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Asset Rez-to-Trash and game design

Can anyone discern the thinking behind the rez-to-trash values on assets? Is there a formula that makes sense or that seems to apply generally?

The biggest problem with asset spam is that the assets that get played – generally – have low rez costs and higher trash costs, which means a runner who trashes them ends up farther behind than the Corp even if the Corp pays to rez them.

With barriers, we can see a clear baseline formula. Wall of Static is the prototype. For X rez cost you get an ice of X strength with 1 ETR subroutine. We can evaluate other barriers from this starting point. Is there a similar “generic” starting point for assets?

I think the base-formula is that trash is 2 greater than rez. Then the actual rez/trash is used as balance mechanism. Look at PAD campaign as one of the ‘typical’ assets.

The reason behind this is likely a cost-curve. Since drawing and installing a card costs 2 clicks, it should be at least as valuable as clicking for 2 credits. Thus the difference of 2 between what the corp is costed for rezzing it and the runner for trashing it.

Then, since cards in your deck should benefit you it also has an effect. A typical effect is +4 credits for a hedge fund. Thus if a PAD sticks around for 6 turns it can be considered equal to a hedge-fund money-wise. It has the downside of being slower, and being able to be countered. The upside of possibly infinite return and the cost to get rid of.


From what I can tell, I don’t think there is. It’s got to be a little hard to quantify the value of some asset effects. You can develop an easy formula that x strength = one credit on a piece of ice, but I’m not sure how you automatically quantify something like “the runner loses one click each time he trashes a card” or “the runner takes one net damage each time he trashes a card.” Elusive is probably onto something.

To me, it seems like anecdotally in some of the earlier cycles, the designers were sometimes overly cautious, with a lot of the assets getting rez-to-trash ratios that weren’t good enough to make them playable.

In the Mumbad cycle, we saw the opposite trend, where the rez-to-trash ratios became so favorable to the corp that toxic prison decks took off.

I am sympathetic because it can’t be easy to find the sweet spot and hindsight is 20-20, although I’m not a fan at all of cards like sandburg: 0:4 rez to trash ratio with a potentially game-breaking affect.

Also, it seems weird to me that it costs additional money to stack ice, but the corp can make infinite remote servers at no additional cost.

It is interesting to think about what netrunner have been like if you had to pay X when creating a new remote when X is your current number of remotes. Corps would have been extremely weak in the Genesis cycle due to the lack of econ but might have picked back up when better econ came out in spin.


Some assets are supposed to be protected with ICE rather than be self protecting, but they have a high power for their rez cost to make up for it.

In practice this doesn’t happen a lot because of the relative power level of effects / common strategies (e.g. spending an ice to protect a Melange means the runner has 1 less ice to trash when they want to Medium spam your R&D).

Also, asset trashing is a “punisher” mechanic which lets the runner choose out of two bad options even when the asset is not protected by ice (punisher mechanics are quite common in netrunner) so it depends on which of the two options you want to happen more often. You could make assets that are never meant to be trashed (by giving them really high trash costs), so they act more like permanent cards: the corp pays the cost and gets to have the effect (e.g. Zaibatsu Loyalty) although technically the runner could trash them if they really wanted to. Similarly you could make assets that are always meant to be trashed, like the politicals, just to act as speed bumps for the runner. Not every asset needs to be 50/50 about trashing or not trashing.

Basics for Runner/Corp is +3c for 0c (then +4 for 5c, +5 for 10c, etc)
Anything at +2 is a blank card (exemple, playing Infiltration for money).
This being said, an asset giving +2c is also a blank card. On each turn it stays, it gives +1.

Econ card are super easy to balance. Main problem is FFG doesn’t pay attention to what is a economy card, being via accelerating cards or destroying the other’s side economy - asset trash cost enter this last category : they have no problem with giving trash costs of 4-5 to win enabling cards.

I don’t think there’s a formula. If you look at early Netrunner design, they had no real idea about how long it is realistic to expect unprotected assets to stay around in order to make the investment pay off, or how much of a liability low trash cost cards are in R&D (or HQ), or that having protected secondary remotes isn’t feasible for most corp decks. Some ‘econ’ cards seem to have been explicitly designed to dodge Siphon/Vamp, rather than being actually profitable enough to be worth a card slot, but that didn’t really take off (Dedicated Server, Private Contracts)

There is not ONE formula, there is plenty :slight_smile:
There was the begining formula, until a card break it and they redo their formula :slight_smile:

Rez-to-Trash is actually not directly related, and it’s what throws lots of people off, and leads to ‘Sandburg is OP!’ topics.

