Haas Bioroid is a corporation with very interesting strengths. Its in faction Bioroids are strong for their cost; ICE with the rez cost to strength ratios that Bioroids have is generally a trait of HB. They do have a built in drawback of being porous in a unique way however. In addition, HB is the corp that deals most extensively in Brain Damage effects, frying the neurons of unwary runners that fall victim to its traps.
Core Set HB saw some use - Engineering the Future is a solid ID, and remains strong even to this day. It got its best swing when Creation and Control was released, but even before that HB was a strong contender in most meta’s. As the flavor text on Engineering the Future states the goal of HB is to be Effective. Reliable. (Humane?), and the identity of the Core Set is certainly that.
This article was written with the meta up through “The Valley” having just been released. This article is about the opinions of the writer, as a review of cards as they are seen throughout the length of the game. The main goal of the article is for new players to have an understanding of the history of the cards as the meta evolved, and for experienced players to maybe re-look at a cards they long since dismissed. (It is a nice side effect that the writer learns more about the cards as well).
Haas-Bioroid: Engineering The Future Identity:Megacorp (#54 Core Set)
Impact 4 out of 5
Out of all the core set Identities, Engineering The Future was one of the strongest, and remains so. Along side Weyland’s Building a Better Future it pushed one of the earliest aspects of the meta - Corporation economy dominance. The single credit may not seem like much, but it is reliable, and like several runner cards, allowed a compression of actions. The corp is going to be installing anyway, right? To be able to also gain a credit in the same click helped keep the corp running smoothing. Efficient almost.
ETF remains strong even into the current meta, being a typical choice for a lot of HB Fast Advance style decks. It remains strong and impactful even to the point where most HB deck lists that pop up on the internet are often challenged with the line: “This would run better out of ETF.” That makes this one of the more dominate identities. No other identity within HB has had dominance at all in the metas, though fringe cases may occur. Only Cerebral Imaging has even come close; however even those decks are mostly combo decks relying on putting many pieces together.
This dominance might have a limited scope with some of the upcoming spoiled identities for HB, but even so, how many decks presented in any of these identities will be challenged with ‘This would be better in ETF’? The smoothing out of the economy, even if it is no longer a dominance like the days of just the Core Set or a few data packs, remains a strong and viable ability.
Accelerated Beta Test Agenda: Research (#55 Core Set)
Impact 4 out of 5
One of the few “Three for Two” agendas, Accelerated Beta Test was, and still is, a staple among HB Decks. While its ability may not always be used (‘Fired’ as the lingo states) the fact that it is a 3/2 Agenda is strong for all decks. The ability to put it down and advance it out entirely in either one turn with tricks like Biotic Labor or SanSan City Grid or two turns without giving away that it is an agenda (because you don’t have to advance it the first turn to score) is very powerful.
Certainly this agenda found some more consistent use after Jackson Howard came onto the scene, giving a very common and useful way to protect the corporation against a bad activation of its ‘when scored’ ability. NEXT Design also gave it some life, with the math that 22-26 pieces of ICE is the way to ensure a full effect of NEXT’s first turn. That much ICE in a deck made firing an ABT much more reliable.
As the design space moved on to exclude further 3/2’s from the new card pool, ABT remains strong even with a less than always desirable ability. It will continue to be played in HB for all time, just because of its very cost effective to point value and ability to be scored out in one turn.
Adonis Campaign Asset: Advertisement (#56 Core Set)
Impact 3 out of 5
Adonis Campaign is one of the more common drip economies that require influence. It certainly has seen its play, holding quite a bit of money on it. It also tends to be rather safe. If the runner trashes it before it is rezed, they are out 3 and the corp is just out a click of the install. If they trash after its rezzed and fired once, its only a credit lost. Trash it after it has fired more than once and it is almost not worth it for the runner. It must be said that the only time to rez an Adonis Campaign is during the paid ability window at the end of the runner's turn. This way the runner doesn't have a chance to trash it, and the corp gets the first income drip right away. Rezing it any time before that just gives the runner a chance to trash it without the corp collecting any money.
The existence of Eve Campaign means it can often be overshadowed. Eve has longer staying power and a higher trash cost, even if it does provide less per turn than Adonis. Combined however, they make a potent drip economy, especially with the likes of PAD Campaign. Adonis lower rez cost is often what gets it in the door over Eve, combined with the greater per turn gain.
That does not mean Adonis is useless however. It is good, reliable money, and even if the runner is just trashing it as soon as they can, then it is causing them to spend money on actions that are not stealing agendas or preparing to steal agendas. It continues to see use, and will continue to be a solid useful bit of drip economy.
Aggressive Secretary Asset: Ambush (#57 Core Set)
Impact 3 out of 5
Jinteki may have been the trap king of the core set box, but Aggressive Secretary has still been a useful card for many decks. It may not be as scary as it’s brain damage cousin, Cerebral Overwriter, but it is perhaps a little more powerful. Trashing installed programs without ICE is a rare effect, one the runner has little way to protect themselves from. Destroyer ICE, that is ICE with the Destroyer keyword that most often has a trash program subroutine, are almost always Sentries. While a few exceptions exist, it is very safe for a runner to find their sentry breaker if they are worried about losing an important program, or put down a Sharpshooter to protect themselves.
Aggressive Secretary takes that protection away. Only Sacrificial Construct can give a shield sort of effect, and only once. AggSec is very often placed to open up a scoring window. Not only does the runner have to run it - possibly through layers of ice they paid to get through, but losing a key breaker can keep them out. With a fracter gone from the table, those end the run barrier ice are suddenly much more imposing again. Even if it is only for a turn or two until the runner can get a fracter back out, it is still a window to score. As one of the few advanceable traps, it is well used even without the program destruction, even if it just is for causing the runner to use up their credits to get in.
Still, it is not that easy. Shaper in particular, but imported to other runners, have a large amount of recursion in their decks. Bringing programs back from the heap is very easy to do, and often can be done on the fly. There is no scoring window if the runner just uses a Clone Chip to bring their icebreaker back.
There is a bit of a light for AggSec however. Cards like Scheherazade, Leprechaun,, and other Daemons are a great target for AggSec, usually destroying two or three programs at the same time and leaving the runner without a vital piece of their rig. Programs always need to be trashed, if just to set the runner back a few clicks, and AggSec will always be an option for that.
Archived Memories Operation (#58 Core Set)
Impact 2 out of 5
One of the few methods of recursion for the corp, Archived Memories is strong for that regard alone. However, it does so with less impact than the other options. Jackson Howard is of course the most well known. Unlike Jackson, it can’t be used in response to a run, unlike Interns it does not install the card, and unlike Reclamation Order it only takes one card back.
Yet of course, Archived Memories is cheaper, not a double event, and does not need to be installed to work. It has its own place as a method for recursion for the corp. It is not a card that has been seen as a crucial linchpin of any deck, but it certainly has a place. That also means it is often the card left just outside the 49 (or 45 or 44 or 40) the final deck list.
Biotic Labor Operation (#59 Core Set)
Impact 4 out of 5
Despite being quite an expensive four credits to, effectively, gain a click, Biotic Labor is one of the primary tools for the dominant strategy for corp decks; fast advance. Four clicks is the magic number for corporations, allowing them to install and advance to score 3 for X agendas. It is also not an installed card; this means the runner cannot even run to trash the card on purpose. Certainly a lucky access with Imp or Edward Kim,, to name a few, could take care of it, but without certain cards in a runner deck, there is very little that can be done about it.
Biotic works surprisingly well with cards such as Melange Mining Corp.. Seven credits is exactly the amount needed to use Biotic Labor and score a 3 for X agenda. When fast advancing agendas out this way they need no protecting ICE, which allows the corp to leave the Melange in a defended remote server and continue to push forward this method of scoring.
Biotic Labor is often imported into other corps, for purposes other than just fast advancing. While it is not worth playing Biotic Labor without a definite plan for the extra click, it can provide a surprise to the runner if not expecting it. New cards like Jinteki Biotic: Life Imagined can gain good use out of having a fourth click, to still be able to do things on their turn as well as flip the identity.
As of this writing Clot has been released, which many have called the ‘death of fast advance.’ The ramifications of Clot are not for Wyldside to discuss, but even should fast advance strategies loose some of their dominant power, Biotic labor will remain a potent force.
Shipment from MirrorMorph Operation (#60 Core Set)
Impact 2 out of 5
While certainly not a bad card, Shipment from MirrorMorph has not seen a lot of crucial use. The click compression is fantastic, for setting up a new server for instance, or playing out a horizontal strategy. Given the fact that installation costs for corp are only a few credits when dealing with multiple layers of ICE, the cost of this compression is rather low.
