If you've maybe been a little behind on some competitive circles, you may not have heard that Daredevil is a good card. One comparison would be Patron: but where the baby elephants are at their best against decks with lots of servers (horizontal decks), Daredevil is better against decks with lots of ice (vertical decks). And if you just thought of Daredevil like that, you'd think that it was a decent card, excellent in some match-ups but not all.

But actually wait. How likely is it that your opponent gets one server with two ice on it? How about two double iced servers? Well, if the corp is trying to build a single iced remote server, they usually need between 15 and 18 ice. That's about one piece of ice for every 3 cards, which incidentally why cards like Patron and and Security Testing are so good in the early game: In their opening hand they're likely to only be able to defend two servers, giving you free successful runs for those effects. By turn 3 the corp can usually expect to be able to close that exploit, and by turn 6 start setting up a remote (which itself explains why early aggression is so good against these slower decks, since they have difficulty defending themselves.) Beyond around turn 9 or 10, any ice that they install will almost certainly be on an already iced server. If we can find Daredevil by this point, then we can start drawing two cards on every run.

Well, common advice is that the runner should probably try to draw a card every turn to give them more options, and in which case, great! 3x Daredevil gives you a greater than 50-50 chance by your 5th turn. In fact, since we really only need it by the 10th turn, even 2x copies of Daredevil gives you a better than 50% chance of drawing it just in time. Well that's neat. A console that is better in the later game is better when you get it later. Surprise surprise. But, if you were me there's something that hasn't really sunk in yet: On average, by the time you draw Daredevil, the conditions required to satisfy it's requirements have already been met. In other words, it reads: "The first time you initiate a run on R&D, HQ, or the scoring remote server, draw two cards." So alright, if that's what this card is when it comes down to it, how does that actually compare to other consoles?

In fact it turns out that Daredevil is INSANE. For starters, if the outermost piece of ice just has "end the run" on it or words to that effect, you can "bounce" off of it to save a click on drawing every single turn. For many decks, that's like having a Laguna Velasco District installed alongside whatever other benefits Daredevil provides. If you have Snitch installed (at least until rotation), EVERY ice is just as bouncy, and Daredevil combos nicely with The Turning Wheel and Au Revoir. Reminder that that 1 influence and +2 mem really ties that set up together even out of faction.

But maybe you're not just clicking for cards, maybe you actually want to save another click by taking two cards and a run into a server that you actually want to access. Maybe you have Temüjin Contract, Datasucker, and Atman to reward successful runs and to make getting in that much cheaper. Maybe you're running Net Mercur. Previously your only Shaper console that rewarded making runs was, what, Mirror? But don't forget you draw at the beginning of the run - before you even encounter the first ice - allowing you to use Dean Lister or Faust to get into the server more easily.

Alright, alright you say, Daredevil is good. But I have other consoles that get me money or cards, both in Shaper and elsewhere. But in terms of raw power, maximum cards, Daredevil outclasses every single one of them. Ubax might start drawing you earlier, but in games that can go on for 20 turns Ubax might draw you 15 cards to Daredevil's 20. Astrolabe might be cheap and clickless, but even against corps that install lots of remotes it might draw you 10 over the game if you're lucky - and 1 or 2 if you aren't. Oh and Comet + Quality Time? why even bother? And out of faction? There is Obelus, the console that rocked Worlds with it's let's say, 14 draw combo with Hades Shard. But, you know. That's still not 20.

So Daredevil rewards heavier rigs that get into servers efficiently, it rewards destructive rigs that like to burn through a lot of cards (and I don't just mean yours, mind, Knifed, Spooned and Forked are great for keeping the taxing ice off and the server to that perfect two-ice set-up). But even then, even in Criminal, the home of run-based consoles, Daredevil is still incredible. Remember that, broadly speaking, it's easier to get 1 credit than 1 card. Remember also that criminals are terrible at drawing consistently in-faction, and that most out-of-faction draw "solutions" cost more than 1 influence. Daredevil saves more clicks than Doppelgänger, it actually does things unlike Polyhistor, and unless the corp really, really ices up will beat newcomer Māui. And did I mention it gives you +2 Mem? I would even contest that for some decks it beats Desperado.

Guys. This card is the new Şifr, and it already shares a number of aspects (+2 mem, 1 influence: a combo that honestly would make any console playable on it's own). I would predict that we're likely to see have similar effects on the corp side - since lists that run very few ice (less than 10) are mostly immune to Daredevil's best qualities. And this, this is all from a runner we haven't even seen yet - Kabonesa Wu. She may be looking to take risks, but Daredevil is definitely a safe pick for best runner card of the set.

