by Frisco Del Rosario
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
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
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
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!