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Psychic Field: Fair?

Am I a noob (yes) or is this an imbalanced card? There is literally no Risk (or investment) for the Corp, for the Reward of a (typically) massive tempo swing and a potential win. Granted, the effect isn’t a guarantee, but I do not see how this justifies a 0-rez cost. This is the best trap in the game, IMO. It requires an investment of 1 click to install–that’s it. No advancing, no Mushin, nothing. Bid 0 on the Psi for extra efficiency. If you hit a hand of 5 (not uncommon) with a bid of 0/1, you just net 4/3 clicks by my reckoning. If the Runner never runs it, you wasted a whole click… The damned thing doesn’t even trash for free for the Runner.

I’m likely wrong, but why?

Oh and care to play it safe and peek it first, Runner? Whoops…

No traps have a rez cost. It requires you to install it to go off – something many things don’t request. You can’t advance it outside Mushin, so there’s less ability to bait a cautious runner. Bid 0 on Psi risks the runner doing very much the same thing, and that’s generally the right bid to make unless you’ve got a read on your opponent’s position. Psi isn’t a guarantee, if they hit you might have whiffed, which isn’t a big issue but can be annoying in comparison to, say, Snare.

It’s also just a big opportunity cost. It’s not a Snare, Shock, or Shi.Kyu – all of which protect some combination of HQ, R&D, and Archives – the servers most likely to get hit – as well as being installable. Advance traps like Junebug provide something to Trick of Light off of. Edge of World and Psychic Field… don’t. Makes it a bit harder to find more slots that can be filled with traps as opposed to Ice, economy, and the like.

It cannot kill the Runner. You can, on a follow-up turn if they’re out of cards and can’t draw more, but hitting Psychic Field isn’t going to lose the runner the game inherently… unless you’ve got a House of Knives scored, I guess (haha, still a part of the run, sucker!).

Not to say that it’s bad. There are a number of decks that really like having it – especially decks running SanSan, to keep it from being trashed so easily. It’s a bit swingy, which can be good or bad, and a lot of people don’t run unadvanced Jinteki servers anyway.

tl;dr – it’s good, with some drawbacks in comparison to other things – no kill shot, no ToL if unrun, only works in a server – that balance it out. It can slow them down, but it’s a trap through and through. It doesn’t keep your centrals safe, if they don’t fall for it it doesn’t do anything for you, and it’s yet another card eating up Jinteki deckspace to fit the “we have traps” plan, against strong competition.

EDIT: Corrected by @JohnnyCreations, no window to use HoK after they access. So, yeah. That’d be a big part of why.


It isn’t imbalanced because unlike any of the other no-advance Jineki traps [Snare, Shi-Kyu, Shock] it only works when installed, giving the runner options to safely dispose of it before it is played.

Also, even though there is no rez cost, the Psi game is an effective rez cost.

It also cannot flatline the runner on the runner’s turn, even with help from other cards, barring the runner doing something incredibly stupid. Because of the timing structure of the run it doesn’t work well with House of Knives or Hokusai Grid or Jinteki Damage Ice like all the other no advance traps where you can meaningfully knife/grid/subroutine them in advance of the access.

Corp can follow up the next turn by using Neural EMP but will probably need 2 or 3 of those.

Yes it is good at card attrition but many traps are good at that while also providing the possibly of straight up winning the game for you.

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There is no “paid ability” window after Psychic Field goes off to use House of Knives. So no - the only way to kill a runner on the same run is something like Dedicated Response Team.

*Edited to add hyperlinks, yo

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It is a great card and helps you as a runner to plan your runs more carefully. I sometimes run on the fourth click. These kind of cards help you rembember why that isn’t always smart, haha.

As a general tip for new players, if you think a card is unfair, try playing with it until you find an opponent who knows how to deal with it. Of course, for this you need access to experienced opponents, which might be an issue IRL, but there’s always OCTGN.

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I’ve seen it used by NBN as protection for SanSan between agendas.

