Agreed. The corp decks have access to a mixture of strong asset and operation economy, have reasonable agendas, good ice, and access to Biotic Labor, tag and kill, other core set tricks like Snare! etc. To be honest, they look like regular meta decks without Jackson Howard. In fact this is probably what core HB and Weyland should have looked more like… (obvious issues with Skorpios aside).
I’m mainly a shaper player and I wanted to give Ayla a try for the campaign, but the more I tried to build for her the more I started to wonder if the “suggested decks” were really a typo or whether FFG simply forgot the core set doesn’t have 3 Modded and 3 Magnum Opus. Both would likely help immensely. The kicker, though, was realizing that Hunter Seeker would give the corp the ability to smash one of my Deghdeers, effectively cancelling either one of two Mopuses or an Adept/Savant and making the game a progressively uphill battle as my MU collapses. Rewarding the runner for scoring by progressively reducing the strength of fixed breakers is hilarious, it really is.
So I went with Steve. Via a mixture of Easy Mark and Armitage Codebusting etc. (bleurgh) I was able to hang in games long enough to get some accesses. Of course a variety of internalized best practices (“don’t run last click, keep enough cards in hand to respect snare, don’t end your turn tagged, don’t get SEA sourced, only facecheck before you put out your rig”) meant that these games were nervewracking and a terrible grind for credits. I was able to recur one or two Easy Marks the corp didn’t RFG. Ho hum.
I love what the TD cards bring to the wider card pool, but I think this was a missed opportunity to give the runner some strong economy and tools that would make campaign play effectively an amazing balanced update to core, but when mixed back into the wider card pool would not be unbalanced. Corp got IPO and Marilyn Campaign, right?
Instead we got another thematic triptych of criminal breakers that don’t massively improve the core + TD experience, another Inside Job (!?) as well as these frankly awful shaper breakers (as well as a Maker’s Eye of limited utility). Poor Ayla, she deserves better!
These moments of overlap, redundancy, and similarities make me wonder if TD started out as Core 2.0, the project was shitcanned, and they scooped the half-desgned new core cards into a new “concept” expansion.