The following article was written by Kiv, also known as chrism6794 on our forums. He hosts a youtube channel where he uploads recorded OCTGN games with commentary. He is also the owner of the deckbuilding site netrunner.meteor.com. As an experiment, we plan on moving away from full set reviews in which each cards are graded and towards this format, in which the author picks their favorite cards from the set and does a more in-depth discussion of those cards. Let us know what you think in the forums!
Hey guys. I’ve had a chance to test out nearly every card in the pack since release, so here’s the Top 5 cards in my experience. Obviously, these are my subjective opinions and your mileage may vary.
1. Daily Business Show
Unsurprisingly, this card is yellow because it’s bananas. DBS doubles the chance of topdecking an agenda when you want one, such as when you have a SanSan or Astro token on the board and just need to pull a 3/2 off the top. That’s an incredibly powerful effect itself, but it does more – if you DON’T want to draw an agenda then it squares the probability of having to take one into hand – so instead of a 1/5 chance it’s a roughly 1/25 chance.
Every NEH player has lost games by just drawing excess Beales and NAPDs at the wrong time and getting them cleaned out by a timely Legwork. Bottoming some of those agendas instead means you both draw more ICE and economy, and you can afford to skimp on HQ protection against non-Siphoning Runners. This list by ff0x shows one way to make the cuts:
At one influence, this is easily splashed into competitive RP decks. Like Sundew this puts you far ahead if it lives for many turns, so playing more ‘must eventually trash’ assets can overload the Runner’s ability to deal with it. This list by hhooo demonstrates:
Alternately, it can add consistency to less commonly played archetypes like Midseasons or Accelerated Diagnostics combo that live or die by having the right cards at the right time. A PsychoBeale list like this one can dig with DBS for lots of economy to establish a lead, then find the combo pieces and utility singletons reliably – or just use the 4 trash cost to tax the Runner’s resources.
The small downside is that it lets Runners with R&D multi-access see fresh cards more frequently because you’re peeling two off the top each turn instead of one. You also want to rez it early, but sometimes you can’t spare those two credits until later in the game. And like assets in general, it’s a target for Bank Job and Security Testing, and some decks just don’t want to play a lot of assets.
Verdict: This card is serious business. If your deck plays assets, at least one of them is probably worse than a copy of DBS.
2. Cerberus “Lady” H1
Out of faction, Corroder is still king. But in Shaper, I’m unsleeving my Corroder and bringing out this bad boy. Let’s do the math against the #1 barrier you’re likely to encounter in the current meta: Eli 1.0.
Lady comes out for $4 and then you get four passes for $1 each before Lady needs a nap. That’s a total cost of $2/pass, which is amazing and slightly better than a dedicated Atman at 4. Corroder would have cost you $2 to install plus $4 a pop for a total of $18, or $4.5/pass. Before even playtesting this card I was thinking of ways to spend the 2 influence freed from Corroder.
This fresh list from Calimsha is exactly along the lines of what I was thinking – keep your 3 Lucky Find, 2 Legwork and still have space for a pair of spicy Stimhacks:
Sure, it’s limited use and that can screw you over. But to be fair, I’ve played plenty of Shaper vs NEH where I only broke 4 barriers before the game was over anyway – in a fast meta the limited use may be totally irrelevant. Once you throw this down, what Corp wants to pay more credits into rezzing Barriers that do next to nothing until your tokens run out?
If you play Atman, having this as a backup means you can take care of pesky Wraparounds but unlike Inti you can still blast through huge Weyland barriers efficiently. Test Run into Lady is a huge play against Oversight AI Curtain Wall and/or stacks of barriers. Then you can Scavenge Lady to refresh her, or let her go on top of the stack to come out fresh when needed. Lady goes on top of your stack to come out fresh again. Store her in the heap and Clone Chip her out in an emergency, or install her with Modded to get her in for free with Kate’s discount.
You can also just play multiple copies of Lady with a regular breaker suite – now you can draw them naturally and use your tutors for other things, and then draw another Lady by the time you need her. Store her on a Personal Workshop to make her even cheaper. Corps won’t even bother installing Barriers with this beast staring them down.
Kit players with their tragically limited 10 influence will happily adopt this adorable creature into their lives. Chris Hinkes’s classic list is able to ditch Corroder and crank up the HQ pressure with a Nerve Agent:
Verdict: Shapers should be foaming at the mouth for this card. Unleash the hounds!
3. Executive Boot Camp
Neither half of this card is thrilling on its own, but together they make a value sandwich for Blue Sun.
The tutor half is really useful to help Blue Sun stretch scarce influence a little further. Blue Sun really likes an Adonis Campaign ticking down forever, so you can play 1 copy of Adonis and a couple Boot Camps to find it early. Against Noise you’ll want to see your Jacksons more reliably, and against Legwork you’ll be happy to pull a Snare into HQ after they’ve committed to Legworking you.
Other cute plays are shuffling your deck with it to whiff Indexing, and tutoring for an advanceable ambush and then either IAA the ambush or an agenda in your remote to mindgame the runner.
The start of turn ability is a minor economic benefit for Blue Sun but primarily a way to reposition awkwardly placed facedown ICE by rezzing and then bouncing it. Bringing Curtain Wall to the outside of a remote is significant, as is pulling back ICE that you need to defend a critical server.
I used the card this way in a small local event and it was solid utility all day:
The other place I’m excited to play this card is in The Foundry, where it lets you trigger your ability on your own turn at your convenience. It’s not limited to one server like Amazon Industrial Zone and it’s 0 to rez which is important. To the extent that you’re playing cheap ICE like Galahad or NEXT Bronze, a $1 savings is a 50% discount and goes towards replacing money lost by not playing HB: ETF. I would love to see someone break out with a competitive Foundry deck involving this card.
Another opportunity for this card is in shell game decks for tutoring the asset you need. At one influence you can throw it down casually as another shell to waste the Runner’s time, and then if they go after it you can crack it to pull a higher influence ambush or other asset into your hand. It’s next level mindgames when you tutor a Ronin or Overwriter, show it to them, and then Mushin No Shin a mystery card that’s actually a Psychic Field.
Verdict: Executives of all stripes can advance their career with this intensive training course.
4. Cerebrus “Rex” H2
Paired with Passport, this is the best zero-influence decoder solution you can play. It’s more efficient than Peacock, and never gets shut down like Yog or Passport does. Most Criminals are going to run more on centrals anyway, and just need to occasionally trot over to a remote and blow through a pesky Enigma protecting a Sundew or something.
I rate this lower than Lady because Criminal has a harder time recurring it, but I’m looking to save influence on Zu or Gordian and this fits the bill. For example, spending zero influence on Decoders in this Gabe deck gives me the full set of Datasuckers, Parasites and a couple left over for a little bit of R&D multiaccess:
Verdict: Similar to Surge, you must yell “Get Rex’d” for full effect.
5. Leela Patel
Leela does some really fun things and her biggest downside IMO is simply not being Andromeda. Andy is just so classy and consistent that it’s very hard for me to play any other Criminal. No matter who you are up against, Andy starts the game off right.
Whether Leela is better or worse than Andy depends on the matchup and even the variance of whether agenda scores and steals happen when you can efficiently exploit them. On a good day, you’re going to throw haymakers and snowball to victory, and on a bad day you’re going to wish you started the game with nine cards.
The most appealing thing about Leela is a favorable PE matchup without having to play Feedback Filter. Getting a lot of innate triggers allows you to bounce advanced cards to neutralize ambushes and especially Ronins. Of course you can still play Feedback Filter just to be sure, but you’re less dependent on finding it.
NEH’s ICE is typically weak and sparse enough that a key ICE bounce opens them up to huge event runs like Indexing or Siphon, and you can sometimes delay the Astrotrain a turn by bouncing an unrezzed SanSan the turn before they were planning to use it. I like this matchup, but I also like constantly playing Desperado on turn 1.
Against Glacier decks, timing and luck is everything. If you steal an agenda from a central after they IAA something in their impenetrable Ash/Caprice bullshit remote, you can bounce the agenda and timewalk the Corp – or even potentially bounce the Ash/Caprice protecting it and go steal the agenda. Even if this doesn’t happen, this is going to delay Glacier’s scoring by a turn or more as they dig for extra ICE to be safe from your threats.
I love the idea of this character, and she needs more testing before I commit to a strong opinion. There are a lot of different builds out there – some I like include a Logos-based list by SamRS:
and a more conventional Desperado list by Basoon:
Verdict: Andy is still my girl, but I want you all to show me what Leela can do with the right build.
Honorable Runner mention: Utopia Shard
Random discard has a venerable history in card games of disrupting annoying combinations, and this is no exception. As hard as it is to slot one of these in your 45, once on the table it’s an effective deterrent to Fast Track shenanigans – if they tutor for Astro you have a very respectable chance of knocking out either the Astro itself or a combo piece like Biotic that they need.
As a 1-of you can’t rely solely on it, but it does provide some Scorch protection – it’s risky for the Corp to try SEA Source in case you discard the followup Scorches.
It also stops most Weyland Accelerated Diagnostics combos harder than either Plascrete or The Source would do. If “That Guy” is in your meta, jam this card in his smug little face and watch his reaction. (Note: I am “That Guy” in my meta.) I’m told that CI 7-point combo can still win through this, but if you’re going to lose anyway you might as well crack this and make their brain melt trying to calculate the recovery plan.
In the worst case, you just deny the Corp some ICE or economy that they were saving for a special occasion. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Verdict: Ideally I would have space for this card but we don’t live in a perfect world.
Honorable Corp mention: License Acquisition
This is my favorite 3/1 after House of Knives, but I’m already playing Breaking News in every deck where I would play License Acquisition. That said, a free SanSan City Grid from Archives or at least HQ is nothing to scoff at, forcing the Runner to go kill the SanSan instead of whatever they actually wanted to do with their precious turn. It’s relatively low risk, high reward to play never-advance style with this card, and of course if you already have a SanSan out you can trigger this in complete safety, and now the Runner has two SanSans to deal with.
There may be a Tagstorm deck that can afford the slots to play both Breaking News and this, as bait for Midseasons.
Verdict: Those crates from ChiLo are going to sit in the warehouse for now, but they’ll make retail someday.
That wraps up the review! If you want to see me play with these and the other cards in this set, I’d be delighted if you checked out my Youtube channel here: