Android Netrunner - Escalation

It's been a while since the last one, but the meta has gone nuts with some of the new cards released. And that trend is not going to stop any time soon as this pack has some belters as well. Let's get stuck in!
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.



Obelus
In the right deck, this can be quite powerful, especially if you go Tag-Me as your increased hand size resists the auto-kill cards out there. However say goodbye to your resources if you're going down this path. NBN will love you for this though as not only will all of their tag punishment cards work for life, but Sweeps Week becomes the best card in the game. 4 credits isn't cheap for Anarch and they tend to want more than just one extra memory unit from a console. It's very niche and not as generally great as some of the older Anarch consoles, but it can be made to work nicely.
Black Orchestra
Credit for credit, it's not that great and with the new HB heap killer we'll get on to later, it's more of a risk than ever to have this in the discard pile. At best it's a back-up Anarch code gate breaker if you want to save the influence. Not to say you can't use it with decks that are fine with trashing everything, just remember that counters exist and you're taking a big risk.
Omar Keung: Conspiracy Theorist
A built in Sneakdoor Beta - are you kidding me? That can be exceptionally powerful to have built in to your identity considering how intensive the costs are for the Criminal equivalent. It's only once per turn, but that should be enough trigger what you need. All those cards that require runs on multiple servers or successful runs on specific centrals just got a whole lot better with this guy. ICE destruction is particularly nice as they have to spread their defences thin now. The only limitation which personally I don't have an issue with but of course, those who hate anything that's not Tier 1 will, is the 12 influence cap, which given that Anarch like to borrow a lot of key Criminal cards (Temujin and Siphon anyone?) does restrict his deck building slightly.


Peregrine
I said it before, I'll say it again, these breakers are just too expensive for what they do. Your economy has to be flawless to be able to afford these reliably and that's even with the Criminal Runner they were designed for. This is a path I'm not venturing down.
Houdini
It's a decent code gate stealth breaker although it can be argued that Refractor is marginally more efficient in some cases. It really depends on what code gates you expect to see, but this is a solid one against DNA Tracker coming later. It should be noted that the upcoming Smoke identity is not the only cool candidate for this card, but also Kit from the old days as well as she'll see more code gates than anyone.
Net Murcur
For stealth decks this is a crazy-good Econ card. With the new Shaper Smoke identity coming out in the next pack, you can tell this was custom made for her. But besides funding itself and having the option of drawing cards as well, it's just mad that you can use the credits for anything! Traces, installs, breaking ICE, the list goes on. It won't generate buckets of credits at once, but it's one of the best source of drip income I've seen in a long while, even though it's geared for Stealth. Those decks were already pretty good, expect a huge resurgence soon. Find The Truth
I'm going to admit, Adam is one of my least used Runners so my experience with him is limited, but the first obvious benefit is that now you can pick which 3 directives you want to use before the game starts, thus removing the one directive that's an auto-lose against the Corp you're playing. However most good Netrunner players already have a fair idea of what to expect in your deck so the downside is not as horrible as it first seems, of course if it's a casual game then it's more revealing. But information digging is handy when you don't want to spend all your time making runs and this can save you a few wasted clicks and credits.
First Responders
A neat way to survive against damage, but 2 credits per card is going to drain your resources quickly. Also it's only going to help if you are still alive after the damage, which is fine for net damage, but against Weyland's Scorched Earth or their new giant cannon later in this pack, you're likely already dead before you can use it. It's a panic button for the Runner, but I think prevention beats recovery. Fairchild 3.0
We seem to have an influx of great code gates lately. The other Fairchild's were great ICE, this one is also pretty good as well. Yes it's triple click-able, but that's still a heavy tax on the Runner and if you've got an Enhanced Login Protocol active, unless they ran first click they have to break it properly. When the next data pack comes out with the cool new HB identity, it would be interesting to see how a deck with three copies of all the Fairchild Bioroids functions.
Ark Lockdown
Any deck that likes trashing opponents cards is using this right now. It may be an influence cost, but it's relatively low and it's targeted removal. All those Paperclips running around, now you can snipe it out of the heap. If a Levy Access hits the heap for any reason, you can stop the Runner from retrieving it. And with a particular identity in this pack, it can be particularly devastating. Deck space is probably the only limitation so when you use it, make sure it counts!
Hellion Beta Test
There are still a lot of targets for non-program cards and HB doesn't usually have much of an economy problem so this is definitely an improvement over the Alpha version from eons ago. The only thing to bare in mind is that it requires the Runner to access the card first. There's a few popular options that the Runner has that trash cards without accessing them - hello Political Operative.