This explains why I’ve seen so many Psychic Fields in NBN.

It’s certainly one of the better traps in the game, but I think it’s important to recognize that any time you put a trap in your deck rather than economy or ICE, it becomes more difficult to protect your servers, and you’re relying less on standard countermeasures to stop the runner and more on them getting unlucky on central accesses and guessing wrong about what you install in your remote servers.

As others have mentioned, this trap doesn’t even hit from central servers, and 2/3 of the time it just doesn’t do anything even if you install it and they DO run it.


For some reason, the Psi game for this card messes with your head. Just like all other Psi games, it works 2/3 of the time not the other way around.

Can someone with a Psychology degree figure out why this card seems different than the other Psi cards?

EDIT: I think I figured it out. In all other Psi games, if the runner wins the Psi game then something happens (Caprice end the run, Snowflake end the run, The Future Perfect gets scored, etc). However, in this Psi game if the runner win then nothing happens. Now that I think about it, this peculiarity with Psychic Field benefits the corp further as it throws the runner off even more.

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The standard play against Jinteki now is for the Runner to Vamp/Siphon into HQ on click one, deplete the Corp to 0 credits and then proceed to lay waste to the shell game.

Psi games will always go to the runner if the Corp is at 0 credits and nearly all Jinteki traps including Psychic Field can be neutered by well played econ denial.

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off-topic and totally not a challenge: I keep hearing about all these plans around Vamp, but I don’t feel like I see it represented in decklists that we (=stimhack peeps) consider “good”. Have I missed these lists? I feel like I tried Vamp a bunch when it was new and didn’t see the point (back when Corps had basically no econ) so I suspect I’ve overlooked it since.


Cerebral Casts works in the same way.

Hinkes won Cambridge regionals with a Jinteki PE kill deck and also a Kit deck with 3 Vamps that might just crush it. The corp deck is pretty solid for PE, but I haven’t played his Kit at all. It might be worth exploring.

It is an important x1 staple in the very viable Reina decks seeing a lot of play lately.


Ah, yes. Thanks. An even more obscure card than Psychic Field. :wink:

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Snare! is better in my opinion. It always gives you a chance to do net damage when accessed from a remote given you can pay for it, and also fires when accessed from HQ or RnD. It will deliver a consistent amount of net damage every time and leave the runner with a tag.

So the next time you see a Psychic Field on RnD and pay 2cr to trash it, be thankful it wasn’t a Snare!

Devil’s Advocate here: Snare! is 3 cards and a tag, so it fulfills different roles. It’s fairly easy to play around that damage than losing your whole hand (if the runner just wants no cards in hand that’s usually fine to the corp).

If the runner also sees Psychic Field in HQ or R&D then this helps in two ways, (1) it’s slightly taxing for the runner to trash it, and (2) the runner is now very afraid of running any unadvanced assets or upgrades, which is great for the never advance strategy.

Finally Psychic Field costs less than Snare! by 2-4 credits and is one less influence the splash.

All in all, I think they fulfill different roles. Snare! is more universally useful, but in the right deck Psychic Field is the better card for what it wants you to do.


You commonly want both, as there’s a bit of synergy there. By discouraging running with a full hand, one of the things Psychic Field does is make Snare! (and similar cards) more likely to kill the runner.

I think running Psychic Field and no other net damage (as I’ve seen in a few NBN builds) is usually a mistake, as the runner can adjust their behaviour to deal with it in a way that isn’t really dangerous for them - running with only a couple of cards (and ones they don’t care too much about). It becomes a bit of an annoyance, but nothing else.

The fact that you play around Psychic Field and play around other net damage in diametrically opposing ways is where the tension is for the runner.


Siphoning the Corp to 0 isnt as easy as you make it out to be. If he has 1 or 2 credits left after the siphon Junebug and Psychic Field can still hurt you. If you dont clear the tags he might Gila Hands - Scorch you. But yeah a single plascrete can protect you from that at least…