Salvo Testing

Salvo Testing 5/3

Agenda: Security

Whenever you score an agenda (including this one), you may do 1 core damage.

"Yes, that explosion was quite loud. May I pour you another drink?"
Illustrated by Kira L. Nguyen
Decklists with this card

The Automata Initiative (tai)

#31 • English
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I'm going to review this card since no one else has, I guess. This card is absolutely terrible and has virtually no deck that it will make stronger in any way other than reducing its total agenda count in some weird all-in deck that does not intend to score out, and even that should not be done without first playing all the 5/3 agendas with better tempo or defensive abilities that have not yet rotated, e.g. Ikawah Project and Send a Message.

First of all, this card only has text if you score it while you have less than four agenda points. That's a pretty bad start for a 5/3, as almost all of the actually played 5/3s for the majority of the game's lifespan have had some way to protect them from randomly being ripped out of a central server for a massive swing. Furthermore, the effect having the line "whenever you score an agenda" is incredibly ill-fitting for a 5/3. since that event will generally happen zero to one more times before a victor is declared. No clause for Runner steals to be found, no defensive abilities for this agenda or future ones.

Second, this card simply deals one core damage when scored. That means the runner loses probably 0-3 credits of value most of the time (unless it's Esâ Afontov, who thanks you for the tempo) and the runner is slightly inconvenienced for the rest of the game by a smaller handsize. It turns out that one core damage can generally just be shrugged off, except maybe for Lat. Meanwhile you, the corp, get absolutely no benefit. In fact, you are often left penniless from the cost of spending two turns advancing this card five times and protecting it. Which makes the promise of more core damage when you score your next agenda (that you are now in an absolutely terrible position to score) a bit hollow. Even if you do land two core damage in a game... so what? That's not exactly game-winning levels of tempo. It does allow a kill with End of the Line, should you also land a tag, but kill decks that start with "First, score a 5/3 and a second agenda" kind of have the idea of "multiple win conditions" all wrong.

But what about setting up Ontological Dependence? Sure, this is relevant, but the cost is honestly much too great. Using Salvo Testing to score your core damage still only gets you halfway to making Ontological Dependence a worthwhile card in your deck, unless you score a second agenda afterwards. Meanwhile, playing a 5/3 without forward tempo is going to make it very hard for those juicy potential 2/2 payoffs to not just get ripped out of centrals. Still, this at least resembles a game plan, albeit a clunky, poor one, and this is certainly the closest thing to a valid use case for the card right now. You're better off using either access traps or Djupstad Grid to get your work done; as money-hungry as Djupstad Grid is, it at least won't actively lose you the game as often as Salvo Testing will.

If you think the concept of this card is fun, go ahead, make a jank deck that tries to build around it, play it ten or fifteen times until you actually make this card do literally anything, and get it out of your system. Hopefully you can land three core damage with it somehow and feel like you had a good time. Solidly binder fodder otherwise, though.

(The Automata Initiative era)

There are some competitive decks with that card. I would mention Thule with idea to fast scoring Ontological after Salvo testing. But now archetype is ruined anyways.