Android Netrunner - Fear The Masses

This is it! The final pack! Fear The Masses is probably not the most appropriate title given my country's affairs as of late, but it marks the end of a meta-changing cycle and gets us eager for the next one - though maybe a short break wouldn't hurt Fantasy Flight, you're working me to death here with these reviews, though having pulled the plug on Game of Thrones LCG recently, this should give me more time to enjoy Netrunner and Lord of the Rings more, my two LCG's of choice by far.

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.



Fear The Masses

This would require a whole deck build to make it work and even then would it be any good? You're going to need to be running some kind of Game Day - Faust combo to have a hand size big enough to hold that many copies of this card as well as have the Icebreaker needed to get you access to HQ, that is, assuming you're not discarding copies of this to fuel Faust! It's nice to think that you might trash a ton of HQ in a few runs, but I just can't see it happening that often to warrant inclusion, but I'll be keen to see some proper mill decks back again that don't rely on Data Leak Reversal weirdness.


Aghora

The Deva suite continues, but I don't think we're going to be seeing any Deva decks given their high influence cost to have more than two factions worth. This one is interesting for Anarch though as it helps with the beefier ICE out there. However it could spark a resurgence of the days of Reina when ICE rez denial decks were a thing. A couple of Xanadu's, some Rook's and Reina's ability and suddenly this Deva could break just about any typical ICE out there. The downside is the low STR value, if your economy isn't up to speed, then glacier servers will get very taxing.


Bhagat

Two things really hurt this card. Firstly it costs 3, which means it's not a cheap resource. And most of all it's unique, meaning you can't stack it. it complements a typical Noise trash deck, but there's a reason why Noise opts for cheap viruses for the purposes of trashing. Might see a one-off in a deck, but I'd probably rather fish out Hacktivist Meeting for cheaper cost and more mileage.


The Black File

A waste of the only Criminal card in this deck. It's incredibly situational and incredibly high priced. Most of the time you will be delaying the inevitable rather than securing your win over the Corp especially if your economy was down at the time and finding 5 credits was a chore. You've got only one copy in the deck which means you probably won't even draw it most of the time and it's not getting splashed ever with 4 influence cost. Binder for you.


The Price of Freedom

I'm indifferent on this one. Over the course of a game you will delay the Corp for 3 turns on demand. Connections are easy to find including cheap ones that can be trashed without any worry. Unique ones you won't mind getting rid of if you have another copy spare. Against NBN they will probably hate you for a long time, but again this has a similar, if lesser similarity to The Black Files issue in that it's very situational.


Ankusa

If I looked at this for just effects I would actually like this card. Then you look at the cost. . . . . . and the ability costs. . . . . and the STR value. . . . and realise that this is one of the worst cards for being economic there is. No matter how you go about it, you're in a losing financial position if you use this breaker.


Rigged Results

This is an interesting card. It's like a Psi-Game version of Inside Job. But rather than replace it, it complements it nicely. A deck using multiples of both would have some fun ignoring ICE for the game. Yes it may fail as with all Psi games, but do I hear anyone moaning about Caprice failing? It's definitely a card I can see Criminal or maybe even Sunny utilising to some degree in the future, just wish it didn't have an influence cost on it.


Magnet

Might as well be called "I Hate Parasite" as it's blatantly here to target that specifically. The problem is that with all the timing window shenanigans, if the Runner is pulling off the "insta-kill" on the ICE with a Datasucker to hand, I don't think this one will work. A Navi Mumbai City Grid might get round this. On the other hand if they plan to let the tokens accumulate over time then Magnet is a great way to neutralise it. Other than that it's a simple Code Gate with End the Run on it that dies to Yog (though I can't recall the last time I ever saw one) and most code breakers fairly quickly. I don't think it's quite there yet, but stick around.


Lateral Growth

I must be not seeing the full potential of this card yet. Gaining a credit from the old ETF identity for HB is irrelevant as you would have got that anyway so you're basically talking a gain of 2 credits for this as you could have installed for that click anyway. It's not bad at all, after all you're combining three clicks worth of actions into one, but is worth the deck space? For the sake of two credits gained would it not be better to have 3 cards more in line with your win condition? Might be able to perform some interesting plays if combined with Jeeves though if you've got another two operations spare to play.


Improved Protein Source

I can't see why the one advancement point reduction would be worth the risk of giving the Runner a big credit boost regardless of whether you score or lose it. And what if you lost it? Hello Runner, have three points and four credits. Not something I want to gamble on even if I had a Caprice installed. I'll stick to my protein shakes thanks, now I'm off down the gym!


