Here’s an idea I’m trying out with a deck I’m trying to build. It may be a bad idea, but we learn through failures.
I’m building a a Runner deck with the idea that I have only 15 or 16 slots to put cards in (45 card minimum ID). In other words, I’m taking 3 copies of nearly every card in my deck. The idea is to force me to focus on the central idea and purpose of the deck – to set the foundation – as I start testing it. The goal of early testing is not to win games – although that is always a bonus – but to see if that central idea is something that I can actually get up an running.
I’ve already experienced the obvious limitations of this approach in games: Dead cards, lack of answers to certain Corp cards or strategies, predictable lines of play. But even that is really helpful information because it helps me spot where I need to slot in some 1x and 2x cards down the line and where I can adapt my play.
Another bonus for me – at least – is the clarity of such a simple deck. One problem I get when I net deck is that lots of highly polished net decks have lots of little moving parts and cards slotted in for special purposes that are not immediately obvious to a player who did not build the deck. So, when I get my hands on that deck, I can have a hard time figuring out how all the shiny parts and pieces are supposed to work together or when they should be ignored.
I’m a long way from a viable tournament deck in my current build, but I kind of like the process at the moment. If only I could find more time to play and test. I certainly get why people say they don’t have time to develop their own decks.
A friend of mine tried a build like this before. I believe it was Whizzard using Paige Piper to keep increasing the quality (lack of redundancy) in his future draws. The rig was something like Magnum Opus + 3 breakers and I think Joshua B for extra clicks. Overall it was a really goofy deck but it also was surprisingly effective and won games against locals.
I still think Anarch is going to be best for this. You have Faust to make use of otherwise dead cards, you have Paige Piper and Making an Entrance to thin out the deck, you have risky draw/search cards like Street Peddler, Inject, Frantic Coding that hurt less when you have 3 copies of everything, and you have Retrieval Run, Deja Vu, and Trope to get things back without splashing a Levy.
EDIT: And, of course, you can run it all out of MaxX, who also benefits from having spares of everything.
So the issue with all 3x copies of every card is: you don’t need 3 copes of every card.
As a quick example, let’s build a shaper deck. We want to break ICE, and apply pressure quickly, so we can start with 3x SMC and 3x CC. We really don’t want to rely on shaper fracters (at least as long as Lady is on the MWL) or killers Do we need 3 copies of Corroder? We really don’t. A single Corroder is enough, any more is a waste of influence and card slots.
If we rely on tutoring and recursion, we can use even a single copy of a card a lot. For example:
That deck has a single Parasite, but it tutors and recurs it very frequently to destroy ICE. It’s main breaker is Eater, which it also runs a single copy of. If it had 3 copies of Eater (ignoring influence) it would have 2 dead draws in the deck after one was installed. Drawing dead cards just wasted clicks.
Good decks build on consistency, so 2-3 copies of most cards is usually right, but good decks also make maximum use of their influence to import powerful effects. Use tutors and recursion to maximize the effect of your most important pieces and don’t add dead slots to your deck.
In general, I think this is a fine idea for getting your ‘sea legs’ if you’re a novice player/deckbuilder looking to learn. As you suggest, it might help you understand/develop the core ideas/strengths of a deck, even if it won’t produce the strongest decks in the field.
The caveat I’d throw out of that the influence system throws a real monkey wrench into this. In some cases, this will lead you to inaccurately favor certain cards - e.g. the difference in influence between corroder and paperclip is marginal at 1x, but significant at 3x. That kind of individual card evaluation is probably easy enough to correct for later, but this training exercise might turn you off to certain kinds of builds centered on high impact, high influence cards (e.g you probably don’t want to run Maxx without 1 or 2 LARLA, but running 3 will make Maxx seem much weaker than she is).
I just remembered an old ‘Rule of Thumb’ thing I came across when I was new that helped me a lot, I’ve paraphrased it as best I can below, unfortunately I don’t remember the original source any more:
How many copies do I need?
3: for cards that you must see early for maximum effect (e.g. Desperado)
3: for cards that you want to play every time you draw them (e.g. Sure Gamble, Account Siphon)
3: for cards that are critical to your deck engine (e.g. Mopus, Wyldside)
2: for cards that you need at some point during the game, but not right away (e.g Beth, most unique cards)
2: for cards that support a combo, but don’t do much by themselves (e.g. Adjusted Chronotype)
1: for cards that answer narrow problems that I don’t see every game (e.g. Plascrete and other silver bullets)
1: for cards that help me out in late-game situations (e.g. Escher)
I think I added more categories than the original had, but it’s a handy way to think of cards that you are putting into a deck. I found it very helpful to know when I wanted 2 or 3, and what type of card made sense as a 1-off.
These are all good points. Again, I’m not trying to offer this as a plan for a final deck. And, I acknowledge, it might be a stupid idea. I do see the argument about Shaper. Maybe this idea of mine really only works in Anarch as a starting point because Anarch runs its own breakers and spends its influence on events and resources.
Make strong assertions about which cards are best for your deck and falsify them. Many players just play 1-2x of everything to avoid making tough decisions, and they won’t learn a lot. Decks with lots of 3-ofs can be very strong. For example, the first two lists from this article both play only 19 different cards, 12 of them being 3-ofs.
In general terms, decks that draw less (so mostly faster decks) want to play fewer situational 1-ofs because they draw them less often - how surprising!
… I personally would give myself 17 or 18 slots. If you have some good, clear reasons to play only one copy of a card (for example “I can tutor it” or “it’s Levy”), IMO that’s still being decisive.