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Is Parasite Overrated?

Title is a bit of click-bait, but lately I’ve been running zero (or maybe one) parasites in my decks and it’s been to good effect.

Andy Deck (I switch back and forth between adding a second Corroder in place of the Parasite)

Kate Deck

In both of those decks I’ve found not playing (or using) Parasite to do 2 things:

  1. The corp installs less ICE because it’s more expensive to do so
  2. By the mid-game you generally have 2 ICE rezzed in 2 or 3 servers, so you can easily calculate how expensive a server will be to run.

Now, there are definitely drawbacks and both of those decks above are still “experimental” and in the testing phases. However, with an efficient breaker suite and clickless econ you can usually stay ahead of the corp. Usually when a corp rezzes a pop-up, or tsurugi, or pup, they are just expecting you to kill it, and then can then lay down a new ICE for free and you’ll have to deal with that one. Instead, that Pup will stay alive all game and be fairly taxing, but it also taxes the Corp if they want to install new ICE in that server.

Anyway, it’s probably not optimal, but I’ve been playing around with it and it’s been much better than I thought. Thoughts?

I can generally get away with running only 1 Parasite in a Katman deck due to the number of ways to recur it over the course of a game. It also helps that in that style of deck, you want to be playing Parasite mid-run rather than spending a click to play it, so it becomes a card you don’t want to see in your hand.

Andy doesn’t really have that luxury so much, so I think i would run more than 1 in an Andysucker deck, personally.

Is it overrated?!?

It’s one of the best programs in the game. Period.


What I am actually wondering about parasite is - will we ever get another ice destruction card? Currently any ice destruction revolves around recurring Parasite. Fist question is: will we ever get another one? Second question being, would two be too strong?

Again, the title is just click-bait, I guess - but when you actually play without Parasite you see the Corp do things that they aren’t used to as much and you don’t have to spend clicks and credits destroying ICE, but instead spend that setting up or running other servers. It made me think that Parasite may not be an auto-include as it seems Runners so often see it as.

Obviously, you can’t verify if Parasite is “overrated”, but you can think critically about Parasite and see if (outside of Anarch) it’s worth the influence.

We already did.

It’s called Kraken.

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Second answer being “No.”


Sigh, John, okay, fine, I’ll bite :slight_smile: The following is very obvious and not ground-breaking:

No, it’s not an auto-include. Alex’s original version of Andy-Sucker didn’t use it.

The problem is that RP is Tier 1, and not having Parasite against RP sucks. Tsurugi is painful to break. Komainu is kind of painful. Against NEH you could probably replace Parasite with another multi-access card (replace with RDI in Criminal or with Legwork in Shaper, say)…but even then parasiting Eli is handy as you force them to deal with it. Same with killing Roto. And running through Pop-Ups on R&D for days is a bad idea.

Those are the two decks any Runner deck should be able to handle. Parasite is invaluable against one and still good against the other. So, no, I do not think it is over-rated, from a tournament-quality deck perspective.


there’s lots of ice and pseudo ice destruction cards:

kraken (as mentioned)
forged activation orders
rook (works quicker than parasite in most cases)
demolition run

Parasite is not overrated. Reducing the strength of ICE in anarch is such a prevelant theme and then you have a card that not only does that but has a pretty useful effect at the end of it. Its hard not to include parasite when it feeds directly off of something you have to do in order to enable your ICE breakers.

And then datasucker was 1 influence. So not only can you port in this really nifty econ card easy but it immediately enables you to generate parasite’s really useful effect.

I’ve been tooling around with a list similar to El Ad’s Canadian Nats list recently which drops Parasites for all 3 RDIs. I was skeptical at first, but at this point I’m not so sure. You see, Jesse Vandover and I have kept coming back to essentially the same deck for about 6 months (his regional deck) with slight tweaks here and there, with the influence revolving around 2 Clone Chip 2 Parasite. It was a fantastic deck, but Lotus field and NEH’s in general kind of killed that version, but parasite was always very good and pretty much the card you were looking for when things got tough and I couldn’t have imagined cutting it before.
So when it comes to the RP question, basically, cutting the Parasite for RDI exchanges cheaper runs for more cost effective runs. The thing is that against ICE heavy decks, hitting with those parasites by no means guarantees that those runs stay cheap for very long, especially if they manage to set up a tough to crack Sun Dew Server or draw multiple Celebrity gifts. I need to test the match up more, but I think giving up parasite could be fine.
I know Jesse doesn’t agree. Last weekend when we were testing he said multiple times that a deck without parasite was not a deck he was taking to worlds, but we ending up testing Shaper that day. I’m taking it to a tournament on Sunday, I’ll let y’all know how it goes.


Parasite is a quick easy answer to low str ice, regardless of of type. So it saves the runner the cost of locating and installing the relevent breaker.

Bottom line: huge early.

Secondly, ice is a cumulative tax on runner, meaning that the corp reaps the benefit of the ice every time its run. Whereas the corp only realizes the value once on ice that is destroyed.

Finally, parasite disrupts many two multi ice combinations chum + quandry.
Inacom + komainu…

Ok, really finally: Parasite is an econ card. It lessens the strength of ice each turn and makes it easier to break, and in some cases makes it possible for fixed str breakers to work (yog, mimic)

So, no

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No, but I think there are bad ways to play with parasite. You can spend all of your time and energy drawing and installing parasites, or you can play normally trying to maximize accesses and when parasite comes out of your deck, pick the reasonable place for it to go.

Parasite isn’t overrated so much. Players who change the goal of the game from “access agendas” to “blow up all the ice” are probably doing it wrong.


I’m going to bet it’s in 5 of the top 8 Worlds decks.

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I played a version of Andy very similar to El Ad’s winning deck at US Nationals, and, let me tell you, when the field is 1/3 RP, you regret not playing Parasite. Even against NEH there are very good Parasite targets, and FA decks like to get away with as little ICE as possible. Killing ICE along with an unlucky Corp draw can lead to not enough ICE for the Corp to protect as many servers as they’d like. I really regretted not playing Parasite at Nationals and have since found influence to splash two Parasite in my Andy deck. Parasite is always a really good way to keep the pressure on the Corp (especially killing ICE on important servers to open up Siphon/Legwork/Indexing).

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It really is one of the best cards. That said, after playing runner decks where Parasite was plan A for the last little while I have come back to regular breakers a bit. Sometimes a Corroder is like 3 Parasites. A Mimic can vastly reduce the need for Clone Chip/Parasite when facechecking.

When evaluating parasite, you also have to take into account the cost of all the cards needed to support it (MU, data sucker, tutors, …) If you’d take econ cards instead of those, efficient breakers and multi acces, you could also get quite far. It’s just that most runner decks are weak to certain ice (mostly Jinteki sentries can be pain), and parasite provides the solution for that.

All in all, parasite is a very good card, but not necessary in every deck I feel.


I think are too many really good 0-2 strength ICE with multiple subroutines right now, and as such, Parasite is almost always a card worth considering.


Parasite is good, running is hard. Hard to build a deck that has the tools to compete with all the corps.

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Well, just got rocked with my Kate deck by 2 four-strength Silvers. Ugh! I was still able to keep running with clickless econ, but definitely slowed me down. A parasite would’ve been nice! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hope you got your answer.