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Neal's Last Words


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 not.

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 worth playing

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 are excellent.

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, are superb.

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.