Android Netrunner - Salsette Island Review

This cycle has certainly been a big influence hasn't it? Democracy and Dogma proved itself to be one of the best packs for a long while so the rest of this cycle has a lot to live up to. I do have one fear though with the way the current meta is going. Runner decks in tournaments are being dominated by Anarch Faust decks constantly and on the Corp side, the emphasis on making decks that rely on a huge wide server build (IG, Gagarin, New Earth Hub) is becoming a little too common. I feel that some Runner styles and Corp glacier builds are being left by the wayside. Will Salsette Island change all that or add further fuel to the fire?

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.



Making An Entrance

The effectiveness of this card depends on how badly you need to tutor through your deck. With 3 of these in your deck you can look through 18 cards and tailor them in any order, trashing the ones you no longer require like redundant programs. It's Shaper level deck manipulation and doesn't cost any credits to use. Another neat trick is to combine this with Retrieval Run by trashing a program that you later install for free after initiating a run on Archives. Two cards for a program that costs 7-9 credits, that's a pretty good deal with added deck manipulation on the side.


Salsette Slums

Against the right opponent, this is the best card you will include in your deck. Against a different opponent, this will be next to useless. Industrial Geonomics will hate you for using this as it's a great way to mess up the deck that's conquering the tournament meta currently. However it does have some other issues. Having to pay the trash cost of an accessed means you're going to have to fork out the credits for that expensive asset. Political Operative and Imp for example won't work. You might splash one copy in a tournament, but otherwise, you can probably skip it.


Exclusive Party

If you want this to work, you're going to have to design your deck for it. The first two or three copies of this won't net you very much, but it will ramp up after that. You want to be throwing as many parties as possible perhaps even recurring them with Same Old Thing once you've discarded all six. Of course that means getting them all in your heap as soon as possible, but with only one influence, other factions especially Anarch can find a way to do that.

Vamadeva

This is the first AI breaker for Criminal, however that doesn't equate to a great card. It's not bad though. There are a lot of ICE out there with one subroutine on them, some of which are popular and others which will never see play again. Looking at the list, NBN are the ones who will hate you for this as a lot of their taxing ice fall under this category. I'm still not sold on the whole Deva suite thing though of swapping them with your grip, it's very expensive and quite janky, not to mention heavy on the influence. Hopefully we'll get some final console or card or identity that can get the full strength from them.



Brahman

This is a very janky Icebreaker to be using though it has a great picture. It requires some bizarre deck designs usually in the Shaper faction and it does enable London Library builds to work, but otherwise I'm not particularly sold on him. It's not a cheap breaker and 2 credits to pump the strength up gets expensive very, very quickly.


Patron

Firstly you can't stack this with Security Testing so don't even try it. Secondly the value gained is not actually that much. Think about Security Testing, it gains you two credits for a single run plus any other bonuses like Desperado for more credits and credits are used for everything in the game. Now you get two cards with Patron for a single run. Well you can simply draw a card for one click so in effect this only nets you one additional card and you have to not access the server. I don't see this being used any time soon when you've got Diesel and Quality Time in the same faction.


Sports Hopper

Finally we get a replacement for Plascrete! And it's actually a much more viable card. It works against all types of damage and if you're not playing against NBN or Weyland it's not a dead draw either. Drawing 3 cards is never a bad thing anyway and it also gives a link. My Geist deck needs this as an auto-include.


Bazaar

This literally only has two uses. One, you combine it with a really janky Replicator Pawnshop deck or two, you use consumer grade hardware on its own even though you can already do that with the Replicator Pawnshop. It's got very limited usage aside from that and likely won't see very much play as a result.


Personality Profiles

3/1 agendas are not the kind that normally feature in a HB deck unless they are Security Chips or Chronos Protocol. The effect isn't even that detrimental to the Runner. It's not going to see any play soon.


Jeeves Model Bioroids

Welcome to the next meta-changing card. This one is incredibly popular right now, unfortunately mostly with the classic Museum decks. However it's also seeing some use outside of that. It's a very powerful card enabling 2/4 agendas to be scored in a never-advance style. However it's also caused some controversy with the rulings. It's not 100% clear how the card works and it's caused some confusion among players. Await some rulings from FFG to explain this one better, but it's still a great card. I only wish he was caused Jarvis.


