Android Netrunner - 23 Seconds

Well if you're were only just reeling from the impact that the Mumbad cycle had on the Netrunner meta, wait till you get a load of the new Flashpoint cycle (interesting name, perhaps they're as excited as I am for Flash Season 3)? No deluxe box, just straight into another cycle of cards. Opening up with the cool premise that Titan bank servers went down for 23 seconds, which in real time is nothing, but in cyberspace it's a colossal amount of time for everything within those servers to be opened up for Runners. In the midst of all the chaos, the Corp is stepping up their game.

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.




System Outage

There is potential for this card to have a good impact, but it's going to be dependant on the Corp's draw engine as to how much money is drained from it. If the Corp has multiple ways of drawing cards on their turn, they'll be out of money in no time, but if they are surviving on the mandatory draw, then it won't have any effect at all. Focusing its use in Anarch decks that denies of the Corp of something be it cards or ICE or money will be key to getting the most out of it. It's not seeing a lot of use currently though, we'll wait and see how this develops, but thematically it's pitch perfect.


Null: Whistleblower

At first I was like "meh, that doesn't seem very good", but others clearly knew his potential earlier than I did. He's proving to be very popular with his mini-Faust ability of reducing the ICE strength in reach of your fixed strength breakers - you know all the ones you abandoned ages ago from the Core set? Decks using him are returning to a time of Netrunner when you actually had to be a hacker going into servers, and not some other weird janky stuff. He also combos well with Parasite and Prey for an alternative means of trashing ICE.



GPI Net Tap

God forbid Criminal might get a nice card this cycle. Well it's not this one. An expensive piece of hardware that takes up deck space just to let you jack out from exposing a piece of ICE. Most ICE isn't going to hurt you dramatically and chances are as Criminal you're running with a sentry breaker to protect you from the really damaging cards. It's just not going to see play.


Hernando Cortez

I want to like this card, but I'm not sure. In practice if the Corp has over ten credits regularly then they usually have credits pouring out of their ears in which case they can deal with the tax that this guy generates. And some really nasty ICE will only have 1-2 sub-routines on them which won't make a big dent. Of course this vs an Archer for example will be horrible for the Corp so it does have merits. However as someone pointed out, don't expect this to work against Komaniu because the sub's don't appear until you encounter it - the wording is important. I don't think on its own it can do enough but combine it with other cards that make rezzing ICE problematic could be cool. I'd like to see Reina from the Anarch's make use of this guy in combination with her in-built ability and Xanadu and work well.


Mirror

Oooh, could we be seeing a return to stealth decks here? Recurring a single normal credit is nice economy but not worthy of a console. Recurring a stealth credit though is far more valuable. Though of course recurring a credit is only of use if you're going to make at least two runs in a single turn so you need to have a plentiful economy and plenty of breakers to get the most out of it. It's definitely a staple though if you're heading down that route unlike. . .


Dai V

. . . this stealth breaker. Now it's not bad, but I think players are going to struggle to see it take off compared to the other stealth breakers and Ghost Runner. Finding two stealth credits is a big deal, you'll burn through Ghost Runners in no time. And you'll still have to find plenty of normal credits to boost it's low strength up after having spent 6 credits installing the thing already. Now against Komaniu, happy days, but I can only see this reliably breaking low strength sentries with multiple subs. The other ways of getting stealth credits just seem a little more efficient, but with some future support, it could be worth adding in.


Another Day, Another Paycheck

Now there's a big plus, but also a big con with this card. On the good side, in the late game this can be one hell of a credit swing especially if both players are sitting on about 4-5 agenda points each. If you've got the link in high numbers, which as Sunny you had better, then it's even more lucrative as the Corp will have to work hard to beat the trace to make it not worth your while to boost it yourself. However here's the problem. Sunny's weakness isn't the late game it's the early game. She becomes a juggernaut by the end-game and has so much drip econ from Underworld Contacts and Data Folding that she doesn't need a giant in-rush of credits. It essentially makes this a win-more card. And with a high influence cost, no other faction is going to run this card. Personally I'm more gutted this wasn't an Apex or Adam card (albeit with a different effect) as they're the Mini-Runners who need the most love right now.


Deuces Wild

A world champion card, but a nice versatile one. It's not going to be game-changing in its effect, but the flexibility of choosing two out of four effects depending on your ID and board state can't be underestimated. If you're able to play events cheaper like with a Voicepad or something, then it's essentially an Easy Mark splashed into other decks with an additional effect. Like I said, it's not ground-breaking, but it's a decent card particularly for the Mini-Runners who don't have many economy cards available.


Injection Attack

If you like run events, then this is worth checking out, whether it's using Ken's money ability or just getting click efficiency. But it's also technically a credit saving as well compared to spending two credits to get +2 strength normally. However that's not where you should be using this. This is an Anarch card pure and simple - the reason being fixed breakers. The ones you can't boost. Suddenly that Yog can break a Tollbooth. Mimic can take down the majority of sentries it will come across. Combine it with Null and you've got a 4 strength swing in a piece of ICE.


Fairchild 1.0

Ooooh I like this. Now I'm no expert on Bioroids having failed to create a decent deck that uses them, but one of my biggest beefs was how expensive they were sometimes for something that the Runner can simply click through. However at only one credit, this is dirt cheap and functions like an improved Pup that has a horrible side effect if they are poor. Of course don't expect this to trash installed cards regularly, but using clicks is always less efficient than paying credits so either way it's a taxing ICE for the Runner. An auto-include if you're running a lot of Bioroids.


