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Android: Netrunner – Trace Amount» Forums » Rules

Subject: Sherlock and the lonely Imp rss

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Ben Finkel
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If Sherlock's Trace is successful, is it true that the Corp must return a program, even if doing so might be detrimental? Allowing Noise to play a virus again seems like a bad idea, and if that virus is Imp, it's even worse - Imp will get refilled. And if the Corp bounces back Femme Fatale, it's expensive to get out again, but the Runner gets to choose a new piece of ICE for her to make her moves on.

In short, I'm pretty sure I don't like Sherlock. But if the Trace effect is optional, that's at least a way it doesn't shoot itself in the foot. However, I doubt it is. What do you think?
 
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Micheal Keane
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Not optional so try not to win the trace.
 
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Ben Finkel
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With Trace 4, that sounds very difficult.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Perhaps don't install or don't rez Sherlock against Noise, unless he has a resource you really do want to put back. Perhaps trash Sherlock later if it seems like a bad idea to keep him around.
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James Finkle
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I'm not really a fan of Sherlock regardless.

His abilities are double-conditional. In order for them to fire, they need to not only be unbroken by an icebreaker, but they need to get past click-breaking, and THEN you have to win a trace. Admittedly, the trace value is fairly high, making this a more effective deterrent than, say, Ichi's Trace 1, but that's still not a great incentive. His cost is also fairly high, and he's not too much harder to break than Ichi. Ninja spends one LESS to break him, Femme and Pipeline spend one more, Crypsis spends an identical amount, and Femme Bypass costs one less.

And then we get to the actual effect. "Spin" effects have always been fairly powerful in card games, as you force your opponent to "waste" draws getting back what they had already had, plus spend the resources to replay those cards. In netrunner, the redrawing effect just wastes a single click, but the replaying is much more detrimental, given that your standard cost resources (credits) do not refresh every turn. On the other hand, many of the most popular breakers (ZU.13 and Corroder specifically) are very cheap to play and replay, and unlike actually trashing programs, you have no opportunity to deny the runner access to a specific kind of breaker entirely.
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Evan
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For what it's worth, I don't see it coming up too often that a runner will have depleted an Imp without having an icebreaker that you can send back instead. Maybe if they hit Sherlock a lot, I suppose. But even if they do find themselves running against Sherlock with Imp and at most one other program, they'll have to rebuild their rig before they can get much use out of Imp, unless you have a bunch of undefended servers. And even then, all you've really given them is half of a Deja Vu.

But yeah, I'm not currently planning to use Sherlock either.
 
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Michele Lupo
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Don't forget that Sherlock can bounce Djinn... and trash whatever he was hosting!
 
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Lou Lessing
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Yeah, don't even play Sherlock. He's expensive, it's very rare that you'll get to trigger either of the subroutines because he only has two of them, he's incapable of ending the run, all he ever does is waste some of the runner's time and money (program destruction can be considerably more damaging if you can hit their single copies of out-of-faction Special Order targets) and if you're playing bioroids program destruction is rather less important to you anyway.

Outside of Stronger Together, Ichi's more expensive to break with Ninja, does more, and costs less. Not wanting to uninstall a program will almost never happen, but it does make the already very bad Sherlock trivially worse.
 
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Michele Lupo
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brisingre wrote:
Yeah, don't even play Sherlock. He's expensive, it's very rare that you'll get to trigger either of the subroutines because he only has two of them, he's incapable of ending the run, all he ever does is waste some of the runner's time and money (program destruction can be considerably more damaging if you can hit their single copies of out-of-faction Special Order targets) and if you're playing bioroids program destruction is rather less important to you anyway.

Outside of Stronger Together, Ichi's more expensive to break with Ninja, does more, and costs less. Not wanting to uninstall a program will almost never happen, but it does make the already very bad Sherlock trivially worse.