One thing I like about Daredevil is that it automatically provides safety on more dangerous runs by giving you two more grip cards to absorb damage. —

So what's nutty with this card that differentiates it from Nihongai Grid is that "no unspent clicks" clause. That allows you to use An Offer You Can't Refuse for a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" effect: give the corp an agenda point, or let them score an agenda out of hand next turn. Any sensible runner will let you do the former unless it will win you the game, and if 1 point is enough to win the game Manta Grid ensures you win the next turn. Manta Grid is the most realistic and effective combo you can run with An Offer You Can't Refuse, granting you a Biotic Labor at less influence or a 1 point agenda for fewer clicks.

How to use this: Harmony Medtech: Biomedical Pioneer. Between Medical Breakthrough, Clone Retirement, Braintrust and Philotic Entanglement, getting to 5 points has never been easier, and Manta Grid lets you close the deal without taxing that 12 influence too highly.

This only works if the runner doesn't have the money to just trash Manta Grid outright during the run. —
Also doesn't works if the runner runs, but hits an "end the run" subroutine during the run. He can't jack out, but he doesn't have to succeed. Though this limitation can be overcome, if the corp rezzes Manta Grid after the last piece of ICE has been passed. —
That's not correct HollowsHeart, Lukas previously clarified that once triggered, abilities exist independently of the source. If the condition was met when the run was successful, the Corp gains a click next turn even if Manta Grid is trashed. —
Ah...just realised...it says when a run ends. Apologies, you're right. —

This is the third "World Champion" card, out just 5 sets after the last one, CBI Raid. And before that, we've had a very long wait since a little card called Architect. Now if you've played Netrunner competitively I'm sure you'll understand the pure face-checking dominance and staying power of Architect, but CBI Raid has had more of a mixed result and just doesn't see that much play (although I maintain it's excellent for avoiding Scorched Earth in Apex: Invasive Predator). Where does Deuces Wild fall between the two?

Let's look at this card line by line. You can see immediately why it's a good thing Prepaid VoicePAD ended up on the naughty list: Deuces Wild is a money making event and two credits is just the sweet spot for Prepaid VoicePAD users to go from nothing to something. For Prepaid VoicePAD players, a single "Gain 3" routine is like splashing an Easy Mark outside of Criminal, and it's great for getting you off rock bottom so you can use Lucky Find without clicking for credits.

Drawing 2 cards for 2 credits isn't a great deal, on the other hand, but since cards are still worth more than credits, it's not something to complain about. Same can't be said for removing a single tag or exposing ice and making runs: 2 credits to remove a tag is what you could do already and combining Infiltration and Early Bird for one more credit and some more flexibility isn't exactly a great deal. Sweetening the deal with Prepaid VoicePAD helps, but most of these things could be done for fewer creds already with Diesel, Networking and the aforementioned cards. None of these routines make a full card.

But that's fine, because Deuces Wild has a trick up it's sleeve. You can do TWO routines. "Gain 1 and draw 2 cards" is like hitting Symmetrical Visage and drawing up in a single click. "Gain 1 and remove a tag" is a credit positive Networking. "Draw two cards and remove a tag" is half a Lawyer Up. Gaining credits and running with an expose? Drawing cards and running with an expose? Those are better than whatever you were trying to do with Recon. Hey, here's a fun move: if you're worried about running last click and hitting a Snare!, Data Raven or an Argus Agenda, make a run and then afterwards see whether you need to remove the tag. If not, you can still get some money!

EDIT: In the (currently upcoming) FAQ it apparently says that you cannot choose the same routine twice. All of the above still applies, but this next section is no longer possible (although I will leave it in for comments' sake.) This makes the card not nearly as powerful as I make it out to be, but it may still serve a place in Prepaid VoicePAD decks.

But the real ace in the hole comes when you notice that Deuces Wild doesn't say "Choose two of the following and resolve them in any order". Imagine if it said this:

"Resolve one of the following:

  • Gain 6.
  • Draw 4 cards.
  • Remove 2 tags.
  • Expose 1 piece of ice, then make a run. Then, expose 1 piece of ice, then make a run."

That first line makes up Sure Gamble level money making, but for 2 credits. Drawing 4 cards for 2 credits is most of a Quality Time, for a more reasonable price. Removing two tags just has not been possible in a single click, but remember it enables Same Old Thing into Account Siphon without floating anything afterwards. And that double run is also nothing we've seen before. It's almost a Satellite Uplink + plus an Early Bird plus another run but it's way cheaper and that's just weird.

