Hourglass saw some experimentation when it was first released, and it still sees some play. Unfortunately, its purpose is to force the runner out of clicks to give the corp some breathing room. The fact that it is strength four and out of an au naturale Yog is good for it, but it suffers from the problem all ICE does - rarely will the subroutines fire more than once. Add to that that if the runner wants to risk it, running last click makes this piece of ICE not even a tax, as the subroutines will do absolutely nothing.

It can cause some problems, and while it may be useful to stop the runner from clicking through the next piece of Bioroid ICE they encounter, positional uses are always harder to pull off and make ICE that rely on it less effective. It falls short that even when its subroutines are guaranteed to fire, it is not something that will have an effect for more than a turn or two at most, and after that just becomes a light tax, if one at all.

Ryon Knight might see Hourglass be given some use. While still a two card combo, if seen and played early enough it's a guaranteed brain damage (Unfortunately though the strength of Hourglass still leaves it vulnerable to Net-Ready Eyes+Yog.0). Combo heavy, but at least Knight also works well against runners worrying about Brain-Taping Warehouse and clicking past Bioroids.


Encryption Protocol is a simple, yet effective card, a card which primarily is used to drain the runner of credits. It certainly can, after a certain point of critical mass of trashable, installed, assets, protect them in a way, it is really not meant for that purpose. It is first and foremost, a card of economic warfare. Forcing the runner to pay a few extra credits to trash assets can make or break a runner’s economy. Forcing them to spend another click and at least three more credits to trash even just one Encryption Protocol can be worth it as well.

It shines best in horizontal style decks of course, where the runner may not spend all the time needed to run every server created. It has a special sort of annoyance when used with trap cards that usually have a 0 trash cost, forcing the runner to pay to remove that deadly trap, so they don’t have to recall that was what was in that server.

Still, it only has seen some use as there are usually other cards that can advance that economic denial strategy a little better, or it is simply more beneficial to include other high trash cost assets instead of this one, assets that also advance other strategies the corp may be pursuing.

Trashing installed traps is generally poor play. If you trash it, it can be easily jacksoned back into R&D, so you're more likely to see it again later. Yes, the corp just has to install over that card to trash it and jackson it back in, but that's still more effort that you putting it in archives for them; in particular, if there's 4 or 5 traps on the field, installing over all of them isn't practical, so trashing them is just shooting yourself in the foot, really. —

Vitruvius is seen often in HB decks, but not usually for the printed ability. Mostly because it is another three for two, which works well around the Biotic Labor or SanSan City Grid fast advance strategies. Its printed ability is very nice however - given that any non fast advance scoring of this card will leave it on the table at least one runner turn, as long as it is not being ‘never advanced’ it can be scored with two counters.

The retrieval ability is strong, very strong - it can be used for any reason, during any paid ability window. Padding up HQ during a Legwork run, retrieving lost combo pieces, or simply recurring various economic or strategic assets and upgrades to keep the servers safe. Even recurring the same damage card three times in one turn, reducing the number of cards needing to be held in hand for a flatline.

While Vitruvius was strong and used often for its ability to be easily fast advanced, as that strategy becomes slightly less common it is ready to find life for its counter ability rather than just its advancement cost.


An agenda that is extremely hard to score, but doing so is very strong. Not because of the point value - an agenda that will take, at minimum (and fast advance tricks aside), three turns to score is hard to pull off. Yet doing so puts a clock on the runner, for as soon as a single Upgrades is scored any three for two in the corp deck will be scored out of hand with ease, for simply three credits on the table.

While finding a scoring window through two of the runner’s turns (and consequently, 8 clicks to attempt to get in and score it) is difficult, many decks are finding the ability to do just that. It is best to see it early, to get it on the table before the runner is setup and ready to roll across servers. That proposition can be tricky at best, relying hard on a variance to see the card early.

Decks are doing it however, decks that are getting wins at high level tournaments. It is not the largest impact, and it is still considered a fringe strategy - perhaps a reason why it is working so well. As stronger ICE is released, better early game ICE and ICE that is trickier to navigate, this could be a card primed to be pushed more into the spotlight.

You can actually score this in two turns with Mushin No Shin, and this is the best method i've found to scoring this playing a more shell game approach with traps and 3/2's —
It's actually not too hard to score this quickly behind two ETR ice. Throw in some upgrade such as ASH or Caprice and you can score it the hard way. —

Hand size increase for corp is not nearly as important as for the runner. For the runner it can be a life or death situation, and with the ability to reduce their own handsize by using brain damage cost cards, it can be necessary to include cards that increase it. The main benefit for the corp is protecting agenda’s in HQ a little better. However, there is also a problem - to get that better protection, more cards need to be drawn, shortening the game.

In a combo heavy deck it can be nice to increase the options in hand for the corp, keeping more cards in hand, so more options while holding onto the pieces for the end game. Both of these advantages can be solved by more effective methods however. Scoring agendas, or purposefully overdrawing with Jackson Howard to trash them can protect agendas, with the added benefit Jackson already provides for most decks. Tutor cards can find the pieces of a combo a lot better, and can be used to find it ‘earlier’ than it necessarily would have been. On the fly tutors are even available, in Project Atlas or from archives in Project Vitruvius.

Research Station provides an effect which the corp doesn’t really need. Only two other cards, both Identities, increase hand size for the corp, showing how little of an effect it has in the game design space. Maybe with Cybernetics Division: Humanity Upgraded having the opposite effect, it could find a use, but it would probably be better to simply play with that restriction and learn to work around it, than wasting deck slots on an effect that isn’t really needed.

(Written as Chrome City was just released . )

I used to include 2x of this in my Blue Sun scorch deck back when it was built to rely on SEA Source for the final tag. When you have to dedicate 3+ slots to your combo, you really notice the extra space in your hand. It's nice to be able to hold onto ice or money instead of feeling pressured to use them or lose them based on hand size. That said... I did ultimately cut them from the deck. But I miss them sometimes. —
In a world with only 2 ICE that rely on a big hand size (Ashigaru and IQ), the effect is still too weak. Then again, why not simply play HB:CI? —
I'd consider the Grail ice hand-size dependent as well, to some extent. —