Raman Rai

This is a weird one. However it's also not very good. Because the card has to be of the same type it has limited usage in the real world. You might occasionally get a lucky swap, but you can't really base a deck around this guy and even then outside of IG, he's not too difficult to trash. He's likely to be sitting in the binder.


Upayoga

OK, what on earth does this name mean? Never mind. Nisei Division has never been a viable deck, however it's been a fun one. But they needed some better Psi ICE to play with. Now this one is a nice boost. A 4 STR Code Gate is a pain to break and the first subroutine is very taxing on the runner. Spending credits just to meet your test and then another 2 if they lose it. The cherry is the second part though. There's some good subroutines on other Psi ICE and hell, you can even use it on itself to tax the runner even further. Note that it doesn't say "another" piece of Psi ICE. Slowly but surely a Psi deck may just become competitive. Time will tell, but Chetana in the next data pack will have something to add to that.


Aryabhata Tech

Yeah I'm just going to give up with names now! I don't think this is going to be featured in many tournament decks, but they are always wanting to improve Tracers. Unfortunately the agenda that boosted them in the past didn't do enough. This one when stacked up seems to have more of an effect, but 2 credits for 3 to trash isn't a great ratio. Worth a try in a specialized deck for a casual game, but I think more is needed to make Tracers a viable tournament deck.


Salem's Hospitality


The new upcoming identity for Harishchandra is the best one to be using this card, however a lot of decks are willing to pay 12 influence to have all three of them outside of NBN. It's a bit of a gamble if you haven't used something like Snoop, but it can be effective for setting up the kill through something like Scorch. Take out the I've Had Worse's in the Anarch's hand and then go nuts!


Executive Search Firm

Remember the Mumbad City Hall? Yeah the tutor effect for alliance cards. That was an excellent card, in fact from further use of it I think it's downright broken! But I use it currently, so that's a good thing! This one however is really lacklustre in comparison. Elizabeth Mills and Jackson Howard are the main executives that anyone will be searching for, characters are rather vague, but there are a few cool sysops around. The Twins and Caprice are solid bets. However for the requirements of including non-alliance Weyland cards and the fact you don't get to play/install them unlike the City Hall mean this is a lesser alternative.


Indian Union Stock Exchange

My favourite card in this pack, not necessarily the best one, that's a subjective view, but I love this card. I use it in my Weyland Gagarin Museum deck and it makes so much money. Remember that this counts neutral cards as well. There's so many cards you can put in your deck to generate money off this and you can stack it as well. In Gagarin it's sick as it's 4 credits to trash with that ID. At 2 influence you could put it in another deck as well however the effectiveness would be lost as you'll have more in-faction cards than not. Cheap to rez to boot, such a good card.


Cobra

This is some great art. However as cool as face checking this ICE is, it has some serious problems. Firstly at STR 1 it's easily susceptible to Parasite. Secondly, because of that low STR it's easily bypassed by pretty much any sentry breaker out there, especially the Killers. However in the early game this can cause some serious damage and make some of those aggressive players regret their decision. Not perfect, but it will have its moments. And it's such a cool picture! Cooooooobrrraaaaaaaaaaa!!!


Localized Product Line

Yeah not many are going to be using this card. Yeah you can tutor all the cards you need. But 4 credits and 3 influence? At best you might grab all the Scorched Earths you need and threaten the Runner. But other than that?........No.


Mumbad Virtual Tour

The alliance condition is easy to meet and this can be a costly mistake for the Runner. It's easily taken care of by Imp, but it's a nice little ambush to spring. Cheaper than using an ICE and will protect your investment assets nicely. Imagine 10 credits to trash an Eve Campaign. That might cause a table flip!


Summary

There's not many dud's in here, but there's a lot of specialised cards that are only going to work in certain decks. They will be fun to use, but probably won't see a lot of tournament play. The gems in this pack however are real gems. The Stock Exchange and Jeeves are quality cards and I guarantee they'll see a lot of play. Not as good as other packs overall, but still solid, adding to what has been a good quality cycle.


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

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