The Spaces Between is right around the corner and I don’t know about you but I am super duper excited for the new Current card type! If you aren’t excited you should be! From a game design standpoint, the addition of Currents is a thing of pure brilliance. My hat off to you Senor Litzinger. Yah done good!
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock on the moon, a Current is a new type of operation or event that when played stays in the game until a different current is played. Currents therefore provide a permanent effect while they remain in play. Currents also have the built in clause that if an agenda is scored or stolen respectively the active Current in play will be removed. This secondary clause is built in so that the if your opponent is not using Currents in his or her deck they have a means to remove the Current from play.
The reason why Currents are so fraking brilliant is that they fundamentally change the state of the game without changing a single rule. They introduce a mini tug of war game inside of the overall game of Netrunner. That is so meta! I think it is a good indicator that even FFG realizes how significant Currents will be because every faction will get them at once but truthfully it would be really unfair if every faction didn’t get one.
It’s safe to say that Currents are going to have a major impact on Netrunner. Whenever a player sits down to build a deck after The Spaces Between hits stores they will need to ask the question: How will I deal with my opponents Currents? That is significant. The game will change.
Currents are amazing and all but there is a downside. Currents will further alienate new players. Despite having the built in agenda score/steal clause the most reliable counter to your opponent’s Current will be playing one of your own. I foresee that it will be the rare exception when a deck will not have a Current. Players who don’t have access to Currents while deckbuilding will be at a disadvantage.
The Spaces Between is going to be a must have Data Pack for anyone who wants to remain competitive in the Netrunner meta. FFG has the arrival date as August 14th on their website and we can expect The Spaces Between to be released at GenCon. Thanks to the power of the internet the entire Data Pack has been spoiled and we know exactly what currents are going to be released. This gives us the opportunity to break down each Current individually!
Haas-Bioroid – Enhanced Login Protocol
Clicks are the lifeblood of Netrunner. Forcing the Runner to spend more Clicks in any situation is excellent because it denies them time and resources that they need to win the game. Enhanced Login Protocol is probably one of, if not the strongest, Current in the game because it denies the Runner his or her lifeblood. Run based Events will become even more useful thanks to the existence of this card. Jinteki Replicating Perfection flat out loves this Current.
Jinteki – Cerebral Static
Cerebral Static should read… “86% of the time I work every time.” Arguably one of the strongest Current effects but unfortunately it does not work on Identities such as Andromeda or Professor whose abilities only trigger at the very beginning of the game. The fact that Andromeda is still one of the strongest Identities in the tournament scene leaves this card lacking. This card still puts the hurt on Identities that have a strong emphasis on their abilities such as Noise.
NBN – Targeted Marketing
The ten credits from this card may seem like a lot but those ten credits are only given out based on the actions of the Runner. Not only does the Runner have to have included the card you targeted, they also have to play it. If the Runner has already played a copy of the card you want to target the chances of them playing another go down drastically. I think acceptable guesses for this card would be Sure Gamble, Dirty Laundry, Self Modifying Code, etc. You want to name cards you know will be played in multiples and that are common in the meta. Be careful naming Account Siphon because if you have no credits and you have Targeted Marketing targeted on Account Siphon they could Account Siphon you at zero credits! Targeted Marketing is a beautifully designed card. It is far from the best Current but I can appreciate it for what it is. Targeted Marketing is very strong against Shaper.
Weyland – Paywall Implementation
Paperwall Implementation is lackluster at best. A single credit for letting the Runner into your Servers doesn’t really feel like a fair trade off. The nice thing about Paywall Implementation is that it triggers every time a Runner makes a successful run but not all Runner Identities want to run that often. This card is very strong against Criminal but at two influence I doubt we will see much of this card outside of Weyland.
Neutral Corporation – Lag Time
Lag Time = Great Time! Lag Time is arguably the best Current period. The thing about giving +1 strength to all or your ICE is that it is ALWAYS good. This extra taxation can be brutal on the runner. Just think about it, this little gem makes Eli 1.0 strength 5! Lag Time is definitely Strongest in Haas-Bioroid and I think Stronger Together just found its new best friend.
Anarch – Scrubbed
Scrubba dub dub! -2 strength is pretty decent. It takes those pesky pieces of ICE like Grim and Inazuma and brings them down into fixed strength breaker range. Bishop has the same effect but it is not as versatile as Scrubbed. I definitely think we will be seeing a lot more of Scrubbed than Bishop. The nice thing about Scrubbed is that it will save you two credits or Datasucker tokens in a fair amount of situations and it helps speed up that Parasite ICE kill.
Criminal – Unscheduled Maintenance
Unscheduled Maintenance is undoubtedly the worst Current overall. How often in a game do you remember a Corporation installing more than one ICE after turn one? This may have its place in an ICE destruction deck but that is not really Criminals strong suit. The kiss of death for this card is the two influence. I guess it was only a matter of time for Criminal to finally be the worst at something.
Shaper – Net Celebrity
In case it wasn’t apparent, I value Currents that are universally good over Currents that are situationally good. Net Celebrity is ALWAYS good. Not only that but Net Celebrity is native to Shaper which wants to spend credits during a run more than any other faction. Of the three Runner Currents this one is definitely the best and at one influence I won’t be surprised to see other factions splash this.
there you have it. Currents are going to be awesome! I think Haas-Bioroid and Jinteki are going to benefit the most from The Spaces Between. I won’t be surprised to see an Enhanced Login Protocol Replicating Perfection deck or a Stronger Together Lag Time deck in the near future. A six strength Eli 1.0 is a scary thing! Be prepared!
On a side note: Heinlein Grid is bonkers and Cache is the greatest card Noise has gotten since Personal Workshop!
- Phil the Netrunmancer