Sunday, August 1, 2010

Net Runner: Blink 182 Deck List

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

If you’re a regular reader of our daily blog, first of all thank and my condolences, I am going to warn you now that I’m going to take a little departure from our normal subject matter. I’ll let you know when to stop reading, but stick it out with me for a few paragraphs.

Today’s article will probably only be interesting to people who play Net Runner. It is simply a deck list, and my explanation for what I was thinking. The reason I decided to write this as a daily blog post is because it was part of my Ten Weeks Goal List to log it. I figure that the fruition of the goal works for purposes of discussion. Also, this is an attempt to bring people to the blog by discussing something they may find interesting.

The big difference is that this has a much narrower audience than say movie reviews. Most everybody watches movies. So broad audience: an article about movies. Big audience: review of a popular movie, director, or actor. Reasonably small audience: Review of a lesser known movie, etc. Niche audience: production article about a movie.

Well this isn’t an article about card games in general, or even CCGs in general, or even a review of Net Runner. This is an article that reaches one of the smallest segments possible in our potential audience. So why waste time with it? For me it is for a couple of reasons. The first is that it is a subject that interests me, and will interest somebody else if it’s what somebody is looking for. Further, there is an off chance that that person will not only be interested in Net Runner, but also other things we discuss. This would be the ideal reader.

To me that is what the business of publishing is about: ideal readers. I know that we talk about fame and the like at times, and this may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. The reason why I want the fame to begin with is to give a higher potential to attract ideal readers. Those who are not ideal readers, well I do hope they enjoy what they do read, but I’m ok with them moving on to something that is more their style if what we publish doesn’t bring them a certain pleasure. It’s those who truly enjoy most of what we write that I would prefer to write for though, and if that means sometimes becoming very narrow, I’m ok with that too. I hope that makes sense.

One last thing for those of you who have stuck around just because I asked you to, again thank and my condolences, but I would like to say this. Sometimes the trick to writing about something narrow to a broad audience is to include something for the broader audience, and I hope this advice has done the trick. And if you have no interest in a deck list for Net Runner, you should stop reading now, but thank you for sticking it out this long. =) I totally just dropped an emoticon into this.

Blink 182 – The Net Runner Deck

The obvious part is where I got the name, but in case you’ve never played Net Runner and have been in a pop culture coma for years… oh yeah, Miguel does sometimes read these posts. Blink is the name of a card in Net Runner and Blink 182 is the name of a band that I don’t actually like, but I couldn’t resist the use of the name. I realized that I could either use the name with no relevance except the card Blink, or I could give it some other relevance. I wasn’t about to listen to their music looking for anything that might give me ideas for what cards to include, though I guess I could have gone to allmusic.com and just looked at titles. But soon enough I had the idea to make the deck 182 cards big, and besides, it would cause a small bit of controversy amongst my Net Runner cohorts. And it did.

The thing is that they were sure that a deck this size could never work, but it hasn’t failed me yet. What I mean by that is that I’ve been able to get in the game and make runs. It doesn’t win every time, or even close to, but no deck wins every time. What the deck does is I can usually, through the use of search cards, get two or more Blinks in play along with enough Net Damage protection to use them. I usually get to make a few runs, and I win enough times that I keep playing the deck.

One thing I will say is that this is not a tournament deck. First off, for its power level, it would probably get pummeled in tournament play. But second, and maybe more importantly, it is a hard deck to shuffle. I often times turn the deck face up once I have The Short Circuit in play and I don’t shuffle it unless I intend to start drawing cards normally. This is fine in casual if your opponent doesn’t mind, but tournament rules require you to adhere to what the card says, and that’s a lot of shuffling for a deck that is hard to shuffle.

A quick note about card count. The Magic player in me apparently stopped me at four cards of a given type. This is one of those things about Net Runner. It never got so far as limiting the number of one particular card you can use. For some reason, Nathan hates Magic, but still believes we should use the 4-times rule. Some Net Runner tournaments used an alternate rule which said that you could use one copy of a card for every fifteen cards in your deck. Using this rule I could have put twelve copies of any card I felt important to the deck. I still stuck with four though. The truth of the matter is that many of the truly broken decks in Net Runner resulted from not having such a rule in place officially.

With all that out of the way, I will now list the deck and make comments about the uses of the cards as I go along.

Hardware (27 Total)

x 1 “Armadillo” Armored Road Home
x 1 Armored Fridge
x 3 Cortical Stimulators
x 1 “Drifter” Mobile Environment
x 4 “Green Night” Surge Buggers
x 1 Militech MRAM Chip
x 1 MRAM Chip
x 1 Little Black Box
x 1 PK-6089a
x 4 Tycho Mem Chip
x 4 WuTech Mem Chip
x 4 Zetatech Mem Chip
x 1 Zetatech Portastation

Plenty of MU, some Hand Size, and lots of Net Damage protection. Many Blink decks don’t operate with many bits, so I threw in some means of paying for tags (it’s sometimes better to take a tag subroutine than to waste a Blink trying to get by). I threw in a meat damage protection card as an afterthought – with four Wilsons, it’s merely an added precaution. I want to point out the two Deck cards though. They both help to pay for link. Sometimes taking a Trace subroutine can bleed the Corp of bits, as long as your trace defense is paid for. The Portastation is one of those cards that I would like to really exploit in a deck with Elana Laskova. I’m thinking four copies of Finders Keepers that have a better chance of beating the house. It’s also in here as an afterthought for those rare cases I can get it out. Plenty of Preps in this deck.