In fact, all of those routines sound like playable cards to someone. Sure, it comes in at one influence for every faction, but Criminals have imported Quality Time and Easy Mark has found it's way out of faction before. And Prepaid VoicePAD would justify all of those cards even better. But what really makes this a wildcard is how you get to choose. Not just the 4 that I've mentioned there, but all of the other combinations. In just one deckslot.

Deuces Wild isn't just versatile, but what it does is perfect for so many decks, regardless of whether they run Prepaid VoicePAD. Expect to see this card in everywhere. Criminals love the draw and tag removal, Prepaid Kate gets a new toy, and Adam: Compulsive Hacker and Apex: Invasive Predator get the additional event economy card that they sorely needed.

So before you waste influence on some silly little tech, consider:

Is this your card?

The way I read it, you can't pick the same thing twice. —
Damon —
Damon confirmed that you can't do one of them twice. It has to be two separate options. —
I love that this card's art is just Dan playing Netrunner. ;) —
The art isn't accurate, Dan is wearing sleeves..... —
I think the comment from the company was that to be tournament legal all cards must be "Sleeved". ;) —

Weeeweee, what a weird card. But how does it stack up to Legwork?

Well, it's 1 credit cheaper and at 1 more influence, so you should be only thinking about using Information Sifting in-faction: that one influence is better spent on other cards in other factions, and the 1-credit reduction is not a good enough reason to play this card over Legwork alone. So let's talk accesses. There will be maths, but I'll put a summary at the end for those of you who aren't playing Netrunner for the numbers.

Legwork gets you three accesses at random. That means that in a 5-card hand with one agenda, you have a 3 in 5 chance of accessing that agenda, or 60%. If the corp separates their hand into a pile of 3 and a pile of 2 with Information Sifting, and you choose a pile at random, the chance of you finding the agenda is 50%. But what about multiple agendas, or high value assets and upgrades? It might be better to treat Information Sifting differently: instead, let's say that Information Sifting lets you access cards at random, up to half the number of cards the Corp has in their hand, rounded up.

  • Side Note: Of course, this is a bit like saying that you should bet on a psi game with equal likelihood 0, 1 or 2. In a psi game, the money is spent either way, so you may want to leave enough credits to play Sure Gamble, for example, or maybe you want to force the corp to spend credits by betting 0 all the time. Likewise, the corp could divide multiple agendas between the two piles, ensuring that you find one but without risking that you find both on what could be the last turn of the game. Alternatively, if you are sitting at 6 agenda points, they have to have 4 agendas in a 5 card hand for you to have more than a 50% chance of winning when Legwork has the game in the bag. Still, it's helpful to treat Information Sifting as "access X at random, where X is half the number of cards the Corp has HQ, rounded up."

In these circumstances we can say that Information Sifting accesses just as many cards as Legwork, for a 5-card hand. But Corps don't always have a full hand, and it doesn't stack up well HQ isn't at maximum capacity. Against a 4 or 3-card hand, Information Sifting accesses 2 cards, while Legwork accesses 3, and against a 2 or 1-card hand Information Sifting accesses a single card when Legwork cleans the corp out. I'm not making much of a case here for the newcomer.

But you may spot a pattern: the more cards the corp has in HQ, the more cards Information Sifting sifts through. If the corp has 7 or 8 cards in hand, Information Sifting accesses 4 cards where Legwork accesses 3. Going back to our original scenario, but with 7 non-agendas and a single game-winning agenda, Legwork has a 3 in 8 chance of winning the game - about 37%. Information Sifting? It's still 50%. If Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers have 20 cards in hand, (and somehow only a single agenda) Legwork drops to 15%, and Information Sifting is, of course, still at 50%. Even when you consider that you aren't accessing cards at random, Information Sifting improves in value the more cards in HQ because there's more likely to be multiple agendas and other key cards.

TL;DR: Information Sifting works better the more cards there are in HQ. So the boy makes a great Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers, Research Station and Cybernetics Court counter. If that's what you needed to beat your friends, then well, you have weird friends. But what else? How about Fisk Investment Seminar and Laramy Fisk: Savvy Investor? Remember, to get more value than you would from a Legwork, you need to access more than 6 cards, so I'd definitely think about playing both "Fisks" and possibly still running a combination of Legwork and Information Sifting so you can use the one you need when the time comes.

But when it comes to HQ accesses, don't give up on Information Sifting just because of the confusing rules text: it might still be possible to teach an old boy new tricks.

