Long Range - Expect the Unexpected - Why don't people use LR?, July 2004

Having played this great game for many months now I thought it was about time I wrote something on an aspect of the game that I have yet to see anyone take serious aim at (pun intended) - the use of LR or Long Range attacks. How can a cornerstone of the game go so underutilised? Is it that there simply isn't a viable build yet that would take advantage of Long Range, or is it that people have become so blinkered to the Short Range face to face mayhem of rumbling in the streets that a potentially lethal aspect of the game is being completely ignored.

One of the interesting inter-related things is the distinct lack of use of Fixers. I think they are the most versatile characters in the game, but it is obvious from what I have seen of the game that there are few people out there who think the same way. Susequently it comes as no surprise then that people hardly ever make use of a Fixers ability to 'call in a hit'. OK, so some people do use the Fixer, and I commend them, but Long Range hits is another thing.

Perhaps the issue is that you have to actually pay for the LR bonus, and most decks are likely to purchase runners or gear in their shopping phases, depleting their available resources, then keep any spare cash for Events should the need arise. This basic strategy I feel has been to blame for the distinct lack of use of Long Range as a legitimate strategy. There are some serious questions that need to be asked - is it worth paying for LR at 1Eb per point of offense when you can play a High Five for 2Eb (which adds +5 SR) or an In My Element which can add +4 power to a Solo, therefore providing the same effect, and does not reduce your ability to include high powered Solo's in your Runs Deck.

There are other things to consider as well. Shooting Range can provide a +3 bonus to SR every turn at a minimal one time cost. There are also several Cyber cards that for 3-4 Eb can add Power to an already heavy hitting Solo. With all these options open to you then it becomes apparent that there is no need for that extra something in Long Range. I beg to differ. In fact if you use Long Range almost exclusively in your deck, and have the resources to use it as and when you need to, it can be simply devestating to your opponents teams.

Techno Trash, fitted with a Telescoping Eye, and carrying a Barrett M-90 has an LR of +18, use a couple of Fixers to lower the cost of calling in a hit, and you have the equivalent of an extra Zane Red or two Black Ops Specialists, and it doesn't alter your team limits! Want a better option? Try using Oscar and equip him with a Barrett M-90 and a Micro-Missile Launcher, then the Telescoping Eye and you have a Sniper with an LR of +25 that only costs 13 Eb to add the full 25 offensive bonus. Use those Fixers again and it can cost you nothing. To make matters worse, your major problem here could be the NCPD, but with Corporate Immunity on Oscar, he's a lethal killing machine that doesn't need to go anywhere near a skirmish.

So now we can see that by carefully designing a deck to make use of Long Range, we can be just as effective in a skirmish. By playing NCPD yourself you have the added advantage of ensuring your Oscar's or your Techno Trash's can ply their trade wherever and whenever you need them to. NCPD says you can use your Cops to defend an opponents Operations, but the support these non-Cops provide is not strictly defense. Use a Beat Cop to declare defense, then use Long Range.

Your opponent will run straight into a brick wall when he attacks a seemingly undefended Location, only to have Oscar drill them from a distance, and Shadow slide on in under the radar. Playing Ambushed further complicates the hit for an opponent, plus, whether you use Oscar or not, it presents a daunting prospect to your opponent that he will need to create an incredibly well protected team in order to soak up whatever your Sniper's can throw at them.

Having Oscar or Techno Trash protecting your back is what gives this strategy real possibility. A single runner can attempt a hit on a building, but Oscar and Techno can supply the offense to complete it. Running a deck of Cops and Fixers then has a real appeal. Jabberwocky suddenly becomes useful in a deck that can use cheap Beat Cops and Max Tac Rookies as well as Oscar and Techno Trash. The Barrett is of course the weapon of choice, but cycle in some Depleted Uranium Rounds or some Armor Piercing Rounds and your Long Range can cause real havoc.

A second option is of course to play Militech, where your Long Range can be more effective. Militech can either provide a +6 LR bonus or you can use it to pay for 2 Long Range attacks that are less than 13 Eb. If you want to use a bare Oscar and add a couple of cheap LR points from your Max Tac Rookies then the second ability is great, but with a Corporate Sponsor generating a lot more cash, you can probably afford a massive strike, and the +6 LR bonus on top of Oscar can push his total offense over +30. Few teams, even with a vehicle attached can run a Defense that high, so a single Sniper that is well equipped can eliminate an entire team without even breaking a sweat. Put a second Oscar into play or even a Techno Trash with a Scoped Nomad .357 and your opponents options become very limited.

One thing you will need to do is stack a few I Dont Think So or A Fool's Errand in your Gear Deck. Your fully kitted Oscar doesn't want to find his Barrett Jammed at the wrong moment, or the victim of an opponents Assassin.

The deck to the left contains a good solid core for a deck that relies on Long Range to surprise its opponent. There are a few slots open to add some additional firepower, some more defense, or some subversion in the form of Events. The Locations are not included as this again is personal preference and is not as influential in the final build (few Locations provide a bonus for Long Range mechanics although some provide cheaper Gear).

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