You might see that post title and think that I am going to say Professional Contacts is better than Opus because it’s a resource, and doesnt cost 2MU, or something like that. But thats not the main reason. (Being a resource vs a 2MU program is a tradeoff with pros and cons).
Initially my thoughts on Professional Contacts were something like:
While being a resource instead of a program sounded like a thing with both drawbacks and benefits depending on the meta, this seemed like a moderate card at best, because with the level of economy cards we now have access to, Opus is a moderate card at best.
But the reason Professional Contacts is inherently better, is because it provides more value per click than Opus!
To explain why in very brief terms, consider the scenario where you need money and cards:
Professional Contacts takes 2 clicks and gives you $2 + 2 Cards.
Magnum Opus takes 2 clicks and gives you $2 + 1 Card.
Now, in reality, that Magnum Opus deck should be playing Diesel and Quality Time, and it’s draws aren’t all going to happen for 1 click each. Over the course drawing 1/3 of our deck (15 cards), we are going to play about 1 Diesel and 1 Quality Time. This leaves 7 remaining cards to draw via clicks.
The NET result of this is:
9 Clicks + $3 = 13 cards.
It is 9 clicks because it’s 7 click-draws, and 1 click each to play Diesel and Quality Time. It costs $3 for Quality Time. We gain a NET 13 cards, because we lost two playing the Diesel and Quality Time. Given that we are an Opus deck, we can convert the $3 cost into another 1.5 clicks, and get:
10.5 Clicks = 13 Cards.
This simplifies to:
Our real comparison now becomes:
Professional Contacts: 2 Clicks = $2 + 2 Cards.
Magnum Opus: 2 Clicks = $2 + 1.24 Cards.
For the Opus deck, it spend 1 click getting money, and 1 click drawing, where the ‘draw’ action is now an averaging of clicking for 1 card, and playing the Diesels and Quality Times in our deck. Our Professional Contacts deck doesn’t gain by playing Diesel or Quality Time. So now we see a more realistic comparison between the two, but the Profesisonal Contacts still wins by .76 card per two clicks!
For the Magnum Opus deck, we know that a Click is valued at about $2. We now find out that a Card is valued at about $1.61 ($2/1.24). Basically, we lose about $1.61 worth of opportunity cost per card we get, instead of spending that time getting credits with Opus. (It’s not $2 a card because we have ways of getting more than 1 card per click. But if you didn’t play either Diesel or Quality Time in your deck, a card would be worth $2 to you).
For the Opus deck, a Card is “costing” us an opportunity cost of 1.61 per Card. Is the card worth it? Often it is, at least while still building our rig.
For the Professional Contacts deck, we get to spend a Click to get $1 and a Card. That means that we are spending a click to get $1, and get something that our Magnum Opus deck was willing to spend $1.61 on! If we are looking at the ‘value’ returned from this click, it is something like $2.61! The Opus deck on the other hand, still just gets $2 per economy click. Even if we lower the value of a card to $1.5, or even lower, we are still getting more value per click from the Professional Contacts than from the Opus. Lowering the value of a card to $1, where they break even, would be unrealistic for most scenarios.
This all shows us that the payout per click of using Professional Contacts is actually MUCH greater than Opus. How would you feel about Opus if it said: “2 clicks: Gain $5”? Yeah, I would feel WAY better about that Improved Opus than the real one. Professional Contacts is actually similar to that Improved Opus!
Professional Contacts helps support something like a ‘Click = $2.5′ economy, not just a ‘Click = $2′ economy. The difference is massive!
Now, there are complications with this comparison. Cards don’t actually convert directly into $1.61 or any other value. Some of them can convert at rates that are potentially higher than that, like Sure Gamble, Daily Casts, etc. Other cards can’t convert for money at all, and require money in order to do anything besides get thrown into the discard. So we cannot just infinitely use our new, super-Opus called Professional Contacts to generate crazy money. We need to have MANY cards in our deck that convert from cards to credits at a good rate. And they need to not be click intensive, because When a click is massively valuable (a Click spent in a Pro Contacts deck is $1 and a card, and the card is valuable), then something like Armitage Codebusting actually is a terrible way to convert cards to money.
So we need to fill our Professional Contacts deck with LOTS of low-click ways to convert cards to money.
Here are some ways:
Sure Gamble: 1 Card + 1 Click = $4. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is two $2.5 clicks.
Daily Casts: 1 Card + 1 Click = $5. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is two $3 clicks, delayed.
Easy mark: 1 Card + 1 Click = $3. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is two $2 clicks.
Infiltration: 1 Card + 1 Click = $2. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is two $1.5 clicks, but we could also get the benefit of infiltrating and have gained $1.
Modded: 1 Card = $3. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is one $4 click, but requires something to install.
Dirty Laundry: 1 Card = $3. The net result of drawing and playing this with Pro Contacts is one $4 click +1 if Desperado, but requires us to make a USEFUL run with it, and be successful. If blown into archives, it’s just an Easy Mark.
Stimhack: 2 Cards + 1 Click + Reduced Handsize = $9. The net result of drawing and playing this and another card with Pro Contacts is $11 for three clicks, but a permanent -1 handsize. The money is in-run only, but might be laundered with Workshop/Clone Chip/Self-Modifying Code. If we do this twice and also draw and play a Public Sympathy, the net result is $23 for 8 clicks. The money must be laundered, and we might lose the Public Sympathy if we get tagged.
Ideally, you could fulfill ALL your economy needs by using Professional Contacts, and playing low click money cards like those above. This would provide the best average Credit per Click ratio.
However, you might also need to add more click intensive credit sources like Kati Jones in order to generate the amount of RAW credits that you need. This will drag down the average. Magnum Opus strategies don’t have this issue, their use is unlimited.
This analysis leads us to the following principles about Professional Contacts:
- The raw potential of Professional Contacts is very high. Significantly higher per click value than Opus!
- Professional Contacts biggest weakness is it’s inability to generate large amounts of raw credits, on it’s own.
- Professional Contacts needs to be paired with plenty of low-Click money generating cards, such as Sure Gamble, Daily Casts, Modded, Personal Workshop, Sahasrara, etc. When Professional Contacts is combined with these cards, it yields very high Credit per Click ratios. Otherwise, it will not provide good economy, and your hand will clog with cards. If you are simply drawing and getting $1, but then discarding the card, that’s not strong.
- Professional Contacts decks should aim to play lots of cheap cards that are still effective, because this minimizes required credit spending, and helps empty your hand cheaply to allow more use of Professional Contacts.
- Kate is an excellent identity to pair with Professional Contacts, because she reduces the cost of those low cost cards further, reduced total required.
- Net click value generated is significantly higher, because in reality, one card tends to be worth more than $1! (Way more important than all other factors).
- Doesn’t cost 2MU. (This is actually a very big deal. It either saves significant time, money, and/or deck space, or it allows you to do a lot more).
- Not vulnerable to program trashing effects. You can run with it safely vs. Rototurret, Ichi, etc.
- VERY strong against non-lethal damage. If you run into a Fetal with Opus, and don’t die, you then spend three clicks recovering the cards. If you run into it with Pro Contacts, after drawing back up you are at +$3 compared to the Opus!
- In a Professional Contacts deck, any drawn duplicate card was still a $1 click. In an Opus deck it’s generally just dead.
- Vulnerable to tags. Cannot be played with Tag-Me decks, can be weak to NBN, things like Shadows, etc.
- Cannot be tutored for like Opus can.
- Cost cannot be reduced with Modded, Workshop, Kate, etc.
- Cannot infinitely generate money. Must be balanced with playing cards from your hand, or else it loses most of it’s value.
I have become increasingly displeased with Magnum Opus decks, because they cost 2MU and up to $5 (or more if tutored), for the result of helping you achieve a $2 a click ratio. However, runner decks can often achieve a ratio of close to $2 a click anyway, with things like Kati Jones and lots of burst economy cards, without spending the money and MU on Opus.
Professional Contacts, on the other hand, achieves a Click to Credit ratio that is actually significantly above $2! Realistically, it is more like $2.5 a click, valuing cards at $1.5. This is the ratio you would achieve in a deck with Professional Contacts and lots of Sure Gambles. While your deck can’t contain that many Sure Gambles, it can actually contain some cards that are MORE efficient per click: Daily Casts, Modded, etc, and these drag up the average.
Decks that use Professional Contacts:
A strong runner economy with Professional Contacts looks like this:
- Professional Contacts exists to drive up Credit per Click average.
- Kati Jones or similar cards exist to provide sufficient bulk, sustained Credits.
- Low-click burst economy cards (Sure Gamble/Daily Casts) or economy over time cards (Workshop/Underworld Contacts/Sahasrara) help convert cards into credits efficiently.
- The Deck contains plenty of low cost cards, to facilitate handflow.
- The Professional Contacts deck attempts to minimize overall credits required over the course of the game. (It has trouble paying to kill corp assets repeatedly, that might not trouble an Opus deck).
The “Perfect” strategy for Professional Contacts:
Incorporating these principles into a deck, we see that the Kate deck I discussed a couple days ago,
- It has lots of burst economy, including Modded.
- It plays lots of low cost cards like Datasucker, Parasite, Clone Chip, Mem Chip, Sahasrara, etc, and few expensive cards.
- Rather than aiming to complete a big rig and then stop drawing, it aims for a moderate rig, followed by continuing to recur cheap effects that hinder the corp and try to keep runs cheap, such as killing or derezzing ice (Parasite/Crescentus). Because it wants to continue doing this, it has no problem just drawing and drawing through the whole deck, which Professional Contacts supports (realistically almost all games would end before the deck ran out).
- It uses Imp to destroy Assets and Upgrades, helping to minimize total credits required during the game.
Now that we have analyzed Professional Contacts more, what changes might we want to make to our Professional Kate deck?
- We might want to include even more burst economy. Possibly Dirty Laundry, or even Infiltration, as a dual purpose card. Maybe we feel that we don’t need the ‘backup’ Magnum Opus, and we just want an economy card or another Kati Jones instead?
- We see that things like Parasite and Crescentus are very strong, and we might want to find ways to have more of them.
Professional Contacts, in the correct deck, is a stronger per-click engine than Magnum Opus. While it requires more building-around, cannot be tutored for, and opens you up to tag-vulnerability, it is a significantly better card than Magnum Opus simply because its value-per-click ratio is higher.
Is Professional Contacts ALWAYS better than Opus? No, of course not. Full hand and nothing to play? Its worse. Got tagged? Its worse.
But if you build a deck around Professional Contacts, to handle its limitations and take advantage of its benefit, then it is quite simply a better card in that deck, than Magnum Opus is in a deck revolving around Magnum Opus.