Stimhack Meta Predictions: Downfall Spoiler Edition
Hackers and frackers, welcome to our direct-to-forum Community Preview of Downfall. We’ve been graced with a few scoops from the new set and our lucky scoopslords have chosen to report live and direct here on the forums in the interests of promoting direct discussion in the Stimhack community and not at all because Wordpress has carked it. The scoops train has no brakes, and will not be stopped by trifling database issues. We’ll pop this onto the frontpage later.
In honor of Stimhack being one of the oldest (and rustiest) corners of the Netrunner community, we’ve been given a peek at a few cards that may seem a touch familiar. But enough delays before you scroll past this like a longwinded anecdote about family life in front of a recipe for green curry, let’s talk about cards.
The clearest advantage of this card over Parasite is that at four influence, Professor players will really feel like they are putting their ability to good use. Now if only he could afford the influence to play Scrubbed.
The wording on this is very clever. You can’t use Datasucker in conjunction with this to kill any ice, because you can only use 'Sucker during an encounter, and this only checks strength = 0 “When you encounter” it. Yet Scrubbed still works. (Not sure about Null. If this were MtG, it wouldn’t, but this isn’t MtG…) Finally, it also only does anything at all if you’re running, which is what the game’s about, so I like this one a lot. That said, I’m not sure it’s powerful enough to get played a lot, especially with the high influence. – Grade: B+
This appears to be a stab at producing a version of Parasite that isn’t broken in conjunction with Datasucker, while also attempting to produce a card with less restrictions than Trypano. This ends up comboing with Hivemind, Virus Breeding Ground, Scrubbed, and Null (as well as the recently spoiled The Nihilist). The restriction that it does have is that it’s strength is only lowered whenever you actually encounter the ice, which means that it doesn’t just tick up once per turn no matter what (although this does mean Contaminate will work with it)… This can potentially be beneficial, especially if the ice isn’t particularly punishing to run into/through. For instance, you can run 4 times a turn into a Data Raven until it ends up dying, while simultaneously building up your Turning Wheel counters. It’s nice that it encourages running, but the ice you’d normally want to kill are those that are difficult to run through, and probably have somewhat high strength, making this card potentially less valuable in comparison to cutlery.
I also want to be the first to state publicly that the art on this card looks like a giant Toblerone on it’s way to wreck some Corp ice…
The loss of datasucker synergy hurts, but honestly, both cards are good enough in the same scenarios (namely, you’re running) that I’d play them together anyway. The ad hoc Ice Carver effect immediately rebates the install cost with many common ice/bin breaker scenarios. I’m liking this “synergizes well with Turning Wheel” subtheme in Anarch—the game is good when TTW is good. And I know others have said it, but hey, Null is back, y’all.
It’s worth pointing out that it doesn’t get a virus counter at start of turn like Parasite. So unless you’re comboing with other (previously underplayed) effects, you need to run and sometimes a lot for it to trash the ice; the Runner can’t just install and sit back until it deal with the ice for you. It’s still the non-breaker solution for low strength ice that some players have missed since Parasite rotated. Unlike Parasite, you can install it on unrezzed ice (but doesn’t do anything until it’s rezzed) and it can speed up the trashing of that ice by faceplanting it multiple times in a turn.
Fixed Keyhole. Honestly I suspect it didn’t need the ‘only once per turn’ clause, since without shuffling, it’s of limited use. Especially since you’re Revealing the cards, so the Corp knows what’s coming up next.
I think this card is good, and a way to get multi-access in R&D without actually “locking” the Corp, preventing them from being able to draw Agendas. You can use this to dump Agendas into Archives to force the Corp to ice Archives as well. At 3 influence, I would expect to see this in Shaper as well. (A use for Mind’s Eye, perhaps.) – Grade: A
One exciting thing about Keyhole was that it allowed runners to play Eater. Between Account Siphon and Keyhole, Anarchs could play a very aggressive game, needing only one breaker to deal with most ice. I personally had this happen to me many times, and it should have made me a better player for it, but I had to spend all my mental energy thinking about shuffling my deck instead of personal improvement.
Stargate doesn’t do that. Stargate (especially with no Account Siphon), might not justify an Eater only rig, and might be more of a late-game multi-access type card. But I’m quite enamored by Stargate. I love that the Runner can’t force me to shuffle. I love that the Runner reveals the cards so when they take a moment to think about things I can share in the moment. I think it is great how this card reads so similarly to Keyhole yet should provide an entirely different play experience.
