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Council of the Crest Community Review and Meta Predictions (Runner)


#1

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/council-of-the-crest-community-review-and-meta-predictions-runner/

Discuss the latest article here.


#2

Hmm.
Marathon seems ok for Aenas Mopus / Trimaf Ken : clic, gain 3-5c if you allow that PAD to live. Bonus points with Maw or Doppleganger / Sectest on the table.


#3

I love Kenny’s rant on Currents and I think he is 100% correct.


#4

Yep. When they’re effective, currents are a bummer. Too much focus on disrupting the other player. And the counter-current game, as satisfying as it can be to win, is really just a time walk.


#5

As a n00b player this time it was actually a great article, thanks everyone involved!
(And I agree with the rant on the current wars, but as a casual, it is not a big deal for us).


#6

The comment about currents is saying what I’m feeling since a while. Thanks!


#7

I stated my dissenting opinion in terms of current in the article, but I’ll add to the conversation here as well. I don’t agree with throwing out the whole mechanic with the bathwater. Are there some currents above the power-curve? Sure, but that’s a design issue with some currents, as there are some currents that are so niche that they haven’t found their archetype. And, there’s plenty of design space in between that’s perfectly fine to explore like these examples:

  • Paywall in Gagarin to put a virtual Pop-up on every undefended remote.
  • Enforced Curfew to pull off your Ronin kill combo.

It just another vector to play if done right. It’s why some people like Parasite as another option to get through ice.


#8

The problem of Currents isn’t baked into them entirely, but evolves from when they take on too much strength and compel a response. Lunar’s currents were fine because save for ELP in RP they didn’t do much and current wars weren’t encouraged. Flash forward to Employee Strike, Hacktivist Meeting, Rumor Mill, Scarcity of Resources, Ulysses Grant, etc. and it feels silly. FFG needs to send currents back to where they began - niche continuing effects that don’t make the game feel so “trump card”-y.


#9

And possible concerns about the power level/NPE of this particular card aside, I like to think “Grant” might have the potential to upend that “swingy snowball” dynamic. Since other currents tend to be more situational, it makes sense that they’d be something you bring few of and hold in reserve, but with this one it seems like you want to get it out early and get as much value out of it as you can–and maybe force the corp to play their own current prematurely in the process.


#10

As an aside, what if Corporate “Grant” is about some guy named Grant?


#11

On the other hand, currents are a design space for powerful effects. The kind you can’t put on resources or even assets because they are, or can be made, hard to trash. On currents, they’re more manageable, especially for the Corps.

I’m not saying that I like to play against Scarcity, though.


#12

Or not named Grant, as the case may be


#13

I think that the issue with currents is that if they’re at an appropriately low power level, they see almost no play at all, because you want to play powerful cards in your deck. If they’re at a powerful level, than you have this huge snowbally thing that Kenny is talking about. There’s almost never that happy middle ground effect where you play one because it had some nice synergy in your deck, but it doesn’t matter much of you don’t have it, or if the Corp has theirs and you don’t.


#14

I’m not a designer, but I find that hard to believe. I have faith in designers to walk the fine line of balance. I gave a few examples of synergistic effects. But, I would also suggest Interdiction is another well-balanced general purpose current.

And you do mind if you’re not getting your synergistic cards, but that’s for other types of cards as well (i.e. The Shadow Net without Fan Sites).


#15

Properly designed and powered currents are good. Freedom Through Equality, Clones Are Not People, Corporate Scandal, Death and Taxes, Enforced Curfew, Interdiction, Media Blitz, Paywall Implementation, System Seizure, and Targeted Marketing all seem good for the game to me. Effective in the right situation, but not oppressive. Poorly designed, though, and they can make the game too swingy, I agree. Hacktivist, Rumor Mill, Employee Strike, and Scarcity of Resources are all easily oppressive. Maybe if Hacktivist/Scarcity were only once per turn they would be fairer.

Crypt will be necessary for the Virus Breaker decks, since they don’t get to use Inject to grab their breakers the way RegAss normally does, and spending influence on SMC/restricted on CC just to get your breakers seems bad. Whether or not the suite is good enough remains to be seen. Progenitor will be crucial in those decks, though, to not get blown out by CVS, and to save tons of MU.


#16

Crypt seems really clunky. Obviously running archives to charge it isn’t as bad if you’re also getting Datasucker/Aumakua counters, but even then you still have to spend 3 clicks on runs that don’t actually net accesses, and all this assumes that the corp hasn’t ICE’ed archives and made it more difficult to obtain counters.

I guess you could try to subvert that by using Virus Breeding Grounds to cheat counters onto Crypt, but that sounds really convoluted. I can’t really imagine a situation where it wouldn’t be better to just click draw for your breakers and if that fails, maybe include a copy or two of Special Order.


#17

I think there are exceptions where they’ve gotten the balance right. Cards like Another Day, Another Paycheck, Targeted Marketing, System Seizure, System Outage, Housekeeping, Paywall Implementation, and Death and Taxes - where they offer narrow continuous effects that are just minor enough to not require the corp play currents to trump them but powerful enough to affect the course of the game. I agree it’s a hard line to hit, but I think they hit it more than you think.

It’s just that, because currents trump other currents, the entire class gets dragged by the most powerful member, because you have an incentive to counter it but then are missing the value of the card itself amid the trump-value. And because Strike came out when it did and revolutionized the whole counterplay we missed out on a time of fun and interesting currents.


#18

Have to agree with @rubyvr00m here, installing a purgeable resource (in a deck already incentivizing purges) & then running archives a bunch seems less efficient than just clicking to draw cards. You still have I’ve Had Worse, Earthrise, & Peddler for finding your breakers. Crypt isn’t even a clickless tutor like SMC and cheating counters with VBG is still click intensive. I only see this card making sense if you already have a reason to run archives, e.g. with Alice or paired with Plague.


#19

I disagree that most of these are good cards, and several of them I’d say are current in name only. In the latter category, Clones and Freedom don’t really function as currents, they function as a card you play just before you score/steal an agenda in order to get another point. There’s no interesting ongoing effect there. Same with Interdiction; it’s more of a card you play just before running the remote to keep scoring upgrades from being rezzed. After that, the corp just rezzes shit on their own turn and now it’s not really doing a thing.

Another Day, Another Paycheck doesn’t see play in the cast majority of Sunny decks that have done well, arguably because by the time it makes a good payout for you, you’re already swimming in your drip credits because you’re already set up. If you play it early, it’s just a bad economy card.

Targeted Marketing I’d say is actually kinda okay, actually, and I’ll concede that. That being said, it really only got play in decks that were also running News Hound in order to turn on the ICE, and I almost never saw it un-paired with the 'Hound.

System Seizure is interesting, but I’ve still never seen it get played. This might be because there’s just better runner currents, but I’ve also seen plenty of current-less Shaper decks playing Dean Lister and not Seizure. I think that overall it’s too situational for most decks to want it.

System Outage has never been played in the history of Netrunner, at least in front of me.

Housekeeping is expensive and never sees play, despite it seeming like a really cruel card. This is usually because it’s only really impactful in the beginning of the game, and to consistently get it early game you want to be running 3, but then you have a couple pseudo-dead cards in your deck, so I never see it.

Paywall Implementation only gets put in Gagarin decks as a counter current, and when no one is running currents, no one runs Paywall. Other than that I never see it.

Death and Taxes, in the absence of Scarcity, is too expensive for me to want to run, and only makes a good amount of money in the most extreme scenarios. And again, it’s like Housekeeping, where you want it early enough to see it, but then the rest of the cards suck when you draw them. And then what the hell is Weyland going to do with the money? And I say this as the biggest Weyland fanboy on earth.

Corporate Scandal has never been in a deck that has done anything, even in the days of Blackmail.

Enforced Curfew is actually cool, and has a good place in the decks that want it. Good on you, Curfew.

Media Blitz doesn’t really see play, but in the decks that it has (strictly t2 decks and lower, but still) it does something unique and cool, so I’m fine with this one, because it actually does something that has impact, despite the fact that it’s expensive to play.

Overall, that’s 3 currents that I think are playable in certain situations, and only a couple of them have ever been seen in decent decks. Also, all of these are Corp cards, and I’d say that no middle ground runner currents exist. So while there are still a couple good, decently balanced currents, I’ll hold my stance that currents are, by and large, cards that lack a middle ground almost by definition.


#20

This is good analysis and on par with what I think. The only playable ones listed are functionally equivalent to an operation that say play only if you scored an agenda this turn, and tarmar.

Tarmar is the only good current imo and should be the only current in the game. It has interesting decisions on naming the card and also has interesting counterplay decisions on in what scenarios you should give them the money.

A bunch of people have talked about currents can be designed to not be swingy but are basically saying currents would be okay if they were bad which is the sign of a bad mechanic imo when every card using the mechanic has to be bad.

Currents as a mechanic are inherently highly swingy because you need to have a high payoff when they don’t get immediately wiped to have a Expected value greater than their replacement. If you play an ELP some percent of the time the runner is going to dirty laundry or makers eye RnD and steal an agenda and it will be negative value. Which means for the EV to be high the payoff for is sticking around needs to be very high. So you end up with a card that to be playful inherently has a huge payoff when it works. So the playable currents HAVE to be massively swingy to be good. On top of that the scenario where they are bad are scenarios where you are way behind (you lost it immediately to an agenda getting stolen) so the difference between working and not working is extra huge.

To get back to Tarmar I think it’s the only close to acceptable current because:

  1. It costs 0 so losing it is less bad
  2. You can use it semi defensively (name the breaker needed for your vulnerable server)
  3. It’s benefits are effectively capped (they effectively max at 10, it’s not usually reasonable to hit the same card multiple times.

Notably, before anyone argues itd high variance because it pays 0 or 10, that’s not actually how it works in terms of value. A classic Tarmar usage is naming a breaker needed to get in a remote server with an agenda in it. The runner now makes a choice about whether to run the server and give the runner ten or to let it go, and it they let it go they’re saying the agenda is worth some credits less than 10 to get (assuming they could And would steal it without tarmar). So there it’s value is less than 10 but more than 0. Or suppose you name sure gamble on turn 1, they’re probably not going to play it but instead wait until they steal an agenda at some point meaning you cost them tempo that they value more less than 10.

So Tarmar gets a full range of value between 0 and 10 credits which is low enough variance to not be stupid imo.

If I had to keep currents as a mechanic I would fix them with the following:

  1. Corp only
  2. 0 cost
  3. Try to make them have a partial immediate impact but a capped max value

Or just Ban everything not tarmar so sol and news are still alive.