Ichi and Sherlock are two completely different beasts. one is a trap, the other is a tempo enhancer, their functions are foundamentally different.
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Lou Lessing
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They're both traps, you'll never hit the runner with the uninstall subroutine unless you spring Sherlock on them or they're very, very bad. One costs the runner the investment they had in the program, and the difficulty of replacing it. The other costs the program the investment they had in the program and a click to draw it again. "Tempo" usually refers to short-term gains, which is what Sherlock does, to be sure. However, Ichi gives short-term gains that are about as good (Finding a replacement for a program takes more than one click, so Sherlock's only better if the runner doesn't particularly want the program back, in which case it does all of "Trace 4: The runner loses a click at some point in the future, probably next turn.") The effect is worse before you even take into account the trace and lack of a third subroutine.

If Sherlock was cost-efficient, the tempo advantage (Short-term, uninstalling a program is about as good as destroying it) would be a reasonable consideration. But he costs *more* than Ichi to do less.

Tempo's a strategy that makes use of cheap, efficient, small effects that do enough to get by in the short term, disrupting an opponent enough to squeeze out a win. The key word is Cheap. Enigma's a tempo card. Chimera's the king of tempo cards. Sherlock isn't a tempo card, Sherlock costs 3/4 of a tollbooth and has less stopping power than Viktor.
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Michele Lupo
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Only Ninja pays less against Sherlock, other Killers right now struggle a little more, and paired with Stronger Together or Experiential Data, his price skyrockets way beyond his cost.

Maybe tempo is not the right word, but it's definitely an economical advantage card, you don't need to play it where the runner cannot break it. Actually, you don't need the subroutines to trigger at all to start gaining an advantage. Put him either on a central server or in the middle of a data fort, in front of an end run Ice, so the Runner cannot afford to not break his routines. If the runner is not using pipeline, put him in front of Ichi too!
 
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Lou Lessing
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What other Killers? Ninja's the relevant Killer right now. As a result, I like Sherlock fine in Stronger Together. You want to play a lot of bioroids, and stack them deep enough that the runner can't click through, and Sherlock's just fine for that. I still think he's worse than Ichi, because he's so much less devastating as a trap, but that deck has room for both.

If he's not triggering, he's usually getting clicked past, not broken. He's very expensive to break, but he's only two clicks to bypass. If that's happening, you're usually just paying too much for a Viktor.

I do like Sherlock fine in Stronger Together, though.
 
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Michele Lupo
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brisingre wrote:
What other Killers? Ninja's the relevant Killer right now.


I have never seen Anarch use Ninja and if Kate wants to run Ninja and forego Pipeline, that's good too, it means that sherlock can go in multiples and with Ichi too on the same server for added goodness!

(actually what do you think of ninja in anarch?)
 
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Lou Lessing
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That's a fair point. Anarch usually plays Crypsis as their Killer of choice. Sherlock's the same cost to break there (one more pump, but one fewer subroutine) but it's still not more expensive to break.(Both Ichi and Sherlock are well out of Mimic range, although Sherlock is a bit farther out if there are datasucker counters involved.)

If Kate's playing Pipeline, she's making a mistake. Ninja is much more cost-effective. (Two to pump is pretty painful on something that starts at such low strength.)

I saw an Anarch Special Order deck a few days ago that played Ninja. I was surprised, but it wasn't actually very good. The deck just doesn't gain that much from being in Anarch, and it suffers from their poor economy. Perhaps Liberated Account changes this, but I think once Chaos Theory is printed there will be a clear choice for which faction to play Special Order with. (Special Order decks is what I call decks whose gameplan is to set up a suite of three efficient icebreakers, initially Gordian Blade, Ninja, and Corroder, although Blade is now replaced with Key Master in Criminal, as quickly as possible. I consider Special Order to be the key card that makes the strategy work right now, hence the name.)
 
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Michele Lupo
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brisingre wrote:
That's a fair point. Anarch usually plays Crypsis as their Killer of choice. Sherlock's the same cost to break there (one more pump, but one fewer subroutine) but it's still not more expensive to break.(Both Ichi and Sherlock are well out of Mimic range, although Sherlock is a bit farther out if there are datasucker counters involved.)

If Kate's playing Pipeline, she's making a mistake. Ninja is much more cost-effective. (Two to pump is pretty painful on something that starts at such low strength.)

