last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

Fun, Incorporated

Last week my agenda was liberated. An overzealous co-conspirator against unlimited constructed-decks posted at least two-thirds of my column on the Netrunner mailing list. The redistributed column generated a flurry of responses, mostly negative, in response to the idea. It also spawned a reprint policy.

In my area, constructed-deck tournaments are as rare as young loggers. They have died out because there are no new cards for Netrunner, and older players have long since learned the most unstoppable card combinations. This makes constructed decks predictable and uniform, two qualities that take away the fun in Netrunner.

This week's deck is designed to keep the fun in the game. It contains many compromises because it contains no duplicates. It also contains a truly dizzying number of card combinations. Barring an extremely bad initial draw, you should be able to process agenda or kill the Runner without duplicating the same pathway in dozens of games.

"This week's deck is designed to keep the fun in the game."

This deck can't stand up to Precision Bribery/Time to Collect. It might be able to handle Bozomatic. The Short Stack could be beaten if it was recognized early enough. TagMe decks will make several of the cards obsolete, but a well-timed Closed Accounts can put the game in reach. ICE Destruction/Taxman plans could be a real problem, but Lisa Blight can slow these Runners down.

I included a lot of big ICE, one of the best weapons against Bartmoss Memorial Icebreaker and decks fueled by Loan from Chiba or Drone for a Day. There are also some nasty surprises provided by the trio of Sysops.

Don't be afraid to:

Take three bits ("working in the mailroom") if your forts are secure and you are prepared to handle the next agenda you draw. The game will move somewhat slowly.

Give up some points. Losing the Political Overthrow is generally disaster. Other than that, losing an agenda may be a viable plan for getting the Runner to spend his hard-earned bits.

Discard cards. There are tons of different ways to win, and new resources are a draw away. You can always use the Off-Site Backups if you really need a card in Archives.

17 Commons/4 Vitals/16 Uncommons/9 Rares

ICE (18) Agenda (6) Operations (7) Nodes (7) Upgrades (7)

Data Wall
Crystal Wall
Wall of Ice

Nerve Labyrinth
Haunting Inquisition

Data Naga
Colonel Failure

Jack Attack
Data Darts
Corporate Downsizing
Corporate War
Marine Arcology
On-Call Solo Team
Political Overthrow
Viral Breeding Ground

Audit of Call Records
Accounts Receivable
Closed Accounts
Efficiency Experts
Off-Site Backups
Scorched Earth
Systematic Layoffs
BBS Whispering Campaign
Braindance Campaign
City Surveillance
Chicago Branch
Department of Truth Enhancement
Government Contract
South African Mining Corporation

Bizarre Encryption Scheme
Crystal Palace Station Grid
Dr. Dreff
Lisa Blight
Olivia Salazar
Roving Submarine
Washington, D.C., City Grid

You must think carefully to win with this deck. Sometimes unusual plans are exactly what is called for. If a Runner is using Demolition Run, don't be afraid to install Viral Breeding Ground in a large fort and score it. If your bits are spilling away to the Taxman, install Dr. Dreff in HQ and shut down. There should be a way out of most problems, although it may not be obvious.

Most of all, have fun. Think of these cards as an opportunity to play Netrunner at the highest level. Your brain is the key, the deck is just a great set of tools to work with.

Did anyone else hear that dog barking?