Utopia Shard vs Plascrete

Is Utopia Shard worth considering as a replacement for one Plascrete?

UT Positives:

  • Utility against decks where you do not fear Scorch/Punitive.
  • UT can create doubt if the Scorch player should even invest their creds in the combo with the chance of not pulling it off. UT is probably a poor counter to Scorch/PC since Plascrete is a hard counter, but that’s what we’re here to discuss.

UT Drawbacks:

  • Costs 1 influence.
  • Opportunity cost of a run on HQ to install. It’s a bummer drawing UT late against a deck where you fear Scorch/PC.

Right now I like UT and 1x Plascrete simply because UT isn’t an auto dead draw against non-Weyland like Plascrete is. Yes, HB PC is a thing, but I’ll consider that an exception. The one influence is a small bummer, but I feel like I do get enough utility from UT to justify it.

Just yesterday I had a game against Tennin as Kit where early game they Celeb Gift showing two agendas and some ICE. I then installed UT after a run, my next turn is pop UT, Legwork. I got two agendas from the Legwork and they lost two ICE they needed. They ended up using a Reclamation order to bring back the Lotus Field they had discarded.

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I think it’s a good card, and incredibly playable, but it has some downsides you didn’t list.

  • Because it’s a resource it doesn’t handle the Midseason’s/Tagstorm Scorch deck well. That deck tends to tag you turns in advance and scorch you when it’s convenient for them.
  • It can fail. If the corp has six cards in their hand, plays one (SEA) and you discard two at random, you may not get the scorches.
  • It can be played around. 3 scorches in hand. Jackson on table + Atlas counter. Bait the shard with a SEA source. Or, my personal favorite, start running Foxfire. It deals with the all the shards cheaply and efficiently. This is mostly a meta call but if Hades Noise or Utopia are popular it’s not hard to include.
  • Your point about opportunity cost is important too. Often, Netrunner is a game of economy. You paying 7 for your protection instead of 3 is a big deal. If you draw it late and need to run my HQ it may cost even more than 7 to get in.

Having said all that, still a totally playable, totally awesome card. I’ll run it in decks over a third or second plastcrete if I have the influence. Just know the ways people will play around it, and know how to play around it as corp.

I like it as a kind of hybrid legwork/plascrete in my shaper deck. In some match-ups, its the 2nd plascrete, in others, its a 3rd legwork for half the influence. Not quite as efficient as either card at the narrow function, and the influence is halfway in between the two, but the versatility seems worth it. Plus, drawing 1 shard and 1 legwork is actually better than 2 legworks most of the time.

Tags make it an issue. There’s no floating tags if you’re planning on playing any of the Shards and not immediately using them, because a corp will trash that with glee. Makes things like Account Siphon harder choices, too. Much harder to trash Plascrete.

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As mentioned, the biggest downside is not being able to float tags.

You don’t float tags against scorch decks anyway or it could open you up to triple scorch… So no problem there.

Even if you have double Plascrete, it’s probably wise to not take tags until you think the game is about to end from agenda points, since they can always score the Cleaners. Frankly, unless I know exactly what my opponent is playing, I don’t keep tags unless I know I can recover from a closed accounts/mass resource trashing. My money and resources are generally too important to give up like that. Sometimes you AS last click and remove the tags the turn after against Glacier Decks like RP, but leaving your resources vulnerable is how you lose to them in a long game (i.e. most of them).

So yeah, In my opinion, if you have a loose influence, cutting a Plascrete for this is one of the best ways you can spend it. Espessially if you are running Legwork.