Saturday, 20 May 2017

Terminating the Opposition pt 1: Moon Bioroids

So out of the blues my roommate and Android Netrunner opponent Tacin told me that he really wanted to get the new expansion of Netrunner: ''Terminal Directive''.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Don't read this article of the following of ''Terminating the Opposition'' if you intend to get Terminal Directive. I would hate to ruin some of the surprises for you


I had not been buying Netrunner data packs since Khala Goda and the Mumbai cycle so I was quite behind, something like 14 packs I believe, as such my interest in Netrunner was lowered simply because I felt so far behind. In a way its the dark side of LCG: they are amazing if you follow them eagerly but the minute you skip a couple of purchases, it can feel daunting to get back into them. (note: I'm also lagging on A Game of Thrones LCG but I'll get back into it when the next book comes out...I'm saying this as a joke but its probably what will happen.)


Or how the ''Legacy'' concept was recycled for Android Netrunner: For those who don't know the 'Legacy' concept, it started (or at least became popular) with the 'Risk: Legacy' which was based upon every game having consequences for the future games played on the same board as well as secret objectives/impactful events happening mid-games that could also alter the way to play all future games.
It was original and adding that 'evolution' aspect that is usually a role-playing strength but the Legacy concept only reached the Top 10 Boardgamesgeek with 'Pandemic: Legacy'. Man did that game sell out!

I think Fantasy Flight had a great idea to take that Legacy concept and make an expansion of Netrunner using it. For one Netrunner as quite a rich universe and in that universe corps and runners are waging an information war, and who says war says weapon race which can be properly represented by an evolving campaign with the Legacy system.
Its also interesting for a veteran like me where regular data packs have little to no power to bring me back in the game while this expansion offers not only new cards but a different experience and way to experience Netrunner.


One of the many cool things of Terminal Directive is that it comes with campaign specific cards as well as cards you can use outside.
When you begin a campaign you have to chose if you will be the Runner or Corp as you can't play both (as parts of the story are only known to one side and vice versa), being a fan of corporations since the beginning of the game and Tacin being addicted to his Sunny Lebeau Global Sec Agent deck that choice was easy.

Tacin's favorite Runner

Once you have chosen the side, you have to chose your identity and, contrary to almost every other cards in your deck during the campaign, you won't be able to change the identity chosen.
The campaign comes with two new identities, a Weyland and a Haas-Bioroid, the Weyland seemed good but too classic so I went full fluff with the Haas-Bioroid Seidr Laboratories. It helps this identity has a cool ability.

A Laboratory with a funky ability? You can be sure I can't resist playing that!

Having no clue what to expect of the campaign I built a deck trying to use my identity's ability to play strong operations again and again as my Bioroid Ice would tempt my enemy to spend his precious clicks during his runs.
One of the strongest card that synergize well was surprisingly, and its quite cool fluff-wise: Successful Demonstration.

Here's the list:

Idendity: Seidr, Destiny Defined

Agendas = 15
-3 slots open for campaign requirements (they became 'evidence collection'
-2 Domestic Sleepers
-3 Bifrost Array
-3 Brain Rewiring
-3 Accelerated Beta Test
-1 Paper Trail



Very low points on most of them so they can be sacrificed if needed, it also forces the Runner to run more often to score points with less rewarding run when he finally steals an agenda which works well into a deck based upon wasting the Runner's clicks. The two new 'regular' agendas that came from the campaign: Brain Rewiring and Paper Trail proved to be extremely strong and I did not regret one bit their inclusion.

Ice = 15
-3 Howler
-2 Enforcer 1.0
-2 Eli 1.0
-1 Viktor 1.0
-1 Viktor 2.0
-2 Eli 2.0
-2 Heimdall 1.0
-1 Heimdall 2.0
-1 Wotan




Some very cheap Ice (Howler, Eli 1.0 and Viktor 1.0) with some extremely expensive Ice (Enforcer 1.0, Heimdall 1.0 and 2.0 as well as Wotan) the idea being that the extremely expensive stuff can be used with Howler to block one run and when that one run already costs two clicks the Runner won't be happy to jack out (although Tacin did everytime he faced an Enforcer or one of the Heimdals).
Howler synergize with Estelle Moon to put advancement tokens on her and I can get it back thanks to my Corp's indentity if needed.