Project Kusanagi
At first I was very underwhelmed. Whoo, a 2/0 agenda that requires over-advancing just to get another sub-routine. And it's certainly not great. . . unless you use it with one particular identity, that being the original PE Jinteki core set one that deals damage for scored/stolen agendas. Your opponent gets zero points, but takes a damage? That's pretty sweet. Failing that you can score it yourself to dish out a damage and have a surprise handy for a Runner who gets his maths wrong. Not bad, but very specific as to its use.
DNA Tracker
Is there a deck in the meta from the Corp that doesn't use this code gate? It's pricey to rez especially in Jinteki, but every faction is packing this one and for good reason. A facecheck against this ICE is super painful with a loss of 3 cards and 6 credits. Even if you know it's coming, it forces you to break it and even with the best of code gate breakers it's pretty taxing. If you can be certain your economy is solid, this ICE on a central is just so good.
Jinteki: Potential Unleashed
Hee hee, I like this identity a lot. Not because I think it's super powerful. I think it's OK, because milling a Runner doesn't actually kill them, but when it comes to disruption this is such a pain in the neck for a Runner. Losing key cards when you're not packing much recursion can shut your deck down instantly, Criminals hate this with a passion for that reason. Now what do you do with those cards in the Heap, well remember Ark Lockdown earlier? Grind a key breaker out of their deck, then Ark it out of play = Sad Runner. I enjoy using this one a lot, it's not Tier 1 at all, but it's fun!
Alexa Belsky
Essentially a "get out of jail free" card if you are agenda flooded, but again deck space is an issue with this one. You're at most going to include one of her in a deck and if you are willing to shuffle your hand in your deck, chances are you're just giving away that you have agendas in your hand. Now of course you could use it as a big bluffing technique to get the Runner to pay money for no reason, but then didn't you want those non-agenda cards in your hand? And once it's all done, you have no cards in your hand, so how good is your drawing? Not that good in my opinion.

Observe and Destroy
This just seems like a win-more card. If the Runner is already tagged and low on credits, chances are you are already punishing them with other better cards. Also this is pointless against resources as you can simply just trash them normally when they are tagged. Not bad per say, but with tight deck space, I can't see it getting a lot of use.

Service Outage
It's not bad, but the tax doesn't usually amount to that much over the course of a game and most Runners doing a ton of runs will have a lot of money to hand. One cool use I found was in an NBN Sparks deck. You're already draining credits and then adding this for cheap could be really taxing on top. Now you already have Predictive Algorithm which taxes two credits for an agenda steal, which is arguably better, so pick and choose one and run with it.
BOOM!
Oh my word, welcome to one of the biggest Meta-changing cards ever. 7 Meat damage is insane and a dedicated kill deck has many ways to get multiple tags on a Runner. NBN use Breaking News and Weyland have Zealous Judge, both are effective and easy means of tagging. Consulting Visit is now becoming semi-broken featuring in a ton of decks where you can simply tutor Boom out of your deck! And unless you have the specific defense in your deck against damage, you're likely to get killed in one hit. An awesome card, but I think this might be going a bit far.

Door to Door
Not a fan here. Firstly the trace is pretty low and most Runners by default can handle it. And it doesn't seem worth boosting up with credits just for 1 meat damage and that's only if they are tagged anyway. Too much for too little I feel.

Scarcity of Resources Oh I like this current. There's a ton of resource heavy decks in all factions and now for a cheap cost we get to severely affect the tempo of those decks. If they don't use many resources it will still have some effect and if nothing else it can cancel out one of their annoying currents as a bonus. But suddenly Temujin Contract, Daily Casts, Earthrise Hotel and other popular resources just got a lot more costly.
Summary The meta is really undergoing a big change and if you're not able to keep up with these packs you're going to get left behind. This is always the ongoing problem with Netrunner and other competitive LCG's. This pack has kicked the meta into place with key cards that are shaking up the scene considerably and you need to have the defences against them. Is Netrunner going too far with game-changers especially for new players? Let's hear your thoughts!


0 comments: