Android Netrunner - Business First Review

The Mumbad cycle has shown some great promise with Khala Ghoda bringing in some great staples and there are some great things to talk about with the new packs lately so let's continue with Business First (bit late I know, life and all that!)

To repeat a previous disclaimer, I'm a casual player that enjoys the game and can hold my own in a local store tournament despite having much to learn myself. That's all. Take that for what its worth, but maybe that will allow me to consider combos and ideas that will be fun to use rather than simply dismissing anything that doesn't make a Tier 1 level deck or whatever! So that being said, let's start. You can already check out my Android Netrunner review on my site. If you want to see all the images for each card, I recommend you visit netrunnerdb.com and use their search engine.


EMP Device

Cheap hardware in the classic vein of Anarch, however lately I've seen this turn up more often in Criminal decks to combo with Inside Job. A nice little trick to pull against Glacier decks, but otherwise I'd rather use DDOS.


Diwan

Yeah, this virus is not impressing me. Sucking up precious memory and trashed on a purge this is unlikely to last very long on the board and outside of a frequently refreshed scoring remote server you'll be lucky if you see 2-3 credits spent by the Corp from this in a game. Unlikely to see any play outside of a Noise virus heavy deck and that's mainly because it's cheap to play.


CBI Raid

Designed by a Netrunner champion, however I think the concept of this card was taken from a Magic The Gathering perspective, where such an ability would be more damaging. In Netrunner it is an annoyance, but at 3 credits it's an expensive annoyance and will only slow down the Corp to the extent that he has to re-draw those cards back up, which in most cases could be done in one turn if he focuses on it. The Corp can also decide on the order so good luck finding any agenda's without a Medium present.


Tech Trader

Right, finally an awesome card! Well awesome if like me you're experimenting with Geist right now. This is the card he needed to become a viable deck as before he was fun to play, but couldn't really bring the pain. Now with this cheap non-unique resource all of his trashing cards generate money which is a Criminals best friend. Now you've got card draw and money gains from using trash abilities which speeds Geist up to no end. Not sure how much use it will get outside of him, but I've been waiting for this card for a while!


NetChip

I'm intrigued by this new mechanic of having a card with 6 copies in your deck, but I was disappointed with the Anarch one and this one isn't wowing me much either. Essentially it dodges things like Cortex Lock because you don't actually get extra memory, it's just free hosting memory, but on the flip side don't expect to have a giant Overmind full of counters. Even just two of them allow you to host a couple of hungry programs like Magnum Opus without clogging up your rig. Suits being in the Shaper faction nicely but I can't see much benefit from having more than max 3 out at any one time so certainly I'm not keen on shoving all 6 in a deck unless you're running Aesop's to sell to. Maybe worth getting the Professor out from the box to see if he can make use?


Corporate Scandal

This isn't so much about having an extra credit in every run, it's more about turning on various cards like Blackmail without any issues. Valencia already gives the Corp one so this is added insurance, but now other Runners can benefit. It's only going to benefit decks that focus on this though so I won't be expecting people to simply splash it in a deck.


Populist Rally

There aren't many seedy locations outside of the current major meta decks like Wyldside Faust, but even if you are using one, this requires incredible timing to use well. You're only removing a click for a single turn which means you must be certain that the Corp is needing those 3 clicks to score an agenda, otherwise it's a waste of credits. Personally I'm not one of those players who could use this to great effect.


Advanced Assembly Lines

This is a weird card and it's hampered by the fact you can't use it during a run. However at its worst it's 2 credits and an instant install on a future turn. 3 credits if you're using Engineering The Future as your identity which 90% of HB players do anyway. So it's a cool little money gainer that you can bait in a remote server and install something for your trouble, possibly even an Adonis Campaign to get even more money with ETF. The influence cost is a little high to get in most decks, but this has potential for future improvement.


Lakshimi Smartfabrics

Yeah I'm putting this on the trash pile. I can't see this being the focus of a deck and the ability only works on that particular agenda so it's hoping that you're going to find multiples of them at one time. Can't steal my Accelerated Beta Test, but you can happily dig in R&D and grab a Concept Hopper if one is in there. This feels too janky to be of much use.


