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Subject: NBN rss

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Jack Wraith
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Like Jinteki, NBNs ability basically defines its approach to the game (this is where we start wondering if new identities for Corps and Runners will be present in coming expansions.) 2 free credits every turn for traces pretty much informs what you should be doing. While it seems as if you could play NBN in a different manner, the proliferation of traces and tag abilities all over its ICE and other cards makes it pretty inefficient at this juncture. And, with two Runner factions beginning at 0 Link, why would you do anything but take advantage of that?

Upgrades:
SanSan City Grid: The best upgrade in the game, enabling single turn agenda scoring and still leaving another action free. Unfortunately for non-NBN Corps, it's also 3 influence, so it'll be tough to include but is probably worth it, even at a cost of 6.
Red Herrings is not far behind SanSan, in all honesty. For a cost of 1, you add a 5 credit surcharge to an agenda theft, even if Herrings is trashed? Wow. Why isn't NBN a banking corporation?

Assets:
Ghost Branch is an efficient trap to install (0 cost) but needs to be advanced to be effective, which may or may not be worth it, depending on the Runner's positioning. Tags are nice to have, as they inhibit the Runners action if he wants to remove them, but they also cost resources on the part of the Corp to use. Great against Anarchs; perhaps not so much against Criminals. However, Ghost Branch also meshes nicely with other NBN cards.

Again, like Jinteki, NBN's lone asset has nothing to do with money generation.

Operations:
Anonymous Tip will be a widely used splash card for its low cost in influence and credits. It's the best drawer available for the Corps.
Psychographics continues both the tag/trace theme and the speed theme of NBN. This is where cards like Ghost Branch can really pay off if the Runner lacks the resources to dump his tags. 2 credits and a card for 2 tokens is, uh, quite the bargain.
Closed Accounts is situational but, given the number of tagging cards in NBN's repertoire, isn't as difficult as it might be with other factions. Dumping your opponent's entire pool for the cost of 1/1/1 is almost always going to be worth it.
SEA Source is also situational, but since the Runner should always be making runs and some are going to succeed no matter what the Corp tries, it's not as bad as it might sound. A trace attempt in the middle of the Corp turn at base 3 might be quite the surprise. Follow that with something like Closed Accounts and it could be devastating.

ICE:
Matrix Analyzer is a cheap, decent Sentry with a speed enhancer for your agendas whenever its encountered (i.e. the Runner can't stop it.) Its lone subroutine isn't overwhelming but still generally has to be dealt with.
Data Raven is a slightly more expensive Sentry but one which doesn't even depend on a subroutine to tag the Runner. It just happens. And, if the trace succeeds, you can tag the runner whenever you like and begin executing all of your operations that proceed from that.
Tollbooth is a relatively high strength Code Gate with an unavoidable cost and another subroutine that must be broken. The Runner is going to pay out when he hits this guy, but you're also going to pay considerably to put it down, so it's probably wisest to use when you're protecting something really important... unless you're bluffing on a Ghost Branch or a Snare.

NBN lacks Barrier ICE in-faction. Obviously Wall of Static and Wall of Thorns are easily available for no or low influence cost, but this brings up an interesting question: Does the Corp feel compelled to fill all of the potential types? It seems that the onus is on the Runner to be prepared with all 3 types of breakers because if you run into one with appropriately devastating subroutines, you may not be able to risk approaching it, even if you can beat its strength. Also, leaving a gap in your ICE types creates dead cards in the Runner's stack. If you have no Barriers, his Fracters are much less useful. OTOH, having all three types of ICE means you may be able to drop something that the Runner has no way to currently combat in his grip and may not have a Special Order handy to retrieve. Still, it strikes me that the Corp is far more comfortable leaving gaps in his ICE than the Runner is having gaps in his breakers.

Agendas:
Breaking News is both easy to score in a single turn and one that serves several other cards in NBN's faction list.
Autoscript Pilot Program enhances other agendas when it scores, serving the NBN theme of fast advancement.

As one of the two multi-agenda factions, both of which closely serve the themes of its play, NBN has a leg up on the other Corps in this respect.

NBN really only needs a solid way to make money (Melange, Hedge Fund, Beanstalk Royalties.) The complete lack of net or meat damage actions can be filled with Jinteki or Weyland cards if the player really feels it will help his strategy, but as long as credits are flowing, NBN should be able to exploit its tags and traces in-faction to wreck Runner Resources and run attempts. The only real weakness might be a lack of ways to generate more actions with which to enable those active defenses, but Shipment from Mirrormorph can help with that, as well.
 
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Bob Smithy

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NBN is going to be the corp-de-facto, I think, because of all those qualities. Shapers are going to have a tough time with data raven and matrix analyser because of their bad killer icebreakers, and anarchs aren't going to like someone setting up before they do (normally fast anyways). I'm putting in 2x Secretary for the program trashing, and the rest money makers from other factions. Trashing the runner's Gordian Blade is going to be bad news for almost everybody.
 
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Myck Kabongo
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I'm gonna disagree on SanSan. It is essentially a variant of Washington, DC City Grid, which wasn't all that strong in the original. The problem is the very high rez cost. However, given the limited fast advance options in ANR, it is more justifiable in this version. I'd rate it is a pretty good midgame card, but not a ZOMG Great card.

NBN does have some of those, though. Astroscript Pilot Program is IMHO the best card in the game. Once you score 1, you can conceivably win the game without ever having to leave an agenda in a fort during the runner's turn. Just chain 2 more Astroscripts with hosted counters and score a Breaking News along the way.

Matrix Analyzer is also very powerful. Combos very well with Red Herrings. Often runners can only afford 'one big run' per turn so with this combo you can oftentimes troll the runner hard, leaving him to spend out the wazoo only to see that you have an agenda in there that you just advanced by one more.

re: not having all 3 types of ICE, I would advise against this. Runners often install breakers on an as-needed basis and good runners aren't afraid to run blind to check out your ICE sometimes. A good runner simply won't install a fracter and will be greatful that you saved them the bits. They also know they can focus their Personal Touches and whathaveyou on their Sentry and Code Gate breakers. Far better to include a well rounded ICE kit--the cost to you is nearly nil but you'd be advantaging a skilled opponent if you did not.
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