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mothchoir

How to deal with a starting hand full of agendas?

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Which one? The one about the recent card (random card from the discard) or the one about random discards from a hand? The latter effect is an integral part of the game, since it's the claim effect for one of the challenge types. The card is very recent (latest pack), so I'm not sure the issue's come up in tournaments yet.

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 In my playgroup we allow free mulligan while the corp can reveal an opening hand (5 cards) of 4 or 5 agendas.  After the first turn draw it is too late.  With this house rule the worst case is 3 agendas plus one more on the draw.  This situation is bad but not unreasonable to win.

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Khudzlin said:

prune said:

 

The worst casual game that I've had so far was against a player who couldn't really shuffle cards in sleeves, and all the agendas were clumped at the bottom of the deck.  It wasn't deliberate cheating, just sub-par randomization, and I really should have asked to shuffle her deck for her a few times before the game started.

 

 

I have trouble getting that: shuffling sleeved cards is actually easier.

I also don't see a problem with the floor rules not explaining how to properly randomize a deck, because it is not in the scope of the rules. I have nothing against them containing suggestions on that point, however.

Making piles doesn't do anything for randomization, but it breaks clumps (and if you're mathematically minded, it can help you check your deck size). Some riffling after that and you should be good to go.

 

Coming from an MTG judge with experience debating this question I'll point out something.

There are two scenarios to pile shuffling, either A) The player randomizes the deck totally, thus rendering the pile shuffle a useless step. or B) The player fails to randomize the deck totally, and the 'clumps' of card order are apparent. This is cheating. There is no real middle ground here. Choosing to arrange the deck in an order that benefits someone, then undo that work…well, thats a poor choice.

'Clumps' can, and will, occur through valid shuffling techniques, as will a perfect 'pile shuffle' apperance some times. When an opponent watches you pile shuffle, calls for a judge (or TO) and says 'my opponent did x cards in a pile, can you please check his/her deck to see that (s)he's not cheated and failed to randomize it'…he's fully in his/her right because he/she SAW you arrange it. Now even random chance can catch up. Now, the two options will come up, there will be no order apparent and everything will be 'ok'. Or…a pattern might appear, and that's bad news.

So why risk it? Why EVER put your deck into a known pattern in front of your opponent, regardless of how well you think you're going to shuffle. Just shuffle like mad, 8, 10, 15 times if you think clumping is going to be an issue. Post game when they may be organized a little by your play, make sure to shuffle those first, then shuffle them all back into the deck itself. No pattern, no problem. 

 

Just my 2 (experianced, having to boot foolish pile shuffling players getting caught) cents.

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I'd spend two minutes to give the player some shuffling tips. Some sleeves are more slippery than others, but there's simply interweave shuffles that are easily performed with sleeved shuffles, especially since Netrunner decks are relatively small.

A proper shuffle should alternate between fine-grade shuffles (such as a riffle shuffle or interweave) and shuffles that move larger packs of cards (like an overhand or strip shuffle of about 3 moves). A casino shuffle would usually go something like riffle, riffle, triple cut, riffle, riffle, triple cut, riffle, riffle, cut.

Besides, every time your opponent shuffles his deck, he or she must give you the option for a final shuffle or cut (as is customary in all card games and as is codefied in the tournament rules), so you can't really blame your opponent's shuffle for anything.

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If your deck was just completely sorted (to make the decklist), you're probably better off jump-starting by making piles. You'll have to do real shuffling after that, but not as much as if you started to shuffle a sorted deck.

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I would reshuffle. 

 

But if you have no choice but to play an agenda filled hand, I'd just spread out my agendas on ICE-less servers and advance them evenly. That way, the runner thinks I'm laying traps. 

 

But it's just one strategy

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Whoa… what a lot of discussion about shuffling. I suspect that will really mark tournament players very obviously, as frankly I don't think anyone just playing among mates is going to care that much about the particular method used. Personally I usually pile shuffle, largely to break up clumping, and then do a quick… Well, what I would call a "shuffle" shuffle.

As far as riffle shuffling… that is just going to be murder on the cards… no thanks.

