by Frisco Del Rosario
I participated in an experiment this week where four of us opened
a NetRunner booster pack, chose one card, and passed the remaining
cards to the player on the right. After we each opened and passed
10 packs, we constructed our decks from the 150 cards we drafted.
The idea is borne of Magic, and it seems that Magic is better
suited for it. Magic's element of five "colors" with different characteristics
means that the players can strive to develop a deck with a real
theme, whereas in the NetRunner booster draft, the goal was to "pass
Of course, some of the decisions made in the first pack influenced
those in the fifth. For instance, I pulled a Team Restructuring
early the evening, and was charmed to find a Falsified Transactions
Expert passed to me later.
Picking cards from random booster packs resulted in a "starter
deck" feel, so I wasn't too surprised to pass Encoder, Inc. -- one
of the hottest cards in the constructed deck game -- and have it
An odd aspect of the draft stemmed from the fact that we selected
cards from 10 booster packs, where the ratio of rare and uncommon
to vital and common cards is greater than in starter decks. Agenda,
bit operations, and icebreaking programs were in short supply --
I didn't get a pumpable sentry breaker, so I had to choose Clowns
to accompany the Codeslinger.
Perhaps it might have resulted in more typical decks for all if
we had passed around starter decks, but it seems likely that everyone
would've ended up with, well, a starter deck.
Perhaps this NetRunner draft can be thought of as an odd amalgam
of constructed and sealed deck play. On one hand, the players can
apply their experience in deck architecture to their choices, but
on the other, the randomness of the card distribution will probably
mean that the player who chooses Access through Alpha and its 9
base link will also be dealt a Rabbit to reduce ice trace strength.
I had fun participating in this NetRunner draft, but I'm reminded
that any event where people choose cards (or basketball players)
from a diverse pool is never truly equitable. Two nights ago, someone
opened the pack with City Surveillance while someone else found
Twenty-Four Hour Surveillance. Nor can you improve the conditions
by spreading all the available cards face-up on a table -- who goes
first? And who goes first in the second round?
Every so often on the Wizards NetRunner listserv, someone asks,
what are your favorite and least favorite cards? and which are the
best and worst? Such a poll is going on now -- I wonder how a draft
atmosphere would affect one's feelings about favorite cards. If
the one Joan of Arc were chosen before you, would you take the Bartmoss