last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Frisky's Corner

by Frisco Del Rosario

The Dark Side

Out of boredom and a dearth of ideas, I tried to construct the kind of deck against which I have cried out for two years. After striving for so long to build good decks from bad cards, I finally decided to build a great deck from good cards, win a zillion games with it, and then say, "I told you so. Decks like these should not be allowed."

I began with two card combinations which are very powerful: Artificial Security Directors plus Corporate War, and Encoder, Inc., plus Ball and Chain.

I have been relentlessly negative about Corporate War since day one. It is one of two agenda with one-to-one difficulty-to-agenda-point ratios, and the difficulty can be reduced, not to mention the occasional 12-bit bonus!

When you combine Corporate War with Artificial Security Directors, the "have 12 bits or lose all your bits" clause on Corporate War doesn't mean squat. After you've scored one ASD, you can be entirely broke, but draw two bits from the bank, and you're read to score the next Corp War out of hand. Score two Security Directors, and you need neither a bit nor a Corp War in hand before your turn begins in order to score one on your next turn!

An agenda set of Corporate Wars lends itself to two kinds of deck types. If the corporation plans to score Corp War and gain the 12-bit bonus, he will be able to afford big honking ice, and perhaps even pay to kill a Full Body Converted runner. If the corp includes Artificial Security Directors, he can play for pure speed -- losing all his bits to the first Corporate War doesn't slow the corp down much.

The drawback to going for the speedy Corporate War win -- or any speed win -- is that if the cheap ice doesn't keep the runner out long enough for the speed to score seven agenda, the runner can usually proceed to an endgame where he is in control -- making huge digs, or laying gobs of virus counters.

Since weak ice is sometimes the Achilles Heel of a speed deck, it seemed to me that Encoder, Inc. plus Ball and Chain might solve that problem. Two Encoders plus one Ball and Chain give the corporation a five-strength code gate with three subroutines, for zero rez cost. That is serious stuff. Encoder plus Misleading Access Menus gives the corporation a piece of ice with more strength than a Sleeper and awards the corp three bits. (Please see Descrambling the Code Gate Decks in the archives for detail.)

It's true that these combinations require a lot of cards to be drawn and installed, so I called the nice folks at Edgerunner, Inc., Temps, and performed a few Annual Reviews.

Even though Dr. Frisky is now summoning the evil and cheesy forces of nature, there was one imaginative card combination to come out of this.

When Proteus came out, my first reaction to the agenda-difficulty-reducing upgrades -- Networked Center, Weapons Depot, Research Bunker -- was "these suck". The trash cost of three is very, very low for a region which screams "run me! run me now!", and the upgrades only affect one type of agenda. Washington, D.C., City Grid also screams "run me!", but its trash cost makes runners blanch, and it works with every agenda. A much better card.

Consider this card combination, though. If the corporation uses Edgerunner to install Networked Center plus a three-difficult Gray Ops agenda, he may then take two more actions to advance the agenda to completion. The cost in bits is seven -- one for Edgerunner, four for Networked, two for advancement counters. That is only one more than installing the agenda, advancing it, and playing Systematic Layoffs. The cost in cards is one more than agenda-plus-Systematic, but you get to keep the region until the runner knocks it down.

You should all be pleased to know that the deck served to remind me that the game balance built into Netrunner prevails. Any corporate deck will lose after a bad initial draw.

This experiment with Corporate War is over. I'm glad I did it, because its development gave me the idea for Edgerunner/Weapons Depot/Corp War, an idea I will explore further in a Gray Ops plan.


Frisky's Corner