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NOT MANY BREAKERS BAY

The second data pack in the SanSan Cycle hit shelves last week. That means it’s time for me to once again discuss the highlights of this particular addition to the game.

RUNNER CARDS:

Despite what the title of this pack would suggest, not much in the breaker department beyond Study Guide, which, while interesting, doesn’t exactly top my list here for cards of note—esp. as decoders go in the ever-adaptable world of Shapers.  Missed opportunity, FFG!  On the whole, we have a few more interesting edge case cards and odds-and-ends to flesh out a few strategies, but not much to email home about—have fun at your Beach Party, brah! There are a few notable cards, however:

 

hayley

Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar: We welcome a new runner to the nets, and an interesting one at that. Already online I have seen Hayley popping up quite a bit—as new cards are wont to do. Ms. Kaplan’s ability is relatively straightforward: you get some click compression on installing stuff. This means, in a stealth deck, you can plop down a Cloak and a Dagger (or Refractor or Switchblade or…) with a single click, speeding up what can often be click-taxing to assemble.  If you’re playing a resource-heavy build, drop Kati and a Daily Casts with the flick of a cybernetic wrist. And let’s not forget the shenanigans you can pull in-run with cards like Clone Chip, where you muster a rig on-the-go once you have sussed out just what programs are needed to get the job done.  Just remember: you have to still pay the install cost!!!

comet

Comet: This handy console most-assuredly belongs to Hayley (beyond the obvious fact she is on the card art, I mean), as it offers some more click compression for events. Like our new runner, I have seen Comet left and right in action, chaining Dirty Laundry into Sure Gamble, Account Siphons into Emergency Shutdowns, Test Run and Scavenge in pairs for that oh-so-delicious end result.  I have also seen a lot of people jamming this into decks where the synergy is moreover forced than efficient—namely, a matchup against a Ken deck where it felt like this card was actually hurting the ID ability more than it helped it. The cost is relatively high, and importing consoles out of faction can be tricky, but I see some potential here.

career fair

Career Fair: I sometimes catch myself talking about Netrunner around non-cyber-punks, and then objectively realize how silly and mundane most of the cards sound. This card might take the cake in this regard, but nonetheless it is certainly a valuable tool for Criminals playing a fair share of resources—esp. Andromeda, who could benefit from that 9 card opener. Mr. Li for free?! Daily Casts?! Professional Contacts for 2?! Holy rebates, Batman!

CORP CARDS:

Much like with the runner-side of this pack, we have some chaff and some more-than-okay cards to discuss, like…

Breaker Bay Grid

Breaker Bay Grid: Speaking of rebates, wowza!  Fans of glacier-style builds must be making snow angels since the release of this card. I could plug away at the obvious, but instead, I implore you, just check out the text and you too will understand!

ICE Cycle: I am just going to lump all of these cards under a single header, as they are clearly intended to be a cycle of ICE, one for each faction, that gets a bonus dependent upon which server they protect. Oh, and they happen to be named after famous computery sciencey guys most of us have never heard of—I wish Gutenberg was referencing the guy who played Mahoney in The Police Academy movies so baaaaad!

Turing
Turing: This card seems more than okay to me. It is everything Hourglass wishes it was and then some. Flopping an agenda behind this alone once it is rezzed comes with no guarantees.  Good thing Bioroids exist. And False Leads. And…

Crick
Crick: This seems to have been handed down from the Replicating Perfection deities as a gift of sorts. Archives is often where runners go first when trying to burn that click to access remotes against RP to attack their asset econ and, more importantly, try and snatch up agendas. Crick can help get back RP’s best cards, esp. when at 6 strength protecting Archives, making them all the more annoying to navigate.

 

Gutenberg
Gutenberg: Yet another porous tag-em-up ICE from NBN, though this one may be one of the best at what it does. Trace 7 is no slouch, nor is strength 6 when on R&D. For fans of Scorched Earth, Closed Accounts, and the like, here ya go!

 

Meru Mati

Meru Mati: Correction, after trying to Google this name, I did not turn up the individual after which it was named. At the end of the day, who cares when this card is like Ice Wall on ‘roids when protecting HQ. Paying 2 for essentially a Bastion is quite the bargain. Sure, this ice is mostly practical and not really reinforcing strategies like the others, but I rank it as more than decent in Weyland.

That’s it for now. Check out the rest of the pack contents over at http://netrunnerdb.com/en/set/bb. Hope to see you guys at Game Preserve North for league tonight!

For details on all of our events, please see: fm.gamepreservestores.com

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment below!

