View from the Hedge: The Valley Review

Welcome to “View from the Hedge”, a continuation of the set review series. Unlike previous set reviews, there will be no numerical values assigned and we will take a look at the practical application of some of the stand-outs from The Valley. We will also discuss any impactful cards to the Meta and some deck lists that feature some of the new cards.

This pack seems to have cards that run the gamut of strength. It has a number of well rounded and good cards with only a couple “duds”. This pack also dives right in to one of the new themes from this cycle: genetics. Let’s take a look at things from the runner’s point of view first.

ClotANR 2: The Age of Clot-tron

I have a specific policy when it comes to spoilers: if they haven’t been seen in print they don’t exist. This skepticism carried on with Clot and all of the hype that has now grown to massive proportions. Now that clot is here and is very real, all of that discussion can be put to the test. This is the first anti-fast advance tool that has gained any traction with the community and with good reason. The Source was too influence heavy and had to be played preemptively, and Chakana has only recently resurfaced to take part in one of the most combo heavy decks of all time. Clot responds to the problems with the two other cards by not requiring to be played prior the agenda being exposed and not requiring anywhere close to the set-up as Chakana. Clone chip and Self Modifying Code allow this card to be played when the corp goes to score, forcing the corp to expend valuable resources and leave an agenda on the table.

Paige PiperAnarchs have another great card in this pack with Paige Piper. In this writer’s opinion Anarch’s biggest problem is consistency, which applies to either specific programs or unique combo pieces. This card works in perfectly to ensure that you can weed out multiples and draw only the cards you’re in need of. Contemporary non-can-o-whoop-ass Noise decks can use this to clear out superfluous Aesops, Wyldside, and Grimoire, just to name a few. The list goes on as long as you want, but what is clear is that running 3-of unique/important cards comes at less of a price now that you’ve got Piper in your corner.

One of the decks that have surfaced here at recently is what I’m calling “Control Reina”. This deck utilizes ICE shutdown and taxing effects to control the pacing and overall effectiveness of the corp player. This deck has further proven the viability of a control/disruption style Anarch build. Below, I have reviewed the deck and updated it with the 2 new cards listed above which should increase the control over faster corporations and give the runner better draw efficiency by removing duplicates.

ReinaEfficiency Clot-tron Control
Reina Roja (45 Cards)

Events: 8
Sure Gamble x 3
Vamp x2
Lucky Find x3 (6)

Hardware: 5
Clone Chip x3 (6)
Vigil x2

Resources: 14
Earthrise Hotel x2
Daily Casts x3
Kati Jones x2
Paige Piper x3
Xanadu x2
Scrubber x2

Program: 18
Eater x3
Knight x1
Keyhole x2
Parasite x3
Lamprey x3
Crescentus x3 (3)
D4v1d x1
Clot x2

With the addition of Paige Piper, this deck has the opportunity to trash around 10 cards. This deck relies on constant pressure and can truly benefit from the value of drawing only useful cards. Clot adds another level of control for corporations that are able to stabilize financially and fast advance out. The downside is that clot is going to put additional strain on the clone chips that are really working overtime. The truth of clot is that by simply existing it is going to encourage a shift in the corp meta. There may be a time when clot can be removed, but for now it can act as a coffin nail for the once tough NEH matches.

Corps, they are a changin’.

With clot comes some important decisions for anyone considering a fast advance strategy. How viable will fast advance continue to be when such a strong silver bullet is in place? I’ve already heard theories on both sides of this argument, and I’m still not sure which I agree with. What I can say for sure is that some people will be scared off of fast advance and choose to go with other strategies. This shift may take place immediately or over the next few weeks. Regardless of the time frame, the corp meta is changing.

Predictive AlgorithmWhat better way for the change to be presented than with the new current Predictive Algorithm? This current brings new light to NBN strategies that aren’t fully dependent on fast advancing and Astroscript. What’s more is that this current only costs 1 influence which means it slots into a lot of existing decks pretty easily. Pair this with a scored Utopia Fragment and stealing an agenda reaches extreme levels of ridiculousness. This card slightly increases the viability of 5/3 agendas by making them just a little harder to steal.

Many moons ago, before the release of Near Earth Hub, I was championing a borderline glacier style NBN Making News. This deck used mid-range ICE and some tricks (namely RSVP and ASH/Red Herrings) to score points from behind ICE. It is my belief that this style of deck will start to become more common as a way to bridge the gap between fast advance and glacier to rush past opponents who aren’t running clot and to stay competitive against opponents who are. Throw in Predictive Algorithm and baby, we got a stew going!

Fuck this card

How do you build a scoring server? I forgot.


Scoring Astro Behind ICE? Preposterous.
Near Earth Hub (49 Cards)

Agendas: 10
AstroScript Pilot Program x3
Project Beale x3
NAPD Contract x3
Character Assassination x1

Assets 8
Jackson Howard x3
Daily Business Show x2
PAD Campaign x3

Upgrades 6
Ash 2X3ZB9CY x2 (4)
SanSan City Grid x2
Red Herrings x2

Operations 8
Hedge Fund x3
Sweeps Week x3
Predictive Algorithm x2

ICE 17
Galahad x3 (3)
Wall of Static x1

Merlin x3 (3)
Tollbooth x2

Lancelot x3 (3)
Architect x2 (4)

Excalibur x1

The deck above is meant to create a scoring server while continuing to do the great things Near Earth Hub allows. SanSan City Grid allows for rush scoring in the absence of clot, and between the ICE, the upgrades and Protective Algorithm the runner will have to spend piles of cash to score and they will have a very hard time closing any scoring windows. With this build, don’t be afraid to treat Beale like a 3 point agenda. Scoring it early or to close out the game as a 3 pointer leaves very little wiggle room for your opponent. The Agendas can be adjusted to your personal preferences, but I like character assassination for the Kati Jones that the runner has been pumping to deal with all the tax.

No longer slaves to our genetic heritage.

Adjusted ChronotypeWith this new pack come a few cards under the new theme of “Genetics”. While these seem combo oriented and somewhat cumbersome, the effects range from good to great and can lead to some amazing combinations. My favorite is the 2 card, 6 cost combo of Wyldside and Adjusted Chronotype. Recently, there has been excitement for Earthrise Hotel because it provides clickless draw. The downsides of Earthrise are the cost and the limited number of uses. The downside of Wyldside and Adjusted Chronotype is that you would basically need to play a full playset to ensure you’re not spending a click to draw 2 the entire game. Scrap the idea, it’ll never work…

WAIT! We have just the card for this situation… PAIGE PIPER! The same card that allowed for consistency in Reina can make the Chonotype + Wyldside combo more manageable. I think we have a combo Anarch too…





Very Virus Valencia
Valencia, The Angel of Cayambe (50 Cards)
Events 17
Blackmail x3
Sure Gamble x3
I’ve Had Worse x3
Déjà Vu x3
Day Job x2
Lucky Find x3 (6)

Hardware 6
Grimoire x3
Clone Chip x3 (6)

Programs 15
Darwin x1
Djinn x3
Progenitor x3
Hive Mind x1
Medium x3
Incubator x1
Imp x1
Nerve Agent x1
Self-modifying Code x1 (3)

Resources 12
Same Old Thing x3
Paige Piper x3
Adjusted Chronotype x3
Wyldside x3

This deck is my take on Valencia that has been discussed as a 1-turn win. The goal would be set up for a massive, 3 medium deep dig with the help of incubator, Hive Mind and Clone Chip. Using Paige Piper allows for setting up the ridiculously powered Chronotype/Wyldside combo and forcing the extra copies into the heap. Paige Piper also allows for multiple mediums to enter the trash when you install one, which means you can bank clicks in the clone chips until you’re ready to unleash the 3x Medium fury. The economy is all event based to better suit the consistent drawing and Day Job is super sexy when you can potentially draw it prior to your first click.

This deck, unlike the ones above, has not been tested. I would definitely like to hear your feedback if you get a chance to play it. The thought of a 15+ medium dig where ICE cannot be rezzed sounds too good. This deck does eat it hard to Cyberdex Virus Suite and decently hard against anyone clearing bad publicity. That notwithstanding, I believe there is potential in this strategy.

Symmetrical VisageAnother Genetics card to look out for is Symmetrical Visage. Touted by some as the Professional Contacts killer, Symmetrical Visage is definitely worth considering for a number of decks. I would say with confidence that I average 1 draw per turn in most games as runner. At a cost of 2 Symmetrical Visage will fit nicely into decks that are using clicks for draw power and will pay off the initial costs quickly. This card will probably slot into Criminal decks easily, with an appearance in Anarch decks. At a cost of 0 influence it is a hard card to pass up and the benefit is pretty straight forward.






The Next NEXT Installment Goes Gold.


