by Frisco Del Rosario
My recent piece on Mystery Box brought on a bit of mail about
Joan of Arc, because Joan of Arc interacts well with Mystery Box
and nullifies Experimental AI, two cards which were discussed in
the essay. All of your comments about Joan of Arc are surely correct
-- I just didn't give the card any thought when I sat down to write
because Joan of Arc, my pre-Proteus candidate for worst card in
the game, doesn't exist in my playgroup. If I later neglect other
weasel cards like Death from Above and Time to Collect, you have
my excuse in advance. Onward.
More than a year ago, the best Proteus decks were discovered and
then worn out. It also became clear that there wouldn't be another
Netrunner expansion. So, designers turned their attention to "fun"
decks, those with unusual themes or card combinations, and which
wouldn't stand up well against a "good" deck, but would provide
a few laughs. Chihuahua Death Traps were typical "fun" decks --
that is, once the runner could cope with Chihuahua, the game was
probably over, but in the rare instances where the little bug-eyed
creep flatlined the sucker, it was news. Everyone had a scheme for
charging the Chihuahua to death levels, too -- Hacker Trackers,
Vacuum Links, Jack Attack here, Lisa Blight there.
Anyway, the latest wrinkle in my neighborhood is the zero-cost
runner deck, wherein every card must cost of zero to install or
play. That condition severely limits one's choice of cards, of course,
so the challenge is to make an efficient assortment.
Your cohorts should agree on whether or not hidden cash resources
are allowable. Liberated Savings Account might have "0" printed
in the corner, but it's not a zero-cost card, truly. Another odd
little question is if the Valu-Pak Software Bundle bit permits the
inclusion of one-cost programs. I think not, because the runner's
task suddenly becomes much easier -- he can then play with Jackhammer,
Dupre, and Raptor, far better than Grubb, Krash (the only zero-cost
"code gate breaker"), and Wild Card. Hell, throw in Armageddon,
and it gets dangerous.
Income sources Top Runners' Conference, Loan from Chiba, misc.for-sale,
Databroker, Livewire's Contacts, On the Fast Track. Prearranged
Drop makes sense if your playmates agree that Ice and Data Special
Report may be played for zero -- it's supposed to be printed as
such. Lucidrine Booster Drug and Organ Donor suffer in these conditions
because there aren't any zero-cost trash recycling cards besides
Forgotten Backup Chip.
There aren't many plans at the runner's disposal, but they are
good ones. Ice destruction is a winning scheme, and WORM Chip and
Core Command both fit the zero bill (though I guess one could argue
that Core Command doesn't really cost zero), and so does Startup
Immolator. A Kilroy Was Here/RD Mole attack is possible, and so
is a Weather-to-Finance/Credit Subversion annoyance.
I opted for the obvious Top Runners Conferencing plus misc.for-sale
of an Imp tree (leaving Imps behind to hold RD Protocol and AI Interface).
The problem with packing all those TRCs, Imps, Jack 'n' Joes, and
ValuPaks is that there's no room for safety items like Fall Guy,
Full Body Conversion, or even Enterprise, Inc., Shields. I mean,
I'd just have to resign if the Protocol runs revealed too many Fetal
There's not much scope in the architecture of zero-cost runner
decks, naturally -- you will grow bored very soon. Then you can
get started on your zero-cost corp deck.