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Breaking News: It's Good for the Game - by SimonMoon

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/breaking-news-its-good-for-the-game-by-simonmoon/

Discuss the latest article here.


“I think eot_factorfiction correctly identifies a core asymmetry in Netrunner, but is wrong about the Corp Cards that break this asymmetry are inherently a negative player experience.”

I appreciate the thought and explanation that follow, but I feel like it starts off on the wrong foot and proceeds from there. There’s been a ton of argument about what constitutes “real Netrunner” and whether it’s “right” to enjoy certain types of decks or cards. I don’t want to just descend back into that, but I’ll point out that it’s worth considering that the parts of Netrunner we should nurture and grow are the parts that make Netrunner different from other games.

Rather than “why should I play Mumbad Cycle Netrunner instead of Core Set era Netrunner?”, ask yourself “why should I play Netrunner rather than MTG or Game of Thrones or some other competitive card game?”

I believe the two most fascinating and unique aspects of Netrunner are the asymmetry and the hidden information. Playing as Corp should feel fundamentally different than playing as Runner. It shouldn’t feel like “two players just build up board states that attack each other.” One side should be building a labyrinth or fortress or pit of vipers and daring the opponent to come navigate it successfully.

Yes, the Runner has the control over whether to run or not, but that doesn’t imbalance the game and give them more power. The Corp has the secrets. That facedown card they just put in the scoring server could be a 3/2 agenda, or a CVS, or a Snare. That single ICE they put on HQ could be a Cortex Lock (install Desperado, run, die) or a Pop Up Window (Account Siphon is a go).

It’s true this advantage is diminished when the vast majority of players settle in on a small handful of decks they agree are worth playing, so sitting down across from CTM or ETF you immediately know every card in their deck. But it’s still not eliminated (even if you know that ICE could be either Eli or Architect, the decision whether to run it naked hinges on which).

TL;DR - I wouldn’t go so far as to call “the Corp breaks the asymmetry and proactively attacks a non-running Runner” a “negative player experience”, but I do feel it diminishes the structure which makes Netrunner unique. Thrones has more ways to kill dudes than Netrunner has to kill ICE, but just having more varied threats doesn’t make a game inherently more interesting.


One problem with pushing the asymmetry TOO far is that players have to play both sides. If you make one of them entirely passive and the other entirely aggressive, then players who prefer one style to the other are going to be bored half of the time. For example, I don’t enjoy playing HB very much - I prefer aggressive corps like Jinteki and NBN. I love Breaking News and feel Aaron Marron counters it too far (each agenda should give you 1 counter, so that you have to steal 1 BN before you can just flat out cancel a BN).

I don’t think there’s a difference in how uniquely Netrunner it is to think ‘this facedown corp card could be a Breaking News, which will be used to trash your board next turn’ and ‘this facedown corp card could be an ABT, which will be used to gain the corp points and solidify their defenses’. It’s just that some types of players are way more excited about scoring the BN and going on the attack, and some are more excited about scoring the ABT and making an impenetrable fortress. Why not cater to both?

Bunch of excellent poitns in here. I mostly agree with your analysis, and for sure it is extremely important to have ways for the corp to force the runner to act. Mostly it is an interesting perspective, and good counterbalance to the ease it sometimes is to ‘hate on’ cards.

That said, i think Breaking News was fine until the GFI+EoI combo and turned out to be a real problem when CTM got its grubby hands on that combo. It is also way to easy to combo for scorch/BooM kills in a ridiculous way.

I’m not sure hwo to resolve this without actually changing the card itself, and as it stands i think it is a bit too far on the problem side. I’d love to see an environment where it felt powerful but balanced however.


I think EoI is balanced by the fact that you can only use one tag punishment card per BN (that is scored via NA or SanSan), and you can only store so many cards in your hand. The CtM player needs to think about whether closing your accounts, trashing your resources, or switching agendas is going to be more important, and they often need to make that decision with imperfect information (several turns before the BN is actually scored) because some cards need to be discarded or bottomed with Sensie. For example, if the runner hasn’t scored a GFI yet, you’re going to discard/bottom EoI and keep Closed Accounts, right? Unless you have a GFI in hand that you’re planning on feeding them, or they have a medium out, etc. There’s a lot of meaningful choices here, which is good.


So, the title should really be: “Breaking News: It’s Good for the Game Except for 24/7”?

I like the concept of Corp threats and I think the article is well articulated. In general, I’m in favor of Corp threats. But, Breaking News in way above the power curve (compared to the other threats and to other Corp cards). The main problems with Breaking News is:

  • It’s only 2 to score. To take advantage of it’s ability most of the time you only need one extra click. Most successful Corp decks have no problems scoring 3 advance agendas most of the time. This makes it very difficult for a runner to play around the threat without specific counters in practice. Make it a 1/3 or 2/4 and it’s fine.
  • It provides 2 tags. Not only does it avoid some counters cards (i.e. Forger, Decoy), it turns on powers Weyland cards (that Weyland itself cannot use effectively). [Part of this problem is the designers. If they really didn’t want to create NBN cards in Green, they could have made the requirement 3 tags instead (i.e. BOOM! and possibly Traffic Accident).]

This is also not taking into account that it’s the only 1/2 agenda without a downside and that the second ability is separate, which allows the tags to stick if the agenda becomes inactive.

Breaking news is a good card. Breaking news as a 3/1 is not a good card. If you make all the good cards bad cards, Corp cannot win because they need good cards more than the runner does. Is BN the healthiest threat you can design in a billion parallel universes? No. But it does lead to dynamic and good gameplay and offers a lot of ways to play against it and the game is better off with it than without it.


Breaking News is above the power curve. There are several ways to bring it in line, but a redesign is not likely. As a 3/1, it’s not bad, it’s not great and will be relegated to the decks that want the powerful effect, instead of say, every deck in Worlds Top 16.

Just because there are few explicit Corp threats doesn’t mean we should excuse one that is too powerful. It’s not good for the game when a threat is 2x-3x in every top deck.

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Do we count ‘Limit 1 per deck’ as a downside? (15 Minutes)

I honestly feel the biggest problem with BN is that it gives 2 tags. Such an odd number. Why two? Near as I can figure, so that Aaron could give two counters to counter BN specifically and all other agendas by extension… I’d love an update to Decoy that said ‘Trash: Avoid two tags’

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On the lam

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Costs 3, requires another resource, and isn’t a connection.

But otherwise, yep. :slight_smile:

perhaps at the time the idea was that a double-advanced news threatened a psycho play on a 3/2 in hand the following turn.