With many of Netrunner’s most respected players and commentators still recovering from Worlds, I thought I’d step in and write some preliminary impressions of Intervention to distract me from the impending apocalypse. This isn’t any kind of thorough review, just my gut reaction to these cards. Since I’m too lazy to hotlink each card, read them all on NRDB, or just go to your FLGS and buy a pack.
En Passant: Love it, will be a good addition to ice destruction decks as a one-of, and might bring Reina back a little bit. The threat of it can make run events like Run Amok and Inide Job more impactful, forcing the Corp to rez ice they did not intend to in order to prevent an En Passant follow-up.
Frantic Coding: I thought it was terrible initially, but it can act as a late-game, post-Levy program tutor for when you desperately need, for example, a D4v1d to get into a remote and stop the corp from scoring the last agenda.
Saker: Not the most exciting card, but it’s a Criminal fracter that’s not terrible. Nowhere near as efficient as Paperclip (or even Corroder), but if you’re influence starved, or if you want a backup breaker that isn’t limited to centrals like Breach is, or if you’re a Faust/Eater deck that needs to be able to drop Wraparound’s strength, this is ok.
The Gauntlet: This is potentially really powerful, but nobody’s going to use it. 5 cost is a huge hit for early game economy, especially if you’re pairing this with Khan’s inefficient breakers. On the other hand, when you consider that its ability might eventually be the equivalent of having 2-3 HQ Interfaces installed, a cost of 5 starts to sound like a bargain, and +2mu is handy for having a Datasucker or two to alleviate the awkward pump costs of the bird breakers, or a second copy of a bird breaker that you need to get through a server on the same run in which you derez a piece of ice. Like HQI, it doesn’t require a successful run, but it only works during a run so you can’t combo it with Gang Sign. (It can combo with Kitsune in very specific circumstances though.) However, the bottom line is it doesn’t synergise well with Criminal’s game plan, which is not to break all subroutines, but to keep the corp too poor to rez ice. Its low influence cost might see it played in non-stealth Shaper decks, who can actually afford to break ice cheaply. They too, however, have cheaper in-faction options for +2mu, so they’d only include this if they’re willing to spend influence on HQ multi-access.
Blockade Runner: This card is to Mr. Li what Sensie Actors Union is to Daily Business Show: it gives you less card selection (2 out 3 instead of 1 out of 2), but it allows you to get rid of unwanted cards from your hand. This comparison might make it sound great, since Sensie Actors Union is great. Sorry to mislead you: this card is no Sensie Actors Union – the fact that it locks you into spending 2 clicks at a time to use it makes it worse than Mr. Li, at a time when even Mr. Li doesn’t make it into criminal decks.
Smoke: Literally no comments needed – this ID will be insane and I can’t wait to try her out!
Top Hat: Really interesting piece of R&D pseudo-multiaccess, almost like a mini-Indexing. Makes Mirror (Smoke’s console, which many people weren’t enthusiastic about), much better, as it gives you a reason to make those repeated runs on R&D which Mirror enables. It can also combo with real multi-access (eg, Maker’s Eye, see 3 cards, run again, see the 4th card with Top Hat). It’ll also see some play outside Shaper, in Find The Truth-based Adam decks, and possibly as a cheap replacement for Turning Wheel in Criminal.
Blackstone: Pretty decent in-faction stealth breaker for Shapers. Slightly worse than BlacKat, still not as good as Paperclip, nowhere near as good as Lady, but good enough.
Government Investigations: This current would have been everywhere if it came out a year ago, when Foodcoats glacier was The deck, or even earlier this year, when Palana glacier was popular. Now, you won’t include this unless you have no influence for either Rumor Mill or Political Operative (or the upcoming Interdiction), unless other powerful Psi cards that aren’t blanked by the aforementioned are released.
Citadel Sanctuary: Can save you from Boom! But not from Accelerated Diagnostics double Boom! So I don’t see why you would include this over Plascrete etc considering its disadvantage of being a trashable resource. The tag removal ability might be useful in a few very niche decks, such as DLR decks that don’t want to stay tagged. However, since DLR decks tend to be poor, I think the corp will be able to keep them tagged if they want to.
