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Frisky's Corner

by Frisco Del Rosario

EuCon Ho!

How did you deal with your Taxman counters on April 15? Forgo actions? Edgerunner, Inc., Temps? Corporate War?

By the time you read this, the Northwest NetRunner Championships in Eugene, Oregon, will have been completed, and perhaps Jim McCoy and I will need to buy another airplane ticket so the trophy has a place onboard.

Looking back on this week, I'm surprised at how this weekend jaunt to EuCon has developed into something which required so much planning.

McCoy seems to think that since we're the only representatives of the San Francisco Bay Area -- home to the best NetRunner players in the world -- we should show off some of the best homegrown decks. Jim posted to the Bay Area NetRunner listserv requesting decks, and he's been running around for days gathering all the cards.

The best of these, in my opinion, is David Liu's "Hope You Have Disinfectant in a Roving Submarine," a Chiba-fueled Viral Pipeline deck. The deck is pure power -- Bartmoss, Synthetic Blood, Loans -- but it's crafted so smartly that even I can't dislike it too much.

Dave Liu, who won the last Wizards-sanctioned tournament in the Bay Area, has been so busy with graduate student work that he's never played HYHDRS in a tournament. McCoy has Dave's notes, though, and is pondering unleashing HYHDRS on the EuCon crowd.

I am trying to stay true to myself, as far as runner deck selection goes. The Oregonians might expect us trash-talking intruders to wheel out state-of-the-art decks at every opportunity, but that's just against my religion. Sorry, Eugene, I hope my Deep Thought deck doesn't disappoint.

Jim and I also have different ideas about corp deck concealment. Jim said he's going to stash his corporate deck until the main event, but I want to show mine to everyone I meet, with delight. I don't see why Jim is reluctant to show his "McCodeGate" deck -- it's an Encoder deck, the kind I described last week, and my point was they're close to unbeatable. Jim can play his deck face up, and be a favorite to win all of his corporate games.

I haven't begun to pack yet (it's Thursday afternoon), but I know I'm going to bring at least one tie. I haven't worn a tie in three years, but NetRunner tournaments should improve on Magic tournaments at least in appearance if not attendance. Also, I'm expected to perform some demonstrations, and neatness counts.

I have a stack of business cards to distribute from my neighborhood game store, Gator Games. Owner Jean Seaborg gave me a pack of Proteus for my trouble -- sure enough, the rare was my 27th Hijack.

I swear this will be the last time I type reasons for why Hijack is substandard. The result of Hijack is that you gain two bits for the purposes of installing one program or one hardware. A simple comparison to ValuPak Software Bundle (one bit for installing up to five programs) has not deterred the Hijack supporters, so here's another comparison. Suppose you have five bits in your pool, and two cards in your hand, Score! and HQ Interface. You may play Score! and install HQ Interface. After those two actions, you are left with zero cards, five bits, and one piece of hardware installed. Now suppose you have five bits, and Hijack and HQ Interface. You may play Hijack to install HQ Interface. You have three bits remaining. With your second action, I dare you to get to the same level of bits you had in the Score! sequence.

The Hijackers are fond of the card because it combines a savings in bits plus an installation, an extension of the "cards and bits per action" method of assessing plans. The problem with the "cards and bits per action" thinking is that cards are worth more than bits. Sure, you can either draw one card or draw one bit with one action, but the card is almost always better to draw. A card might provide you with bits, or it might show you the way to play your next several turns. When a drawn card suggests a line of play that demands you draw bits singly, then do so -- but not before.

Well, there are many things to do. I must seed my new French NetRunner cards into my display binder, add three Project Babylons to my whimsical Corporate Negotiating Center deck, do the laundry, buy a disposable camera... Until next week!


Frisky's Corner