Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

Would limited Astroscript kill Fast Advance?

I agree that testing is hard, and time consuming. I agree that it’s good to remove overpowered cards.

That said, when I disparage the skill of FFG’s designers, I’m usually bitching about the underpowered cards where it feels like FFG didn’t even try. In that respect, I’m on board with Crunchums.

Imagine it’s Monday, you’re Lukas, and your job for the next 5 minutes is to determine how much Hard at Work should cost to install.

What should happen:

This card is basically worse than Armitage, which only costs $1 and is neutral. It has the crippling drawbacks of being mandatory and once per turn, but at least you can sell it to Aesop, and in very long games you’ll make more money. Let’s send it to the playtesters at $2 to install and we can adjust +/- $1 from there.

This actually happens:

WOW, Anarch click for 2 money! That’s like Opus! Anarchs will love to pay $5 for that just like Opus! Anarch should never have good economy because running poor is totally viable in a game full of NAPDs.

Now let’s make a Criminal card that also clicks for 2 money and is a resource. Because we love Criminals, it should cost $0, and also stack with a ton of popular Criminal cards like Desperado. Let’s call it Security Testing!

I’m not disappointed when they don’t make things exactly right. I’m disappointed when they’re not even in the ballpark.


You may be right. I certainly wasn’t saying that it never happens that they make totally new decks – blue sun and cache were both big triumphs of card design. And the narrow synergy restriction is always available. I just fear that, with more power creep, the required amount of synergy to make a card fit this bill may become prohibitive and we’ll see fewer and fewer cards as well-designed as blue sun. Already, I wouldn’t play Eater without any backup breakers even if it cost 0.

That’s just the nature of a non-rotating card pool. I don’t think power creep is a problem at the moment. Aside from the underpowered cards stuff that I keep harping on, I think the Lunar cycle was great. In my mind, the only mistakes are:
(in decreasing order of “ugh”)

  • The Foundry should have 17 influence instead of NEH
  • ITD
  • DBS a bit too good
  • Lady should cost 5 (I still want the 3 strength because her whole point is to compensate for Eli being too good)

Which isn’t too bad.


So you’re thinking specifically for tournament play? I just don’t see why every card must be tournament capable. I like having random cards that I wouldn’t take to tournaments, because they’re fun and interesting to play, rather than incredibly efficient and effective. Comparing the two is not comparing like with like. And being judicious/cautious/slow with the ones you design that are clearly tournament capable is the correct strategy for this game.

From what I can tell, nothing has ‘surprised’ the designers. Only concerned them, and then they rectified it.

First it was Scorched Earth. Then Account Siphon. Now it’s the complaints about Astro. FFG does a good job fixing and balancing these things, I believe. Sure, it could take a few months, but we’ll only stop complaining about Astro as soon as the next “broken” card comes out.

1 Like

I think it’s a fantastic edition to the datasucker/fixed breakers combo. Because often you’re doing other stuff than accessing with your run, and for that, it’s the shiz.

If we all flood Lukas/FFG with calls for errata of certain cards I think that would be a good thing. Obviously we all love the game and having undercosted cards errata’d is probably the best solution.

I also don’t fault FFG too much for being super conservative with costing cards (see: Mutate). Ultimately it wasn’t the right call, but they didn’t want to print another Account Siphon or Desperado.


Another key piece in this is Archives Interface. Astrobiotics relies on Jackson to recycle FA tools just as much as agendas. Removing them (or other Jacksons/DBS) can really hurt the deck.

It’s not exactly a winning strategy though. It’s helpful (one of the reasons Noise has a better matchup than is inherently obvious is that Jackson can’t recycle as many combo pieces if he’s saving agendas) but it’s by no means something I’d put Archives Interface in a deck for.

Not every card has to be tournament worthy, but there is no reason to take cards that aren’t tournament worthy and make them worse than they could be without being too good, or even good at all. Netrunner has an awesome quality that allows the “players to play the cards”, allowing a lot of things that are marginally viable at best to win despite their underpowered nature. There is every reason to make every marginally useful card as good as possible to make the meta diverse, rather than to just chalk up the unplayability of cards to “we want decks for casual players”. If you make a mediocre card good by more aggressively costing it, that doesn’t make it any less fun for casual players.

I find it hard to believe that Andy’s complete dominance didn’t surprise anyone.


Perhaps they are erring on the side of caution at the moment, and they could be less cautious going forward. I do think too many overpowered cards would effect the curve bblum mentioned badly.

I don’t really think they’re wrong for doing so. I think in any game like this bad cards are as important as good ones. And lol. I wasn’t suprised by Andy’s dominance. In fact when she was printed I was convinced she broke the game XD

I don’t consider Blue Sun a triumph of card design. Sure, it made Weyland more competitive, but only at the cost of a gut-punch to every Anarch that actually runs.


For anyone interested why bad cards are important, this is an excellent article: http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr5

I keep telling you guys. 3x power tap, 2x access to globalsec. Proceed to face check caduceuses for $6 per click. It’s gonna be the new meta. Take 24 cred, your turn.


Your post is unfair in several regards.

