So, first off, the flavor on this card is killer. The alias used by this runner is a reference to one of the oldest and most pervasive cons in the history of the Internet...the Nigerian Prince scam. That's right. We have a Nigerian criminal hacker who is, in essence, calling himself the Nigerian prince. Sick.

Mechanically, the base of his card is pretty boring. 45/15 deck limits, nothing fancy. He gets 1 to start with, which makes it easier to use cloud breakers or Security Nexus, if that is what you want. Nothing interesting to talk about.

So let's move on to his ability. The first time each turn the Corp installs something each turn, they have a choice; pay 1, or expose it to you.

Now, historically, pure expose effects haven't seen much play. Infiltration managed to survive the core set revision, which is strange, given how rarely it was used. No one ever uses the expose option on Deuces Wild. Lemuria Codecracker was a joke.

But this is a little disappointing because, in the game of bluffs and calls that Netrunner should be, knowing the difference between a Wall of Static and a Neural Katana is a big deal. Early game, when you don't have icebreakers, ramming a Wall is a cheap way to cost the corp some credits...but hitting a Katana without a killer means, at best, losing tempo to redraw the lost cards, and at worst you lose a key rig piece or die outright.

There was also a consistency issue. Late game, expose effects are not greatly useful; the board state is well established, you have your breakers. It's mostly only useful in giving you a way to dodge a Project Junebug bluff in their scoring remote, which many corp decks don't even use. So you don't want to put in too many expose cards. But putting in only a couple expose cards means not having them reliably when you need them early on.

But, 419 changes that. Now, expose isn't a thing you have to add to your deck. It's something you get by default, the whole game, at no cost, repeatedly. That is a terrifying amount of information. Knowing every trap the corp has laid down, knowing every ICE the corp has played, lets you make the perfect move every time.

So the Corp is going to want to stop you. And they can do this in two ways. First, they can install multiple cards in a turn. This is only somewhat effective, though; spending an entire turn to install only gives them 2 "invisible" cards and wreaks havoc on a lot of gameplans.

The other way is for them to spend 1. That doesn't seem that bad, does it? Here's the thing though. Doing that every turn absolutely kills a corp's economy. Remember the old HB core identity? It was easily the strongest ID in the faction because it generated so much freaking cash. So, inversely, losing 1 credit each turn you install makes a corp broke...which is exactly where Criminals want corps to be.

So, your corp can't just give out free information every turn, and they also can't afford to pay up every turn. So you need to prioritize. Give out some information, and keep the important stuff secret. Oh, but then you've just told 419 what stuff is important. After all, you wouldn't pay to prevent exposing a simple PAD Campaign or a Pop-up Window. So if you're hiding it, it must be valuable...or dangerous.

So far, though, I've just been describing a vanilla Criminal deck run in 419 instead of, say, Silhouette or Nero Severn. Where this gets bonkers is in the combos and support they added.

Aumakua becomes an insane AI breaker--with the amount of exposing you do, and the opportunity to bounce off un-iced remote assets, you can quickly get it to 3 or 4 strength, and cruise through low-strength ice until they purge. Falsified Credentials becomes another three Sure Gambles that can be played from 1 credit. Blackguard is okay, but is not as good as 419's own console Zamba, which is a respectable 4 for 2...and makes it so the corp has to choose between paying, and letting you get paid AND see their stuff AND buff Aumakua.

But you'll notice that while these abilities are all really strong, the combo pieces are all very simple, and there aren't that many of them. 419 has so much room to build his deck. He's strong, but versatile.

Hail to the Prince.

I used to think that the devs always kept the power level of Expose weak so that the bluffing element of the game would remain intact. Then 419 got printed... Of course there are still bluffs but the credit drain is brutal. I would make a big note of Corporate Grant which doubles down on the credit denial that 419 loves so much. —
Blackguard is, unfortunately, rotated. —
VERY good catch there. —
And then the flavor text... Good God, I gotta revisit my former opinion regarding this cycle. —
Counterplay to this guy: —
Psychic Field & It's a Trap! with the former being very splashable at 1 inf. —
Even besides random tech, the Corp controls which order their card gets exposed. If they don't have their Zamba out, let an upgrade or an asset be exposed that you were going to rez right away anyways. Otherwise, don't cheap out against 419. —
Psychic Field. Decline to pay 1, force the Expose, psi game for their whole hand. —

With Psychic Field and It's a Trap! gone, what are we left with to fight 419?

