“The big get bigger. The rich get richer. And me and my toys just burn it all down.”
The laws of nature dictate that as living organisms compete for limited resources, only the fittest will survive. The other organisms, those that lose the struggle for food and shelter, must perish.
These ancient laws of nature also hold sway over the futuristic cyberstruggles of Android: Netrunner. Corps and Runners vie for a limited number of agenda points, and only one side can emerge victorious. The other must perish.
In Future Proof, the Anarchs look to forge a future built upon these historical lessons from biology. More precisely, they’ve developed a shortcut they hope will make them strong enough that they can starve their competition.
Darwin (Future Proof, 102) is an AI virus icebreaker that gains strength for each virus counter on it. Like other AI icebreakers before it, Darwin offers tremendous flexibility since it can break any type of ice. The only trick is getting virus counters on it, especially given that the Corp can spend a turn’s worth of clicks to wipe Darwin’s virus counters. If your only means of adding virus counters is to use Darwin’s ability once at the beginning of each of your turns, it’s not a race you’re likely to win.
Fortunately, the Anarchs do not lack the means of accelerating their virus counters. In addition to the Core Set console, Grimoire (Core Set, 6), they have the new event from Humanity’s Shadow, Surge (Humanity’s Shadow, 81). Together, they allow you to increase Darwin to three strength on the turn you play it, or up to as much as seven strength if you can play all three copies of Surge.
Then, you can further boost its strength with a few copies of The Personal Touch (Core Set, 40). Throw in a pair of e3 Feedback Implants (Trace Amount, 24), and you’re not only able to gnaw upon any ice of your choice, but you can do it at a lower cost for all those secondary and tertiary subroutines.
Some of you may be thinking, “That’s great, but the laws of natural selection don’t refer so much to having more brute strength than your competitor as they do to the ability of an organism to adapt to its environment.”
This is true, of course, but when the Anarchs have their way, the environment is always a flaming battlefield, in which Corporate ice is crumbling away as its strength is reduced by Parasites (Core Set, 12) and an Ice Carver (Core Set, 15). If you’re able to dictate the terms of the environment, then you can rest assured your icebreaker can feed on Corporate servers as intended.
Fighting Fire with Flares
On the other side of the network, the megacorporations of Android: Netrunner don’t entirely mean to lie down and die. Rather, they’re putting their considerable funds to good use and commissioning some of the world’s greatest programmers to develop new ice.
As proof of the success of their R&D’s imaginative design, NBN submits its sentry, Flare (Future Proof, 117), for review. At nine cost, Flare is by no means cheap, but it’s the first piece of ice that can trash hardware, as well as a definite contender for the top of the food chain.
If its subroutine isn’t broken, Flare initiates a Trace attempt with a base strength of six. That’s strong enough to force most Runners to dip into their credit pool, even if they’ve invested heavily in link. Then, if the Trace succeeds, Flare allows the Corp player to choose trash any one piece of hardware the Runner controls, deals two uncancellable meat damage, and ends the run. Altogether, it’s a rather hefty triple whammy.
Future Proof Your Decks
As a Living Card Game®, Android: Netrunner is always evolving. Players and decks can’t afford to sit idle. Rather, they must constantly adapt to the evolving metagame.
Darwin and Flare are just two examples from Future Proof of how Runners and Corporations respond to their changing environment. While both cards offer tremendous impact from relatively simple mechanics, many of the Data Pack’s other cards provide subtler adjustments players may incorporate into their deck designs. You’ll find ways of avoiding the snares that lie buried within a Corp’s R&D, you’ll find ways of using tags to the Runner’s advantage, and you’ll find tricks built around swapping pieces of ice even as a Runner is jacked into your server.
The Android: Netrunner card pool is always evolving, but you can use the cards from Future Proof to refine and stabilize your favorite strategies. Future Proof marks the end of the Genesis Cycle and, as such, finalizes many of the cycle’s card combinations and synergies.
You can look to bring those synergies together soon. Future Proof is on its way!