False Flag

False Flag 2[credit]

Asset: Ambush
Trash: 2
Influence: 2

False Flag can be advanced.

When the Runner accesses False Flag, give the Runner 1 tag for every 2 advancement tokens on False Flag.

[click], 7 hosted advancement tokens: add False Flag to your score area as an agenda worth 3 agenda points.

Illustrated by Nasrul Hakim
Decklists with this card

Kampala Ascendent (ka)

#120 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)

No rulings yet for this card.


Lengthy review, which is also sort of a response to Drakeheart, but since it is a mouthfull I am posting it separately.

I think this is one of those cards that looks very appealing, especially to newer players, but is a lot worse than it seems. Not garbage, but there is a reason this asset doesn't show up in competitive decks, even though tags are the hot rage.

You have to look at this card in some likely scenarios:

  • The runner hits this unadvanced, in centrals or on the board. This is quite ok for the corp. I actually disagree with 2 trash cost being inconsequential. 0 or 1 is, 2 is just high enough to be annoying. And as stated, this is basically a moot access, since this "agenda" can't be stolen.

  • The runner finds this with 2 advancements. A poor man's Ghost Branch indeed. Not bad if they also spend 2 to trash it, but as stated later, the runner can just let you keep investing resources.

  • 4 advancement counters. How did you get here? Did you install, advance, wait a turn, 3x advance? Why would the runner run the card? Seems like a weird way to score a 5/3. Ronin maybe, that might be enough to go check it. They do take two tags. IF they run it. So this is potentially the best scenario.

  • 5 counters. Can be achieved if you iaa, aaa. Great, all set up to advance advance "score". Because again, why would they run this? And because of the odd number of advancements, only 2 tags.

  • 6 counters. By now you are telegraphing you definitely have some jank and the runner is trying very hard to remember the card pool. Or whether you might have the proverbial stones to slow roll a Goverment Takeover. They might go check, and take 3 tags for their troubles, not easy to shake. Buuut unless you play support cards, it will take you 3 turns to get here.

  • You score it. Yay! You just spend 9 credits and 9 clicks to score a blank 3-pointer over three turns. You could have scored SSL or SDS Drone Deployment instead. Sure, it didn't pose you any risk of losing an agenda┬ábut this cost is so prohibitive that unless you are very far ahead anyway, you have just shot yourself in the foot.

This is a long-winded way of saying, I am not remotely terrified of this card. If you want to spend 3 turns scoring it, have at it. I am gonna snoop in your centrals while you do that. If you as a runner do fear False Flag, Drive By and Political Operative are great counters. Or call their bluff and run it with No One Home or On the Lam installed.

Combos nicely with Prisec and Dedication Ceremony, if you do decide to try it out.

(Uprising era)

What about the interactions with Slot Machine and La Costa Grid?

The same logic applies. If you had an agenda on the board instead of False Flag, you could use both cards to better effect.

In the case of Slot Machine, you also can't reliably expect the third sub to fire. And in the case of La Costa, if you park it in the same remote as False Flag, you still aren't scoring out of that remote. It still takes you 3 turns to fire False Flag, while you could have never advanced a solid 4/2 in 2 turns.

I don't disagree that if you see it on it's own it's not great because it's needs to be advanced over 3 turns but if played together with La Costa Grid, Seamless launch in a Clearing house Deck you can easily get to 6-7 advancement on round 2 and about your question, why would the runner run it, well to not flatline in case of Clearinghouse should be enough pressure. So it's a win win. If he takes the bait and runs he spends all his money and gets tagged to the neck if he doesn't, you score a 3 point agenda. I can see this being quite decent 1 or 2 card include in a 44 card 6 agenda deck that goes for the long play.

This card... I have questions. Maybe it's not as strong as I think it is. Maybe I should actually use it before posting this review. Maybe I should do a lot of things.

False Flag is unlike any other Advancement Ambush Asset in that it forces the runner to address the threat. Unlike Cerebral Overwriter, Ghost Branch, Neurostasis, or Plan B, which hinge on the Runner actually accessing them, False Flag becomes a 3 Point Agenda.

If we ignore that absolutely massive contingency, False Flag is a worse Ghost Branch. The 2- cost is negligible. 1 tag for every 2 advancement tokens is much less punishing. BUT. If the runner never triggers it. If you build this in a server out of reach from the runner, then you just spent the same amount of effort for a Government Takeover in order to score an agenda that the runner can't steal, and is punished for even trying.

That's it. That's the card. A 9/3 Agenda that reads "The runner cannot steal or host this, and gains tags after trying. The runner can pay 2 to trash this." The latter half of that sentence is the insulting part, because they WILL trash this.

Bonus points for on-point fluff.

(Uprising era)

I am curious why you think this is a 9/3? In my mind 7 times advance plus a click to pop it equals a 8/3?

Reviewing a card without playing it at least once is asking to be criticized. But the comparison to Ghost Branch doesn't work. Similar to Gene Splicer, this card puts a Runner in a lose-lose scenario. You access it and you die by murder or you don't access it and you lose by points. If you're worried about speed with an 8/3, this is the faction with Dedication Ceremony - they'll be fine. While you're at 4+ points, this is a great way to pressure a Runner.

@Aterriblesound 7 to advance, plus 2 to rez. @BlackCherries, I suppose that's my frustration with it. The only downside is investment cost, but for an asset that forces the Runner to address it and lose or ignore it and lose, it seems stupidly strong.

Well, i tell you what: put this card in your Weyland deck and give it the old try. I would be surprised if you come away from these games with the opinion that the card is, in your own words, 'stupidly strong'. It can be used as an effective tool in some situations but in my opinion it is nowhere near the top.

"Maybe I should actually use it before posting this review." Huh. You were so close, too.