True Colours – Don’t Forget the ‘U’

Where are they going with the data pack names in this cycle? Ok, so the chess reference for the first pack makes sense. Second pack is sort of self referential and vaguely time related. Third pack: really time related. Now they’ve thrown in a Cyndi Lauper song? Soon to be followed by a piece of gonzo journalism and finished off with… a rate of pay? Pattern of rhythm? And don’t get me started on the name of the cycle…

Whatever. Nomenclature’s not important (nor is the tension between American English and British English spelling conventions). No matter the title, the 4th data pack in the Spin Cycle brings us fresh cards, just waiting to be broken:

 True Colors

KEYHOLE:

Mike: For those who have read our posts before, it’s no secret that I’m a hardcore Anarch fan. And what a sterling example of the faction. The mechanic, the art; it’s just so thematic.

But enough about flavour. This card’s great. For one successful run, you get to look at three cards and trash one. You’re safe from ambushes and Fetal AI, you can throw the best agenda to Archives to be fetched later and if there’s no agendas, trash that SanSan/Archer/vital combo piece etc.

It’s not all sunshine and dreams though. 2MU hurts (unless, of course, you have a Djinn) and you can’t R&D Lock with it, so Medium/R&D Interface will still have a place. But I’m excited.

Eleanor: Virus-free R&D pressure for Anarchs that protects from Snares, Shocks, TGTBT and Fetal AI. I’m a fan. Outside of Anarchs though… 3 influence is a hell of a lot if Keyhole is just being thrown in.

Tomas: I’m not really feeling this one for anarchs, 2 MU is a lot to ask for when you’re usually trying to virus/caissa up your opponent and a combination of Medium and Imp might just get the job done better outside of the Jinteki matchup. If you’re seeing a lot of the big red corp in your area then this might be the key to beating the matchup

Pat: With a cost of 4 and the 2 MU requirement, this can be seen as the Anarchs’ equivalent to Sneakdoor Beta. Except instead of attacking multiple servers at once, this just adds more pressure to R&D, which corps already know how to ice up anyway. That said, Keyhole really packs a punch, laying far more hurt on R&D than Medium could the turn it’s installed, at the expense of not letting you see what the Corp’s drawing. Plus there’s value in it even when you don’t hit any agendas. I think we’re going to have to watch out for this one.

 

ACTIVIST SUPPORT:

Mike: Meh. Decoy & NACH aside, for a click, a credit and a card, the Corp gets to flatline you or trash Activist Support (and, credits permitting, any other resources). The Corp’s never going to take a Bad Publicity unless it really doesn’t matter to them. Maybe this will get better if we get something like Big Brother but with Bad Publicity. Until then, I’d rather Joshua B (if I absolutely had to have a resource that gives me a tag).

Eleanor: These days most corps are comfortable sitting on 1 bad publicity, so I actually can’t see the benefits of this card. Runners get 1 extra credit per run, whereas corps get three clicks to triple Scorched Earth, or triple PSF, or demolish all of the runner’s resources – including Activist Support!  Waste of a card, click and a credit.

Tomas: I wouldn’t actively support playing this card.

Pat: Okay, Fantasy Flight, we get it – Bad Publicity is supposed to be hard to give out. So I guess this goes in that Raymond Flint/Tallie Perault/Blackmail deck that’s in the pipeline, but even there you need a lot of setup to make this work. Alternatively you just go tag-me and drop this down with your Data Leak Reversals and Joshua B to force the Corp to trash it all.

 

LAWYER UP:

Mike: Love the flavour. Obviously this is Account Siphon’s best friend. Otherwise, how often are you going to have 2 tags and 2 clicks unless you’re floating tags? And if you’re floating tags, who cares?

Eleanor: Account Siphon just became even more deadly. In 3 clicks, the runner is sitting at +8 credits, +3 cards and zero tags with the corp wondering what happened. It’s also good against Data Raven until you have a chance to Femme it. However, Lawyer Up tends to fall short against Midseason; Networking or Crash Space work much better against that.

Tomas: Lawyer up, tags down. I don’t like it outside of decks aiming to recur Account Syphon or pull off some kind of DLR shenanigans. Even then, calling in the legals doesn’t exactly help you achieve your goal, just saves you some cheese and gets you some cards. Still, this should see some play.

Pat: Even with only 1 tag, this card is equivalent to shedding the tag then playing a Diesel, and last time I checked Criminals were big into Diesel, especially the kind that doesn’t cost them any influence. Mostly I’m excited to see if this leads to a few less runners just floating tags and actually playing resources again.

 

LEVERAGE:

Mike: More meh. Perhaps useful for disarming traps (I’d rather the upcoming Singularity) or doing a massive dig (I’d rather Deus X). Plus it needs a successful run on HQ. Great thematically, rubbish for the card.

Eleanor: Sure it protects against net damage as well, but if you’re doing a massive dig and planning on winning the game, chances are the corp will just take the Bad Pub. Every corp now has ways of getting rid of BP so it’s not THAT much of a punishment.

Tomas: Another metagame decision. Most runners make room for Plascretes but if Jinteki rustles your jimmies those spots could just as easily be Leverages.

Pat: As Mike said, I think the only real use for this will be to semi-safely check out remotes or go R&D-digging. But playing this card means you only have two clicks to do all that, and it doesn’t protect you if the Corp already has their killing blow lined up. So I think you’re going to have to get pretty inventive to make use of Leverage.

 

GARROTE:

Mike: Corroder and Gordian Blade finally have a counterpart, but at a hefty price: 2MU and 7 credit install. Not sure it’s worth it outside of super efficient Big Rig Decks. Though it is relatively safe from Power Shutdown.

Eleanor: In pretty much every way Garrotte is expensive – install, MU and influence. But it does mean that as long as you have about 8 credits you can face check any sentry and live to tell the tale.

Let’s take a look:

Archer: 8
Caduceus: 3
Shadow: 2
Data Raven: 3
Hunter: 3
Flare: 5
Neural Katana: 2

For that cost, though, I’d probably still go Femme Fatale for the bypass ability.

Tomas: There’s a place for this card but I don’t know where it is. Unfortunately the two extra credits you pay for Femme go a long way to getting past the troublesome ICE that you’d want garrotte for (Archer, mostly) and the saved MU is often going towards a datasucker these days. Mike’s probably right here and it will find it’s way into some Big Rig decks.

Pat: If your rig is all about efficiency then look no further: Garrote is all you need! And that’s the real strength of this card – it’s not just that it’s the most efficient way to break pretty much every sentry you’ll come across, it’s that you don’t need to combo it with Datasucker or Ninja for insurance the way you do with Mimic. Just install it and you’re ready to go. I’m not saying that makes it the best sentry-protection on the market, but it at least deserves a look.

 

LLDS PROCESSOR:

Mike: With three out, you get a mental breaker for one turn. Then you have a mental breakdown when you remember the numerous other more effective cards that you don’t have because you included 3 x LLDS Processor.

Eleanor: Or you could just install The Personal Touch and gain +1 strength for the rest of the game. I agree with Mike, there are just so many other cards you could use the space for – don’t be tempted by the low install and influence cost.

Tomas: Probably not there right now, but if we see some more clone chip/faerie type cards it could play a bigger role. For now personal touch or cyberfeeder are probably better.

Pat: My heart is telling me that the possibility of having 3 of these and getting a strength 6 Mimic for one turn is hilarious. Honestly most decks should just ignore this for now, but very soon I feel like we’re going to see people do amazing things with this card (especially with Replicator out).

 

SHARPSHOOTER:

Mike: Essentially a more limited Faerie (though, come on, who uses Faerie on anything other than a Destroyer?) that’s significantly cheaper in influence but can’t be saved by Sacrificial Construct. The influence saving alone makes it great for non-criminals if deck space is tight, otherwise I’d go Faerie every time.

Eleanor: Breaks Archer with 2 credits. Holy wow. If you happen to be running Crescentus this is crippling, especially considering how popular it is right now. Sharpshooter can also be used against Rototurret, both Ichis, Grim, Swarm, Swordsman, and Burke Bugs. Useless against Tracers though so Faerie is still better overall, but if you don’t have the influence go for it!

Sharpshooter

Tomas: Archer giving it to your shaper? Take a note from western colonists and bring a gun to the bow fight! An influence free silver bullet to take Self-Modifying Code out similar to the role Deus X plays.

Pat: Yep, more people should be talking about this card. While Criminals can probably just stick with Faerie, Anarchs and Shapers should really be running this to save influence – not just for a surprise Archer or Grim rez, but if you’re having problems with Corporate Troubleshooter in your meta, this right here is your answer.

 

CAPSTONE:

Mike: To make this worthwhile, you need to a) not be using Professional Contacts and b) have at least 2 (preferably 3 or more) cards in hand that are already installed, otherwise you’d be better off just clicking though your deck as normal. I prefer cards like Quality Time, Wyldside or Professional Contacts to get through redundant or unnecessary cards. Or faceplanting into a Neural Katana.

Eleanor: It goes without saying that this would be best in a deck with maximum copies of each card . If that’s not happening, then that’s pretty much already a deal-breaker. Furthermore, it’s not worth it unless there are at least 3 copies of an installed card in your hand. Also, what if you want back-ups? I guess this could work in a Replicator deck? But I can’t really see it getting much use.

Tomas: If you’ve read/watched my previous content, you know how much I dig Replicator. Capstone slots into that deck quite nicely and paves the way for future non-console unique hardware. Allows you to discard extra unique economy assets and breakers (that you don’t need) to help dig into what you do need. Fantastic!

Back in the real world there will be decks that use this, but most wont. Dare to dream…

Pat: This slots nicely into a Replicator deck? Well, I guess if you have two of them out… and 3 copies of all your hardware… but don’t want to install more than 1 of each… then sometimes Capstone saves you a click? Maybe there’s some synergy with future cards – say, as defence against a certain Chronos Protocol ID – but for now I’m just not feeling it.

 

STARLIGHT CRUSADE FUNDING:

Mike: Just beats out LLDS Processor for worst card of the pack. Might be workable if we get at least two of a) a truck load more double events b) such double events complementing each other very well and c) double events with additional costs beyond a click. For now, best left to the Scientologists that I assume inspired the card.

Eleanor: There is nowhere near enough double events to make Starlight Crusade Funding even close to workable and until then no way am I giving up a click.

Tomas: Will we ever see a critical mass of double events? I have faith.

Pat: Consarn it, Tomas, I never get to do the puns! But yeah, Starlight Crusade Funding. I’ll have to reserve judgement until Double Time comes out, but for now, well, let’s just say as a Corp I’d be happy to see this hit the table.

 

REX CAMPAIGN:

Mike: Pretty good for asset based economy decks. Really only two turns before it activates and, at worst, if you have no bad publicity at the time, it’s a trashable Hedge Fund.

Eleanor: Great for Bad Publicity decks, good trash cost, and fantastic with Interns. I especially like that it’s adaptive – rezzing it gives absolutely no indication to the runner whether you have illicit ice or not because you could just use it for the economy.

Tomas: In the past it feels like most decks that accumulated Bad Publicity would do their best to ignore it (Tag’n’bag, Jinteki PE) or stifle the downside (big ice/inefficient to run on servers). Rex combines with Veterans program this pack to open up deck building opportunities where you can have your cake and eat it too. Grim, Fenris and Rex (or as I will call them, the Baha Men) compliment each other quite well. Will you let the dogs out?

Pat: That’s the question, isn’t it – if you’re taking bad publicity anyway, is it better to deal with it or just let it build up to save you time and resources? Rex Campaign lets you belay that decision until you’re halfway through a game already, giving you the option of just cashing in for credits instead, and I think that versatility is what makes this card worth a shot in any deck packing illicit ice.

 

FENRIS:

Mike: Finally, a piece of ice which makes facechecking a somewhat riskier proposition. I think it’s quite balanced too: it’s deadliest in the early game and that’s when the bad publicity hurts the most, plus you can’t rez two in the opening turn without an economy operation (or being GRNDL). Probably most useful in making flatlines easier: two landed Fenris means a double Scorched Earth will get through a Plascrete.

Eleanor: If your intention is to flatline the runner, then it is hard to look past this card. HB brain damage, Weyland Tag’n’bag, or any Jinteki deck would be happy with this card.

Tomas: Can definitely see this popping up in various Jinteki builds. Two strength and a bad pub is not going to pain the runner in the long haul so unless you’re shedding the bad pub, you better make use of that brain damage. Woof woof, pow pow.

Pat: Oh yeah, runners are definitely going to have to be more cautious about early facechecking now. Of course, against Jinteki it’s already pretty standard to get your sentry breaker out first thing because of Neural Katana, but for the other factions Fenris really helps out a flatline strategy. Looking forward to seeing this in action.

 

PANIC BUTTON:

Mike: Hmm, I don’t see this as being as great as most other people seem to think it is. Sure, if you’ve got the cash you can draw like crazy and potentially dilute Agendas in hand or get closer to combo pieces. But it relies on the Runner making a run on HQ: if the Runner’s only viable option is running on HQ they’re probably not in the best position anyway.

Eleanor: This comes across to me very much as a preventative/protective type strategy – kind of like Plascrete is for the Runner. I prefer more active cards for the corp – ones that force the Runner to adapt instead of the other way around. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough card draw then use Jackson Howard instead – same influence but 1 extra trash cost.

I can almost see it in a fast advance HB deck instead of Jackson for getting to those Biotic Labours just that much quicker – but is it really worth it? With the chance of just drawing more agendas into your hand and losing them (and at the cost of 1 credit)? Probably not.

Tomas: Refresh your hand when they come at you with a syphon, but is that really any good? Cards aren’t too valuable for the corp and drawing too many is often a liability. Perhaps it’s the enabler for a potential combo (looking at you, Accelerated Diagnostics) but for now I wouldn’t panic.

Pat: Let me just start out by saying that this is some of the best flavour text I’ve seen on a Netrunner card. So how good is the rest of it? It lets you convert credits directly into card draw, which is a potentially powerful effect, so it depends entirely on whether anyone devises a combo that can make use of that. All I know is it’ll probably go in a deck with heavy transaction economy, to quickly turn those cards into even more credits.

 

SHOCK!:

Mike: Free to activate, doesn’t need to be installed and has a trash cost. Fantastic. Jinteki players everywhere rejoice. Other factions will need to think carefully about whether they have the room for the influence. Perhaps a meta call depending on how many Runners in your area are routinely hitting archives for Datasucker/Dirty Laundry/general Archives shenanigans purposes.

Eleanor: Don’t be so quick to Keyhole agendas into Archives now! Finally all servers have potentially dangerous access – but at quite a high influence cost as you would probably want all 3 if you’re going for it. Jinteki players must be rejoicing – unlike Snare!, Shock! is free!

Tomas: YOU WA SHOCK! This might push Jin to the next level as it gives the boys in red another zone to play from. Be scared when you run on archives after a big Jackson draw, you might already be dead.

Pat: It hurts to devote precious deck space to another card only there to mess with the Runner, but at least it hurts the Runner more. By now it’s conceivable that every single card in a Jinteki deck can cause net damage, making the decision of what to cut to make room for Shock! pretty difficult, but I’m happy to see a card finally punishing repeated Archives runs. This is a great addition to Jinteki’s spiky toolbox of death.

