Today’s review is a guest review from StimHack forum member Crunchums. As always with set reviews, early card ratings should be seen more of a starting point for analyzing how good any given card is.
If you woke up this morning thinking, “Gee, I wish Crunchums would write a Breaker Bay set review,” then today is your lucky day because you are now reading exactly that!
I rate cards using the following scale:
5 – Great
One of the strongest cards in the game: it’s powerful and always useful. It’s surprising to see a deck that doesn’t play this card in-faction.
Examples: Hedge Fund, Sure Gamble, Jackson Howard, Eli 1.0, Desperado, Diesel
4 – Good
A good card that sees plenty of play. It’s not necessarily the best choice for every deck, but you can put it in your deck and know that it will do something for you.
Examples: Eve Campaign, Stimhack, Emergency Shutdown
3 – Playable
You can’t just throw this card in any deck and expect it to do something for you, but it can be good in the right context.
Examples: Cyberfeeder, Cache, Aesop’s Pawnshop, Retrieval Run, Reclamation Order, Anonymous Tip
2 – Weak
This card isn’t good enough to be worth playing. The decks it fits tightly into are not well suited for competitive play. The stars might align such that it fits into a competitive deck, but even then it’s generally worse than a more straightforwardly good card.
Examples: Patch, Port Anson Grid, LLDS Processor, All-Nighter
1 – Bad
This card sucks.
Examples: Bribery, Hard at Work, Power Tap, Disruptor
On to the cards!
Modded, but for resources! Currently there aren’t any Criminal resources that pair nicely with Career Fair (Mr. Li is a quality card and this is a quantity card, and you don’t want to draw this with The Supplier installed), but it fits in Criminal decks that play Earthrise Hotel and Daily Casts. Andy likes how it helps her avoid having to discard on her first turn. The degree to which it improves Liberated Account makes it a plausible splash for Anarch. Using it to blow out a corp who was playing around a hard-casted Hades Shard would be living the dream.
Runners have better things to spend card slots on than a tag prevention card that doesn’t help with SEA Source, Midseason Replacements, or Account Siphon tags. Dorm Computer gets out shined pretty badly by Crash Space. It’s best shot is if there’s a Criminal Aesop’s Pawnshop deck in a meta thick with mid-run tagging and Enhanced Login Protocol.
If I’m losing a click a turn, I had better be getting something amazing in exchange. Increased maximum hand size doesn’t cut it. If you really want to increase your maximum hand size then play Public Sympathy.
Game Day is significantly worse than Diesel and Quality Time. Even if you are increasing your maximum hand size, the upside of potentially drawing more cards than Quality Time isn’t worth the inconsistency and clunkiness. Power Nap is the only reason Game Day would ever fit into a deck.
There’s a lot of variance to how much Hacktivist Meeting does for you, though it’s rare that it will do nothing. The lower rez cost and the fact that it’s not dependent on the rest of your deck makes it a better counter to corp currents than Scrubbed. Because it’s so matchup dependent, I wouldn’t include this in my initial build for a deck. Instead I would wait until I had a good sense of the deck’s matchups, and then consider whether I want the shifts to those matchups that Hacktivist Meeting would provide. My favorite thing about this card is how you can guess at the contents of HQ based on how the corp plays in response to it.
Until there’s a critical mass of connections that are great on their own (e.g. Street Peddler), needing to activate three times to be better than clicking for draws is too steep a requirement. Doesn’t like tags (which is bad news for Joshua B. and John Masanori), but Fall Guy is a handy option for avoiding blowouts. Not being unique makes it more attractive with Aesop’s Pawnshop.
Extra clicks is a big payoff, but Comet is very clunky compared to Astrolabe. It’s big demands on deck construction put you on the path of building the strongest Comet deck possible in a vacuum rather than building to the demands of the corp meta. The strongest Comet decks will be decent, but the best Astrolabe decks will be better.
Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar
Along the same lines, Hayley won’t surpass Kate. Hayley’s ability is nice (and with SMC or Clone Chip, downright sexy), but relative to Kate’s it’s significantly more awkward to use (both in terms of deck construction and gameplay) without a much higher payoff. Kate’s consistent economic boost (and link) is just better.
The ugly child of Test Run and Personal Workshop. Perma-Femme is sexy (especially against Blue Sun), but London Library’s reusability isn’t worth the additional clunkiness compared to Test Run and Test Run + Scavenge.
Trade-In is an awkward card to use due to the hardware trash requirement. Tyson Observatory exchanges that problem for a heaping dose of clunkiness. Being reusable is unexciting given that the point of hardware tutoring is to support a toolbox. If you really need to tutor for hardware, you’re better off building around Trade-In.
Flexibility is nice, but in a vacuum Study Guide is way too expensive. Do you really want to pay 7 as an upfront cost to break Enigma? Why pay 11 to be able to break Lotus Field when Torch costs 9 (and can be cheated out with Test Run + Scavenge)? “So I can break Wormhole 3 times for 1 less credit” is not a good answer to that question. Study Guide plays nicely with recurring credits, but not as nicely as Refractor. Some Nasir builds could consider it as a replacement for Torch or Gordian Blade.
The ability is cute, but this card is terri-Beale. Research Grant is happiest in a horizontal shell game deck, but HB lacks an identity like Personal Evolution or Argus. In standard decks it’s best use is the deeply unexciting “IA it to threaten 2 points while only having 1 point in the remote”. If you want an effect like that then play Domestic Sleepers.
Like Hostage, Recruiting Trip is best used as a way of saving influence. There’s nothing in the current set of sysops that’s worth searching for, but if we ever get a strong, high influence, non-Jinteki, sysop then Recruiting Trip has a shot.
The effect isn’t powerful enough to be worth protecting, but the combination of needing to be rezzed preemptively to do something, 2-rez 3-trash, and the runner often not caring about it makes Student Loans a bad speed bump. Fits best in Encryption Protocol Gagarin in the same way that Scout (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Scout) works best with Scrying Pool (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Scrying_Pool). Translation for non-Dominion players: Student Loans is a bad card.
The biggest reason to play Blacklist is to stop Clot from being Clone Chip’d, but if the runner isn’t playing Clot then the ubiquity of recursion in Shaper and Anarch means it’s only dead against Criminal. Protecting it can be great against certain runners (e.g. Calimsha Kate, Reg MaxX), but at 0/3 it’s decent as a speed bump as well. I am not looking forward to playing paid ability window chicken with Clone Chip.
Compared with Data Raven, Gutenberg is cheaper and punishes facechecks better, but is less unpleasant to run through (especially against Switchblade). Although R&D is a good server to make taxing, needing to be on R&D against Mimic means it’s a better 2-of than 3-of. Decks like Butcher Shop (http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/16988/butcher-shop-v4-1st-place-uncle-s-games-sc-redmond-wa-) that are focused on out-moneying the runner like Gutenberg more than Data Raven. It’s also best buddies with ChiLo City Grid.
A 2/4 barrier is obviously great and a 2/1 barrier is not that bad. Blue Sun being able to reposition it is nice. Meru Mati will definitely see play, but I don’t think it will replace Ice Wall to the extent that people are expecting. Making HQ more taxing against Corroder is nice, but a lot of the time you are going to be paying an extra credit for nothing. I’m looking forward to landing blind Account Siphons with only a fracter installed.
The subroutine can punish facechecks and is usually a must-break. A 1/6 code is a downright pain in the ass for the runner, but a 1/3 code gate is great too. Being able to laugh at Yog is also nice. Archives isn’t the most important server to protect, but RP and Tennin are always interested in icing it. Like most ice that don’t deter runs on their own, Crick is weakest in the early game. Playing it as a 1-of limits that weakness, but it’s good enough that you should consider playing more.
Turing is not as good against Eater as it looks at a glance. Anti-Eater ice is best placed on HQ or R&D to block access-replacement runs. Turing on a central can reject an Account Siphon or shut off Keyhole, but will quickly fall to Parasite. Eater already needs help with ice on remotes, and although Turing does shut off some of those options (Knight, Spooned) it doesn’t shut off D4v1d. In either case, not being true ETR can be problematic. Unlike Swordsman, Turing can be fine against non-AI breaker suites (on a remote, it’s on par with IQ, Viper, and Viktor 2.0), but needing to be on a remote is a significant drawback. If you’re worried about Eater (though HB usually isn’t) then Turing is a fine 1-of.
Breaker Bay Grid
Eve and Adonis make Breaker Bay Grid an obvious fit for HB, and there’s a lot of icing on that cake (works with Ash, gives you an install credit, upgrades are great for bluffing). It’s super best buddies with Awakening Center (3 credit Janus!), and Eliza’s Toybox would tag along in such a deck. Blue Sun can pair it with The Root to spend 2 clicks for a minimum of 5 credits over two turns. The other most relevant cards are Private Contracts and Will-o’-the-Wisp.
So, what do you think? Agree or disagree with Crunchums, let us know what you think in the forums!