@Davidmc7: 419 normally doesn't run Zamba nowadays, so virus hate works pretty well; if you can shut down the Aumakua then you can normally just let 419 expose things (and rez your assets early to play around Falsified Credentials). So 419 is generally beatable without specific tech cards other than virus hate (which also hates on a number of other IDs), as long as you're capable of beating Criminal in general. Nonetheless, he's definitely one of the better Criminals, though.

It's like Donut Taganes for the Corp!

What's that you say? "Who's Donut?" "I've never seen that card before?" "Why would anyone play that card?"

The third question answers the first two. The fact is, operations and events are pretty dang important. Very few decks make their economies work without any form of burst econ, or sneaky one-use tricks.

Which, maybe, makes this card a little more viable? If you play Rolling Brownout, and the runner plays an event, then the net impact is that you are down 1 credit and the runner is down 1 credit as well. If they play two events on two turns, then you've broken even and the runner is down 2. Which is...maybe acceptable?

Of course, the runner could simply not play an event until they bust the current, in which case you are just down 2 credits. And to make that happen you had to run a deck with very few operations, a risky proposition against any runner who likes to hit HQ and trash stuff.

But it's one influence, I guess? In case you wanted to play this bad card somewhere else?

I think my biggest problem with this card is that it's competing for the "econ denial current" slot with Scarcity, Service Outage, and Manhunt. I'm only going to pick one for my deck, ya know? —

So, NEXT Ice has never been bad. Maybe it's never been great. But it's never been bad.

4/2 agendas have never been great. Sometimes they've been okay. But they're competing for deck slots with 3/2s, and while many 3/2s have rotated out (ding dong the witch is dead) the Projects are still kicking. A 4/2 agenda, therefore, needs to offer some compensation if it's stolen (like Explode-a-palooza) or some benefit if you score it (like Corporate Sales Team).

NEXT Wave 2 gives you...a brain damage. One. If you have NEXT Ice rezzed. That part's easy, honestly.

Or, it would be, if NEXT Bronze hadn't rotated out. Seriously, the whole point of NEXT ice is to be cheap, abundant, and self-reinforcing, so losing the only 2-cost ice in the suite is a bit of a punch in the genitals.

So instead of having easy fodder, you're now trying to work with NEXT Silver, which is alright, NEXT Opal, which is pretty much just bad, and NEXT Gold, which super expensive.

The core problem here is that doing 1 point of brain damage, by itself, isn't going to win you the game. It makes any future flatline easier, but only NEXT Gold has that potential in the required ice mix you have to run for this card. You could pair it with other brain damaging (or pseudo-brain damage like Self-Destruct Chips) to choke the runner's hand down. But generally, brain damage isn't a win condition.

So, to make this card work, you have to run an ice suite that isn't very good, score an agenda that could've been a Project Vitruvius, in pursuit of a win condition that doesn't really exist.

All I have to say, is that the next NEXT ice had better be good if this is going to see play post-rotation.

If you IAA this, you can play Defective Brainchips before you score it and get TWO brain damage. C-C-C-COMBOO!!! —
The upcoming NEXT Sapphire is like a non-deflecting Miraju with some archives recursion tossed in, so NEXT's future isn't looking too bad. —

On the corp side, the economics here are pretty clear. Let's assume, for now, that the runner doesn't want to trash their stuff.

  • If the runner has 1 card of a given type installed, there's no point in playing this, since it costs you +2 and you only get back 2.

  • If they have 2 cards of a given type, you are spending +2 and getting back 4. That means, you're spending a card and a click to get 2 credits. That's worse than a Beanstalk Royalties.

  • If they have 3 cards of a given type, now it looks okay. You're gaining a net +4, which is the same as a Hedge Fund, with only a two credit investment instead of five.

Anything above that, and this card starts to look really good, offering a significant amount of burst economy for a very low investment.

But, there are two catches. The first is that the runner has to have at least 3 cards of the same type installed for this to be worth playing, and realistically you're hoping for 4. In the late game, this is easy--most runner have at least a killer, a fracter, and a decoder, and unless they're running hardcore event econ they probably have a handful of resources as well. But this means that Biased Reporting can't fire until the late game, which is a disaster if you get it in an early hand and have to patiently wait.