Product Recall

This is quite a cool card. In HB there is plenty of scope for an asset to be trashed, particularly the campaigns on the last turn before they're due to explode, however the sickest thing I've found to do with this is splash it in Jinteki's Industrial Genomics for a ridiculous burst of money due to their increased trash costs. The influence cost might hurt it a little though as there's a lot of competition in the money earner department.



Palana Foods: Sustainable Growth

Another new identity for Jinteki and for deck-building fans this has opened up a can of worms. The ability is one of those constant perks that's going to reward you heavily over the course of the game and the ID isn't tied down to one specific deck type. This works with Flatline and Fast Advance in equal proportion though the latter is more common. Cards we'll get into later only aim to boost this even further but all in all, this is going to be a very popular ID for Jinteki players looking for a change from the typical style.


Palana Agroplex

Oh look, a card that boosts the ID who would have thought? An obscene trash cost means this is likely to stick around however it is filled with controversy. On the one hand, you are drawing a lot of cards to further your goal and forcing the Runner to draw a card on your turn which guarantees you that free credit, almost doubling its effectiveness. But on the other hand you need to be wary that you're also getting the Runner to draw cards to further his plan as well. If the Runner can't afford to play all those new cards, then great, but you need to use this with care.


Harvester

This falls in that same category as Palana Agroplex - use with care. You cannot leave this in a server where the Runner can exploit this for free card draw easily. However this can result in a lot of discarded cards for the Runner if caught at the right time. I'm not sure whether to hate or like this card, but I feel it could backfire too easily on the Corp.


Remote Data Farm

Really?.......do I even need to explain? Trash it, burn it, this will never see play.


Disposable HQ

This could be an interesting way to get rid of an agenda flooded hand providing you have the means to get them back out of your deck eventually. We have Shannon to draw from the bottom if need be, Fast Track is another possibility. Its high trash cost of 5 means it's expensive for the Runner to get it out of R&D which is probably the best time for it to trigger rather than baiting in a remote. At best it's a splash as a safety measure.


New Construction

Going down the line of public face-up agendas for Weyland (a style I'm not used to as I like to play mind games) this new one is becoming very popular in asset spam decks. The recent Museum of History/Mumba Temple combo is finding its way into many decks, not just Industrial Geonomics and Weyland is the next best place to find it. Every advancement on this spawns another asset out of your hand in a new remote server, adding more cards than even Whizzard can feasibly trash. Combine this with Turtlebacks for extra credits or spam out more Public Supports than the Runner can deal with. It's nowhere near as awesome as Oaktown is, but it has some good uses, especially with . . .


Mumbad Construction Co

Welcome to Weyland Fast Advance. Well not exactly, it doesn't work on all of your agendas, only the face-up ones. But given that Weyland has little issues with generating money, this allows for some good click-less advancing to score out those public agendas. It doesn't just work on them however, as you have plenty of ICE that can be advanced while face-up to make them more potent. This card is better suited to Gagarin with the extra remote server tax it inflicts, but there's been a resurgence with this ID since this pack came out.


Corporate Sales Team

4/2 Agendas are not easy to score out, but the drip economy this card provides is sound, activating on every turn, not just yours. Of course no-one usually builds a deck to specialise on 4/2's but it's common to see a splash of this neutral agenda to fill up the density.


PAD Factory

I'm a little underwhelmed by this, not least because you can't score the card you advance. However it's not uncommon to find decks with 3 PAD Campaigns in them and the card doesn't specify the card needs to be allowed to be advanced. So you can put these tokens on literally any card you like including cards which can only be advanced when rezzed such as some assets or ICE. Players are trying to combo this with the Mumbad Construction Co, which works quite well also. I don't think it's a must-have though.


Summary

I think the first pack in the cycle was better, but this is about half and half. The cards that are great in this set tend to be for very specific decks, with the exception of the new Jinteki identity which is going to see a lot of play in the near future. NBN and Anarch I think got the short end of the stick this time round and for the most part I wasn't impressed with the neutral cards on offer. If you are playing Geist, this pack is a must-have and if you want a unique take on Jinteki, give it a shot as well.


If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store - http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/

0 comments: