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Nero Severn: Reflections on the new Criminal

So, a while ago over in the Mumbad thread there was a bit of chat about Nero, I thought it might be good to pre-emptively split this off into a new thread for people to chat about deck ideas.

Current timeline would see Nero out around the end of March? Here’s the FFG article where Nero and his console are spoiled:

What do we think? Are we going to brew up specialised ‘jack out’ lists with Turning Wheel and Au Revoir and Reflection? Or use him as an early-game aggressive criminal that’s more-or-less immune to surprise sentries?

Here’s the relevant comment from the Mumbad Cycle thread:

I’m not entirely sold on just using his ability as a safety net on top of standard early game criminal aggression. Sure it might save you from a few huge blow outs face checking a Rototurret that snipes your Corroder, or an all-in turn one Komainu that wrecks your early game econ plan because you wanted to probe their defences but outside of the first few turns it feels marginal.

Given how solid criminal’s killers tend to be it seems like a big ask to sacrifice Leela/Gabe’s ability to gain one link and save you from installing a Faerie. It looks even more fragile next to Andromeda who has the link, the early game tempo and almost definitely can have a killer in hand.

If that benefit alone isn’t enough to play him then it feels like you really need to be guaranteeing some way to turn his ability into value late game, possibly via the Au Revoir econ engine and Turning Wheel as you say. Whether or not that’s the full focus of the deck, to make him worth playing it feels necessary.

That is, of course, vulnerable to the corp just slapping a code gate in front of all their sentries to slow your econ? Paintbrush? :wink:

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I think I was thinking along these lines to begin with, but every time I come back to it I’m a bit more persuaded.

It’s an ability which thrives in the early game, but then maybe that’s playing to Criminal strengths anyway. It used to be a nice early play in something like NEH was to stick an architect on RnD and catch the runner with an early facecheck. Now, are you going to rez that? Knowing it leaves you 4 in the hole without any cost to the runner aside from missing an access?

What about archer, or ichi? These are not insignificant rez costs, and they will simply slide off an early facecheck by Nero. It doesn’t even burn up one of his faeries or sharpshooters/clone chips.

Kit is great early game if you get your Refractor out, most single iced servers can be broken into for peanuts. She still needs a program for this, though, Nero is able to but the pressure on without even that.

Crucial difference, of course… No accesses.

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Yea you’re definitely right, if a Nero runs at your Archer’d up scoring server it makes it much less nice to rez. If they have a breaker then it’s just letting them choose (pay a load to break it or jack out rather than forcing them to break it) and if they don’t you lose a ton of damage. As you say though, this doesn’t actually win the runner the game. They still can’t get through that Archer to the agenda without a breaker so all they’ve really gained is the knowledge of how much money they’ll actually need to punch through it/whether it’s worth femme-ing (not that that’s insubstantial given how much the corp has payed to get a glorified end the run of course).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of this ID and I really like the idea of a criminal who can face check safely and who has (sort of) another way to tax the corp of a decent chunk of credits for a minimal effect. I mean, run a server -> rez Archer -> jack out -> Inside Job and access seems like a profitable line of play.


Nero makes it easier to avoid a turn 1 click 1 install desperado, click 2 run and hit Cortex Lock death.

He might be able to worry less about recursion because he’s able to avoid the main program trashers so he can use his influence in other ways.

I guess the best way to describe Nero is that his ability can help you avoid losing but it won’t help you win.


I’ve come round to thinking that you might be better off running Au Revoir/Reflection out of Geist: there is a sufficient number of pieces that raw card cycling seems better than tutoring given limited influence.

Probably should work out a numerical simulation to bench mark the mean time to assemble the rig of the various options.

The thing is, if you do that turn (click 1 install desperado, click 2 run and hit Cortex Lock), is the corp going to rez? It stops your run, but lots of sentries (okay, not cortex lock, but…) are expensive. The corp needs to spend a chunk of change on basically an overpriced barrier, or let you access.

You’re right, they do still need to rez and the corp can’t rely on winning the game off them so you can facecheck ICE without fear until you hit a Sentry (though Wormhole could still be dangerous… if people ran it), it still doesn’t help you win; it helps you avoid nasty subroutines.

