Card Spoilers taken from http://imgur.com/a/eG510
Whenever new spoilers are posted, I like to do a write-up on each one, just to get myself to evaluate each card properly. What you read here is the result of that process.
Card rating system
My system is basically a concession to the fact that cards don’t exist in a vacuum. Scorched Earth is a really weak card unless you include some tagging. Cache is underwhelming if you don’t know that Noise exists. As such, cards are evaluated along two axes: versatility and power.
Cards can be Niche or Versatile. Niche cards are not inherently weak; they simply go into fewer decks, but can be all-stars in those decks. Versatile cards are not inherently stronger; they can go in a lot of decks but simply be role players. Underworld Contacts is a standard Niche card; it requires that you build your deck around it. Dirty Laundry is a classic Versatile card; it can go into many decks and slots in without much effort. This does not mean that Versatile cards are without any synergy; Dirty Laundry synergizes with plenty of cards, but the synergy is not mandatory to using the card well.
Cards can be Powerful or Weak. Powerful cards give effects that are either highly cost-effective (Sure Gamble), swing a game around (Scorched Earth) or both (Account Siphon). Weak cards are cards with effects that simply aren’t cost-effective; the payoff is not worth the trouble, regardless of how much you build around them. Consider Cyberdex Trial; which will, in the ideal case, save you a click over purging naturally. Assets with low trash costs and unimpressive effects often end up here (Ruhr Valley, City Surveillance).
Some sample ratings:
Versatile-Powerful: Jackson Howard, Hedge Fund
Versatile: R&D Interface, Daily Casts
Niche-Powerful: Atman, Celebrity Gift, Biotic Labor
Niche: Notoriety, Hostage
Weak: Project Ares, Recon
This is an Underworld Contacts that’s a bit easier to trigger (it triggers naturally when alone) and so it costs 3. There are a number of cards that seem to ask for free MU, so this will go in that deck. If you’re fielding a very light rig or playing the “Free MU” deck, you could do a lot worse than this. Niche.
Anarch Legwork, sort of. It’s stronger than Legwork since it can harm a Corp that isn’t holding trashable cards, but it’s weaker than Legwork in that it will eat up your entire turn and has a pseudo-priority restriction; it also sucks at stealing agendas with an active Jackson or a well-defended Archives. Against an undefended HQ turn 1, this is painful. Not Account Siphon painful, but rough. Versatile.
Code Gate protection for face-checking, which is becoming increasingly necessary in this age of Merlins and Lycans and Wormholes. I would totally go for a Faerie-Decoder, which this is not. It costs a credit to install, has no strength and cannot be pumped with money; this thing will never break a Wormhole, and getting it into Merlin range is a tall order. Inazuma-protection this is not.
It gets better in multiples, and assuming you run Spike along with the presumed Killer version of these [Shiv], you have 9 Cloud-1-shots that pump each other for no memory, which can maybe occasionally save you some money or break some problematic subroutines? You’d still need a permanent set of breakers, and there are better things to recur with your clone chips. Niche/Weak.
Decoy every turn, assuming you don’t mind losing a click every turn. If tagging-as-taxing decks are omnipresent in your meta (hint: they probably aren’t) then this becomes good (saving you 2c likely every other turn, thus acting as a very situational underworld contacts). This is no Scorch protection; it’s no Midseasons protection either. It’s not even good against City Surveillance. Weak.
Initial reaction: holy crap you can trash Archer with this. Sure, but so can Parasite, and Parasite doesn’t ask you to break the archer first. Trashing ICE is a powerful effect, but this is heavily limited; you need to find a Sentry, get hit by it once (or break it) then play this for 2c, run the Sentry again, break it again, at which point you can trash it. If you can manage all that, you get a card which is redundant with Parasite. Poor, right?
Well, not really. Parasite is a strong card, and Parasite redundancy is a good thing. ICE-denial is a powerful strategy, and although this card pales in comparison to the mighty Parasite, any support for Ice-denial is welcome. Niche.
Side-note: why is this trashing sentries? Aren’t Sentries a Criminal specialty?
Muertos Gang Member
Here’s the best case scenario for this card: the Corp will derez whatever is most convenient to them. That might mean derezzing a popup window. That might mean derezzing a Jackson Howard. It might mean derezzing an Adonis campaign, in which case you’re giving the Corp money. It will never ever derez an archer unless that archer is the only card currently rezzed on the board. Your average/good case is that the Corp will derez some moderate cost ICE, taxing them two or three credits.