  1. When testing W&W, we generally preferred to err on the side of underpowered cards. I think a great example in Netrunner is Donut Taganes (and The Source as well). When the card was spoiled I was really excited about it despite the 2inf cost. Obviously, 2inf is too much - but compare it with Lucky Find, another neutral that costs 2inf. Pricing LF at 1inf would have made it over-powered. Crim with 3x Desperado, 3x LF is already quite strong. I wouldn’t want to see Shaper with 3x LF, 3x DJ, and NINE influence to spare. I prefer one weak card and one balanced card to one balanced card and one over-powered card.

  2. I think that design priorities shifted. It seems to me that when NR was initially conceived, Anarchs just weren’t supposed to get good econ. They got Liberated Accounts in Genesis, HaW and Queen’s Gambit in Spin. Only in Lunar they got Inject, which is reasonable, and they had to wait until O&C to get Day Job and I’ve Had Worse (both of which are fantastic). Check out Jinteki - practically no Ice until Tsurugi in Spin, and then Komainu and Pup in their big box.

  3. I suspect that balancing a card like HaW is not as trivial as it seems. For example, price it at 2c and it could be too strong. Also, we have no idea how it might interact with future cards - we’re getting more and more “lose a click” cards, I could imagine future interactions where HaW becomes good. In an alternative universe people would complain about the HaW / Imaginary Click Booster deck, where HaW is only two creds, and ICB is one cred, and together you get this fantastic economy engine. Designing for the future is not trivial.

With regards to Security Testing, I agree that it’s stellar in the current metagame (and I agree that it punishes horizontal play too heavily - which is a different issue). Now play it against a decent Glacier build and you could end up with no economy. Furthermore, it limits your AS play, since you cannot float tags as easily. I suspect/hope that 3x ST will not be an auto-include with Worlds 2015. I could be mistaken, of course, half of this is wishful thinking :smile:

The bottom line is, FFG is a small company with limited resources. I think that given the manpower they have (Netrunner design is two people which actually work on a bunch of other games, compare that to Magic or Hearthstone!) they’re doing a reasonable job.


I appreciate all your comments in the forums but i cannot disagree more with this article (and i have discussed a lot about this article in the past with various game designers, myself being a playtester, developer, designer semi professional (@Artipia games)).

The article states that bad cards are necessary and that bad cards are this and bad cards are that.

In a nutshell: it does not say why some cards are really that good. The problem is with the really good cards that overshadow everything, not with the mediocre ones, not with the bad ones.

I finished 2nd in the Chronos Protocol tour in Greece using Taxman NBN by Mediohxcore after some talks i had with him. The deck was a blast and i enjoyed playing Character Assasination as the 4/2 of my deck. super satisfying when i managed to kill a Kati or a professional contacts after good play by my side.

After NAPD, i will just have to use NAPD and all the NBN FA decks have exactly the same agenda composition because the agendas are SO much better than the other ones available.

Jsu my $0.05. Sorry if i sound biased but I am mostly at the opposite side of Mr Rosewater on this subject.



You should read David Sirlin’s writings sometimes. He has a lot of great arguments about why Mark Rosewater is wrong about basically everything.

He makes games with 20 unique characters that all play very differently but are balanced within a pretty narrow power range. This is super hard and he fails for a long time but he keeps trying until it works.

If Mark Rosewater tried to do that, you’d have:

  • 5 characters that are deliberately bad to support draft and sealed play
  • 5 characters that are deliberately bad to help newbies have an epiphany when they realize they’re bad
  • 5 characters that are accidentally bad
  • 2 characters that had to be banned in some formats for being OP
  • A diverse and exciting metagame consisting of the 3 competitive characters remaining, and Mark Rosewater sitting on a gigantic pile of money.

I believe you are thinking of this article in particular?

For what it’s worth, that Mark Rosewater was written in 2002. I think Magic has gotten a lot better at not printing stupidly bad cards since then.

1 Like

I think that’s a little harsh on MaRo, but Puzzle Strike is definitely an awesome game.

As I hinted in my W&W reply: comparing an LCG/CCG to a fixed board game is simply not fair. One, the scope is much larger - a Magic “block” (even looking at just standard format) has hundreds of cards. This means that more cards need to be tested and more card combinations need to be tested. Every designer, even Wizards of the Coast, has limited resources, and prioritizing card strength is crucial to avoid disasters like the Urza block.

Two, you need to accommodate the future: you should avoid designing cards that restrict future design space too heavily. For example, let’s examine a hypothetical Netrunner card:

Self-Modifying Bog
Resource - Location
2c, trash: Search your stack for a Location and install it (paying the install cost). Shuffle your deck.

Doesn’t seem so bad, huh? However, by printing this card, you’re now placing a pretty severe restriction on all future Location cards. For example, printing strong one-of effects is probably a bad idea if they can be tutored. Likewise, creating a deck-unique Location mechanic similar to the Shards/Fragments is no longer possible. I’m not saying that Self-Modifying Bog should not be printed, just that it has implications that a designer needs to keep in mind when trying to preserve the longevity of the game. Netrunner cannot have a really awesome 15 cost program right now because you could Test Run it. That’s why Magic has tons of creatures that say “if this lands in your graveyard, remove it from game/reshuffle it into library” - because of all of the strong early resurrection effects.