Fear and Loathing Set Review & Playtesting Guide
I am going to experiment with a new method of reviewing new sets. Rather than only giving a 1 to 5 rating of cards that none of us have played yet (which gives a higher impression of accuracy than is appropriate for an unplayed card), I am also going to rate each card’s uncertainty.
Uncertainty measures how hard it is to ‘guesstimate’ the card’s playability. How much you would have to test the card, in order to get an accurate idea about its actual power level and usefulness. It is a measurement of uncertainty. In general, cards that are not similar to existing cards require more testing in order to determine if they are good. Cards whose effect is very swingy and unpredictable, and could end up either very strong or weak, situationally, require more testing in order to determine a value. The more similar a card is to existing cards, the easier it is to predict its power level. Thus, these cards would have a lower playtest requirement. Something very unique would require more playtesting, especially if it looked to potentially be strong.
Finally, I’ll give a verdict on whether the card is worth testing, in my opinion, or whether you should save your time by ignoring it and testing more worthy cards. Of course, if a certain card really appeals to you personally, then you should try it, regardless of what I think. After all, someone has to try out all these cards. If the rest of us miss something, someone out there will play it and if the card really was great, it would catch on. If you ever see a card that you ignored start to get a lot of buzz, then it becomes worth checking out. But since your playtest time is limited, and especially if your goal is to make competitive decks, it’s better to avoid some cards with low potential.
Maybe I should start with the corp cards. The runner cards are mostly bad. Oh well.
Expected Power: 1/5
Similar cards: Notoriety.
If you initially read this card as requiring a run on R&D, HQ, OR Archives, you are not alone. Most of the players I know did that, and thought it was great, until we looked at it again. But actually, it’s just Notoriety that lets you access something instead of getting a point.
This card probably isn’t very good (it’s probably harder to hit all 3 centrals than one remote), but you might consider it in the future if you’re having a huge problem with Caprice Nisei guarded 5/3 agendas in a big remote. (And Ash, and Red Herrings, and Strongbox, and Ruhr Valley, and …)
Verdict: Don’t waste your time, unless this card really intrigues you. It’s probably worse than Notoriety, and I’m not seeing lots of Notoriety decks. The point of Notoriety is that you can make points appear when they are not appearing. If you use this card to steal an agenda, that’s great, but you probably could’ve just stolen the agenda by going through the remote.
Uncertainty: Very High.
Expected Power: 3.5/5?
Similar Cards: Datasucker, Imp, Desperado.
Despite the click to use, the fact that the corp chooses what to discard, and the high influence cost, I think this card is still fairly strong. It rewards running, like Desperado and Datasucker, which is one of the strongest mechanics in the game.
Hemorrhage allows pressuring HQ even without running it. Simply running any server allows you to force discards from the opponent. The HQ pressure adds up fast. The corp will feel pressured to spend time drawing cards, and then they will lose a lot of those cards to archives. Since they can’t lose agendas without having them stolen or being force to use Jackson, they will begin to have agendas clogging their hand.
Still, it’s not clear to me that Hemorrhage is worth it, I consider this a card that could be anything from terrible to amazing, and without testing we won’t really know. I think that if this was a criminal card, it would probably be amazing, but at 4 influence and in the current weakest runner faction, it’s a lot less threatening. I think that this card has the greatest potential to be panned by most reviewers, but actually be strong.
I played several games so far against this card, and it exceeded my initial expectations.
Verdict: Definitely requires testing. In my games playing as corp against this so far, it was pressuring me greatly, however I was able to win the games, mostly because I was NBN and could rush through the agendas so they didn’t end up totally clogging my hand. This card could be terrible or great, and you should go play it to find out. However, its influence cost means it is mostly restricted to Anarch right now. (I think thats probably the correct decision, Anarch needs help and Criminal would utilize this card too well).
Expected Power : 3/5 (Meta dependent)
Similar Cards: Activist Support. +Handsize cards.
What does Tallie do? Essentially, if the Corp plays Subliminal Messaging, she gives them a Bad Publicity but tags you. If the corp plays a damaging event like Scorched Earth or Neural EMP, she gives them a Bad Publicity but tags you, and also allows you to trash her afterwards in order to draw a card, possibly saving you from a followup Neural EMP!
She triggers off of certain other cards as well, like Closed Accounts, at which point you will be broke and have an extra tag (maybe a permanent one, if it was just a Breaking News that let hem Closed you). But here, the Bad Publicity will probably be pretty relevant. Big Brother and Freelancer also count, however, the corp does have the option of trashing her first for these three cards, because if they are playing them, that means you are tagged.
Mostly I expect Subliminal Messaging to be the primary source of Tallie triggers, and a bit of Closed Accounts, Neural EMP, and Scorched Earth. Let’s look at how this works:
You play Tallie, spending a card, a click, and $2. The corp now has the following options:
- Never play subliminal Messaging again. Given that you spent at least ‘4’ worth of resources putting her out, this might be reasonable for the corp.
- Play the Subliminal, taking a Bad Publicity and tagging you. They might do this at a time when the tag would be very BAD for you, such as when they want to play Closed Accounts, or kill you with Scorched Earth! The runner might not even choose to activate Tallie!
As a result, I feel that Tallie shouldn’t be played outside of a Tag-me archetype. You could use her in a Reina or Whizzard tagme denial deck with Siphon, Vamp, Plascrete, Joshua B, Data Leak Reversal, etc. She helps counter those Subliminal Messagings that can help the corp get money.
In Tag-me Anarch, it’s probably a reasonable inclusion. The new NBN agenda that is worth 3 points to the corp if you are tagged is yet another blow to tagme decks, and Anarch is weaker than Criminal right now. Criminals are the main runners who go tagme, and the probably won’t be willing to spend the 3 influence for this card.
Her second use, one that might occur outside of a tagme deck, is as a handsize buffer to prevent death by damage over the course of multiple cards (Scorches/Neurals).
For example, after running Jinteki, you are reduced to 1 card. On the Jinteki player’s turn, they play Neural EMP. You use Tallie to give a bad pub, then trash her to draw. Now a second Neural EMP doesn’t kill you. She also might save you from double Scorch in a situation where you have 3 cards and a Plascrete. First scorch you prevent with Plascrete and use her to draw a 4th card. Now the second wont kill you.
Verdict: Maybe try it in Tagme Anarch, if you really like that deck, and everyone in your meta starts running Subliminal Messaging. Alternately, use it to help you not die to Neural EMPs.
Expected Power: 1/5
Similar Cards: Expert Schedule Analyzer
It’s a 1-use of Expert Schedule Analyzer. If running HQ would have cost you more than $3, or if your MU was full, then this is better, if you only wanted to do it once.
I feel that spending a significant amount of money to reveal the corp’s hand is not something the runner needs to do. Even if you see lots of agendas, you still have to run to go get them. Gabe will already have been running a lot on HQ and doesn’t need this at all.
Aside: Oh FFG why did you pick this name? In original Netrunner, Executive Wiretaps was a Maker’s Eye for HQ, which was a strong card. This card is coming back in Honor and Profit, under the name ‘Legwork’. Now just watch me play Legwork in the future and call it Executive Wiretaps, and be all confusing! (I do think that the upcoming Maker’s Eye for HQ is going to be a strong card).
Verdict: Don’t waste your time with this card.
Expected Power: 2.5/5
Similar cards: None.
Blackguard is an entirely new strategy. One that I hope will not be too strong, because it removes decisions from the corp. Blackguard will require a lot of testing in order to know if it’s good or not, as it is so unique, so if it’s your thing, go nuts!
Testing Blackguard in Silhouette, when she comes out, will be one approach, but I am not sure if it’s the only one. After all, Criminal already has a great console, Desperado! I would suggest a second alternative: Shaper with Motivation and Eureka and Snitch. Combine that with Torch, Omega, Femme Fatale, etc, and use Eureka to cheat out big programs and the Blackguard. When Oracle May comes out, this strategy will probably become more viable.
My expectation is that this ends up being a fun deck, but not a top tier, tournament deck, but we need to test it to see! There is some chance that it actually becomes a tourney viable deck, with Motivation, Eureka, Oracle May, etc. It might not even happen in Criminal!
Verdict: If Blackguard sounds fun to you, go test the hell out of it! If not, try to play against someone who likes it at some point, to gain experience. It’s probably important to play with and/or against this card. But if you don’t want to be the one trying out the Blackguard deck, don’t worry, tons of people are going to try it, and give us their thoughts.
Cybersolutions Mem Chip:
Expected Power: 3/5
Similar Cards: Akamatsu Mem Chip, Dyson Mem Chip, Dinosaurus, etc.
Hey look, it’s possibly the best Shaper Console in the game!
The big mem chip is pretty straightforward. You only play this if you are a shaper who very badly needs 2 more memory. The cost is nice for Modding as Kate, at least.
If this card is exactly what you need, it does the job. And if it’s not exactly what you need, you aren’t thinking about putting it in your deck. Other factions probably choose Dyson over it, given the influence cost. I’d be a lot more interested in this as a Neutral card. If that was the case, I’d try it out in Andromeda, and be able to fit in Sneakdoors or things like that! But it’s not.
Verdict: Most decks won’t want it, but your Sahasrara shaper might. Not much mystery to this card, simply a thing that should exist to open up more options. Do you want to make Sahasrara shaper with tons of programs? Add this. Otherwise? Don’t.
Alpha and Omega:
Expected Power: 2 for Alpha, 3.5 for Omega
Similar cards: Crypsis, Atman, Knight
These breakers seem like a reasonable way to pressure all servers early on, at moderate efficiency. They are more efficient than Crypsis by $1 and a Click per ice. But less efficient than a Targeted Atman, or a dedicated breaker.
Both breakers will get you through a 1-ice server. Having both only helps for 2 ice servers, but then a 3 ice server can still sink you, if you rely only on them. In my opinion, Omega is better than Alpha. Omega is going to be getting you through a certain ice, forever. With Alpha, if you have an ice on a server that is a problem for you, and you are using Alpha to break, the corp can nullify that by placing another ice outside it. (They don’t even need to rez the new ice, just place it!). With Omega however, it always keeps getting you through that certain ice. If the corp places another ice in front of it, they have to actually rez that ice in order to stop you! With an Alpha, they DON’T.
Playing both cards together is a bit wasteful. You already had the ability to get through all 1 ice servers. The second only gets you through 2 ice servers. I would rather supplement an early Omega with actual breakers, later in the game when the corp builds larger servers.
The names Alpha and Omega are probably going to make people play them together, but honestly I think the best strategy would be to only use Omega, and supplement with other things.
These cards would probably be stronger if it wasn’t for Wraparound coming out. Wraparound will be a commonly played ice, and it crushes these breakers, costing $7 for them to get through.
Crypsis is a more expensive yet more reliable version, able to actually get you into a 2 ice server by itself, if needed. Knight is a better targeted breaker to handle a certain problem ice, and its movable.
In general, I feel there are better options, however I do feel that Omega could be strong in a dedicated ice destruction deck. Keep them at 1 ice per server with parasites, and Omega away, and then pressure hard. This strategy might be a superior version of the ‘Chaos Theory turbo-rig’ strategy. With one breaker you can pressure all early servers.
Verdict: Worth testing Omega, in an ice-destruction, early pressure strategy. Playing both feels like a trap to me. However, this is probably worse than Atman, worse than Crypsis, and worse than Knight. If one of these is good, it’s probably Omega being good in Kit. My decent rating is mostly based on the idea that Omega in Kit is probably strong.
Uncertainty: Moderate (more a meta-call than something that needs testing).
Expected Power: 3 (Meta dependent). At any point in time its either dead or crazy good, and it’s very hard to tell how much time it will be what.
Similar cards: Inside Job, Stimhack.
Blackmail is a great way to punish Bad Publicity, however the runner doesn’t have good ways to force the corp to get it, so this card is unreliable and meta-dependent on what corp strategies you play against.
If all my opponents started playing Bad Publicity decks, I would put this in my deck, at least as a 1-of. If they don’t.
If you play this, you might want to try to turn it on with things like Tallie Perrault, but those aren’t actually reliable either.
Verdict: It’s a meta card. Play it only if everyone is obsessed with GRNDL or other Bad Publicity giving cards.
Time for some goodies!
Blue Level Clearance:
Expected Power: 3.5/5.
Similar cards: Green Level Clearance, Mauve Level Clearance, Rainbow Level Clearance.
Net result: Spend 2 clicks. Gain +1 card and $3. Move through your deck more quickly. This is similar to clicking to use Jackson Howard to draw 2, and then playing a Beanstalk. (Or playing Anonymous Tip, then Beanstalk). This is like clicking for $2, and then clicking for $1 and a card (like 1 use of Opus and 1 use of Pro Contacts, as Corp!)
Blue level is a useful card, but less splashable than Green Level, which probably means it won’t see nearly as much play. It also is worse on turn 1. On the first turn, Green Level is excellent and helps you find a second ice and afford them, to defend HQ and R&D. Blue level doesn’t. Green Level is an easy and common splash in Weyland and NBN, Blue Level isn’t. However, compared to Green Level, Blue Level does net you an extra $1 and a card, for a click, which is a useful trade.
Overall, I would probably test this in various corp decks. I expect that in most non-HB decks it will be more problematic than Green Level, especially due to influence cost, however, it’s slightly increased efficiency might end up being worth it. My guess is that it’s a bit worse than Green Level, mostly due to lack of turn 1 usefulness, but it’s probably still playable, mostly in HB.
Verdict: Shove it in your decks and try it out, especially HB. It’s a potentially very useful card, so you should experience playing it yourself. I feel that the influence cost is probably too tough for other corps to play it much.
Expected Power: 1.5/5
Similar Cards: Red Herrings.
Strongbox’ low trash cost and higher rez cost make it pretty weak, imo. It’s usually worse than Red Herrings, unless combined with an Hourglass, or some combination of Bioroids, Jinteki RP, Ruhr Valley, etc. However, the fact that it mostly combos with OTHER weak cards is not a good thing. When two individually weak cards combo together, the result is generally not very strong.
I’d personally avoid this one, if your goal is to find good serious decks, unless you find the idea very fun.
Verdict: Let that guy in your group who is obsessed with Jinteki make the Jinteki RP strongbox deck, and then play against him. (Hmm, some of you are that guy…are those H&P spoilers great or what!)
Expected Power: 0/5
Amazing DOUBLE MINDGAMES Power: 5/5
Similar Cards: Traps.
Toshiyuki doesn’t really do anything except allow you to win a DOUBLE mind game, and if you do, achieve the same result as winning a single mindgame. Woo mindgames!
You place (and possibly advance) him. This is mindgame #1. Does the runner run him? If they don’t, you have lost the first mindgame, and he is a waste of space, just like a not-run Snare, Edge of World, or Junebug. He will then sit there and rot, not getting to do anything.
Let’s say the runner DOES run him. Now, we get to initiate mindgame #2. You swap him with a trap or agenda. Does the runner jack out or continue? If they continue into your agenda, you lose the mindgame (unless it’s a fatal Fetal AI). If they continue into your trap, you achieve a result that is identical to simply placing the trap in the first place, no Toshiyuki required! The only time that Toshiyuki really does something unique is if you replace with an agenda, and the runner jacks out. Then you get to score your agenda.
However, most Jinteki decks would rather smash you with a big trap than score an agenda. I’d rather hit you with a double advanced Cerebral Overwriter, than push through a couple points, in many Jinteki decks.
What is the upside of Toshi? You get to pick the trap later on, after you see which one would be most damaging. Or alternately, you get to try to shove an agenda through, thinking they will jack out. However, is this worth having to win another mindgame for, and use up a deck slot on?
In the end, Toshiyuki doesn’t do much other than require you to win a mindgame TWICE, in order to achieve the result of winning one mindgame. This might be fun, but isn’t competitive.
Verdict: Play it in a fun mindgames deck, if that’s your thing. The main thing he does is make the mindgame harder for you to win, because he makes it so you have to win twice in a row to get your effect, instead of once. If successful, you get your pick of effects.
Expected Power: 3.5/5
Similar Cards: Enigma
I like Yagura. As an R&D defender, it’s pretty similar to a cheap Enigma. I’d rather force out a Yog with a $1 ice than a $3 ice! And if they play a Gordian or something, and want to break it, it costs $2 to break a $1 ice!
I think Jinteki will clearly play this. Replace a couple Enigmas with it, and put it on R&D.
Testing is mostly required to determine if it’s worth splashing in other corps. The 2 influence cost is a bit high for a small ice, which will limit its play. Also, when Inazuma comes out later, I expect that will be the more desirable Jinteki codegate for other corps to splash.
As to this being defeated by Yog. Yes, a $1 ice is crushed by a $5 breaker that is often a 1-of in people’s decks, so they have to tutor for it. That’s not the worst thing. That’s better than playing an Enigma, paying $3, and having them get a Yog. I would not play lots of these AND lots of Enigmas in a deck. Rather, I see Yagura as a way to replace Enigma, and then spend $2 less to force them to find a Yog. (And if they get a Gordian Blade, then a Yagura on R&D actually costs $2 to break, while an Enigma last click can be only $1). I would NOT play a bunch of Yaguras and a bunch of Enigmas in my deck. If I am playing Yagura, I am probably playing a couple of it, and then no other Yoggable code gates.
Verdict: Put it in Jinteki for sure. Try it in your other corps and see if it’s worth the influence. The only real question here to me isn’t ‘is it good’, but rather ‘is it worth 2 influence outside of Jinteki’. Also, is it best as a 1-of? 2-of? You don’t really want to draw more than 1.
Expected Power: 2.5/5
Similar Cards: Veterans Program, Elizabeth Mills.
A situational but potentially useful card, you would add this to decks that generate bad publicity but don’t actually want to have it. I would primarily consider this for Weyland and Jinteki.
This is the best card I have seen for removing bad publicity, if that is what you want to do. You can throw away various 0 cost cards like Jackson Howard, Bernie Mai, or an Akitaro after using him for discounts, and remove the bad publicity you gained from rezzing Grim or from something else.
Still, I doubt it will get played much. Decks usually either avoid bad publicity, or try to make it not matter.
Verdict: I’d try it out in a bad publicity deck with enough targets for it, if that’s what you’re playing. Most bad publicity decks either try to kill the runner’s breakers, or they try to set up situations where If the runner runs, they die, so that the effect of the bad publicity is minimized. These decks don’t need to worry as much about removing it. Still, if you do need to remove it, this is an effective way.
Expected Power: 4/5
Similar cards: Private Security Force
Market Research is another interesting way to add tagme punishment to NBN, and it doesn’t even eat up card slots! It’s like a PSF that needs the tag to be in place when scored, but not later on. It’s another useful Psychographics target, alongside Beale.
Overall, this card makes playing tagme against NBN even worse. It even opens up the possibility of playing NBN with tagging cards and essentially no deck slots spent on tag punishment, as you can get an effective tag punishing agenda.
Any Midseason deck should probably play this alongside its Astros and Beales.
I do think that in many, but not all NBN decks, this will become outclassed in the next set by NAPD Contract, which I think is the best 4+ difficulty agenda ever. However, for now, it’s generally better than a Character Assassination in the majority of NBN decks.
Verdict: Definitely fits into certain NBN decks. Once NAPD contract comes out, it fits into less NBN decks, but still some.
Expected Power: 4.5/5
Similar cards: Ice Wall
Wraparound might be the best ice since core set. At the very least its comparable to Popup Window and Eli. It saves NBN decks influence from having to splash Ice Wall. For Jinteki or HB, Wraparound should be seriously considered as an Ice Wall replacement, if you don’t need an advancement target.
Wraparound makes all AI breakers other than Knight worse than they were, and makes Corroder (or another fracter) that much more important. It crushes a fracterless Katman deck that simply planned to Parasite your Ice Walls. It crushes an Anarch deck that relies on Crypsis or Darwin, and has only that single Corroder. It’s even better than Swordsman and stomping AI breakers.
All of this for only $1 more than the cost of an Ice Wall.
Wraparound also opens up a playstyle focused very heavily on killing the opponent’s corroder, and then simply not letting them access your servers.
Power Shutdowns and Archived Memories combine to slaughter low cost programs and kill that Corroder. Grim kills the Corroder and gives a Bad Publicity that hopefully now doesn’t matter, if they cannot get through your Wraparounds. Wraparound is very good in rush decks that play the “Gear Check” strategy. That is: make a server and rush. Can your opponent pass the “Gear Check” of getting Corroder and whatever else they need fast enough? If not, they lose. If so, try to kill it, and keep rushing while they hunt for a backup.
Wraparound is the king of the ‘kill your corroder’ strategy. It doesn’t allow backup breakers or parasites to allow the runner to survive their Corroderless state. And even if that’s not your strategy, Wraparound frees up NBN influence that was spent on Ice Walls, replacing it with an ice that is superior against AI breakers and Parasites.
Verdict: Doesn’t even really need testing, its simply automatic in NBN. It’s worth trying in most other corps as well.
GRNDL: Power Unleashed:
Expected Power: 3/5
As an ID, GRNDL deserves a lot of testing. Its niche will probably be in decks that punish running heavily, with things like Sea Source/Scorch, Punitive Counterstrike, Midseason Replacements, etc.
Your main defense is not ice, it’s the threat of death if the runner runs you. Your starting $10 pool helps to make the Sea Scorch plan or the Punitive Counterstrike plan work early on, and intimidate the runner.
My expectation is that GRNDL is scarier early on at threatening a kill if you run, than BABW, but overall is less solid due to the lower influence and the Bad Publicity. However, there is some chance that a low ice, high economy and threat GRNDL deck can simply bully the runner so hard into not running, with the threat of dying, that they don’t really NEED ice. “Sure, R&D is open. Go ahead and take a 3 point Agenda. If you do, you are dead because I have $20 already”.
Verdict: You have two choices: either play it a lot, or wait until we get a bunch of OCTGN data. Then, if the win rate is low, you can start ignoring it, and if it’s high, you should probably start playtesting it.
Expected Power: 3/5
Similar Cards: Posted Bounty.
Treat this as a Posted Bounty which, instead of giving the tag, fills in for one of the Scorches. Similar to how Posted Bounty + 2xScorch was a win against a Plascreteless runner, Vulcan + Sea Source + Scorch is a win. Also, Vulcan + Sea Source + 2x Scorch kills a single Plascrete guarded runner, and that’s easier to find than the triple Scorch that a Posted Bounty required.
There is another difference as well. Scoring a Vulcan hurts the runner, even if you don’t follow up, whereas Posted Bounty’s power is only used when you are going to kill. However, if the runner steals Vulcan, then they get the Bad Publicity! As a result, Vulcan is higher variance than Posted Bounty. More upside (2 free damage regardless when you score), more downside.
Verdict: If your deck used Posted Bounty, and has enough other good ways to give tags, try replacing the Posted Bounties with these, and see how it goes.
Expected Power: 3.5/5
Similar cards: Melange Mining Corp, Thomas Haas.
GRNDL Refinery can be a bad Mélange, except in decks where you want to do a lot of “Install Advance Advance”. In those decks, the refinery adds another option to ‘is it a 5/3 or a trap’, and can either force runs or generate money similarly to melange.
Here is an analogy: Refinery is to 5/3 ‘slow advance’ decks, as Melange is to 3/2 fast advance or never advance decks.
After a play of IAA, AA Use, GRNDL refinery is similar to a Melange, except that its now gone, and the runner doesn’t have to come kill it. Advancing it less than this is simply worse than a Melange.
The primary use of this card might come in the future, when the H&P set gives us the Jinteki ID Tennin Institute. You can stick this in play, and then leave it there, and pile counters on it when the runner doesn’t run. Then, you can do Advance, Advance, Use, and take a lot of money.
Verdict: It’s a Melange in a lot of the decks we play, but there are probably some decks that will consider it. You should try it out in decks that advance traps or agendas a lot. It’s too bad that the strategy of advancing things and saying GO isn’t more viable than it is. However, this is a slightly buffed reprint of a card that I did use as a 1-of in some original Netrunner decks, so it has the potential to get some play.
Edit: Raised my rating a bit after some initial results, it looks reasonable as a Melange replacement in Weyland.
Expected Power: 4/5
Similar Cards: None.
I’m pretty excited for this card. Free money without spending any clicks is really strong. The drawback is that in some cases, it might actually make your runner opponent play BETTER, by running more instead of being too passive!
This card is amazing in decks that heavily punish running, such as many Jinteki decks, and any deck that sits around with Sea Source and Scorched earth, hoping the runner will waste their money on a run. However, if you cannot stop or punish the runner, it might become weak.
The best use of this card might be in a deck with Celebrity Gift. Once you manage to return them to your hand from Archives, you have a huge hand, and can Gift without revealing everything to the runner! It essentially negates a lot of the drawback of the Gift. I see this as a staple card in Jinteki, and it should see play in some other decks as well. I, for one, will be testing out TWIY with this and Celebrity Gift.
But even if normal decks, that don’t punish running, as long as you aren’t getting completely crushed, it is likely that the runner has some turns when they don’t want to run. Any time this happens, you get a free credit. If this happens at least ONCE, then Subliminal has given you $2 without a click, making it at least as good as a Beanstalk. Once it happens TWICE, the Subliminal is worth $3 without spending a click. That’s basically a Hedge Fund!
So far I have been playing 3 Subliminal Messaging in any deck I make, to try it. And so far it is quite interesting. It definitely seems best in Jinteki, who both makes the runner not want to run, and runs Celebrity Gift. I have had some good success with it in an NBN deck with Celebrity Gift, that focuses heavily on locking down centrals to try and get this to recur.
Does Subliminal Messaging get worse as you add more of them?
A tiny bit worse. If you have 2-3 of them, and the runner doesn’t run you for a turn, you get them all back. And then you get a free $ each turn for the next 2-3 turns. If the runner fails to run for multiple consecutive turns, then the extras are “wasted”. However, its much more common in my experience for the runner to miss one turn of running, than several turns in a row, in which case the extra subliminals are just as valuable. If you have successfully locked the runner out for a long period of time later in the game once you have several subliminals, then you are probably already winning that game! I don’t think that they get much weaker at all as you add multiples. On the other hand, if you have a Celebrity Gift, then returning multiple of them at once is amazing, and allows your Celebrity Gift to still hide several cards!
Verdict: This definitely needs testing, it’s a unique and potentially powerful effect. Money just magically appears! And you don’t have to do anything! In my experience so far it is a solid replacement for cards such as Beanstalk or Green Level that you might have had to pay influence for previously. And if your deck is reallygood at making the runner not want to run you, then in that deck they even can become better than Hedge Funds! Go test this card. Its certainly not for EVERY deck, but I think it is good for MANY decks.
Overall this set has a number of cards I like, especially on the corp side.
On the runner side, Hemorrhage and Omega look semi-promising, but probably aren’t true power cards. Blackguard is probably a good fun-deck card, and Blackmail is a decent meta card.
On the corp side, Wraparound gives NBN decks 3 influence back (replacing Ice Wall), Subliminal Messaging is really good for any deck that can make the runner not want to run, and Market Research helps NBN decks gain more tag punishment, without sacrificing deck slots. GRNDL is an interesting ID (probably worse overall than BABW but worth testing – it is much more threatening turn 1 at least). Blue Level Clearance and Yagura are likely playable in-faction.