Guinea Pig (Downfall Playtester Review- Part 2)

Hey gang, yet again it’s Anzekay here! A couple of days ago some of our playtesters shared some thoughts and expectations on four Corporation cards from Downfall, and today they’re back again to do the same for four Runner cards! Also, if you look closely there's a surprise waiting in this article, too.



 

 

Branimated

This is a fun way to put the Corp in a pinch - trash a piece of ICE on a critical server, or gamble on those extra accesses? I liked using it in Val to target Archives ICE on a turn that I planned to run a central anyway. I wish it was a combo with Divide & Conquer though!

DoomRat

Love this card.  If you have a hippo on the table and breakers, Corp almost has to give you the multi-access.  Conversely, hold the Hippo in hand to open up a surprise blow-out play.  Another fun use is naming any server with only Architects.  What’s that you say? You can’t trash any of the ice on that server?  Oh, that’s too bad, I’ll take my multi-access please.

junkmail

Talk about throwing down the gauntlet.

You’re gonna need a decent rig and a decent amount of money to make this one work by being able to actually hit centrals and ultimately the value of one (potentially unrezzed) piece of ice is questionable when the corp has this level of control over it, but hey, multiaccess is good and ice destruction is good and this is one or the other.

Get out there and omae wa mo shinderu some corps.

Miek

This card offers a lot of choices to the corp, which limits how powerful it can be, but it’s hard to argue with influence free Legwork or TME for Anarch. I feel that 80% of the time the extra accesses are the lesser evil for the corp here, but it feels like a very interactive card.

Patrick

Functions as a kind of ice destruction, where the Corp has advance warning. A little fiddly for the runner, since you can’t put it down to use later, and if you put it down you probably need to be able to get into R&D next turn. Ultimately I’ll leave it to the anarch experts, but I’d guess they’ll favour more reliable ice destruction, if they’re playing it at all.

Rotage

The question I am often asked is if a card re-enables/helps Dyper, this card does not as the Corp can chose the least damaging option to themselves. It can fit in an aggressive deck putting the corp into a Lose/Lose situation, however I can see it struggling for deck slots

Whiteblade111

As a long time skeptic on cards where your opponent chooses the effect, I’m lukewarm on this one. When you have a tempo lead on the corp, this card is great. You either trash an ice on a server you wanted to pressure, or get an influence free Legwork/The Maker’s Eye. However, if you open to a rough start, this card can really pile up in your hand, and you can’t install them or bank them, because the trigger at start of turn is mandatory. I can see this being ran as maybe a 1 of in goodstuff anarch decks, but I’m skeptical that it will see broad play.

Whirrun

Maybe my favourite card in the set.  The corp always paused after I played it, and often surprised me by trashing / not trashing certain cards. The way hidden information impacts these choices for both players also gives the card a pretty high potential skill ceiling. Personally, I found it particularly effective targeting centrals when the corp was going for a score. It’s much harder to drop an unrezzed ICE in front of a key server and the corp may be going low on credits. You want the ICE on the server to be rezzed, so this is probably best in aggressive decks.

Yarrick

This card features one of my favourite runners in the game, and as everyone has pointed out it has a useful if somewhat dependent effect, so I love it. You give the corp a lot of choices and the downside for them is not that bad, really, but creates interesting situations and just watching what the corp does when you play this card can give you a wealth of information. Or a flatline against Jinteki when they telegraph that want to protect HQ at all costs, you Showdown in and access two snares. Don´t be like me.



 

 

Angedelo

This a great little card that has surprising amounts of utility once you stop and think about it. The jack out ability is obviously sweet for early runs against Anansi/DNA etc. Clickless tag removal will save you at times against Argus/CTM, plus it lets you take the IP Block encounter tag then remove it so you don’t get stuffed by a 2 cost barrier just because you have a turtle. And finally, resetting the base trace on a strength 8 Surveyor might get you into the remote for the winning agenda… All that for 1 cost? Sign me up.

junkmail

As the resident aggro crim nerd in playtesting I was initially skeptical of flip switch but slowly grew to love it. It’s a card that does a lot of cool things and is almost never going to be completely useless and really enables you to be a little riskier and slam your face into all sorts of scary ice, especially since facechecks have gotten so powerful recently. Suffers a little from 46th card syndrome but I think a criminal who can make room for it will love it. Make like it’s 2014 and run fearlessly, kids. The Always Have a Backup Plan combo is cute, too.

Miek

Back in genesis cycle there was a time when criminal would just chuck a Faerie on the board and run anywhere without caring too much about what was rezzed, forcing the corp to invest resources they couldn't afford into rezzing ice. This strategy has gotten a lot worse, and one of the reasons is the bleed of sentry-type subroutines into code gates and barriers. Flip Switch is a versatile tool whose primary use case will be to force corp rezzes safely. Spending 8c to rez an Anansi or a DNA Tracker is significantly worse when the runner just immediately jacks out afterwards. I think this card is very good and will help see Aggro Crim have a lot more play.

Patrick

A handy little card, and with 3 very different effects it will nearly always do something useful. I just wonder how easy it is to slot this, especially more than one copy - I never went higher than this in testing, and never felt inclined to. It has the problem of not being economy, multi access, an ice breaker or another essential, and as a tech slot against tags, there are better options. I think the level of demand for the jacking out effect will determine how much we see it.

RJorb

What a sweet card. I liked Faerie back in the day, and I like this for the same reason: it enables aggressive running and allows you to put early economic pressure on the Corp by safely facechecking their ice. The anti-tag ability also seems decent against decks like CtM and Argus, and in particular gives you an answer to Data Raven shenanigans. The trace reduction is a bit more niche, but still seems useful against things like Surveyor or even Ash. Can’t wait to see this one in action.

Rotage

Please don’t play this card, it stops my Brainstorm shenanigans. On a more serious point this card has quite a few different uses, however the fact the trace and remove tag subs can not be used on the Corporation turn does limit it’s options. But if you fear the unknown then this can be a handy card to allow you to carry on running without fear of the consequences

Whirrun

Do you hate running against MTI? Surprise Chiyashi in Blue Sun got you down? Grail ICE making a comeback? (Trust me on this one). Then this is the card for you. Aggressive, facecheck heavy Criminal (or Anarch) is by far my favourite runner style, and this is the kind of support those decks have been begging for. Also counters Data Raven -> QPM.

Whiteblade111

Obviously this is a utility card, and all of these effects are great.. But criminals have larger problems on their hands at the moment. They struggle to break large servers, they struggle against CTM, and they struggle against econ warfare-hhn most of the time. While Flip Switch helps in some respects, it doesn’t solve the underlying problems of criminal, mainly econ related and breaker related. Ultimately, I think this card is going to be cut from most criminal decks at the 46-47 card mark, because you need to play more econ and more “good stuff” cards before you can look at putting pure utility cards in your deck.

Yarrick

Being able to fearlessly facecheck (and trigger your 3x Au Revoir, that´s value!) is good, but listen here, the true strength of this card lies on making Security Nexus trace strength 0. Pair it with some link and suddenly the corp won´t see it coming.

zgc

The dial in the art may be set to “getting warmer,” but this card lets you turn up the aggression to “technically safe,” at a minimum. Pack one as an emergency tool, or include a playset and facecheck everything in sight!


 

 

Angedelo

Cool card, fantastic art. I think the balance on this card is spot on, it’s useless early which means it’s going to clog up your hand or get discarded. Also i think people are overstating the value of stealing 1 agenda from a (hopefully) expensive R&D run, especially without the added benefit of Indexing’s reorder. Yes it’s very powerful late game but shaper is already a late game beast and if you’re getting to that point of the game and you’re not about to win, you were already in big trouble.

DoomRat

This is one of several Ashes cards that are secretly for Apex.  Reaver, Wastelands, Hunting Grounds, The Turning Wheel and a synergistic two cost breaker should easily get you to a Khusyuk Rig.  And at only 2 influence, you can actually afford to put other cards in your deck.  As if that wasn’t enough, in Ashes 2 he's going to get – ERROR: CONNECTION LOST.

junkmail

I’m gonna be honest I don’t love that this card exists. I mean at least it doesn’t work with Mad Dash but holy heck you can sit on your ass and build rig and then run R&D like 3 times and win the game. I’m certain that your resident big rig Shaper player is positively vibrating with excitement at the weird jank possibilities, so get ready to go fast with your corp and get ready to be sad when you show the runner the top six cards of your deck. I lost a lot of games to this card and so will you.

Miek

This was originally tested with no limits to the installed cards, and it became pretty clear very soon that this was a problem. I think this card is very good, although mostly fair because the runner cannot use the effect until late game after they've installed enough cards, and they have to suffer some deckbuilding limitations to make this work. Notably Gordian Blade, Paperclip and Na'Not'K are all 4c, giving you at least 3 cards, let alone any consoles or resources you might install to go in your deck. Once you're setup, it’s clearly a better card than indexing was, but a lot of the strength of indexing was being able to play it early. I suspect this will be an important card in the Downfall meta,  and look forward to seeing what people do with it.

RJorb

I really like the design of Khusyuk! It doesn’t function early on, but instead allows you to build up to very reliable agenda snipes from R&D in the mid to late game. The key is to find a complementary deck that has strong cards at the same price point, rather than jamming in cards that you wouldn’t otherwise want just for bigger Khusyuk runs. I went with a 1-coster Shaper build in testing, which gave lots of good options, like Aesop’s Pawnshop, Cache, Astrolabe, Clone Chip, Datasucker and Akamatsu Mem Chip.

Rotage

The immediate thought of this card is how does it compare to Indexing. Overall it is weaker but that is probably a good thing as Indexing was too strong.The biggest weakness of this card is the inability to get value from it early game, the biggest strength is only have to make one run and choosing a card from R&D. There could be a combo deck with this and Freedom through Equality, if only I had some extra clicks...

Whirrun

I think this card’s a really neat way of replacing Indexing and DDM without creating early blowouts. Better yet, the card seems viable (to me at least) out of whatever faction you choose. Cool win condition, watch out for runners installing multiple 1-3 cost cards.

zgc

I spent a lot of my testing time with Khusyuk trying it out of different factions, and had a lot of fun splashing it in Criminal as a finisher fueled by cards I wanted to play anyway. Corroder, The Turning Wheel, and Kati Jones all cost 2 and already have homes in many decks’ mid-to-endgame boards, creating a versatile shell to build off of. Criminal also has its fair share of one-cost cards which work best with all three on the table, such as Gang Sign, Tech Trader, or even Au Revoir! I’m very pleased with this card overall; it has a broad range of powerful deckbuilding options but demands thoughtful deck construction no matter what shell you run it out of.



 

 

Branimated

I’m pleased with how this card turned out. As a Film Critic analogue/replacement, it avoids the sins of the father by trashing itself on use, as well as requiring a bit of information (or luck) in order to blank out a defensive agenda. I especially like that it doesn’t replace the steal, thus allowing various Corp cards that care about that event to continue to function.

DoomRat

It may not be immediately obvious upon reading, but as it has the same trigger timing as film critic, it also turns off agendas with on access effects. City Works Project is particularly sad. Since you essentially need to know (or gamble on) what your hitting in advance, it makes it very good in the obnoxious cases (think The Future Perfect in Archives with three Breached Domes) and kind only OK in the regular use cases (trying to find the same The Future Perfect in HQ).

junkmail

I mean it’s a tech card you already know how you’re going to use it.

Go out there and make defensive agendas sad.

Miek

This is a pseudo film critic replacement, designed to allow the runners to have some game against silly cards like Obokata Protocol without completely invalidating entire strategies like Punitive Counterstrike. We went through a few versions of this, including one where GFI was worth 3-points in the runner’s score area for the turn, but we ended up with this one which I quite like. I suspect that the main use case of keeping this in your decks will be Obokata Protocol, but perhaps SDS Drone Deployment will be another card making it worth the slot.

RJorb

Obokata getting you down, friend? Then this is the card for you! It went through a lot of iterations in playtesting, and I have to admit I had some concerns about adding another tech card against defensive agendas into the card pool. I’m pretty happy with where it ended up, though, since it is useful but limited significantly by having to trash it and call the agenda in advance. You’re unlikely to be firing it on HQ or R&D, but it’s a solid answer to Kakugo/Obo remotes and maybe even some other things on the horizon. (PS: Don’t try to bait this with NGO, Corps - you have to rez before the run is successful, so the timing doesn’t work out.)

Whiteblade111

I think the decks that want this are Pawnshop Hayley, Smoke stealth and Criminals of all stripes. Anarchs have in faction tools to deal with SDS Drone Deployment and Obokata Protocol, but shaper struggles against obokata, and criminals will struggle against both. I think this is a fairly skill testing card, and I think that it will see more targeted play, mostly in decks that need the support.

Whirrun

As someone who absolutely loathes Film Critic, this is really big step in a better direction for tech cards. Also love the art. Not much more to say really. Get using this and let's see if we can ban Critic.

Yarrick

As someone who never really played defensive agendas I liked Film Critic, and Whistleblower is a fine replacement. Requires knowledge of the game and a bit of luck, two things I utterly lack, so I don´t think I´ll get much mileage of this card, but I´ll be slotting it every time I face against Jinteki. I've died to Fetal AI one too many times and the public deserves to know what JInteki is doing to those babies. Hang in there, Jinteki sysop, we´re coming to help you.

zgc

As criminal decklists change to accommodate the restriction of Crowdfunding and Dorm Computer, I think we’ll see Whistleblower in decks like Nexus 419 that used to run singleton Film Critics.