Preps (70 Total)

4 x Bodyweight ™ Synthetic Blood
1 x Boostergang Connections
4 x Core Command: Jettison Ice
4 x Cruising for Netwatch
4 x Custodial Position
4 x Executive Wiretaps
4 x Forgotten Backup Chip
4 x Gideon’s Pawnshop
4 x If You Want It Done Right…
2 x Inside Job
4 x Jack ‘n’ Joe
4 x Livewire’s Contacts
4 x Mantis, Fixer-at-Large
2 x Networking
1 x On the Fast Track
1 x Panzer Run
2 x Reconnaissance
4 x Score!
4 x Security Code WORM Chip
1 x Stakeout
4 x Temple Microcode Outlet
4 x Valu-Pak Software Bundle

In early game, the key is to get The Short Circuit. Many of the card drawers are in here. The reason I use Cruising for Netwatch more than Stakeout is for the card draw. It’s ok to trash things (except Blinks, Net Damage Protection, or MU) in order to get to The Short Circuit. If you don’t find it immediately, Mantis is in here to fix that. It’s what he do. Worst case scenario, use the Temple Microcode Outlets to get something. Worse than that case scenario, I have placed a Boostergang Connections in there, so you can get a lot of necessities at once. There are cards to pull things from the trash. There are bit gainers. There are big dig standbys (because you want to make Blink runs count). There are also Sabotage cards to get rid of pesky Ice. A quick note about Valu-Pak Software Bundle. This is one of my favourite cards, because I saw the hidden Valu (um, value) in it before the other folks I play with did. It takes a little planning and preparation, but with The Short Circuit in play, you’re usually ok. This card gains you a bit and then gives you five extra actions as long as you have Programs to install. That’s six actions worth from a free card, as long as you can meet the conditions of the actions. Ideally, the setup should go Afreets and Imps, then Zetatech Software Installers, and then you have free installation for a while. This takes a while normally though, and you end up having to cut corners, but if you can get a Valu-Pak or two, you can take the time to do it right.

Programs (53 Total)

2 x Afreet
1 x Baedeker’s Net Map
4 x Blink
2 x Butcher Boy
2 x Cascade
4 x Clown
2 x Cockroach
4 x Force Shield
1 x Garbage In
2 x Gremlins
2 x Imp
1 x Lockjaw
2 x Newsgroup Filter
2 x Pox
4 x Rabbit
4 x Shield
1 x Signpost
2 x Skivviss
1 x Skullcap
3 x Startup Immolator
1 x Superglue
2 x Taxman
1 x Vienna 22
3 x Zetatech Software Installer

Any Blink deck that doesn’t have other regular Icebreakers to use should have plenty of Clowns, or you may find yourself unable to get in someplace when you really need to. Also, it’s good to have plenty of Net Damage protection. I placed more of an emphasis in Programs to do that, because of the way I made this deck work. The key is to draw until you get either Mantis or The Short Circuit. If you get Mantis first, use it to get The Short Circuit. Then search the hell out of your deck to get the Programs you need. I went through a phase where I loved Viruses, hmm, I have me some Duran Duran b-sides… Better. This deck was obviously built sometime around then. Against certain decks you can run a lot, and leaving these little pests for the Corp to either suffer with or clean up can really help your game and hurt theirs. The downside is that you have to have MU if you go this route. This is a big reason for the Imps and Afreets. Baedeker’s and Signpost are meant to help with Trace Ice. You will note that I have four copies of Rabbit. This is a card that is largely believed to be useless, but in a deck where you can search it and have the room to install it, I think it’s useful. If the Corp isn’t using much Trace Ice, you just don’t install them, but if they are you Blink a lot less. Blink is glitchy, and anytime you can get by without rolling, you should. Startup Immolator and Superglue are there for this reason too. You can get rid of some very pesky Ice for a few measly bits. Lockjaw and Skullcap are for those early emergency runs, before you have your Net Damage protection and Clowns in play. ESC and Enterprise would be helpful in here, but I didn’t use them for some reason.

Resources (32 Total)

1 x Back Door to Hilliard
1 x Back Door to Orbital Air
3 x Broker
2 x Chiba Bank Account
1 x Crash Everett, Inventive Fixer
2 x Credit Subversions
1 x Fall Guy
3 x Floating Runner BBS
4 x Liberated Savings Account
1 x Runner Sensei
2 x Short Term Contract
2 x Streetware Distributor
1 x Swiss Bank Account
4 x The Short Circuit
4 x Wilson, Weeflerunner Apprentice

A lot of this is afterthought, given that the Hardware is to hold the Programs, and the Preps are to find the Programs. This is bit production, base link, and a couple of odds and ends. The most important parts are The Short Circuit (already talked about in depth) and Wilson. Wilson is almost custom made for Blink runs, because you don’t use bits to pay for Icebreakers, and because for each one you can get out, you get and extra action for a run. Very nice.

Well, that’s all I can think of to say. Clearly, this deck could be made using far less cards by using the important parts and trimming the extras, but the point was to make an unreasonably big deck. I think I succeeded at that, and did a pretty good job of it.

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