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Subject: The difference between good and bad combos in Netrunner (and other card games in general) rss

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Alex Rockwell
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Introduction
In any card game, people love combos. Absolutely any combo at all, someone LOVES it.

Can you put a given two cards together and have the sum be greater than the individual parts? If so, some guy is out there on an internet forum somewhere exclaiming that this card is the greatest thing in the history of human civilization. Even better than the printing press! (which just happened to be necessary to create the physical card).

But here is the thing. Some combos are good, and some are bad!
Not just any combo is the greatest invention since the Plow!

The key to understand here is that when evaluating cards, many people get hung up on the BEST case scenario. "If I get both of these cards together, in the right order, and this situation happens, then it does something AWESOME. Therefore, these cards are AWESOME".

In truth, it is far better and more realistic to evaluate a card’s expected value. That is, weigh its value over all probabilities, weight the probabilities based on how likely they are, compute the averaged, expected result.

In a standard combo, cards A and B, if combined, provide a more powerful effect. For example:
Parasite + Datasucker. Sneakdoor Beta + Emergency Shutdown. Archer + Corporate Troubleshooter. Underworld Contacts + Rabbit Hole. Cell Portal + Akitaro. Pad campaign + Encryption Protocol. Scorched Earth + Scorched Earth. Put together, the cards grow in power due to their synergy with each other.

Most of these combos that I listed are good combos. What is the key that distinguishes a good combo from a bad combo? For a good combo the expected value of the cards are high. Not just the net result of having both, but the expected value of each INDIVIDUAL card, averaging together the chances that I have its combo partner, or not.

Sneakdoor Beta is a good card, regardless of whether you have Emergency Shutdown. Emergency Shutdown is a good card, regardless of whether you have Sneakdoor. Their expected value was already strong. The fact that they improve if you put them together just makes them better.
The same is true for Parasite and Datasucker.

But some of these combos are questionable.

Underworld Contacts + Rabbit Hole. Ok, there is potential here. But without link, Underworld Contacts is blank. Is this a good combo? Maybe if I build in enough redundancy into my deck, with replacement Rabbit Hole pieces like Dyson Mem Chip. And if the Rabbit Hole remains useful to me even without the Underworld Contact.

Akitaro + Cell Portal? Well, Akitaro is pretty good on his own. But Cell Portal is pretty questionable. I have to draw it early, or else I cant put it to the bottom of my ice fort where it needs to be. Or maybe I have to add a THIRD combo card, Sunset, to make it work. And the Sunset is even MORE useless outside of my combo. And now I need even more cards to make my combo work. I need non-end the run ice in front of my Cell Portal. Maybe I need a Whirlpool somewhere. And on and on I go, adding cards to my combo that intrinsically are not strong ON THEIR OWN, but are only good in my combo.

Its clear that this combo isn’t at the power level of Sneakdoor + Emergency Shutdown. Each individual card isn’t as strong, and I am really depending on having both, or putting together many cards, to get value. The average across all probabilities is weaker. My expected value is lower.

**************************************************
Lets look at varieties of combos:
Auto Win combo:
In a way, the ultimate combo is the auto-win combo. If you get cards X, Y, and Z together and they all work, then you WIN. Sea Source, Scorch, Scorch! Black Lotus + Channel + Fireball!
Many combo decks throughout the history of customizable card games have been built around these sorts of combos.

Now, the reward for an auto-win combo is super high. You WIN! Possibly in a super impressive way, which makes people secretly giggle with delight, as they are able to subject the opponent to a humiliating loss and the hand of the utter brilliance of their combo. (Ignoring the fact that said combo was discussed in detail on every internet forum in existence). Some combos throughout CCG history have even been so involved, that they require about 10 minutes of exacting calculation, resource management, and accounting, to generate the final result! What could be better than that, some players think, not only do I win, but my opponent is forced to spend 10 minutes focused on watching me masturbate with my cards, counting up resources and converting them into other resources, forcing him to witness the greatness of my concoction!

(Footnote: This was especially true of any combo involving this card:

Alternately, some thought the combo was the opposite of awesome, because playing it all day in a tournament was so hard that you would get a headache for sure. It was a true, real life, 'Yawgmoth's bargain'. You endured physical pain in return for your power)


**********************
Several factors potentially assail the value of the auto-win combo.

First of all, sometimes it might not win, if the opponent has appropriate counter measures. If my Cell Portal combo fails due to a Gordian Blade and 6 credits, it doesn’t seem quite as good anymore. Scorched Earthx2 has Plascrete to counter it. Neural Katana into Snare is preventable by Dues Ex, or playing Diesel first.

Now, some counters are bad, narrow cards. They are generally ignorable, unless the meta becomes dominated by your combo. If your combo has those kinds of counters, you might not need to worry, unless everyone starts playing the deck. But being countered by a common card like Gordian Blade and $6, well, that’s worrysome. This is part of why we all hate Woodcutter. We know that all your effort is just going to get crushed by a single Parasite, a commonly played card.



Secondly, the auto-win combo is limited by how many different cards must be assembled to complete it, and how fast it can work. Clearly, a 3 card combo is way worse than a 2 card combo, and something faster and cheap is far better.

If an auto-win combo is too consistent, too fast, and without sufficiently good counterplay, then it becomes DOMINANT. It becomes an easy way to win the game. For example, if you play Weyland Scorched Earth, with Project Atlas for consistency, and there is no Plascrete in existence, then you’ve got a dominant combo.


The 1 card combo
The ultimate form of an auto-win combo, or even just a very strong combo, is the ONE CARD combo. Whats that, you ask. How can ONE card be a combo? Throughout the history of customizable deckbuilding games, certain cards have existed as the engines of powerful combo decks.

For example, in Magic: the gathering we had the notorious Necropotence.

Ironically dubbed the “Worst card” in the Ice Age set by Inquest Magazine when it was released, (lol! How bad are people at card evaluation!), this card fueled various combo decks for years, by providing nearly infinite card draw potential. When having one card lets you draw ALL other cards, your combo is suddenly not just completed, but also supported and backed up by tons of other cards in your deck to ensure that it works.

For another example, there is Survival of the Fittest.


You could spend a mana and discard a creature to then go get any other creature. Ok, sounds like a fair trade right, no net gain of cards? Well, the thing about REPEATEDLY looking through your deck and picking any card is that, with a big enough cardpool, you tend to be able to circumvent any obstacle, and break any resource cost loop.

You see, first you could go get Squee, and then you would discard him to get another creature. Now every turn Squee comes back to your hand, so we are negating the ‘discard a creature’ repeated cost. Next we are going to find some Vengevines, discarding them all to search for the rest, and get them all in the discard. You see, we actually wanted them there. They come back out of the discard.
Rather than my combo requiring me to draw Survival, and Squee, and Vengevine, to do something amazing, my combo is one card. With Survival, I AUTOMATICALLY get every piece of my combo.

******************************
Hopefully by now you haven’t thought "screw this guy, he keeps talking about Magic cards, and I only care about Netrunner", hopefully you’re still reading. (I understand the feeling, I only care about netrunner too! You, me, and Richard Garfield all agree that it’s his best game)!

So whats a 1 card combo in Netrunner? No, we don’t have anything as broken as Necropotence or Survival of the Fittest yet.
Aesop’s Pawnshop comes to mind quickly. It adds small efficiency onto many cards, like Armitage Codebusting, Bank Job, anything you can play for free, etc. Is this a 1-card combo? Yes, in a way. You can build a deck around it, and its inherent existence in that deck makes all those cards a little more powerful. It’s a weak 1-card combo. But even that can be good.

How about Noise? Yes, Noise is a 1-card combo. You build a deck around him and he adds a substantial benefit onto many cards. Your deck can be so full of cards that combo with him, that you essentially always have some of them. When a card combos with your entire deck as a whole, it’s a 1 card combo. Not only that, but you can begin the game with him in play, how awesome!

Noise might be a powerful 1 card combo, but is that strategy a good one? If all the virus cards sucked and didn’t do much (like Original Netrunner, lol!), then he wouldn’t be a GOOD combo. If the synergy is REQUIRED for the card to reach an okay expected value, then that’s kindof a bad strategy. If the synergy your combo creates takes ALREADY decent or strong cards, and makes them REALLY strong together, then THAT is a good strategy.

