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From: David Reis <david.reis@*****.COM>
Subject: Re: [FASA] Second Run comments
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 10:47:33 -0700
Teos Abadia wrote:
>I have been trying to build a mage deck for quite some time. I have one
>that favors shamans, one that favors hermetics, and one that mixes both
>types of magicians. In all cases, I have real trouble building a deck
>that can be a clear winner. The decks are good, but I just can't count
>on them to win, even after considerable time spent on the deck strategy.
>I see four main reasons for this:
>1. Awakened runners are cheap, but require gear to become powerful and
>form a capable runner team. When you factor in the gear, their cost can
>match some other non-magical runners, but the final stats (mage plus
>gear) aren't much better. This shouldn't be the case, since it is
>harder to match up cards than to just deploy a non-magical runner.
>2. Sleazing can't be relied upon, since there are too many skills that
>mages are lacking. If mages/shamen had a wider selection of skills, and
>had more skilss per runner, sleazing alone could bring magical decks up
>to a competitive level with big thug decks. As it stands, sleazing can
>help, but it is rare that you can get past more than one challenge if
>your runner plays the typical "hard to beat challenges" that rely on
>piloting, demolitions, technical, and gunnery (highway showdown, big
>chase, fusion gate, mine field, maglocks, etc.). Sleazing
>opportuinities come mostly from the spell cards.
>3. Spells often are fate-controlled. Spells often work only on a
>certain die roll, like Sleep. The problem is, a mage/shaman deck can't
>absorb that much damage, and often faces formidable challenges. These
>challenges are the same ones that might take out a Torgo,
>Skwraaaaaaark!, and two other support runners! When a mage/shaman team
>runs, the player has often spent many turns collecting the right spell
>gear. When that gear fails, the team often perishes, and recovery time
>is to great, allowing a muscle deck to quickly win the game.
>4. Healing spirits takes too long. Riggers share the same problem, but
>riggers often have better defensive stats. Shamen often have a low
>threat rating. They need spirits for offense, and also for defense.
>Even so, it is quite common that both the runner and spirit will take
>damage. As I understand it, when the next legwork phase begins, the
>runner may turn to heal, or may turn to heal the spirit, but may not do
>both. This means that the runner must spend one round to heal, plus an
>additional round for each spirit. Even with biotech, this becomes a
>real problem. When you pay 4 for a shaman and 4 for a spirit, your
>stats match those of other equally expensive runners. However, you
>usually don't have armor, have to turn to heal your gear, and have to
>match the cards in the first place. These disadvantages again favor
>muscle decks. Add in the way any cards that target a runner affect the
>runner but not the spirit, and the usefulness of spirits in comparison
>to "big thug" runners becomes even more reduced.
I've never built a mage deck (they have the offense but not the defense),
but before Underworld came out I had a shaman deck that was quite effective
(I haven't played it since Underworld came out, so I can't comment on its
play with respect to the new cards). It generally came out quickly due to
the inclusion of Shade, who gets his first spirit free. It did well on
runs because the spirits could absorb a lot of damage for the runners, and
even if I lost some spirits/runners, they were cheap to replace. As for
healing, the inclusion of Hawkwind and Moon Shadow allowed me to heal
runners between challenges to extend runs and also allowed runners to focus
their healing on their spirits and not themselves. Most times, I had taken
two objectives before my opponents were ready to start their first run. It
was just a matter of holding them off a while longer until I could put the
game away.



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