Note that the corp chooses the piles. If they have two agendas and 5 cards, they can ensure that you only get 1. Also if they have a Fetal AI, a Snare!, a Shi-Kyu, a House of Knives, and a Caprice they haven't installed yet in hand, then you get a choice between a net 0 point (hope you can Data Deal or Liberated Chela or something) or a flatline (unless you have damage prevention). In fact, since the corp doesn't HAVE to have equal sized piles, with a fisk drawing me into 3 more cards, I can hide as many agenda points with the flatline as will just barely keep you from winning... or I can suddenly have a flatline in both piles. BEWARE GIVING THE CORP CHOICES. —
As Goldstep noted, the corp can choose how many cards to put in each pile. So a corp with 5 cards in hand could make a pile of 4 and a pile of 1. It'll make for some fun mind games. —
Indeed, I imagine a number of Jinteki players will enjoy putting ALL their cards in one pile and just daring the runner to access it. —
I definitely like the idea of making a pile of 4 and a pile of 1. Playing mind games with the runner. "Is that pile of 1 an agenda or not? Have fun guessing!" —

Patron is to Wyldside what Security Testing is to Hard at Work. Wyldside and Security Testing are playable. Hard at Work is not. So is Patron?

Well the first question is whether having to successfully run a server is better or worse than just losing a click. The cop-out answer to that is that it just depends on what deck you are playing. Adjusted Chronotype makes the latter just better under almost every scenario. Additionally, decks that don't make many servers can lock out (i.e. put a rezzed piece of ice in front of every server, making the cost more expensive than the reward) Security Testing and Patron where Wyldside and Hard at Work will continue working. Downside is, without Adjusted Chronotype, you just can't not lose the click on a turn where you really need all 4 clicks to do something else.

So why is Security Testing playable when Hard at Work is garbage tier? Is it the cost? Well, yes. Definitely. But Security Testing isn't just playable, it's GOOD. And that's all down to cards like John Masanori, Desperado, Dirty Laundry and Datasucker: cards that trigger on a successful run without requiring access. Then you aren't really "clicking" for 2 credits, but 3 credits plus a card and a virus counter. These abilities "stack", allowing you to get more than one click's worth of actions out of a single click.

Unfortunately though for Criminals - the faction that best leverages "on successful run" abilities - Patron and Security Testing are replacement abilities, which means that both cannot be used at the same time. And that means it's probably better not to run both. And for me, the choice is easy - John Masanori is half the draw of Patron at none of the cost nor the influence.

But in Shaper, Security Testing is the card that comes at a hefty price. So I'm happy for a little Patronage - but like Security Testing, it'll need some influence-cheap help for it to work. DaVinci is one way, but traditional methods like Datasucker and Dirty Laundry work well too. You could even think about John Masanori, if you like running out of cards.

Let me get philosophical for a moment. Security Testing (and other cards) is an excellent addition to a Criminal's arsenal because it covers up a weakness that they have without it. Account Siphon could be countered fairly well by simply rezzing all of the assets you had, dropping your credit total to zero and denying the runner any of the money they needed to trash those assets. In short, Criminal without these cards had a weakness to horizontal deck archetypes that Security Testing (and others) turned into a strength.

So what type of Shaper is weak to horizontal decks? One that isn't running Astrolabe. But seriously, the answer depends on what the horizontal deck is trying to do. And the deck that's been most successful with the most number of assets, has, and will always, be Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center. These are fast-moving decks. Even identities like Industrial Genomics: Growing Solutions and Gagarin Deep Space: Expanding the Horizon are "fast" in the sense that they are trying to gain control of the board - and the table - before the runner can set up the tools they need to deal with them. This makes sense: if you're spending clicks playing assets, then you aren't spending them defending your central servers, which means that the longer the game goes the more chances the runner has to steal 7 points of agendas.

Ultimately then, that's the deck that would most like to play Patron: a Shaper deck, that uses cards that trigger on successful runs, that is a little slow and doesn't run Astrolabe. It should also have a little more HQ pressure than your average Shaper, since that spreads the ice even thinner and reduces the chance of being locked out. It'd better also have more Events than most Shapers as well, since most of the other types of cards are tutorable in faction, with Artist Colony and Self-modifying Code. I'm thinking Maya + Jesminder Sareen: Girl Behind the Curtain, with Vamp/Account Siphon.

But you may have your own ideas. Either way though, Patron is for a deck that needs a little Kickstarting.

You do realise that because Patron is a replacement effect it doesn't work in conjunction with Account Siphon or Vamp right? In fact it is completely incompatible with any access events or access replacement events! The only ones you can use are Inside Job (why?), Dirty Laundry or High-Stakes Job. —
One relevant difference: Patron and Wyldside both cost 3 whereas SecTesting is 0 to HaW's 5 —
Actually makes me wonder if HaW would see significant play at 0 credits. —