Cashing in your Chips - First steps toward a Location-less Deck

I read that the High Noon deck likes to feed on unsuspecting Location's, run and trash them mercilessly, and do the victory dance in a most taunting manor. It led me to wonder whether it was possible to build a deck that didn't rely on Locations for cash, and still had the ability to recover quickly, screw with your opponent, and ultimately defeat the High Noon. This is surely a tough task to say the least.

While this isn't really a competitive strategy as yet, there are still too few cards in the game to make it truly non-reliant on Locations, it does provide an interesting engine that can in future be extended.

Are Locations really the lifeblood of a deck? We know that we can build a Style deck with no Operations, and we know that we can build a High Noon deck without even bothering to touch the Gear Deck, so that leaves runners and Locations. Runners are the key element to the game, they hit Locations, run Operations, and provide the Style points, SR, and EMP loss for alternate victories. Technically it is possible to play the Mob and do away with runners altogether if you're going solely for the special victory, so that leaves Locations.

The original strategy was to completely do away with Locations as money producers, but perhaps retain a handful in order to use their abilities. The main stumbling block is that if we choose to use an army of Corps to generate our funds, we need at least a handful of Locations in play, in order to be able to use the Corps ability to generate cash, however there is no need to go overboard. The aim of this deck is to at least try to eliminate the prospect of your opponent cleaning out your locations for that extra 20-25 Ops points to secure victory.

In order to do this we need what I think are arguably the three best Locations in the game at present - Satellite Launch Facility, Hospital, and 24-7. Interestingly, I have read that some people think SLF is somewhat of a lame card, yet I am firmly of the belief that it's one of the best cards in the game to screw with your opponent and slow him down.

Certainly there is the prospect that cash may be tight, but both your 24-7's and your Hospital's will be able to produce 6Eb with the help of a friendly Corp, and your Corporate Sponsor can generate 9Eb. 24-7 has the added bonus that your opponent can't ever trash it, and should he attempt to trash your Hospital's that's where your Satellite Launch Facility comes in. One SLF will force your opponent to possess 32 SR for that Hospital, 2 SLF's will require him to have 42 SR, etc. There will come a time when the reward of 5 Ops points wont be worth the effort of having to use at least a 3 man team to hit it. Working on percentages as well, it's unlikely you'll get more than a couple in play, thus further reducing your opponents chances of a reward.

The advantage of SLF is that its ability can be used in any phase of the game, so you can wait until your opponent has declared which Location he will attempt to hit, then pump its E-Sec beyond what he's capable of taking care of. Having cards such as Run and Hide in your hand will only make matters worse, and ultimately trash his team should he attempt the run. SLF can also boost an Op, so even if your opponent has elected to play a solitaire style game, you can still screw with his required SR totals.

So, as it stands those Locations are looking relatively safe, but just in case you need those extra events to balance the odds, you'll need some additional methods of generating instant cash. What better way than to include a couple of Blackmail Good's or It's My Account Now, the latter being overall the best reward for effort producing 5Eb per use after a successful 52 SR run. Playing with Militech immediately helps that with its +6 SR bonus.

As your Locations are now pretty safe, your opponent will have realized the only way he's going to win is by running his own Operations, effectively resorting to a solitaire strategy as mentioned above. Packing a few surprise Events such as Assassin and Failed Deadline will actually have your opponent going backwards if you couple them with your Satellite Launch Facilities - a nasty combo indeed that might just be enough to make it physically impossible for your opponent to actually win - especially if he has gone into the game short on Operations (in order to load up on those heavy hitting Solo's) and expecting to gain the difference of 20-25 points from trashing your Locations.

As I said at the beginning of this article, I don't feel that there are enough cards in the game at present to make this an effective engine. The reasons aren't complicated at all. Once the engine has been built, you still need to build a victory strategy. If you elect to include Solo's, you are reducing the number of slots for Corps. If you elect to go for bust points, you will need a decent number of Cop's, again reducing the number of slots for Corps. Sure it's feasible to use your Corps to run Ops, but their cumulative SR is low compared to more combat related runners. You could open yourself up to a Cop deck by using Netrunners to reduce the E-Sec to nothing, then sending in your heavy-handed Corporate goons to take care of the remaining M-Sec, or you could simply accumulate EMP loss on those Corps or raise their Defense to ridiculous levels for Biotechnica and Arasaka respectively.

Perhaps the Operations that provide a variable number of points to be gained such as Arms Race are a better option. Fill your Gear Deck with Events and Equipment, load up your Corps with the company fringe benefits such as Toys and Pets, and then sack them to Arms Race. You could even attempt a Style victory.

This is where the tough decisions come in. More cards such as Hans Raider will make this a strong deck, duel Corp/Solo runners that can do the hits and provide the cash, but until then this deck as two separate strategies, and not one.

So ultimately we come to the question of whether or not this will defeat the High Noon Solo heavy deck? I am convinced even in its current state - still needing a few new cards, it will cause serious problems. High Noon traditionally uses speed and high-powered Solo's to run Operations quickly with a limited reliance on the Gear Deck. The key to this deck then is getting the defensive strategy in place early to simply grind High Noon to an uncharacteristic halt.

A couple of Satellite Launch Facilities, a 24-7 or two, and a handful of Events like Failed Deadline, Run and Hide, and To Drunk to.. will give you the breathing room to put your own victory strategy into play. If they run an Operation, hurt one of their runners and/or boost its E-Sec with SLF, leaving the Operation incomplete, then in the next round, hit that Op with a Failed Deadline. 

Post a Comment