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Runaround - The Adam Thread

The 3 Laws of Robotics are first mentioned in the 1942 short story Runaround by Isaac Asimov.
With U.S. Nationals over and no more major events to prepare for (where D&D won’t be legal) I thought it would be good to start discussing Adam (whose directives seem very interesting to build around) and how he should be built. Before we even get to the point of viability, we need to decide what it is that Adam does so that we can decide on the best way to build him, so that we can decide if he does it any better than other pre-existing runners. So let me start out with Adam’s 7 faction cards and some initial thoughts on what might synergize well with them:

The Three Directives

  • Safety First
    Your maximum hand size is reduced by 2. When your turn ends, draw 1 card if you do not have cards in your grip equal to or greater than your maximum hand size.
  • Always Be Running
    Your first click each turn must be spent to make a run or play a run event. Once per turn, you can spend (click, click) to break s subroutine on a piece of ice currently being encountered.
  • Neutralize All Threats
    The first time each turn you access a card with a trash cost, you must trash it by paying its trash cost, if able. Whenever you access cards from HQ, access 1 additional card.


Safety First is listed as the First Directive in the flavor text, and rightly so. This directive has the largest impact on how you will build this compulsive hacker’s deck, because starting with your first turn, you’re going to need to discard down to 3 unless you play hand size modifiers your first turn. This means you will want to play 2 cards to not lose any (a la Andromeda)- and this idea works well with your Second Directive, Always Be Running. Your first click needs to be a run, and your first turn, that’s hard to pull off without it bouncing. We ideally need to play a run event; Dirty Laundry shines here. But the odds aren’t great that we pull that in our opener. We can’t Datasucker and then run because we must spend our first click, so even hitting up archives just for a sucker token is a no-go. Always Be Running lets us click-click through a single subroutine, and that’s not terribly reliable. So all things being said, it seems like from a first-turn standpoint Safety First is going to make us just about outright lose a click our first turn unless we anticipate a nice, safe, binary ice and not a Komainu or other nasty multi-subber.

The first-turn conundrum is the best place to start for me- what do we want to see in our opener?

Moving on from there, let’s talk about our console:

Brain Chip
[X] MU
Your maximum hand size is increased by X.
X is equal to the number of agenda points you have.

This console, along with the next card we consider, Multithreader, seem to be directing us at a utility kit of disposable programs (I’ll get to that later, but programs like David, Imp, Lady come to mind) and econ and access-based run events (Siphon, Legwork, Dirty Laundry, Stimhack, Security Testing). So once we score 2 points, we have the MU of a Grimoire and we’re back to our 5 card grip. Once we score 4 points, we have 8 MU and a 7-card grip for 2 credits. A turn in which you score points, you increase your grip, meaning Safety First will force you to draw a card that could even exceed your previous grip size but set you up for your next turn. Basically, any turn in which you score points you will clicklessly draw you a card at the end of your turn, poising you to further pressure the corp on your next turn (imagine scoring points, drawing Account Siphon or Maker’s Eye at the end of your turn, and then play one of them first click next turn for Always Be Running). The console on the surface seems very “win more”, when you have 25 influence that you are free to use 9 of for Desperado; but I feel pretty convinced that it is worth running. For one, it offsets our First Directive grip reduction, and two, it increases our memory, meaning we can run either more programs, or programs with larger MU requirements, as we score points. It definitely lends itself to a snowball end-game strategy, but can it hold up in the early game vs. fast advance and rush decks?

3 Cost
1 MU
(2 Recurring Credits)
Use these credits to pay for using programs

A nice bonus that it says “programs” and not just “icebreakers”. This card seems very important, and it seems we would want to get one of these in play as fast as possible. Is this important enough for us to want to Modded it out? A smaller grip size means it will be harder to hold our run events along with other cards like Modded while we wait to find the program we want to Mod. Multithreader works with a few strong programs that we can consider; Study Guide, Overmind, and Savoir-Faire (and even Bug? :P) are all costly but could potentially set up fast using these credits. Most importantly, it is non-unique. Considering how much free draw Adam should be getting as the game goes on and his grip strengthens, these are very much worth installing for only 3 credits, since they start paying for themselves after their 2nd use. As they stack your economic running engine gains more and more momentum as you score points and can therefore afford to have more of these installed. SMC is also a possibility since the 2-credit cost of SMC can be paid for using Multithreader. Getting a Multithreader out seems it would also help you to keep Security Testing worth doing much later into the game, trading recurring credits for actual credits while satisfying your Always Be Running requirement.

Independent Thinking
1 Cost
Trash up to 5 of your installed cards. Draw 1 card for each card trashed (or 2 cards for each card trashed if you trashed at least 1 directive).

Wow! The ability to draw 10 cards for 1 credit and 1 click is completely bananas, even though it’s a scenario you will likely never encounter. This card gives a massive ‘clutch’ ability, letting you find the card you need when you need to stop them from scoring this turn. Why trash installed cards though? Cards with power counters come to mind, like David, Lady, Imp, Rex, Cujo, Cache, and Overmind. If we keep with the program utilitarian approach and want to try using something like Sahasrara, then Cache becomes awesome since it’s a click for 3 credits and fuels our Independent Thinking. I will confess as of right now I’m not sure if that’s even worth doing (with 25 influence you might not want to put 25 1-influence cards in) but I see great potential in the ability to spontaneously draw reasonably 3 - 6 cards and potentially 5 - 10 cards with a single click.

Dr. Lovegood
2 Cost

When your turn begins, choose one of your installed cards. The text box of that card is blank for the remainder of the turn.

The dystopian future lovechild of Dr. Feelgood and Dr. Strangelove, this is the only card of Adam’s that I don’t “get”. Obviously, you can blank a Directive for a turn (avoiding a run when you really need those clicks, ending your turn with 4 cards or 8 cards to avoid flatline, or blanking Neutralize all threats before checking remotes) but I can’t see realistically how you would want to do that. There are already cards in the game that do stronger things for Adam than this; Brain Cage for increasing grip early, Imp for remote checking or trashing on digs (accessing a Pad and Imp trashing it satisfies NAT so the next trashable card accessed does not have to be trashed). The only thing I can see it being good for is blanking ABR on turns where you need to set up (after drawing up to your max grip size on the turn before and pulling the breaker you need with a Maker’s or Siphon in hand, so you want to install a program and then make your run) or not run at all and spend a full turn rig building and getting econ going. This makes some sense to me since we are generally pulling our new cards at the end of our turn, and not at the beginning via Earthrise or Visage. Is it worth slotting into the deck and spending 2 credits on? That I don’t know without actually testing.

Additional Considerations

Draw is important for Adam, and he gets enough draw potentially to be a very effective and aggressive runner, perhaps even nearly to the level of MaxX. In comparison, MaxX has much more consistency but probably has a lower max power level than Adam could. Adam can free up a significant number of cards MaxX saves for recursion; so perhaps the freed slots and increase in influence more than make up for the early setbacks of the directives. Certain bindered cards like Collective Consciousness strike me as possibly playable since our console allows us so much extra memory once we start scoring. I have a feeling it will be janky and unnecessary since the built in draw of Safety First is what we’re really going to try and optimize. Imp seems very strong in many ways for Adam, since the effective HQI we get out of our NAT Directive might act not just as fast advance disruption/ice control, but flatline and Midseason protection (think Butchershop and Flash). We are going to want to cram a lot of events into this deck, and our strong draw is going to find our Multithreaders for us, which will power our breakers, letting us in turn play more run events. I think this is a fairly clear line of play and the way to best capitalize on his draw potential, but the final question remains: What breakers do we run? What support cards for these breakers do we play?

All these things being said, here is the list of cards I think are up for consideration for Adam:

  • Modded (Free Multithreaders, cheaper breakers/faster setup)
  • Imp
  • Lady
  • David
  • Overmind (probably a 1 or 2 of)
  • Dirty Laundry
  • Security Testing
  • Brain Cage (making us draw up to a larger max grip size at end of turn)
  • Clone Chip
  • Legwork (see 4 cards on access)
  • RDI (synergy with Modded, gives us some late game threat as R&D becomes more taxing)
  • Hunting Grounds (Apex card, virtual resource - location, cost 2: Once per turn, prevent a “when encountered” ability on a piece of ice) - Avoid that pesky Tollbooth, Data Raven tag. Those two alone are worth a slot and influence.
  • Keyhole (Satisfied Always Be Running’s requirement)
  • Analog Dreamers (also a first click run option)
  • Power counter programs like David, Lady, Cache, and others that power Independent Thinking
  • Siphon (I personally am skeptical of this because you don’t want to be floating tags with your 3 Directives being resources, and shedding tags the normal way doesn’t seem to suite an aggressive runner who doesn’t want to go tag-me).
  • Stimhack (because it’s a run, and also because Stimhack)
  • Hyperdriver (3 memory is easily mitigated once you have points in your score area since you’re sitting at 5 - 8 memory, giving you some strong power turns or serious momentum in the mid game with your very snowballish console)
  • E3 (may or may not be viable with the Power Counter approach and our ABR directive letting us click-click through only a single subroutine)
  • Cutlery events (obvious synergy here with the ability to click-click kill any binary piece of ice or literally any ice with E3)
  • Demo Run (at only 2 influence a one of is hard to say no to when you can nail hq for 2 cards with nothing installed)
  • Scrubber (great fit for a run-heavy runner, and also helps neutralize our NAT Directive when we hit a PAD and have to trash it)
  • Savoir-Faire (lets us get around needing to install what we drew at the end of our turn before making our required first click run; bonus if there is a Multithreader installed to cover the 2-credit cost of Savoir-Faire)
  • Snitch (keeps us from doing something stupid on our early first click runs so we don’t face-plant a Cortex Lock or Archer)
  • Sneakdoor Beta (MU not as much of a problem, cheap with Sahasrara, synergy with NAT Directive, good archives pressure)
  • Employee Strike (in every deck, forever)
  • Film Critic (you need points to make your console snowball you, and TFP and NAPD are still agendas. Also, screw Midseason).
  • Clone Chip (get back Lady and David after playing Independent Thinking to trash depleted ones and draw cards)
  • Levy AR Lab Access (depending on how fast we are going to be cruising through our deck and how many events and disposable programs we’re going to want to run)