This feels kind of like a mix between what Keyhole did and what a Shaper does late game with RDIs. The Keyhole analog is obvious with the “see 3 trash 1” bit, but instead of the very aggressive style of running as many times to trash as many cards as you can style of Keyhole, instead you are running only once to clear an agenda or a problem card out of the top 3 cards, much like a RDI Shaper wants to in their late game.
I like the once-per-turn clause, as it is able to punish a bad start for the Corp, but not instantly win off the back of it, like Medium or Keyhole had the chance to. The 2 MU part of it keeps it from being in every rig, which means that probably not every deck under the sun will play it, adding to the deck variety, even within faction. I also like that Anarch gets some in-faction almost multi-access, and might not have to rifle through out-of-faction pockets for spare influence.
My instinct is to say with Hyperdriver dead, we don’t have a Dyper-esque deck to justify the once per turn clause as protection from degenerate combo. I’m not sure I’m too bothered either way—this is still soft multiaccess that works with Eater while charging turning wheel, and unless you win the agenda lottery, I’m not sure how often you want to fire this off twice in any given turn. Also, they’ve removed by far the most punishing part of Keyhole: having to shuffle awkwardly for minutes on end. Street Peddler is back, y’all.
A less oppressive way in Anarch to soft-lock R&D. If there are multiple agendas on top, then in that case you’re not taking away all their agendas, but otherwise you know what they’re drawing into (like an Imp stapled on two RDI’s). Can work with RNG Key, but not a great combo because you have to wait until the following turn to show you remember the card and get those sweet sweet credits/cards.
Sometimes being good at something can become part of your personal identity. “Oh, I know a lot about birds,” perhaps. Or “I am really good at Mario Kart: Double Dash”. But just because being good at something is part of your personal identity, doesn’t mean you are actually good at it. A good example of this, besides me, is the Criminal faction and breaking sentries. Crims are good at sentries, but bad at breakers, so what does that mean for their sentry breakers? While I love Femme Fatale, I love Faerie, and I even love Flashbang, if I am looking to efficiently and reliably trade money to break sentry subroutines, Criminal hasn’t really been good at that. I am hopeful that this breaker might help Criminal deal with their identity crisis.
Incidentally, if I can trust internet translators, “Bukhgalter” means “accountant” in Russian. It is also a last name, presumably of people whose ancestors were exciting Criminal sentry breakers.
Hey look, a Criminal Killer that’s actually good at it, like unequivocally good at it. And properly influence-costed, too. Finally, Criminals have a Killer to be proud of. – Grade: A+
Even though it’s actually been a while since I’ve seen an Ichi 1.0 in the wild, this is still the base sentry around which I find myself judging Killer’s efficiency. So let’s do that! With nothing like Datasucker help, it takes 3 credits to boost, and 2 to break, but then refunds 2 credits, for a grand total of 3 credits for the first time breaking. 5 to break Ichi is actually fairly common, and 3 is quite good, so I’d say this is a fairly good breaker for small to mid-strength sentries. It walks through Architect for 2 (first time), Surveyor for 1, 3, 5, or 7 (etc), depending on how deep the server is, and Anansi for 6. It’s not brokenly good or anything, but very good for single sentry servers, which leans into Criminals early aggression game plan by allowing you to maintain tempo.
I like this a lot because it does the two things I most want in Crim: protects me from the “really can’t let them fire early” facechecks like Architect with minimum tempo loss; and plays well with the value run each turn to proc sectest et al. playstyle. John Masanori is back, y’all.
Neat to get a Little Engine-like effect on a breaker, where you need the credits up front, but doesn’t set you back as much. Also, a bit of a nod to Mongoose and Faerie, because you don’t really want to break sentries more than once (that turn) without the 2 credit payback.
Honestly; this might be one of the cards spoiled so far that has me most excited for Ashes. Criminal gets a good, affordable sentry breaker without a single downside and an added benefit that fits in faction mechanics wise. The 4 influence feels more than justified here. Killers have always been a bit weird, but this has been covered more than enough by my colleagues. One thing I’d like to zoom in on is the art direction here. NISEI is showing some good art direction in the cards spoiled so far, and I’m liking the very different look of cyber- vs meatspace cards a lot. Employing DeepDream or mostly digital rendering for most of the cards depicting “objects” in cyberspace is a clean and elegant choice, that will also help to preserve the dualistic feel that ANR has always had. FFG was quite vigilant in this regard and NISEI is looking to continue this tradition.