Noise is an example of a good Synergy deck. I grouping of cards that are individually all good and together even stronger. Parasite? Good. Datasucker? Good. Medium? Good. Imp? Good. Personal Workshop? Good. Parasite + Datasucker? Even better. Parasite appearing off Workshop? Even better. All of those cards, individually reasonable, playable, even strong cards, also trashing the top card of R&D? Wow. That’s synergy.

This deck is a strong archetype because the expected value of every card is high. Every card is individually decent and gains automatic bonuses from things like my noise ability, and additional synergy power part of the time, when combed with the right other cards in my deck.
That’s a 1 card combo. That’s a Synergy deck. Its not an autowin 1-card combo. Noise doesn’t fetch three other cards by himself, put them in play, and then say GG. But it’s a strong combo.


1 card combos tend to be either Engine cards, that is, cards that provide access to tons of cards, tutor repeatedly for cards, or provide nearly unlimited resources. Or, they are synergy cards, cards that provide a significant boost to a wide array of other cards, so that when you play them all together the result is very strong.
Noise and Aesop’s Pawnshop are examples of synergy 1 card combos in netrunner. Project Atlas is kindof an Engine 1-card combo, though only if you can manage to overadvance it, so it’s a limited one.


Summary
We have different kinds of combos, of varying effectiveness.
* One card combos are engine cards that provide massive access to cards or resources, or repetitive deck-searching potential.

* A one card Synergy combo is simply a card that powers up tons of other cards, allowing the creation of a synergy deck to be built around it.

* A one card win combo is something that lets you tutor for or massively draw to get multiple pieces of a win combo. If these are consistent and fast they tend to utterly dominate formats and require bannings to fix.

* A multi-card win combo is a set of cards that, if you draw them all, can enable you to simply win the game. Possibly in some sort of mega-turn where you execute a loop repeatedly, or by executing a ‘hard-lock’ on your opponent, denying him the ability to do anything.
The strength of a multi card win combo depends on several factors:
A. How many cards are required (more cards is WAY WAY worse).
B. Do any of those cards have redundant backups that fulfill the same purpose (this makes the extra cards needed more tolerable).
C. How consistently does it win if assembled? Is it 100% automatic? Or are there viable, played, counter cards (Plascrete countering Scorch. Gordian Blade countering Whirlpool/Cell Portal infinite loop). A commonly played counter card is far more detrimental than a narrow, ignored one like Deus Ex, which will only become a factor if your combo becomes popular in the metagame.
D. How fast is your combo (resource intensive to pull off). Cheap cards are obviously better, since you need to assemble your combo and win before your opponent wins.

* A standard combo is two or more cards that, if used together, generate a more powerful effect than they normally do.
The strength of a standard combo is determined by looking at the EXPECTED VALUE of all the cards. Not the best case scenario, but looking at all three of the individual strength of card A, the individual strength of card B, and the strength of A+B together. If A and B are good cards on there own, this combo is very likely powerful. If one of A or B is worthless on its own, such as any combo using Sunset, your combo is really narrow. Perhaps you can justify your Akitaro + Cell Portal combo by saying Akitaro is good on its own. But if the net effect of that card that’s worthless on its own isn’t VERY strong, when combined, you're probably better off cutting it.

* In general, if you are trying to make a combo work and one or more of the cards is bad by itself, then the combo had probably better WIN or do something INSANELY strong, to justify it. Merely doing something ‘good’ is not enough here. But if each individual piece is a useful, decent card, then the bar is set lower. The combo being merely ‘good’ is sufficient here.


