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I'm working on a combat decker/B&E character for an upcoming campaign. I've only dabbled in SR in the past and I'm new to the SR3 Matrix rules but I want to give them a shot in-game.

My character is going to be somewhat of a newbie decker in-game as well. I'm only starting with the Novatech-6 deck but I have a good amount of cash for utilities. I also have the Matrix book but I haven't delved into it too much yet. My GM recommended keeping it simple at the beginning.

So I'm looking for advice on what my starting utilities should be. I probably have around 200k-300k left that I can spend on utilities. What are the absolute necessities? What can you live without? What utils need to be maxed out and which ones don't?
Actually, I recommend getting almost all of them, at least at rating 3. Depending on what rules from Matrix you use, you can leave out the special comm programs (laser link, sat link, etc).

Some of the utilities like Validate aren't always needed, but they can save alot of work and security tally.

First, get the highest rating Sleaze you feel you can pay for.

Other musts: (IMHO)
Attack (at least Serious or Deadly)
Relocate (especially if you are not using the satlink rules)
Browse (since you need 5 successes total to locate files from searches)

There are others, but I am working from memory here.

Also, if you are using the Matrix rules, you may want to build yourself a custom deck, or at least upgrade the Novatech-6.
Sleaze-6 is a must, as are Deception-6, Analyze-6, and Browse-6. Other than that, it depends on what you're going to do. Datasteals/file editing? Get Read/Write-6 and Decrypt-6, and possibly Defuse-6 and Purge-6. Messing with doors/alarms/cameras/turrets/etc? Spoof-6 and Crash-6.

I'm going to disagree with Bigity and say don't bother with Attack. With this deck you'll be lucky to finish combat with IC without triggering more IC; by the time they're on your tail, it's time to log off and take a half-hour break.

Also, as soon as you start the game start programming other utilities. Upgrade them incrementally (level 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 as opposed to straight to 6), do the same when upgrading utilities you already have. Never let one of your core programs be a lower rating than your MPCP.

That's a good point actually. I didn't really take his deck into consideration. Although, a steamroller utility might allow him to take out tar IC pretty easily.
Eyeless Blond
I wouldn't bother with a Deadly attack program unless it was a backup one-shot; they're too big, bulky and expensive to bother with under most circumstances. Serious seems to be fine for most purposes, especially since you can attack twice in one initiative pass and two Serious wounds equal a deadly.

Low-Rating Medic and Restore programs will also be useful when you're up to going against IC as well, although you're probably not going to be doing that until you have at least a good Kraftwerk or equivalent (MPCP-8, Response Increase 2). Everything else I can think of has been covered already.
I agree with both general sentiments here. Pick a few programs to max out and whatever rating your deck can take, leave a little storage memory for paydata, and then split the rest of your storage memory more-or-less evenly on almost all other programs. If you have a specific run coming up, you might invest in a brand new program at higher rating.
I'd just use the SR3 Matrix rules to start with if you are truely new to the Matrix. It's not over complicated, and the explainations aren't too verbose compared to the depth M3 offers.

I ran SR3 matrix a few times to initiate all my runners to the whole Matrix scene just to get their feet wet. Atleast now they have some indication of what's involved.
if you're using Matrix, then there are only four programs that are absolutely required: Sleaze-6, Deception-6, Cloak-6, and Validate-6. Sleaze keeps you from being noticed; Deception gets you onto hosts; Cloak allows you to perform the Evade Detection combat maneuver (why bother fighting IC, when you can simply hide from it and keep going?), and Validate-6 allows you to do lots of the basic operations for free. with those four programs, you can easily handle most Matrix runs.
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