The second catch is the option for the runner to trash their stuff. Now, most of the time, the runner isn't going to want to trash a card for 1. That's a pretty bad deal, especially if the cards in question are their key breakers or economy cards. But, trashing a card to gain AND deny the corp 2? Suddenly, that's a 3-credit swing, and more importantly, it keeps the corp poor. In the extreme case, the runner could clear their entire board, making this card a 2% loss for the corp instead of a gain.

This means that Biased Reporting is never going to be the card that enables a last-ditch effort. If you are sitting on 2 credits and just need a couple more to win, then unless you can bluff the runner out super hard, it's game over.

Overall, not a bad card, and against decks that go all-in on a particular type of gear (Off-Campus Apartment decks, or basically any Hayley deck) it can be an insane value. But it seems like a card you run as a 1-of or 2-of, to reduce the risk of drawing it at a bad time or in a bad matchup.



A bit of lore: "Nfr" is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph meaning "good", "pleasant", "well", or "beautiful" depending on context. The pronunciation is something like "Nefer" or "Nafer"--in fact, it's the first part of the name of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Enough flavor, let's talk mechanics. In general, icebreakers fall into two categories: boost-to-break, and fixed strength. Corroder is boost-to-break, while Mimic and Yog.0 are fixed strength.

The tradeoff between these two types of breakers is power versus reliability. For any piece of ice strength 3 or below, Mimic is one of the most efficient killers in the game, and Yog.0 is literally free to use. But, there's a catch--getting through any high-strength piece of ice becomes impossible without additional support, and even with Datasuckers and the like it can be difficult. As such, these breakers encourage an aggressive playstyle--try to win by chewing through weak early-game ice over the central servers, before the corp manages to get a Wormhole or Archer rezzed. At the very least, you can use this to rack up Datasucker tokens.

But there wasn't a fixed-strength barrier breaker that fit with this approach. Sure, Morning Star existed, but it was extremely expensive, preventing the runner from using it to fuel their early game. Once in a while you'd see it played in a MaxX/Retrieval Run deck to cheat it into play, but outside that pretty much never.

Nfr is an attempt to fill that gap. But does it?

Let's start with the big weakness. It only starts at 1 strength. That's a huge problem, when you consider that barriers tend to be taxing based on strength. If the corp manages to get a Wall of Static on all their central servers and purges your Datasucker tokens, you are locked out if you haven't managed to break a couple weak barriers yet.

This is a worst-case scenario, though. If Nfr is your only fracter, you're probably playing Null and/or Injection Attack. By using these cards, you can break a Wall of Static once; and if you can get break it twice, then you're set for life. Even if the corp plays a bigger barrier like Hadrian's Wall, you can still get up to strength by using the smaller barriers as a punching bag.

But here we hit upon an issue. See, corps can use barriers in either a "fast" or "slow" context. A fast corp deck will use the cheapest barriers available to them--Wraparound, Vanilla, Ice Wall, things of that sort. The logic here is that, for a runner without a fracter, all barriers are equivalently powerful but not equivalently costly, so why spend more than you have to? The challenge here is "can you find your fracter?"

Other corps, though, have a slower gameplan. They will have some medium-sized barriers (Eli 1.0 is common even with the MWL cost), and some larger barriers (Fire Wall or larger). This archetype assumes that you will get your fracter quickly enough that the gearcheck ice isn't valuable. Instead they just want to make servers that the runner cannot afford to get into.

Nfr, though, isn't effective against either strategy in isolation. If the corp is playing fast, then Nfr is no better than a Corroder, and costs an extra credit to install. But if the corp is playing slow, then it will be immensely difficult to get up to strength. And how often do you see a deck install both cheap AND expensive barriers over the course of a game?

Nfr is just too inconsistent to rise out of the jank designation. And with the amazing Paperclip right next to it, I really don't see a reason to play it seriously.

It has cool art but I can't see any reason to play this over paperclip, even in a deck running datasuckers and ice carvers. Maybe if it broke multiple subs per credit it would be worth building around. —
With Sifr coming out now and Null, I can see a place for this in a deck that uses those and maybe Datasuckers. It is a lot of work to get the benefit, but it could be a significant economic advantage as the game goes on. —

Paperclip is MUCH better against rigshooter than Nfr is. That alone makes Nfr almost unplayable in comparison.