A piece for NBN fast advance. I’m not sure it’s needed, but we’ll see. The obvious comparison is to Astroscript Pilot Program. I think that extra advancement counter will make all the difference. But I’m open to being wrong. – Grade: D+
The 'Script that was promised. I always felt that Astro would’ve been fine as a 1 of, a la Philotic, or as a 4/2, more akin to its OG Core brethren MKII. We see that NISEI went with the latter. It definitely ‘feels bad’, compared to Astroscript, but paired with tools such as Calibration Testing and the following card here, it can work.
First of all, I like the name harkening to the fact that it’s a remastered Astro. You can’t chain these into one another without another Fast Advance tool, and that’s probably good for the game. You can still use this to FA a Beale, so it’s still potential free points down the line. Right now, NBN has been comfortably scoring 5/3 agendas, so I think scoring a 4/2 won’t be very hard.
And is that a Starcraft reference in the flavor text? It’s good to know that the world’s best e-sport is still being played in the distant dystopian future.
Nisei Mk II gives a strong enough benefit to justify slotting must-telegraph agendas that you don’t always draw early in a classic glacier shell; I’m not convinced Remastered Edition does. It’s more vulnerable to turntable than Nisei, since you can’t trade the counter for accesses in a pinch, and the reward is either Beales from hand (in which case you’re either running 5/3s and missing out on NBN’s strongest agenda, or running a whole bunch of agendas) or never advance chaining Editions. I think if this catches on, it’s because you’re fast advancing the first one. That’s right: Psychographics is back, y’all. (Or, yknow, the next card in this spoiler.)
Place your bets everybody. We’re finally get a chance to resolve the Great Netrunner Debate of 2016: Would AstroScript Pilot Program work as a 4/2 agenda?
The art further enhances the strong reference being made here; the obvious NBN moon, the camera angle with regards to the characters, perhaps even the projection. And after some thought I’ve also decided these are the kids of the original Astro pair.
I like this one. It’s pretty expensive, but if you get a good idea of what’s in their hand, you can finish out the last agenda pretty quickly. Azmari in particular likes this. – Grade: B
Building a Better Biotic. This feels like what O2 Shortage could’ve been, if it actually worked. Also, any cards that are not only useful on their own in faction, but can help to support and bolster IDs like Harishchandra, seem very positive. IDs that aren’t completely utilitarian cannot truly shine until they see some support love (see: Sundew and RP).
I think I would have preferred it if this card were called Stimslack. If #general doesn’t get a card, or even a reference at some point, colour me disappointed. \
I am no rules expert, but if you have Shipment from Tennin and Focus Group in the same deck, you cannot legally lose the game.
This is an expensive FA tool, since Focus Group will cost at least 5 credits to be able to be used to FA a 3/2 (3 for the base cost, 2 to place two advancements, using your first click to install and another click to manually advance the 3/2), but it’s scalable, which is kinda cool. It’s also cool that there’s a scalable in-faction agenda in Project Beale, meaning that if you install a Beale and it turns out the Runner has 4 of the same type of card (unlikely? Sure. Possible? Yeah!), then you can spend the extra 2c to turn Beale into a 3 point score instead. You can also use it out of faction to FA a Vitruvius with a counter to get it back again, or FA an Atlas with a counter (or more in Titan). This is a cool little tool for the FA gallery, with an influence cost that says “expensive” without saying “prohibitive.” \
Corp Fisk when? In all seriousness, even at 3inf, curious if this fits in a rushy Palana, as the threat of spikes keeps runners’ hands full when their instinct may be to empty out against a deck packing this type of effect. Palana Agroplex is back, y’all.
The cost and influence is actually slightly discounted from the Biotic Labor standard. Harishchandra (as spags mentioned), Chronos Protocol, various Salems, and that creep are boosted, as well as Personalized Portals a bit. Could use Standard Procedure to play it safe and could be a big swing play if you find out they have trips or quads and end up getting the credits to focus out a big agenda. And, it gives the stink eye to any paper-folding volleyball-playing lovers as well as various flavors of Oracle decks.
If you’re playing it blind, it may mean that you’re trying to store both 3/2 and 4/2 agendas in HQ and see if you can get lucky; just watch out for Legwork or Turning Wheel. Seems like a fun, skill-testing, calculated-risk type of card, but may actually get a bit too good in the right deck.
Another example of strong art direction. Of the spoilers we were given for this article, this is another example of a card with a color pallette fitting very comfortably into its faction. The background of the art blends easily with the template of the card for a very pleasing to the eye total, but also has a lot going on. There’s some serious hidden depth here, with each of the small monitors in the background depicting its own scene. A card that offers some good depth both mechanics - and artwise.
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