News for September 2013
One Will Run. One Will Be Derezzed.
Voice Your Support for Your Favorite of the Plugged-in Tour Runner Identities
Android: Netrunner The Card Game | Published 27 September 2013

“You’re not learning to defend against a bot, here. This isn’t some faceless script that’s attacking your server. Every runner has a distinctive style, a distinctive approach. Each runner poses you a distinctive set of challenges, and each runner’s distinctive weaknesses can be exploited.”
    –H. Moturi, Jinteki Psy-Ops

In less than two weeks participants in the Plugged-in Tour will start casting votes to decide the fates of two potential Runner identities for Android: Netrunner: The Collective and Laramy Fisk. One will join the game, and the other will be derezzed.

How would you vote? Today, we’ll take a closer look at these runners and their abilities. Then we invite you to head over to our community forums and voice your support for your favorite.

You can find full bios of these runners on the Plugged-in Tour website.

What’s in an Identity?

The creation of seven different Corp and Runner factions, along with identity cards for each, was one of the most important changes the developers of Android: Netrunner The Card Game made as they updated the design of Richard Garfield’s classic Netrunner card game. The fact that the game’s card pool is split between seven factions forces players to make tough decisions while building decks. These decisions encourage creativity, and at the center of each deck resides a single identity.

Each identity offers a unique ability. Gain credits after a successful run against HQ. Install hardware and programs more cheaply. Trash the top card of R&D each time you install a virus. Because your identity’s ability is available from the very beginning of the game, it can influence the whole shape of your strategy, as well as the shape of your deck.

Of course, no Runner identity resides in a vacuum. Each is meant to interact with the whole pool of available Runner cards, and many cards can provide obvious advantages for a deck, depending on which identity you choose. While such advantageous cards aren’t limited to a specific identity, they are designed to enhance the identity’s influence in the game, further depicting the runner’s personality, and lending greater thematic shape to the runner’s specific play style.

Accordingly, the decision to rez either The Collective or Laramy Fisk won’t be a decision made in a vacuum. It will impact both the existing card pool and the design of new cards meant to complement the new Runner identity. This decision won’t just introduce a new runner; it will introduce a whole new style of play.

Up Close with The Collective – “Peace Through Unity”

Of the two potential Runner identities, The Collective is the more straight-forward. Its ability reads, “The first time you perform the same action three times in a row each turn, gain .” So what does the ability do? It gives you a click.

Sure, there are some finer points to resolve. There are a range of Runner actions defined in the rules, but those aren’t the only actions available. A wide range of cards introduce new potential actions. Can you use Magnum Opus (Core Set, 44) three times in a row to gain six credits and an additional click? The answer is, “Yes.” Likewise, you could use Professional Contacts (Creation and Control, 49) three times in a row to gain three credits, draw three cards, and gain a click.

All told, this means that The Collective would become an economic powerhouse, though at the loss of some flexibility. First, you lose flexibility in your deck design. Not only does your minimum deck size increase dramatically, but your influence is far below average. Then, your flexibility is hindered by the fact that you need to take three actions “in a row” in order to trigger The Collective’s ability, meaning you need to plan your turn from the beginning to take full advantage of the identity’s ability.

Even psychologically, you may find yourself drawn toward performing three actions in a row when it might be better to vary your actions. For example, in a typical turn, you might run, remove a tag, draw, and play an event. You can still do this in a deck with The Collective, but will you? You might be tempted to delay your runs by a turn spent on fast economy boosts, planning to run as many as five times on the next turn. Sometimes, this might be the right play, but at other times, this staggered tempo may be all the Corp needs to dash into a fast-advance strategy or collect enough credits to get its most frightening defenses online.

Naturally, The Collective plays well with economy cards, deriving more use from them than any other Runner can. This means The Collective should be able to fuel its icebreakers early and often. In turn, The Collective, like other Shaper identities, would likely excel at building a rig quickly, then going on runs that the Corp can’t stop.

What else might the future hold? Since The Collective wouldn’t be released into a vacuum, players should expect to find it accompanied by other cards that play off its themes and mechanics. What accompanying cards would you expect?

Up Close with Laramy Fisk – “Timing Is Everything”

Laramy Fisk is all about subtlety. He’s an investor who knows how to seize the right moment to make his move, and his ability reflects this, “The first time you make a successful run on a central server each turn, you may force the Corp to draw 1 card.”

While this ability clearly combines well with cards like Deep Thought (Future Proof, 108) and Nerve Agent (Cyber Exodus, 41), Laramy Fisk’s greatest strength likely resides in his ability to pressure the Corp by accelerating its tempo. Many Corp players draw as few cards as possible, using their clicks, instead, to generate credits, install cards, and advance them. The fewer servers they build, the fewer targets they leave to the Runner. The fewer cards they draw, the fewer they have to protect. If he does nothing else, Laramy Fisk can force turtle Corps to draw twice as many cards as they’d like.

Ultimately, a Corp player forced to draw into cards faster than he wishes is going to draw more agendas than he can afford to protect. Whether the Corp player doesn’t draw enough ice to protect his servers, or just can’t find enough clicks to generate the credits to advance his agendas and rez his ice, a Corp under attack by Laramy Fisk is likely to find its HQ loaded with valuable, vulnerable agendas.

This means that Laramy Fisk builds would likely make good use of cards like R&D Interface (Future Proof, 107) and HQ Interface (Humanity’s Shadow, 85), but it also lends itself to intriguing designs for cards that might accompany this potential Runner identity. How would his subtlety play into the game? Would cards designed to accompany Laramy Fisk offer benefits for both the Corp and Runner? Would they exert subtle pressure on the Corp’s tempo and accelerate the game? Might we even see cards that trigger off the number of cards in HQ? What sort of cards could you envision to fit this potential runner’s themes and mechanics?

Upload Your Brain Patterns

What do you think about the styles of play these potential Runner identities may encourage? Which of the existing cards would best develop these play styles? What would you expect from future cards designed to enhance the impact either Runner identity would make on the game?

Head to our community forums to share your thoughts. Then join us at one of the tour’s thirty-one events to plug in and cast your vote!

Based on the classic card game designed by Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game is a game for two players set in the dystopian future of Android. It pits monolothic megacorps against subversive netrunners in a high-stakes struggle for the control of valuable data.

Netrunner is a TM of R. Talsorian Games, Inc. Android is TM & ©2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Netrunner is licensed by Wizards of the Coast LLC. ©2015 Wizards.
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