That’s on a good day. And that’s fine! A 0-cost card that denies the Corp a couple credits? Sign me the hell up; I love Fall Guy. I play him all day long. But this comes with a drawback; if this thing ever leaves play (trashed, bounced to hand with Uninstall, Sherlocked, Hellion Alpha Tested, whatever) the Corp gets a free shot of Eliza’s Toybox. Not PriReq; Toybox. Any card, even a SanSan City Grid.
If you’re playing denial, you’re usually in tagme mode, but this doesn’t do tagme. This pumps calling in favors and demands you stay tag-free, like a tri-maf. And just as tri-maf, if you play it and stay tag-free, you get a decent, if usually underwhelming effect. Niche.
And yes, it trashes to draw a card, which is just puzzling. You might use that to save yourself from chained Scorched Earths, or you might use it during a weird Blackmail/Running Interference run to mitigate the drawback.
A pseudo-AI; this one is complex to evaluate. It will usually break whatever needs breaking, uneconomically, much like an AI, but it won’t fall prey to AI-hate other than Wraparound. It’s a fixed strength breaker (in Shaper!) with Mimic-level strength; you can expect this to be useful against half the field, occasionally falling prey to a Lotus Field or Archer.
Installing this every turn gets prohibitive real fast, even if you’re Kate; Mimic is a solid breaker but it’s not worth a credit and a click every turn. But this isn’t just Mimic; it’s Mimic for whatever you need right now. It’s Corroder today, and it’s Yog tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound sweet?
It’s certainly an interesting “stopgap” breaker, a generalist program that holds you over until you can get your more specialized breakers online. FFG certainly have been trying to get us away from the standard three Corroder/Gordian Blade/Femme combo and branch out into something more dynamic.
I don’t think this has the raw power to be competitive, but this is like a Crypsis-lite that lets you land some key runs early on; a more Shaper-y Inside Job that is recalled and re-usable, albeit without the surprise value.
On the janky side, you can certainly build around it; LLDS processor loves this card, as do Autoscripter, Sahasrara and Scheherazade. I doubt the result will be strong, but it will be interesting.
Final ranking: Versatile.
Weyland Code Gate! Is it unplayable?
No! (not completely).
Between this and Wormhole, Weyland certainly loves its Str7 Code Gates. The cost-to-strength ratio is completely psychotic and reminiscent of Cell Portal, and the (one) subroutine is actually pretty relevant: it either
- Ends the run (yes, yes! Even if it’s not written on the card)
- Taxes the Runner decently or
- Deals 3 meat damage.
Runner chooses whichever is most convenient to them. Often, this just ends the run; the Runner facechecks it, gets traced and jacks out. At this point, you’re out four credits and have a bad pub; for your trouble, you have a Str7 Code Gate that can be bypassed in a variety of ways. Femme bypasses it for free; Refractor will break it the hard way (for two stealth credits); a 1-link Runner can get by for three credits; if you choose to pump the trace, the Runner can either match you (you vamp yourself) or jack out (you lamprey yourself).
This is the inherent problem in Checkpoint; it can be beaten in a variety of ways, many of which don’t even require breakers. Despite its appearance, it’s completely harmless if facechecked (whirlpool notwithstanding). The deeper problem is that it’s an ICE with an identity crisis; it wants to tax the Runner, but gives you bad pub, which is incredibly counter-productive. This is the card that most wants the bad pub removal cards; Once you get rid of the bad pub, you’re left with a taxing, if porous, Code Gate. And when you’re Weyland, you can’t be very picky about what kind of Code Gate you get.
Final Ranking: Niche.
A new Bioroid! Stronger Together players rejoice!
The last Bioroid we saw was Hudson 1.0; hardly a superstar. This one has a hard ETR sub, so there’s at least that. Given that this is a 2-sub Bioroid Barrier, the obvious point of comparison is Eli 1.0 (which is Versatile-Powerful). Is this as good?
Obviously not. I don’t think we’ll see Eli-level ICE ever again. The Rez cost and Str of Eli have been flipped, which makes a good difference; 3 to break with Corroder is significantly easier to swallow than Eli’s 4, and you can’t rez two of these on turn one without some outside help.
So, it’s a 4-cost barrier. How does it compare to Bastion? The cost to break (with corroder) is identical (3). But this is porous; it will do nothing to save you from a disaster account siphon on turn 1.
But, for your trouble, this punishes face-checking (somewhat). It’s no Komainu in that regard; it likely won’t trash anything on turn one (Because there’s nothing to trash). But maybe there will be; a desperado here, an imp there…if the Runner couldn’t just click through. But they can, so you’ll never hit anything critical with it unless the Runner is desperate enough to face-check ICE on click 4.
Early on, the first subroutine is blank. Thus, you’re paying 4 for a porous wall of static; a bad deal by any measure. But it’s very easy to turn on, and Runners will often turn it on without thinking about it (“lemme just install this R&D interface before I run…”). And then you’re paying 4 for a porous str-3 Enigma.
Short version? It’s extraordinarily well-balanced. It’s nowhere near the all-upside card that Eli is, and including this in your deck will require some thought. Its value shifts as the game progresses, which is the hallmark of a well-designed card.
Final Ranking: Versatile. (Or, if you’re Stronger Together, Mandatory)
A 2-cost Ice Wall (mediocre) or a 2-cost Bastion (good) on HQ. This is a very respectable split card; you’re happy to play one mode, and when push comes to shove you’re glad that the other mode exists. This is an interesting hedge card in Supermodernism as an Ice Wall replacement; if you can stomach paying an extra cred, you get something significantly more taxing and Parasite-resilient on HQ.
Final Ranking: Versatile.
A 0-cost taxing operation is certainly noteworthy; this is a lot like advancing an ICE twice, minus the interactions with Trick of Light and Commercialization. If your ICE demands breakers (eg: not Bioroids) then you can go ahead and push that Enigma out of Yog range, or screw with that Atman staring down your Lotus Field.
What worries me though is that this will be hard to find room for. It’s not economy. It’s not an agenda. It’s not ICE. (For those of you who think that this is equivalent to ICE, cut three Ice Walls from your deck for these and get back to me).
This card is in that weird category that we never have room for. It would be fun to play, but I need ten agendas, some fifteen economy cards, some fifteen plus pieces of ICE and some three Jackson Howards. There is a LOT of competition for the remaining 5-6 card slots, and this will rarely make the cut.
Final Ranking: Niche (with bonus points for excellent flavor)
NBN’s Shock! Is no joke. Gaining two credits for nothing is a colossal swing; if you’ll allow some dubious value calculation, Sure Gamble gives you 4 (credits) in exchange for 2 (a card and an action), netting 2 in the exchange. When the Runner hits this in R&D, it’s like you just got to play a Sure Gamble! If it’s in your hand, it’s likely get trashed, so you can view it as a Beanstalk Royalties…that taxes the Runner for 2!
As long as this stays in R&D, they’re extra Sure Gambles (as-if the Sweeps Week faction needed more Sure Gambles). If they hit your hand, they turn into Beanstalks, becoming a touch worse…that is, if the Runner can easily afford to trash them. If the Runner doesn’t (or simply can’t) pay 2c to trash this, this is a Beanstalk Royalties that you get to play over and over. How insane is that?
It gets better. This is an upgrade, which means you can slap it down in any server. Slap it down into a taxing server, threatening an Astroscript. If there’s anything protecting it (even just a pop-up window!) you come out massively ahead if the Runner takes the bait. And if the Runner doesn’t? You lose nothing, because the Runner will eventually be forced to run that server and access your upgrade, and you’ll get your money back. Maybe even multiple times, if they can’t trash it! (Hello, RSVP!)
This has many uses, and they are all good. Not Jackson-level good, but the best cards are cards that are “never-bad”.
Final Ranking: Versatile-Powerful
An interesting Wall of Static alternative. It’s worse early, and definitely vulnerable to Parasites. In exchange, you get an ICE that goes big if the game goes long, and screws with Atman. Worth it? Maybe. We’ll definitely see it as a 1-of to increase ICE diversity. Versatile.
It’s a 3/1, which means it needs an amazing ability to even be considered playable. And…House of Knives this is not. But it’s close! FFG is pushing advanceable ICE with Wormhole and Orion; scoring one of these is definitely an economic benefit if you’re playing the whole suite, granting you somewhere between 6 to 9 of “value”.
It’s no superstar, but it will definitely have a role to play in ICE-advancing decks everywhere. Niche.
This may be the card that brings expose effects into the competitive scene. Let’s get the rules question out of the way; you cannot use this on a rezzed card, sorry. This is completely useless in trashing heavily defended Sundews. No, you cannot rez the card “in response” to counter this. There is no response.
Now, what does this do for us? Runners generally have a good sense of which cards are agendas and which ones are assets/upgrades; generally, if something is installed naked, it’s a taxing asset, and performing a Drive By is generally a good idea; worst case, it’s Jackson Howard, and you just spend 3 (card and two clicks) to save 4 (run and 3c). You might also have randomly wrecked the Corporation’s plans if they were hoping to Jackson back the two Priority Requisitions sitting in Archives. Plus, come on, you just did a Drive-By shooting on Jackson Howard’s office, how cool is that?
Average case you’ll hit a PAD campaign (or the upcoming Daily Business Show). And that’s fine! Spend 3 (card click click), save 5 (run 4c), that’s Sure Gamble territory. We like it here. Taxing assets are popular nowadays, and this eats them alive; you’ll be especially happy the day you hit a SanSan City Grid with this.
Now, you might brick with this. What can you brick on? If you expose an agenda. Why are you sitting here reading this if you just exposed an agenda? There’s an undefended agenda right there in the remote! Go run it!
You can use this to call bluffs on any naked card; any trap short of Psychic Field, you’re happy. Any asset, you’re happy. Any agenda, you’re really happy, because you just run and score it.
Now, unlike Product Placement, this is not never-bad. This is really bad if the Corp runs no assets (like Supermodernism) since all it can do at that point is confirm (for two clicks) that yes, that is a Project Atlas sitting in the remote and you will be getting obliterated in two turns. It’s kind of bad if you have no targets other than the card sitting in their scoring server; hitting a SanSan (or Bernice!) feels great; hitting an Astroscript is a heart-sinking experience.
This will definitely see play as an economical tool against popular taxing decks, but don’t expect it to become a mainstay; it’s an easy cut, since you never need its effect.
Final Ranking: Versatile, bordering on Powerful
Go read what I said on Crowbar, then realize that this is even worse since Barriers don’t usually trash your programs or deal net damage (at least, less so than Code Gates). This can break Ice Walls to land early Account Siphons, but so does Corroder. Niche/Weak.
In Netrunner, there are few lines of rules text more potent than “Trash a rezzed piece of ICE” (as the Runner). Parasite does it for two credits (given time or Datasucker support) and this does it for 0! It even gives you a run while you’re at it!
Magical-Christmas-Land notwithstanding, this is a card with sharply limited usage. You need to have free/cheap access to Archives. You need to have already trashed existing ICE (through Parasites, Noise-mills, etc) and the Corp must play (and you must run into) a duplicate of the ICE already trashed. If all the stars align, you get to blow out the Corp.
Kicking the Corp while they’re down is strong; it means they’ll take longer to get back up while you run R&D and HQ for free. The problem with Immolation Script is Corps can pre-emptively stop it, during deckbuilding. ICE diversity is already nearly mandatory due to the widespread use of CopycatAtman, and this simply pushes in the same direction. Playing all 3 copies of the same ICE is usually bad, and you should avoid it whenever possible.
Still, anything that lets you trash ICE (especially rezzed ICE!) contributes to one of the most powerful strategies of Netrunner: ICE denial. And the ICE denial deck just got two new toys in this and Forked. Niche.
This card’s design is fantastic, and it’s one that custom card creators have been using for a while. It’s got Cell Portal stats; if you can’t remember what Cell Portal is (I don’t blame you) Cell Portal is ICE with very good stats and a very bad sub. Little Engine has very good stats and very weird subs.
In the ideal, this just ends the run. Nothing more. It’s a huge, 5-cost ETR Code Gate, borderline impossible to Parasite to death, and mostly safe from Yog and Atman. Femme hates it. Most classic Code Gate solutions do not do well against this ICE.
But Gordian Blade laughs. Gordian Blade, assuming they can stomach the 7 credits necessary to set it up, breaks it and immediately gains back 5, making this a 5-cost Datapike. Refractor is even worse; if they have access to two stealth credits and two regular credits, running this gets them money! You’ll probably wants to trash it at this point, losing your 5 credit investment.