Trash cost is a function of how difficult it should be for the Runner to get rid of the effect, whatever it is.
Rez cost is a function of how difficult it should be for the Corporation to start the effect.
These two things are not directly related.
(PAD Campaign actually is a tiny bit over costed in Rez Cost. If it rezzed for 1 it would be a much better card. But it’s also a neutral card, and that’s probably why it costs 2 to rez instead of 1.)

Back to ‘Sandburg is OP!’… Yes, it costs 0 to rez, but if you leave it in a server without ICE, then the trash cost is just 4. But no one does that, and more importantly, Sandburg doesn’t do anything by itself; it requires other Remotes. (Yes, it protects your Central ICE, but generally speaking, decks that run Sandburg want a Scoring Server. There may exist exceptions to this, lord knows I’ve tried…) Thus, Sandburg actually costs 0 + ICE-on-Sandburg’s-Server to rez. It also requires that you draw enough ICE to defend all three centrals and two remotes. When you look at it that way, along with the fact that the card won’t do anything if you had to spend money on it, zero to rez makes sense.

Compare to something like Melange Mining Corp. The 1 trash cost is to incentivize defending it with ICE because otherwise it is trivial for the Runner to stop. The Asset doesn’t cost much to rez, because as an econ Asset, it doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of money for no effect, especially as it takes your entire turn each time you want to use it.

Finally, the Political assets… These are contentious, but mainly they’re fine because you can’t put ICE in front of them and their trash costs are low enough that Runners can trash them easily. Other effects (Gagarin, CtM, IG) are what make them very strong, otherwise they’d see play in every faction/ID. (See Also: Hedge Fund)


I strongly disagree that the cost of turning on an effect that will win the game for the corp and the cost of turning it off for the runner aren’t directly related.

If hostile infrastructure were 0/5, corps would just install and rez it turn 1, and most runners would struggle to deal with it. Many to most runners already struggle to deal with it as it is now even. The 5 rez cost is a built-in restriction on the corp’s ability to pressure runners with a game-altering affect faster than the runner can possibly keep up with it.

Effects like IG, CTM, encryption protocol, hostile infrastructure, RP and friends in high places are pretty easy ways to skew the cost of eliminating assets and upgrades further toward the corp. Installing ice is another way that.

Aside from that, nothing happens in a vacuum. Now that the corp can fill a deck with cards that have powerful assets with favorable rez-to-trash ratios, just installing a number of these cards creates quick advantage that snowballs. I remember reading a blog post by Dan D’Argenio about his IG deck where he described the gameplan as something along the lines of “keep installing assets until you win.”

That’s the downside of making these cards too easy to rez, it becomes easy to overwhelm the runner and forces everyone to play Whizzard or Andromeda.

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You’ve got a three-variable problem, are making one variable a constant, then declaring that it’s a two-variable problem. (Otherwise how do you calculate Rez to Trash for something like Sealed Vault, at 0 Rez 8 Trash, or Off the Grid, 6 Rez 0 Trash?)

Strength of Effect, Rez Cost, Trash Cost are all related. Hostile Infrastructure or SanSan City Grid have such a Strength of Effect that their Rez and Trash costs appear pretty directly related: You have to make the effect expensive for the Corp or else it’s too oppressive. You have to make the trash cost similarly high so that it’s not always the best move to just go trash it.

Rez to Trash is not directly related for all assets. Rez and Trash costs are more closely related to the power of the effect, rather than each other.

EDIT: I’d basically sum this up as ‘You aren’t strictly wrong, but I feel you might be missing the Forest for the Trees.’

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I didn’t say it’s a two-variable problem. I said trash cost and rez cost are, or should be, directly related when you said they are not, and I repeatedly referenced the power level of cards.

You raised the political assets. They have 0 or 1 rez cost and an extremely powerful effect, but a low trash cost. The trash cost is directly connected to the rez cost. It’s also directly connected to the power level of the card.

In the case of Sandburg, you have a potentially game-breaking effect that is often devastating when rezzed mid-run, a 0 rez cost and a 4 trash cost. In my view, that’s a badly-designed card by any definition, even if there’s a two influence anarch card that turns it off.

If trash and rez cost are directly related, then given the trash cost (or rez cost) of a card, I should be able to know the other cost. I am using a relatively strict definition of ‘directly related’ here: “If I know the trash cost of a card, I should be able to know the rez cost, and vice versa.” That’s obviously false (See: Off the Grid) so there has to be more to it than that.

To put it a third way, a ‘Direct Relation’ means that as one variable rises, the other does as well. Conversely, if one falls, the other falls with it. However, because Trash Cost can rise while Rez Cost stays the same, the two values are not directly related.

There exist powerful, game-winning cards with a high trash cost and low rez cost (Ronin) and cards with a high rez cost and low trash cost (Off the Grid)

I see, you’re using a mathematical definition. In that case, to split hairs, I’ll rephrase.