Historically, potential combo cards that are bad on their own are some of the absolute hardest cards to evaluate the strength of. Some people will try to think of their combos, and see potential, and thing they are amazing. They might be right, and a crazy good deck will be built from it. Or they might be massively overvaluing the actual value of the combo, or underestimating/ignoring possible counters to it, and be wrong. Others will look at the card and go “God, that sucks. It doesn’t do ANYTHING”. They might be right, because the combo wasn’t actually that viable. Or they might be wrong, and other people will make the amazing combo deck with it and then make fun of them on online forums because they had said it was bad. Anyone giving their thoughts/analysis of these cards is taking a risk. First of all, no matter what they say, tons of people will violently disagree with them. “No this card is the best EVAR. Because With X and Y you WIN THE GAME, if they don’t have Z!” Or simply because they might say a card is okay because of its potential, which is hard to determine, and then it turns out it actually was the greatest card ever because its win is consistent, or some cards are printed later that make it suddenly amazing.


Some final thoughts on some new netrunner cards
Replicator: Repetitive tutoring. That’s a potential 1 card combo engine right there. You get a hardware that has the ability to trash itself to tutor for other hardware, and this becomes a true tutor loop. Maybe its just a synergy card. Maybe it actually sucks, and will suck forever, because its not efficient enough or something. I DON’T KNOW. But it’s a card to keep your eye on, because even if its bad now, and it might be terrible, at any point in the future the right mix of cards might exist to make it suddenly turn into an unstoppable engine of hardware fuel.

Whirlpool: Yeah, its totally a piece of a 3+ card win combo (with Bullfrog or Cell Portal, and a third card to kill, possibly with more required). That’s right, it’s a combo with BULLFROG or CELL PORTAL. Cards that are bad on their own and defeated by a Gordian Blade. (Nobody plays Gordian Bla…oh wait. You can say no one plays Deus Ex, but you cant say no one plays Gordian). So this card has POTENTIAL to be a part of an auto-win combo, but there are very valid consistency questions. That said, Whirlpool combos do have redundancy in their favor. It can be in front of either Bullfrog or Cell Portal to do something nasty. And in the future maybe better cards than these will come out that it works with, and it will get a lot better. You can bullfrog them over to a Junebug for the kill, or to a Cell Portal server. So there are multiple endings to the combo that are possible. Right now most of the combos are just stopped old by a Gordian Blade, so I question their validity, but the card does have potential. Its not a strong card on its own though, and its one-use, so if you don't kill them with it it just goes away, and thanks a mark against it.


Surge: It’s a combo card that does nothing on its own, that’s a mark against it. But at least it does combo with MANY cards, not just one, so that’s in its favor. Is its synergy enough to make up for the fact that you cant use it by itself? Maybe.
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Kevin Lambert
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Would highly recommend you make this into a blog instead. Also i dig that you correctly identified Necro, bargain and survival as one card combos. I also want to point out that im fine with game winning combos, sea-scorched-scorched for example as long as there are a decent selection of playable foils to the combo(decoy/plascrete), however sitting through high tide, bargain-skirge-soul feast, academy or god forbid, Eggs is soulcrushing and makes me hate my life. So i hope the I win combos are able to fire off in a reasonable amount of time as the game adds more cards. I also would've like to have seen you mention the breaking point where synergy begins to make up for the difference in individual card strength a la Affinity, Tempered Steel, Dredge.
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Andrew Parsons
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I read the whole thing! Alexfrog is da man (no matter what they say about you) lol. laugh
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Alex Rockwell
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twylite wrote:
Would highly recommend you make this into a blog instead.

Hmm not sure how to do that. Oh well.

Quote:
I also want to point out that im fine with game winning combos, sea-scorched-scorched for example as long as there are a decent selection of playable foils to the combo(decoy/plascrete), however sitting through high tide, bargain-skirge-soul feast, academy or god forbid, Eggs is soulcrushing and makes me hate my life. So i hope the I win combos are able to fire off in a reasonable amount of time as the game adds more cards.


Yeah, formats dominated by I-win combos without counters are really dumb. If there are counters they are better. But netrunner doesnt have sideboarding, so counters need to be playable enough in general. Plascrete does something against lots of deck, its not just one deck trying to scorch you, so its fine.


Quote:

I also would've like to have seen you mention the breaking point where synergy begins to make up for the difference in individual card strength a la Affinity, Tempered Steel, Dredge.


I guess the breaking point is when the expected value of the card gets high enough that its strong, on the average, counting both the probabilities of when you have things it works with, and when you dont.
 
