The new MWL has dropped, and I’m pretty happy with it. Of course, I went through my initial THE SKY IS FALLING phase just like everybody else. My particular thing was that Faust had been nearly turned off. Three influence seemed excessive. Plus I hate when they target a specific build and just remove it—as they did originally with Pre-Paid Kate. This time it was Dyper.
All that said, these were good decisions.
So let’s talk about it.
What does the new MWL do? Effective immediately (as of April 12th), the list no longer reduces your printed influence. Now it adds a universal influence cost to cards on the list, and they’re on the list in levels. The levels are how much influence you have to spend to get them—no matter your faction.
Unfortunately, for IDs with lower influence, like Professor, Kit, Potential Unleashed, or… I dunno… The World is Yours*? it’s a bit of a smack.
Anywho. I’ll start with the cards that came off first.
For runners, the NAPD are no longer restricting the use and sale of Desperado and Pre-Paid Voice PAD. As a Criminal fan, I am jumping for joy. I want to get my sweet, sweet influence back. I want to build a PPVP Ken.
In some recent discussions, some friends and I came to the conclusion that PPVP wasn’t nearly as impactful anymore now that runners were Temujin rich. Seems like Boggs and the other designers were one step ahead of us. Same goes for Desperado. One credit a run isn’t really that big a deal anymore. But more on the Desperado switch later.
For Corps, the NAPD is now all good with Eli 1.0. I can only imagine it’s because everybody is running Paperclip and so, why not, let’s put that super-efficient barrier back in the world before it rotates out. I’m not sure about this one coming off as I don’t think HB (read, ETF) was really hurting for influence. They’ve got enough tricks in-house to get their games going.
But now for the cards that are currently on the list.
Cerberus “Lady” H1
With Lady being so efficient and Scavenge being in faction, it’s pretty clear why this stayed on. But we just don’t see Shapers right now unless they’re stealth, so maybe it’s not a big deal anymore? Probably would be if it came off. Scavenge was in Creation and Control though, so we’ll probably never see Lady come off the list.
We saw how instant-speed Parasites can really derail the game, so it’s no big surprise that Clone Chip stays on. With Shaper’s ability to SMC, Test Run, and otherwise shenanigan-out one-of, out-of-faction programs, I don’t see a real problem with this costing one universal forever.
Strong card. Invalidates the cost and defenses in high-strength ICE. I think this is one of the best arguments for universal influence. At four base influence already it’s an investment to take it out of Anarch, but it’s also powerful enough that it should limit Anarch choices. Makes sense.
This destroy ice. Should it have been influence three to start with? Maybe.
Okay, this is one of my two favorite additions. Temujin is amazing. It made runners able to keep up. It’s versatile and well-costed. But its influence was wrong. It should have been three. It could have been four. I was absolutely against it going onto the MWL because I thought Criminal had it tough enough—but with Desperado coming off, I really, really like this change.
Now, Criminals can slot Desperado and then make a choice on their Econ package. They can go events and PPVP. They can go full Temujin. They can mix their Temujins with Security Testings—all while being more flexible with their influence. Clever. I like it.
I’m sad this is here because I love Wyldside. But it’s all good. Maybe this will come off when Adjusted Chronotype finally leaves us in a few years.
Breaking subs for 0 is crazy powerful and this has only one influence. This should stay, obviously.
Often one of the most impactful face checks in the game, it should definitely be an investment to run Architect. Of course it’s easily shut down by Mimic and MKUltra, but in HB and NBN, runners aren’t usually worried about running into Destroyers or AP in the early games, so they run without their Killer. I love Architect, I love the crazy interactions it can do, but its impact should keep it on the list.
Not sure about this. Why is Bio-Ethics here? I might just be out of the loop on the dangers of this one, but this seems like the weirdest addition. Is it really that powerful?
Even with Aaron Marron out, this card is still powerful. The threat of this card makes runners have to play completely differently. That’s the same impact as Architect, and so its inclusion makes sense to me.
Mumbad City Hall
Are people still playing Hot Tub Time Machine? If they are, will this getting Universal Influence make a difference? I think this is probably just a housekeeping thing because the card is strong, but I’m not really for or against this addition.
Why is this three to trash? It should have easily been two. Even one! Or maybe it should just never have been an Alliance card to begin with.
I feel like this is just a clear errata target. I mean, there’s no reason to errata it now since it rotates soon, but this came out before they were really into putting influence on neutral cards. NAPD absolutely should have one influence.
SanSan City Grid
Meh? It’s all good. There’s lots of ways to score out of hand right now, though I suppose Oberth requires you to sack an agenda and Trick of Light requires you to have advanced stuff beforehand. Jeeves just needs to be on the table though, just like SanSan. I can see that they wanted to diversify the meta and not just have every top-level competitive deck be a SanSan rush NEH whatever, but I’m lukewarm on this one too.
Now we’re into the nitty gritty. The three-influence MWL cards. Blackmail as a three-influence neutral? Makes absolute sense. If this had been released today, it would’ve had that influence printed on it. The only reason it didn’t before is because there were no reliable ways to land Bad Pub. Now we have two really, really good ways (Val and Corporate Scandal). By putting this on the list, they encourage Val’s archetypes to find new things to do. Is she a runner that can get a discount on Cloned or SMC’d programs ala Kate? Does she run often like a criminal? Maybe we’ll see new cards that interact with Bad Publicity with Blackmail so heavily hit.
Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t kill a blackmail spam deck. You can still get fourteen Blackmails off with one copy each of Levy and Blackmail and playsets of Same Old Thing and Déjà Vu. Worried you won’t find it? Throw in some Planned Assaults. They’re cheaper than Blackmail now, and they can also hit your Stimhacks and Maker’s Eyes.
It just means you need to make more decisions in deck building. I like this change a lot.
I don’t disagree with this decision. In fact, I champion Boggs’s crusade to gut non-interactive play. But there’s just something about excising a build from the meta because some people disagree with it that makes me uncomfortable. Obviously Dyper wasn’t unbeatable—it didn’t win worlds even though people were playing it. Just like Pre-Paid Kate didn’t win worlds in 2015. But the first MWL gutted Pre-Paid Kate as well.
Probably, probably, this doesn’t kill Dyper. It means they can fit two DDoS and three Clone Chips, and that’s all they get, but it seems like an unnecessary hit to Anarch. Wouldn’t this have better been served as an errata to five influence? (Okay, then probably the new Dyper would have been in Anarch.)
I know FFG hates to errata, but I’m definitely a proponent of just printing errata cards as the 21st slot in a Data Pack. Or providing them as a print on demand option from the FFG website (not free, in that case). Or distributing alternate art versions with the errata incorporated at events.
Lots of different options. I’d rather have the cards that physically show the correct rules, but that’s a different discussion, with many good points on either side.
I hated this at first. Then I came around to Faust being at +3 Universal Influence. Faust is a problem card in that it breaks cardinal rules of Netrunner. Instead of your resources being your clicks and your credits, it made it so that you could use clicks, credits (or counters), and cards to break through ICE. This isn’t news for anyone.
When I thought about it in practice, I saw that by putting it at +3 Universal you largely remove the problem of people using it as their only breaker. Criminals could probably pull it off with Special Order and a single five-influence copy, but Drug Dealers can only get you so far, and you’d have to start importing other burst draw cards. The influence dries up quickly.
In Anarch, even with Wyldside on the MWL, you’ve still got a ton of excellent draw cards. Then you can import on top of that. So it makes sense. I just had to talk myself into it.
Oh good Boggs above, thank you.
You wanted more?
I always argued that this card should have been a neutral. I figured it should be a neutral and probably at three influence. It was a huge overcorrection to the meta, and it turned Glacier off for a very, very long time. It’s hard to lose an entire archetype to a single tech card that people may or may not be playing. The card’s still around, but now it’s nigh-impossible to bring into Criminal or Shaper.
What does this mean? Well, Caprice and Ash can come back. That means ETF gets stronger (again) and Palana gets stronger (excellent!). It also means that Jemison and Oberth can stretch their legs a bit without being completely destroyed before they really leave the gate.
Should this card have been printed a Netural? I think so.
Should it have specified unique Character, Executive, Clone, Sysop, and Bioroid upgrades or Assets? I think so, but thanks to inconsistent templating, Caprice is just a Clone/Psi. Jackson is an Executive. Ash is a Bioroid. Jeeves isn’t even a Bioroid! He’s Alliance only!
If those subtypes had been more uniform—like if all of the above were Unique Characters, this card could’ve been much better, instead, it ends up hitting things like Sandburg, Oberth Protocol, and Eliza’s Toybox of all things.
With Rumor Mill on the +3 list, we’re going to get a more diverse meta. No doubt about it. And it’ll be more interactive, because people will use Political Operative, Drive By, and Councilman—as those cards were intended to be used. They’ll have to make runs to turn them on, or spend additional clicks, or delay the use for only a turn. Not put up a current and just Same Old Thing Caprice into oblivion.
And now we come to the crux of the matter.
Why wasn’t Sifr three, four, or even five influence?
It’s so damned Anarch. I love it. So why is it everywhere for everybody? I made a Nasir deck with Sifr because I could!
I mean, the Parasite interaction is horrendous for nearly no drawback. I absolutely agree that that was an oversight, but I think the real problem is the influence cost. Sifr shouldn’t have gotten through testing with one influence. I won’t belabor it anymore though—everybody says the same thing.
As for it being on this list, I think it’s a good call. It’s highly impactful, and if you want to be the Sifr-wielding, ICE-destroying Anarch, you can still do it—you just put all your eggs into that basket. Six influence just to put two in, three more for Parasites, and then maybe six influence on two clone chips? Seems fair and balanced to me. Ish.
Sensie Actors Union
As the only Corp card that merited the three influence increase, I’ve got to say…
I mean, it’s a problem, for sure. But I think it was only a problem in CTM, not really anywhere else. And that means it wasn’t even really a problem anymore because of Aaron Marron. It’s cheap to trash, Slums is a thing, and Aaron Marron has people moving away from CTM.
I think this easily could’ve gone on the +1 Universal Influence tier if they wanted to MWL it, but I must just be missing the impact they wanted to avoid.
Definitely positive. I think this will really help with the overall health of the meta. I think Shapers will still be underrepresented, but I think Criminals are in a better position and Anarchs are in a slightly worse position.
For Corps, the addition of Rumor Mill will mean we get a lot more variety for viable builds. Glacier, rush, fast advance, combo, kill—they’re all on the table, though kill through tags is still hellishly difficult with Aaron around.
I really look forward to the next round of tournaments and events. It’ll refresh Netrunner for sure.
Good job Mr. Boggs and team.