Android Netrunner - The Liberated Mind Review

Two more to go for this cycle - who knows what's coming next? There's a new cycle on the way being previewed already, but as for a deluxe expansion? That's going to be an interesting one given that we've covered all the factions and then some now. Maybe some "mini-Corp" factions, that would be amusing. The Liberated Mind I can only describe as a. . . "unique" data pack so I suggest you get all "one with yourself" and all that and free your mind for this one.

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.




The Noble Path

One of the better "last-ditch effort" cards for Anarch, but even so it's not likely to be one you would do more than splash one copy of in a deck and certainly only as a last resort. It could swing you the game if you use it on your final run to pull that last agenda, but typically no matter what damage prevention you have in place, trashing your grip is usually always a bad idea.


Emptied Mind

Trying to keep in theme with The Noble Path I guess, but seriously, just no. I don't want to be constantly playing with no options in hand and hovering on the borderline between life and death. I get an extra click, oh what's that, a Neural Emp in the face? If this is going to become a new archetype I'd love to see how this is manageable.


Information Sifting

I'm not sure how effective this would be in practice, but it would certainly be a ton of fun to use for the hell of it. One of the best aspects of Netrunner that no other LCG can provide is the mind games you can play with the opponent. However in this instance, the Corp has more leeway to play games than you do, so if anything you've used a run event to put yourself at a potential disadvantage. It "may" be a nice way to gain multi-access equivalent results, but you just know that the opponent is going to pull a classic "1 to 4" ratio with you trying to get you to believe the single card is the only agenda in hand.


Out Of The Ashes

Actually paying a credit for the main effect of making a run is basically insane, so you're going to want to ditch these into your heap somehow by other means. Now once they are in there, there is potential for this to be sickening in power. If you have managed to set up a multi-access rig with Medium for example, you could blow all of these at once and carve a giant hole in R & D in one turn, essentially being a game-ender. However most of the time this will be a dead draw and 6 cards is a lot of deck space to ask for.


Liberated Chela

On the whole, this card appears too slow and takes a lot of deck space to build around. You can't simply splash this and run with it. You need to generate reliable extra clicks, you need to have agendas to forfeit so essentially you're packing in 3 Fan Sites and the play style isn't a fun one either. Forcing the Corp to lose agendas is a frustrating one for them and lead to games dragging out to time. Not a fan personally, it just doesn't suit my style of play.



Temple of the Liberated Mind

Lose a click to gain a click later - the tempo hit is too strong to make this worth building around. And so many more shenanigans can take place using the popular Hyperdriver combo - effectively making this card and build pretty redundant.


Rebirth

One of the strangest ideas to ever hit Netrunner, but a cool one none the less. A limit of only one per deck means you can't rely on it for a specific deck build, but any Runner who has an identity that doesn't do anything after the starting turn is going to want a copy of this, Andromeda especially as her chances of drawing it are greater. As I said, you can't build around it so designing a deck to run off the new identity is dangerous, but to switch to an identity that gains you tempo or extra credits would be a sound move.


Guru Davinder

HOW MUCH?! Binder fodder, end of. OK I'll explain. As most people know, net damage doesn't come in one big lump always. A lot of times it's done in little cuts, which means the tax that this imposes on you would be astronomical. It's slightly better for meat damage but then we have Sports Hopper now. This isn't just redundant, it's just bad.


The Turning Wheel

Despite the influence cost, this has already become pretty popular in decks. Multi-access is a great thing to have even if in light doses like this and it rewards decks that don't mind making unsuccessful runs (Au Revoir much?) or like to play the long game. I'm tempted to make an Ian Stirling deck using this for that reason. It's cheaper to use this to gain multi-access on your "off" server and the counters aren't virus counters so they can't be purged, bonus there!


Brainstorm

I want to love this card, I really do. If a Runner hits this when you have 9 credits without a Killer breaker, it's pretty much game over from that point. But it's got a low strength and a high rez cost, so being able to pull that off is wishful thinking. The odd splash here and there will certainly be likely in HB-only decks as if they're not running Parasite and you can trash their sentry breaker they ain't going to dare face check this. It's a pipe dream of a card, but I want it to work as I don't think brain damage gets enough love.



