Announcing the Third Data Pack in the Flashpoint Cycle for Android: Netrunner


She flicked her left wrist and projected the virt image of her target one last time: Greg Logan, lawyer, NBN Surveillance Contracts Team, hair blond, skin brown, height 172 centimeters. She didn’t know why Jinteki wanted him, and didn’t care. Her part wasn’t to question.

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of Escalation, the third Data Pack in the Flashpoint Cycle for Android: Netrunner!

Welcome to New Angeles. In the wake of the Twenty-Three Seconds incident, the city has plunged into chaos. The chaos has led to rioting. Amid the rioting, people have died. Some died on the streets, in bloody encounters with PriSec. Some died quietly, targeted by assassins. Some simply disappeared. Yanked off the grid in an age when the act of skirting surveillance and the ever-present Network is nearly—but not completely—impossible.

With its sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty different cards), Escalation carries us deeper into the Flashpoint Cycle and the tensions pulling New Angeles apart at the seams. As the Corps more aggressively lock down their assets and hunt down their rivals, the Runners gain new decoders and new incentive to uncover and reveal the truth of the Corps' activities. But if they hack the Corps, can they still survive? There's plenty of meat damage, net damage, and brain damage on the menu, along with cards that make utter trash of the Runner's rig and stack.

Finally, Escalation unveils two new, aggressively-minded identity cards—one for Jinteki, and one for the Anarchs that started the whole mess…

Omar Keung, Conspiracy Theorist

There are some who suspect that the Twenty-Three Seconds incident, the resulting financial collapse, the fragility of the credit, the chaos, and the bloodshed in the streets of New Angeles all originate from the schemes and dreams of a seventy-one year-old conspiracy theorist named Omar Keung (Escalation, 43).

This aging Chinese man is balding. His back is slightly humped. His face is marked by liver spots. And he might even enter data manually, using his old-style console, Obelus (Escalation, 41). All the same, this is the man who may have dealt the Corps the greatest blow they've suffered in recent memory.

In the game, the years of work that Omar spent in preparation for the Twenty-Three Seconds incident are represented by his unique game ability. Effectively, it offers you a free, built-in version of Sneakdoor Beta (Core Set, 28) that can hit either HQ or R&D, but only once per turn.

If his unique ability—with its focus on running against Archives—feels "truly Anarch," his very presence in the Data Pack is even more Anarchic. Omar Keung's appearance marks the unusual appearance of two IDs from the same faction within a single cycle of cards. The whole Flashpoint Cycle kicks off with 23 Seconds, and that Data Pack gives us Null (23 Seconds, 2). But even that Runner's ID wasn't quite enough anarchy for a cycle focusing on financial collapse and the ensuing chaos.

Null is good, and he burns down ice. But Omar Keung needs to appear in the Flashpoint Cycle as well. If the rumors are true, and Omar Keung is responsible for the Twenty-Three Seconds incident, then his runs have done more than burn down a layer of ice or a server. He has crushed the value of the credit itself.

Jinteki, Potential Unleashed

Amid the chaos and the escalating tensions in New Angeles, the four major Corps all reveal their sharper, more aggressive, natures. In Escalation, Jinteki bares its teeth with the new Potential Unleashed identity (Escalation, 54).

Like the Personal Evolution identity from the Core Set (Core Set, 67), Jinteki, Potential Unleashed is all about the net damage. However, whereas the Personal Evolution identity was a bit more reactive—triggering only when agendas were scored or stolen—the new Potential Unleashed identity is a constant menace. It doesn't guarantee that the Runner suffers the same sting when he scores one of your agendas, but it forces him to find answers to your Komainu (Honor and Profit, 17) and Neural Katana (Core Set, 77) or suffer damage not only to his grip, but to his stack as well.

That's one of the key differences, here. Realizing that they may very well suffer some net damage along the way, Runners have historically run early against Jinteki, saving their last two or three clicks to draw back up to their maximum hand size, if necessary. Even so, Personal Evolution decks often managed to bleed out foolhardy Runners, slicing their decks apart with a thousand little cuts. Potential Unleashed cuts down the number of cuts needed to flatline a Runner by roughly half.

If a Runner face-checks a piece ice like the DNA Tracker (Escalation, 53), Jinteki's Potential Unleashed ID ensures that Runner not only loses three cards from his grip, but another three from the top of the stack. With any luck, those three from the stack may even include the Levy AR Lab Access (Creation and Control, 35) the Runner might have hoped was going to save him from the incessant net damage. The ID also doubles the effectiveness of Neural EMP (Core Set, 72), burning through two of the Runner's cards, and may even spark new interest in Sherlock 1.0 (Trace Amount, 30).

Of course, the ID is best when you have ice that feature multiple net damage subroutines, rather than a single subroutine with a large chunk of net damage. To that end, Escalation also offers Project Kusanagi (Escalation, 52), an agenda that is utterly worthless to the Runner but that can help you add greater versatility to ice with multiple subroutines, even ice that the Runner might typically view as relatively benign. For example, Errand Boy (The Source, 102) becomes a cheap piece of ice that can help you earn credits and draw cards, and then sting the Runner a bit as it rips a card out of his grip and stack.

Things Are Heating Up

The damage has not yet been contained. The sixty new cards from Escalation stand as proof. Yet even though New Angeles may never be the same, we already see Corps and Runners falling back to their old tropes… albeit with new twists. And it's not just the Anarchs and Jinteki that get the big boosts from Escalation. You'll find plenty of new tricks for each of the other factions, including Weyland, whose more aggressive stance means they're plenty happy to hunt their foes Door to Door (Escalation, 59) to make them go Boom! (Escalation, 58).

Look for your games of Android: Netrunner to heat up in the third quarter of 2016. That's when Escalation is scheduled to arrive at retailers!

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