Customized Secretary

Customized Secretary 2[credit]

Memory: 1 • Strength: -
Influence: 2

When you install Customized Secretary reveal the top 5 cards of the stack. You may host any number of revealed programs from your stack on it. Shuffle your stack.

[click]: Install a hosted program, paying all install costs.

Illustrated by Liiga Smilshkalne
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Station One (so)

#27 • English
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Station One
  • Updated 2024-02-02

    UFAQ [Michael Boggs]

    When the Runner installs a program from Customized Secretary, does it remain hosted?

    No, the program moves off of Customized Secretary and is installed in the rig as usual.


Tutor is a term borrowed from Magic the Gathering for a card effect that finds the card you need from your deck. It's not as though Shapers were hurting for program tutors. So, what does Customized Secretary have to offer that the others don't?

The thing that makes Customized Secretary unique is that it could potentially fetch you up to 5 programs. However, this also makes it only a pseudo-tutor since this random sampling of programs may or may not contain the one you need right now. In almost all cases this is inferior to SMC which installs the card you need in any action window, or to Test Run which can fetch programs from the heap as well and pairs nicely with Scavenge.

So, can we find any reason to play this card? Clearly, we need a deck chock-full of programs to get value here. If that were the case, Customized Secretary becomes like Batman's utility belt allowing you to pull out just the tool you need for each job. What charming academic do we know that loves playing lots of programs? None other than The Professor: Keeper of Knowledge. Of course, even in a deck full of program you can easily miss the one you need. Sure, you could Scavenge Customized Secretary to use it again, but there are far better targets. You are already playing the The Professor: Keeper of Programs and Customized Secretary, might as well go full jank and slot Brahman to recycle this. Sahasrara makes it free to install.

Frankly, at time of release, I can't see any reason to slot this other than love of jank. So, throw this binder fodder back where it belongs. Or join me, mild mannered academic by day, digital Batman by night...

(Terminal Directive Cards era)
It's a bit far fetched but you could use the secretary to reduce the program density in your deck once you've got your rig set up. In that case you'd host programs that you already have copies installed of to make Diesel and the likes more likely to turn up cards you do want. —
you can also use Brahman to return an already/near empty customized secretary to host up to 5 more cards —
Maybe Silv's idea isn't bad: The idea of this programm is that it lowers your program density, while at the same time giving you those you need. Additionally you can use it to get programms in your heap. And the programms won't get trashed by damage. Would I play it? Probably not. Too inefficient. —

At first glance, Customized Secretary looks bad. You need two clicks (draw + install) to set it up and the effect is rather small. However, it is somewhat better than that. The obvious comparison is cash. Both are bad in the same way: They don't do a lot by there own. However, played with the right cards they both net you an incredible amount of money. That left aside here a few thoughts on Customized Secretary itself:

  1. For every program on Customized Secretary you save one click (the drawing of it). If you want to get your draw+install clicks back, you need about 40% of your deck being programs, e.g. 18 of 45 cards.
  2. The programs on Customized Secretary get the main advantage of being in your grip (you can install them) but can't accidentally get trashed as easily and they aren't milling your grip with cards you don't need yet.
  3. You can use Customized Secretary to get cards into your heap, by trashing it. Say paperclip.
  4. To many programs in your stack, you don't need anymore? Customized Secretary will thin them out for you.
  5. I like Customized Secretary from the perspective of game design: It does a lot of different things for you, non of which by itself are really strong, but together it might be playable.
(Terminal Directive Cards era)
How do you use this to get programs in your heap? Are you talking about trashing Customized Secretary with Aesop or w/e? —
exactly —
The programs can get trashed when the secretary is trashed though. And there are a few corp cards that can do that. —
The problem with the install and trash engine is that a large portion of your deck will be in your heap very quickly and you can only pack 3 Levi's. Compared to other options like Dhegdeers + MOpus and/or Data Folding it seems a bit weak. —
Generally programms are hard to trash, but still thx for pointing out that I wrote it wrong —
Actually I don't think you need a lot of levi's you don't actually need to draw a lot of cards, since each one gives you a lot of money. But let's compare it to MOpus + Data Folding. Using my technic, you get from installing Customized Secretary -1 (install cost) + 3 (Aesop) + 3 (Technical Writer) + 3 (Wasteland) = 8 for 2 clicks (draw + install). You might do that even more efficient by using Hayley and better drawing engine. Also I don't consider what the program itself does. Using two clicks with MOpus + Datafolding gives you only 7 credits. Of course MOpus is easier to set up, so both have their advantige over each other. —
Customized Secretary works very well in this setting, since you can use it up as you like, unlike most other programs —
Your engine requires 1 Aesop, 3 Technical Writers and 3 Wastelands in addition to the Customized Secretary. That's a lot of setup which is hard to pull off before the corp scores a win. —
Actually no. Contrary to your MO setup you don't need anything at all to get started. It gets efficient when you have set up everything but you don't need it. That means, it grows stronger during the game —

The best comparison to this card is Quality Time.

Quality Time lets you draw 5 cards. Customized Secretary lets you look at the top 5 cards of your stack and install them later for a click, which is quite similar drawing those cards.

Except, of course, Customized Secretary is restricted to programs. In exchange for getting only programs from the top 5 cards of your stack, and taking up a point of MU, Customized Secretary costs 1 credit less than Quality Time. This comparison is very unfavorable for Customized Secretary.

It's very rare for a Netrunner deck to be more than 40% programs. If a Customized Secretary deck is less than 60% programs, you're going to get less than 60% * 5 = 3 cards on average, which makes Customized Secretary comparable to a Diesel which costs 2 more and takes up a point of MU.

If you want to go into deep theoretical situations, I'm sure there are situations where Customized Secretary is better than Quality Time or Diesel. Maybe a Runner deck which also has London Library and Aesop's Pawnshop, or if a Runner deck really needs more card draw after maxing out on Quality Time / Diesel, or against a Corp deck running Student Loans. However, in typical cases, I expect Shaper's event-based card draw to be much better.

(Uprising era)