I’ve noticed there are a number of interesting and/or useful interactions between cards that tend to not see much play despite seeming pretty decent – or just ways of playing already popular cards/combinations that provide benefit and aren’t commonly considered. I wanted to create a thread to gather some of those together, if there are folks that have noticed the same.
Ideally, this isn’t going to be just a bunch of janky combos. I know I’m not some great player or big name, and I don’t think that’s a requirement, but if your combination is that Akitaro Watanabe and Chimera go well together… well, yeah, but it’s probably not worth running him alone, or just for that. Parasite is everywhere, tutoring is many places, Chimera is not nearly as good as it used to be, free each turn or not.
The big one I’ve stumped for is the synergy between Security Testing and Medium. Ideally, yeah, Desperado as well – and given that they’re the same influence if you’re splashing them I’d grab two Desperadoes first. But the thing with Medium is that, especially after a virus wipe or when it first hits the table, you usually know your first run will be a throwaway. You need to get in twice to have a real chance of seeing something useful, and it’ll snowball from there.
If you intend to run twice in a turn, setting Security Testing to R&D allows to get a bit of a rebate on that first run. A couple of times maybe the top three cards will all be things you want to see and can interact with, because of Imp or Scrubber or whatever. But a lot of the time the top card is likely to be ice or an operation when you haven’t got Imp out.
It saves you a click vs running on Archives or an undefended remote. It makes running in on a taxing server twice in one turn a little less taxing – which is important for both Anarch and Criminal decks hoping to establish R&D lock. It means you do see two cards in the end if you’re low on credits and would otherwise fall just short. It lets you Lucky Find and make two runs to end the turn on 1 credit after seeing two cards even if the server costs 6 credits to get into each time.
Sure, it’s situational. But the other thing is, almost no corp player I’ve run into actually expects that play, even with both cards on the table.
If you’re running Desperado in Anarch, I highly recommend swapping your third for a Security Testing, or (if you have influence to spare) slotting one in anyway. I used to run a 2 Desperado, 2 Security Testing build out of Whizzard that was quite good. I was not, but I challenged much better people than I was with it because of the ability to deal with RP and NEH, and even HB (by clicking through something taxing the first time to get the cash for a proper run afterward). I’d’ve run 3 and 2 but only had access to two core sets at the time.
I know 2 and 1 is anathema to a lot of folks, but it’s like running 2 DBS and 2 Jackson in Butchershop. Consider them as 3 copies of the “efficient run economy” card that has the benefit that you can have more than one of them out at a time. Sec Test without Medium or Desperado is still decent for Anarchs running Datasucker/Parasite, or who are playing an asset spamming corp deck and just need to ability to effectively hammer an Opus once/turn to keep up with the money.
Likewise, if you’re a Criminal running Medium (and obviously you’re already running Desperado and Security Testing) then I similarly recommend giving this a shot when you have the chance. It really improves Medium digging, which I do think is generally superior to RDI if you can spare the influence. 2 Medium > 3 RDI, wooo!
What about you? Have you noticed any plays that combine decent cards in ways you didn’t expect to be so effective, or found surprisingly powerful uses people don’t normally see?
EDIT: I confess, part of this is also just that high-level player common sense is so interesting and useful for others to see. One of the big bits of NEH Butchershop “tech” is scoring astros to never-advance a Breaking News that leaves the runner open to dying in traffic or apartment collapse without requiring a run or steal or even much money first. Especially nasty if, like one poor soul that hadn’t run across the deck before (cough), you siphon them down to 0 and ditch the tags, only to have them pop the BN you thought was the Marked Account you knew they drew last turn and hit you for 6 free meat damage because you foolishly though their lack of credits plus your lack of tags meant safety from that particular outcome and one more turn of deep-digging on R&D with Medium when they couldn’t overscore a Beale or rez much ice would win you the game.
Similarly, never-advanced or otherwise scored-with-a-click left BNs can be used for the obvious resource trashing and even closed accounts, but a lot of less-veteran players forget it when going up against NBN.
These are pretty obvious plays to a lot of good runners, but they’re not necessarily intuitive and I want to promote sharing of this kind of stuff because that kind of critical analysis in-the-moment is important for developing skill as a player.