If you’re like me then I'm sure you've wondered: what is the point of this card? Let’s start with some simple stories

The Corp has 1 agenda in hand. If the Runner breaches HQ their chances of accessing that agenda is 1/5; their chances of accessing something else are 4/5

If the Runner instead plays Glut Cipher, the chances that the Corp will discard the agenda among the 10 cards is 50%. An easy way to see how this is the case is to walk through how the trashed cards would be chosen: with my friends we have the Corp shuffle the cards and then hold 5 cards in one hand and 5 cards in the other. Runner chooses a hand and the Corp discards those cards. The chances that the hand they discard contains the 1 agenda is of course, 1/2.

Curious, but not our most interesting story. Let’s try another.

The Corp has 2 agendas in hand. If the Runner breaches HQ their chances of accessing one of those agendas are 2/5; their chances of accessing something else are 3/5

If the Runner instead plays the cipher, the chances that the Corp will discard at least one of the two agendas among the 10 cards is 78%. How do we get this number? When the Corp adds cards from Archives into HQ the order the cards sit in in their hand(s) will be random - each card has a chance of being one of the 5 shuffled into the hand that will be trashed. We can then think of it sequentially: the chances that the first card they trash will be one of the two agendas is 2/10; their chances of trashing something else are 8/10. If they don’t trash one of the two agendas in that first instance, the chances that the next card they will discard is an agenda is 2/9; the chances of trashing something else are 7/9; and so on.

2/10 (8/10)

2/9 (7/9)

2/8 (6/8)

2/7 (5/7)

2/6 (4/6)

In other words, the Runner has 5 shots at trashing one of the 2 agendas among the 10 cards, their chances increasing with every missed shot. To determine the odds of them trashing at least one of those two agendas across those 5 shots we multiply the probabilities of the Runner missing those shots together. 8/10 * 7/9 * 6/8 * 5/7 * 4/6 = 2/9, or ~.22. Then we multiply .22 by 100 to arrive at a 22% chance that in those 5 shots we do not trash one of those two agendas, which means that the inverse, 78%, is the chance that we do trash at least one of those two agendas.

(You can do the same math with the 1 agenda example above and you’ll come to 1/2, 50%.)

Run the numbers again with 3 agendas in HQ and your chances of trashing at least 1 agenda increase to 92% (7/10 * 6/9 * 5/8 * 4/7 * 3/6 = 1/12 or ~.08 )

Interesting, no? But what does it all mean?

Glut Cipher is akin to Information Sifting. Unlike that card however, which improves with the more cards the Corp has in hand, the cipher improves when the Corp has less cards in hand. It also scrambles their plans, though of course it allows them to retrieve something useful as well.

(All of this assumes the Corp has 5 cards to pick up from Archives of course - running Glut Cipher when the Corp has no cards to pick up will obviously accomplish little.)

Now, what are the chances that in the 2 agendas in HQ scenario you will trash both of the agendas? I have no idea. My math skills are not that advanced - I don’t even know if what I wrote above is correct.

In the 2-agenda scenario there is a 22% chance that you trash 0 agendas and a 78% chance that you trash at least 1. The cases where you trash both will be a subset of the cases where you trash at least 1. Let's name the agendas A and B, and assume that we know you will trash A at some point. It doesn't actually matter whether you trash A first or last, either way you will trash 4 cards that are not A, and we want the probability that one of them will be B. You have a 8/9 * 7/8 * 6/7 * 5/6 chance of missing B 4 times. This is ~56%, which means that conditional on trashing 1 agenda, there's a 44% chance you also trash the other agenda. Multipling 78% by 44% yields a ~34% chance you get both.

Criminals get Tranquilizer, Anarchs get Botulus, and Shapers appear to get Egret to finish the pattern of 2 cost programs you host on ice. As the earlier reviewer noted, the MU cost can make programs such as Egret tricky to account for, but now we have tools like DZMZ Optimizer or Supercorridor to help with memory.

Rielle "Kit" Peddler: Transhuman gets good use of Egret as it provides her a way to deal with carefully positioned Barriers or Sentries. In combination with other options like Pelangi or Engolo (depending on what format you are playing) Egret lets Kit get through some of the modest glaciers that tend to develop in the mid to late game.

Also interesting with Tāo Salonga: Telepresence Magician, as you can move the ice Egret is hosted on to a more useful position with his ID ability. The Corp can just trash and replace the ice you host this on same as the Tranq or Botulus of course, so try and put this on something the Corp will miss. If they trash it anyway, use Simulchip to have your Egret perch on something else.

