Back again with Alex aka alexfrog, with his take on C&C so far.
1. How do you think C&C will affect the meta?
Well, first off, runner win rates have skyrocketed due to the wealth of new runner economy cards and powerful Shaper cards. All runners got big things from C&C. Criminals got Daily Casts, Same Old Thing, and Dirty Laundry. Noise got Daily Casts, Sahasrara, Clone Chip, etc. Shapers became a real faction again. Shapers are now tutoring for programs at instant speed (mid run), killing ice, and then recurring the Parasites, having better economy (Daily Casts, Professional Contacts, etc.). Shapers might still be the weakest faction, but they definitely aren’t a joke. We are seeing positive win rates for Kate, Kit, Noise, Gabe, and Andromeda in recent Octgn win rate stats. The Noise and criminal win rates are higher than ever (like 58% for Noise, over 63 for Andromeda, in August!), while Shapers are finally having some identities above 50%.
I think that on the runner side, we will see a wider variety of decks, due to the previous weakest faction, shaper, get a big boost. Parasites and Datasuckers seem even more common than before.
The game was already in the runner favor at high level play. Hollis posted some Octgn stats a while back that showed that the higher the percentile of players (by ELO rating), the higher the runner win rate, against each other. That is, when two players both in the top 10% played each other, the runner was winning like 71% of the time, back at a time when the average across all players was 50%. (The players at the bottom were seeing more corp wins – inexperienced players either fails to run or apply any pressure, or they run into face-down corp ice or traps that they can’t handle and get wrecked by it. Whereas the experienced runner anticipates what could be there and usually doesn’t get wrecked by it).
For months, even with an imbalance in the runner’s favor in high level play, overall win rates were near 50% for all players put together. However, this has now changed. Recent Octgn win rate statistics across all players are showing a 55-45 runner advantage. Which means that at the top level, where runners were already at an advantage of more than 70-30, it’s now probably something like 75-25.
When faced with these extreme odds against them, corps are lead to taking extreme risks in order to have a chance. If you are going to lose most games anyway, but you might have a chance if you pull off a Beta Test and get an Archer and a Heimdall 2.0, then it rewards you for building that deck, and activating the Beta Test. Similarly, if you go extremely all in on killing the runner, either with a Scorch combo or as a Jinteki damage deck, and you are only successful 33% of the time, that actually looks attractive now, because corp win rates playing the ‘standard’ way just keep getting worse and worse.
So I think that we will corp decks that are making extreme variance plays, or focusing very heavily on the kill. If you rarely win anyway, you might as well make a play that loses 2/3 of the time, but gives you a huge advantage 1/3 of the time. Because if your win rate was otherwise 25%, it’s actually increasing your odds. I don’t think this is a good state for the game. I think that corps need much better tools for handling the runner pressure, and generating economy. We are seeing runner economies that tend to generate $2 a click or more, all the time now, but corps are still clicking for $1 very frequently. Then the runners have tons of tools for destroying ice, derezzing ice, breaking any ice cheaply with Atmans and Datasuckers, accessing multiple cards each time they get in…while the corp is so constrained in their ice that they have to make sure they have ice of different strength values so they don’t just lose to a single Atman.
So the first meta-reaction is that corps go for high variance play. There are more flatline focused decks, and the HB decks are either concealing flatline cards like Snare and Scorched Earth, hoping you won’t expect them from HB, or they are attempting to Beta Test some outrageous ice. Some of the best performing corps recently have been Weyland (original ID – heavy Scorched Earth flatline focus), and Jinteki PE (with Brain damage cards causing you to become highly vulnerable to their net damage combos).
Then the second reaction to that will be all runners routinely playing lots of anti-damage cards. After all, if you pretty much auto-win the game, unless you get killed, it’s ok to cut a few things and make sure you never die. Plascrete, Public Sympathy, Deus X, Feedback Filter, Infiltration, etc. Recently I played a game against Jinteki in which I ran into a 2xAdvanced Cerebral Overwriter against Jinteki. Then I ran into ANOTHER 2xAdvanced Cerebral Overwriter. GG? Well, I had Public Sympathy in that deck, AND Deus X, and I clone chipped and scavenged the Deus X like 5 times, and ended up winning. If you’re going to win anyway in a straight up battle, dedicate some deck slots to ensuring you don’t flatline, it’s worth it.
2. If you had to pick one runner card from C&C that will change people's decks and playstyle, what would it be?
Atman. The corp now has to think about Atman when choosing their ice. You can’t just say: I really like Chum, Eli 1.0, Ichi 1.0, and Bastion, and then put them in your deck, because then a single Atman at 4 wrecks you. You need to go: okay, I have 20 ice slots. I need to have Ice at all strengths, what do I include? Hmm, “Rototurret/Popup at 0, Ice Wall at 1, Enigma at 2, Wall of Static at 3, Eli at 4, Ichi 2.0 at 5, Archer at 6”. Or whatever.
3. If you had to pick one corporation card from C&C that will change people's decks and playstyle, what would it be?
Maybe Cerebral Overwriter? If you can’t score 7 points, might as well go all in on damage. Two brain damage makes the Jinteki Fetal AIs and Snares and stuff way more threatening. It makes Weyland kill you through a Plascrete with only two Scorches. It makes HB’s Chum/Heimdall 2.0 into a potential kill.
It’s definitely a card that has made Jinteki way scarier, and makes me want things like Infiltration, Public Sympathy, and Deus X in my deck. (The Deus X is also excellent vs. HB. When they Bioroid Efficiency Research their Heimdall 2.0 or Janus, and you break it with Deus X and it derezzes, that’s awesome).
4. Which cards that used to be popular pre-C&C, will start to lose popularity after C&C?
Personal Workshop. It used to be the best card in Noise. But now Sahasrara exists, and it’s clearly at least on-par with it, if not better. I feel that it’s pretty close, but that the lower influence cost of Sahasrara makes it the optimal choice. You can still get Clone Chips to allow instant speed viruses.
It used to be super appealing to Stimhack with a Workshop in play. But Stimhack is another card that I think will lose popularity. After all, if corps are going all-in on damage because it’s practically the only way they can win a game, it’s better not to Brain damage yourself.
5. Which cards that were rarely used pre-C&C might we start to see more of now?
Corporate Troubleshooter. It had fallen out of favor, but Atman brings it back in a big way. When they are using Atman to break your big ice, but you troubleshoot it past their Atman, you can actually stop the runner and score a big agenda. Or you can Troubleshoot an Archer and kill two programs. While killing two programs might not be as backbreaking as it used to be, it at least kills that Atman with 4 counters on it and costs them a lot of resources. Plus, it did it while stopping them from getting in, and then you score your 5/3 agenda or whatever.
WOW....im still reading question 1....but awesome!! those are some telling numbers.
Corporate Troubleshooter all the way man...take that Atman