Sherlock 2.0

Did anyone ever use Sherlock 1.0? I don't think so. And here we have the older brother who is much more costly than the Fairchild for rezzing. But it's got some unique tweaks to the standard norm for HB. Firstly it doesn't trash programs, it adds them to the bottom of the stack, which counters all the heap recursion that the Runner has access to. Secondly it gives the opponent a tag just like that. No trace or anything, just "here's a tag, deal with it". No other HB ICE in the history of Netrunner has done that to my knowledge, or certainly not any that anyone bothers to use. The problem is, HB doesn't have any tag punishment and it's too expensive to splash to NBN so it seems a bit of a waste. It's also very click-intensive as you won't be able to break all the sub-routines in a single turn without an icebreaker handy. It may see some use in a dedicated Bioroid deck, but it's up against some stiff competition.


Hyyoubu Research Facility

This effectively removes the personal tax on the first Psi game each turn and when combined with Nisei Division, makes them actually earn you money. I do wish it wasn't unique though, I don't think it would be too bonkers if you had multiple out, but hey ho. This now forces the Runner to spend more money to get past Psi games as you've no incentive to hold zero credits in your hand when you're going to get it back anyway. Of course you can use this to your advantage by tricking the Runner into thinking that. It's a good boost for Psi ICE, but even so, we're still a long way from Psi Ice decks being a thing.


Chrysalis

Trash-able ICE, what on earth? But rather than think of this as a weird piece of ICE, think of it more as an upgraded Shock. The Runner technically encounters it so they can break it, but of course that's more tax on the Runner. If they can't, then 2 net damage is nothing to sniff at even though it's getting trashed the first time they see it. . . . that is unless you're playing Industrial Geonomics, then it becomes a nasty card to see coming out of R&D.



Georgia Emelyov

I'm not sold on her. But others disagree. She can be annoying when you consider that she can leap to another server mid-run especially when combined with a Nisei ETR token, but it's only one net damage. It's unlikely to cause any flatlines. That being said she is very cheap to rez so she can be a nice surprise to spring up, but I don't see her deterring the Runner that much. Perhaps I'm missing something.


Watchdog

As fun as it can be to have cheap ICE to rez, having it be dependant on the Runner floating tags is a bit much to ask. Also NBN is not a faction that should be running a glacier deck so I don't know how much use this will see. It's expensive to trash and in the right deck could see some good Corp economy, but I feel this would be better suited in a different faction. Consider also the fact that no-one on Netrunnerdb.com has made a deck using this card. . .


Hard Hitting News

Oh my word, this is going the extra mile. Not happy with only giving one tag, how about four? This is getting stuck in every NBN deck there is and it is a serious pain for the Runner to deal with. Yes the Corp has to wait until Click 3 to use it properly, but it's still telling the Runner to spend their next turn and 8 credits to clear all the tags otherwise risk being Scorched. And if they float them and you don't kill them, I'm sure you've got plenty of economy destroying cards to make their lives miserable. Powerful is an understatement.


NBN: Controlling the Message

Is it me or has NBN had a massive rush of identities lately. I mean we didn't long ago have the other one which I swear has had zero buzz since it came out. Can we not give Haas Bioroid something to use, seriously when was the last time they got a new identity and even then does anyone use HB for anything other than their original Core set identity these days? I digress though, this is a very powerful identity. Forcing a trace on every asset trash puts a severe tax on the Runner and keeps your remotes safer than ever before. If they can't get rid of that tag, they're inviting all sorts of hurt the next turn. So many decks in tournaments and casual are using this identity, but as I said before, NBN is done now, they're back in the good books, can we now re-visit HB and make them more interesting?


Crisis Management

Very underwhelming this card. Remember it's a 3/1 agenda which isn't something you see very often in Weyland, because let's face it, you have Hostile Takeover as a 2/1 which is far more popular. The most often used 3/1 is Firmware Updates and even then that only ever gets seen in a Titan/Mark Yale deck and when was the last time you saw one of them flying around? Now consider that the opponent must be tagged and it's only one meat damage on your turn. It's just not worth including this agenda over the bountiful staples that Weyland already have. Without further support, this is a binder card.


Stock Buy-Back

I guess Weyland got the short straw along with Criminal in this pack. Unless you have a deck that's packing a ton of 3/1's you're only going to earn so much out of this card. Weyland is also not the faction that should be running a ton of cheap agendas, that's more NBN Harpsichord territory, but with two influence, at best you'll get two copies in that deck when they already have good economy from elsewhere. Not likely to see much play.


Sandburg

Finally we get a card that says "welcome back glacier decks". HB in particular was glad to see this, but even Jinteki is experimenting a little with this and Weyland can turn Tour Guides and other annoying ICE into pure sickness with the amount of money they generate. For rich Corporations it basically makes even their cheap ICE a pain to deal with. However given that it's such a powerful effect, you need to keep it protected as the Runner will always be better off to trash this rather than let it stay on the board and keep running. Which is why a lot of decks using this are packing some kind of protection or more often asset recursion.


Summary

A promising opening, but not the best one I've seen for a cycle. Certainly NBN and Anarch are very happy people today and even Shaper and Haas Bioroid got some love as well. Still very disappointed with the lack of nice cards for Criminal, it's like they are being left behind, which is a shame as they are my favourite faction to play as. The new NBN cards are going to be ones you're going to have to deal with on a regular basis in tournament play so you best have some tagging defense in place. It's nice to see a couple of cards attempt to veer us away from the asset spam decks lately, but it's a long way off yet even with the changes to the Most Wanted list recently.

0 comments: