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How to deal with a starting hand full of agendas?


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#1 mothchoir

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:43 AM

In the games I've played so far, when the corp ends up with 3 or 4 agendas in their starting hand (after mulligan), it seems to pretty much make the match a write-off for them.

I'd be curious to know how others have dealt with this situation, beyond just concentrating ice on your HQ.



#2 cyberfunk

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:00 AM

1) Draw more cards. Probably have to do this no matter what, since you only have 2-3 cards that actually do something. If you hit even one piece of ice, you can at least complicate things for the runner. Ice the hand and make him find the right breaker, or non-chalantly ice the deck and leave the hand open. 

2) Put Agenda in remote servers and don't advance them (or advance them… suspiciously). Runners often aren't going to run a remote server on the first turn because chances are it will be something expensive to trash.

3) Discard them face-down if you have an enormous set. 

Four agenda in the opnener is certainly playing from behind the eight-ball unless your other two are really, really good. But, sometimes, you can eke your way into the midgame and turn things into a route because you can win before the runner gets completely set up. 

 

 



#3 crawdadr

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:01 AM

You have the right idea draw to get ice and place on HQ first. Then draw to get ice on a data fort and place agendas there too. If desperate you could even throw it away in the trash. Some runners forget to check the garbage, but that is realy risky.



#4 reebo

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:36 AM

 Perhaps the best thing to do would be diversify. Install in one in a remote, install another in other remote and advance. This way, runner will probably get an agenda, but probably not two. Giving away an early game agenda is par for the course really. Of the two you laid down, he's inclined to believe one is a trap and the other in an agenda, so even if he scores one, he is then unlikely to run the other. This also leaves 4 credits, no more, no less, in your pool. So that he suspects the unadvanced card could be snare! The advanced card is the obvious choice for the runner: 2 net damage or 1 tag isn't so bad, and runner is unlikely to have any programs yet, therefore advanced ambushes aren't that scary first turn, so advance the lower-point one. Try and make the other one 3 difficulty too, so you can ****** it up hopefully 2nd turn.



#5 radiskull

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:14 AM

 If you're playing against Gabriel, you might want to draw a bunch of cards and then discard your agendas into Archives (if you have a way to recurse them).  More than likely, Gabriel will drop Sneakdoor Beta and won't ever access cards in Archives again. :)



#6 Toloran

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:07 AM

 Another option is that if your opponent knows you play a lot of ambush cards, you might be able to place an agenda or two and then bluff them into thinking one (or both) are traps. In general though, you're probably better off just spending a good chunk of your clicks on simply drawing cards.



#7 prune

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:23 AM

Drawing a bunch of cards basically says to the Runner, "Hey, I drew nothing but agendas, come on in and party in HQ".

I would draw one card, or at most two, per turn, and do some of the other things suggested above (discard to archives, set up subsidiary data forts) to diversify and distract.



#8 PWBrian

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:38 AM

prune said:

Drawing a bunch of cards basically says to the Runner, "Hey, I drew nothing but agendas, come on in and party in HQ".

I would draw one card, or at most two, per turn, and do some of the other things suggested above (discard to archives, set up subsidiary data forts) to diversify and distract.

But if you've got no Ice on HQ, isn't that just inviting a run in the first place?  If you draw up in that scenario, you're at least thinning HQ out so the odds of drawing an agenda can be minimized.

Then again, if you've got a hand full of agendas, R&D is going to be exposed as well.  Sometimes the cards just aren't your friends, eh? :)



#9 jhaelen

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:47 AM

mothchoir said:

In the games I've played so far, when the corp ends up with 3 or 4 agendas in their starting hand (after mulligan), it seems to pretty much make the match a write-off for them.

Well, sounds like maybe you shouldn't have taken that mulligan then, huh?

Unless you _also_ had four Agendas on your hand _before_ the mulligan, it's your own fault. That's the risk that comes with a mulligan: You may end up with a worse hand than before.

Anyway, I actually had a game recently (we've playing the CCG, though) where I had drawn 4 Agendas and after drawing my sixth card, the two top cards of my R&D were Agendas as well. Let's just say it was a very quick game and we had lots of time for the revenge…



#10 mothchoir

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:06 AM

jhaelen said:

 

mothchoir said:

 

In the games I've played so far, when the corp ends up with 3 or 4 agendas in their starting hand (after mulligan), it seems to pretty much make the match a write-off for them.

