Monday, June 15, 2015

2.0 - Haas Bioroid - Genesis Cycle

Genesis Cycle brought along a lot of powerful cards for every faction. Haas Bioroid was no exception. Some of the most ubiquitous cards for the purple corp are found in the first data cycle, cards that are still used in every tournament. There are a few that have yet to really get their shining time, and a few that are quiet sleepers - where some players have made great success with them in their local meta’s, or that come out of the woodwork from nowhere to suddenly be a strong contender. The beauty of Netrunner is shown in that, and who knows where it will go?

This article was written with the meta up through “Chrome City” having been released. This article is about the opinions of the writer, and 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: Stronger Together Identity: Megacorp (What Lies Ahead #10)

Haas-Bioroid: Stronger TogetherImpact 2 out of 5

As alternate ID’s go, Stronger Together is one of the less used. Not even coming close to Engineering The Future apparent powerhouse ability, it has not seen much play. Part of that is, for the corp, economy denial strategy is not very easy to pull off. While some IDs such as Replicating Perfection can pull that strategy off (forcing the runner to run twice to get into any remote, to spend more credits and clicks than they would usually want), RP still leverages that advantage into a solid economy as well. Stronger Together can’t do that nearly as well, and in terms of strength of strategy, economic advantage is stronger for the corp than just denying the runner economy.

Stronger Together can provide an intense tax on the runner, and it is often forgotten in the course of internal calculations on if the runner has enough to make the run - The ID’s ability has sometimes been said to be ‘you forgot you needed one more credit’ forcing the runner into economic calculation mistakes.

The problem then comes that Stronger Together doesn’t have an easy ability to turn that tax on the runner into a significant economic advantage as well, like Replicating Perfection does. This is starting to turn around slightly, with cards like Brain-Taping Warehouse and Enhanced Login Protocol, which both increase the tax on the runner and help increase the economic advantage of the corp. It can try to accomplish a similar strategy to RP, which might make it worth looking into.

Yet as with all HB identities, it falls under the same old critique ‘Wouldn’t this deck just work better with ETF?’ Straight up swapping the ID to ETF usually makes the deck concept stronger, simply by putting the corp in a position to make fifteen, twenty, even more free credits depending on the length of the game.

Mandatory Upgrades Agenda: Initiative (What Lies Ahead #11)

Mandatory UpgradesImpact 2 out of 5

An agenda that is extremely hard to score, but doing so is very strong. Not because of the point value - an agenda that will take, at minimum (and fast advance tricks aside), three turns to score is hard to pull off. Yet doing so puts a clock on the runner, for as soon as a single Upgrades is scored any three for two in the corp deck will be scored out of hand with ease, for simply three credits on the table.

While finding a scoring window through two of the runner’s turns (and consequently, 8 clicks to attempt to get in and score it) is difficult, many decks are finding the ability to do just that. It is best to see it early, to get it on the table before the runner is setup and ready to roll across servers. That proposition can be tricky at best, relying hard on a variance to see the card early.

Decks are doing it however, decks that are getting wins at high level tournaments. It is not the largest impact, and it is still considered a fringe strategy - perhaps a reason why it is working so well. As stronger ICE is released, better early game ICE and ICE that is trickier to navigate, this could be a card primed to be pushed more into the spotlight.

Project Vitruvius Agenda: Research (Cyber Exodus #51)

Project VitruviusImpact 3 out of 5

Vitruvius is seen often in HB decks, but not usually for the printed ability. Mostly because it is another three for two, which works well around the Biotic Labor or SanSan City Grid fast advance strategies. Its printed ability is very nice however - given that any non fast advance scoring of this card will leave it on the table at least one runner turn, as long as it is not being ‘never advanced’ it can be scored with two counters.

The retrieval ability is strong, very strong - it can be used for any reason, during any paid ability window. Padding up HQ during a Legwork run, retrieving lost combo pieces, or simply recurring various economic or strategic assets and upgrades to keep the servers safe. Even recurring the same damage card three times in one turn, reducing the number of cards needing to be held in hand for a flatline.

While Vitruvius was strong and used often for its ability to be easily fast advanced, as that strategy becomes slightly less common it is ready to find life for its counter ability rather than just its advancement cost.

Encryption Protocol Asset (Trace Amount #29)

Encryption ProtocolImpact 3 out of 5

Encryption Protocol is a simple, yet effective card, a card which primarily is used to drain the runner of credits. It certainly can, after a certain point of critical mass of trashable, installed, assets, protect them in a way, it is really not meant for that purpose. It is first and foremost, a card of economic warfare. Forcing the runner to pay a few extra credits to trash assets can make or break a runner’s economy. Forcing them to spend another click and at least three more credits to trash even just one Encryption Protocol can be worth it as well.

It shines best in horizontal style decks of course, where the runner may not spend all the time needed to run every server created. It has a special sort of annoyance when used with trap cards that usually have a 0 trash cost, forcing the runner to pay to remove that deadly trap, so they don’t have to recall that was what was in that server.