Little Engine is weird. NBN’s not lacking in good Code Gates; Tollbooth ends the run perfectly well, taxing all the while. This does no taxing at all, unless you have the wrong tool for the job. This card’s existence just makes Refractor a little bit better, and Parasite/Femme/Yog/Atman a little bit worse. And in the end, that’s a good thing.
You can’t build around this card. It ends the run. That’s all it does. You install it, you rez it, and then you advance agendas behind it. And if you made the right meta-call, you’ll be rewarded. Versatile.
Dayum. A year ago we might have called this trash for being Yoggable; in the post-Yog world that we live in, this is pretty sweet. This certainly won’t end any runs, but it will tax the hell out of your opponent if you’re Replicating Perfection. This is most of the bottom half of Architect (as a Code Gate this time) for a quarter of the price. While it’s certainly less effective on turn 1, this demands to be broken; you’ll only have to bring back Sundew once before the Runner learns.
Oh yeah, and if you put it on Archives it has unfair stats. I probably would’ve played it even without that line, but thanks, FFG. A solid Yagura alternative. Niche.
Also, huge props to FFG for their choice of naming and flavor text. Educate those players.
It is every computer scientist’s dream to have a Netrunner card named after them.
This thing is weird. This is a Code Gate with bad stats that ends the run except when it matters the most. If you can deal with that, and you run enough ICE that you don’t need this on R&D turn 1, then your reward is a Str5 Code Gate that laughs away Knights and Atmen. And all those weirdos playing Darwin and Overmind, as if they weren’t miserable enough already.
Con: Bad stats when on centrals (which is where you need ICE the most)
Pro: Bastion+ stats on a Code Gate on a remote
Con: Can be clicked through, albeit painfully
Pro: hates out a lot of its natural predators.
In the end, this is really good if you’re looking to tax the Runner, but completely terrible if you’re trying to keep them out. If you’re familiar with the terms “Binary” and “Analog” ICE, this is ICE that’s 80% Analog and 20% Binary. It has a role to play, but it’s damn hard to use. Niche.
I always love to see a cycle get completed, but this is as disappointing as they come. Both Interfaces were solid, strong, versatile cards that saw plenty of play, improving the quality of your future runs. This…hates on Shock. And Space Camp. And Shi.Kyû. And Jackson Howard (sort of).
You can’t really build around this. You gain no benefit by exiling 90% of cards out there; this is a narrow hate card, and while you may play it if your meta is overrun with Shocks, I doubt it is. Weak.
Oh man oh man oh man. This thing is out there. It’s an expensive 2-MU Fracter Decoder that scales with your free MU. Let’s cut that up:
-It’s an expensive (2MU) Fracter Decoder. This is similar to being an AI, while dodging the AI hate (with a glaring vulnerability to Rototurret). You can consider this two thirds of your breakers, if you’re in desperate need of saving card slots. Throw in some Faeries and you’re almost there. It breaks subs at 2 credits a-piece, Darwin style, making it a poor permanent solution unless you invest in some E3 Feedback Implants (and at that point, just run some real goddamn breakers).
-Its strength scales with your free MU. That means it goes in the Data Folding and Overmind deck, along with Deep Red and E3 and some Akamatsus aaaaand you’re playing a pile of jank. Might be fun jank though. Q-Coherence Chip? Try it!
If you’re feeling wacky, you can run it & Garrote as your sole two breakers in a crazy Oracle May deck. I certainly have one of those, and it usually has enough money to afford the 2 credit per sub. Maybe you run all Hardware, with Replicator and Personal Touch and dozens of sources of recurring credits and MU?
Final Ranking: Crazy Niche.
There’s one more that was spoiled recently, which is not in the imgur album. It’s visible here:
Very similar to Tori Hanzo before it; this upgrade gets you one hard-to-dodge brain damage. While Tori asked for 5 credits for one brain damage, this only asks for 2, while being harder to trash. It’s debatable which one is harder to land; most Runners are wise enough to avoid running mystery cards on their last click. Tori Hanzo damage is inevitable if you can score a House of Knives or rez a Hokusai, while this can be played around.
In the end, even if you do get this to stick, you still need to capitalize on the brain damage; are you playing Scorched Earth Custom Biotics, or are you hoping to flatline with Sentinel Defense Program? Neither option seems very strong, but if you’re after a janky brain damage deck, this is your card. Very Niche.
And that’s it for now. If you disagree with any of my rankings, I’d love to hear your arguments!