Being Eco-Friendly - Recycling as a Strategy, May 2004

So the world has gone to hell, all the fish are dead, the ocean is now a green-gray sludge in most places, birds? what birds? This is the Cyberpunk future after all isn't it? Well just because you got eco-terrorists from the Rainbow Warrior splinter group hunting you down, and you haven't seen anything but kibble in a month, there's no reason to not at least make the effort to be environmentally friendly now is there? IS THERE ? Good.

Recycling is something we can all benefit from, and the powers that be at Social Games have even provided us players with some great cards and combos to develop a successful card recycling engine. Not only that but they've even made it a stipulation in one of the Sponsors special victory conditions. Some cards are great in their own right because they are self-recycling, but one of the biggest bonuses is that the inherent ability of some runners makes card recycling kids play. In the fast-paced consumerist throw-away society of the future, it's good to know that some folk are still trying to save the environment.....what's left of it anyway.

I've read the arguments that recycling is to some degree redundant - run hard and run fast they say, this is High Noon boy, git yer gun and meet me in the street. OK sure the streets are pretty mean at the moment friend, but what yer gonna do when yer run outta bullets and yer big Solo is lying in a pool of his own blood pardner? When he's dead, he's dead, and their aint nothing you can do, or is there. Yeah yeah you've got 3 more in the deck......somewhere. That's my point, you need him now!

So lets look at what we can do to raise the dead as it were, then see what we can do to re-kit him for battle.

It's not just good to have friends, everybody needs friends! If your runners are going to let the lead fly, you better make sure their best friends are MedTechs. Their Medical ability allows them to team up to save runners from hitting the trash. Get into a Firefight? Zane taken down in a wall of lead? Use your MedTechs to save him. If you have enough MedTechs, pull a dirty - use one to save him and another to unuse him. Ouch.

Don't have any MedTechs in your deck?, hmmm, OK well lets look at alternatives. Hospital. Has pretty much the same ability as a MedTech, only its cost based as opposed to power based - the choice obviously depends on your deck structure. So your big gunslinger actually makes it to the trash, how you gonna get him out? Cloning Centers. It's going to cost you twice his printed cost, but isn't it worth it? You can even go 50-50 and use Emergency Rooms, at least that way you can recover your monster runners (the boys who cost 20+ Eb and have obscene power values).

So now we can begin to see the beginnings of a recycle strategy developing. Sacrifice your runners to defend your Locations, then when the dust settles and your runners have managed to trash the offenders, you can start recovering your heroes while your opponents languish in the cemetary, permanently.

If you want to take it one step further, and provide yourself with added security, pack Junk Yards in your deck, so even if your defensive ploy fails, your Locations are auto-recycled back to your hand. Couple this card with Target Swap, and your opponent will get further by banging his head on the table and using cuss words. And that's what he'll do, believe me.

So that's runners covered, next we want to be able to re-kit him as quick as possible, or at the very least recover his gear if he loses it. Annoyed by that Kenshiri that keeps burning your threads? Tired of having to give up that Fake ID? Ever considered using a Techie? A what? A Techie, you know, the guy that fiddles with your toaster, pulls it apart, then has no idea how to put it back together again? Yeah, him. Techies can recover Equipment like MedTechs can recover Runners. One great thing about the Tech is that without him you will have no way of being able to recover vehicles to build that Punknaught. On top of Equipment, the Tech can recover lost Cyber as well.

Yeah, this recycling thing is really coming together. Now for the next runner ability, and this one fits in nicely with that Junk Yard. Put some Corps in your deck. Why? Corps can rifle through your trash pile during the Damage Control phase and recover those Locations whose cost is lower than their power. That's not it though, as our last Runner ability belongs to the Fixer. Whereas the Tech can save Equipment as it's hitting the trash, Fixers can follow the Corp line and rifle through the trash to recover not only Equipment, but Cyber as well, just like our Tech.

So the recycle strategy now appears to have some fairly strong elements to it. If you're playing a Style deck, or relying on your Sponsors special victory, such as Cyber EMP loss, the benefits of SR from gear, etc, you absolutely MUST consider at least some rudimentary recycling engine in your deck.

Last cards on the table are the Operation and the Event. Both of these at present only provide you with a single way to recycle cards. You can play the Operation Learn From Our Mistakes, which returns an unscored Op from the trash to your hand, and the Event If at First You Don't Succeed, which similarly returns an Event card to your hand from the trash. What this has shown though is that bo matter what strategy you elect to play, there are ways of recovering cards from your trash pile.

The next element to the recycle engine is the ability to run through your deck looking for a specific card, then using a recycle technique to return a card you were forced to trash. This is the ultimate deck manipulation strategy, and is at the heart of most top ranked CCG players in any game - that is, the ability to get any card you need at any point in the game. The more effective and efficient your deck is at achieving this, the more dangerous the deck becomes.

The Cyberpunk CCG has several cards that allow you to run through your deck at faster than normal speed in order to get to those critical cards. Cards such as Info Broker that allows you to look at the top 5 cards of your Runs deck, putting them back in any order, Core Dump, another Event that lets you look at the top three Gear cards, keep one, put one back and trash the third. In the Equipment stakes we have the ever valuable E-Book which allows you to look at the top card from any deck and either put it back or pay 2 to burn it.

So to combos, it makes sense to play Core Dump with Fixers, who can if need be recover the trashed card out of the three you draw. With your regular draw, that's 6 cards per turn, and you keep 5, putting the sixth back on the deck - playing an Info Broker straight after this effectively means that you have gone through a quarter of your deck in a single round - and that means mathematically that if you play with ten sets of 4 cards, you will pull with 95% certainly any card from your deck you need in that one round - and that can't be bad at all, afterall you haven't actually lost any cards to the trash but have rifled through 10 cards looking for something of value..

If exploited, this can be a devestating way to trample your opponent into the floor. As long as you can pay for the cards, you can keep going and with If at First You Don't Succeed, you can recover that Core Dump and add another 2 cards to your hand courtesy of that Fixer. Wow! Instant hand! Again I look at a simple strategy like this and wonder why people haven't looked seriously at it. You can bet that there will be new cards down the track that will only make this more easily and effectively exploited, whereas High Noon will gradually become a dinosaur - extinct except for a few stubborn souls who will not adapt to evolution.

The question we have to ask is will we see a Sponsor down the track that will fit into this idea? I only hope so.

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