 

Well, sounds like maybe you shouldn't have taken that mulligan then, huh?

 

Unless you _also_ had four Agendas on your hand _before_ the mulligan, it's your own fault. That's the risk that comes with a mulligan: You may end up with a worse hand than before.

Anyway, I actually had a game recently (we've playing the CCG, though) where I had drawn 4 Agendas and after drawing my sixth card, the two top cards of my R&D were Agendas as well. Let's just say it was a very quick game and we had lots of time for the revenge…

 

 

Well, I inserted the 'after mulligan' clause in my question in order to avoid receiving terribly useful advice such as, er, take a mulligan. Just trying to start a discussion of tactics here. Do you have any thoughts on the matter other than "suck it up"?

P.S. Thanks for all the previous posts, some interesting points to consider. Incidentally, this scenario has not yet landed on me, but having seen it happen as the runner player, I want to be prepared for the worst when I next play corp!



#11 booored

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:16 AM

 

The archives is a decent place to hide some agendas if you have to. Though I think that deck building should make tis really a very rare issue. I personally think that the starter decks are way to agenda heavy. I like to focus on tagging and doing dmg and having tons of ice. The game are slightly slower, but I do not think there is much to be gained by having high draw percentages for agendas as they are pretty much useless in the initial turns.

I think the best suggestion in the thread is to simply draw more cards and possible hide something in archive.. though I think archives is completely under used at the mo, i hope to see much more cards that can interact with it. There is this entire mechanic for putting in face down cards but as far as I remember there is only 2 card that can interact with it at all… so at the moment there is little point in archiving agendas, but I would suspect that as we get more archive card for corp this might become a stronger tactic.


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#12 Khudzlin

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:35 AM

Except for Weyland, the core set decks could only ditch 1 agenda point according to the rules (and it is only possible for NBN, because neither HB nor Jinteki has 1 point agendas). They're also the maximum size (49 cards) for the number of agenda points they contain (only NBN can add cards, because the others can't add enough agenda points).



#13 hollis

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:58 AM

mothchoir said:

In the games I've played so far, when the corp ends up with 3 or 4 agendas in their starting hand (after mulligan), it seems to pretty much make the match a write-off for them.

I'd be curious to know how others have dealt with this situation, beyond just concentrating ice on your HQ.

What are the agendas, and what is the 6th card you draw for starting your turn? IMO, this is too situational to give a good answer in the abstract. Your strategy is going to depend on the powers and values of the agendas.



#14 booored

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

wait what? you need a minimum of agenda points in a deck? 


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#15 ChaosChild

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:30 PM

Yes. Page 24 of the rulebook.

Basically, a corp deck of 45-49 cards must include 20-21 points of agendas. For every 5 cards over this, add another 2 agenda points.

Of the 4 corps, only NBN gets any choice at all about how many agenda they can put in their deck (using the core set that is).



#16 Ironburn

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:32 PM

Page 24 of the rules. Deckbuilding section.

- 40 to 44 cards requires 18 or 19 agenda points.
(Note: Identities in this set have a 45 card minimum)
- 45 to 49 cards requires 20 or 21 agenda points.
- 50 to 54 cards requires 22 or 23 agenda points.



#17 prune

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:01 PM

I want to really drive home the point that even if what you desperately need is to draw a bunch of cards, you should not necessarily do it.  If you can puzzle or confuse the runner a little bit, you have a chance to come through ok.

Let's say that the Corp's opening hand is 1 Ice and 4 Agendas.

I'm a Runner.  I see the Corp draw three cards, play one Ice on HQ, and discard 2 to Archives. I think it's the discards that give things away, I KNOW at this point that they are nervous, that they are in big trouble.  My reaction is to go all-out to take advantage.  On my first turn, I will run HQ at least once, I will certainly run R&D, and I might run Archives too.  Next turn I'll continue the aggression.  This is a bad start for the Corp, could be a 2-3 turn win for the Runner.

How about the Corp draws two cards, plays one Ice on a remote server, and installs one card inside that server.  I'll definitely run HQ.  If I pull an agenda, I smell blood, and I go back to HQ.  Game might end on the first turn, this is definitely bad for the Corp.

