I saw Dien Tran working on a Gagarin deck on Jinteki the other night. Watching him throw card after card on the virtual table, I found myself pondering my current running decks and realizing I had not idea how I would play against that deck. I usually have the same experience when playing Estelle Moon ETF.
This morning, I think I at least have a way to articulate the nature of my confusion.
One concept it presents is the idea that each deck in a game poses a question to the other player. The question takes the form of stating how the deck will win and asking whether the opponent has a way to stop that. Here, for instance, is the way the author frames the question the RP deck of that day asks.
I am going to set up an unassailable credit lead with Sundews and Mental Health Clinic, and then win by setting up a remote server that you need to get into multiple times. In the meantime, my agendas protect themselves by 1) being expensive to steal (NAPD), 2) by being ridiculously hard to steal (The Future Perfect), and 3) by being scarce (only 8 or 9 agendas in the deck). Furthermore, I have very taxing ICE that you need to pay through your nose to get past. Can you deal with this?
Reading the specific examples helped me realize part of the problem with playing against asset spam. Very often, I do not understand the question that an asset spam deck is posing. I just see card after card going down on the table and don’t have a good sense of what the deck’s question is or what my range of possible answers might be. I think part of the question might be: I’m going to throw down so many cards that you are going to have a hard time figuring out which ones to deal with and which ones to leave on the table.
It may also be that most Runner decks are not built to answer the kinds of questions that asset spam decks pose. Few Runner cards provide direct tools for dealing with assets (as opposed to ice), so it is hard to think in terms of answers to asset spam.
So, I’m wondering what kinds of questions do you think asset spam decks pose – in the model of the RP question above? Maybe if the questions are more clear, the path to answering them might be as well.
Asset spam of non-prison flavours usually asks the same question - “I will put/recur assets on the board that will either give me clickless advantage or begger the runner who deals with them. Eventually this cumulative advantage will let me do the thing of having huge ice/multiple FA tools/Sandburg/inescapable hhn/whatever. If they do fight the board they’ll be to poor to stop normal scoring plans and check my NA”.
For moons the thing is generally biotics/jeeves.
Hence the two ways to fight non-prison ‘combo’ spam are don’t get poor clearing the board, or stop the thing via hate cards.
I think the term asset spam is misleading here. Moon etf is a tempo deck with a lot of assets. This is somewhat similar to the old ctm. The question it asks is “can you deal with how fast I build up board state without sacrificing your own? Or prevent my win condition if you don’t?” the win condition is usually some combination of never advance or fast advance with jeeves + biotic.
Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. Moon wants to win by scoring out fast. The actual scores will be some combination of FA with Jeeves/Shipments/Biotic, never advance 3/2 slipped into the asset blizzard and Lakshmi plays.
I am playing a similar Gagarin deck to d1en. The deck is really trying to accomplish two things:
Force the runner to run and dip low in credits in order to land an HHN for Boom! and Zealous judge. Aggravating this is Clyde Van Rite and Mr. Stone to further punish tags with Encryption Protocols making things expensive.
Keep assets up with FiHP and Museum.
If you decide not to run, they will get rich (bankers, NASX, diversified) and score agendas behind ice boosted by Sandburg. This can also be used to force you to run an IAA agenda and use it to drain your money for HHN and possibly even Chief Slee for even more threat.
Up to you in how you handle that.
It does run seven 5/3 agendas and a single 2/1. Early steals are key.