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Ben Finkel
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Alexfrog wrote:
Surge: It’s a combo card that does nothing on its own, that’s a mark against it. But at least it does combo with MANY cards, not just one, so that’s in its favor. Is its synergy enough to make up for the fact that you cant use it by itself? Maybe.


Isn't that "mark against it" true of any type of card that interacts with another type? Does Corporate Troubleshooter have a mark against it because it does nothing on its own? Personal Workshop? Etc? Surge touches 7 cards right now, 5 of them pretty well and with more viruses to come. That seems like plenty to me, especially because it already slots in smoothly with the Noise virus-spam archetype.
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Kevin Lambert
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Also for anyone who doesn't believe that Necro is a one card combo, it completely breaks the rules about individual card strength. If you have not played magic, you should look up the cards Donate and Illusions of Grandeur. Neither of these cards is close to playable on it's own, but when you draw 12 cards, and have Dark Rituals in your deck.....
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Azeltir wrote:

Isn't that "mark against it" true of any type of card that interacts with another type? Does Corporate Troubleshooter have a mark against it because it does nothing on its own? Personal Workshop? Etc? Surge touches 7 cards right now, 5 of them pretty well and with more viruses to come. That seems like plenty to me, especially because it already slots in smoothly with the Noise virus-spam archetype.


Yes. If decks contained 4 ice, troubleshooter would be super questionable. If you played personal workshop and only a couple cards to stick on it, it would probably suck. Surge with only a Medium in your deck is similarly questionable.

But all of these are examples of cards that can possibly synergize with like 20 cards, so in some decks, the decks that people are thinking of playing when they think about the card, they will always have acombo partner.
 
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twylite wrote:
Also for anyone who doesn't believe that Necro is a one card combo, it completely breaks the rules about individual card strength. If you have not played magic, you should look up the cards Donate and Illusions of Grandeur. Neither of these cards is close to playable on it's own, but when you draw 12 cards, and have Dark Rituals in your deck.....


Ana mana vaults, and lotus petals, and unmasks, and duresses, and force of wills...

That deck. Epitome of a good one card combo. If the necro was in play you didnt just have a combo, you also had a supply or 0 cost counterspells, resources to cast the combo, and disruption spells as well.
 
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It's nice to have it all laid out systematically, but I can't figure out where these kneejerk combo fanatics are whom the polemical tone is directed at. The examples given don't exactly clarify things: I think I do vaguely remember some lukewarm Akitaro/Cell Portal enthusiasm back before anyone actually tried using Cell Portal, and, as you say, Underworld Contact/Rabbit Hole is actually pretty good if (and only if) you're otherwise planning on an early link boost.

Really, the only thing I can think of is that this was mainly inspired by all Whirlpool fanfare. I want to stress that surely nobody ever claimed that Whirlpool is a tournament-winner, but with that said, I both agree and disagree with your remarks on the subject. Whirlpool's auto-win combos do have a low expected payoff. But it's hardly useless on its own; it raises the stakes quite a bit, forcing people to both budget more and carry a strong decoder (or AI, which turns it into a 0-cost speedbump for two very inefficient icebreakers) against unrezzed ice (or flatlining them if they don't). It's a combo card, sure, but it's also potentially a threat card, a meta card, and a few other things.

Whoops, got carried away; I totally didn't mean this to be a big "defense of Whirlpool" post. So in closing, I'll just quote this for emphasis:

Alexfrog wrote:
Historically, potential combo cards that are bad on their own are some of the absolute hardest cards to evaluate the strength of.
 
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Matthew Gagan
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Great post, Alex.

Necropotence, man... I almost stopped doing Magic tournaments in that card's heyday. I remember thinking it was broken almost immediately and it took more than a month for most people to catch on how good it was. I refused to play with it and would go into tournaments running mono-White or G/r with anti-black cards maindeck and *still* have trouble against 'Potence decks (& struggle against the brain-dead mono-red that were also being fielded against a 'Potence meta).