Though this card has not seen much impact in the meta, it can be a wonderful combination with cards such as Mushin No Shin, protecting the server created after playing Mushin with more than a single piece of ICE. Of course, doing so mandates that the corp have not only Mushin, Shipment from MirrorMorph, an agenda in hand, but also at least two pieces of ICE to make it worth using. Then also have the money to rez those ICE.
This Shipment has some uses, and as the card pool grows it could find more use. It has drifted into and out of decks as a useful way to install many cards at once, but not one that has made a lasting impression.
Heimdall 1.0 ICE: Barrier - Bioroid - AP (#61 Core Set)
Impact 3 out of 5
One of the big boys of the Bioroid series, Heimdall 1.0 is a serious threat. With three subroutines and six strength he is also very expensive to break. At seven credits a pop for Corroder or two power counters for Cerberus "Lady" H1 or D4v1d, this barrier can put a serious tax on the runner who has to break it time and time again. Yet, it is a Bioroid, and the break for a click aspect of all Bioroids makes it a bit more porous.
The great thing about Heimdall is his three subroutines. A runner spending an entire turn just to break through one piece of ice (one click for the run, three for the subroutines) is quite nice. Add to that the turn you rez him can often see the runner making the tough choice to bounce by paying the click for the brain damage, or taking the brain damage and still getting through, and he is a serious threat.
Eight credits used to be a lot harder to manage, truthfully told, but money has become more and more easily to both sides. If there is any sort of power creep in Netrunner, it is economy becoming more prevalent. That and his status as AP can make a sudden Deus X a big threat to a scoring window.
Heimdall never really had a spotlight like some pieces of ICE, but he is still a very respectable barrier. With barriers starting to make a come back, he certainly can see some lime light again.
Ichi 1.0 ICE: Sentry - Bioroid - Tracer - Destroyer (#62 Core Set)
Impact 3 out of 5
Ichi is another of the Bioroid ICE that has had its appearance but never really the spotlight. Ichi is often regarded as a great piece of surprise ICE, and like all the three subroutine ICE, considered rather taxing. It is also very well costed for its strength, like all Bioroids. This is, of course, due to their click through drawback.
Ichi’s third subroutine is often what new Netrunners might really want to try to work. Brain damage is so very intriguing, but there has yet to be a way to land enough of it with success to finish off the runner. It makes landing meat or net damage easier, which is probably what the tag is there for as well - a single brain damage and a tag as the runner’s turn ends is a prime position for a Scorched Earth to follow up on, making Ichi a good splash into Weyland. That isn’t quite enough to kill them, but there are a plethora of other cards for damage now, and saving the click to get the tag might be all you need.
Ichi’s trash program subroutines are probably the more devastating however. Two programs on one piece of ICE is a hefty cost, and if hit with only a single click left (as most runners tend to run on their third click) it can still cost them something. Assuming of course, a relevant icebreaker isn’t already installed.
Ichi continues to be useful for what he does, and is often a good, cheap (ish), program destruction for Haas Bioroid. While he hasn’t made that much of a splash, he still has places to go.
Viktor 1.0 ICE: Code Gate - Bioroid - AP (#63 Core Set)
Impact 2 out of 5
The last piece of Bioroid ICE from the core set, finishing off the three primary types of ice as a code gate, and one of the few code gates that can actually do damage to the runner. This alone gives it a strength that is often overlooked. Even experienced Netrunners will look for a killer to protect themselves from damage on ICE first, not a decoder.
Only two subroutines and three strength make it the weakest of the core set Bioroids, which also puts it right in Yog.0 range. This in itself is not a detriment to the card - only a fact to be aware of. Yog has certainly no longer seen the same popularity it once did, and yet still Viktor is not a very taxing piece of ice. It is also not a binary ice, given the ability to be clicked through of all Bioroids. This puts Viktor in a most difficult situation. He is not a hard stop until a decoder is found, and he does not cost the runner very much to get through.
If a brain damage kill deck (which might come along with cards spoiled for the SanSan Cycle) becomes more of a definite archetype, then Viktor will undoubtedly see more play. He still see’s some play in decks that just want one or two brain damage to make a kill easier, and again the fact that he is a code gate that deals damage reinforces that. Yet his non binary status and inability to be truly taxing has left him on the lower side of desirability when designing an ICE package for corp decks.
