Hitting the Stash - Using and Securing the Stash, May 2004

So the Stash equates to a 'Location' that you place your paid for but as yet unequipped gear. An interesting concept, and surely useful in its own right, and potentially open for abuse of one form or another. So why then have we seen messages on the Cyberpunk CCG Boards wondering what good it is and questioning its existence?

I thought that with this article I'd take a close look at the Stash to see exactly what benefit it is to a player, and more so, what strategies a player could use to make use of it's quite powerful ability. By explaining some of the actual mathematics of the game by introducing what I have called Security Curves I thought it would be interesting to explore the actual viability of the Stash in game terms, especially with cards that allow you to draw more frequently, or abilities that return trashed gear to the Stash.

Doing some analysis on every location currently released and analysing its Security level (E-Sec + M-Sec or SR required to overcome its printed values) against reward (the Ops points gained from a successful Hit) I have come up with what I call the Location Curve.

This shows that at a paltry 5 Ops points, a player is expected to overcome 22 points of security (9 M-Sec and 6.5 E-Sec), at 7 Ops points this becomes 27 points of security (10 M-Sec and 8.5 E-Sec), and at 10 ops points, a hefty 41 points of security (14.5 M-Sec and 13.25 E-Sec).

The following table outlines the defensive capability of the Stash as you add additional cards to it, and the value it possesses to your opponent in Ops points should he elect to Hit it, compared against the above-mentioned Location curve.

What this shows quite clearly is that even with a single card in it the Stash is more secure than your average Location. As more cards are added to the Stash, it's security curve escalates at a far more rapid rate than traditional Locations. Sure your opponent can Hit it like he hits any of your Locations, but you can defend it if the need arises. The obvious disadvantage is the fact that a successful hit on your Stash will remove cards to the trash pile, however implementing a strategy whereby the Stash contains on average 5 cards will mean 75 SR is required by your opponent to trash those five cards. As long as you can maintain that level, hitting the Stash is going to prove almost impossible, plus its more cost effective for your opponent to run either a smaller Location or one of his own Operations, which is exactly the scenario you want.

Now we know the Stash is pretty secure, lets take a look at some strategies that will maximise its use. The first of these is fairly obvious - a Style victory. Typically a Style deck draws from the Gear deck for at least 2 of the draws each turn, starting around the second or third turn. With 4 or 5 Locations in play, and while awaiting a sufficient supply of Runners, its a standard procedure to fill your Stash until you can get the Runners into play. Couple this with cards such as Body Lotto Jackpot and you should be tearing through your Gear deck. The Stash also offers a form of insurance against cards such as Assassin - so new Runners can be equipped in a single round.

The Stash also becomes useful if you have copies of cards in play but can't as yet place them on an available runner, for example, you have 2 runners both equipped with Cyber Arms and you draw a third Cyber Arm. The idea is that if you have the Eb to purchase the card, do so now while you can, place it in your Stash and wait until a new runner comes into play.

Another strategy where you can get good mileage out of the Stash is by playing Gangs or Nomads. Both rely on a heavy supply of vehicles for their respective Special Victories. When building your Punknaught, you want to have your hand full of defensive Events while the 'Naught still has tokens on it, so purge your hand of those vehicles by purchasing them and putting them in your Stash, get your defensive Events, and when the tokens are all gone, pile the vehicles onto your chassis as quick as you can.

With the Nomads, the Stash is used more as insurance. As you only need one of each of the 7 vehicle types, as soon as you pull a second, put it into your Stash in case the first copy gets burned, then you have 2 options - either use a Fixer to recover the burned one, or use the Fixer to move the new one to your runner.

One thing to remember is that if you can put all your cards into your Stash and play a Body Lotto Jackpot, its worth an instant 5 cards. You should never need to hold onto Equipment or Cyber, it only potentially takes up card slots in your hand. On more than one occassion I've dumped all my gear to my Stash, then pulled 5 more cards with Lotto. In a Style deck as well this is a critical piece of strategy.

One defensive ploy to realise as well is that if your opponent is playing Militech, it makes sense to put at least 5 cards in your Stash. If they can configure their 120 SR between 5 Runners, which is certainly feasible, you will need to put at least 8 cards in your Stash. Of course the more you put beyond that, the more you will stall your opponent from pulling off a Sponsor victory. In fact it's a nasty tactic to dump any unnecessary cards there. Pull a spare Punknaught Chassis? Into the Stash. Another Kenshiri? Into the Stash. As soon as your Militech opponent starts to see cards dropping in there with regularity he only has one option, to try and remove the copies in play in order to force you to play the Stash ones, thus reducing his SR requirement to actually hit the Stash. One thing this game is good at is controlling the table in order to force your opponent to do certain things. The mark of a good player is being able to do that, but make sure there is a nice trap waiting for them.

:: What is the Stash? ::

The Stash is where you can put purchased Equipment or Cyber that you do not want to attach to a Runner just yet. The Stash is kept under your Sponsor card. To move a card from your Stash and attach it to a Runner, that Runner (or the Runner's vehicle if that Runner has one and it is unused) is used for that turn. Moving Equipment from a Runner back to the Stash is done the same way (Note - Cyber cannot be removed from a Runner, only trashed or burned).

Your opponent can Hit your Stash as though it were a Location. Doing so costs 1 Eb per stashed card and both the M-Sec and E-Sec are equal to 5 x the number of stashed cards. The Stash has Ops points equal to 3 x the number of cards stashed, and if your opponent succeeds in hitting your Stash, all 'stashed' cards are trashed.

Any cards currently in your Stash are not considered to be in play.

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