the other reviews talk about "how to practically use this card" and "what decks should use this card so its not placed in decks that it doesn't fit in"

they ARE WRONG (actually no)

the best place to play this card? Saraswati Mnemonics: Endless Exploration. ever want to play a textless 3/4? ever want to pay 4 and 4 to get 3 points? the efficiency.... its evil.

buh...but what if they steal it??

ice perhaps?

or perhaps let go of your fear.

Lots of reviews mention janky interactions between Loki and other niche ice types, like Trap or Mythic. But Loki does have a more powerful, if equally unconventional, use in the current environment heavily featuring the conspiracy breakers (MKUltra, Black Orchestra, Paperclip). Because the runner's on-encounter effects (including on-encounter checks from the heap, such as bin breakers!) happen before the corp's on-encounter effects, the bin breakers will miss their timing window to install versus a Loki; it has no subtypes from the runner's perspective other than Bioroid when encountered. If, therefore, the corp elects for Loki to copy an ice type for which the runner does not have a breaker installed already, they will be unable to do anything about the subroutines, despite having the relevant breaker available in their heap. Unfortunately, for Loki to copy a piece of ice, that ice must already be rezzed, and the normal play pattern of Netrunner means the runner would have therefore encountered every type that Loki could copy at least once. But, how might the runner encounter Loki without having the relevant bin breaker installed?

There are a couple situations in which this can occur:

1) The runner previously encountered a kind of ice for which they did not have a relevant breaker at the time, and have not encountered that type again prior to encountering Loki. No guarantees that this will happen, but if the runner for example bounced off a Vanilla in the early game, they might not have tried to hit the Vanilla again before hitting Loki.

2) The runner has trashed a previously installed bin-breaker to make room for a new program. In this scenario, the runner make have encountered a Barrier on server 1, installed Paperclip, and then trashed it later to make space for an MKUltra when encountering a Sentry. Now, when they encounter Loki, Loki can counter that other rezzed barrier and be unbreakable. Not an especially common scenario.

3) The corp has rezzed ice by abnormal means, such that the runner may have never had an encounter with that ice type at all. There are numerous ways to do this, but I want to highlight the easiest and potentially most devastating way to do it in Standard: with Haas-Bioroid: Architects of Tomorrow. Imagine the following layout: the runner has not yet installed MKUltra, having not encountered any sentries -- non are rezzed. The runner then runs on a 3-ice deep server, with a rezzed bioroid on the outermost position, and two more unrezzed ice behind it. They pass the first bioroid; AoT triggers and the corp rezzes the innermost piece of ice, a sentry such as Ansel 1.0 or Tyr. The runner continues the runner, and the corp rezzes Loki in the middle position. None of their bin breakers can install on the Loki, and the Loki now copies that innermost bioroid, guaranteeing all the subs can fire. If it's a Tyr, that means 2 brain damage, a trashed card and 3 credits, and a hard ETR. Crucially, there is literally no way to circumvent this without hard-installing an MKUltra, using some form of ice destruction, or potentially using a boomerang to break the ETR so they can pass: with no other rezzed sentries, the runner has no way to encounter a sentry and get the install trigger for MKUltra.

I won't say that situation 3 makes Loki either a top-tier ice or that it happens with extreme consistency, but I have had multiple games as AoT where this combo has let me toast a rig! I've copied Ansel and Tyr before, but the best one was copying a Ravana 1.0 who then copied the same Tyr sub twice, trashing 2 installed runner cards and gaining the corp 6 credits. Could have also opted for 4 brain damage, which is like face-checking a Janus with no clicks left, except there's also a soft-ETR attached. Loki is a great and tricky piece of ice, only held back by its low strength.

<p>Pretty cool review!</p> —

A very solid alternative to Vanilla. Ping is one of the most commonly used barriers. It's a cheap end-the-run with an ability that guarantees that rezzing it will be at least tempo-neutral. In NBN, this will frequently be used like Vanilla to quickly/cheaply force runners to install an expensive fracter. In Reality Plus, this is a straight upgrade on Vanilla (+1 strength and a tag on rez).

In the right kind of deck, Vanilla is very good in its role, and Ping will be too. They produce excellent early-game results with limited value once the runner has a fracter. It'll rarely cost more than $1 to break (besides the initial tag), so this'll see a lot more use in decks that prioritize speed over long-term value. If you anticipate the game going 10+ turns this probably isn't the ice for you.

At two influence, this will probably not see much use outside of NBN. (Nobody else can do much with one tag on the runner's turn, and it's two influence that could have been another Hard-Hitting News).

Here's something I've been wondering about. As the corp, when is it worth it to purge viruses to get rid of the virus counters?

Ignore all the complicating factors. Imagine there are no agendas about to be scored, no unusually vulnerable servers, etc. Just other things being equal, when is it worth purging to take away credits?

My first thought is that the cutoff is 3 counters. I'm usually happy to spend 3 clicks as the corp to take $6 from the runner, but I wouldn't spend 3 clicks to take $4 from them. But I suspect that's an overly simplistic analysis... it doesn't sound right that putting a Fermenter on the table takes away every third turn from the corp forevermore.

<p>The problem is, as you say that even if the corp purges, the fermenter is still getting counters.</p> —
<p>The alternative to purging is rushing. Force the runner to pop their own Fermenter, because you make them need the money :)</p> —
<p>The runner gains a click when you purge (i.e. they save the click they would've had to spend trashing fermenter) so I think it's better to purge when it gets to 4 counters</p> —

An incredibly strong economic tool only held back by its low trash cost, which makes it less appealing to place undefended than its counterpart Marilyn Campaign. But it goes +7 and a card draw over 3 turns, compared to the longer cook time of Marilyn Campaign (+6 over 4 turns) and Adonis Campaign (+8 over 4 turns, with a higher up-front cost). In addition to paying out faster, Nico is credit positive the turn it is rezzed, costing the corp nothing in tempo aside from the click spent to install. A frankly amazing asset to place in a scoring remote for a turn or two. Even if you cut it off a turn early and don't get the last 3 credits and card, it still goes +4 -- that's a Hedge Fund!