 

TSURUGI:

Mike: Expensive and low strength (so it really doesn’t like Parasite) for essentially a more flexible Neural Katana. But it’s seriously taxing at 4 subroutines and doesn’t come with a bad publicity. I think Replicating Perfection might like this one. Go Neural if you’re trying to really slow the Runner down early game; Tsurugi if you’re trying to tax the Runner over the long game, as Neural’s largely useless once the Killer is out.

Eleanor: If Tsurugi gets out early game before the breaker then you’ve got a Snare! costing 7 credits. That’s pretty steep. If it’s on R&D make sure you can still pay for a real Snare! Once they have the breaker out they still have to pay 4 credits every time, which is going to be excellently draining in the mid to long game, especially on a central against Replicating Perfection. Can’t see this happening outside of Jinteki though.

Tomas: If you’re trying to play a fair game, this might not make the cut with all the quality sentries out there. However, if you’re planning to shred some hands and take some names then sharpen your pencil and rez a Tsurugi.

Pat: As Mike said, the vulnerability to Parasite is the biggest problem with Tsurugi, but if we ignore that, it comes out looking pretty strong – Jinteki needs a few more costly-to-break pieces of ice to tax the Runner’s economy, which Tsurugi does admirably. This is some solid ice right here – just be careful rezzing it around a virus-happy Anarch.

 

TGTBT:

Mike: Like Snare!, a great way to land an unexpected tag and this one even works in Archives. Runners will often run Archives on their last click or otherwise hit a server on their third. If there’s a Data Raven or Bernice Mai or similar to get through as well, they can’t get rid of both. Compliments NBN Tag Storm and could find its way into NBN Tag’n’Bag if they can find the room.

Eleanor: You almost want the runner to steal this one – chuck it on the table as bait for Midseason, Jackson it back into R&D, keep it Archives – it’s great anywhere! Making News is so strong right now.

Tomas: Agree with Mike on this one. Pretty clean cut, will win you some random games off R&D and plays well with Jackson.

Pat: With this and Breaking News in-faction, there’s just no good option against NBN, is there? Tagged if you run, tagged if you don’t, TGTBT is going to prove a nasty surprise for a lot of runners out there. I like it, I’m just not sure what to cut to make room for an agenda that gives you nothing if scored.

 

Sweeps Week:

Mike: Surely in the running for best card of the pack, along with Keyhole. NBN gets its burst economy, and what economy it is. Runners like to keep their hands full, with all the Snares and Scorched Earth floating about. Most of the time, you’ll get the net effect of a Hedge Fund without the threshold of 5 credits. Sure, sometimes it’ll be an expensive Beanstalk (if it’s any worse you just wouldn’t play it). But sometimes, it’ll be Turn 1 against Andromeda and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Eleanor: As I said – Making News is so hot right now. Oh MAN that first turn against Andie – brutal. Very much needed burst for NBN but the runner does need to have at least 4 cards for it to be effective. Against Tag’N’Bag NBN though you can’t really lose…

Tomas: Fantastic card. Gives NBN a shot in the arm on the economy front. For the influence Beanstalk is less restrictive so it might not show up in the other corps.

Pat: There’s not much I can say about Sweeps Week that hasn’t been said already, except that it beats Panic Button for best flavour text of the data pack. This is going in all my NBN decks from now on, no question. Outstanding card.

 

RSVP:

Mike: For 3 credits, you get a Code Gate which is annoying to break (e.g. costs Yog.0 a Datasucker, Gordian Blade 3 credits) or otherwise protects your SanSan, stops you from bidding on traces and makes ice unbreakable with a decent proportion of breakers. Great.

Eleanor: Slam this baby in front of… well… any other piece of ice basically. Archer, Data Raven, Shadow, Neural Katana, the choice is yours. Protect your assets! And if they can break it, well you haven’t lost much and it will wear them down. This Runner isn’t going to have much of a ball.

Tomas: Now that is a piece of ice. Low cost, high strength, strong effect and sweet art. A strong one or two-off that’s ultimately going to tax the runner significantly over time. More reason to bust out the torch to burn this invite.

Pat: In front of any other ice this is a cheap way to reinforce any server, while also being able to single-handedly protect valuable upgrades (like SanSan) or econ assets. And as Eleanor suggests, it can also serve a similar role to Chum, luring Runners into waiting sentries they now have no hope of breaking. Hilarious!

 

CURTAIN WALL:

Mike: Hadrian’s Wall hardly sees play. I don’t see this one getting much either. Novel mechanic though.

Eleanor: The effect is awesome but the strength seems overkill and the rez cost is horrible. Also, Weyland already has a super high strength barrier.

Tomas: For 14 credits Curtain Wall is hardly the curtain call it needs to be.

Pat: Phew, I’m glad they finally released a card to make Inside Job worth playing – poor Criminals just weren’t getting enough love. Seriously though, if I’m paying 14 credits for a big wall I’d rather it be the kind of wall that could kill the Runner, not mildly inconvenience them while they get out their Emergency Shutdown. More good flavour text, though.

 

PUNITIVE COUNTERSTRIKE:

Mike: Moar meat damage. Seems more useful as a slowing mechanic or to try and ablate Plascretes in a Scorched Earth deck, but nonetheless a reasonable card. Could also be included in the Accelerated Diagnostics/Power Shutdown decks to give an alternate winning combo if they’re sitting there with a Decoy or NACH.

Eleanor: Yet another way for Weyland to flat-line the Runner. Score an Atlas with 2 counters then bait the Runner with a Cleaners. The Runner no longer has to be tagged to be flat-lined if you have a strong credit advantage.

Tomas: A tough one to evaluate. Lets you potentially shave some Plascrete counters to open up a scorched combo. Gets better with higher point agendas in the deck, but will give you less opportunities to dome the Runner. To the point where if the Runner snatches 5+ agenda points the card is next to dead. You can play smaller agendas to give yourself more opportunities, but then your strikes will be smaller. All of this makes Punitive Counterstrike a little counter-intuitive.

Pat: Sure, as a backup in Weyland Tag & Bag this can blow through Plascretes for you, but did anybody notice the 2 influence cost? The best thing about Punitive Counterstrike is its portability into other factions, meaning even the mostly-harmless folks over at Haas-Bioroid can start dishing out meat damage with the best of ‘em. I love it!

 

VETERANS PROGRAM:

Mike: Fairly cheap and moderately easy way for any faction to get rid of 2 bad publicity. I’m not super excited though: I think in most cases I think I’d prefer other agendas unless my deck really has to take bad publicity but really doesn’t like doing it.

Eleanor: I think right now I prefer Elizabeth Mills/Interns to get rid of Bad Publicity because there are better agendas out there. However, it is more efficient against lots of bad publicity, which may crop up with cards like Leverage, Frame Job (and dare I say it Activist Support). It’s not that it’s bad, just there are better cards to play right now.

Tomas: As I mentioned before, this might open up some interesting deck building choices. Unfortunately Gila Hands is one of the best agendas in the game right now so unless you’re getting some serious value off the old guys, better leave them at the RSL.

Pat: There’s only so much room for 3/1 agendas in a deck, and there are better options for filling those slots. That said, it is currently the only neutral option for removing bad publicity, so while Veterans Program isn’t a great card, I think it is a necessary one.

 

The Watch List:

Mike:

  1. Sweeps Week

  2. Keyhole

  3. Shock

  4. RSVP

  5. TGTBT

I for one welcome our new NBN overlords.

Eleanor:

  1. Punitive Counterstrike

  2. Keyhole

  3. RSVP

  4. Sweeps Week

  5. Lawyer Up

Tomas:

  1. Shock

  2. RSVP

  3. Sweeps Week

  4. Fenris

  5. Capstone

A much needed corp heavy pack!

Pat:

  1. Sweeps Week

  2. Fenris

  3. Sharpshooter

  4. Shock!

  5. Lawyer Up

 

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