Ravana 1.0

A nice solid Bioroid card allowing you to get the most out of those subroutines that matter. 3 credits is cheap to rez for a Strength 5 Code Gate. Yes, yes you need another Bioroid ICE rezzed to use it, but how is that ever a difficult thing for a HB glacier deck? It's an auto-include in any deck that focuses on this style of ICE, but what really makes me worry is that they bothered to put 1.0 in the title.........are we going to see Ravana 2.0? What's that going to be like in comparison to this?


Dedicated Neural Net

Psi decks are going to love this, otherwise you might see it in Personal Evolution as they love handing the Runner 3/1 agenda's. Scoring one of these is going to make attacking the HQ less desirable although it won't help you against Siphons. It's perfectly suited to Jinteki though as you're just asking for the Runner to bite down on one of your Snares in your hand and he knows it. It's a very good piece of security for HQ and with Nisei Division it's even better, that being said, Nisel Division is still a long way off being a viable ID.


Chetana

Obviously it's great for a Psi deck, but you might even see this splashed into other "kill" decks also, particularly out of faction when it's not going to be expected. The subroutine is pretty devastating if you can pull it off and it sets them up nicely for a kill next turn by whatever method you're using. It is however not the cheapest ICE to rez and Mimic will eat this up for breakfast. So it's cool, but not great.


Puppet Master

They're trying to make 5/3's interesting for NBN but sadly this one isn't going to do it. For starters these large agenda's aren't suited to their usual fast advance style of play. You can set up a trap or advanced ICE, but those aren't very common place in NBN so you'll be sucking up your influence to use them and to be honest, if you can reliably score a 5/3, which in NBN would be pretty difficult, you might as well have gone for the Shards. The ability is nice I guess, but it just seems too risky and unlikely to see play without some other support.


Waiver

OWWW! This hurts! They are really trying to make Tracer ICE more viable and this is a good one in my book. Now it's a little money intensive to set up and make sure it lands, but if you catch the Runner in a poor position, beating his link by even just 3 will trash most of his hand and if you manage the full 5+ then 99% of the time you're trashing his entire grip. That's painful. Whether you're setting up a kill or simply just shutting down the Runner tempo, this is one ICE that you want if you're a fan of Tracers. I wish there was an NBN Identity that liked Tracers.


Exchange of Information

I think this pack was designed to make NBN fans just squeal with glee! The best card in this pack, hands down. Do you dare float your tags now? This is such a massive swing in points potentially and it's just asking for Global Food Initiative right? In a tagging deck, it's a must have and certainly it makes the Sync ID scary with the additional tax to having tags. I'm going to get that out of the binder and have some fun I think! Now of course you need to have an agenda scored first - but I'm sure NBN players never had trouble scoring a Breaking News before. . .


Red Tape

Weyland's Chum, but is it worth it? It can potentially make your ICE very taxing and it's easy to splash this in other decks, but of course, it's taking space in your deck that could be just other pieces of ICE and it doesn't have the net damage benefit like Chum does. It will be a pain on a glacier server no doubt, providing you can draw it for the outside ICE. Maybe worth a single splash, but you don't need more than that.



Consulting Visit

Tricky to assess this one. Tutoring has proven very effective in Netrunner and I still think Mumbad City Hall is one of the most broken cards in the recent meta for how much that can help a specialised deck out. There are certainly plenty of operations to choose from and for Weyland especially, the prospect of having a kill card on command is pretty scary. It does allow for some interesting deck build ideas though where you can afford to have only single copies of cards in your deck that can be shuffled back with Jackson or recurred with Archived Memories. Time will tell.


Vanilla

The jokes coming out for this one are endless and if they even dare bring out Chocolate then it will only get worse. However this is great as a nice piece of really cheap gear check ICE to protect you for the short term while you rush your first couple of agenda's out. It will force a breaker/Parasite install which hurts the Runner's tempo while it only cost you a click to install, hell you might have even gained a refund with Haas Bioroid!


Summary

A couple of gems, but on the whole, not the best pack ever. Some cards I doubt I'll ever consider using and others are only splashes at best. Quite amusing that you get 3 copies of a card that you can only have one of in a deck, but I'd rather have too many than too little. NBN definitely came off better here, Haas Bioroid did fine and the neutrals for the most part are pretty solid, but the Runners will sit back and sulk until the next pack comes out.


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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