Still, it only has seen some use as there are usually other cards that can advance that economic denial strategy a little better, or it is simply more beneficial to include other high trash cost assets instead of this one, assets that also advance other strategies the corp may be pursuing.

Eve Campaign Asset: Advertisement (Humanity’s Shadow #92)

Eve CampaignImpact 3 out of 5

Eve is Adonis big sister of advertisement campaigns, and in terms of drip economy is a very large total credit gain over the life of the card. Eleven credits is a huge amount for a single click to install and one deck slot, but it takes a very long time for that to come to fruition.

Luckily, the five trash cost makes her rather hard for a runner to deal with as well. A bit of ICE protecting her and suddenly she may not be worth it, especially since it is only two credits a turn. Only two credits, right?

The fact is that if that if Eve runs to completion, that is an hefty amount of credits for the corp to play with, and there are plenty of cards that can bring her back onto the table for another run. The best time to trash Eve is in the first two runner turns after she has been rezzed, before she is turning a profit for the corp. It must be done with care however, as doing so can very well open a scoring window for the corp to run out an agenda while the runner is down having tried to keep the corp poor.

Eve, like all the asset drip economy, is going to remain a strong contender card in many decks, for both the large credit gain and the high trash cost. She may be slow, but the corp has a better sense of the timing of the game than the runner, due to the hidden information they have access too, and the corp can often take advantage of that in using cards like Eve.

Eli 1.0 ICE: Barrier - Bioroid (Future Proof #110)

Eli 1.0Impact 5 out of 5

As soon as Eli hit the card pool, he became an instant hit. A hefty tax, often four or more credits, he is a great piece of ICE that becomes very difficult to get through, While he can’t stop a determined runner on his own, forcing them to lose half their turn just to get through him is incredibly advantageous to a corp ready to take advantage of that sudden tempo shift.

Eli is splashed more than any other bioroid ICE, often one of the primary barriers of many corp decks.  He has seen more play that most ICE, and while probably not a card that is very useful defending a remote, the tax placed on runners trying to get into any central he guards is very useful to open scoring windows.

Plus, he has one of the best alt arts in the game.

Hourglass ICE: Code Gate (A Study In Static #71)

HourglassImpact 1 out of 5

Hourglass saw some experimentation when it was first released, and it still sees some play. Unfortunately, its purpose is to force the runner out of clicks to give the corp some breathing room. The fact that it is strength four and out of an au naturale Yog is good for it, but it suffers from the problem all ICE does - rarely will the subroutines fire more than once. Add to that that if the runner wants to risk it, running last click makes this piece of ICE not even a tax, as the subroutines will do absolutely nothing.

It can cause some problems, and while it may be useful to stop the runner from clicking through the next piece of Bioroid ICE they encounter, positional uses are always harder to pull off and make ICE that rely on it less effective. It falls short that even when its subroutines are guaranteed to fire, it is not something that will have an effect for more than a turn or two at most, and after that just becomes a light tax, if one at all.

Ryon Knight might see Hourglass be given some use. While still a two card combo, if seen and played early enough it's a guaranteed brain damage (Unfortunately though the strength of Hourglass still leaves it vulnerable to NRE+Yog). Combo heavy, but at least Knight also works well against runners worrying about Brain-Taping Warehouse and clicking past Bioroids.

Janus 1.0 ICE: Sentry - Bioroid - AP (What Lies Ahead #12)

Janus 1.0Impact 2 out of 5

When this ICE came out, most who saw it immediately went ‘Wow! 4 brain damage! Probably at least one if I can rez it in their face!’With the exception of oneshot killers, it is a huge tax to get through. Eight plus credits it’s going to stop runners from running very often,until it gets Femme’d. The problem becomes that it is so expensive to rez, and even with the accelerated economies of modern corp decks, it still is a hefty chunk of change to let loose on.

Still, that doesn’t make it a bad card, just one that is hard to use. Eight strength and four subroutines, even as bioroid clickable subroutines, is pretty respectable for a fifteen cost piece of ICE, and given the fact those subroutines can have a very heavy effect on the runner might make it worth the cost.

Combined with cards like Brain-Taping Warehouse and Ryon Knight it could be a devastating combo, and those cards were likely printed to give Bioroid ICE like Janus a second chance.

Sherlock 1.0 ICE: Sentry - Bioroid - Tracer (Trace Amount #30)

Sherlock 1.0Impact 1 out 5

Sherlock is ready for a second go. As a five strength sentry that makes him rather hard to break - Killers are the least efficient of all the breakers by straight up use, and at five he is solidly outside of Mimic range (even with NRE). The fact that his subroutine can set back the tempo of a runner is often overlooked. Sure it doesn’t actually stop the program from staying in play, but consider this: One click to draw, one click to play again means that if either one of his subroutines successfully hits, its half a turn lost for the runner.

Combine him with Targeted Marketing calling out the program they had to put on top of their deck, or even with just Making News for a bigger better trace, he can be a bit scary. He is also a bioroid that has to be broken in one way or another if he is toward the outer bit of the server. A lot of Shaper tricks could be stopped by putting the wrong program back on top of the stack.

Aggressively costed and an ability that really can’t just be ignored, it has to be dealt with in some way, Sherlock could very well make an appearance in the future, with the right deck.

Viper ICE: Code Gate - Tracer (Cyber Exodus #52)

ViperImpact 3 out of 5

Like Caduceus, Viper is one of the Snake ICE, with a very similar setup. It may be a little easy for the runner to pay through the traces if they wish, but truthfully told even for a one link runner that would be a minimum of four credits. Perhaps only two credits if running on the last click, but that is a very dangerous proposition. It is also something that some newer concept HB decks are trying to push - Run last click and face the dangers, or run early and let me rez my Bioroids at a reduction.

It has seen a lot of use in that style click denial deck, and has even seen some use in combination with Enigma. Its higher strength yet the same rez cost is balanced by the fact that it is a trace style ICE, but that higher strength keeps it relevant later into the game. Plus it means that other resources must be spent for the all too common fixed strength breakers to be used to get through it, which is a different sort of tax in itself.

Green Level Clearance Operation: Transaction (A Study in Static #70)

Green Level ClearanceImpact 4 out of 5

Where at first card draw was not wanted for the corp, Green Level is one of the most used draw cards in the game. Not only does it replace itself in the corps hand right away, but it gives a tidy profit - in terms of click efficiency, it gives three click actions for the cost of one (credit, credit, draw). It is also a Transaction, and BaBW loves it.

It helps the corp get into the cards they want faster, while building economy at the same time. More Operation economy, for instance, or the pieces of the combo needed to flatline the runner. Any corp deck that needs money (all of them) and wants to see certain cards as quickly as possible, Green Level makes a good addition to.

Rework Operation (Humanity’s Shadow #93)

ReworkImpact 2 out of 5

Like Jackson Howard this is a way to protect your agendas when you cannot score them. Using this card certainly telegraphs that you are putting something you don’t want the runner to access yet back into RD. It also may help prevent the runner from running on HQ for a while, believing the agenda is no longer in there.

Though this card does this for less influence and clicks than Jackson (Jackson requires an install, card draw through his ability to be able to discard cards from the corps hand, and then removing him from the game to put them back) it is far more limited than Jackson is - Jackson’s ability doesn’t have to be used just for saving agendas from HQ. It can draw into combo pieces, it can bring back economy or combo pieces, it can do a lot of funky things.

One possible fringe use for this card is in the Power Shutdown Accelerated Diagnostics super combo, allowing the player to put cards from HQ back into the deck for use with Accelerated Diagnostics later.

Ash 2X3ZB9CY Upgrade: Bioroid (What Lies Ahead #13)

Ash 2X3ZB9CYImpact 5 out of 5

Ash is one of the most used protective upgrades in many decks. At a low influence cost he can often be splashed into other corps glacier decks, and combined with the in faction upgrade protection of some of those corps becomes even better.

The reason for this is simple - While the other corps protection upgrades are mostly more limited (Red Herrings only protects agendas, Off the Grid is expensive and unreliable, Caprice Nisei while by far the best, can still be subject to variance and must be rezed at a specific window) Ash can protect everything - including those other upgrades. Forcing the runner to have to deal with Ash first, with other upgrades ready to work as well is extremely difficult to deal with. A Caprice keeping them out of the server, and an Ash forcing them to deal with Ash and then go back in and face Caprice again makes that server not only expensive to run, but also time consuming. The runner may simply not have enough clicks to deal with it before the agenda in there is scored.

Ruhr Valley Upgrade: Region (Future Proof #111)

Ruhr ValleyImpact 2 out of 5

The popularity of  Enhanced Login Protocol shows just how powerful the requirement of an additional click to make a run can be. Ruhr Valley does the same thing, but as a region only on the server it is in, which can be difficult to deal with. Add to that it is expensive to rez, and it must be rezzed before the runner begins a run (potentially leaving the corp with too little to rez ICE on that server).

That is what gives Ruhr Valley a severe drawback, one that may not be countered by the drawbacks Currents like ELP have. It has some interesting possibilities, especially again with cards like Brain-Taping Warehouse and Ryon Knight, but the six rez cost is so hard to get going with still floating enough credits to make ICE possible to be rezzed. It could make for an interesting situation with ELP out at the same time however, though that is a bit of anti synergy with Brain-Taping.

Genesis HB

HB got some great and very iconic cards in Genesis - Eli, Ash are the most recognizable. There are a lot of cards ready to see some new light, especially with new releases, and new strategies being developed.

Next Week, Anarch in Genesis

Reminder:This article was written with the meta up through “Chrome City” having been released. This article is about the opinions of the writer, and 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).

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