On a lore note, the first printing did not include any flavor text, making the connection between the abstract idea of an egret and changing an ice's type a bit confusing. An ancient Egyptian creation myth has a heron (egrets are herons) making a cry at the beginning of the world. In ancient Greece, as the flavor text in the new printing points out, the heron was a messenger of Athena and was interpreted as a sign of her favor. Aztlan ("the place of whiteness/herons/egrets") is the mythical homeland of the Aztecs, although whether it was a paradise or a tyrannical kingdom is unclear. In Asia the heron is a symbol of beauty and in Chinese the word for egret is similar to the word for path or way.

Clearly then the Egret is meant to be a kind of creative blessing, something that perhaps inspires the runner to think outside the box in regards to a certain ice.

Note: This is purely a flavor review.

Xanadu refers originally to Shangdu, a palace built by Kublai Khan, one of the emperors of the Mongol Empire. As head of one of the largest empires in history Kublai Khan was quite rich and the opulence of Xanadu/Shangdu was legendary. It was this legend that caused Samuel Taylor Coleridge - high out of his mind on opium as was the fashion at the time - to compose the poem 'Kubla Khan', which is quoted in the original artwork for the card.

Later on, Xanadu was used as the name of the "stately pleasure dome" built by Charles Foster Kane, the protagonist of the famous movie 'Citizen Kane'. In the movie, Kane builds Xanadu with his massive wealth but he ends it up living in it alone, since at the end of his life he becomes lonesome and separated from the world. The original card art appears to be a reference to this - the gate in the foreground and the tall buildings in the back appear to be a clear reference to the opening of 'Citizen Kane' which also features a gate in front of the palatial and mostly empty Xanadu of Kane.

How does this all relate to Netrunner? My interpretation is that netrunner Xanadu, being a virtual resource, is a place in the Net that the runner has either found or created and that they are using as a kind of hideout. Being difficult to find makes it difficult for the Corp to identify them to activate their ICE. In other words, it is a thing that conceals the runner from the Corp, much in the same way that Tread Lightly allows the runner, by hiding and sneaking, to make finding them harder for the Corp.

The System Update quotation is from the poem 'Lamentations of Toghon Temur'. Toghon Temur was the last of the khans, and as the name suggests he laments losing the Xanadu of Kublai Khan to China, as part of the slow demise of the Mongol Empire. It is not clear to me how to work this in to my earlier interpretation (the new card art does not offer many clues) but it seems that it could be a slight reference to the official discontinuation of Android:Netrunner. Perhaps Nisei, like Toghon Temur, laments the loss of the opulent palace of their lineage.

I need more of these flavor reviews in my life.

In my experience it's hard to justify this card in a deck. If you're playing it in a non-Hyoubu Institute: Absolute Clarity deck you're down one credit when you rez it, putting you in a similar spot as PAD Campaign, but you end up with an asset with a lower trash cost and that provides the runner with a free Corporate Defector, more or less. 2 credits is nothing to sneeze at and the Runner will likely know this, so you'll probably need to put this behind some good cover otherwise they'll trash it and you'll have lost an asset and paid a credit for the privilege. A bit risky - probably won't see this card in the other factions' decks.

Within Hyoubu Institute: Absolute Clarity you break even on the rez and from then on it's 3 credits a turn. Not bad at all! That's Daily Quest territory, and like that card this one also requires a good amount of protection and forethought. However, it also comes with a bit of anti-synergy with some of the other tools Hyoubu has at it's disposal. Celebrity Gift, Drudge Work, Hyoubu Institute: Absolute Clarity's own ability, and others stop generating that extra credit since it gets used by Public Health Portal's passive. The trade-off sort of works - you'll only play so many Celebrity Gifts or Attitude Adjustments in a game after all. But there's always the variable of your draws being slowly revealed to the Runner, which can really screw over your plans if the Runner is attentive enough.

I thought I would post a review since the last one is from three years ago. Much of what the previous reviewers posted holds true: Overmind, Femme Fatale, and Sneakdoor Beta remain useful pairings with Rosetta. The London Library trick also works which, while cool, is a bit cumbersome imo.

But there are new options now too. Stargate is useful for the same reasons Sneakdoor is, namely, getting the Corp to dedicate ICE to a server that will go to waste when you switch gears and swap your Stargate or Sneakdoor for a Paperclip to help get through that barrier on HQ. And we all know how much Crims love an open HQ. Pelangi can now be trashed to tutor for the icebreaker that you were using Pelangi as a stopgap for. Cordyceps is interesting, if you can get it to work. I prefer Nyashia since it's more straightforward, or of course the classic Imp. Any of those put a sizable dent in tutoring for a Bukhgalter and the discount isn't too bad for Amina either.

Notable also that Rosetta is a virtual resource so you could try to work in the synergy with Utae or Odore, or even use it with Apex: Invasive Predator, but these interactions are not that powerful in my limited experience.