Make Your Money Work for You
An Overview of the Weyland Consortium by Guest Writer Andrew Grace
Few characters in fiction or cinema are quite so compelling as a truly dangerous villain, and the Weyland Consortium may just be the best villain in the world of Android: Netrunner.
This isn’t to say that the Corp will admit anything other than the fact that it has continued to improve the world by leading the development of new construction and tapping into new energy resources. However, the people who play Android: Netrunner know that there’s plenty more to the Weyland Consortium than you’ll ever find in the newsies. There’s a dark side. A considerable dark side. And whether or not this darkness is necessary to preserve all the good that Weyland brings to the world, the moon, and the exploration of space is a matter of dispute.
In the game, it’s enough for Runners to know that the Corp has very likely initiated massive neighborhood renovation projects just to create the rubble under which it can bury the bodies of those who crossed it.
Today, in the fifth of our faction overview articles, guest writer Andrew Grace dares to offer us a quick peek at the different things the execs may discuss behind the closed doors of the Weyland Consortium.
No Advertisement Necessary
Like most Android: Netrunner players, I like to imagine what the advertisements for the various corporations would actually sound like. NBN’s ads would be hyperbolic and trendy. Jinteki’s must feature tranquil music over a backdrop of streams and trees and perfectly bio-engineered babies. Haas-Bioroid’s might resemble something you would see in a German car commercial; only instead of a finely tuned sedan cruising along the Autobahn, you would have finely tuned biotic laborers constructing high-rises in a single day. Still, the reassuring baritone narration would be the same.
The Weyland Consortium, however, doesn’t need that kind of smooth salesmanship. Their ads? I imagine that they just put the WC logo on the screen and say, “The Weyland Consortium. You can trust us because we already control you, and you’re probably still alive.”
And that’s why Weyland is the best Corp in Android: Netrunner. They’ve already won, and they can afford to wait until you realize it.
Money: It’s Still Good for You
The Weyland Consortium is the old money of the Android: Netrunner world, its Tom and Daisy Buchanans, if you will. They don’t need to evolve or refine themselves in pursuit of perfection like Jinteki. They don’t need to stay up-to-date like NBN or engineer the future like Haas-Bioroid. They don’t need to steer the world in their favor because it’s already working in their favor.
Weyland’s tactics are tried-and-true, and I imagine the drink of choice at their corporate retreats is the Old Fashioned. They would rather advance the ice they trust than develop some new sentry or code gate with a list of subroutines so long and so complicated that you have to read it three times. They’re also the only Corp with cards that feature firearms, and while firearms may seem archaic compared to cerebral mapping or genetically-engineered psychics, they offer the same definitive conclusion to some future concerns as they do now. In fact, the next time I play a Punitive Counterstrike (True Colors, 79), I intend to tell the Runner his mistake was “bringing a cyberdeck to a gun fight.”
Weyland isn’t in a rush to change its ways because it knows that the best way to keep making money is to have the most money available to invest in the first place. To the uninitiated, Weyland’s Core Set identity card, Building a Better World (Core Set, 93), may not look like much. Each time you play a transaction operation, gain a credit. It seems straightforward enough, but it’s missing a phrase commonly found on identity cards, “Once per turn.”
If you play three transaction cards in a turn, you gain three extra credits. For those of you doing the math at home, that’s a whole turn’s worth of credits for the average Jinteki player, and it’s just a turn-end bonus for the average Weyland player.
Consider the net returns. As far as I can tell, Hedge Fund (Core Set, 110) may be the single most commonly played card in Android: Netrunner, and it offers twenty-five percent better returns when you’re playing Building a Better World versus any other identity. Beanstalk Royalties (Core Set, 98) is thirty-three percent more profitable, and the low-influence Green Level Clearance (A Study in Static, 70) offers fifty percent more credits to a Weyland player than an in-faction Haas-Bioroid player.
If you start your turn with a mere two credits – which seems unlikely, because you’re playing Weyland – you can play the Green Level Clearance that draws into the Hedge Fund you need to afford to Restructure (Second Thoughts, 40) and end your turn with sixteen credits.