I saw an Anarch Special Order deck a few days ago that played Ninja. I was surprised, but it wasn't actually very good. The deck just doesn't gain that much from being in Anarch, and it suffers from their poor economy. Perhaps Liberated Account changes this, but I think once Chaos Theory is printed there will be a clear choice for which faction to play Special Order with. (Special Order decks is what I call decks whose gameplan is to set up a suite of three efficient icebreakers, initially Gordian Blade, Ninja, and Corroder, although Blade is now replaced with Key Master in Criminal, as quickly as possible. I consider Special Order to be the key card that makes the strategy work right now, hence the name.)



Considering that Sentries are right now the most abundant kind of Ice in the game i don't feel like Pipeline is a subpar choice, expecially if personal touches are included in the deck. Stacking Sentries is a very viable play, easily nullified by Pipeline. A runner with Ninja or Crypsis would thus have to pay a much steeper cost than one with Pipeline.

Having 2 sentries that directly attack programs gives quite a boost to this tactic, thus making the use of Pipeline even more efficent.
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Carl Bussema
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Pipeline + Personal Touch + Personal Touch ( + Personal Touch). That is all.
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Lou Lessing
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Some Ninja vs Pipeline comparisons:

Two Data Ravens in a server: Ninja 8, Pipeline 8.
An Archer and a Data Raven in a server: Ninja 14, Pipeline 15
A Janus and a Neural Katana in a server: Ninja 14, Pipeline 19
Three Data Ravens in a server: Ninja 12, Pipeline 9.
Three Data Ravens and three Caduceus in a server: Ninja 27, Pipeline 15
Two Archers in a server: Ninja 20, Pipeline 18

A single Shadow: Ninja 5, Pipeline 2
A single Data Hound: Ninja 4, Pipeline 3
A single Rototurret: Ninja 2, Pipeline 2
A single Data Raven or Neural Katana: Ninja 4, Pipeline 5
A single Sherlock with +1 Strength from Stronger Together: Ninja 8, Pipeline 10
A single Archer: Ninja 10, Pipeline 14
A single Janus: Ninja 10, Pipeline 18
In fact, right now the only single sentries that are cheaper to break with Pipeline are Shadow and Data Hound. (Data Hound for certain values of "Right now")

An unbroken Chum: Ninja costs either 0 or 3 more, depending on the sentry being boosted. (It's very often three, a surprising number of sentries have 0 or 4 strength, but both Archer and Janus are the same cost to break as they are without chum.) Pipeline always costs 4 more to break.

Any server with a Corporate Troubleshooter: Ninja the corp has to pay five for every three you pay, Pipeline the corp has to pay one for every two you pay. (The only time troubleshooter doesn't hurt Pipeline more than Ninja is if an ice is a perfect multiple of five strength, and the corp has only one credit they can afford to use on the troubleshooter. Right now that's Rototurret and Sherlock.)

The trend in here, in general, is that Pipeline saves at most a few credits a run in servers with two sentries. Ninja saves at most a few credits on runs on servers protected by single cheap sentries, and in the extreme corner cases of one- and two-strength sentries it is actually more expensive. (Data Raven or Caduceus are the most relevant cheap sentries right now, both of which Ninja saves at least a credit on.) Pipeline pays off considerably better if a server has three or more sentries, and Ninja pays off considerably better if you ever see an Archer. (Not only do you need fewer credits to break Archer, which can protect a server on it's own 40% more efficiently on it's own against Pipeline, but you need to maintain a balance of four credits higher every time you want to feel safe running against something that could be an archer. Because if Archer gets to destroy your Killer, you may very well lose before you can find a replacement and build up the money to run past Archer.) Personally, while I do see stacked sentries, I very rarely see them stacked three deep. And the money I save in those corner cases isn't worth the money I lose on Archers and Data Ravens and Chummed Sentries, to say nothing of the danger of corporate troubleshooter.

Personal Touch does make a difference, but it's pretty good on Ninja, too. (Saves you three credits on Archer and Shadow)
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Mychal
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brisingre wrote:
If Kate's playing Pipeline, she's making a mistake.

