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Frisky's Corner

by Frisco Del Rosario

Rabbit, Run

It's fun to think that I constructed a deck around the runner card Rabbit just for Easter. It's realistic to think that I built a deck around the worst card in the game (beautiful card art by Mark Collen, though) because the well of good ideas is dry.

C'mon, Wizards of the Coast, release an expansion -- even an itty bitty one will do -- and let us NetRunner players continue to expand our imaginations. In the meantime, we will create Rabbit and Ronin Around decks.

What was Wizards thinking when it designed Rabbit? "Ice which traces has its trace limit decreased by one." Let's look at that card text in two ways.

First, "ice." You encounter ice. If you don't break it, you suffer its subroutines. Maybe Fetch tags you, maybe Homewrecker ignites your hardware. If you survive, you look for a sentry breaker, and later you just break the ice. You do not ValuPak a den of Rabbits in order to beat the trace.

Second, "trace." Wizards so obviously overestimated the play value of tracing. Look at the huge number of base link resources it provided -- Access here, Back Door there. Programs, too -- Baedeker's Net Map, Bakdoor (did you know the Bakdoor's cost is misprinted? It should cost zero to install). Even hardware in form of The Deck. How many of those cards do you use? Three. You use three. If you want a big link, you play with Access through Alpha or The Deck. If you want a small link, you play with Back Door to Hilliard.

How many times per game do the corporation and runner actually get down to comparing hidden bits? Maybe once. Chance Observations often take place before the runner has a link installed. Tracing ice we've already covered.

So, in practice, the trace aspect of trace ice isn't relevant, and Rabbit just doesn't matter. If you're plumb out of deck ideas, though, why not try the frivolous plan of ValuPaking a burrow of Rabbits, and blowing through Cinderella or Hunting Pack with a cheap base link?

The first thing I learned in my Rabbit architecture adventure is that bad cards belong with other bad cards. If you're going to play with Rabbit, you have to play with the stealth card Vewy Vewy Quiet, too.

Stealth is already well known to be either too expensive (Cloak) or too punchless (Invisibility) -- Vewy Vewy Quiet is the worst of the stealth programs, for it falls in the middle of the stealth range and offers neither Cloak's maximum stealth bits or Invisibility's low installation cost. However, how could I resist such an easy "wabbit hunting" gag?

If you must play with stealth, use powerful icebreakers, like Boring Bit and Cyfermaster. They have a cost of two bits to break a subroutine, but it's usually two bits for every wall and code gate encountered. On the other hand, weak icebreakers like Corrosion and Codecracker are better complemented by Clowns, which are installed for the same price as Vewy Vewy Quiet.

The use of Rabbit means that you have to choose your sentry breakers carefully, too, for you don't want its ability to "overlap" Rabbit's. For instance, you surely don't want Replicator, which only breaks trace subroutines. You don't want an expensive, powerful sentry breaker like AI Boon, either, because it would prove as inexpensive to break Asp as it would be to beat the trace, and that's an overlap.

Therefore, I chose:

* Raptor. The least expensive sentry breaker.

* Reflector. The terrific specialty breaker beats the popular Shock.r and Bolter Cluster for free, and that ice doesn't trace.

* Big Frackin' Gun. Takes care of huge multi-routine black ice like Liche, but is spectacularly inefficient against Cinderella, which the Rabbit pack is aimed against. Big Frackin' Gun also allows the runner to quote Bugs Bunny: "For shame, Doc, shooting rabbits with an elephant gun."

Another program that evokes a rabbit joke is Butcher Boy, so you can call your deck "Hasenpfeffer."

Not only does Rabbit encourage the use of lousy cards like Vewy Vewy Quiet, it promotes the use of the ridiculous Proteus base link cards, Back Door to Rivals and Runner Sensei. Those base links award the runner one bit if he uses them to beat a trace, but cost a relative fortune to install, and -- again -- how often do traces occur?

However, with a gang of Rabbits bunched up in daemons, we are actively seeking to be traced, so there is a reason to play with Back Door to Rivals or Runner Sensei. I preferred Runner Sensei for its art by one of my favorite NetRunner artists, Randy Gallegos.

The other resource which a Rabbit deck mandates is Smith's Pawnshop, so you can sell the cute little fuzzies in case you don't encounter any trace ice at all.

I will not share my entire Rabbit deck makeup with you, readers, because, by golly, I want you to be uninfluenced by my construction. Experiment! Explore! Push the Rabbit deck envelope!


Frisky's Corner