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
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
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
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.