface Routines, too -- if Antiquated will stop the runner at the third piece of ice, keep it a secret until he's paid for the first two encounters.)


Frisky's Corner