Aumakua 3[credit]

Program: Icebreaker - AI - Virus
Memory: 1 • Strength: 0
Influence: 1

This program gets +1 strength for each hosted virus counter.

Whenever you expose a card, place 1 virus counter on this program.

Whenever you finish breaching a server, if you did not steal or trash any accessed cards, place 1 virus counter on this program.

Interface → 1[credit]: Break 1 subroutine.

Illustrated by Adam S. Doyle
Decklists with this card

Crimson Dust (cd)

#104 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
Crimson Dust
  • Updated 2024-04-05

    NSG [NSG Rules Team Update]

    Does Aumakua trigger if the Runner uses Eater during the run?

    Yes. Aumakua cares only about breaching the server, not about accessing any specific card(s).

    Does Aumakua trigger if the Runner uses Salsette Slums but does not steal or trash any other cards accessed?

    Yes. The Runner breached the server and did not steal or trash any of them.

    Updated (2024.04).


Aumakua is everything you really wanted Darwin to be.

That being said, there is one thing it's not: a breaker in the conventional sense. Now that Snitch is gone, there aren't any unreasonable combos where you can make Aumakua your primary breaker for getting in to servers. And unlike Eater, it's not particularly well suited for being your backup plan when facechecking big ice. The big turtle is, however, so much more than just a way of breaking that annoying Excalibur. It excels at being two things:

  • A threat card. A lot of the time, you won't really be using Aumakua at all. Instead, it will accumulate counters as you go about business as usual, and it does so in excellent combination with cards like The Turning Wheel, Aeneas Informant, and of course Maw. The Corp cannot afford to ignore the virus counters stacking up on Aumakua. Once the stack reaches 5 or 6 counters, big ICE becomes paper thin - here the 1 per sub (versus 2 on Darwin) is absolutely crucial. If the Corp doesn't do something about it, then your big turtle will be running anywhere it pleases. The forced Corp response often looks like an entire turn lost to purging viruses, a cost which can be extracted multiple times as simply running like normal will pump your turtle right back up. Combo with Fester to make this tax exceptionally hard for the Corp.

    And in a pinch, you can always hit any unprotected server (including Archives!) for extra counters on Aumakua.

  • A silver bullet for the scoring remote. Criminals excel at finding one-time ways into servers. Whether it's a fraud breaker or simply an Inside Job, a Criminal runner knows how to get in just about anywhere when the price is right. When combined with backup in form of Dean Lister, Aumakua can steamroll past just about any ICE in your way, to swoop into a scoring remote and swipe a marked agenda.

One of the most attractive things about Aumakua is that, at 1 influence, it can bring this Criminal flavor into any other faction for very little cost (its best friend Dean Lister isn't even a Criminal card at all). Therefore, you can get all the benefits above in a more virus-focused Anarch deck as well as in a Criminal build (the Shapers already have a lot of fancy program tricks in-faction). Also useful for cleaning up weak ICE before you can get your whole rig out, Aumakua is a solid addition to any icebreaker suite, taxing the Corp and being the sort of jack-of-all-trades that makes Atman fun, albeit with a very different style.

(Crimson Dust era)

After my last review where I lambasted my least favorite Runner ID, I thought maybe go back and visit a card I really like. And that card is everyone's favorite guardian: Aumakua. Fun bit of trivia: an aumakua (pronounced oh-mah-KOO-ah) is, according to Hawaiian folklore, a guardian deity of one's family. One of the forms it can take is everyone's favorite turtle program.

I absolutely love Aumakua. Not because it's exceedingly strong (it can become the juggernaut if the Corp doesn't purge), or because it's incredibly cheap (1 per subroutine is pretty good, especially for a 3 install). I don't play Criminal all that often, either, but it isn't because of influence (1 influence is incredibly cheap). So why do I love Aumakua? Because it's one of the first cards I saw during my first game.

Bit of story time. At my LGS, the January before the announcement of Jacking Out, I made the mistake of picking up the Core Set of L5R. While looking for people to play against at my LGS, I came across some people playing Netrunner. Curious, I stopped to watch the game, and after a few rounds, I asked if I could play. One guy, let's call him J, let me borrow a Valencia Estevez deck. I don't remember the entire deck setup, but there were two cards that stood out: Maw and an fan-made alt-art of Aumakua he had gotten from eBay (sleeved, obviously). The turtle stuck with me, and as soon as I got my copy of the (original) core set, I picked up Crimson Dust and Daedalus complex, making a Noise deck with Aumakua, not realizing Noise was rotated. During my early days, I would try to slot Aumakua in wherever because I liked the card. If NISEI wanted to print their own promo art for Aumakua, I'm sure I'd buy it in a heartbeat, all because it's the card that got me into Netrunner in the first place.