Operations = 13
-3 Green Level Clearance
-3 Enhanced Login Protocol
-1 Succesful Demonstration
-1 Blue Level Clearance
-2 Hunter Seeker (Weyland Influence 2)
-1 Bioroid Efficiency Research
-2 Ultraviolet Clearance



I could'nt resist NOT playing Ultraviolet Clearance, the artwork is cool but the simple fact its the highest clearance and gives good money and crazy card drawing made it interesting. Hunter Seeker was another one I just had to play, some will say that it was a way for me to get my Weyland fix, I'll just say its killer drones sent against whoever attacked my extremely high security laboratory...That and it can come back thanks to my indentity power to punish whoever stole and agenda and used a click to go through one of my Ice in the process.

Assets = 4
-2 Estelle Moon
-2 Illegals Arms Factory (Weyland Influence 2x2)


Estelle was, as I expected, absolutely amazing. Illegal Arms Factory was, as I expected, quite good too.
Maybe its because I'm rusty maybe it was because I forgot they exist or because they are used by other decks but there is no other economy assets and none of the usual suspects, I rely instead on the burst economy from my operations.

Upgrades =
-1 Mason Bellamy
-3 Heinlein Grid
-1 Strongbox


Cool combo: Mason + Heinlein Grid on a sever will usually block most runners after the first ice encountered...and they wouldn't even have the credits to trash them!

14 cards from the campaign so roughly a quarter of the cards come from Terminal Directive in order to try and be fluffy.

So unknowingly I made quite a cool deck with the campaign cards and campaign objectives. In appearance this deck doesnt have any crazy combo (although the Mason + Heinlein combo turned out to be quite cool when I discovered it in-game), it doesn't try to be super fast or super slow, it just tries.
I did try to put cards that would play on the Identity's ability:
-All the Bioroid ice (if the runner spends a click)
-Most operations are they are amazing to get back
-Mason Bellamy
And most operations are amazing cards to draw back hence why the economy is mostly based on operations.


For the first game Tacin is fielding what I guess is a Sunny Lebeau deck with more than 100 cards in it (or at least it looks like it), Tacin has a really hard time making choices and cutting cards in his deck. His Sunny Lebeau deck before the campaign was really really strong so he didn't want to risk it by going with one of the two new identities in the box...But by adding all these other cards without cutting the excess I'm hoping he weakened his deck.

The game begins with a big rookie mistake on my part due to how rusty/optimistic I was: I keep a two agendas hand.
I, of course, then struggle to draw enough Ice and Tacin begins the game with 2 points. (two 1pt Brain Rewiring and one 0pt Sleeper Agents).
I did benefit from an extremely strong economy and tons of drawing thanks to seeing most of my ''clearances'' as well as a very early ''Illegal Arms Factory''. On the other hand Tacin gets most of his icebreakers and some drip economy but far from the crazy economy he usually benefits (I blame the fact that there is too many cards in his deck!) which gives me after an early 'Enforcer' (it pained me, I had to forfeit a 2pts agenda!!) trashing some of his economy and one of his icebreakers the time to set up a crazy servers and finally score non-stop.
Of course, Tacin did try to stop me but with 'Enhanced Login Protocols', 'Mason Bellamy' and 'Heinlein Grid' protected by three ice I effectively made an extremely hard server to go through (it also had an 'Enforcer' and a 'Heimdal 1.0' amongst the ice).

I benefited alot from my Ethos: its a campaign thing, you chose if you'll be a ''Guardian'' or a ''Predator'' and it represents the way you'll approach a situation or react, always being the aggressive corp  I chose Predator to begin with.
The Ethos I chose allowed me to draw a card from R&D each time the Runner stole and agenda and I could then shuffle a card from HQ back into R&D, it really came in a handy in the beginning when I kept drawing agendas and Tacin kept stealing those small agendas from me.
I also really like the campaign Agenda ''Evidence Collection'', it feels like you are truly working on tracking back the Android...And at 2 agenda points for only three advancements they really helped in winning. Another Agenda that shone was the 'Paper Trail', it broke Tacin's fledging economy and was well worth the investment.

As I won the game with two 'Evidence Collection' I unlocked the Set#2 for my next campaign game. Both Tacin and myself managed to accomplish our first tasks.

I Opened the cards for set 2 and giggled with joy when I saw the name of one of the card. Tacin had just showed me his Runner Campaign card Inez Delgado, a main investigator in the campaign story and the card that would have allowed him to unlock Set#2 if he won with her in her scoring area (its an asset that can transformed into a 0pts Agenda whenever you steal an agenda) as well as cards from other Netrunner expansion where the investigator Inez Delgado was appearing and he seemed to really like her.

To be continued in Part 2: ''Consider yourself hired''

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