Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
The votes have been tallied and it appears that the readership
of this column is firmly against any type of mulligan in Netrunner.
The final count was 19 "NO" and 2 "YES".
I am known to bitterly complain about bad draws. That's not something
I am proud of, and I struggle to be a good sport as I speed-draw
to the clump of agenda in the bottom of R&D. Sometimes I am,
sometimes I am not, but I always try.
The other thing I try to do is sympathize when the other player
has a bad draw. I know how much I hate it, so I like to let my opponent
know I feel for them. If it's not a tournament, I always offer to
"Deck construction has a lot to do with bad draws. Using
cards (including agenda) that all work well together is a real key.
I'm constantly asking questions in my playgroup about the odds
of different situations. There are well-understood formulas for
computing those odds, but the calculations get huge quickly, and
you need to know some very high factorial numbers to do them. What
are the odds of getting four-of-seven agenda cards in the first
nine cards out of R&D? I don't know either, but I suspect they
are pretty low. That is one tough hand.
The worst (and best) thing that happens is drawing a handful of
agenda, then drawing several money and fast advancement cards. I
try not to say anything about luck until I am sure that is not going
to happen, because I look like a fool when I complain about my handful
of agenda and then win on turn seven...
Deck construction has a lot to do with bad draws. Using cards (including
agenda) that all work well together is a real key. So is using enough
ICE. Frisco Del Rosario once wrote that he uses 14 or 15 ICE in
an R&D. I put the extreme upper limit at 22. It's hard to include
enough good cards if you use 22 ICE, but you cut the odds of a bad
draw down to nothing.
I discussed the uses of Pavit Bharat (The Old Switcharoo) with Ben
Matthews. His book, co-authored with Charles Schwope, is called
Mastering Netrunner. After I uploaded the page, I realized I had
missed a golden idea. Dr. Dreff is good at throwing ICE at a Runner
cheaply, but Jenny Jett can permanently beef up your fort. Here
is an addendum to my suggestions for using Pavit:
9. Install Pavit and Jenny Jett in a fort. No ICE is necessary
to protect them. When the Runner runs the fort, rez up Jenny and
use her to install another piece of ICE on the fort. You don't need
to rez the ICE. If the Runner passes that ICE, rez up Pavit Bharat
and return both Sysops to HQ.
Reinstall the same two cards, and rez up Jenny. Use her to install
another piece of ICE on the fort. If the Runner passes it, repeat
You can keep this going as long as you have ICE in your hand. You
can build a big fort this way if you can keep three or four pieces
of ICE ready for the run. You have to rez the last piece of ICE
to protect Jenny and Pavit, so make sure the last ICE you install
will end the run when you rez it.
The expense is exactly the same as using Pacifica Regional AI and
Chicago Branch to gain an action: three bits. It's a complete surprise,
and the sudden appearance of a large fort during the Runner's turn
is great. You also have to pay the installation cost of ICE when
you use Jenny. Throwing Chester Mix in the fort each time helps
lower the expense.
It's not better than Edgerunner, Inc., Temps, but you can install
more ICE, if you have the money.
That's it for now. Europe is heating up and there are plans for
meatspace championships next year. If the TRC effort pans out, it
will be a milestone in CCG history. That is something we can all
look forward to. If it doesn't work out, it may be time to close
the history book on Netrunner.
Exciting times, eh?