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Fixing Astroscript

I’d like to preface this topic with the fact that I love netrunner, it’s one of the best games I’ve played and certainly isn’t broken, however…

The Astrotrain upsets me. It means that the racecar NBN builds have one counter strategy. If you can’t keep them off Agendas with R&D lock you’re busted. NBN can fast advance while broke. Siphon/Vamp doesn’t work.

If I could rewrite Astroscript it would say: 3/2. If this card has more than 3 advancements when scored gain 1 agenda token. hosted agenda token: Advance one card that can be advanced.

Would that make it too weak? The only other non blank 3/2 is ABT, which is often blank in non hail mary situations for HBFA.


I wanted to post this in Netrunner General, but the forum said ‘that topic is reserved’. I chose to post it under the wrong topic rather than not post at all.

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its not the only counterstrategy. astroscript is strong, but far from being broken. u just need to prepare yourself as a runner for this.

Good point.

The “How do you counter an Astrotrain?” discussion is probably more interesting than some naval gazing about how one would ‘fix’ cards that aren’t broken in a hypothetical alternate reality. I can’t figure it out though. The only counters I can think of are:

Don’t let them score the first. => Trash all sansans + don’t let them to 7 credits.
Lock R&D.

Which admittedly is twice as many as that given in my opening post.

There is no question in my mind that Astroscript is the strongest Agenda, and probably the strongest card in the game. It’s on the broken/strong borderline in my mind.

Astroscript is without a doubt the strongest agenda, and quite possibly the strongest corp card.
But there are a couple of reasons why I would not want it changed, or at least not that much.

  • NBN would be the worst faction without Astroscript.
  • It is too swingy, therefore you can not solely rely on it.
  • It doesn´t change the variety of NBN decks. Astroscripts fit in a lot of strategies, and there are a couple of different NBN decks. (Though admittedly nearly all of them play fast advance right now)
    • Biotic Labor, Ice, Scorches there are multiple options to use the influence.
    • Midseason Psycho or not?
    • Traps or no traps…

Also, your proposed change is very unsynergistic with SanSan City Grid.


As the game progresses, one of two things or both of two things will happen:
1.The game will get faster, and AstroScript will no longer be the optimum strategy.
2.Some kind of banlist will appear, making the AstroTrain a thing of the past.

If FFG is smart, and they seem to be, they will not keep their game stagnant for long, they will constantly be evolving and changing the way it is played. This will likely include making the game play faster, because right now, at least compared to other, similar games, it’s relatively slow. And we’re already getting a glimpse of this with what they’ve revealed from the upcoming Lunar Cycle. Current cards, cards like Duggar’s, Eliza’s Toybox, Rachel Beckman, etc.

TL/DR: In the near future, AstroScript will not be what it is currently.

Or you could play The Source/Chakana. Or you could mill them completely. Or you could access their entire hand each turn (hello, Nerve Agent) and score all those agendas they are running that aren’t AstroScript (and for which they can’t afford to burn the token, because that would stop the train). Or you could Imp those Shipments from SanSan and then send them to Vamp/Siphon hell. Or you could most probably do at least two other things I haven’t thought of at the moment.
(just sayin’)

Playing against Astroscripts is not fundamentally different from playing vs other Fast-Advance stuff that doesn’t rely on SanSan City Grid (Biotic Labors and 3-advance agendas, Trick of Light and 3-advance agendas).

Sure, Astro has that fast-advance strat built in, but that in turn means you can’t recur it with Archived Memories/Reclamation Order, you can’t hold it in your hand independent of the agenda in question, etc. Its existence is just saying “being able to get into any remote at any time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win as runner”, and its existence in combination with Shipment from SanSan is saying “being able to keep the corp at 0 credits all game doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win as runner”. Having played this game at a time where the latter wasn’t a true statement, I strongly believe both of those statements being true is actually good for the game, not bad.

It’s a strong agenda, yes, but nowhere near as broken as you make it to be. Now, if “The Future Perfect” were completely unstealable from centrals (instead of just mostly unstealable), and were a 3-advance 2-pointer, that’d be a good example of a card I would consider broken.

How on earth can something be faster than Astroscript when it’s a passive ability? The only way I could see that happening is giving NBN several 2/2 agendas, which would never happen.

Anyways, allowing Astroscript tokens to be used on other Astroscripts was a grievous oversight. I’d guess that FFG is going to focus on other NBN mechanics for a while which would benefit tagging, and perhaps enable a glacier type build.

To say that it isn’t a problem is to be rather ignorant of its noninteractive nature. Even Lukas himself stated early in the cycle that they’re looking for a way to curb fast advance, and I don’t think they’ve found it yet.

Sure, but in regards to Fast-Advance, Biotic Labor is a much much worse problem than AstroScript is. Both AstroBiotics and most CI builds make this pretty evident, in my opinion.

According to high-ELO data, HB is marginally worse at the end of Spin, whereas NBN improved drastically. Now you could make the argument that Biotic Labor helps NBN more than HB, but then I’d ask you why, and I’m sure the answer would be Astroscript. NBN is far above the pack on every level, and Astroscript is its linchpin in every deck archetype.