As strong as that one-card combo was, it was the egregious Hymn to Tourach, the first turn Black Ritual'd Hypnotic Spectres, the Drain Lifes, Terrors, Black Knights (prot. from White), Demonic Tutor and the Nevinyrral's Disks that made the whole deck just one giant combo. The sheer amount of disruption and unrelenting assault of a 'Potence deck couldn't be matched no matter how you prepared for it.

It's not quite as bad but playing against Noise feels a little bit that way to me. In Netrunner it's the Criminal faction has the overall insane card quality that Black had during the days of Necropotence, but they're lacking the one-card identity combo that is Noise.
 
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kobold47 wrote:
It's nice to have it all laid out systematically, but I can't figure out where these kneejerk combo fanatics are whom the polemical tone is directed at.


Generic people. They exist. Its meant to be humorous.
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mgagan wrote:

It's not quite as bad but playing against Noise feels a little bit that way to me. In Netrunner it's the Criminal faction has the overall insane card quality that Black had during the days of Necropotence, but they're lacking the one-card identity combo that is Noise.


Yeah. Noise is kindof holding up the Anarch faction. Which is part of why Whizzard sucks so much. Criminal just has so many great individual cards.
 
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Alexfrog wrote:
Replicator: Repetitive tutoring. That’s a potential 1 card combo engine right there. You get a hardware that has the ability to trash itself to tutor for other hardware, and this becomes a true tutor loop. Maybe its just a synergy card. Maybe it actually sucks, and will suck forever, because its not efficient enough or something. I DON’T KNOW. But it’s a card to keep your eye on, because even if its bad now, and it might be terrible, at any point in the future the right mix of cards might exist to make it suddenly turn into an unstoppable engine of hardware fuel.


I don't see anything on replicator about trashing it to search for other hardware.
 
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Keggy wrote:
Alexfrog wrote:
Replicator: Repetitive tutoring. That’s a potential 1 card combo engine right there. You get a hardware that has the ability to trash itself to tutor for other hardware, and this becomes a true tutor loop. Maybe its just a synergy card. Maybe it actually sucks, and will suck forever, because its not efficient enough or something. I DON’T KNOW. But it’s a card to keep your eye on, because even if its bad now, and it might be terrible, at any point in the future the right mix of cards might exist to make it suddenly turn into an unstoppable engine of hardware fuel.


I don't see anything on replicator about trashing it to search for other hardware.


Sorry I was unclear.

I meant, in the future, if some hardware appears that trashes itself to get a different hardware, then it turns replicator into something awesome.
 
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Hany Hebisha
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Very Nice article. Now, what are your thoughts about MO, is this a 1-card eco engine ? I think it fits the description.
 
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Nah, MO needs +MU support otherwise you can't install many breakers to actually USE that money (other than Crypsis, but the need to click for virus tokens offsets the benefit of having MO in the first place...) * Except for ChaosTheory, who has the +1MU.

Whirlpool also combos with 2+(Hourglass/Bioroids). A runner might run on click 1 with no killer, but not fear an ichi. If they hit a whirlpool first, then 2 ichis or a hourglass/ichi will hurt! Whirlpool is also excellent with Chum, and with MatrixAnalyser+Trap. Is this enough possible combos though? Since you probably won't be running all those cards in the same deck.
 
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I agree that Underworld Contacts + Rabbit Hole isn't a great combo outside of Shaper. You probably dedicate 6 cards and 3 influence and at least 6 credits to it which isn't very good.
However, in my Chaos Theory decks where I play Rabbit Hole anyway, Underworld Contacts has replaced Sure Gamble for me. Since Shaper games tend to be a little longer anyway, I'm getting my money's worth out of them most of the time.
 
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Acetone wrote:
Isn't combo a rather longer streak of punches? That's why 2 or 3 cards that synergise require each other is a basic interactivity, not a combo.

By your logic Trix, Tooth and Nail and practically all Magic combo decks are not combo decks, which is silly.

A combo is a combination. In common use a combination of cards with a very powerful effect that either wins you the game or gets you really close.


Survival of the Fittest and Necropotence are engines, they turn one resource into another. They are not combo cards and don't combo with anything to win the game they just fuel decks by providing tutoring and card draw.

