Netrunner Tips: How Do You Stop Scorched Earth? Stay Criminal

Though you can start playing Android: Netrunner almost immediately (once you’re done with assembly), it really shines when you start building your own deck from its cards. All sorts of powerful options become available to you – and your opponents.

I was playing and talking Android: Netrunner a couple of weeks ago with some good mates, when one of them (Chris, naturally) showed me a nasty combination of Corporation cards in his hand: namely, SEA Source and Scorched Earth.

Why are they nasty? Because they have the potential to end the game for the Runner in one fell swoop.

Here are some Netrunner tips to help the Runner deal with not just this nasty combo, but another one featuring Posted Bounty.

How likely am I to encounter a Posted Bounty / SEA Source and Scorched Earth combo?

The Weyland Consortium faction card.

The base Weyland Consortium deck (Weyland cards plus the generic cards) includes two Posted Bounty agendas and two Scorched Earth operations. You just have to hope your opponent either doesn’t realise he or she has dynamite in the deck. The good news is you won’t be facing off against SEA Source as well.

If your opponent has built his deck? Given that Scorched Earth costs 4 Influence points and Posted Bounty is a Weyland-only agenda, your opponent is more likely to boost a Weyland deck with a couple of SEA Source operations than include Scorched Earth in an NBN deck. Then again, given that NBN also has the Closed Accounts operation…

It’s hard to imagine a Corp deck with a Jinteki or Haas-Bioroid identity with SEA Source and Scorched Earth (up to twelve Influence points), but never say never.

If your Weyland opponent happens to be Chris Lohmann, count on it.

Unless he’s trying to fake you out. He’s a tricksy one, that Lohmann…

How do I stop a Posted Bounty / SEA Source and Scorched Earth combo from beating me?

At first blush this seems tricky. The combos themselves are fairly cheap, although using Posted Bounty means the Corp player has to sacrifice an agenda point.

However, the very same Chris Lohmann whose name I cursed so thoroughly just above came up with a solution: Roll with a Criminal deck.

Before we get to that, though, let’s examine holding those four meat damage off:

Prevention is Better than the Triage Ward

The basic SEA Source / Scorched Earth combo costs five bits credits. Do what you can to reduce the Corp’s access to finances, like trashing PAD Campaigns and Melange Mining Corps. Posted Bounty needs three Corp clicks and three bits credits to advance to completion, so again, keep the Corp on his or her toes and you might even be able to score it before the Corp can.

Stopping the Tag

This is where ties to the underworld come in handy.

If your opponent is using SEA Source, you’re in with a chance. You can completely avoid it by not running, but that’s an automatic win for your opponent. Improve your link with some Access to Globalsec resources.

Taking a Shaper deck is a good start as the Kate “Mac” McCaffrey identity gives +1 link as well as access to the Rabbit Hole hardware cards (+1 link each). A really handy boost, though, comes from the Criminal faction’s Crash Space resource. You get two in the core set; each costs two Influence. Pair them with Mac and a Rabbit Hole or two and you’re immediately looking at a Link of 4 before you spend any more bits credits.

Stopping the tag from Posted Bounty is harder; the only way to stop its automatic, no-Trace-needed tag in the core set, I believe, is the Criminal faction’s Decoy resource. The core deck gives you two and they cost two Influence each, so they’re worth thinking about when building any Runner deck.

Soaking the Damage

If luck is on your side the Corp may only be able to play one Scorched Earth in his or her turn, freeing you up to remove the tag in your next. The advice from my first tip post still applies: Make sure you have at least four cards in your hand prior to finishing your turn. It’ll sting, especially if you lose some cards you were hoping to play, but you’ll still be in the game.

But what happens when the Corp sacrifices his or her whole turn to play SEA Source, then Scorched Earth – then ANOTHER Scorched Earth? Or even scores Posted Bounty and rolls two Scorched Earth cards with a click remaining?

While I first believed there was little option, Chris “Heartless Bastard” Lohmann offered a ray of hope: When trashed, the Crash Space resource prevents up to three meat damage. If you have both out at once, you could conceivably get away with only losing two cards from your grip.

Of course, this will mean the Corp player must attempt other shenanigans to rid you of your precious resources, hopefully buying you time to secure enough agenda points for the win anyway.

What are you doing?

What’s your Scorched Earth war story?

What other nasty card combos have you come across in Android: Netrunner? How have you countered them?