As a Living Card Game® , Android: Netrunner is constantly growing and evolving, and part of that growth is directed by the game’s community. Through events like the Plugged-in Tour and the Chronos Protocol Tour , the game’s developers have interfaced with fans around the world to guide the design of upcoming Runner and Corporate identities. Additionally, FFG awards each year’s Android: Netrunner World Champion the opportunity to work closely with the game’s developers to craft a card that will become part of the game.
Today, as we await the upcoming release of Up and Over , we’ll take a look at the first of the game’s World Champion cards. Designed by 2012 World Champion Jeremy Zwirn , Architect ( Up and Over , 61) is a sophisticated piece of Haas-Bioroid ice that’s certain to add many new layers of tricks, traps, and efficiencies to the game’s constantly evolving cyberstruggles.
Jeremy Zwirn on Designing Architect
Being given the opportunity to design a card is really the coolest prize in gaming! I put a lot of pressure upon myself to design an exciting and memorable first World Champion Card for
, and I'd like to share the process with all of you.
My goal was to design an interesting card that players would be excited to use for years to come. After considering and scrapping a number of other ideas, I eventually thought about designing a piece of ice. There's a lot of design space for ice that I felt was ripe for exploration, and I found that inspiring. One question that I found particularly compelling ended up at the center of my design, “What if the Corp could install cards like assets, agendas, and upgrades in the middle of a Runner’s run?” I thought about the mind games one could play by installing a card in a server the Runner was currently running. I also liked the idea that the card might discourage Runners from face-checking ice, but instead of punishing the Runner, it would reward the Corp.
Another thing that I wanted to be sure to add to my card was a measure of variance. I like cards with variance because they provide interesting gameplay and high replayability. Gaining the ability to look at the top five cards of R&D and install one of them creates variance throughout each game. Each time it triggers, you get to ask yourself, “What card do I install?” Do you need more ice to protect your servers, or do you want that San San City Grid ( Core Set , 92) to start scoring agendas? It all depends upon the current game state. Adding a second subroutine that would install a card from Archives or HQ further increased variance and provided even more choices.
Because I was also looking for something to help counter powerful cards, like the ubiquitous Parasite ( Core Set , 12). I had thought about adding the ability, “Architect's strength cannot be lowered.” This would have been an incredibly strong ability, but also one better used elsewhere. Also, it wouldn’t have addressed the confusion that could be introduced if the Corp chose to trash Architect while resolving its first subroutine: Would the second subroutine still resolve if Architect was no longer installed? A much better solution prevented any confusion while helping to counter Parasite; I added the ability, “Architect cannot be trashed while installed.”
Playing with a piece of ice that installs cards feels like you’re creating the blueprint for a set of servers that could best impede the Runner, so the name “Architect” felt natural.
Playing with Architect
Even if you don’t install a card each time the Runner triggers Architect’s first subroutine, knowing the top five cards of R&D is still very helpful; you'll know when R&D is vulnerable and when (and when not) to draw cards. Is an agenda sitting on top of R&D? Then draw it, and make the Runner find it in HQ instead. Is an operation or a piece of ice on top? Leave it and let the Runner run R&D fruitlessly. The knowledge of what’s on top of R&D also helps you plan ahead:
Installing cards during the Runner's turn can also trigger other benefits for the Corp:
Architect offers additional synergies with a host of popular cards. Knowing what cards are on top of R&D really helps with cards like
Accelerated Beta Test
, 52), and
, 4). If the Runner used an icebreaker during the run, install
, 32) with Architect to bury the icebreaker on the bottom of his stack. When Architect is protecting an agenda in a remote server and the Runner goes for it, you can install a card in the server via Architect to trash the agenda and prevent the Runner from stealing it during that run. It's even better if the card you just installed is a
I'd like to thank FFG for giving me this unique opportunity to design a card for Android: Netrunner . I'm excited to contribute to one of my favorite games, and I hope all of you enjoy playing with Architect!
Architect is certain to inspire a range of new deck designs. Will it feature at the center of your schematics? Or will it support an existing deck? You’ll soon have your chance to play with Architect and the other cards from Up and Over . This Data Pack is due to arrive at retailers later this month!
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.