I’m not saying it’s a bad ability, but I am saying that compared to Leela whose ability does help you win by pushing back the corp’s board state and Gabe getting money for running HQ, Nero’s ability never gives you an explicitly advantage over the corp, it just prevents the corp from using sentries to get an advantage over you.

It’s a 100% defensive ability. Nero seems able to be more reckless than other criminals so I imagine any decks should play to that nature.

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Having Nero bounce off a Cortex Lock seems ok. Sure, the sub doesn’t land, but it still forces the Nero player to find an answer before making successful runs either by, overloading on programs or playing a Killer.

Potentially saving a Faerie is really the only benefit Nero seems to provide. His ability is so underwhelming compared to Kit and Quetzal. Their abilities directly help you make successful runs. Nero just turns one sentry a turn into a barrier. Oh baby, so exciting.


I wonder if Rebirth could help him out, but outside of Iain most other crims have abilities they would like to see in the early game.

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You jest, but I have nightmares about all my Pups becoming barriers.

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I’d be worried about Mongoose 1 cred for Pup instead. :sunglasses:

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I ran into a roto the other day with mongoose. It trashed my passport, but I got back at it. Then ran into an enigma right after it. I think Nero will be better in game than in theory.


Killing that Passport felt real nice :slight_smile:

Personally if I play Nero I’m going to play 3x Faerie and 3x Crescentus to start. Don’t rez your sentry? Fine with me. Rez it? Okay I’ll derez it. Rez it again? Okay I’ll jack out and go elsewhere.

With Corps slotting more and more sentries, Nero could be okay. I personally enjoy playing very aggressively and face-checking everything. This has become less and less viable as we have seen more threatening face-checks in recent releases. Nero may take me back to the days where my first turn always consists of face-checking HQ and RND, clicks 1 and 2. And I’m okay with that.

How does he help you win? IDK. I’m generally loath to use the term tempo, as I don’t claim to fully understand it. I think it has something to do with the efficiency of your plays versus your opponent’s. Nero may be a reasonable tempo ID. As I see it, the sentries that are played are meant to be tempo hits for the Runner. A full value Assassin wipes 3 cards and a program, which costed credits to install. An Architect gives click-less installs for the Corp, potentially recurring cards the Runner spent credits and clicks to trash. Ichi 1.0 is either going to tax a whole mess of clicks, or completely obliterate a rig that the Runner invested credits into. Is my understanding of tempo flawed?

If my understanding of sentries and tempo is sound, Nero may drastically reduce the efficiency of all but the cheapest sentries. Cortex Lock is only 2c; not a huge loss. Once you get to 4c and beyond, though, Nero’s ability may impact Corp play in ways we can’t fully anticipate yet.


Imo he’s probably the next GRNDL, lots of hype, never sees play.


Yea I personally suspect his console turning wheel shenanigans will see more strength out of Andy or even Geist.

His build will be a bit more traditional I suspect with some Gabe-like aggression.

Yeah, I have a gut feeling he’s going to be good, but I think I don’t understand the game well enough to either be sure or put it into words as well as you did!

There’s few very cheap good sentries (pup, data hound, news hound and cortex lock?). Are you going to Rez a four or five cost piece of ice if it does nothing? What about things like Grim or Assassin?

Like you say, faerie and crescentus are still great cards for him. You’re going to force the corp to invest an awful lot to get a sentry to stick, to the point that they may not bother at all. Which is maybe the point with Quetzal/Kit/Nero?

The deck that is least effected is something like SYNC which runs 4-6 Data Raven and Gutenburg as their only sentries. Can’t seeing Nero get much out of that match up at all…

Right, all this aside, who has a janky idea for an Au Revoir deck with him? Let’s make it as outlandish as possible.

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Bonus points to anyone who includes the Blackguard/Snitch combo. Run a server, expose a sentry, force the rez then jack out for 3 Au Revoir credits, run it again and repeat with his id ability, all for the cheap cheap cost of 17 credits, 6 clicks and 4 mu.


The good thing about Nero is that you don’t need to install your faerie to start your aggro runs.
The bad thing about Nero is that you still need faerie or some kind of answer,sooner or later.

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Everyone has Nero’s ability with a Data Raven. Does it ever feel good to bounce off a Data Raven?

Nero is literally Snitch the ID.