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Legitimate Hot Take: We're fine without Jackson Howard

this morning as I was thinking about the loss I took in my corp match from our Spring League event, it dawned on me that I hadn’t thought about Jackson Howard in a long while. Not only that, when I look at all the recent corp decks I’m playing, I don’t feel the need to have him in the decks I build.

Maybe it’s due to having now played this game (for years! and I don’t plan on stopping), I’ve learned how to wiggle out of bad situations via deck design and lines of play. Most likely it’s also due to cards that, while aren’t as efficient as Howard, give us that safety valve needed.

Perhaps even more, it’s that the “Jackson save” (getting out of an indexing situation or getting an R and D shuffle to beat remote lock) isn’t needed as much because the runners are much slower.

A while back I watched a pre-rotation, pre MWL match. Temujin, Jackson…all the cards were powered up to the max. And the game was FAST. If you ever get a chance/curiosity to watch a match from 2014/2015, I’d say check it out. Seeing how board states get set up these days feels so much different.

Anyway, just a bit of reflection that I wanted to share. In a Temujin R and D Lock World, Jackson was needed more than ever. But in today’s world, he’s just a nice memory.

(lol, come to think of it, this sounds like the start of a Humanist vision of religion in the modern day :slight_smile: )


Burn this Heretic! He speaketh ill of our Lord and Savior!


I totally agree, and I am really happy it worked out this way. I have found the game to be so much fun after rotation + banlist, with all the really crazy powerful cards gone. It has made a lot of playstyles more workable at least in casual play, and deckbuilding more interesting because there are fewer superstrong cards.
I do hope it takes a while until we go back to a meta where there are insane power cards on both sides that then need to counter each other.


He’s a witch!



Have you been playing any glacier at all? I find I’m currently importing about 5 cards worth of slots to fill the 3x Jackson role, paying more inf and getting a worse result overall.

hehe, I have. But I like playing Red Glacier and I’ve found Genotyping @ 2x to more or less cover my “restocking” needs. My biggest pain in the neck is film critic, which is why i happily slot MCA Informant with the highest levels of need.

I’d agree that we’re largely fine now without JH, but it’s also worth pointing out the overall power level of the meta has been significantly reduced since rotation with the advent of B/R, rotation, and Core 2.0. I think Core 2.0 has had the biggest bearing on this change, but B/R has certainly helped maintain the intended power level. Had Noise and rampant ice destruction been allowed past rotation I think corps surely would have felt the loss of JH.


I personally think Jackson Howard was really bad for the game. Dealing with agenda flood (or drought) is a key variance in the game that challenges the corp player. Jackson Howard is like playing Corp with training wheels on. One side effect of this was that runner economy needed a huge boost to deal with the fact that one of the inherent weakness of the Corp player had been, more often than not, solved. This then led down the rabbit hole to a game that was starting to tear itself apart with an economic arms race. Removing Jackson has helped reset the game at a healthier point.

That said, LCGs and CCGs will always tear themselves apart without rotation or an ever-increasing banned and restricted list (which is essentially just rotation of a small group of cards) so Jackson Howard just accelerated that process.


Jackson really was 3 different cards in one (even though he only had 2 effects):

accelerate your corp game by drawing cards, but this only worked better if you kept him on the board for a while (otherwise, you were better off with other cards that drew other cards, like Anonymous Tip)

deal with flood (that he himself often caused)

deal with noise mill (cos seriously fuck noise)

so cards that only do one effect (like recycle cards from archives) aren’t mandatory because that was kind of incidental. also Preemptive can only be used as your last click, so you have to find some other way to discard or have something in archives for a turn. there’s Distract, but i won’t really get into that. Genotyping is cool because it helps you chuck things into archives that you might want in there (breached dome or just some facedowns for IG)
and you have all these other crazy HQ management cards like Special Report, Portable HQ, etc. that were never at any moment a consideration as long as Jackson existed

because Jackson did so much in one card, you were at a disadvantage not using him. every corp deck today would be better with jackson, but i’m glad we have a meta now that supports a corp playstyle that doesn’t have to use him to stay competitive


I think this is a bit unfair. While I can see how having an ‘undo’ button for agenda flood seems like it makes the game easier (and it does – don’t get me wrong), but I think Jackson largely increased the skill cap on both sides of the table.

Runners would see Jackson and have to come up with a solution. Maybe he’s behind ICE and there are a few facedowns in Archives. Do you run the Jackson server or do you make a bluff run on Archives to try to force them to pop him? Do you play Indexing with face down remote servers, knowing that NBN’s favorite executive might just show up to ruin your day?

As the Corp, Jackson largely just gave you more options. Do you click for credits or try to power draw for econ? Do you try to score the 3 pointer in your hand with an IAA play or do you over-draw to try to pitch the agenda? The runner just made a successful HQ run while you have Jackson rezzed and agendas in the bin, do you pop him early for fear of Political Operative?

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more interesting situations that could come up and loads more subtleties. I can remember times where I’ve popped Jackson just to shuffle R&D before my turn started because the runner had seen the top X cards the deck and I needed to draw an agenda (or at least something they hadn’t seen). I think the part of Jackson I miss most is really that instant speed shuffle, because it has so many unique applications.




There’s a lot to like about rotation, but possibly my single favorite thing is how quickly it disabused the community of the idea that agenda flood was a design flaw that needed to be patched in order to play “real Netrunner”


Honestly the competitive game at a high level REALLY sucks right now and a large part of that is the corp not being able to control the pace of the game, which is what jackson did. I think the game is worse without him and the replacement effects are less interesting. The game can work without the effect but it’s better with the effect in.


In before we get a 2inf neutral Jackson in R&R… :crossed_fingers:

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I want Jackson Howard to be a runner. I WANT IT SO BAD. He could “trash himself” (a runner flip ID if you will) and get to access 3 cards in R and D, but then has to take 4 brain damage.

It’s what we really needed a long time ago, instead of him making Yellow that much better.

Unless things changed, my chats with Boggs IRL last year put him firmly in the ‘Jackson was a mistake’ camp.

People do change, though.


I really like that idea. It’d be cool to see a runner have a 1x use ability. Something like Biotech but runner side. IDK what could be strong enough to warrent a 1x use ability though.

I understand the appeal of archive protection, and acceleration, and recursion and bait and the various things that Jackson silver bulleted. In much the same way, I wish crim still had all the things Aaron gave them. I just don’t want them all in one card at that power level, no matter how much influence he costs.


Is that how everyone feels, that high level competitive Netrunner sucks right now?

I feel like I have missed that discussion somehow…


If you were at worlds you definitely heard at least 1 discussion about it. Jnet and slack you’d also hear it for a while.

A lot of the top players have gone on hiatus until some necessary replacements were printed because the worlds 2017 meta was 5th degree silver bullets and absolute garbage to play in. Read a nrdb writeup by dyer or simonmoon and they’ll mention how much they disliked the meta. Kitara meta is better but not by much so a lot of people aren’t very active.

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