Council of the Crest Community Review and Meta Predictions (Runner)

The Stimhack Council convenes to throw their predictions into the circle for the Runner half of Council of the Crest. You can read them all at once if you want to pay a credit each time…

eXer


Joseki

I expect eXer will see a lot of play. It is a solid compliment to the Sacrificial Construct + Clot rig setup that most Shapers have been employing since the rotation, and fetchable during a run with Self Modifying Code. In Anarch, I could see playing a suite of these if there was some on-install incentive (an ability like Noise), or some way to generally cash in on having another virus. As it stands, these kinds of virus-centric decks will likely cause purges to be happening anyway so playing something like this over Indexing feels less appealing, since it will be hard to get long-term value out of it.

miek

My first impressions of this card were based on comparing it to R&D Interface. This card is obviously worse than R&D interface, however the truth is that the game has significantly changed since R&D Interface was in the game. I think putting 2-3 eXer in your deck and also using Sacrificial Construct in a low-virus deck might be a strong play. RegAss Anarch can use Mining Accident and Omar to make repeated value runs and just a single copy of this (and The Turning Wheel) gives them a lot of extra value out of doing this. While I don’t think eXer is a great card, I do expect it to see some play.

TheBigBoy

4/10. This thing is ok but I like The Turning Wheel a lot better. The card certainly does things and is worth trying, I just don’t think it will make the cut. If Cyberdex Virus Suite ever comes back even a little bit this becomes total garbage which makes me a bit weary. I almost gave this a 3 but I was feeling nice I guess.

  

Friday Chip


Joseki

At two to install, Friday Chip needs to deliver on a big promise of fueling Anarch virus engines in order to see play. These virus counters are used well with cards like Freedom Khumalo: Crypto Anarchist, and help to fuel that engine, but there are less outright game-winning pay-offs like the formerly ubiquitous Medium. Assuming a large and ready supply of virus counters, the new Anarch Icebreakers such as Yusuf are an enticing way to make use of this card. We’ll have to see if Friday Chip works out to be necessary for these engines, as it is overlapping with cards like Virus Breeding Grounds, who generate virus counters unconditionally.

miek

I think everyone saw the Imp combo here, and it is a pretty powerful engine. However I’m sceptical of how much play it will actually see. For starters, Friday Chip + Imp is still as vulnerable to purge as Imp always is, meaning you need to manage a regular trash somehow to refuel the Friday Chip combo. To see them both in time to be useful, you’re probably looking at at least 2 Imp and 2 Friday Chip, and now you’ve dedicated 4 of your precious slots to a trashing strategy that doesn’t directly win games on its own. People will definitely play this card for the fun of the combo, and it’s not even terrible, but typically trashing cards from centrals is an overvalued strategy and this suffers from that.

Grog

The Imp combo seems strong, and a two card combo is pretty easy to accomplish. Imp doesn’t win you the game, though it is quite aggravating. Conveniently this lets you drop Film Critic from Anarch decks so you can play Rumor Mill (if you’d like).

SimonMoon

The big combo being talked about with this card is Imp, and I think that combo is not good. First off, Friday Chip doesn’t do anything on its own in this situation, which means you need to find Imp first (though you can compensate by only running 1 or 2 Friday chips). Secondly, if you run Friday Chips + Imp, your big payoff is being able to trash one thing per turn. However against Asset Spam installing an Imp and a Friday chip ends up being pretty much equivalent to two Scrubbers. Four credits can trash almost every asset, scales with bad publicity better, is resistant to purging, and IG is extremely far from being relevant. Against non-asset spam decks, you are fairly vulnerable to having your combo broken by purge as they aren’t playing as many trashables and do not install them naked. There are other uses for Friday Chip but I think people have rightly focused on Imp as its the most powerful Virus counter effect in the game at the moment. Ultimately I don’t think the Imp Friday combo is better than Scrubbers as it is more slot intensive, draw-order-restrictive, and vulnerable to disruption.

TheBigBoy

3/10 I hate combo pieces. This requires more work than it gives in benefit I think. Obviously things can change if some nuts virus comes out to put the counters on, but I think such a card will never happen because of Virus Breeding Ground already being such an easy way to get counters.

  

Crypt


Joseki

This card is extremely good, especially considering the new Anarch virus ice breakers. One of the tremendous downsides of playing non-conspiracy breakers is speed, due to Anarchs having a difficulty tutoring their icebreakers. Crypt, when paired with cards like Data Sucker, Dirty Laundry, Security Testing, Alice Merchant, etc. opens up a lot of deckbuilding space, and may be powerful enough to really solidify a new Anarch archetype or playstyle. Never underestimate the raw power and consistency of tutoring!

miek

Gotta disagree with Joseki here. This card feels really bad to me. This is a one-time use djinn that requires building up the power for and doesn’t give you any MU options. We all know how much play Djinn actually saw and this is much much worse.

TheBigBoy

3/10 I don’t even get the virus for free? This is asking a lot and not giving me a lot. 0 cost is the only thing keeping this rating above 2/10.

Saan

This card looks really slow, but does combo with things like Friday Chip and Incubator, which can speed it up significantly. The main downside for me is there are a limited amount of viruses right now that I think are worth tutoring, and all of the Virus breakers aren’t out yet, so it’s hard to evaluate how good this could be once they all exist. I’m going to be cowardly and reserve final judgement on this until the rest of the set is out, but as it stands with the cards up until now, I’m not impressed.

tvaduva

People are rightly comparing this to the now rotated Djinn. But what are the differences? It costs two less, it’s a resource that doesn’t require memory (and doesn’t provide any either), it’s one-time use, it needs three virus counters instead of a credit (along with the click), and it installs it (instead of just putting it in the Runner’s grip). If you’re running an empty archives anyway for value, say for your new fangled virus breakers, then you may want to consider if you want this card. Anarch haven’t been the faction for tutors, but now they get back a way to tutor for viruses. With all these new viruses coming out, this effect might be something they now want.

  

Corporate “Grant”


Joseki

This is an aggressively costed, and potentially very abusable current. Most credit denial effects tend to have harsher conditions than “install a card.” Paired with the upcoming Diversion of Funds, Clone Chip, or other instant-speed installation during the Corp turn, it can be possible to lock the Corp credit pool down in a prison-like fashion for multiple turns. If the Corp can’t clear this current, it could quickly turn into -2 credits for the Corp each round for the rest of the game. Have fun clicking for one credit!

miek

Very powerful current. Definitely the best Criminal has compared to Unscheduled Maintenance. This slots super well into Geist decks, but I think it’s a damn shame that this promotes a “netinstaller” type approach to Criminal when their past glory was so heavy on the RUN part of Netrunner.

Grog

I’m pretty sure Joseki and Miek are right– this seems powerful and could enable a rapid denial deck. That Zamba-GPI deck is slow, but if you can buy several turns of econ denial with this then you might have a stew goin’. Or just Geist+Street Peddler. Either way it is a very strong effect.

SimonMoon

I’m going to use this space to go on a quick rant. Currents are a terrible mechanic. First off and most egregiously, they’re incredibly snowbally and swingy when both people are playing Currents. In the situation where both people have impactful currents, if you respond to your opponents current you generally immediately go way ahead, as you’ve played an impactful current while also destroying their usage of it. This means generally the right behavior is to hold your currents if you think you are ahead or even, and only if you think you are way behind do you play a current and hope they don’t have it. If you’re behind and you play it and it gets countered, you then are massively behind (aka the currents snowballed). This was most prevalent in the old Moons meta where the game was often won on sticking a Hacktivist or an ELP (or in IG with Strike vs. Cerebral Static). This doesn’t even go into the swinginess of the fact in order to have a good EV for a card that can be single accessed away you need to have busted levels of value for the rest of the time.

This card is maybe good but definitely stupid. In a deck (like Geist) were you want to install 1x thing a turn this seems like a slam dunk (especially since you are vulnerable to scarcity) and now we get to have a game based around who draws more currents since if either side sticks it they’re way ahead. Currents should really not have been a mechanic both sides had access to, as Current wars have been some of the worst Netrunner that has ever existed.

Inactivist

I’d also like to use this space to address an important issue – scare quote creep. Every time I see the quotes on “Grant” it’s like a middle-aged uncle at Christmas dinner elbowing me in the ribs to ensure that I got the joke. Whoever wrote a letter to FFG complaining that Noise didn’t seem Hard At Work at all, this is on you. If we can’t prove ourselves to be trusted with subtext, we’ll soon be seeing title errata for The “Cleaners” and “Urban Renewal”. We get the joke Uncle Tony it just wasn’t funny.

Playable Crim current, though.

TheBigBoy

7/10. This is tough because Criminal is SO BAD which makes it hard to measure this card. I do think it’s a very good card though. If there were a Runner card that cost one and made the Corp lose four it would be good. That’s pretty realistic with this card and sometimes you can get them for a lot more. It does suck a lot if you draw it with half or more of your stuff already installed, which keeps it out of the top ratings. Bonus points if you double dip by installing cards on the Corp’s turn or use Chameleons…

tvaduva

Currents are a fine mechanic if designed well and want to give players another vector to effect their opponent’s board state. This current does encourage two playstyles that a lot of newer players don’t like very much: credit denial and net-installer.

  

No One Home


Joseki

I feel like it’s unlikely you’re taking bulk tags/meat damage with a large credit lead, but, it can shield you from a fat trace once, which is pretty reasonable. Oftentimes corps will play Hard Hitting News/Sea Source/etc simply to drain the Runner credit pool, and this helps to defend against those tactics. Can’t imagine slotting this over alternatives, but it could be part of a particular strategy that needs shielding against this kind of Corp play. That said, On the Lamb seems to do an overall better job here.

miek

As a specific tech against HHN its good, and unlike other HHN tech (paper tripping, misdirection) it also does work against Sea Source too. I doubt this is really amazing enough to actually see much play, but in its little niche it serves a decent role if needed.

SimonMoon

This card is pretty comparable to On the Lam and I think is better. Making the Corp have to double your credits to land a HHN is pretty good and it costs less to install than On the Lam and doesn’t require another resource. You can’t SoT it back which is a mild downside, and if you run very poor it gets worse. However it works better than On the Lam vs. HHN and most kill decks don’t run that rich so it’s probably better vs. Ronin or Urban renewal, but I could be wrong there.

TheBigBoy

5/10. This is pretty good against Hard-Hitting News and also randomly hoses some murder combos. This is my standard rating for a reasonable but not thrilling hate card.

tvaduva

Probably what Disrupter always wanted to be.

  

Marathon


miek

With this card you are effectively trading 1c for 1 click for each remote server that you can safely get into. This is actually a pretty powerful effect depending on game state. If you have Aeneas Informant you can gain a lot of money against Asset Spam. If you have Magnum Opus you can check remote servers and then get a refund from it afterwards. If you’re willing to do By Any Means + Paparazzi (A high influence combo) you can trash every naked server for the mere cost of 1c per server. This card is 100% a meta call, and has a lot of potential in the right meta, however that meta is not the current meta. Aeneas Informant itself is another strong card against asset spam, but is not seeing played, so I see no reason why Marathon would be good right now either.

Grog

Great card for mindlessly checking a bunch of remotes at 1c each, followed by feeling good about yourself before getting Hard-Hitting News’ed to oblivion! The card is maybe decent against spam in that you can check for naked agendas easily, but I think I’d rather play economy cards in Shaper and just focus on indexing/DDM/Maker’s Eyes. It might be good in Smoke decks that can just remote lock to check for NGO bluffs. Or the By Any Means/Paparazzi thing to slow-roll an expensive Apocalypse. Maybe you could Cold Ones combo with upcoming Kasi String somehow, but that’s only once per turn (and it’s unique).

TheBigBoy

3/10 I’m not seeing it. I actually have this weird feeling that this card might do something as “trade a credit for a click whenever you run a remote” (over the course of the game, not just in 1 big turn), but I can’t quite put my finger on how you take advantage of that. Someone break this and make my rating seem silly.

Saan

There’s a certain amount of people who seem to think this card is super duper cool, and I have no idea at all why. It allows infinite remote checking, so long as your money holds out, but asset spam isn’t even really a thing right now, and honestly Gagarin would probably love for you to spend 2 credits each remote you check. I guess you can Mopus it up for several turns and them Marathon all those remotes into the ground, but this seems like something that you can accomplish over a couple turns without the Marathon anyhow. Concession: miek does have a point that you can use it as a kind of Diversified Portfolio when combined with a couple Aeneas Informants against asset spam, should asset spam be a thing again in the future.

tvaduva

Paying a credit to check another remote is a very nice meta option. While asset spam strategies aren’t as common as they once were, they are still around. It does help against CtM or IG, when you want to do a lot of trashing in one turn. If the Runner has at least two Aeneas Informants, they can turn this card into a Diversified Portfolio. If asset spam becomes dominant again, it’s cards like these that will keep them in check; too bad it’s five influence.

  

Gbahali


miek

People have actually been doing the silly Kongamato + Grappling Hook idea I mentioned last time, including previous world champ Chris Dyer, and it turns out to not even be that bad. Gbahali is probably the more generically useful of the 2 on its own, as typically the ETR subroutine is the last sub, and the first subroutine can frequently be something that is not relevant at the very moment (Enigma lose a click, Rototurret trash a program, etc..). Unfortunately that’s why it costs more to play. Now that there’s 6 of these, the critical mass of playability is probably a lot higher, which is pretty fun.

Grog

(I’m skipping over the clear value in Pirate Hayley/Hook combo) Regarding the last pack, in my opinion Kongamato is significantly better than people think depending on the meta even without the Hook combo. For example, against a lot of decks Kongamato breaks much of the ICE at a significant discount (all CTM/Rewiring ICE and Seidr Barrier in Jinja decks come to mind). Late game or if the meta is more multi-sub glacier or Weyland-heavy, Kongamato’s value goes down. Gbahali seems better in that scenario as you break the ETR, but I’m not sure it actually is better. Instead of being an economic benefit (like Kongamato) or cheap Rush defense, it becomes a sort of middling Inside Job that conveniently breaks the ETR at the expense of having spent 2c to suffer other subs. Late game the economic value is much lower because you presumably have breakers by then. Interesting card, but outside of combos I’m not sold.

TheBigBoy

3/10 Just like the other one, I’m not feelin it. It should be noted that costing 2 instead of 1 is actually a huge deal. People like this goofy Tech Trader Hayley deck, and maybe that’s OK, but I would be pretty surprised if it ended up having much staying-power. My guess is that it’s suffering from Elite-Pilot-Syndrome (when the people who are playing a deck happen to just be really good players and could be winning with any number of things).

  

White Hat


Sanjay

Apex desperately needed more deckbuilding options and a functional economy, and got that in Assimilator. Adam needed more reliability and a general power boost, and got that with Emergent Creativity. White Hat isn’t nearly as powerful as Emergent Creativity. I don’t expect to see a lot of people playing five influence for it the way people are exploring with Creativity (even Sunny players are excited about it!). But White Hat is just as thoughtful a gift to Sunny as either Assimilator or Emergent Creativity.

Sunny has a pretty decent gameplan. She has breakers. She has tricks. She can pile up a lot of credits. But with a 50 card deck and an 8 cost console, she can take a little bit of time getting started, and often can struggle against rush and fast advance. White Hat offers a nice option to disrupt the Corp before you get set up, and at the same time helps you close out games by controlling where agendas are piling up. The Corp really can’t afford to boost this trace unless their economy is bonkers, and if they do, you can always just thank them for spending a bunch of credits on nothing.

TheBigBoy

Sunny/10. This is a Sunny card. It’s OK in Sunny. Put it in your Sunny deck I guess.

Saan

It really does look like the designers want to bring the mini factions up in relative power level in this cycle, with each one so far having gotten a card that drastically helps shore up weaknesses within the minifac. White Hat helps Sunny with her early game, which can often take a while to set up, by throwing agendas and/or other helpful goodies out of the Corp’s hand in order to keep their tempo down while yours builds. Once you can access HQ regularly, you can use it to increase the agenda density in HQ to help close out the game. It’s a nice card, but it doesn’t seem like it leaves Sunny. Admittedly, I say that having said the same thing about Emergent Creativity, and there’s several mid-tier Shaper decks that import it out of Adam, so who knows, I guess. The power level seems lower than EC, so I don’t really expect it.

   


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