Okay, TL;DR version: This card is a powerhouse that will almost certainly play a role in shaping the meta for glacier decks for the foreseeable future. There is zero question in my mind that this will be showing up in tournament-winning decklists, so if you're not already familiar with the card, start getting used to it and start learning how to play around it.
There. Now that that's out of the way, time for the rambling wall of text. Because this is a really interesting card, and there are a lot of aspects to cover!
Bottom line though, this card's power comes from three magical words: End the Run.
These are common enough words in Netrunner, of course. Except, here, unlike most other places they occur, it has no special conditions that need to be met. Once Anoetic Void is online, the runner can't contest it. There is no trace to beat, no ICE to break, not even a psi game to luck out on. Just those three, short words. The corp pays for the effect, and the run ends, and that's that.
Unconditional "End the Run" effects are super powerful. They serve as the lynchpin in glacier strategies, acting as a multiplier for giant scoring servers. There's a reason that Border Control is in so many decks. There's a reason that Nisei MK II is probably the single best 4/2 agenda in the game.
This card clearly exists to fill the void left by dear, rotated Caprice Nisei, so it makes sense to compare the two. A quick rundown:
- Anoetic is cheaper to rez, at 0, vs. Caprice's 2.
- They're both 4 influence, so they're expensive to import.
- They both have the same trash cost, 1, so neither one is going to survive direct contact with a runner.
- Much like Caprice, Anoetic Void is not a region, so it can be combined with other defensive upgrades.
- Much like Caprice, Anoetic Void is unique, so you have to pick what you want to secure.
- Caprice requires you to win a psi game, whereas Anoetic Void has a fixed cost.
That last point is probably the most important. With Caprice, there was always a chance that the runner would guess right, and get in. Countless games of Netrunner have been won and lost based on whether Caprice could outguess a runner at match point. Anoetic Void removes the guesswork: If you can pay the cost, you can keep the runner out, 100% of the time.
And oh what a cost. Two credits and two cards is a lot of tempo for the corp to give up! This is no Caprice Nisei, who can sometimes get away with bouncing the runner for 0. When you trigger Anoetic Void, you feel it. The cost increase is definitely a nerf over what Caprice was. (But that's probably okay, because what Caprice was, is borderline too-good.) Is the new cost still worth it? That depends an awful lot on exactly how much it costs to run the server, and how much you need to keep the runner out for a turn, but probably yes. This is still a very powerful, very uncommon effect, that improves glacier builds dramatically.
Because it acts as a cost multiplier, Anoetic Void is at its best when the server it protects is expensive to run. It's hard to say exactly how much 2and 2 cards are worth to the corp, (and depends a bit on exactly which cards they have available to discard) but you probably want a server that costs the runner at least 4-5 to get into. (Or the expenditure of limited resources like Inside Job or Overclock!) Ideally you want to put this in a scoring server with at least 2-3 moderately taxing ICE.
Of course, ICE isn't the only way to make a server more costly to run. Manegarm Skunkworks is a great addition to Anoetic Void, in much the same way that Ash 2X3ZB9CY and Caprice Nisei used to be best buddies. And if I understand the timings right, since they share the same trigger, the corp gets to decide the order that they resolve in. So even if the runner gets past all of your ICE, the corp can force them to pay the Skunkworks tax, and then bounce them with Anotic anyway!
Also - Anoetic Void's cost is high, but it is also far more reliable than a psi game. The corp can look at their resources and KNOW (as much as the corp can know anything, in a world full of runner surprises!) how many times they can fire Anoetic Void in a turn. With Caprice, if the corp had more than zero credits, there was always a chance that the run might fail. You could play some games if the corp had 1-2 credits (and you could afford to run multiple times in a turn) but for the most part, Caprice caused a lot of uncertainty for the runner. And for the corp as well! Because even if your server was great, and you had a 10 lead over the runner, there was always the chance that they'd guess right, and get in anyway.
Anoetic void though, is easy to predict. Both the corp's credit pool and cards in HQ are public information, so the corp and runner can look at both, and generally know how many times the corp can afford to keep them out of the server. If the corp only has 3 cards in hand, and you can afford to get into the server twice, then you can be pretty sure that Anoetic Void is only going to go off once.
This also offers some hints into how the runner might play around this card: If they can force the corp below 2, or below 2 cards in hand, then Anoetic Void is neutered. Criminals then, can try to get past the void via economic warfare, and forcing the corp to lose or respend money via things like Emergency Shutdown, Tranquilizer, Tread Lightly, or Diversion of Funds. Anarchs, of course, can attack the corp's cards in HQ, with effects like Imp, Edward Kim, Freedom Khumalo, Carnivore, and so on.
(Shapers don't really have a good answer I can think of other than to build a big enough rig that running repeatedly on the void is cheap enough to be economically feasible.)
So! Some combos and synergies to think about!
- Jinteki: Restoring Humanity doesn't mind throwing facedown cards into the trash from time to time.
- Cards that give the corp credits and card-draw are obviously good here. (Most corps want credits, but it might be worth slotting in a few card draw effects to power the void, if you think you'll need to use the void a lot.
- Upgrades that increase the cost of access, and fire when the runner approaches the server are great. So Manegarm Skunkworks and Cayambe Grid as well, if you're playing in a format where it's legal. (i. e. Startup)
- Cards that let the corp gain credits or cards on the runner's turn (ideally mid-run) are great, because they allow the corp to bring the Anoetic Void online after the runner has already committed, thinking it was safe. Spin Doctor deserves special mention here, since he can not only draw you cards mid-run, but also protect the cards that you used to pay for Anoetic Void's cost, if they happen to be agendas.
- The void combos nicely with other guaranteed ways to end the run (Border Control and Nisei MK II especially), for some good old fashioned click compression - situations where the runner can't contest your 5/3 score (even if they can get in!) because they simply don't have enough clicks in a turn to get past all of your ways to end the run.
And one last thing - can we just take a moment to appreciate the artwork on this card? BalanceSheet really knocked it out of the park here, with the tiny runner looking out over the strange region of netspace populated by massive digital entities. It is both gorgeous and evocative. Which is good, because I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of this card in glacier builds from here on out!
"BalanceSheet really knocked it out of the park here, with the tiny runner looking out over the strange region of netspace populated by massive digital entities." That's not a runner, that's Caprice Nisei. She got HELP— superheronation