Voter Intimidation

Cheap to play, particularly if you're playing Nisei (but is anyone doing that lately?), but this is a solid card because of the juicy targets it has. Resources are a big player in the meta and getting rid of them can ruin a Runner's day. Bye bye Film Critic and Wyldside! Of course nothing can beat The All Seeing I for total resource destruction, but then not everyone is playing with tags in NBN. I guess the only thing that this has against it is finding the deck space for it. Love that picture also!


Harishchandra Ent: When You're The Star

Yay, another identity!! And this one puts a twist on the typical tag-me decks. Normally you're tagging to wipe the Runner of credits, exchange agendas or kill them outright, but here you're getting information on their hand. Now it's not like you have to keep a tag on constantly, even just landing that temporary tag from a Breaking News for example is enough to get you a lot of useful information about the Runner's situation. Then you've got several other NBN cards from this pack and previous to mess around with the Runner's hand, trashing all their stuff. I think this identity will be a slow burn as players get used to it, and it's never going to match New Earth Hub for tournament play, but this is a nice new style of NBN play.


Full Immerision Rec Studio

I can't really see the appeal of this card. Granted you might be able to lower the amount of servers you need to score agendas and have assets at the same time, but you're just asking for a a huge loss to occur if the Runner breaks into this server, which you know he's very likely to do within NBN. Any cool trap that would take advantage of this would involve a huge influence sink and not even be guaranteed to work. Weyland had a similar asset to this a while back and that didn't work either. I think whatever they are intending for with these hosting assets needs more support.


Ibrahim Salem

Stick this guy with the Harischandra identity and deliver the pain. I can see your hand, oh I guess I'll choose this type and trash that card. And on every single turn as well. In NEH he can just sit there unrezzed with a high trash cost threatening the kill by sniping out that annoying I've Had Worse when needed. I'm not sure where he would be best suited other than Weyland with the Alliance influence discount. The big issue however and it's a justified one I admit is the need to forfeit an agenda. In NBN Breaking News and 15 Minutes are the only agenda's I'd want to forfeit and you'd best hope he sticks around afterwards as it's harder to get rid of an Archer than it is to trash this guy.


Navi Mumbai City Grid

Now while this doesn't stop the most popular ways to get into a server, there are a few special targets worth noting here. E3 implants won't work as a result of this and best of all Shaper's can't perform any Clone Chip or Self Modifying Code shenanigans. It's going to be a bit situational though so I'd say it's average at best, but worth considering. Of course no-one is going to take your San San Grid away any time soon!


Zealous Judge

Got a tag? Here have more tags! This is a weird asset and something that even though fits Weyland's lore better, would be much more appreciated in NBN. Thankfully he's not too expensive in influence so SYNC will love him to bits, but not enough I don't think to warrant deck space because SYNC already is tight enough. Argus can get some mileage out of him if the Runner takes the tag punishment and then presumably you will set yourself up for a Scorch.


Election Day

Hopefully you're not using this to correct your bad opening hand, but if you're searching for that combo piece, this is a nice way to go about it. Splashing this into Industrial Genomics will give you an easy way to flood Archives with cards to turn your ability on, though at two influence, can they afford to fit it in and couldn't they just simply spam draw with Jackson Howard for pretty much the same effect albeit for more clicks? I can't see it being overly useful in the future except as a one-off for a Scorch combo deck.


Subcontract

This is a very janky combo card and not one I particularly like. If you've set the Runner up with a tag, chances are you will simply scorch them the normal way. The only benefit this is going to get you is the ability to triple-Scorch, which is serious overkill against most decks. One you can ignore.


Merger

Oh my god, how bad is this agenda? Every faction has their share of decent 3/2 agendas and they don't give the Runner bonus points for stealing it! I can't even fathom..........no seriously I can't! I'd rather run Improved Protein Source. I'd rather run Government Takeover. And you want me to pay one influence for the pleasure of this card!!! Go sit in the corner Fantasy Flight and think about what you've done.


Summary

Bit of a weaker pack on the whole, not the best ending they could have, however the cycle has generally been a solid one, it just perhaps peaked half way and then gradually slowed down at that point bar a few good little gems along the way. Still got high hopes for the 23 Second cycle - maybe this will give me a chance to catch up on some Netrunner lore especially as an avid reader told me recently that the plot behind Android Mainframe relates directly to this.

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