(Uprising era)

Cool story = )

In Hawaiian mythology, an ʻaumakua is a family god, often a deified ancestor. The Hawaiian plural of ʻaumakua is nā ʻaumākua, although in English the plural is usually ʻaumakuas, <a href=""></a>

Another addition to the time-honored Snitch - Au Revoir - Reflection engine, at least until the first two rotate out. Expose is a niche mechanic not often used, so it's nice to see something that can take advantage of that.

Similarities can be drawn with Darwin as a relatively cheap, versatile AI that can gain momentum very quickly, but this virtual turtle can gain up to 4 virus counters a turn (more if you import shenanigans like Incubator or Surge.) In addition, Aumakua is 1 to break as opposed to Darwin's 2, making it much more affordable to use. It's also 1 influence, so importing to Anarch isn't a losing proposition.

As mentioned, Aumakua works well hand in hand with Snitch or other expose cards, like Infiltration, Deuces Wild or (not) Raymond Flint. Criminals have a laundry list of expose cards - that is to say, most of the expose cards available - and Aumakua benefits on top of all of those. Silhouette: Stealth Operative is a good fit for our turtley friend, as her ability gives natural exposes along with her runs.

However, exposing is not the only thing Aumakua gains virus counters from. Accessing cards and not stealing or trashing them gives our virtual turtle valuable strength. This means that you gain that counter even if the card you access can't be stolen or trashed. Non-trashable operations and ICE? Virus counter. Trashable operations and ICE? Hey, if you don't want to pay, then virus counter. Put an agenda on Film Critic after accessing it? Virus counter. Asset spam? It's raining virus counters.

The ease with which you can put counters on Aumakua - especially in superwide asset spam decks - is its greatest strength against the Corp's best defence: purging. The way Aumakua works means you can easily recover tempo if your deck is prepared to help it out. Keep expose cards ready to give it the boost it needs. Keep a killer on hand for Swordsman, if anyone even uses that anymore. Keep a decoder, too - I suggest Abagnale - for Turing, but I only say that because I specifically nearly lost a game to Sir Alan. Unless you're teching specifically against it I would save on deck space, though.

Aumakua is a virus, which means it can benefit from MemStrips, Déjà Vu, and the usual complement of Anarch-based virus cards (Hivemind, Virus Breeding Ground and the aforementioned Incubator come to mind). If you're not too tight on influence then consider importing some of these shenanigans to make Aumakua harder, better, faster, stronger o_o

In conclusion, Aumakua is a cool virtual turtle that takes Darwin's strength mechanic and updates it for a new age and a new faction. It has good synergies both in- and cross-faction, and if you're not afraid of AI hate definitely give it a try in your expose-based Criminal decks. Alternatively, have a go at bringing it into Anarch as a low-costed and low-influence AI that benefits a lot from virus-based strategies.

(Crimson Dust era)
You forgot the great synergy between Aumakua and Dean Lister, even without virus counters, which mean great control deck ! ;) —
This ability works in archives? —
(it doesn't work in archives) —
On access to Archives, there's no opportunity to trash anything, though I guess if you Film Critic'd an agenda out of it you'd get a counter. Not sure about the ruling on this one, since you definitely do access things. Maybe it's to stop you adding a counter for every single card in Archives? —
It should work on archives. It isn't checking for things that have trash costs, only that you accessed cards, and did not steal/trash. Notably it asks that you access cards, so the most counters you can get is one at a time, regardless of how many cards are in archives or the server. —
Would Reflection do anything? It reveals a card and Aukakua works of Expose and Access. —
Shouldn't work with Reflection because it's not Expose or Access. Archives should work, based on wording, even if (just guessing) not implemented correctly on Jnet —
Oh, I just included Reflection because I use it as part of my Snitch - Au Revoir engine. —
Does it work very well with datasuckers/desperado? —
Does it synergize with Salsette Slums? —
Does drive by place a virus counter on Aumakua? I think there was a ruling on Drive by that the expose preceeds the they aren't simultaneous? —
What about interactions with Eater? "Whenever you expose a card or access cards"... Technically speaking, with Eater, you do access cards. You just access 0 of them (allowing for a replacement effect). —
@zmb I think it does trigger on a Slums with the 4.1 Slums errata text. Previously it was a replacement effect for the trash action: Runner trashes (action preventing Aumakua trigger) and accessed card is removed from game (replacing normal effect of trash action). Now Slums is a paid ability: instead of trashing Runner "may pay the trash remove that card from the gain" so there is never a trash action. So Aumakua should trigger I think. —