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.