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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

The Old Switcharoo

Pavit Bharat is a tough card to find. No one has a copy to trade. No one is selling a copy. With that kind of demand, you would think it was game-breaker. Let's take a look.

WotC card sorting is not particularly random. Booster boxes usually contain several copies of a single rare card. Some duplication is the natural effect of statistics, but this goes above and beyond expectations. Open five or six Proteus packs, and notice the particular cards and the particular order. Does your Coyote always follow or proceed a particular card in the booster? Hmm.

In any case, one reason for Pavit Bharat's scarceness may simply be sorting. Iceberg is another card that seems to never show up. My imagination sees a warehouse in Seattle full of cases of Proteus. Using X-ray vision, I go inside those cases and sort through the cards. There they are, tons of copies of Iceberg and Pavit Bharat, all clumped together due to bad sorting.

Remember, that's just my imagination.

Pavit seems like the perfect bluffing card, as well as nice protection for the contents of a weak fort. You remove him and whatever great cards you had in the fort, and replace them with junk or an ambush. That's the obvious plan, and it works.

"That kind of card management is next-to-impossible when a skilled Runner is keeping you busy."

The overhead might be a problem, though. If Pavit is the only card in the fort, you can just replace him with a TRAP! or Doppleganger Antibody and see what the Runner does. If Pavit is sharing the fort with an Agenda or a valuable Node, you need two cards to put back in the fort. Obviously, one of those could be Pavit Bharat. If you throw him back in harm's way, though, he is likely to end up in the Archives.

This is where plans start getting more complicated. The key problem with Pavit is that you need several cards in a fort, and several more in your hand, before you do anything fancy. That kind of card management is next- to-impossible when a skilled Runner is keeping you busy. With that in mind, here are some fun things to do with Pavit Bharat.

1. Install Pavit and an agenda. Put one advancement counter on the agenda. If the difficulty is 3 or 4, you can score the agenda next turn, so the pressure is on the Runner.

If the Runner gets through the fort, rez Pavit and take the two cards into your hand, replacing them with Lesley Major and an advanceable ambush. The advanceable ambushes are Corprunner's Shattered Remains, Experimental AI, Vacant Soulkiller, Viral Breeding Ground, and Virus Test Site. Rez Lesley Major and pay five bits to put two counters on the ambush.

You need nine bits to make all this happen, plus two cards in your hand.

2. Dr. Dreff is great here. All you need in the fort is Pavit. Rez him up and replace him with Dr. Dreff, then smack the Runner with some mean ICE. The downside is that the Runner probably won't run the fort while Pavit is down there by himself. So...

3. Follow the above directions but start with a fort containing Pavit and an Agenda. When you remove those two cards, replace Pavit with Dr. Dreff and put the same agenda (or a different one) back in the fort. Use Dr. Dreff's ICE to end the run, then score the Agenda on your next turn. You only need Dr. Dreff and some ICE in your hand to make this plan work.

4. The invincible Roving Submarine. This takes a ton of cards, but if you can pull it off, you will be a Netrunner legend. You need three cards in the fort when the Runner passes the last ICE; Pavit, another upgrade, and a node or agenda. Pull them into your hand, and replace them with a Roving Submarine, Dr. Dreff, and any card you want to be untrashable. Use Dr. Dreff's ICE to end the run. Now the Runner can never run the fort again, since the Roving Submarine was not installed or rezzed during your last turn.

This takes a ton of bits and four cards in your hand. Good luck. There are many good cards for a Roving Submarine.

5. Store an agenda with Pavit. When the Runner arrives, switch Pavit for a Bizarre Encryption Scheme or Red Herrings, and put the agenda back in the fort. The Runner cannot steal the agenda and you can (or must) score it on your next turn.

6. Put a valuable Node or Agenda in the fort with Pavit. Replace them with Dr. Dreff and a Dedicated Response Team. Use Dr. Dreff to throw tagging ICE at the Runner. If you can make the tag stick, the Runner will probably access the Response Team and take three meat damage.

7. Replace Pavit with a Washington, D.C. City Grid. The Runner will probably not have the bits to trash it. Now you can drop a three-difficulty agenda in the fort and score it on your next turn. It costs 11 bits to pull this off, but it puts tremendous pressure on the Runner to return and trash the City Grid.

8. Replace Pavit and another card with Lesley Major and a Fetal AI. As long as the Runner doesn't have the bits to steal the Fetal AI (or can't survive the damage) you can score the Fetal AI for three points on your next turn. It takes ten bits to pull this off, but it's a nice way to pick up a lot of agenda points.

The biggest overall benefit of using Pavit Bharat is that the Runner must spend bits to make a run, but has no idea what will be accessed at the end of the run. Bits are everything, so making the Runner spend them is always a good thing.

Pavit can also be thought of as an insurance policy. If you are not sure an agenda is safe in a fort, you can always install it and let Pavit whisk it away before it is stolen. This can be hearbreaking if you have 5 advancement counters on your Private Cybernet Police, but it is nearly always better than losing the Agenda.

You must guard HQ closely. If you bring an agenda back into your hand, the Runner is likely to go looking for it. Make sure you're prepared. Simon Francisco can be a nice surprise in this situation.

Pavit Bharat is not easy to use. He requires a fair number of bits and a fair number of cards to be effective. If you construct your R&D carefully to maximize your chances, he can provide some nasty surprises for the Runner.

Pavit goes back to HQ. I go to the Trash. Where's the justice in that?