last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

Mulligan Stew

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 play again.

"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 the process.

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?