Last week you read my “5 Tips for New Runners” entry and now you’re kicking ass and taking names! No Corporation can you keep you out of their servers and you’ve started to purposefully sacrifice Agendas to Data Dealer just so you can keep walking all over them longer thanks to all that amazing advice I gave you. You no longer run recklessly into Junebugs and instead run into them like a boss, tanking the net damage with your grip full of cards.
But now you’ve got a new problem. See, when you play Corporation, Runners always avoid your traps. Your R&D is practically leaking Agendas. Even your 12 deep wall of ICE couldn’t do anything. You’re at wit’s end and, if you lose one more game, you are going to do the unthinkable: give all of your employees a raise, provide healthcare to everyone, and become a *gasp* non-profit organization.
I can’t let that happen, so, here I am again, this time bringing a few tips to help those heroic Corporations deal with all of those nasty Runners! As with last week, please take this advice with a grain of salt. Playing Corporation, in my opinion, is more complicated then playing Runner and often relies on surprising, tricking, and ambushing the Runner, meaning that “rules” are even more prone to being breakable then with Runners.
Still, I feel like these tips should help you out on your way to becoming a serious Corp player!
1. Think Before You Mulligan
As a Corporation, a mediocre hand is trouble. However, a bad hand loses games. I’ve played against Corps (and been a Corp) that have mulled decidedly “meh” hands into a game losing 3+ Agenda hand. So, before you mulligan, think very carefully about how bad your hand really is and if it is worth risking the fact that it could be much worse.
I am not trying to scare you out of mulligans as Corp! When your hand is legitimately bad, you should have no qualms about tossing it back. It is just that you should think very carefully
about how much you want to risk that the hand could be much worse. Moreso then a lot of other games, a bad opening hand for the Corp can be fatal.
2. Card Draw May Not Actually Be King
This is a rule that may rub longtime TCG players the wrong way. The simple fact is that, as a Corporation, seeing too many of your cards can be a bad thing. The fact that your Agendas also serve as a win condition for the Runner means that drawing into them is, in many ways, a negative; your hand will become crowded (making HQ runs easy to complete), you won’t have enough adequately defended Remote Serves to play them to (forcing you to take big risks to get them out of your hand), which could force you to dump them into your Archives (the very worst place in the game for Agendas, as it is the least useful location to defend and guarantees access to everything in it with a single run).
As such, you want to try to keep those Agendas in your R&D for as long as possible.
Again, don’t let this scare you out of drawing when needed. It is just that, as the Corporation, there is a real downside to drawing large chunks of your deck.
3. You Can’t Keep a Runner Out Forever… Just for a While
It is important to realize that, no matter how awesome your walls of ICE end up being, it isn’t impossible for the Runner to crack any data fort you have. It is simply a matter of money for them. I don’t care if it is 3 Archers followed by 3 Tollbooths followed by 3 Heimdalls (although serious congrats on that server, it is pretty beastly): as long as the runner has the right Icebreakers and the ability to get Credits, they WILL eventually manage to get into it.
This means that, especially as the game progresses, timing becomes everything. You have to time Agenda attempts so that the Runner can’t actually reach them while the Agenda is in the server. This is where bluffing and misdirection come into play really come into play: if a server is so expensive to run that the Runner can only do it once every three turns, then make them run it while nothing of value is in there! Or maybe they have exactly enough money to run it right now, but you have a second, cheaper data fort and they can’t run both this turn. Go ahead and install two things down and make them choose where to hit!
You can’t think of making a data fort impenetrable. You need to think of how to make it impenetrable just long enough to score your Agenda!
4. Midgame is Your Friend
Despite (in my opinion) Corporations playing similarly to control decks in other card games, a Corporation does not actually want to reach lategame. When lategame finally rolls around, the Runner is going to have a fully assembled rig and be at their most dangerous. The Corporation is at their best before the Runner reaches that point. The ideal point in the game for the Corporation is when they have some credits stockpiled, a couple ICE (preferably some of it unrezzed) on their servers, and the Runner has yet to be able to develop a full suite of Icebreakers.
It is at that point in the game that the Corporation is safest. The Runner won’t be able to penetrate all types of ICE (and they won’t even know if they have enough credits to punch through the wall), your big, expensive ICE can stop runs dead in their tracks, a failed run will take significant time for the Runner to recover from because they don’t have Armitage/Magnum Opus in place yet., etc.
Exploit this opportunity!
5. Don’t Underestimate the Dangers of R&D
Especially early on in your play, R&D won’t seem that dangerous to leave exposed. After all, they have to luck out and hit those Agendas! Of course, to even reach those
Agendas, they are going to need to not hit ICE or Operations that will completely stall out their attempts to peruse your R&D. You can get by without defending it too well, right?
R&D is incredibly dangerous to you. You have no idea what exists in R&D or how it’s ordered. It could be ICE for the next 5 turns or it could be 2 Priority Requisitions sitting right on top, waiting for the Runner to liberate them. The fact of the matter is that, if given enough opportunities to run R&D, the Runner will hit Agendas. Worse, there are already a few cards (Maker’s Eye and Medium) that will allow the Runner to access multiple cards in a single run, increasing their chances of seeing an Agenda substantially.
So don’t skimp on defending it because you think “Oh they’ll just keep running into cards they can’t get rid of!” Defend your R&D like every card they hit could be an Agenda because, for all you know, it very well could be.
And there you have it, 5 tips on playing as the Corporation!
Special thanks to FFG and Cardgamedb.com for the images. If you guys would like them removed, please let me know and I will take them down.
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