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How many cards of one type would you need before you'd consider a discount economy?

I consider a “discount economy” card, any card which uses recurring credits to reduce costs for a card type. Cyberfeeder, Pre-Paid Pad, Inside Man etc.

I’ve been doing some experiments in economy for a while, and I’m still not sure when it’s worth including these kinds of cards and when it is better instead to grab pure econ cards instead.

I’ve found that in my later builds of Noise, cyberfeeder has become amazing since you get to use it almost every turn. But that deck runs a lot of viruses and keeps recycling them as well. Not to mention it being able to provide credits for breaking.

on the other hand, I did a variable of that deck where I put a lot more events (10), and 2 pre-paid pads. I thought 10 events should be enough to warrant a pad, but I didn’t feel it did.

So I wanted to see what others think on this. How many cards of each type would you have to have in your deck, before a specific discount econ card becomes an auto-include?

It’s really hard to math out the recurring credit cards. They depend on so many factors like the speed of your deck, or if you do the spending in bursts (Quality Time into Sure Gamble). They also feel really good when you use them and bad when you can’t so you can’t trust your gut. I think you just have to throw counters on them to record their uses for a while until you make a decision.

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It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot as well, I think you want at least install cost + 5 creds out of it (so it equals daily casts). The problem with these cards is also they become dead draws halfway through the game.

I think you want at least 15 ‘targets’ and a deck that wants to draw cards a lot. (if 1/3 of your deck is a target, and you draw twice a turn, you could theoretically use it 2 out of 3 turns)

I like mathing things out, so here’s a simple but decently accurate model.


  • A single PPVP and 15 event cards eligible for it.
  • 30 cards drawn per game, including the 5 opening ones. This implies you’ll see 10 events per game.
  • You don’t specifically mulligan for PPVP.
  • You draw enough to play one event every turn.


Initially, each card is about 1/45 to draw your Prepaid and about 1/3 to draw an event. You’ll see Prepaid as your Nth card in the deck, install it immediately and gain value every turn after. Then your payoff is $1 for each event seen until the end of the game, minus the cost of Prepaid.

  • In the best case, N = 1, you see it as the first card in your opening hand, and you get to trigger it on all 10 events you see this game to net $8.
  • In the worst cases, N >= 24, you won’t expect to draw enough events to break even and therefore Prepaid is worth $0.
  • Averaging over all N in Excel gives 4.9 events for a net value of $2.9.

What happens if you see more or fewer cards, or play more or fewer events? Approximately, I calculated:

  • For every +5/-5 cards you see around the base of 30, you get an extra +$1/-$1 profit.
  • For every +3/-3 events you play around the base of 15, you get an extra +$1/-$1 profit.

What does adding more copies of Prepaid do? You increase the chance to have that opening Prepaid worth $8, but you increase the chance of drawing a Prepaid late as well, where it’s worth $0. Our model assumes that all Prepaid credits are gained every turn, but that starts to break down with more Prepaids.

Emotionally the appeal is to include 3 Prepaid because those opening Prepaids feel so good but in this model if you don’t have enough costly events you may be better with 2 Prepaid, 1 Daily Casts to reduce the odds of the dead late draw.


So if Noise is playing only 10 events, even with Wyldside or Diesel/QT to bring you to 30 cards you’re at $0.9 profit which is awful.

I could see someone pulling an extra credit on average through some combination of smart mulligans, stockpiling a lot of events in preparation for Prepaid, and if you have to dump cards from Quality Time anyway this reduces your loss of finding late PPVPs, but it’s still much worse than neutral options like Daily Casts or even Infiltration.

On the other hand PPVP Kate comes out very well in this model. Instead of netting $3 like others, you net $4 because of your discount and you have sufficient draw power with QT/Diesel/Levy or ProCo to see many cards. You get around Daily Casts value but importantly at a lower up-front cost and without fearing tags.


For Cyberfeeder, it’s actually less relevant how many viruses you have because you can also use the money for breaking ICE. Assuming you use the credit every turn for something, applying the Prepaid model you’re averaging $3 profit at 30 cards seen which is just ok.

Where it’s better than Prepaid is that the extra copies have a higher utilization on average, so the extra copies are less dead if we’ve stopped drawing for viruses but we still want to break ICE. You also have more upside if Wyldside happens to dig beyond 30 cards, and more upside if you’re chronically too poor to play Casts or Sure Gamble.

This suggests that Cyberfeeder is your best long-term economy card without spending influence, but in the short to medium term you’re better off with some combination of Daily Casts, Sure Gamble, and Dirty Laundry. Since these give you money much quicker where it’s needed, they can be more relevant to applying early pressure to the Corp.