That’s it for now. I’m interested in what others thoughts are!


yo so am I right in assuming these neutral runners have to pay influence for all factioned cards?

great write up btw. personally i think i would want to trash ABR ASAP with independent thinking. the double click to break a single sub doesnt seem great enough to warrant the inflexibility. granted, Adam will be great at pressure HQ from turn 1, maybe the best in the game in fact.

That would be fantastic but I think Safety First just draws one card. Thanks for getting this thread going, really appreciate the write-up.

Good catch! Thought it said “cards equal to your grip” which would be super good. Edited accordingly.

I definitely think he might have potential. I really don’t think he’ll be top tier but I could see some people using him to good ends. Early on if the corp has even 1 agenda in hand, if they play 2 ICE, chances are you can get in and have a 50% chance of getting it as Adam,something like 2xIce, Hedge Fund increases it dramatically, especially if they have any amount of flood. There aren’t a lot of ICE with 2 ETR subroutines, Eli is the only one I can think of that would be economical to rez early. This combines well with his snowball like nature.

And an Eli you can spend the two clicks to get through anyway.


Other than the directives, the cards that work best with Dr. Lovegood are Drug Dealer and Stim Dealer.

With Drug Dealer, you lost a credit on your turn and draw a card on the Corp’s turn. Since Lovegood only blanks a card for the Runner’s turn, you get the draw without the cost. That’s a pretty strong effect and Drug Dealer’s only one influence and still a good card on its own (it also lets you circumvent Safety First’s drawbacks).

With Stim Dealer, you can save the clicks for when you really want them and avoid the brain damage so that you can feed it to Independent Thinking. Stim Dealer’s extra clicks also synergize with Always Be Running. Stim Dealer’s 3 influence is a bit tough to deal with though.

Both of those interactions are strong enough that, along with the ability to pick and choose your Directives, Dr. Lovegood feels like a worthwhile addition.


Also Dr lovegood makes the source playable?


do these neutral runners get The Source & Lucky Find for free?

No, because these runners aren’t Neutral. They each have their own faction.

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Not neutral, mini-factions. They have to pay influence for anything outside their faction like the rest.

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You can’t use Imp to avoid this. The first trashable card you access must be trashed by paying its trash cost, if able. Doesn’t make Imp bad, but it’s not a workaround here.

[quote=“ItJustGotRielle, post:1, topic:4660”]
Dr. Lovegood
[/quote]Turning off NAT so you can check a remote without being forced into trashing a SanSan seems pretty good to me, too.

And, as noted above, it means you can run The Source (or even Donut, though I think that denial plan isn’t Adam’s game) without having any negative impact on your turn. The influence still sucks, but making the Corp have to advance more is generally a good thing.

EDIT: Can also be used on Clot or Lamprey to prevent Cyberdex wipes on your turn… though it doesn’t do anything for their turn. So I guess it only matters any if you think they’ve installed one on R&D or something to make you wipe yourself.

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oh wow, they seem even weaker now. that AI dude may end up wacky enough to be viable though

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I thought that at first, but then considered how you can Imp a naked Astro vs Butcher Shop to avoid getting Midseasoned. I just kinda figured that Imp could break this rule like it breaks the “you must score an agenda you access if it has no additional costs” rule. If that was the case, you access a card with a trash cost, making NAT fire, but then you Imp it (just like Imping an agenda you access and ‘must score’) turning off NAT. This is my only example for thinking this, do I sound crazy or does that kinda make sense?

If NAT didn’t specify trash cost, I think it’d work. The way it specifically mentions that, though, feels like a way around letting you use Imp unless you’re unable to pay the cost.

So it’s not the Imp timing that I think won’t work, it’s the way NAT is worded. If it just said “you must trash it, if able” I’d agree, though that might force you into using Imp, etc., and I could see someone making the argument it’s to force you to at least do that much without mandating Imp use.

Might be worth asking Lukas, I guess, just in case? If Imp, hard on the influence though it might be, was a viable workaround for that then Adam definitely gets a touch more appealing.


Although they are pretty awful, Early Bird and Recon are also options. Early Bird might even be worth the influence sometimes… but probably not really.

Honestly ABR seems to me like the directive I would ditch to get a 10 card draw off of Independent Thought… at least in some match ups.

Neutralize All Threats might be something you have to get rid of if you aren’t packing Paricia or Scrubber (Assuming you cannot use Imp!).

Finally, no mention of Harbringer? That card seems like a feeder card for independent thought in either Apex or Adam.

Keep the discussion going!

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E3, Overmind and Faust look like the way to go for his breaker suite. ABR will get you past Swordsman and Wraparound early on, but you should also have a Mimic and some fracter for later. Corroder works fine with Multithreader, maybe Inti could be enough.

There’s a few other neutral cards that Lovegood works on - you can prevent NA City Hall from trashing itself when you go after agendas, you can turn off Masanori before you tackle unknown ice, you can keep EH or DC from ticking if you haven’t found your Aesop’s or don’t need cards this turn. I don’t see any use in Starlight Crusade Funding for Adam, but you can decide whether to turn on Beach Party or not.

Safety First and Independent Thinking support hand size increases; you can’t rely on your console to protect you against SE, especially early on. Cutlery is expensive in influence, but Demo Run looks decent. Since you’ll probably have to discard a bunch of stuff during the early turns, Stimhacks + Clone Chips look like a solid include, especially if you also run hand size boosters that you can do without once your console starts pulling its weight. I’d love Personal Workshop but it’s probably too much influence.

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This is a good thought. It lets you make some power plays with Account Siphon if you want to go for a heavy denial strategy too.

Might be worth a look/shot.

i think Adam’s main problem he’s going to run into is, unlike the other two runners, i don’t think you’ll be running close to a full complement of his cards in your deck.
with 3x every card, Adam and APEX have 25 influence for 24 cards, while Sunny has 29

how many Dr. Lovegoods are you realistically playing? 1? 2? i doubt three. i think you’re building your deck around his limitations (adding handsize, etc. instead of trying to turn those things off)
how many extra directives? (and do you get/can you even play 4 total copies of each including the ones that are pre-installed?)
i can see an argument for 3 Multithreaders given that you’ll be getting more MU as the game progresses
3x Independent Thinking seems solid. it’s pretty good card draw if you chuck used programs and/or a directive at it.

i think overestimating at 3x Independent Thinking, 3x Multithreader, and 2x everything else he has, that’s only 16 cards, which is exactly Sunny’s position if she uses 3x everything of her faction.

maybe it’s nothing. i haven’t actually sat down and tried to make a deck, but it seems he has a built-in deckbuilding restriction similar to Sunny

anyway, that probably unfounded concern aside, i agree with a lot of the list in the OP, but i thought i’d add some of my own:

  • Armitage Codebusting / Daily Casts (get them down to one counter then chuck them for Independent Thinking)

  • Aesop’s Pawnshop (start the game with 9c of fodder pre-installed)

  • Harbinger (6c to Aesop’s or two uses for Independent Thinking, or a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B…)

  • Hunting Grounds (get past some nasty on encounter effects or just save your money after hitting a tollbooth. awkward, but can also provide more fuel for IT/Aesop’s)

  • Grappling Hook (with Overmind/E3, this could be a good support piece, but it’d be better with counters)

  • Scavenge / Clone Chip / Test Run / etc. (get more uses out of Overmind. i think this will probably be Adam’s go-to breaker with all that extra MU)

  • Sage (could work. could be bad. it’ll naturally ramp up in power as the game progresses, which is nice)

  • Drug Dealer (with Dr. Lovegood, this becomes 'draw a card at the beginning of the corp’s turn, which can help with the smaller upfront handsize as well as adding even more card draw for little influence, could even replace Safety First after it’s been sold off to Aesop’s or ditched for more Independent Thinking)

also,does the ‘make a run’ as part of a card ability of Analog Dreamers, Keyhole, Sneakdoor Beta, etc. really satisfy Always Be Running’s running requirement? the fact that it specifically mentions playing a run event leads me to believe it doesn’t, since Dirty Laundry, Stimhack, et al. all have the same ‘make a run’ text
i can see the rationale for either way, but i’m not entirely sure myself.

and as an aside, i was really disappointed in Adam initially, when he was spoiled, after he was finally revealed, but i think i’m coming around to seeing him as a puzzle that needs to be cracked.

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puzzles are fine but they need to be rewarding. this awful analogy is to say, i think a challenging ID needs to be high reward in the form of very powerful, balanced by a very high skill ceiling, and I don’t see Adam being the former