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AIN’T NO VALLEY HIGH; AIN’T NO VALLEY LOW

About two weeks ago, The Valley was released into retail. But the question remains: did the first data pack of the new cycle shake things up?  Let’s take a look at the new digs of note:

RUNNER CARDS:

CLOT: Where better to start than with what some assume will finally derail the Astro-Train. By Astro-Train, I am referring to Astroscript Pilot Program, which has remained one of the defining agendas in the game since the core set release.

CLOT

Clot is one of two anti-Fast Advance tools out of The Valley—the other being Traffic Jam, which, while a neutral card at no influence, does not offer the same on-demand potential as this little virus. Prior to this data pack we had The Source, which proved a tad lackluster, and Chakana (also a virus), which found its way into a few viable decks.

For two credits (and two influence out of faction), Clot certainly can throw a wrench into a Fast Advance player’s plans by simply waiting for them to install and advance one counter shy of scoring. By using a Clone Chip or Self-Modifying Code, they can then install Clot, which will stop them from scoring out that turn, potentially leaving the agenda prone on the runner’s following turn.

Groupthink would have you believe that this card heralds the end of NBN Fast Advance and HB Biotic Labor, but I think it simply means that these decks will have to adapt to Clot. Anarchs and Shapers especially will be able to utilize Clot, but my prediction is it will be a strain for Criminals to import it and the other required tools, all of which cost substantial influence, to use the card effectively. Only time will tell, but still, Clot remains the card over which everyone is clamoring out of this data pack. In my humble opinion, having two cards that address Fast Advance in a single data pack feels like a bit of an over-correction, but welcome ones at that.

SYMMETRICAL VISAGE: The new card subtype “genetics” also makes its cameo in The Valley, touting a set of four different cards with Gene Conditioning Shoppe as an obvious support option. While cards like Adjusted Chronotype offer some interesting interactions with old standbys like Wyldeside, Symmetrical Visage stands out as a potential deck inclusion of the bunch.

SYMMETRICAL VISAGE

Quite literally, Visage is a baby Professional Contacts, allowing you to gain 1 credits the first time you click to draw. But therein lies the rub: it works only once a turn (without the assistance of something like the aforementioned Chronotype). For factions like Anarch that don’t have as many click compression cards as, say, Shapers, Visage is a zero-influence way to kill two virtual birds with one digital stone. Is this card setting the world on fire? No. But having included a single copy in my own Noise deck, I can attest that it ain’t bad either.

CORP CARDS:

JINTEKI BIOTECH: LIFE IMAGINED: Jinteki gets a couple interesting cards in The Valley, but namely their new ID—or, IDs, rather. Biotech introduces an entirely new mechanic: flipping. You see, the set of three ID cards for Biotech all have different backs. At the beginning of the game, after your opponent reveals their runner, you elect which version of Biotech you will be playing, the front of which is identical. It’s the back of the ID that will grant a single one-shot ability when the corp player spends 3 clicks to “flip” the card, like:

Biotech

The Brewery deals 2 net damage, which could spell a flatline for a runner unfortunate enough to have a hand size of 1 or less.

The Tank shuffles your entire Archives back into R&D, spitting defiantly in the face of Noise and Keyhole-based strategies.

The Greenhouse allows you to place, boost an advanceable ice, what-have-you.

Some are quick to chalk Biotech up as nothing more than a gimmick, with some of these abilities better than others—I’m looking at you, Tank! The fact remains that versatility can and will win games.

CORTEX LOCK: Jinteki gains yet another net damage-doling weapon in Cortex Lock. Undeniably, this card is best in the early game as the runner is building out their rig. At 4 strength, Mimic alone just means you are taking one less damage by way of it using MU. Still, this remains a standout to me as a longtime Jinteki player as a cheap and efficient early game threat.

Cortex Lock

NEXT GOLD: In the last couple weeks, I have faced an alarming amount of Foundry decks. Why? Because of NEXT Gold. Like Cortex Lock, we have another 4 strength sentry capable of dealing net damage, except this one also trashes programs. The main differences here is its dependence on other NEXT ice, as well as being a hefty 8 credits to rez. Bronze and Silver are both more than viable cards, though they have implicit weaknesses to cards like Parasite. Yes, when this card hits, it hits hard, but the jury is still out as to whether or not this was the missing component to push the Foundry a tier higher in viability. After all, we are living in a world where Anarchs are more than on the up-and-up.

NEXT Gold

IN CLOSING:

The Valley offers a more than substantial showing of solid cards beyond those mentioned above. As a player, I am stoked for what this cycle has in store. If you want more info on the contents of this data pack, head over to http://netrunnerdb.com/en/set/val OR just pick it up at a FLGS like the Game Preserve!  Until next time, keep running those nets and hope to see you at our bi-weekly league!

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