The rez cost vs. trash cost are, or should be, majorly tied together in the act balancing of a card, and more often than not should be directly related to one another – although in some cases the power level of a card or game mechanics can or could affect the relationship between the two.

When the designers get away from that, they create cards that are bad for the game.

And here’s where the difference is :wink: I feel that in all cases, power level or game mechanics affect the relationship between rez and trash costs, which means there isn’t a direct relationship between rez and trash costs.

(And I’ll emphatically agree on the ‘should be’ part that you said. They aren’t always, see Museum of History.)

I disagree. I always considered that any asset with a trash cost under rez + 3c is a bad ratio.

Rez + 3 was an early patern used for a lot of things. Then, they may have forgotten this around Lunar or Sansan (lots of costs were changed at this moment).

In fact, trash costs to and under rez = bad ratio, rez + 1 = equal, rez + 2 = advantage +1 (like a beanstalk), rez + 3 = sure gamble, etc. This is because the runner use a clic to run.
They used that for Lunar / Sansan, and it was ok.

Then they put NEH and they made strange 0/4 and 0/5 that wins the game if you let them live, then they lost some customers. mkay #wonderwhy.

There is not “one” formula. They used lots, some good, some meh, some OP.

Sure, because if you let those Marked Accounts stick for more than a turn or two the game is basically over :wink:

“after Sansan/Lunar.”. Pre-Lunar, the asset that played that scarecrow role was SSCG and this is rez - 1. Now you have rez + 5 scarecrows…

Marked account needs a click to work + rezzed for 1 turn. Hence rez +5.
PAD needs no click minus rezzed for 1 turn. Hence rez +2. Those are perfectly balanced to each other.

Jeeves, for exemple, wins you a click when rezzed (or you don’t rez it) but stayed at rez +3.
It’s strictly better tempo than a PAD or a MA. It should be a 2/4 like a PAD, or even 2/3 if a corp click is evaluated better than 1 runner credit (it is, because it is a win enabling ressource).

They are doing nonsense with trash costs these days. If it was in the corebox, Sensie Actor Union should be something like a 4 / 0 or 5 / 1 (at least 4/1 using Mining as a pattern). But no, let’s do a 0/3 instead.
There is a 5-6c shift toward the corp side with assets which allows Wizard to bright. If there was no trash shift, Wizard would have stayed the low-tier Anarch he used to be in Genesis->Sansan times.

Asset spamming with the coreset + 3 first cycles doesn’t wins you games even with NEH (MWL + against moderns runners I mean). There is a lack of scarecrows, and trash cost are priced in line with the coreset.

–This is making me now rant–
The game is power creeping since NEH late Upstalk, the exact moment I started telling testers and / or devellopement and / or marketing and / or “who cares” are making this game the wrong way.

In my shitty opinion, since we see this deregulation with Damon, this is him evaluating credit / card advantage right, but never used tempo analysis. Lukas did this right, because he was a red/yellow player in the early days. In the same early days, Damon was a purple/green player, and shift from green to red in Upstalk or so. That moment is the moment when we stop seeing Jinteki tempo.

Since Upstalk, nobody cares tempo balance in the game. Because NEHlolwutsoz?

Looking Dan’s card then trash costs are really funny to my point of view : Dan’s card was balanced like a coreset card (+1 inf on top because “maybe the 2x world champ dude is sneaking something ?”) whereas any maker of this game are allowing themselves to spit cards like NEH, an ironed 5-trash Jeeves until it wins you agenda points trading for 2c and low inf, an anarch desperado for 1 inf when this should be 4-5 inf, and other stupidities like that (just read what players want to ban).

“Would you rather put 2x Dan’s card or 2x Sifter in your runner deck ?”, I’m sorry but yeah, FFG & testers, you’re making the game wrong. PERIOD. I don’t care who is the one, but he’s doing it wrong and FFG is the one that allows this to exist.

The one guy that is doing inf costs and trash costs in this game is acting stupid and broke the game allready. The one guy that is doing credit cost and card advantage is doing ok.
The one guy that is doing tempo analysis doesn’t even exist.

In my opinion, they are just destroying the game because it costs lots of $ to stock it, compared to what they can win with the same rented space with new games. IMO again, Damon should also cost too much compared to what he can make on other games in FFG, so they took “that new dude” (that may have the advantage over Damon to say yes for cheap ???) and told Damon to step out of ANR dev and focus on new games.

Can someone explain what the references here are to “tempo analysis” and how it is done right or wrong.

Damon moved across the country for family reasons, though I suppose he could still be freelancing.

But, typically when a title isn’t making as much money as a company would like, they just cancel it, instead of…slowly losing more and more money by sabotaging it over a period of several years?

Man, and I thought WizKids fans have weird conspiracy theories.