I don’t know how well that holds up as an argument, there is a point where sure gamble and armitage codebusting are dead draws as well.

I would say that every game I win as runner I hit a point where I want to draw but I don’t want to draw money.

I think with recurring credits, you aren’t creating an economic backbone, but you are creating a value-engine. In a PPVP deck, your economic backbone takes the form of events, and your voicepads form a simple value-engine - it’s not part of the economy of the deck - but it positions you to gain tempo over the course of the game.

Tempo is good for that deck because it only needs a little bit to burst out a multi-access play.


Much as I am a huge fan of the math-hammer (I’m a mathematical physicist, so models and probabilities are right up my street) there are other considerations to bear in mind on top of the pure economic value.

For instance, a cheap piece of hardware is protection against Power Shutdown to save a key component of your rig, It also lowers the “barrier to entry” to play certain cards - how many times have you bankrupted yourself making a big run,rezzing an important ICE or getting Siphoned then had to click for singles to be able to play your Hedge Fund or Sure Gamble? The economy value of the recurring credits isn’t just in the $1 you save, but also in the click you didn’t spend to get it.

There’s also added value in the fact that recurring credits aren’t part of your credit pool. This is useful for Nasir and means the Corp can’t touch them with Closed Accounts.

Thinking ahead. there could be a lot of value in the economy hardware in concert with Trade In (coming in Up and Over) with Replicator. The calculations demonstrate how much better the hardware is if you get it early, with those cards working in concert you can set up your permanent economy far more reliably. I’m not saying it definitely works well but you can see how a deck built around that (and Aesops to pawn it all off later) might work in principle.

Really? Even against Glacier decks? I’d say almost the opposite of this. Once I’m set I don’t need anything except money to keep me fueled for running - what are you drawing at that point in the game that you actually need, if it’s not cash? The only thing I can think of that I would want is my multi-access events, but I still need cash to play them and be able to make successful runs.


I really dislike the use of Daily Casts as an alternate measurement, I have to say. Not because it’s inherently flawed, but because it does something very different.

It costs more to get going, there’s a turn of no value off of it, and then it nets you $5 and pops. That’s… fine, and there are many decks that want it.

But Cyberfeeder? You play that and a low-cost virus and you’ve got yourself a fine pair of opening moves. Play an icebreaker and you’ll keep roaring through things every turn, no sweat.

PPVP? Sure, outside of Kate you have to click again for credit to play a discounted Gamble, but getting the discount early and then being able to leverage it later can help with recovery. Nothing ruins a corp’s day like you double clicking and going from 0 to 9 to beat a SEA Source or Punitive trace.

I fully agree that there are other considerations not captured in my model, and I tried to mention a few of them. However a lot of considerations apply only on occasion (only if you’re Nasir, only if the opponent runs Closed and you get tagged) whereas the pure value is universally applicable - therefore I consider them to be corrections to the model that are normally small.

Power Shutdown was relevant for like two months in one matchup because people were trying to blow out Andysucker’s rig, but in the current and near future meta I see too many resilient Kate rigs present that already have Akamatsu/Clone Chip/Zu to block it, so neither Prepaid or Cyberfeeder do much.

I also agree that there could be hardware synergy in the future, it’ll be interesting to try for sure.

I disagree that Prepaids lower the barrier to entry or prevent clicking for credits any more than other econ cards. If you draw Sure Gamble on turn N and happen to have $4 in bank, superficially it seems fantastic that you installed Prepaid earlier.

However, the counterfactual case is you played another burst card such as Dirty Laundry or Liberated Accounts earlier instead of Prepaid, and then didn’t spend that money frivolously. Now you reach turn N and you simply have enough in the bank to play Sure Gamble. Laundry did the job of Prepaid except as the model shows it’s better or equal for small to medium N.

Another way to look at it is that Prepaid forces you to conserve resources by locking its value up and releasing it once per turn like an annuity, whereas burst gives you that lottery money right away to spend on hookers and illegal stimulants. If you’re careful about spending your lottery money, you’re ahead of the Prepaid player because you keep options and pressure open, but if you’re not then you overextend and you’re clicking for credits.

His day is equally ruined if you just have cash already and are never in any danger of that trace.


If you have a deck that can use PPVP each time, sure, it’s a great card. But I haven’t played, with or against, such a deck yet. I think it’s better to base calculations on 3/4 usage, and that’s being generous I think (2/3 is more how often I use it). That’s for a deck with 16 targets + 3 Same old thing.

That’s why I use Sahasrara in my Noise build. It pays for itself the turn you play it and I’m probably averaging 1.5 credits each turn. What does your Excel tell you about this card?

I actually had a similar debate with friends ever since PPVP Kate became popular.

Some of my points:

-Daily Casts put credits directly in your credit pool. When you have credits in your pool, you are representing a threat to Corp servers, which forces them to slow down and play more defensively. Conversely, PPVP represents a potential threat IF you have an econ event in hand or draw one in time to both play it and run on their servers. However, this is only a possibly threat, not an actual one. This assumes you have the event in hand or in the top 2 (or 1 in Lucky Find’s case) cards in your deck. How many of you have clicked to draw and found no econ events, and let the PPVP credit go to waste for a turn? A potential Lucky Find is certainly dangerous and Corp players must play around it, but good players will be able to identify situations where you do not have one in hand.

-Daily Casts funds turns in which you are not playing events, in other words, it is more flexible economy.

-PPVP is worth more than Daily Casts early, but it’s value drops off very severely, especially in an environment where the top Corp deck can go from 0 to 7 points in a span of 3-5 turns. Daily casts is more useful in the mid game, and is still worth installing in some cases in the late game. PPVP is very risky in the mid game, and a dead card late.

-Casts is more vulnerable to tags and Closed Accounts.

-Casts is far less click-intensive. This might be unintuitive since both Casts and PPVP both take a single click to install, but PPVP only pays you when running a heavily event-based econ, which is by nature click intensive. Lucky Find, Same Old Thing, and the drawing you need to do to stay stocked on your econ events all take quite a bit of clicks to keep going. Installing two Daily Casts gives you a lot more flexibility in attacking servers than two PPVPs, unless you have an amazing hand (and even then, you will have to draw once the econ from those events is gone).

-Finally, if you’re playing PPVP and getting full value, you’re running Lucky Find. Six less influence squeezes out a lot of good splashes like Imp, Siphon, sometimes Corroder or Parasite, etc. PPVP indirectly puts a strain on influence.


Sahasrara decks normally run more than 15 other programs, so with say 21 programs plus the Sahasraras, you’d get 1.5 x ($2.9 + $2) = $7.4 profit on net.

That’s pretty magnificent for a single card and a single click and you’re far ahead if:

  • The MU usage doesn’t cramp your style too much.
  • You can spare the influence.
  • It doesn’t get trashed prematurely by something.
  • You’re installing things that you actually want installed and not just because they’re cheap.

Both Sahasrara and Lucky Find are strong in Noise, it’s just a question of whether playing Clone Chips instead for more Parasites is an even stronger use of influence.

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In my current Noise build I have 3 Djinn and 3 Grimoire - MU isn’t really a problem

This is the tough one. I’m giving up Clone Chips, but I think it’s worth it (big time)

[quote=“chrism6794, post:12, topic:1804”]
It doesn’t get trashed prematurely by something.
[/quote] There’s usually other stuff that Destroyers want to kill, but hasn’t been an issue in about 15 or so games so far…

[quote=“chrism6794, post:12, topic:1804”]
You’re installing things that you actually want installed and not just because they’re cheap.
[/quote]Pretty much everything on that list I want to install. Noise likes to install things. Haha.

Anyway, I’ve hijacked this thread with my Noise nonsense long enough. Thanks for doing the math on this @chrism6794

So let’s look at what is happening in that exchange:

-I assume you are running a scorched deck? There are better ways to force tags on runners in non-scorch decks (Data Raven, Hunter, Shadow, Midseason, Bernice Mai, etc.). So you’re using up one SEA Source to kill an economy card of mine, but you’re also losing a piece of the scorched combo. I’m kind of OK with that. Maybe you have another SEA or you will draw into one when you need it, but if you always draw everything you need right when you need it you’re cheating or the luckiest person alive. Also, if you’re SEA tagging me to kill daily casts, it means you can’t simply scorch me out, or you would have done that instead.

-I ran on your servers last turn. Did you rez ice? You probably didn’t protect everything if you have enough credits left to SEA me and kill my DC. I’m totally fine with trading DC for more accesses on my turn 2.

-I’m spending 3 creds and 1 click to play DC. You’re spending 4 creds and 2 clicks to kill it. I probably need to clear the tag in addition, but depending on the situation I may not need to clear it right away. That’s still not a bad trade for me. Runners need less creds to be threatening in the first few turns of the game, so I think I am still ahead on that exchange.

-You might have disrupted my plan, but I still think in a lot of situations that sounds like an overextension on the Corp’s part, unless your hands are just godly.