Rototurret ICE: Sentry - Destroyer (#64 Core Set)
Impact 3 out of 5
Rototurret has a unique place among ICE of the core set. As a destroyer with an End the Run it is a great early piece of ice, allowing a quick stop to a run while also killing that fracter that would be interacting with other popular end the run ice. The rez cost of four however makes it rather expensive to use before a few turns have gone by, and the 0 strength makes it only good as a binary piece of ETR ICE. It stops the runner cold, and that is all.
It saw a lot of use early on, where there were no good alternatives. It is played less with the current environment as more destroyers come out and other options for program destruction become available. It will have its days where it is useful in decks, but it certainly keeps a narrow window for effectiveness in a game state, and that limit’s its desirability to decks that make full use of that particular time in the game.
Corporate Troubleshooter Upgrade: Connection
Impact 2 out of 5
This is a card that could possibly be making a large comeback. Originally, the cost did not seem worth the effect. Corporations didn’t have a lot of free cash to be throwing at strength of an ICE, and only working once didn’t seem very much worth the card slot either.
Yet recursion is quickly becoming more and more prevalent for the corp. Add to that the one true power creep of Netrunner that is economy, and Corporations having tons of credits to sink into this kind of card become possible. With the final piece that ICE that hurts more or is more dangerous to the runner if they can’t break it, Corporate Troubleshooter could quickly see a resurgence in possibilities.
Because this card is used during the paid ability window after the runner has already decided to encounter the ICE, with enough money there is no way for the runner to avoid the subroutines firing. Given that most of the time ICE subroutines are only effective on the corps terms the turn you rez the card, this can make the primary tool of interaction the corp has with the runner (ICE) hit more than once or twice.
At only one influence, it certainly is going to see far more play as a card to make ICE effective mid to late game, and should see more of an impact.
Experimental Data Upgrade (#68 Core Set)
Impact 1 out of 5
At first glance the (somewhat) blanket boost to all ICE in that server is a good thing right? It would mean each piece costs at least one more credit to break, making more taxing options, and might take some pieces out of fixed breaker ranger. Seems like this could be a very useful card. Unfortunately the reality Netrunner is that you cannot keep a runner out, only delay them from getting in. So this upgrade becomes very worthless, at most taxing the runner for a single run before they trash it.
That is where the big weakness lies - With only a two credit trash cost this card will go quickly after a successful run is made, and won’t offer any lasting benefit. It hasn’t seen any impactful play because deck space, even as far back as the core set, in corp decks is so tight.
With a deep enough server maybe this card could hold out the runner for a single extra turn. Maybe it could be used to draw the runner into a run where they only have barely enough credits to pass, and that +1 strength will force them to hit an ICEs subroutines. The drawback of course is that the runner might just jack out if they can’t get much further in. This in turn means that it could only really impact the ICE that the runner was encountering when the corp rezed Experimental Data. That logically follows it would only work if the runner had exactly enough credits to break through, not even one extra.
Corporate Troubleshooter does that far more effectively, and the tax that Experimental Data theoretically applies is only good for a run, maybe two due to its low trash cost. That would be why this card has see so little impact on the game as a whole, and why it most likely won’t in the future as well.
Haas Bioroid in Core
Purple was a very strong faction during Core. Engineering the Future’s smooth economic might was something to be reckoned with, and the cheap but strong in faction ICE made it even more fearsome. While the ICE of HB wouldn’t really become scary until future Bioroids were released, and Weyland could match its economic thrust, HB still had a very solid showing in Core.
Next week we take a look at the fearsome blue Criminals, and possibly several cards that have had the biggest impact on the game as a whole… The dreaded Account Siphon.
Binary Ice? Taxing Ice? For a more indepth discussion, if possibly a bit out of date, refer to this blog post by David Sutcliffe on analyzing ICE as Binary, Analog, Taxing, or ETR.
Reminder: This article was written with the meta up through “The Valley” having just been released. This article is about the opinions of the writer, as a review of cards as they are seen throughout the length of the game. The main goal of the article is for new players to have an understanding of the history of the cards as the meta evolved, and for experienced players to maybe re-look at a cards they long since dismissed. (It is a nice side effect that the writer learns more about the cards as well).