Furthermore, if you’ve spent a few turns advancing your Ice Walls (Core Set, 103) or Swarms (Opening Moves, 18), you can recoup your expenses – and make a tidy one-credit profit, of course – with Commercialization (Cyber Exodus, 58). With Paywall Implementation (The Spaces Between, 28), you can even ensure that any time a Runner actually dares hack his way through your ice, you still make a profit. And with Sealed Vault (The Spaces Between, 29), you can keep your precious credits safe from any crafty, would-be Criminals hoping to bleed you with an Account Siphon (Core Set, 18).
Even your agendas give you credits. Government Contracts (A Study in Static, 77), Geothermal Fracking (Opening Moves, 17), and Hostile Takeover (Core Set, 94) all reward you with enormous profits, as if to apologize for forcing you to spend the clicks necessary to advance them.
When you play as the Weyland Consortium, the question isn’t whether or not you’ll have credits; the question is what you’ll do with them.
No One Is Safe
So what does the Weyland Consortium do with all its money? It buys power.
I like to think that Weyland execs plan a wide variety of different ways to use their nearly inexhaustible supply of credits to buy all the power and influence they need to look into their enemies’ doomed and terrified faces and state, cooly, “I’m going to destroy you. And possibly everything you love if it suits my interests. But definitely you. Whenever and however I feel like it.”
Then they go back to the office and spend some spare change on the PR (or extortion) necessary to assure the rest of the population that any rumors they may have heard are completely unfounded and not worth their time.
This means that the Weyland faction satisfies a uniquely aggressive, authoritarian impulse that the other Corp factions just don’t. Most Corps rely on a certain level of subterfuge to score their agendas: Is that card with two advancement tokens an agenda or an ambush? Is that unrezzed ice a harmless barrier or a program-trashing sentry? They can’t always protect their agendas, but they must always do their best to convince the Runner that the cards in their servers are, in fact, well-protected… or that they’re not agendas.
On the other hand, Weyland could play with their agendas face-up and it would make very little difference. Weyland could throw six points worth of agendas in its archives, and it would only serve to convince a Runner to leave the archives alone.
Why? Because all of that cool Criminal confidence, all of that carefree Anarch boasting, and all of that studious Shaper preparation mean nothing to Weyland’s ruthless arsenal of meat-damage inflicting cards. Jinteki may tax your grip with relentless net damage and Haas-Bioroid’s bioroids may gradually fry your brain, but Weyland will straight-up murder you. And they will spare no expense to do so, because “expense” is only a meaningful concept if your funds are finite.
Weyland will murder you, and then they will deploy their legion of black ops cleaners and PR geniuses to make sure no one remembers you ever existed.
There are just two cards at the crux of Weyland’s murder brigade: Scorched Earth (Core Set, 99) and Punitive Counterstrike.
Cards like Dedicated Response Team (Future Proof, 118) and The Cleaners (Second Thoughts, 36) may also contribute to the general aura of terror surrounding a good Weyland deck. They can soften the Runner up or put the nail in his coffin, but Scorched Earth and Punitive Counterstrike are so potent as the faction’s core retaliatory threat that you don’t even have to put them in your deck. There’s a good chance that as soon as you reveal your identity to a Runner, that Runner’s going to start drawing cards until he finds a Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead, 9), and that sort of fear can give you all the time you need to install a solid wall of ice in front of your central servers or start looking for your hardware-destruction cards.
Yes, in addition to owning all the best means of doling out lethal quantities of meat damage, Weyland also boasts the necessary tools to make sure that Runners can’t do anything to protect themselves. Not only will Power Grid Overload (Trace Amount, 37) and Taurus (Upstalk, 9) destroy their body armor and leave them praying for a quick end beneath a falling asteroid, but Swarm, Archer (Core Set, 101), and even a well-timed Burke Bugs (Future Proof, 119) will trash their programs.
As the Weyland Consortium, it’s your job to remind those impudent thieves that those funds are yours because you earned them, and you intend to protect what’s yours. It always seems to happen that, in the final moments, every single thing that those Runners see around them belongs to the Weyland Consortium. Then… The End.