Let's say I see the Corp draw two cards, install one Ice on HQ, and install one card into a remote server, unprotected.  I guess that the remote server is probably a Pad Campaign or an upgrade.  I should definitely run R&D.  I should run HQ, but some Runners won't.  Maybe I run HQ and score an agenda.  But unless the Corp had really bad luck, and the Ice was a Wall of Thorns or Archer or something else they can't rez, the Ice probably hurt me or stopped me, and I'm not going to run HQ again.  At this point, I've already spent a couple of actions, maybe I took some damage from running HQ.  Maybe I'll run the unprotected remote server, but maybe I'll just leave it alone (I'm guessing it's Adonis or Pad Campaign, and the Corp just spent all their credits rezzing the Ice, so they aren't going to profit yet, maybe it can wait for later).

In the last case, nothing's guaranteed, but at least there are scenarios where the Runner doesn't realize just how desperate your situation is, where they come away from the first turn happy to score an agenda and start focusing on building up.  Sure, there are also scenarios where they figure it out (such as, they run the unprotected data fort), but at least you have some possibilities of surviving the early game; in the other starts that I described, you have no chance against a good runner.



#18 FesterDuley

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:48 PM

reebo said:

 Perhaps the best thing to do would be diversify. Install in one in a remote, install another in other remote and advance. This way, runner will probably get an agenda, but probably not two. Giving away an early game agenda is par for the course really. Of the two you laid down, he's inclined to believe one is a trap and the other in an agenda, so even if he scores one, he is then unlikely to run the other. This also leaves 4 credits, no more, no less, in your pool. So that he suspects the unadvanced card could be snare! The advanced card is the obvious choice for the runner: 2 net damage or 1 tag isn't so bad, and runner is unlikely to have any programs yet, therefore advanced ambushes aren't that scary first turn, so advance the lower-point one. Try and make the other one 3 difficulty too, so you can ****** it up hopefully 2nd turn.

/ What this guy said.  I know everyone wants to put in their idea to show how smart they are, but this is the BEST idea if you are playing against good players.  As stated earlier, drawing is desperate and will be recognized - a runner is going to jump at any easy openings.  It is great lesson in subterfuge - the part that makes Corporations fun :D  Also, this is the only strategy that takes into account the Corp player only having 3 clicks a turn to spend.  Drawing multiple cards and installing and doing all that great stuff to work around not having a useful hand doesn't work until beyond your first turn!  And that's why you are dead.



#19 prune

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:31 AM

FesterDuley said:

 

I know everyone wants to put in their idea to show how smart they are….

 

Sorry if I came of as sounding like I was wanting to show how smart I was.  My post was intended to suggest ways to evaluate your options, not so much to say what the best option is (the latter's hard to do since it depends so much on what cards you actually have, which runner, etc).

I felt I had to post, because I saw people still saying "draw more cards" even after Reebo's post.  I was worried that some folks weren't grasping that you have to think of how the Runner sees things to figure out what to do.



#20 Ariston

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 12:44 PM

As the Corp player, I think mulligans should be looked at differently from the way they are in other CCGs because of how absurdly punishing all-agenda hands can be (you aren't just "flooded", you're in real danger of quick defeat); normally, you will shuffle back a sub-optimal hand, but as prune's (in my opinion, correct) advice shows, though misdirection and confusing play, a Corp can play through very sub-optimal hands if the runner takes the bait. So far, I have been ignoring the mulligan opportunity unless I get hit with the dreaded 4-5 agenda hand; the chances of hitting this at all with decent randomization is already tiny*, so my caution may be paranoid, but the likelihood of getting hit twice off of two draws is miniscule. Proper shuffling removes a lot of problems. Any time I've noticed a player who has issues with getting regular low probability draws, it's either due to cheating or improper randomization technique; proper randomization technique matters, I've seem it in my own development as a gamer.

While many players frown upon pile-shuffling in general, it is a good way to break up clumps of cards; as long as you do not repeat numbers of piles, use primes, and avoid numbers which are factors of your population, you are accomplishing something. Unlike other CCGs, A:NR does not currently require riffling, but you should do this (four-five times even if you piled), and should riffle your opponent's deck as well in competitive play. Any form of pile-shuffling can be used to cheat if pre-seeded. The absence of stricter shuffling rules is kind of strange to me; the AGoT floor rules require that a "combination of shuffling techniques" be used (though do not require riffling), so at least some form of tighter randomization requirements should come to A:NR.

Anyhow, this is my favorite short piece on proper deck randomization I've ever read. Fellow math nerds may wish to read some of Diaconis's work on the matter.

tl;dr: Prevention is the best cure.






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