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Punitive Counterstrike & You

I have been dying an awful lot lately to PC, out of HB Deadcoats and Blue Sun variants. I need some tips and help with playing against Punitive. I am considering running a couple Plascrete in all my Runner decks now, and not because of Scorched Earth. Between PC and Archived Memories, double Punitive isn’t hard to pull off with many decks. I find myself dying from stealing 3-pointers in RND, and from remotes.

One thing I need to do more is count. If the Corp could feasibly double PC, the right play might be to give them the 3-pointer in a remote. Blue Sun makes the math trickier, and perhaps impossible. BS can pull back ICE for cash on any given turn. Should Runners assume every BS build has a PC threat?

What are some other tips? For decks that win via RND dig, it’s impossible to know what you might steal. For this reason, maybe Plascrete is a necessity, but I am looking for more advice on playing around Punitive.

edit: I know another technique is to stay rich enough to avoid the Trace. This is not always feasible, especially versus Blue Sun, and even if it is, will slow you down immensely. Perhaps sometimes that is the best option, though.

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I think the answer comes down to more Plastcretes as long as Blue Sun remains popular, and possibly considering Utopia Shard as an anti-flatline measure if you can spare the influence. We’re seeing Meat Damage out of all 4 factions now and with Weyland on the upswing again most of my runner decks are 2 Plastcretes minimum, 3 if I can find room.

Most decks need to focus on centrals to win to combat fast advance and you just don’t have the option of saying “not now, thanks” when you encounter most agendas. Unless you’re running Opus and taking 8 every other turn you will lose the economy war right now, so you need to protect yourself with cards instead.

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Plascrete ARE a necessity, I can’t imagine playing a runner deck without them right now.


It’s actually quite expensive for the corp to land multiple punitives, because they have to bully you TWICE to get that lethal damage. So you really don’t have to be richer than them, you just have to be rich enough to stop ONE. If you don’t have the economy to keep up with that, I imagine SEA Source is just as punishing for you, and you really should be playing 2-3 plascrete carapace.


The real problem to me is Blue Sun, because they are essentially sitting on a 14 credit burst at any given time and you tend to be poorest right after hitting an agenda.

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One thing I like about Logos is the extra card. Having a full hand of 6 makes PC a bit less powerful.

Plascrete helps, too, for sure – and, hey, it works against Scorched! Shame it’s dead everywhere else, but when in doubt, it’s reliable enough.

I think one of the most obnoxious things I’ve seen was someone scoring a 5/3 naked because I was too broke to avoid dying to punitives. Nyaaargh!

But yeah, keeping up with the traces is tough – especially because most of the time the corp can even do a value hit and grab the punitive for later if they don’t manage the kill (archived memories is a nuisance splash in Blue Sun, and is omnipresent in ).

And hey, triples are doable since they don’t have to spend the click setting up with SEA Source.

Honestly, Siphon/Vamp helps, even if Blue Sun has ways around it. Beyond that, well… I dunno. Certainly a bloody nuisance.

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I can concede that there are instances where there seems to be very little counterplay in terms of punitive counterstrikes, but then the real thing to consider is–will this perform regularly? I don’t doubt that it will win games, hell, it might win you more games than scoring will. But I wonder how many games, in say a standard tournament, you will lose as the corp before getting all your ducks in a row?

As someone who’s been playing Punitive in all my decks since Honor and Profit, I am always amazed at how few people see it coming. If you know they have it though it’s definitely avoidable, you can: a) be aggressive early, b) econ up and let agendas / punitives clog up the corps hand while they can’t score them and are eventually forced to discard something, c) apply non-scoring pressure (works with b)), i.e. Account Siphon, trashing economy, Imp, and also make plays that could win you the game straight up such as Indexing etc. Punitive is almost never paired with fast advance, and in general the only economy that can match a mid / late game runner is trashable. Also, second Utopia Shard, my new favourite flatline protection. I hope some of this is helpful, there’s probably a lot more to say.

Is Utopia Shard all that reliable though? Is the idea you trash it after scoring an agenda as midseasons / punitive protection?

I’m skeptical that punitive is a long term problem for runners since it’s a bit too conditional and to really go off for the kill the runner needs to be at < 4 points. I just don’t think there will be too many corp decks that use it a lot.

That said, I think all runners need 2x plascrete. Playing around scorch without plascrete has always been exaggerated a bit and was only effective when people weren’t really playing scorch so much (or all the new meat damage).

Net damage is more like a tax and you just have to be careful with your runs and save your cards whereas meat is burst damage and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it without plascrete. Also as someone who used to play w/ scorch a lot (and got a lot of flatlines), once the plascrete is out, it’s extremely hard to kill someone with meat damage.

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I would consider Utopia as the opposite of reliable. You are only allowed 1/deck, and it’s free install is very conditional. If you are hard installing it, you are better off running Plascrete as meat protection, IMO. I like Utopia for several reasons, but not as meat protection.

So far you have all confirmed my suspicions that I simply have to run Plascrete in this meta. It is unfortunate, but you know what they say (you do, don’t you?!).

As an aside, what are the community’s thoughts on Crash Space in Criminal? For other factions, Plascrete is the obvious choice, but what about for Criminals? Is Crash Space worth considering? In decks that want to clear their tags post-Siphon, Crash Space makes Siphons more profitable. It is 1 less to install than Plascrete, and protects against 1 less meat damage. IMO Crash Space is definitely better PC protection, but maybe riskier to rely on it against heavy Scorch strategies. I suppose Crash is also more vulnerable as a resource, especially with Snatch and Grab officially out, but with Taurus becoming more common, maybe Plascrete ain’t so safe anymore, either. Thoughts? Any new tips on how to play against Punitive? So far, everyone has just echoed things I already knew/suspected.

This. :frowning:


Ditto. However, I’m considering running it in addition to Plastcretes in some decks, but I haven’t had enough space.

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I think the common criticism is crash space is weak against midseasons scorch decks. That said, the tag removal credits are good and it does protect one from double scorch if there are five cards in hand, so maybe it’s a wash.

I don’t think it’s worth playing around PC every single turn. Not many BS variants run it (mine is an exception of course :P). The purpose of PC is to have the threat there to be able to salvage a weak early game.

Your double PC in our game really took me by surprise. I thought I was playing well against the BS match-up; I held off face-checking until I had a good board state; I was keeping Crisium Grid off the board; Shutdowning Hadrian’s and OAI ICE; and even got you down to 3c at one point. Then I stole my first agenda and got double PC’d out of nowhere. It was a real gut-shot, and wake up call, all in the same stroke. I did make the mistake of ending with only 2 cards in hand, but I wasn’t expecting PC, especially not out of Off The Grid BS.


I think it comes down to money to be honest. If you know that you don’t have enough money, and you know they have double SE or double PC you might just need to let them have the agenda and build money. One of the guys in my playgroup won’t make a single run unless he has more money than weyland or plascretes.

I think against Off the grid BS it makes more sense to see PC than SE because it costs less deck space bc you don’t need the tagging.


i think just choosing a method of dealing with sudden damage and sticking with it for a while to see if it works for you is the first step. Plascrete, money, handsize or some combination.

have a plan for glacier decks. I can’t speak for BS decks (i did it in ETF) but the real catch-22 i often had runners in (not that they knew all the time) was that even if they get the agenda they’re too broke to live afterwards.

that’s the basics.

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Another thing I’ve seen a lot is sometimes they’ll hit you with a PC early and expect you to take it as all Plascrete, don’t be too afraid to let your hand wipe or nearly wipe and save some Plascrete for later. If it’s GG already you might as well take the hand damage first.


FWIW, the formula to kill with PC is as follows:

*The can kill if: [(Runner’s Credit Pool and Link) -1] * (Number of PC’s to hit) <= (Corp credit pool)

Incidentally, if you have extra PCs in hand then the formula would be … <= (Corp credit pool) + (3 - Runner Link[Max 3])

*Note: these all assume that you have enough credits to play PC in the first place, dumbass :stuck_out_tongue:

*Further note: do we really like these new emoticons?