Building for the End Game
A Preview of the Order and Chaos Expansion for Android: Netrunner
While the Anarchs and Weyland Consortium are the stars of Order and Chaos, the expansion has plenty to offer each of the other factions of Android: Netrunner. Six different neutral cards and an array of versatile, low-influence Anarch and Weyland cards introduce new efficiencies, tricks, and tactics for all manner of Corps and Runners.
Today, we look at some of these cards and how they may help you safeguard your servers, avoid tags, and advance your economies.
Safeguard Your Servers
This is a common problem and one experienced by Corps everywhere as players move from a game’s middle stages to its final throes. In his introduction to the Lunar Cycle, developer Lukas Litzsinger explained how the Corp wants to extend its mid-game as long as possible. In the mid-game, he writes, the Corp has bought itself time to score agendas by barricading its servers with ice the Runner cannot yet break:
“Generally, most games of Android: Netrunner can be broken down into three stages: the early game, the mid-game, and the late game. Historically, the early game belongs to the Runner, who looks to score as many agenda points as possible before the Corp can rez its defenses. In the mid-game, the Corp has established enough defenses to start scoring some points. Then, in the late game, the Runner’s rig is fully assembled, the Corporation’s defenses become vulnerable, and no agenda is safe. The most powerful Runner decks try to extend the early portion of the game as long as possible, and may even prevent the mid-game stage from ever occurring. And many of the best Corp decks are able to win the game in any stage, often by flatlining a careless Runner.”
While Lukas went on to explain how the Lunar Cycle and its cards offered both Corps and Runners novel means to delay, interrupt, and even reverse the standard movements from early game to mid-game and late game, the fact remains that most Corps want to live in the mid-game as long or as much as possible, and that means they need meaningful defenses.
Here, Order and Chaos introduces several new cards that any Corp can use to extend its mid-game.
- First of all, Patch (Order and Chaos, 21) can transform such binary ice as Enigma, which are only “on” until such a time as the Runner has installed a program like Yog.0 that shuts them “off,” into ice that can continue to impede or, at least, tax the Runner. Not only can it boost a good number of code gates past the point that Yog.0 makes light of them, Patch can work wonders on sentries, since most killers are expensive to boost.
- Alternatively, you could get more value out of your ice by using The Twins (Order and Chaos, 24) to discard your extra copies and make the Runner smash back into the ice he just passed, but this time, you might catch him slamming into it face first. Against a piece of ice like Janus 1.0 (What Lies Ahead, 12), this might even be a lethal, game-winning play, and one that’s certainly much cheaper than rezzing a second copy of the ice.
- Finally, though you may intentionally build your deck with ice like Janus 1.0 to tax the Runner, bleeding him of clicks and credits turn-by-turn, there may come a time when you need your ice to provide hard stops. Enter Sub Boost (Order and Chaos, 25), an operation that adds an “End the run” subroutine after all of its other subroutines. Not only might this operation force the Runner to suffer extra brain damage against Janus 1.0 or end his run, it can also work wonders when hosted on ice like Universal Connectivity Fee (Up and Over, 67) that are immune to most icebreakers.
As a whole, these cards tend to reflect the Weyland Consortium’s focus on strong, defensive barriers. After all, this is the faction that gave us advanceable ice, and for those Corps willing to pay the influence, Order and Chaos gives us even more of these advanceable ice, as well as the code gate Builder (Order and Chaos, 16) to continue ramping them up, run after run after run.
Even as the Corp is using these new cards to build up its defenses, Order and Chaos provides Runners with new ways to avoid tags, shake the ones they take, and focus more on running against Corporate servers and less on finding ways to get out of Corporate crosshairs.
If you’re looking to stay off-grid, a Qianju PT (Order and Chaos, 54) allows you to forfeit a click at the beginning of your turn in order to avoid the first tag you would take until the beginning of your next turn.
This can be handy if you suspect you might run into a Snare! (Core Set, 70) or think you might take a tag from ice like Shadow (Core Set, 104) or Data Raven (Core Set, 88). It’s also a great piece of equipment for Runners looking to play multiple copies of Account Siphon (Core Set, 18). If you keep the tags from your Account Siphon, you can quickly find yourself bankrupt or dead, so it’s generally advisable to shake the tags after you get them. If you avoid the first of them with your Qianju PT, you find yourself another two credits ahead with each Account Siphon.
Nonetheless, the best use for a Qianju PT may be to stave off the tags the Corp might try to lay upon you during its turn. More than one Runner has been flatlined by an SEA Source (Core Set, 86) tag that led into one or more copies of Scorched Earth (Core Set, 99).
Sometimes, however, you can’t avoid a tag… or you might intentionally tag yourself to mill the Corp with a Data Leak Reversal (Future Proof, 103). In these situations, you might wish to supplement your deck with the Chop Bot 3000 (Order and Chaos, 45). Much like Aesop’s Pawnshop (Core Set, 47), the Chop Bot 3000 adds new value to otherwise dead (or even detrimental) cards that you have installed. Those cards can be discarded to fuel either a single card draw or to allow you to remove one tag.
Advance Your Economy
As much as Android: Netrunner is largely about finding innovative ways to maneuver toward economic superiority, Order and Chaos maintains some of these fundamentals with cards for both Corp and Runner.
- A Dedicated Technician Team (Order and Chaos, 26) can perform wonders for a Corporation like Haas-Bioroid that might try to bunker up within its central servers, tucked away behind layers upon layers of ice, until it can score its agendas from hand with the assistance of Biotic Labor (Core Set, 59).
- Meanwhile, the Cyberdex Virus Suite (Order and Chaos, 27) offers an efficient response to the recent onslaught of the many new virus programs that Runners have been throwing against Corp servers. Once a Runner start building up a huge stack of virus counters, the Corp takes tremendous risks if it simply continues to ignore them, but spending three clicks to wipe virus counters can prove a horrific tempo hit. Cyberdex Virus Suite offers an alternate response, allowing you to purge virus counters and take other actions on your turn.
- The Runners gain their own efficiencies, too, but whereas cards like Cyberdex Virus Suite offer Corps new efficiencies built around greater versatility, the event Day Job (Order and Chaos, 36) rewards Runners who are willing to go all-in on their turns. While your Day Job demands that you sacrifice your entire turn (or, at least, four clicks of it), it can also take you from the brink of poverty to a point where you can easily pay for quick economic boosts like Sure Gamble (Core Set, 50) or install such expensive icebreakers as Femme Fatale (Core Set, 26). Moreover, it’s a single card worth a boost of eight credits, and in a slim deck, such as you might have with Chaos Theory (Cyber Exodus, 46), the card efficiency it provides might be as important as the credits it can grant you until such a time as you get your Magnum Opus (Core Set, 44) installed.
A New World Order
While Weyland is attempting to develop a new world order, and while the Anarchs are attempting to tear down the existing order, the neutral and low-influence cards from Order and Chaos ensure that every faction can find plenty of ways to get into the action.
When Order and Chaos arrives, how will you use its cards to shape the future? Will you take humanity to the stars? Will you plunge New Angeles into chaos? Or will you quietly secure data toward some other end goal that’s all your own? Your chance to make an impact is nearly here; Order and Chaos is due to arrive at retailers late next week!