What Little Is Known for Certain
An Overview of the Jinteki Corporation by Guest Writer El-ad David Amir
At the core of Android: Netrunner are its asymmetrical cyberstruggles, waged between Corp and Runner as they race to score agenda points. However, even though these battles play out primarily over the solar system’s omnipresent network, they aren’t without character.
Both Corp and Runner must identify with one of the game’s seven factions, and by coming to understand what you can expect from these factions, and by learning to identify their strengths and weaknesses, you can improve your deck-building and play. You can play to your faction’s strengths, and you can watch for your opponent’s likely next move.
In previous articles, we’ve presented overviews of the Anarchs, Shapers, and NBN. Today, guest writer El-ad David Amir explores the mysteries of Jinteki, the undisputed Corporate masters of the shell game.
Guest Writer El-ad David Amir on the Mysteries of Jinteki
Suspicions abound regarding Jinteki’s true corporate vision. Even on the inside, few individuals enjoy a full picture of the company’s larger ambitions. Yet, occasionally, a Runner may successfully escape Jinteki’s servers with a fragmented piece of the larger puzzle. So far as anyone can tell from putting these pieces together, the reality of Jinteki is both fascinating and mortifying: human cloning and the bioengineering of psychics stands alongside the development of groundbreaking drugs and medical techniques.
A leader in nearly every form of bioscience, Jinteki routinely brings the most esoteric realms of fantasy within the realm of science, and while the corp claims it’s working to lead humanity into a brighter future, critics worry that Jinteki’s goals are much more perverse. They fear that the corp may actually be working to completely obsolete the human race. Meanwhile, public opinion shifts daily, as the newscasts condemn Jinteki’s unethical treatment of clones on one day only to praise its advancements in medicine on the next.
In Android: Netrunner, a Jinteki player’s strategy mirrors the Corp’s duality. Jinteki’s cards support two complementary strategies and allow the Corp to shift between them effortlessly. Played properly, Jinteki can confuse even the most skilled runners… or leave them conveniently hospitalized in a Jinteki mental health clinic, their brains turned into mush.
Death by a Thousand Cuts
The first approach to Jinteki, symbolized by the black tree of Personal Evolution (Core Set, 67), is the death by a thousand cuts. As Runners explore your various servers, their hands are slowly eroded. Neural Katana (Core Set, 77), Data Mine (Core Set, 76), and House of Knives (Honor and Profit, 4) are just a few of the tools that the black tree uses.
If a Runner makes even a tiny misstep or a slight miscalculation, a chain of Neural EMPs (Core Set, 72) can easily end the game. If the Runner waits too long, Chairman Hiro (Honor and Profit, 8) and a Ronin (Future Proof, 112) can drop him into the negative.
Even when Runners take care to refill their hands, the ceaseless net damage may hit key components of their rigs, slowing them down and allowing you to win via the more traditional agenda victory.
The Mask of Benevolence
Through the looking-glass we find the white tree of Replicating Perfection (Trace Amount, 31), which offers another take on Jinteki based around the concept of work compression. To quote George Hollis, who first shared the idea with the Android: Netrunner community, work compression is “the ability to use clicks for actions across multiple turns, and then to force the runner to match you click-for-click within the space of a runner’s single turn.”
Instead of playing as efficiently as possible, you play to capitalize upon the crucial moment in which you can overflow the Runner. Nisei Mk II (Core Set, 68) and Caprice Nisei (Double Time, 114) are two keys to this approach as they force repeated runs on your remote in an attempt to steal the agenda.
Net damage remains an important weapon. Even if you’re not trying to flatline the Runner with the work compression deck type, a well-timed Snare! (Core Set, 70) will force the Runner to waste time on drawing up and removing the tag. This is wasted time that you can take advantage of by installing and advancing an agenda like NAPD Contract (Double Time, 119). Place it behind Chum (Core Set, 75), Komainu (Honor and Profit, 17), and a layer of mystery ice, and it should be quite safe.
The white tree’s chief deception is its apparent benevolence, but make no mistakes: It’s just as ruthless as its black twin.
Running the Shell Game
An important common thread through Jinteki’s various decks is the diversity of their agendas and their highly varied abilities. The Future Perfect (Honor and Profit, 7) is nigh untouchable. If you can chain the effects of Nisei Mk II and Unorthodox Predictions (Mala Tempora, 53), you can force the Runner into a perpetual time-out. Finally, Braintrust (What Lies Ahead, 14), Medical Breakthrough (Honor and Profit, 5), and Clone Retirement (Second Thoughts, 32) open a fast-advance option for the Corp, taking you from zero to seven in a flurry of turns.
Along with your array of potent ambushes and highly virulent agendas, these agendas and their abilities force Runners into all sorts of bad places. Runners can never ignore Jinteki’s install-advance-advance.
Let’s examine typical builds for each of Jinteki’s play styles. As its name implies, the “Cambridge Jin” is the deck played to victory at the 2014 Cambridge Regional Championship. It uses Mushin No Shin (Honor and Profit, 15) to set up either a Ronin or a Cerebral Overwriter (Creation and Control, 9).
As its remotes fill up with more and more assets, the “Cambridge Jin” forces the Runner into an unenviable dilemma: Run and risk massive brain damage, or stick to the relatively safe remotes and race the inevitable double-Ronin. This deck is a painful clock of tiny, never-ending cuts, with a core of several notable cards:
- 3x Ronin
- 3x Cerebral Overwriter
- 3x Mushin Nu Shin
- 3x Psychic Field (Honor and Profit, 10)
- 3x House of Knives
Next is the Replicating Perfection “Glacier” deck, a powerhouse that might just be the strongest Corp deck from the 2014 tournament season. “Glacier” takes its time to defend its central servers, relying on massive economy and self-defending agendas to block the runner at every turn. Eventually it sets up a nigh-impregnable remote, featuring Caprice Nisei, Ash 2X3ZB9CY (What Lies Ahead, 13), or both, and wins by advancing agendas in the span of the following three to four turns.
- 3x The Future Perfect
- 2x Caprice Nisei
- 3x Mental Health Clinic (Honor and Profit, 9)
- 3x Sundew (Mala Tempora, 54)
- 3x Eli 1.0 (Future Proof, 110)
Of course, as Jinteki excels at switching seamlessly from one approach to another, it is possible to create powerful decks that combine the two strategies. Using the slim, tight clock forced on the Runner by Harmony Medtech (Honor and Profit, 1), the following build utilizes cheap agendas, fast ice, a combination of ambushes, and Trick of Light (Trace Amount, 33). Combining these results in a lightning-fast deck that can steal the victory from under the most confident of Runners.
- 3x Braintrust
- 3x Trick of Light
- 3x Paper Wall (Mala Tempora, 59)
- 2x Plan B (Honor and Profit, 23)
- 2x Shi.Kyu (Honor and Profit, 11)
One Point of Clarity in a Fog of Uncertainty
Jinteki is one of the world’s most commonplace names. The megacorp’s stupefying array of technological advances touches on nearly every aspect of daily life, yet very little is known about the work it performs behind closed doors. Chairman Hiro has shared very little information about the company’s vision, and the jury is still out on the ethical implications of its practices. The situation in Android: Netrunner, however, is much clearer. Jinteki is a powerful force with which to be reckoned.