Wetwork Refit: Unline similar cards like Patch and Sub Boost, this might actually see some use, because, with many Bioroid ice being so taxing, sometimes the only way a runner can get past is by clicking through them. Adding another subroutine can therefore change that calculation, especially on 2.0 and 3.0 bioroids, and therefore be far more impactful than adding an extra End the Run subroutine. Still, I don’t think it will be more than a 1x in any deck.
Architects of Tomorrow: I don’t think it will usurp EtF as the best HB identity but it’s potentially pretty powerful, and might also be the basis some fun combo decks. My guess is it won’t really shine until we see more assets with the ‘bioroid’ subtype.
Hasty Relocation: Not an amazing card, but could combo well with Mutate, or Political Dealings (letting you fast advance cards that are already in your hand), although you better ensure your R&D is secure if you’re going to put an agenda on top! If you’re good at bluffing, you can make the runner always assume the top card is a Snare! Fun! Shenanigans! Exclamation marks!
Fumiko Yamamori: Fumiko-chan is the Nisei Institute’s version of Dedicated Response Team. When she’s not busy with her hobby of mixology (I assume all those jars are cocktail shakers), she’s busy roughing up runners and damaging their nervous systems with mycotoxins. I’m not too crazy about her rez/trash ratio, but she’s another piece of support for Nisei decks. Hang on, wasn’t there a card about psi games in the runner half of this pack? It’s almost like they plan these things!
Drone Screen: Wow, EVERYONE’S doing meat damage now! Except poor old HB… I wonder if this is a reference to the drone which Flynne is piloting in the opening of The Peripheral. Combined with Fumiko’s jars, I’m starting to suspect there’s more Gibson references in this pack that I haven’t noticed. Anyway, this has a MUCH better rez/trash ratio than Fumiko, but trace 3 for 1 meat isn’t exactly a huge deterrent, so it’s not the kind of upgrade that will help NBN score safely in a remote. This might be decent protection for centrals in CtM though, as you’ll either have to pay through the trace every time or trash it and get tagged by CtM. Pretty taxing either way.
Data Ward: NBN is the barrier faction, right? At first I thought this was a more expensive version of Pachinko, which suffers from the same problem all positional ice do: your deck is unlikely to oblige you by spitting out all your ice in the right order you need to install them in. Data Ward’s on-encounter effect means it’s not completely blank, but a 3 credit tax to walk through a 6-cost ice isn’t great either. However, once you’ve found a Data Raven to put in front of this, or after the runner has been forced to go tag-me, this becomes incredibly expensive to get through, so I think it’ll be a 1x in every NBN deck that has tagging ice. Really wish I had this back when Faust+D4v1d was the most popular runner rig…
Chief Slee: Woah, now WEYLAND does meat damage too? Seriously though, this is a very interesting design space, nudging Weyland in a direction that enables kill without depending on tags. It makes facechecking much more dangerous, as even those simple ETR barriers that the runner used to be able to bounce off with no repercussions now feed the Chief. I’m not sure if this alone is the answer to Weyland’s problems, as it needs its own remote, isn’t expensive to trash, and isn’t as good if the runner has a rig and credits to break all subroutines. However, even in those circumstances, the Chief helps make some ice more taxing, such as Little Engine (need to break the “the runner gains 5 credits” sub as well), Archer (you know, that 1 sub that everyone ignores?), and especially Data Ward, which you have to break even if you aren’t tagged or give her a whopping 4 counters!
Bulwark: A barrier with program trashing is a frightening concept, even with the drawbacks of being Illicit and giving the corp bad publicity, and of the runner choosing the program to trash! Apart from the nasty surprise you get if you facecheck it without the ability to break it, its numbers are decent, so it’s worth rezzing even if the runner has their fracter installed. Reasonable tax. Yet another card that would have been much better back when Faust was by far the most popular breaker, so I’m starting to wonder if we time travelled back to March.
Best Defense: Hey, it’s Freelancer lady I think! Hi, loved your work in that playmat! This is an excellent card, but I really hope they errata it to say “play only if the runner is tagged”, otherwise there are a lot of 0-cost cards that will be very sad!
Preemptive Action: This is the best of the Action Jackson replacement cards we’ve seen so far, though it’s still not as good as our lord and saviour. Will work best combined with cards like Reuse or Allele Repression, so your agendas don’t have to sit in Archives until your next turn. Keep it in the binder until The Howard ascends to Heaven post-rotation.