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How to make more 5/3 viable?

For a long time 5/3 where unplayable. Most decks contained 3/2 and 4/2 while mostly this was NAPD contract. So like 10 Agendas. Only exceptions was Jinteki playing The Future Perfect (TFP) as it was self protecting.
This changed with Global Food Initiative (GFI) becoming the premier 5/3 as it meant the runner needs to steal 4 agendas & the corp is able to score with 3 agendas (ideally). GFI is that good that you are happy to pay the 1 inf per card and it has become restricted. In @TheBigBoy limited format it’s banned which is also a statement that it’s pretty strong.
FFG learned how to make 5/3 viable with more self protecting Agendas like: Degree Mill, Obokata Protocol, City Works Project, Ikawah Project.
And of course SSL Endorsement which is not self protecting but sometimes it’s nice to be stolen to enable you to score or come back into the game.
And of course with Downfall we have SDS Drone Deployment what a card!

So my main question is, how could we make existing 5/3 viable? Do we need to push the power level? Do we need to add a self defending mechanism? What do you think?
Elective Upgrade for instance was so strong (2x Biotics) that it was playable too.

I’ll make the start with High-Risk Investment I think if we’d change the text to “when scored or stolen” this would help the card? Or giving it 2 counters?

What do you think about it? How would you make other 5/3 viable for the game? And of course feel free to talk about 6/4 and 9/6 Agendas too :wink:

One thing I’ve noticed is that the competitive elements of the game tend to want to minimise risk when playing the game. This means that they were often turned off by 5/3s that might offer a huge upside if scored but offered a massive downside (3 points gone!) if lost.

This is why I think the ones that worked tended to be either
A. Harder to lose out on (for a long time The Future Perfect also suited this)
B. Provide a way of balancing the loss (though this has seemed to be less appealing over time)

To appeal across the board to those style of players therefore I think you need to give an agenda a way of mitigating that loss with some kind of tempo loss

To that end perhaps Elective Upgrades could have the text “When the runner steals this agenda the runner has 1 fewer click on each of their following 3 turns”

For High-Risk Investment , how about making it so that if it is stolen the corporation gains 1 credit for each credit in the Corporation’s credit pool, or alternatively X credits for each credit in the Corporation’s credit pool where X is equal to the number of advancements on High RIsk Investment? ( I’m a little rusty on terminology so i haven’t tried to write the actual text of the card, but i expect you all get the idea. ) Both options mean the Corporation gains something if the Agenda is stolen, and both options mean that to some extent the Corporation may be able to manage their credit pool accordingly. The ‘X credits’ option increases the possible gains for the Corporation but also means that the Corporation has to actually install and advance the Agenda to get any benefit, and it means that the more that the Agenda is advanced the more benefit the Corporation is likely to get.

Thank you for your replies.
@Cliquil: I think your analysis is correct, from a statistical point of view, each agenda has the same likelihood of being accessed in R&D meaning that a 5/3 will be stolen in some games and it makes it much easier for the runner to win, while they are hard to score. So just losing a 5/3 is hard. Yesterday I was playing HB with Ikawah and twice it was on the edge if the runner can steal it.

Elective Upgrade was played as the upside is so huge. You lost some games to it, but when you scored it early it was an enabler together with Jeeves & MCA. I mean it was played in the Worlds winning deck from 2017, does it really needs a push?

I think the only played non defensive Agendas where: Elective Upgrade and SSL.

@totsuzenheni: I like your idea, but imagine a BaBW with like 30 credits IAA this, it seems bonkers to get 60 credits when it’s stolen. But still it’s not defensive. Would be keen to try your idea!

While thinking about it, I also noticed some more distinction:

  • Agendas that only defend themself, like Obokata and they do nothing when you score them
  • Agendas that only have an upside, like Elective
  • Agendas that have up- & downside, like SSL
  • Agendas that protect themself and have an upside like SDS and I think this is what makes SDS so strong. You can’t steal it without a program. And when you score it, it can really hurt the runner. As a result Crim slots every programm as a 2x

Ban The Turning Wheel. Maybe Khusyuk too.

Scaling/targeted multi-access takes away from the benefit of having lower agenda density.

Sounds to me like you have an issue with the fact that Glacier is currently not playable? Yes TTW can be annoying, but it fits into the same part that late game the corp has lost.
And I have seen enough Khusyuk wiff. I think it a fair multi access as you can’t just play it.

The designers figured out late in the game’s life exactly how to make 5/3’s viable: They need to be defensive or basically win the game once they’re scored.

Basically it’s a matter of tempo. Every single agenda has the same opportunity cost for the Runner even if it’s a different point total, but it’s exponentially harder for the Corp to score as advancement requirements increase.

So, for viability, the Corp has to have a reasonable plan to put the Runner in a situation where the 5/3 needs to be left on the table, the Runner cedes tempo making the score, or scoring just one puts the Corp massively forward on tempo.

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Would it be broken if a 5/3 had the same ability as 15 Minutes ?

Isn’t the likelyhood to high, that it’s stolen and the game is over? For my feeling it’s like Punitive, when you draw it to late, the game is over.

Assuming it was still L1PD, or would probably be very playable. Putting it in NBN is a bad move alongside 15 Minutes. Putting it in green is bad as they have Punitive. I don’t mind it out if HB or Jinteki, but the card is probably very powerful.

I’ve if 15M’s downsides is that it’s only 1 point. You’re increasing your density by playing it. With a 5/3 you could play it out of like Azmari (and similarly another 40 card ID for other factions) and your first two steals have to be not this card to matter. Throw in Punitive Counterstrike, and even EoI plays, and you’ve got a pretty absurd card.

IAA this and they either steal it through a big server and then it goes away, or give you 3 points? That’s pretty ridiculous.


I have not thought about this topic for some time, but it’s always mentioned to me my the forum.
The interesting things is, that we got some new 5/3s!
Project Vacheron, a Punitive enabler that you might steal it but as it denies you the points for 4 turns you can still die on “7+ points”. Of course not only for punitive also combo deck and I think jammy decks love it.
Bellona which reminds me a lot of SSL, when you score it, it’s positve as you gain 5 credits, so instead of 6 clicks + 5 credits you save 5 credits. Or they need to pay to steal, so it’s kind of another NAPD contract with some upsides.