“We don’t actually want to discourage runners from running. We just need to ensure that we’re deflecting a majority of their hostilities toward our competitors and other corporations. The truth is that runners use an awful lot of bandwidth, and most of that usage translates to credits in our accounts.”
In the third of our faction overview articles for Android: Netrunner , guest writer and 2012 World Champion Jeremy Zwirn takes the megacorp and media giant NBN and boils it down to its essence.
As Jeremy argues, NBN is, at its heart, all about the three things it does better than any other Corp faction: fast advancement, tagging the Runner, and card draw.
One of the most powerful Corp strategies in Android: Netrunner is to fast advance your agendas, installing and scoring them in a single turn. By fast advancing your agendas, you reduce the risks and vulnerabilities associated with them because you'll never give the Runner a chance to steal them from a remote server. Oftentimes, you can play an entire game without ever installing ice in a remote server, and that saves you numerous actions and credits that allow you to focus even more on defending your central servers.
NBN is well-suited for a fast advance archetype largely because it owns what is arguably the most powerful Corp card in the game. AstroScript Pilot Program ( Core Set , 81) is the poster child for fast advance. With an AstroScript scored, you can install an agenda that requires three advancement, advance it twice, and use the hosted agenda counter to immediately score the newly installed agenda before the Runner has a chance to steal it from your remote server. Chaining AstroScripts into each other is so strong and prevalent that it's sometimes referred to as “riding the train.” Whenever a Corp starts to ride the train, it threatens to win very quickly, and it places a lot of pressure on the Runner to dig for agendas in the central servers – from HQ, in particular – before it's too late.
Another powerful component of many fast advance decks is SanSan City Grid ( Core Set , 92), which lowers the advancement requirement of agendas installed in its server by one. A rezzed SanSan is similar to having a scored Astrocript; they both allow you to install and score three-advancement agendas within a single turn, although the Runner can counter a SanSan simply by trashing it.
NBN players can further improve their fast advance decks by splashing some of their influence on other helpful cards. Biotic Labor ( Core Set , 59) gives the deck a trifecta of ways to score agendas “straight from HQ.” Fast Track ( Honor and Profit , 27) has quickly become an integral card for the archetype because it acts like a proxy agenda without the added vulnerability of being stolen by the Runner. Sometimes all the Corp needs to win is to find an agenda to score, and Fast Track increases the odds of drawing one. When you have any combination of scored Astrocripts, a rezzed SanSan, or a Biotic Labor, you can use Fast Track to score an agenda “straight from R&D.” For example, with a scored Astroscript, you can play Biotic Labor so that you have four available actions for the turn. Then, you can play Fast Track to find another Astrocript, install and advance it twice with your remaining actions, and then use the hosted agenda counter on the already scored Astrocript to immediately score another Astrocript. Scoring agendas has never been so easy and risk free!
Once you've played with or against a fast advance deck, you'll know why it's one of the strongest archetypes in the game.
Tagging the Runner
One of NBN's biggest strengths is tagging the Runner, in particular, during the Corp's turn. If you have enough of a credit advantage over the Runner, SEA Source ( Core Set , 86) or Midseason Replacements ( Future Proof , 116) can tag the Runner during your turn when their conditions are met. Breaking News ( Core Set , 82) gives them two temporary tags when you score it. Additionally, many NBN decks also use a number of other cards to tag reckless Runners, such as Data Raven ( Core Set , 88), TGTBT ( True Colors , 75), and, if you use some influence, Snare! ( Core Set , 70).
Why is tagging the Runner useful? Well, as a basic action, the Corp can spend one click and two credits to trash any resource of a tagged Runner. Having the ability to snuff out powerful resources like
, 91) and
Creation and Control
, 49) denies the Runner crucial resources.
Entire archetypes are built around punishing a tagged Runner, and one of the best ways to punish a tagged Runner is to burn them! Scorched Earth ( Core Set , 99) can flatline the Runner from out of nowhere. Who needs to win the game by scoring agendas when scorching Runners is so much fun? This “tag and bag” archetype usually relies on spending twelve influence on three copies of Weyland's faction-defining card, Scorched Earth. You'll have little influence left, but it's well worth it.
If using twelve influence for a few Scorched Earths is too much, you can spend it elsewhere and focus on winning without flatlining the Runner.
Drawing cards is one of the surest ways to improve your odds of winning in card games. The more cards you draw, the more options you have, and having more options gives you a definite advantage. Drawing cards as the Corp, however, can be a double-edged sword. For the Runner to win, he generally needs to find the agendas hidden within the Corp's deck. Agendas are generally safe when buried deep within R&D, but the more the Corp draws, the more likely they'll uncover those agendas. If the Corp draws too many agendas and has no way to deal with them, the Runner can pluck them out of HQ and the game can end in a heartbeat. Getting caught with too many agendas in HQ, often referred to as being “agenda flooded,” is one of the most disheartening way to lose a game.
Thankfully, NBN has the perfect answer in the form of Jackson Howard ( Opening Moves , 15). In addition to doubling the efficiency of your card draw – as he offers two cards for one action – Jackson Howard can bail you out of sticky situations when you get agenda flooded. Simply draw enough cards until you're over your maximum hand size, discard any agendas you don't want, and then use his second ability to shuffle the discarded agendas back into R&D before the Runner can steal them. This ability is so useful that nearly all competitive Corp decks will include two or three copies of Jackson Howard to help prevent agenda flooding.
Near-Earth Hub ( Upstalk , 5) is another NBN card that can generate card advantage. The first time you create a server each turn, you draw a card. If you build a deck with many assets and upgrades, Near-Earth Hub will keep you flush with cards, often drawing you an additional eight or more cards over the course of a typical game. Moreover, its generous seventeen influence makes it a good choice for many decks since you can include three copies of Biotic Labor or Scorched Earth with influence to spare.
Even in the Core Set , NBN offers the Corp its best card draw. The operation Anonymous Tip ( Core Set , 83) is simple yet effective; for one click, you draw three cards. If you like drawing cards, NBN is the faction for you.
As the world’s leading multi-media conglomerate, NBN knows a thing or two about staying on message. It knows its strengths and how to play to them. Don’t mistake the fact that a veteran player can reduce the faction down to its three core strengths; all the colors in the world are made from just three primary colors, and NBN’s three core strengths lend themselves to an astonishing array of deck types.
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.