Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
Sealed Deck Decisions
You're in a sealed-deck tournament. You open your starter decks
and boosters. Krumz and Fortress Respecification? You can still
win the tournament.
The number one decision is whether or not to play Tag 'n' Bag.
Nearly every sealed deck has cards that can tag , the hard part
is hurting the Runner. If you don't have two non-ice cards that
do meat damage, forget Tag 'n' Bag. You can still include a Corporate
Detective Agency or a Power Grid Overload, but if you are squeezed
for space, leave them out.
You should always include a card that can tag the Runner. Every
Runner will be using Resources, and you need a tag to destroy them.
Pocket Virtual Reality is a key card, whether you are Bagging or
If you have a way to build up bits and detect when an agenda is
installed, you can win.
The Sentry-breaking programs are the most costly. Try to bankrupt
the Runner by using mostly Sentry ICE. Beware Sentries without an
"end the run" subroutine. Hunter and Fetch 4.0.1 are out
unless you are Bagging. Stopping the Runner is Job One.
Bit production is key. Cards to avoid are Spinn Public Relations,
Holovid Campaign, and Braindance Campaign. I can't count the number
of times I have installed these cards in sealed deck, but never
rezzed them. Braindance and Holovid Campaign take too many turns
to pay off and too many bits to rez, and Spinn requires constant
maintainance. Only use these if you are desperate for bits.
Fast advancement is mandatory but watch out for Team Restructuring.
It's really hard to use. Try to score agenda as quickly as possible,
or flatline the Runner. Save your fast advancement for the last
agendas you need to win.
Corps will be playing Tag 'n' Bag. Include several Base Link and
tag protection cards. Nomad Allies and Leland, Corporate Bodyguard
should be included, just for tag protection. Even "Armadillo"
Armored Road Home can be useful.
Bits are key. Don't use stealth programs unless you have enough
cards that provide MU and you are short of bits. ZZ22 Speed Chip
takes a lot of bits to install and three runs to pay off. Use it
if you are short on money. Any other card that produces bits is
Put in three programs that can break each type of ice. Blink and
Bartmoss Memorial Icebreaker are hopeless. If you have an Umbrella
Policy or (dream on) Joan of Arc, Bartmoss is OK. Krash and Dropp
You can't affort to make many runs, and you want them to pay off.
Include Mouse, SeeYa, and Hunt Club BBS. The cards that let you
see R&D without running, Technician Lover and Deep Thought,
Anything that lets you get a specific card out of the stack is
ideal. A lot of sealed-deck matches are waiting games. The Corp
will wait until you are too poor to run a fort, then install an
agenda in that fort. If you have a way to build up bits and detect
when an agenda is installed, you can win.
Run early, install protection from tags, and then get a program
to break each type of ice. Once you are there, stop drawing cards.
If you are just waiting for a target agenda to be installed, take
four bits for your four actions. Openly flaunt your wealth so that
the Corporation is afraid to install an agenda, then run HQ and
help the CEO clear up the logjam you have created.