This article, and in fact the entire series, was super good.
I only vehemently disagreed with one thing here:
Further, kudos to the design of Hard Hitting News, I find this card to fit perfectly in the triad of active tagging, and a great addition to the game.
Time Walk is not an OK card. HHN is a card that has a pushed power level to demonstrate the Terminal mechanic. This is similar to Sensie demonstrating Political, Caprice demonstrating Psi, and Boom! demonstrating trashable operations. In all of these cases, the card has singlehandedly warped the meta around dealing with that card. You cannot seriously take a deck to a large tournament without at least having a plan for Sensie, Caprice, Boom!, and HHN. The fact that the answers for those four cards are in different directions (Sensie and HHN overlap the most) is not a good sign. Put another way, you can build Mono-Strategy decks around each of those four cards that require specific hate. (With, again, Sensie and HHN overlapping quite a bit. Mostly because Sensie just makes every card better, especially if you want/need to draw those cards in a specific timeframe.) And this is even discounting the fact that it’s a Yellow card, overloading that faction even further with Power cards. (Sometimes I think their strategy for balancing NBN is to simply print too many good cards for any one NBN deck to run, and hope that people get caught up in including too many of them and end up diluting the power of their deck. See also: Worlds 2016 Top 16 Corp. … Not Corps, Corp.)
To fix HHN, it’s relatively simple: Increase trace strength, and change the number of tags to 3. It’s still a good card, and in fact, better in the circumstances it needs to be (Tagstorm decks have problems dealing with Link Runners. HHN doesn’t solve that at this time.) without being a free turn if you land the trace. It also becomes something that isn’t oppressive enough to dedicate cards to hate it out. It becomes Good, instead of Meta-Defining.
Still, HHN is a personal pet peeve of mine. Rumor Mill is similar, but your arguments were interesting and I think you convinced me to try Palana again. (Probably not Sandburg+Batty+Caprice+Grail though… God that was a glorious, glorious month.)
When it comes to Blackmail (and En Passant), there’s one important thing about the card you have to realize. It trades Corp Pressure for Accesses. If you don’t allow the Corp to rez ICE, Corps get rich very quickly. You absolutely have to get Agendas off of your Blackmail in order to be able to have a chance later in the game when your stream of operation recursion dries up. Along with specific counter cards being available for the matchup (and in Weyland no less, which is actually the faction that would need it the most, so that’s interesting…) I’m not convinced Blackmail needs to be on MWL. There’s also only one ID that realistically runs Blackmail anyway.
I’m also really amused by the False Echo Restriction request. If there’s a card in that deck that needs to be Restricted, it’s actually DDOS. False Echo was binder fodder for the longest time and only with DDOS did it become playable at all. This is despite the fact that it works with Blackmail, too. There’s really no reason for False Echo to be Restricted. It’d be similar to requesting that Accelerated Diagnostics be Restricted because CI7 exists. (And even then, both decks have ways of working around only one of the Key Card being available.)