Guys. Palana Foods. It's finger-licking good. I'm loving it. Make it great, and it'll let you have it your way. Eat fresh. It's way better than global foods, it's Jinteki's.
Palana Foods is the 5th "gain 1" identity. How does it match up to it's peers? More exactly how much money can you expect to gain when you put that power in the hands of your opponent? Let's run down the list by considering an average game with this double-barred ID:
The first thing we need to decide is when the Runner NEEDS to draw a card. After all, technically speaking you might never need to draw - but you'll probably flatline to the first Snare! or Fetal AI you see. A good benchmark is when they drop 2 two cards, or in other terms, take 3 net damage. How many times will that happen? Well it's tricky to evaluate, but with Snare!, Komainu, and Tsurugi available for Glacier-style decks and Project Junebug, Ronin and Psychic Field available for trap-style decks, I'd say it's reasonable to expect to get 1-4 credits from net damage alone. That's comparable to Jinteki's other money-making identity, the oft-forgotten Nisei Division: The Next Generation which often only triggers on Caprice Nisei. That's a nice appetizer.
But not many games can be won if the runner only plays with the 5 cards in their starting hand. At some point they have to draw to find the three breakers to get through all of your ice. If they run 2 copies of each breaker in the deck, like some popular Whizzard decks at the moment, then they need to draw 20 cards after their opening hand to get a 50% chance of seeing one of each of them. If they spend every on every turn drawing until they find all of them, they can expect it to take 20/4 = 5 turns without additional draw, which is 5 on top of whatever drawing they did to mitigate net damage. With 3x Restructure, 3x Hedge Fund and 3x Beanstalk Royalties, Weyland Consortium: Building a Better World can usually gain 6-9 from it's ID alone, putting Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth at least on par with the third best core-set corp ID. Well, it's a starter.
Of course, drawing 4 a turn is a pretty unrealistic model of how a runner plays, even when trying to minimize the effect of this identity. Most of the time, they'll draw a couple of times a turn and install a couple of cards or play events. That means it will take the runner twice as long to draw 3 breakers from their deck, which means we can usually expect to see Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth pick up at least 11-14. Given that's around the number of run events a typical Ken "Express" Tenma: Disappeared Clone deck runs, we'll probably make more money than the only "gain 1" Runner identity. But let's get onto the main course:
Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future is the gold standard for economy identities, typically making 15-20 credits over the course of the game. It's no exaggeration to say that Haas triggers every turn of the game, just for doing the things you have to do anyway. Can Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth meet this level? Well so far I've only been considering the runner drawing and playing cards - but not running! A good guideline is that most runners run once every turn on average, which means that by turn 10, they've used 10 running instead of drawing. That's another 2-3. But the real meat of the matter is that Runner's have to make money to do everything we've talked about already, which means they spend time making cash instead of drawing up, which means it takes longer to find the cards they need. If you spend one a turn gaining cash, running, and installing, then of course Palana's gonna trigger on almost every turn of the game. If the runner tries to play around that, then they'll fall foul of one of the other aspects: running into Snares, not finding their breakers until they hit a nasty Archer, not running enough or not having enough money to run. In short, if you don't draw every turn, you're gonna get your just desserts.
Sometimes however, Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth is even better than the best economy identity in the game. That's because Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future might have to triple-advance it's 5/3 agendas, or otherwise doesn't have anything to install. Against MaxX: Maximum Punk Rock and Wyldside you will gain credits every turn regardless of your actions and Drug Dealer, I've Had Worse and Astrolabe trigger on the corporation's turn for extra credits. You haven't seen the power of a credit every turn until you've played against one of these cards; it really takes the biscuit.
But when it comes down to how to split the bill, how do you spend all that money? Here are a few ideas:
Frosties: make money like an HB, play like an HB; spend that money on big fat ice. These kind of decks play a lot like Jinteki: Replicating Perfection, but your natural supply of drip economy let's you swap out the Sundews for Restructure to accelerate your game.
Lucky Charms: Marcus Batty and grail ice are a match made in heaven, but fitting all of the cards necessary can leave you low on card slots for economy. Just like how Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future can run fewer cards than Haas-Bioroid: Stronger Together, you can rely on your identity and play more of the cards that make you dangerous.
Shredded Wheat: nothing says "need money" like SEA Source/Scorched Earth. My personal favourite, Shreddies goes well with a "Cambridge/Yomi" list to keep them preoccupied before you move in for the kill. Speaking of which, your identity allows for more powerful 3/1 agendas than Gila Hands Arcology and Profiteering that are favoured in "Cambridge/Yomi" decks, like House of Knives, Chronos Project and The Future is Now to find those kill pieces.
Apple Jacks: Of course, nothing's stopping you from playing Profiteering. Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth actually mitigates the problem of Account Siphon or Vamp really well: by the time they draw it, they've spent enough turns drawing that you've recuperated most of the credits you lost. A constant supply of credits let's you always threaten traps and advance traps further than normal, since the cost to tempo is made up during your opponent's turn.
Nesquik: gaining a credit most turns accelerates your game somewhat and let's you score when you should be building up money. Playing fast means they have to find their breakers, which means they need to draw more. So why not play a Jinteki variant of Supermodernism? Think like VinegaryMink's Bed Brew.
Honey Cheerios: You may have noticed I haven't mentioned the two other Palana Corporation cards introduced in this pack: Harvester and Pālanā Agroplex. They encourage a more "thousand cuts" style game, where killing the runner will probably only happen after they have no cards left in their stack. Levy AR Lab Access was the final nail in the coffin for that type of deck, but you may be able to make it work. Where is the "Honey", you ask? Sweeps Week! Getting that additional off of Pālanā Agroplex because they have 6 cards in hand is, well, sweet.
Special K: take note: if any identity was going to make The Twins/Mumbad City Grid/TL;DR + Komainu happen, it's Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth. Watch this space.
Ultimately there's just so much you can do with Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth that it's always down for a second serving.