Another thing I forgot to mention:

Every time you play two econ events in one turn it feels really bad. The way most games flow, you end up with runner turns where you want to build up for a run next turn, especially with cards like Indexing, or if you dont want to install a breaker from hand and telegraph your next target until you will run in the same turn… so not only are there going to be turns where you can’t or don’t want to use PPVP, there are going to be times when you don’t get the boost to every econ card because of playing multiples in a turn.

In order to squeeze the most efficiency you can out of PPVP, it forces you to play in a way that is not always going to win you the game, or be tactically superior to a less efficient way of playing. And again, good Corp players are going to make plays that force you to choose one or the other.

OK, this thread isn’t supposed to be a comparison of burst vs. drip economy - they both have their place in the right environments. But nevertheless:

Your argument appears to be “Daily Casts is better than PPVP because you have to spend more clicks on events to enable the value from PPVP” and I find that to be bit falacious. Surely the Daily Casts player has got events in the deck as well? You can’t survive on Casts alone for economy so I guarantee you are also playing most of the same economy events and some similar run events too; so you’re spending almost as many clicks over the course of the game compared to the PPVP player.

The difference is that the PPVP player has made the conscious decision to play extra events which justify including PPVP as a reducer. They are getting value from PPVP through the multi-access run events as well as tutors like Test Run and other utility events which enable the strategy. There might be more clicks spent on economy events in the strictest sense, but making runs efficiently is economy in itself and the PPVP adds value while playing Legwork / Maker’s Eye etc.

I think you totally missed @Chill84’s point. It’s not just about trading off resources spent with one another; nor is it a missed opportunity for a Scorched kill. It’s about the tempo hit the Runner suffers in having 0-1 credit in the bank and no drip-feed cash flow. With 1 credit you’re very, very far from being able to get yourself back to a point where you can resume your game plan. You can’t run with 1 credit and you’re several clicks away from being able to play an economy event to recover the position. About your best hope is click, click, Dirty Laundry (on an open server), clear tag. From 0 credits you’ve basically lost a full turn.

That tempo loss is huge. Compare to PPVP: I click once and play “Lucky Find”, taking me to $9 with a click to spare - I’m back in the saddle.

We’re not saying either method is right or superior. They’re just different archetypes which have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s not simply a question of economy, it’s a question of strategy in certain commonly occurring situation.


Similarly with Cyberfeeder. Daily Casts might do more sometimes, I have no doubt, but I’d much rather have Cyberfeeder in my opener. I can go from that into an Imp with 2 credits left, while Casts drops me to 0. Sure, it makes up for it next turn, but I can’t also drop a Datasucker and make a run on whatever’s open.

Cyberfeeder is one of the most useful economy cards in the game if you’ve got viruses and want to make many runs, I think. Might not be for a pure Noise mill deck, but for most virus-heavy-but-still-running-lots builds they pull a lot of weight with low entry cost, immediate payback potential, and utility in the late game.

I’m not at all saying Daily Casts is better than PPVP, I think what is actually happening is that everyone takes it on faith that PPVP + Lucky Find is the way to go right now, and I’m saying Daily Casts actually has some strengths that PPVP lacks and should be considered as well.

Maybe you missed my point about @Chill84’s scenario? My point is, spending credits to deny the runner credits isn’t a huge swing in the Corp’s favor unless it opens a window for you to do something. Think of it like trashing SanSan City Grid. You took away an advantage which is important… however, you didn’t steal an agenda, or advance YOUR side of the board. You brought the state of things back to even, but you lost resources to do so. Think about how it feels when the runner trashes your SSCG… you might wish they hadn’t been able to, but you’re happy they expended resources. That’s my point… Corp resources aren’t infinite, especially at the start of a game. I’d be happier if I kept my DC, but it’s not like getting Kati Jones sitting at 9 credits trashed.

“I won every game in which I did X” doesn’t really tell us anything. I’ve won many, many games in which I misplayed by not drawing a card as my first action on a given turn; that does not mean it lead to my win, or was the correct play.

That is exactly what @Chill84 was getting at. In his situation it does open up a window and a damn big one at that - usually an irretrievable position for the runner. Losing a turn, possibly even two is game over in most situations.

It feels absolutely great, every single time. That’s exactly what they’re for. I tend to treat it like an operation. If it gets trashed before I rez it then it’s done its job, if I get one use out of it then it’s a slightly more expensive Biotic Labor, if I get to use it more than once then I’m laughing.

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How about when they Imp it? I bet that doesn’t feel so great… :wink: