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Feeling Blue About Blue Decks


Wari & Hippo, Or proof that Crim is FFG’s bastard disprefered child

These two Kitara cycle cards exemplify the difference between Crim and Anarch. But one is certain to boost its faction while the other will only ever be playable as part of a niche strategy. Can you guess which?

Let’s start with Anarch’s Hippo. First it’s a cost 2cr hardware version of cutlery, except it works on the outermost ICE rather than on a particular subtype ICE. It has the added benefit over the cutlery that it “may be trashed” giving the runner the option to not use it on ICE that are easily broken. This card can single handedly replace all cutlery options and may become an auto-include for Anarchs.

Meanwhile, Crim gets the spectacular Wari, a 1cr 1mu program. It’s memory requirement likely makes it worse out of the gate. It’s further worsened by requiring a successful run on HQ (Crisium fodder) to trigger. Then, like Hippo, it may optionally be trashed to (get this) “name sentry, code gate or barrier. Expose a piece of ice, then add it to HQ if it has the named subtype.”

First of all, without a deck built around expose…I’d estimate at most a 60% chance of blind guessing ICE types correctly. So, in non-exposy decks, the card is unplayable. Even with certainty, the effect is unlikely to return ICE over HQ since the ICE must be unrezzed to be exposed…and the Runner has just given the Corp the chance to rez the HQ ICE by running HQ. This could set up a run on a remote…but Maxwell James already does a much better job of that by requiring the Corp to rez the ICE first. So effectively, the only possible reason to use Wari is to remove ICE from R&D. Finally, returning unrezzed ICE is not the same as trashing it. The ICE will just come back out the next turn, and eventually the Corp will draw more ICE and get two installed over R&D.

We might compare this to Crescentus, which was also not as good as Hippo, but at least it was easier to trigger and had a more reliable effect than Wari. At least Crescentus could be played in most Crim decks, although it still wasn’t as good as Cutlery (which won’t rotate out anyway).

Wari is so much worse than Hippo, that many runners might think the two shouldn’t be compared at all. But they serve a similar purpose…so they definitely should be compared. Oh, what it must be like to be loved!


I’d be wary of any card-by-card comparison that purported to show that one faction was disfavored. Data Breach is worse than Mobius. Paricia is worse than Scrubber (but better than Skulljack). Berserker is worse than a lot of things. You can’t really assess them in a vacuum.


One question I have: what do you all think is going to happen when Diversion comes out? Yes, it’s more balanced than Account Siphon, but given the state of econ and the fact that it’s still pretty darn good, is it going to be a 3-of for all but the most niche Criminals? If so, is that not still kinda disappointing?


Of course card-to-card analysis is not predictive of the cardpool strength. (Excuse my hyperbolic title “proof”…just tyring to keep with the theme of this thread.) I want to argue that these cards are descriptive of what I see at the pool level. In other words I think that this is a prototypical example that is indicative of what I already see at the cardpool level. Surely this approach is healthy.

Maybe you disagree that Wari and Hippo serve a similar purpose, exemplify the design mechanisms in Crim and Anarch, or indicate the relative power levels of their respective factions. Or maybe you disagree that Anarch is getting better cards than Crim and that I’ve cherry picked to make a point.

We all have a strong enough sense of what’s going on at the faction cardpool level to pick sufficiently good examples of what we think is happening. I’d much prefer a rebuttal to my point about the factions with cards that you think better describe the differences in the recent faction releases, rather than just saying we shouldn’t compare cards.


Good question about Diversion. I think that it might depend on the prevalence of Crisium.


I’m not going to be disappointed about putting a new siphon in my Criminal decks, no.


I’m certainly not claiming we shouldn’t compare cards, and I do see the value of that form of argument. I think it works best as a middle step, though.

  1. Crim sucks right now (we’ll accept this as uncontroversial)
  2. Wari is worse than Hippo.
  3. ?

And I think most of the interesting action is going to be in 3. What does this comparison tell us about the design mechanisms and relative power levels, other than the fact that some crim cards are bad? What conclusions, generalizations, and/or prescriptions does it lead us to? That the way to improve crim is by making its weaknesses less weak? Or that its piece of the color pie should be expanded? Should all crim cards be slightly better?


I’m sure it’ll be good news for faction balance, but I guess my underlying concern is, if Criminals use it like they did Account Siphon, and Corps react to it (approximately) like they did Account Siphon, why did we bother getting rid of Account Siphon?


Because a play pattern existed:
Run HQ, bounce off a newly-rezzed Ice Wall.
Special Order Corroder.
Install Corroder.
Account Siphon.

This is now impossible, since Diversion is a Double.


Well, Account Siphon was rotated out b/c of the ease of abuse w/ recursion and out of faction (ANARCH), which this new version has been designed to avoid.

The effect is something we want in the game, just not at that level. Am I missing the thrust of your argument?


Cool! How’s this ending:

  1. Crim’s biggest problem now is that its few high-power cards got rotated or banned because they were abused (by other factions with such a breadth of stronger cards that they had plenty of spare influence), and many of the new replacement cards seem to be so highly conditioned that they could only ever be good in niche or big-rig builds. Meanwhile, the other factions get cards that will fire reliably and could be used in reg builds.

Of course the focus on viruses in Anarch could be a counterpoint, but some of those viruses are gonna be good on their own, while the others support going all virus. Diversion is another counterpoint, but I’m not convinced it will be enough to take Crim to T1 this cycle.

I think the best way to revive crim is to loosen the conditionality and mutual dependency of its card effects (and to bring back running econ).


The main difference is that it’s MUCH worse in anarch tag me siphon decks. I think that’s a shame, cause I liked those decks, but it is a difference.


Being much worse in Anarch tag me is a feature, not a bug :slight_smile:


It’s also doesn’t to function as an economy card in the same way as Siphon. In efficiency terms, it’s an easy mark if you want to run hq.

Any criminal deck that doesn’t care about denial will cut it pretty quickly. Particularly interesting in how it really doesn’t work with criminals other star: Tapwyrm. Definitely not an auto include in my opinion, but will probably still be part of the best criminal deck.


What I’m excited about is how Siphon 2.0 will shake up the deckbuilding a bit for Mr Cambridge. I achieved what I feel was my Best Possible Steve back in November and haven’t played him since.

It will feel good to rip off four or five of these things in a game, even if it’s maybe not as good as Original Siphon.


I think 419 Rebirth to Steve might be good. Same cards just a different start.


There is no way you can get me to play that expose nonsense lol.


Lol. It’s just for an early boost…no expose support.


Tapwrm is only good because the econ in the game is lopsidedly in the Corp favor at the moment. That’s because Bloo Moose and Temujin are banned, while new Corp econ wasn’t. (Not that Temu/Bloo shouldn’t be banned, just that this is why the credit balance overwhelmingly favors the Corp, and Tapwrm is only good when the credit balance overwhelmingly favors the Corp.)


That, plus its synergy with Peace in Our Time (and Beth,) plus how the runner usually dictates how rich the corp is by choosing whether or not to run. Throw it in a deck that just sits back and waits to snipe scoring attempts while building up a big rig (like Hayley worlds decks) and it puts immense pressure on the corp. Oh, and it synergizes with SacCon, which you probably want anyways due to Skorp. Put all of this together and Tapwrm is fantastic right now, but better in Shaper than in Crim/Anarch because of native SMC/SacCon and Shaper’s slower, more controlling strategies.