Titan Transnational, the Goliath of the New Angeles financial market, suffers a breach of security. For twenty-three seconds, all its sysops are locked out, and all its defenses are down. Simultaneously. For those twenty-three seconds, all its logs are erased. Millions of micro-transactions take place in each fraction of each second, but for twenty-three seconds, no transactions are being logged. No one knows who owns what.
The Flashpoint cycle for Netrunner LCG sounded immense, and yet I have only recently caught up with the new packs! Terrible. While I’m currently in the process of radically down-sizing my gaming collection in preparation for moving house, Netrunner is one of those games that I keep getting drawn back to. While I haven’t paid much attention to the game since the Mumbad cycle ended last summer, I’ve recently started to get back into web design, and there’s just something about computer programming that links very strongly in my mind back to this game.
So let’s take a look!
The Flashpoint cycle is the sixth cycle of data packs for Netrunner, which is important in that Rotation is looming ever closer for the game (if you’re wondering about LCG Rotation, you can check out my blog on it here). Rotation for Netrunner is coming when the first pack of the eighth cycle hits stores, and we lose the Genesis and Spin cycles. The original article postulated Spring 2017 as the date the eighth cycle would begin but, as Red Sands is the seventh cycle for the game, we’re still at least another six months or so out. We’ve also since had the announcement of the Terminal Directive campaign that seems to attempt a sort of level-playing-field approach to the game by using only the core set and that box, so it’s certainly an interesting time for fans of the game – and definitely a good time to get back into it if, like me, you’ve been away for a while!
Anyway, enough with the tangents!
The cards in the cycle have a focus on credits, with the money you have in the bank determining the effects that certain cards you play will have. It’s a really interesting mechanic, and I like the fact that the theme of a bank robbery is implemented into the gameplay itself in this way. There are a couple of themes that come out of the cycle, but I thought it was particularly interesting to see just how brutal some of the Corp cards are. Whether I’m having this reaction because I’m more comfortable as the Runner, I don’t know, but it struck me when I was looking through the data packs that there were a really large number of cards that do a lot of damage to the Runner, and it feels quite harsh! There are also new Terminal Operations, which ends the action phase when they are played but provide pretty decent benefits in return. I probably need to go deeper into the card pool here, of course, but I feel that the Corp is definitely the one benefiting the most from this cycle.
Of course, that’s not to say the Runner doesn’t have lots of nice new toys as well! Each Corp gets a new identity, and there are four new Runners across the cycle, also – including two for the Anarch faction. While I’m usually most-drawn to the Shaper faction overall, as I love the ethos behind them, there are several exciting new Criminal cards (more shortly) and the new Null Runner is making me want to build an Anarch deck! We’ll have to see where that goes. What’s more, there are also new cards for each of the three mini-faction Runners that were introduced in Data and Destiny, which is really exciting to see! While the linked article there did say that the majority of cards these Runners would ever receive are in that expansion, it is still nice to see that they aren’t a one-time gimmick.
The sixth pack, Quorum, was particularly difficult to get hold of in my recent catch-up splurge. Why? Well, I think it has something to do with the HB Terminal Operation, Violet Level Clearance. This card appears to have made quite the splash in the Netrunner tournament scene when run in a Haas-Bioroid deck that runs Cerebral Imaging as the ID. The synergy with those cards is pretty great, allowing for so many options. But is it really the whole reason for the pack flying off the shelves? There is one further card that is seeing a lot more play in the game right now than Violet Level Clearance, the Criminal Resource, Aaron Marrón. For just two credits and only using up two loyalty, this guy gets two power counters whenever an agenda is scored or stolen, and you can use these counters to remove 1 tag and draw a card. I love cards that work off necessary game actions like this! It’s like Landfall in Magic, something that is necessary to the game can work even more in your favour! Wonderful stuff! I’ve been thinking about putting a Criminal deck together for a long time already; I think this might be the impetus I need!
So, the Flashpoint incident is over, and the eighth cycle for Netrunner is taking us back into space and the Red Sands of Mars, in the aftermath of the Martian Colony Wars…