Those of you who have the (dis)pleasure of playing with me know my love of NEXT ICE. Even when there was just 1 NEXT available, I was playing it like a chump. What’s not to like about bronze and silver? These two ICE transition seamlessly from an early game binary ICE into a taxing mid to late game ICE just by rezzing them. Sure, they suffer to parasite but they are so cheap that it’s almost ok when one gets taken out. Plus, Interns exists to place that NEXT right back in their face when they kill it.

NEXT Gold is an obvious departure from the original two NEXT ICE, with a whopping 8 cost. This is the first NEXT that doesn’t gain something that results in additional tax when other next are rezzed. Instead the NEXT Gold increases the quantities of damage and program destruction based on the amount of NEXT already rezzed. This means that with careful planning, you can stuff a potential kill or program board-wipe into an unwary runner. The biggest down side, aside from its cost, is that NEXT Gold carries both the AP and the Destroyer subtype, which means Shapers will almost never get caught by its subroutines. Ultimately, NEXT Gold amounts to another potentially game ending sentry that the runner has to respect. With HB moving toward Brain Damage, NEXT Gold may be the thing runners have to look out for.

Brain-Taping Warehouse

Haas Bioroid got another card in this pack that is worth considering with Brain-taping Warehouse. I envision this card bringing Stronger Together into focus, as you now have beefy bioroids everywhere that are often inexpensive to rez. This continues the trend of making assets difficult to trash with a cost of 4. The cost of 1 to rez is especially nice, meaning you will be able to recoup your investment with a couple rezzed bioroids. I would expect this card to reduce the cost of bioroids by 1 or 2 consistently, because runners want to click through potentially hazardous, unrezzed ICE. And again: at 4 cost to trash and only 1 to rez how many runners will have the time and money to deal with this repeatedly?



Flip Mode Squad (Or: The FFG Dev Team Plays The Innistrad Block)

Jinteki Biotech

Flipping cards bothers me; I don’t know why. I like my cards to have backs and flipping feels like a gimmick. That being said there are some interesting things that the new ID “Jinteki Biotech” brings to the table. The most important part of this gimmick is that you choose the effect you want before taking your first turn, so you’re not able to make split second decisions. This means that the ID you’re playing is going to be decided mostly before the game during deck building. The two flip-sides to build to would be The Greenhouse (flip to advance x4) and The Brewery (flip to do 2 net damage). I can see the final flip side, The Tank (flip to shuffle Archives into R&D), being used primarily in Noise match ups.

I’ve Had Worse has really put a damper on kill based strategies, hardest hit of which are those using net damage for the kill. So, for Anarch matches I would suggest against doing the “2 Net Damage” flip, as a good Anarch will hold back at least 1 IHW for a potential Ronin kill. My approach to this ID would be a shell game style, with the potential to set up a server and actually score points.


Jinteki Biotech (49)

Agendas 11
The Future Perfect x3
Nisei MK II x2
Philotic Entanglement x1
Gila Hands Arcology x2
False Lead x2
Chronos Project x1

Assets 14
Jackson Howard x3 (3)
Cerebral Overwriter x2 (4)
Snare x3
Psychic Field x2
Ronin x3
Project Junebug x1

Events 11
Mushin No Shin x3
Hedge Fund x3
Biotic Labor x1 (4)
Diversified Portfolio x2
Neural EMP x2

ICE 13
Ashigaru x1
Eli 1.0 x2 (2)

Yagura x3
Lotus Field x1

Cortex Lock x2
Pup x3
Archer x1 (2)

This deck is very similar to a lot of PE decks out there with a little more ICE in the mix. The biggest difference is that the flip has a potential to end the game as opposed to the slow withering that PE manages. If you choose to use the advancement side, an unadvanced Ronin and a biotic can be set up with a False Lead in a lot of situations. If you choose the damage flip, a fully advanced Ronin and a flip or a well timed False Lead can lead to a flatline. What you lose in the constant pecking you gain in a burst to close out a game when the time is right. Using a shell game strategy will (hopefully) allow for scoring a Gila and/or a False Lead and you can put pressure on them to be careful for the remainder of the game. Some considerations that didn’t make the cut were Chairman Hiro (shout-out to the Industrial Genomics deck that brought Hiro back) and Cerebral Casts.

That’s all for this installment of “View from the Hedge”. Additional shout-out goes to the corp card Tech Startup. I’m sure a lot of people immediately dismiss Tech Startup, and rightfully so. I think there is a great synergy with 1-of assets like Eliza’s Toybox or Melange Mining Corp because it installs the card so you can use it on your turn. Blue Sun could probably really take advantage of Tech Startup + Eliza’s Toybox combo; I’ll look forward to seeing your interpretation on the message boards!

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