“Last month’s ice? My friend, that tech may as well be the horse and buggy, analog recording, fossil fuels, or landline telephones. It’s a sharp new world. You need the bleeding edge or nothing!”
–H.E.G. Software Designs
The high-stakes of cybercrime in Android: Netrunner push runners and corporations to find the latest and greatest advancements in stealth and security. The sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty individual cards) in Cyber Exodus deliver. Those with credits can find upgraded ice, new hardware for runners, new research, and ambushes!
In Cyber Exodus and throughout the Genesis Cycle, the game’s seven factions retain their core personalities. But even as the Data Pack’s new technology makes each of the factions more efficient, it also derezzes the limits of the possible.
Finally, the Shapers receive a wünderkind new identity, Chaos Theory (Cyber Exodus, 46). Ever the faction to break down barriers, push new limits, and test the boundaries of what’s possible, the Shapers feature prominently in Cyber Exodus, and Chaos Theory permits them to tinker with one of the fundamentals of deck-building, the size of the deck itself!
Each identity in Android: Netrunner offers players a chance to pursue a slightly different approach to the game, and as the Genesis Cycle moves forward, introducing new identities for the existing factions, Cyber Exodus allows Shapers to tinker with all-new strategies.
Whereas the Core Set Shaper, Kate “Mac” McCaffrey (Core Set, 33) explores the economic advantages of tinkering with programs and hardware, Chaos Theory explores efficiency from a totally different perspective. This wünderkind is the first identity to permit deck builds under forty-five cards.
The fact that Chaos Theory offers an additional MU at the expense of Mac’s one point of link is interesting, but not nearly as important a change as the fact that she permits Shapers to slim their decks to forty cards. What does it mean to have a deck that’s five cards smaller, or eight-ninths the size of the standard deck? It means a greater chance of drawing your deck’s key cards in your opening hand. It’s a more powerful mulligan. It’s a full turn of draw into the depths of your deck for the cards you want the most – at the expense of the cards that might be useful…but not critical. It’s an improved efficiency of combinations. It’s raw speed.
If we look at the two identities side-by-side, Mac likely offers greater economic advantages over the course of multiple turns. Over the course of five turns in which you install a program or piece of hardware, she fully doubles the value of your initial credits. However, it’s not to your advantage to install a program or hardware every single turn. You need to make runs; that’s what the game is all about. Programs and hardware help you succeed at your runs, but once you have your necessary pieces in place, does it really benefit you to keep installing more?
By contrast, Chaos Theory is all about getting those pieces into place as quickly as possible. It’s true that players who like their surprises – their tricky events, their fast cash, and their disposable hardware – may not care to trim their decks. The more pieces you have, the more options you have. But if you plan to construct a lean, mean, data-snatching machine, you want to get to your key components as quickly as possible: efficient icebreakers for each type of ice, reliable income, and cards like Special Order (Core Set, 22) that fetch your icebreakers. Why bother fooling around with tricks when you can just slam into corporate servers over and over and over again?
The Genesis of New Strategies
Chaos Theory is just one of the cards from Cyber Exodus that continue to advance the goals of the Genesis Cycle. You can look for her, her gear, and cards for each of the other factions to add new twists to deck-building in Android: Netrunner when this Data Pack arrives in the first quarter of 2013!