First, in most anarch decks you just want to play Grimoire if you need extra mu. This topic is not an argument that memstrips is a better card than Grimoire. It isn't. It's not even debatable. The extra 1mu is rarely required for an anarch deck to function.

The reason you play memstrips is because you want a console that has a more relevant ability for your game plan, but you still need more programs than 5 mu would allow. Which means that its in direct conflict with a few other cards:

  • Akamatsu Mem Chip (You probably don't have influence for memory, so lets ignore this)

  • Dyson Mem Chip. If you only need 6 mem, which the grimoire argument says is the case, then Dyson costs the same, doesn't limit you to viruses and gets you link. Not using this card is something you must consider when justifying memstrips. It may be you want the ability to play over 6 mem given the option, I've certainly been there before (hey data folding). But, not being restrained to viruses means you need to consider this card seriously. The link is a counter argument to data folding by underworld contacts. Tricky.

  • Progenitor - This card will hold a virus no matter its mem cost, is free to play, and preserves virus counters (which presumably, your viruses will use). But, this card is a trap and bad at times. Unlike memstrips, it requires that it exists in your hand before Medium or Data Sucker. It also, once your memory is full, will not free ups space for a corroder or a mimic or some AI you happen to have in hand. It's also at risk for shutdown. But, this is a silver lining because that may protect something like net ready eyes. Progenitor is a strong bad card. Taking it over memstrips seems like a no brainer if you just want an extra mu and it'll do it at an economic discount. BUT, if you play the card you'll find its often coming up at the wrong time or putting a card at risk that you don't want to be at risk. The other problem with progenitor is that it can't host a parasite, which is often the reason you want extra mu in an anarch deck. Your rig is up, but now you need to put a parasite on something and you've hit the bounds of where you need to be.

  • Djinn - comes with almost all of the downsides of Progenitor, can host as much as memstrips, costs a little less than memstrips, and can tutor. But, you need a free mem when it shows up. So its even more conditional. It also puts more programs at risk to program destruction.

If you watch expert players play, they often get around needing memstrips by only installing programs when they need them. But not all decks can function by face checking and figuring out what they need; and not all of them are meant to play lightning fast. So, when you're building you need to consider the risks. If you're already taking desperado into something like valencia, and you already have early game pressure from desperado, memstrips makes sense for those late game parasites or programs that are showing up later than you'd like them too. Memstrips lets you build your rig out as you find it a bit easier than the seemingly easy answer. And it gives you overflow should you need it. That said, dyson mem chip will often be just as good if you don't plan to overflow past 6 programs or use that extra mem to generate credits.

So Memstrips is still a highly conditional card, for inclusion, and its usually part of a deck that needs to rig out around a powerful console. This ultimately means that if your deck doesn't get extreme momentum in the early game, the Memstrips is probably a card you don't want in your deck if you're using a non-grimoire console. A leaner deck may in many cases be more effective if you plan to finish your games early. If you're planning on pushing the game to the late game as valencia does, now you just have to decide if you need link or the ability to play with extra mu. Sometimes if you're only running 2x of a console in a 50 card deck, you can play with just a memstrips over a console. Its not a horrible place to fall back to. You're still hitting that 6 mu, which you won't with a single dyson.

So, there's an argument for a deck that wants memstrips. It's still not an amazing card, but its by far not the worst card to come out of order and chaos.


Midway Station Grid is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle smashed over the dying embers of a bioroid you thought you could break. While its true this card is hard to play in faction, 2 subroutine ice tend to be easy imports, and that means you're taxing the runner 2 for every ice on your server. A couple bioroids and this gets much worse. This card would be great in RP if it didn't block the import of important ice, but in HB, where that ice all lives, or in NEH where you can import it it does its job well.

Still its not well positioned. Lady, Morningstar, Switchblade, Faerie. All of these cards break a lot of the multiple sub ice you'd throw in front of people and they're all becoming more popular. The rez cost means you have to think pretty hard about whether you want to install it or not, let alone rez it when the time comes. That said, the trash cost is pretty good when you consider its 4 + x, where x is the number of subroutines on your server.

In the end, NBN has some of the most taxing cards in the game and Midway Station grid is no exception, but you're going to have to work for it quite a bit.

Actually Faerie breaks 1 at the time so it effectively makes it a 1c/sub breaker —
pair it with the twins, add some grail, and you got a party —

IT Department is one of the more controversial cards in the game as I write this. It's complicated, because a lot of people misread it and don't know how to respond when they first see it.

It creates a persistent modifier until the end of turn that looks back to IT department. That is, it will give X+1 strength (for each use) to a target ice until end of turn, where X is the current number of counters on IT department. The strength of an Ice is S+n(X+1), where S is the ice's strength, n is the number of times you've used IT department to buff that ice this turn, and X is the number of power counters currently on IT department.

Now that that's out of the way, the card is amazing at creating a glacial lock. Think of it as the Scorched Earth, or San San City Grid of HB. If you let it sit on the table it will end the game by making it impossible to get into any server. Like any other must-respond to card you have to take it down as soon as you see it or risk losing the game. This is another reason beyond NAPD that your runner decks have to be able to afford to spend 4 creds when they get into a remote.

Commonly paired with caprice & ash this card can be hard to get to, but not impossible if you're expecting it. You'd normally have a way to get to an agenda being protected by one of those other cards, and this is no different. It may mean considering the oddball card like blackmail, quest complete, or Singularity that you wouldn't have even considered in the past.

Now as much as I've said there are ways to deal with this (especially in the first two turns that it's on the board), that's not always the case. Stealth credits can help you get there by taking the teeth out of of sentries and preserving your actual credits for trashing, but there are games where this card will get up and running, lock the runner out of the game and cause a win.

Cards you should be considering in the Age of IT Department are probably cards you're already considering: femme, d4v1d, inside job, planned assault, emergency shutdown, etc.

Give this card your respect, be prepared for it anywhere as its only one influence and you'll achieve a reasonable win-rate. Just don't be surprised that corps are good at what they do for a living. ;)

Sry,I dond't understand this. If have 5 Power Counter on IT Department. I’m using the first (4 on IT, 1 on ICE) and the ICE get strength + 5 --> + 5 strength I’m using the second (3 on IT, 1 on ICE) and the ICE get strength + 4 --> + 9 strength I’m using the third (2 on IT, 1 on ICE) and the ICE get strength + 3 --> + 12 strength I’m using the fourth (1 on IT, 1 on ICE) and the ICE get strength + 2 --> + 4 strength I’m using the fifth (0 on IT, 1 on ICE) and the ICE get strength + 1 --> + 15 strength Where is my mistake? —
I got it... —
I understand your formula, it seems to correspond to the table in the review below, and I accept that it is correct; but I just don't see how the card says that. To me it clearly says that the first of 5 counters on IT Department would give 5 strength, the second would give 4, the third would give 3, the forth would give 2, and the last one would give 1 for a grand total of 15. —