Granted, but explain to me how, using only programs, The Professor can tackle them any better than Andromeda or Kate (or any other ID)?
Does The Professor have some speed advantage that I'm not aware of? Last time I checked it was Andromeda that started with 9 cards...
The Professor's only advantage here is that he can potentially select the most efficient breaker for the ICE he is encountering. But, as I explained above, this is only a gain if it's a different breaker to the one he would otherwise be playing as a default and he doesn't have to amend his rig later to accommodate other ICE.
The Professor adds flat out nothing here. All the anti-net damage tech is already in-faction for Shaper and the anti-meat damage tech that isn't Plascrete is all Hardware or Resource - which are unobtainable for The Prof.
You have actually played this game, right?
It's fairly common knowledge that some cards are designed to be just not as good as others - Hard at Work, anyone? The Professor is actually very good design, in the sense that he's the card that most consistently gets people talking and thinking. Unfortunately he's the ID that least consistently brings home trophies.
You're absolutely spot on here... you will get flamed for that statment.
You simply can't separate the ID from the deck - you say that T1 decks exist then you're automatically conceding that T1 IDs exist, becuase those decks wouldn't work if you switched the identities.
You're actually not wrong that certain IDs do complement certain styles; but you've missed the point that they pretty much define those styles. You can't generally play a style with a different ID to the one that it is intended for. So yeah, if you want to play a "program flood" style then yes, The Professor complements that style better than any other ID. But the long and short of it is that that style is weaker than what almost all of the other runners can currently do.
The lack of Professor decks winning big events suggests otherwise. If the T1 players are playing him, then he's obviously not as good as you think; if they aren't playing him then they have obviously decided for themselves that he's not as good as you think and switched to Andromeda.
This is not a sound line of argument. Yes, those decks include 20+ influence of programs, but you should include cards because you need them, not simply because you can. If you walk into the supermarket (grocery store for our US friends) and cat food is being given away for free, do you take some even if you don't have a cat?
In the case of The Professor I would have to ask if those programs are all consistently useful? For example, he often packs several different breakers of each type which means in any given game lots of the value of his ability is being utilised on cards which he doesn't need once he has one breaker in play. Similarly, Keyhole is a fantastic card, but do you really need it in a deck that can already play RDI, Indexing, Maker's Eye (and a single Medium if desired)?
Having versatility is nice, but it always comes at the price of efficiency and specialism. The Professor undoubtedly has an edge in a number of niche cases, but he's so much weaker against the field in the normal run-of-the-mill scenarios.
Firstly, these events are meta-defining at the moment - most top Criminal decks are running some, many or all of them. They are also consistently splashed out of facttion. That tells you something.
Secondly, the program alternatives are significantly weaker and The Prof. is inherently limited to one copy of each - which means he can't sustain a strategy built around them as Criminals can. Crescentus is decent, but with access to only one Parasite and no denial events to accompany it The Prof. can hardly sustain an ICE destruction strategy. I can't even think what the program to bypass ICE is - are you talking about Copycat? If so that's a decidely poor card. If you're talking about Femme then that's a no-brainer, almost every deck is packing one of those - but criminals play it in addition to the events! And Nerve Agent doesn't even come close to being an adequate replacement for Legwork for a number of reasons:
- Sniping agendas from HQ takes critical timing. When you need the big hit you need it now, which is why Legwork is such a huge tempo card - it gives you the level of access you need in a single click and it takes the Corp by surprise because it's a hidden card.
- Nerve Agent is the opposite; it takes time, effort and probably money to set up - you need to make three successful runs in order to get the level of access provided by Legwork and you completely telegraph it because the program is in play and totally visible to the Corp (meaning he can undo all your work with a timely purge).
- That's not to say that Nerve Agent is bad, it's just that The Prof. doesn't have access to the support cards which complement it: Grimoire, Surge, Parasite/Crescentus (one of each only), Power Shutdown, FAO, Account Siphon.
So the natural development of your argument would be "so use Sneakdoor", which is fine and certainly has merit. But now we're talking about needing probably two search effects and 3MU spare to set this up, which means the deck needs to come out in the right order and give you the combo pieces. This just adds fuel to the fire that The Prof is unreliable and inconsistent.