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It’s the combination of Biotic and Astroscript that’s hardest to stop, in my experience. Fast fast advance is a killer, if you don’t diagnose it before they score Astro 1, you’re already in a big hole.

HB also don’t have access to breaking news or an equivalent (2/1), which is an extra out once you’re at 6 for NBN.

All the straight forward counters to FA (Source/Chakana) while good seem really clunky and slow. Sure I can build a deck that counters FA, but is it generally playable or competitive? I think Imp should be in more (maybe all) of my decks, I find that helps a lot.

Let’s wait for the rest of Chronos results to roll in, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if NBN dominated less than you expect. Thing is, it’s easier to counterplay and more swingy (the joke of “playing to first Astro” holds very true).

While I agree with you that Astro is a large part of NBN’s dominance right now, I maintain one thing: the hardest thing to play against now, at the end of Spin isn’t NBN, it’s Cerebral Imaging. You can build to curbstomp NBN rushy decks and you’ll be able to do that pretty reliably (your success vs. other archetypes may or may not be as decent, depending on how well you play, variance etc). Building a deck specifically to counter CI, on the other hand, will present nowhere near a comparable level of reliability in your “preferred” matchup. That, in my mind, makes it a harder deck to deal with. And, let’s be honest here, CI is completely enabled by Biotic Labor.

My experience says “yes” (exhibit A, exhibit B) - that deck was built specifically to counter AstroBiotics, and has carried me reliably through two reasonably large tournaments (as large as they get in these parts of the world, anyway), where it faced all sorts of varied stuff and did just fine.

But they do have access to other tools that give you plenty of other outs, including some that give you pretty reliable ways of scoring a 5/3 from hand. Technically, that should also be considered an out once you’re at 6 :stuck_out_tongue:

I have only ever played vs. Cerebral Imaging once, and it was a bit of a ‘Johnny’ deck that lived and died on blind Accelerated Diagnostics. But I’ve gotta think that Opus (or insane prepaid Voice Pad + event econ) + Vamp does a pretty nasty number on most CI builds.

I love those CT + siphon decks. They’re neat. Indexing is a big part of the solution that I haven’t really played with enough yet.

Good point, well made.

I’d still prefer to see an HB ID across the table than an NBN ID. Maybe it’s just because I’ve played more HB, so I know some of what works against it.

It’s a longer story (and I’m actually thinking about making a Cerebral Imaging thread in Deck Archetypes, as there’s plenty of good discussion to be had on the topic, and I’m starting to feel somewhat qualified to start it - also, I’m off topic here), but from my experience:

  • Prepaid + econ Events doesn’t cut it for Vamping, the econ is too slow to be ready in time for CI’s window of Vamp vulnerability
  • Opus + actual breakers + Vamp doesn’t cut it, too many pieces to put together
  • Opus + Crypsis + Vamp may or may not work, it’s a bit of a race to see who gets the pieces together first, and it’s insanely expensive (we’re talking the “being at +20 credits vs. a corp deck that regularly sits at 30” kind of expensive)

The problem with Vamping CI is that you can’t just fund the Vamp with Siphons like you do vs. other corps - they have too much money and the HQ run is too expensive for that to actually work.

And even once you push through the Vamp, you actually have to do something relevant with the vulnerability you’ve created - in the world of Subliminal, Sweeps, GLC and Celeb Gifts, that window tends to close up pretty quickly.


Bizarre, thanks for the heads up. I will look into this.

Edit: My fix would be to make Astroscript a 2/4 like Nisei. I wish that the best abilities were not on 3/2s.

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I agree, I feel like it should have been a 2/4, which would still work with Sansan with one Astro scored, but at least make getting that first one just a LITTLE harder.

To add on to what Peekay says about CI, and I agree it should be in Archtypes. The slow-roll CI decks like Cerebral Hive of Giraffes and Dorans Blade (name your decks better people!) have a lot of vamp resilience that comes in the form of a more stable operations based economy than the power shutdown decks.

If you start with Efficiency Committee for 14-16 credits one turn, the rest of the game rolls out over the next few turns for 2 credits total.

I have a lot of vamp in my meta, and I’ll probably upgrade 3 of my transactions to beanstalks at some point just to have more recovery options.

I think this is a good idea. Go ahead and make a post and I will move it over to Deck Archetypes.

I’ve been playing CI ever since I read about the concept in the Slowing Down Fast Advance article ( http://stimhack.com/slowing-down-fast-advance/ ) It seems to work very well for me aside from the fact that my opponents seem to have obscenely good luck sometimes hitting the Agendas in my hand (you’d think that 1 agenda in a 12 card had would be safe…)

The Deck that I play seems to bounce back from being Vamped / Siphoned rather well. Usually it just sets me back a turn as I play all the Econ events from my hand to get my credits back up above my current hand size. (I learned this lesson hard after I got siphoned 3 times in one turn. No one plays Vamp in my meta so i have no idea how that would affect me)

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Rumors indicate a card will be released that allows Runners to remove agenda counters from scored agendas. This will likely do a lot to mitigate both AstroScript and CI (which often relies on Efficiency Committee).