That's kind of a narrow-minded statement. If the Shaper player is making good use of that extra influence, it might not be a mistake at all. To suggest that any one card is always the best choice, to me shows a lack of creativity in deckbuilding.
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Lou Lessing
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You're kind of right. If the Kate player has a better use for influence than better icebreakers, that's fine, play Pipeline. Or just play Crypsis, it has more utility and is usually cheaper depending what you value a click at. As the game expands, that will become a better and better argument. However, right now Kate's not exactly strapped for influence. She already has a great economy already, and the better out-of-faction tricks pull very hard towards playing another faction and pulling in cards from shaper, rather than the other way around. Most of the good Shaper cards are pretty splashable, but the viruses really want the whole Anarch operation backing them up, and Account Syphon and Sneakdoor Beta really want to be played with Gabriel. As we get more cards, there will be better answers to this, but right now nobody's given me a good answer to "What do you pull into Shaper that isn't better breakers and Special Orders to find them?"

I'd like to state that I'm talking about building competitive, optimized decks when I say that. Of course there are all sorts of ways to build Kate, they're all perfectly valid, and many play Pipeline, but I've yet to see one close to as good as the Special Order lists. I was under the impression that was how we were evaluating Sherlock, too.
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Pavlos Pavlopoulos
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Define competitive... Are there loads of tournaments of this game which I am not aware of? There's been one official tournament when people were still quite inexperienced, and a lot of local ones, right?

I play on octgn, and my Spinal Modem Kate with Pipeline is quite competitive there. I actually think it's a pretty good set up whatever the case. You can throw loads of math around, but the fact remains that the card pool is growing and there are ways to spend your influence beyond the standard ways. Hell, being unexpected helps so much in this game, that sometimes the fact that you do NOT play Ninja is enough to throw people off.

For one very simple example... take Draco. You're playing against Kate. Do you automatically assume she's running Ninja and boost Draco by 1 in early game? I've seen this happen a LOT against me. It's very fun then seeing pipeline hit the table... Narrow example, I know, but you get the drift. This can apply to ice stacking in servers.
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Lou Lessing
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I mean, that's a fair point. I talk about being competitive, but the metagame isn't that developed.

What's your influence breakdown in Spinal Modem Kate?

 
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Michele Lupo
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At a first glance your math is a little off, you counted 1 credit more on both a single and 2 data ravens in a row.

Those are not the only sentries currently being played though. You are not considering Ichi and Sherlock. (Whose greatest perk, I just realized, is exactly in being a sentry) Anyway you just demonstrated that the difference is quite small, often into the 2-3 credit range for towers 2 deep, so it's basically a choice that boils down to how much influence is the deckbuilder going to spend on icebreakers.

It's also interesting to notice how the breakers' efficency weighs on their influence cost. Going from 1 to 2 the difference is noticeable but not too great, while a 4 influence cost icebreaker can literally tear through ice with little effort... but has a huge upfront cost!
 
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Lou Lessing
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I counted two credits low on one data raven for Pipeline, Two data ravens is right, and one neural katana is right, but one data raven should be seven. Good catch.


At this point, I think the best anti-pipeline arguments are Archer and Troubleshooter, which see a lot of play, have a pretty significant credit difference in Ninja's favor, and can pretty much lose you the game.
 
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Michele Lupo
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But are pretty much neutered (once) with a single or a double Sacrificial Construct. (or tinkering if you can see them coming)

I LOVE this game.
 
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Pavlos Pavlopoulos
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brisingre wrote:

What's your influence breakdown in Spinal Modem Kate?


3 x Special Order, 3 x Spinal Modem, 2 x Cyberfeeder, 1 x Stimhack (the last 3 have fluctuated a lot, haven't decided on the optimal combination).

2 x battering ram, 2 pipeline, 2 zu for breakers + magnum opus.

And yes, you hit the nail on the head. The obvious bane of this deck is corp troubleshooted Archers. But, there is an answer.. don't let the corp gain the cred advantage.
 
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