So you want to be a TV Star? - Media and the Denial Deck, June 2004

With a lot of talk on the boards at the moment on the power, usage, and relevance of Runners other than Solos, Nomads and Cops, I decided to put together a Media deck that had a focus on what I termed earlier as a Denial strategy. Denial is quite simply the preventing of your opponent from acquiring resources to achieve a victory. As there is no card denial element to the game, I put my focus into the denial of Ops points, and therefore victory.

There are some nasty tricks that can be used in order to mess your opponent up, things that many people may discard, or simply fail to realize. Choosing a Sponsor is fairly straight forward, the two that provide the best options are Arasaka and Militech. Arasaka for its +6 Def and Militech for its +6 SR, but the biggest asset here is the fact that by using the Sponsor to add this bonus, the Runner in question is considered to have Equipment attached, so, when the skirmish goes wrong, the Runner wont be trashed.

Which of these two you choose depends ultimately on your strategy and objectives. Are you going to be offensive or defensive? Arasaka will peel away that extra SR from your opponent, perhaps making them incapable of running the Operation or Location after the Skirmish, whereas Militech may provide just enough SR to invoke a Wake Up! Time to Die or at least remove an opposing runner from the situation. I chose Arasaka for the simple reason it works better with the anti-runner cards I am going to include.

The first major selection process is where you will get your money. As the deck will be relying on the Media ability of using their power to add M-Sec, the key Location is the Net 54 News Studio that can turn any Runner into a Media for a turn. This has to be coupled with the Data Term in order to provide the additional power to be effective. A couple of Data Term's in play with a Net 54 News Studio and a Zane Red can turn the Solo into a newshound able to raise a target's M-Sec by +18.

The choice of support Locations can take any number of courses but I prefer to use Satellite Launch Facility and 24-7's. SLF is probably the best Location in the game and in this denial strategy works alongside the Media ability perfectly - if a Media can add +10 M-Sec and the SLF can add +5 E-Sec, that's a minimum +20 SR required by any attacking team. The advantage of the SLF is that it can also be used during Any phase to boost itself if need be, and if it remains unused during your own turn you can use it to lower the E-Sec of any Ops you run yourself, including those stolen from your opponent. The 24-7 is a nice card because it can't be run by your opponent, and produces some cash as well. The fact it can't be run reduces your opponent's targets if they choose to hit your Locations.

As the strategy for this deck does not rely on a large number of Operations in your own Runs Deck, there are a couple of extra slots for some 'annoying' Locations. Holoshop is nice as it can add additional Defense to a Location, although you have to declare which one during the Legwork phase so it could be hit and miss, although it's a nice way of redirecting a potential attack, or using if you have a Target Swap and can set a nice trap! Corporate HQ works well in that it can add more E-Sec to a Location when under attack, but it's expensive and when you need your Data Terms and News Studio's unused for other things, its risky. If you intend sacrificing Runners to save Locations you might want to consider Cloning Centers as well. Obviously with the emphasis on Media, you want to pick a decent number. True, but News Studio gives you the flexibility to look at other character types as well, in this case predominantly Corps and Solos. Corps give you extra cash and will recover crucial Locations that get burned, and Solos give you the muscle needed when you run your own Ops to deliver the final blow. Jigsaw Murphy and The Gekko along with Zane and Shadow are the strongest contenders to complement your Rebecca Miller's and Conan O'Conner's. As with all my decks, a couple of Clone's never go astray. Jigsaw will give you a small lift running your own Ops, Gekko will protect your Runners if you need to defend with a larger than normal team, and Shadow has the ability to move in and out of a skirmish to balance the odds in your favor if need be. Zane's power is extremely useful, as is his +20 SR combo when running your Ops, and the two Media's, Miller and O'Conner round out the power lending ability.

The Operations again come down to preference. If you choose to include only a small number of combat Runners, a greater number of small Ops are best, but if you can afford to add a couple of big Solos there are Operations that are crucial to this deck's strategy - particularly Headline Hijack. Once you complete it (and you can use SLF's and Jigsaw's to lower its difficulty) you can use 2 of your Media to strip 10 Ops points from your opponent. I've added Jury Duty as it's a cheap Op for 15 Ops points and it allows you to disable a Runner for a whole turn, delaying your opponent further, and Bring Him Back!, another cheap Op that allows limited Runner recursion.

So that's the Run's Deck, built around power lending, and the ability to significantly raise the security levels of the targets your opponent selects. The Gear Deck is a lot easier as it comprises mostly Events, and a few pieces of Cyber.

The ten pieces of Cyber are essentially for I Used to be a Bozo, although the Micro-Video Optic's add +2 to a Media's power, and the 3 Cyber Arms and 3 Cyber Legs all provide a free card when played, a bonus that should net you at least one needed card.

The Events are the key to this deck. I Used to be a Bozo is self explanatory. Attach some Cyber, then blow the Runner up to burn not only the Location or Op, but all Runners in the skirmish. A particularly effective way to kill off an entire team, especially if during the Damage Control phase you can return the Location to your hand thanks to your Corp stooges.

Failed Deadline lets you trash a particularly nasty, or even useless Operation to back-peddle your opponent, and It Aint Really a Run is a nice way of wiping the smile off their face when they finally manage to complete one. The rest of the Events manipulate the situation in your favor - Target Swap allows you to redirect an attack to a Location that has a much greater security level, Run and Hide can severely underpower a team making a run, especially if your Media'' are raising M-Sec (which can set you up for a nice Failed Deadline), and I Don't Think so is useful when they try and counter your key cards.

If At First You Don't Succeed is crucial in allowing you to recycle those key Events, and In My Element is a useful universal power boost either in offense or defense. The last card is Disgruntled Employee, which has always been one of my favorites. Use Net 54 News Studio to turn one of your Corps into a Media, then use your Data Term's and In My Element's to boost their power to huge amounts of 20 or more, then kill them off with the Disgruntled Employee, and reap the Ops point reward.

In summary, a well tuned Media Denial deck can be quite devastating. Once your opponent gets rolling a Failed Deadline followed by running a Headline Hijack can strip 15-25 Ops points, follow that up with an I Used to be a Bozo and an It Aint Really a Run and it's quite probably your opponent doesn't have enough Operations left in his deck to complete an Ops victory. Steal another Op out from under him by boosting it's E-Sec and M-Sec and then run it yourself, and as you move forward he'll be going backwards. Turning the Tables when you have a Disgruntled Employee in your hand and Old Man Arasaka on the table is surely curtains.

This deck needs to be played relatively aggressively. As long as you can regulate your opponent's Ops total, and effect it as and when you need to, the game will be yours, no matter how many times he claims to have won inside 6 turns with his deck.

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