They might fuel combo decks (Rec-Sur and Trix, for example) but they can also power control and aggro (As is the case with Survival and the original Necro-based decks).


I don't think this version of Netrunner has anything resembling a combo. The original had a deck that allowed you to get infinite actions but that's it.

 
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Where does the synergy of a "useless" combo card make it good enough for inclusion? I think it depends on how many cards you are willing to draw before the combo needs to work. If the combo needs to work right away (5 card draw) and every time (+95%) you will need to have many cards that it works with ~20 cards. If it is an end game card you may only need ~5 cards that combo. Of course the combo also needs to be better than non-combo options, which is an easy trap.

General_Norris wrote:
A combo is a combination. In common use a combination of cards with a very powerful effect that either wins you the game or gets you really close.
...
I don't think this version of Netrunner has anything resembling a combo. The original had a deck that allowed you to get infinite actions but that's it.

2x Scorched Earth?
Archer + Corporate Troubleshooter?
Whirlpool + Chum + Neural Katana? :p

It seems like Netrunner does have combos, even if you restrict them to "game winning" combos. Scorched Earth has been a combo deck since day 1.
 
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Jeremy Owens
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On Replicator:

Had a Netrunner night with some friends yesterday to prep for Regionals on Saturday. For my last game, I proxied Replicator into a Kate deck. Rather than the Aesop-driven money replicator model, it aimed for solid hardware that I would use.

The deck jumped to a huge lead in game state, stalled a bit (5 link cards and could not draw them for my life even with the deck thinning... hurt ZU.13 and Underworld Contacts were just junk), and then finished strong. It was an interesting game. I can't say it's going to warp any metagames, but it definitely wasn't a bad deck.

It also gains more and more potential as new hardware is released. Replicator is a 1 card combo, but Inside Man is definitely nitrous for that engine.

One caveat... If you don't like to play deckbuilding games (Dominion et all) because of constantly shuffling your deck, set replicator to the side and forget about it.
 
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Brian H
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Mess with the best, die like the rest.
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Alexfrog wrote:

Sorry I was unclear.

I meant, in the future, if some hardware appears that trashes itself to get a different hardware, then it turns replicator into something awesome.


Maybe a card called "Recycling"?
 
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Frank Brooks
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Acetone wrote:
I always associated combos in card games with 4, 5, 6 or longer card combinations like those from MtG's Legacy combo decks.

Isn't combo a rather longer streak of punches? That's why 2 or 3 cards that synergise or require each other is a basic interactivity, not a combo.


Would you consider the two card combo: Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin not a combo?





If you put Splinter Twin on Deceiver Exarch, you get infinite Exarchs and win. Like any combo, you can counterspell it, but it literally only takes two cards to win here. Is this not a combo?
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Acetone wrote:
I always associated combos in card games with 4, 5, 6 or longer card combinations like those from MtG's Legacy combo decks.

Isn't combo a rather longer streak of punches? That's why 2 or 3 cards that synergise or require each other is a basic interactivity, not a combo.


I didnt know people even tried to make combo decks requiring that many pieces. Most of the ones I'm familiar with were 2-3 card combos, or the 1-card engine combos that would just pull out every other piece of the combo.


If you mean a Synergy decks, where there are many cards that all have strong synergy with each other, then yeah, those had many cards. But you didnt need all of them to make hte combo good.

 
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Eric Boivin
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Multi-cards combos do not exist only in Legacy for Magic. Just look at the Second Sunrise/Eggs deck in Modern. This is a huge combo, where every card is either part of the combo, or there to help you reach it. It makes very boring games to watch though, and Second Sunrise was just banned to stop this deck.

Here's a final of a Pro Tour where this deck was used
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZDaM4VpSBk

We're pretty far in Netrunner to reach something like that, although I've seen a deck achieve the mytical triple Notoriety turn, fueled with All-Nighters, Joshua B and such.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Acetone wrote:

In Netrunner. Underworld Contact + Rabbit Hole. Is. Not. A combo. Too big of a word for basic stuff. If we go this path you'll be pulling off combos just by playing cards in a smart way every turn, by not even trying.


So for you a combo is only a Win Combo?
 
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