Good Cop, Bad Cop - The NCPD Sponsor

Cops are everybody's friends, right? Not in the Cyberpunk CCG they're not. In fact a couple of Cops in an opponents deck can severely restrict your gameplay, make you reluctant to use your runners, and slow you down in running your Operations. Playing against the Night City Police Department as a Sponsor compounds that trouble ten-fold. Even though there are currently concerns with not being able to complete the NCPD Special Victory, a well tuned NCPD deck that runs Operations is a formidable foe.

So what's wrong with the NCPD Sponsor and Cop deck theme in general that has people ignoring it and electing instead to run the classic Solo High Noon deck? The first thing is as we have mentioned, the difficulty of the Special Victory. Fifty bust points is extremely high. As soon as your opponent sees who you are playing you can almost hear the cogs churning as they formulate a plan to ensure that they rarely use their backup runners' special abilities thereby exposing them to your Cops. They can afford to be a little more cautious, a little slower in meeting their objective, and unfortunately there are no cards at your disposal to capitalise on this caution. You simply can't force your opponent to use his runners.

The rules clearly state that you can only bust a runner that is being used to produce an ability or effect. This prevents you using potentially useful cards such as Reboot in order to gain bust points from used runners.

The second big drawback is the sheer cost of getting a good number of Cops on the table in order to implement a bust strategy. Except for Beat Cop and Max Tac Rookie, all the Cops are over 10Eb, and with a Sponsor who can only generate 6Eb, and a series of Government/Cop Locations that have sacrificed Eb production for cool abilities, getting these potential game winners on the table is frustratingly difficult.

I have made suggestions on the boards that we need some additional cheap Cops, or Cop wannabe's such as Transit Cop, as well as Locations like Holding Cell where you can keep it used to keep a runner used, and get a bust point each turn. I'd also like to see some bust accumulation cards. Maybe this is excessive, but at the very least the Special Victory needs to come down to around 30 points where its enough of a temptation to get players out there using the NCPD again.

The third drawback in using a Cop deck is that you cannot use your Cops to bust the Cops of an opponent. To a degree this makes sense, because it would introduce what I call the domino effect, I bust your runner, you bust my Cop busting your runner, I bust your Cop busting my Cop who's busting your runner, etc. While this is a closed scenario, and it is reliant on Power levels, it comes down to who has the biggest baddest Cop on the streets, and for the effort involved, resulting in only a single bust point, it's not worth the potential problem of ending up with most of your runners used and only gaining a single bust point.

So, what else does the NCPD need to be able to compete with the Street or Corporate factions? I think it needs cards that allow you to bust other Cops, in a closed way, that is you bust a Cop who has busted, gain a bust point or two and the card has resolved. If your opponent uses the same card on your Cop then fine, it does not reverse the original card resolution. Another type of card I think could be useful in a Cop deck is one that while in effect, can accumulate bust points for a player. Perhaps like Prison Yard (which would be a great card if the Power requirement was higher than 4, perhaps 7) we need a card that keeps a runner out of action until its controller pays a penalty. Lastly I'd like to see a Legendary Cop with a Power of around 11 who can bust multiple runners where their combined Power is less than his (and I still don't understand how Oni's Badge can be a Legendary item, but Oni is not a Legendary Cop). In essence not only do we need a few more regular Cops that have abilities to use vehicles in play, or bust non-used runners wearing Black Market Cyber, but we need methods to gain more than a single bust point in a single action. One option that was raised on the boards, and this is certainly a valid topic of discussion, is to gain 2 bust points for busting a cyberpsycho runner, instead of just 1.

In summary, while NCPD is still fun to play, the currently identified issues make it impractical to use it in a tournament or semi-serious environment. Perhaps with the release of the 2020 edition we will have several new cards that will certainly help the faction. Ultimately they need a closer look and some additional methods of gaining not only single bust points, but multiple bust points in a single action.

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