The Black File

♦ The Black File 5[credit]

Resource: Virtual
Influence: 4

The Corp cannot win the game except if you are flatlined.

When your turn begins, place 1 power counter on this resource. If there are 3 or more hosted power counters, remove this resource from the game.

Limit 1 per deck.

Illustrated by Seage
Decklists with this card

Fear the Masses (ftm)

#99 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
  • Updated 2024-06-06

    UFAQ [Damon Stone]

    If both players have at least 7 agenda points while The Black File is installed, does the game end in a tie or the Runner winning?

    The Runner wins and the Corp loses.


One major thing needs to be understood about this card. It stops the corp from WINNING the game by having 7 points, it doesn't do anything to stop the corp from GETTING to 7 points. It doesn't stop them from advancing or scoring at all (like clot and price of freedom), so if they have an agenda in hand or on the board, Black File does nothing to prevent them from scoring it and saying "I win" 2 turns later. That means it's only useful in an extremely close game where you both are at match point and you need 2 extra turns to try to make sure they don't score first while you dig for the winning agenda.......and it costs you 5 credits. Plus it's only 1 in the deck, so the consistency of this card is very weak. It can feel great when it works, but very rarely will you have it in hand AND need it AND have the extra money for it at the same time. It's nowhere near reliable enough to be put in a serious deck. Disappointing, I know, but true.

(Fear the Masses era)
That's why you run Turntable, to bring them back below 7! #jank —

I suspect that this card will ultimately prove to be a very influential and powerful card, an auto-include in criminal and worth considering splashing in the other factions.

This card's effect, as compared to your expenditure, is utterly unparalleled. In return for one click and 5 creds you create a space wherein the Corp CAN'T WIN (save by flatline). You have the remainder of the turn you install it, then the entirety of the turn where it has 1 counter on it, then the entirety of the turn where it has 2 counters on it. Discounting the install turn (since the Corp doesn't score out on the runner's turn) and presuming no 5 click shenanigans, you get 8 clicks to fix a lost game.

This is, to be sure, a tall order. But the alternative is defeat. In a close game, is 8 clicks enough time to make your way into R&D one more time? Remember, it is only the Corp that can't win during this time. You can absolutely win yourself. This can lead to hilarious situations. Imagine the Corp losing 7 to 7, or, heck, 8 to 7.

A few notes:

First off, the best use of the Black File would be to have a way to install it as a paid ability. Put it on a Street Peddler or what have you. That way if the enemy isn't going to win you don't have to pay for it, and if you do end up installing it you don't lose a click putting it down. In this case you'd use it like you'd ordinarily use a clot.

Next, the Corp is not entirely powerless during these 2 protected turns. It is easy to imagine them staring at their 7 agenda points and just taking creds and adding ice, but they do have an alternative. If they can tag you there is nothing about this card which keeps the Corp from trashing it.

Also, this is a virtual resource, and therefore Apex can use it. Hard to imagine he has the influence to spring for this, but the possibility is there.

(Fear the Masses era)
"In return for one click and 4 creds..." It's 5 creds, not 4. —
Thanks, corrected. —
It would be pretty funny if the corp scored Helium-3 Deposit as it's last agenda when this was on the table with 1 counter. The corp wold win as soon as the runners turn started. —
Surely this gives you three turns? You play it the turn before they win, you then get an extra turn with 1 counter, an extra turn with 2 counters, and because it trashes on your turn when the corp cannot score agendas you then get a third turn when it trashes itself. —
My thinking is that they score up to 7 during either the 1 counter or 2 counter turn, then win immediately when it trashes itself. —
Wait, am I missing something, or you can keep this on board infinitely with Dr. Lovegood? —
Now I've realized you would still lose, but the good thing is you don't have to wait for a moment corp can win, you just install this whenever it's convenient. —

Jank review.....

Install The Black File

Do your thing for remaining three clicks and next 2 turns.

On the turn you would place the third counter on it sell it to Aesop's Pawnshop instead.

Somehow bring it back to hand.



Get killed by BOOM! or Jinteki.

edit: this wont work as pointed out below. Sad panda :(

(Crimson Dust era)
the moment it gets trashed the Corp can win by points they scored while it was active, so you can't extend the duration by recycling it. —
Good point, well made. :( —
What if, instead of selling Black File, you trash it by installing another copy of it? —
One per deck. —
Now this review is stuck here for all eternity... —
To add something that has not been mentioned, this can be spicy in a Leela/Gang Signs deck as now the corp has to care about the last agenda they score as well. —