As far as the thread subject… I personally agree with those that 1) I wouldn't mulligan unless I just had 4/5 agendas (happened on a game on the weekend… mulliganed to a hand of 4 ice). Not doing that avoids the chance of that hand coming up, as you are then just left with it only occuring if you get the dreaded hand twice. 2) I would make one of the clicks be a card draw. 2 actions to install cards (hopefully one of them being ice). Drawing one extra card will slightly help the chance of them failing to get an agenda when they run on your hand (unless you draw yet another agenda!) and it doesn't look that suspicious.

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borithan said:

As far as riffle shuffling… that is just going to be murder on the cards… no thanks.

Depends on how you riffle shuffle, though there will be some bend eventually, I suppose. But I didn't mean to suggest one should do a riffle shuffle, I was just mentioning it because it is the most typical of shuffles that finely interweave the cards (as opposed to shuffles that move larger packs of cards, such as the common overhand shuffle). A simple interweaving of two halves of the deck in your hands achieves the same effect, is easily done with sleeved cards.

You can shuffle anyway you like, of course. I was just trying to point out what kind of sequence of shuffles leads to a "sufficiently" randomized deck (by casino standards). Of course one needs to understand that a shuffle is not there to guarantee even distribution of different types of cards, but simply to reorder the cards in a fashion that can't be reasonably tracked in order to gain an unfair advantage in the game. So trying to even out the distribution before you shuffle can help; but you're never completely safe against clumping -- such is the nature of randomizing. When I pick up my cards at the end of a game, I will selectively place cards of the same type or title in different spots in my deck before I reshuffle to try and even it out a bit. I'm not sure it actually helps, but I figure it can't hurt.

 

Sorry for not contributing to the original topic, but I think most good advice has been given already.

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radioactivemouse said:

I would reshuffle. 

 

But if you have no choice but to play an agenda filled hand, I'd just spread out my agendas on ICE-less servers and advance them evenly. That way, the runner thinks I'm laying traps. 

 

But it's just one strategy

 

I took this approach yesterday and it worked out pretty well and I eventually got some Ice up in front of them.

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boardgameguy said:

radioactivemouse said:

 

I would reshuffle. 

 

But if you have no choice but to play an agenda filled hand, I'd just spread out my agendas on ICE-less servers and advance them evenly. That way, the runner thinks I'm laying traps. 

 

But it's just one strategy

 

 

 

I took this approach yesterday and it worked out pretty well and I eventually got some Ice up in front of them.

 

Yeah, this isn't really good against a newbie as they just run against anything, without consequence. A more advanced player will second guess the setup and over-think the situation. 

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boardgameguy said:

radioactivemouse said:

 

I would reshuffle. 

 

But if you have no choice but to play an agenda filled hand, I'd just spread out my agendas on ICE-less servers and advance them evenly. That way, the runner thinks I'm laying traps. 

 

But it's just one strategy

 

 

 

I took this approach yesterday and it worked out pretty well and I eventually got some Ice up in front of them.

While this *can* work against certain opponents, you're almost certain to lose at least some of those agendas.  The prospect of losing credits and clicks along with them is not appealing to me.

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profligate said:

boardgameguy said:

 

radioactivemouse said:

 

I would reshuffle. 

 

But if you have no choice but to play an agenda filled hand, I'd just spread out my agendas on ICE-less servers and advance them evenly. That way, the runner thinks I'm laying traps. 

 

But it's just one strategy

 

 

 

I took this approach yesterday and it worked out pretty well and I eventually got some Ice up in front of them.

 

 

While this *can* work against certain opponents, you're almost certain to lose at least some of those agendas.  The prospect of losing credits and clicks along with them is not appealing to me.

True, but it's all about feel. It's just like having a bad hand in poker. You can get everyone to the river card (last card revealed), double your bet, and make everyone fold, winning big on a horrible hand. Yes, it's not going to work ALL the time, but you can't deny it HAS worked…and it has worked on the highest level tables. 

 

If your opponent has a tendency of over-thinking…it can definitely work in your favor. I've heard this strategy has worked several times, but of course it isn't going to work ALL of the time. 

 

If you do it right against the right opponent, you probably won't lose any agendas. 

Remember, the game is risk/reward on both ends. Try putting an agenda on the field with 1 ICE, put 1 advancement on it, then stop for while. The opponent is going to think twice, I assure you. If you're playing Jinteki, they will almost certainly think it's a Junebug. If you put NO advancements on it, they will think it's a Snare! 

 

Mind games, man. It's what makes this a great game (and the reason why I need to play more cause I'm not too good at it, haha)

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Not quoting because sucky board.

I've been playing Netrunner since '96, so I'm all over the mind games.  And I'm a winning (not big or pro, but ahead) poker player too, so really, I'm all over the mind games.

To me, this is the kind of play you can really only get away with when you know your opponent fairly well *and* your opponent thinks you're the kind of player who wouldn't play an agenda this way.  To go back to the poker analogy, you need a good read on your opponent as well as an established table image.  In that spot, this is a great play, and certainly one to use.  I just think that overall, this is going to be the right play infrequently enough that it deserves mention just how infrequent that is.

tl;dr: this is hard to use in a tourney and easier to use in your small playgroup.

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But if you have too many agendas in hand, you probably can't protect your hand, so you're caught between a rock and a hard place. When I'm in this situation, I install agendas that need at most 3 advancements (I don't play Jinteki). That way, the runner cannot know whether the cards are snares, money assets or agendas without running or infiltrating them. It doesn't always work, but the alternative (keeping the agendas in hand) isn't much better.

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No question, a hand full of a Agendas is going to suck, regardless.  IMO, you're almost certain to lose one or two.  Knowing that, I'd rather hide as much info as possible, and minimize the loss of extra clicks and credits, both from installing and advancing.

But here is a ploy that I might try.  Install one agenda facedown unprotected as your first action.  Try to do it as non-chalantly as you can, or failing that, confidently.  Do it first so it's obvious you could have advanced it, but chose not to.  The bluff here is that it's a PAD Campaign.  Then, if you don't lose it, on your turn right after drawing your card, sigh or groan audibly as though you're frustrated at having forgotten to rez it.  Repeat on the next turn if you haven't been able to ICE it, only more vehemently.

This is a game of bluffs, just like poker.  You have to be able to sell your bluffs.

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profligate said:

 

This is a game of bluffs, just like poker.  You have to be able to sell your bluffs.

 

 

I played a game just like that at a tournament tonight.  It was one of the most tense games I ever played, as I constantly felt like I was one run away from losing.  My opponent, however, felt like he got his butt thoroughly kicked.  This surprised me as I felt I barely squeaked by.

Playing Weyland (stock) vs Criminal (stock), I drew 2 Agendas.  I didn't mulligan, I figured I'd roll with it.  Drew another agenda as my first card…  I then proceeded to draw an agenda on average every other card.  I spent the majority of the game with 3 agendas in my hand, protected only by a single ICE (an Ice Wall with 1 advance on it) which was mostly just a tollgate to my hand.  My only protected remote datacenter was protected by 2 unrezzed Archers used purely as unknown bluffs, because I didn't have the Agendas to sacrifice.  A Melange Mining Corp in an unprotected data center was left alone (as it made a good target for Bank Job).  Eventually, late game, I would, and the surprise rez of one of the second would eat my opponents Crypsis and Femme Fatal and give me a chance…

My opponent eventually got Sneakdoor beta out.  He ran on my unprotected Archives to view 3 face down trashed cards (discards due to hand size), then ran on my HQ via Sneakdoor, and failed to draw 1 of the 3 Agendas in my hand (out of 5 cards).  He started to run on my HQ nearly every turn, and never stole an Agenda.  After the initial run on Archives, he commented he didn't know why he bothered to run on Archives proper because 'nobody every trashes anything good' - next turn I trashed an Agenda due to hand size, which my opponent would never run directly on Archives to discover.

The game ended with about 30 cards left in my deck, and only 2 agendas in the mix.  I won with 7 agenda points to 4, 1 agenda in my hand and 1 in the Trash.

I credit my win to luck, poker face, and bluffing skill.  Had my opponent been more aggressive early on he would have had a pretty quick win.  One or two turns during the early game of dedicated running against my hand or even my R&D and he would have had a quick win, though that would have been an expensive gamble.

Strategy wise, I also tried to mitigate risk by scoring the 1-point agendas as quickly as possible, or placing them in the riskiest positions in the hopes that if my opponent did score them he would be satisfied with the score and let the pressure up for a turn or so.

 

Edit: Another player had 8 remote servers at the end of a game, playing as Jinteki; 6 were protected, one of which was a Junebug.  Only one server had an Agenda, and it was unprotected.

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