Program: Virus • Install: 2 • Memory: 1 • Influence: 2

Install Parasite only on a rezzed piece of ice.

Host ice has −1 strength for each virus counter on Parasite and is trashed if its strength is 0 or less.

When your turn begins, place 1 virus counter on Parasite.

Anarch • Bruno Balixa • Core Set #12
Links: Decklists | ANCUR

A terribly fun card.

Pairs great with Hivemind and Virus Breeding Ground and/or Incubator for instantly or quickly trashing ICE. You can add Déjà Vu for some recursion, and three of these pieces are tutorable with Djinn. This combo also lends itself nicely to Medium, Nerve Agent, and Chakana for accessing extra cards from central servers or slowing down FA.

Can it single-handedly wipe the board clean? No. But it's still fun.


A terrible card.

First of all, it costs 2. That's twice as much as Wyrm, the next card, and a LOT more than Scheherazard. Next, the ice has to be rezzed? You can't even play this card if there are no rezzed ice. And ice can only can rezzed when you run. So this card will be sitting in your hand most of the time. Finally, this card does absolutely nothing for most of the game. If you put this on Wraparound, you will pretty much always lose before it can actually whittle the ice down! And Architect completely nullifies this card!

Overall, this is just a terrible card that needs some new big cards to make it even remotely playable.

Wait, whaat? :) —
Not to mention the hard counter of Lotus Field. I mean, it's like the game designers didn't even look at the card pool before coming up with this bs —
I mean, you could maybe do some jankiness by comboing with Wyrm, but if you're throwing this trash in your deck just to make Wyrm playable you should rethink your life. —
Um... just so people who are looking at this don't get the wrong idea, this card is very, very, very, good, and there's a reason why they designed Lotus Field and Architect to be un-parasite-able. —
this is a great card. do not be fooled. there is often a huge ice on the table that costs more than $2 to chew through. Slap parasite on it and run on it. if you have datasuckers or ice carvers or yes, even the lowly wyrm down, you can often destroy the offending ice immediately. —

Mechanically, a strong card, as others have mentioned, and anyone who plays it can attest.

Thematically, it is also a strong card. A virulent Parasite infecting the Corp's ICE? Mmm... Delicious flavor.

Design-wise, it is a curious case of "what were they thinking?" Let me explain.

Most cards with a subtype typically follow a set of rules or principles. Consider current events. All current events have the same 1st line in their text box: "this event is not trashed until an agenda is stolen or another current is played" which makes the current cards distinct from other event types. To give an even more obvious example, the three breaker types all break a specific kind of ice - Killers for Sentries, Decoders for Gates, and Fracters for Barriers. All console cards come with the "console limit" text, and all double events cost an extra click, and the Caissa programs all have a similar "behavior". I could go on and on and on.

But then we come to the virus subtype. What do the virus cards have in common? Virus counters, of course! But wait, no, not all of them. Some, maybe even most, use virus counters, but a few don't follow that rule. Strange. Even more baffling, in my opinion, is that FFG didn't use the "install only on a rezzed piece of ICE" as the defining ability of virus cards - an ability that only makes sense the more you think about it. Why would I be installing viruses in my rig? I wouldn't, but I would be infecting the Corp systems, for sure. Also, how does the Corp wipe viruses off of my PC? Purging viruses leeching off of their ICE is one thing, but did they some how hack my comp and start deleting my viruses? Oh, the confusion.

Parasite presents a "what could have been" that will always make me sigh. I can tolerate broken cards and "useless" cards (fortunately A:NR has very, very few) but design inconsistency kills me. I will continue to play Parasite and all the rest, but I do so with a heavy heart.

So, this isn't much of a review of Parasite... —
For what I've been told, in the original Netrunner, virus token where given to the Corp player, so the purge made sense with that. Now, for the sake of simplicity I guess, Runner player keeps the virus counter on his side. Just imagine that virus programs are remote program growing on Corp's network, but with control on the Runner's rig (hence the use of MU). —
Yes. —
Every card with the virus subtype is hurt by the Corp three click cost ability purge virus counters, which seems like a pretty clear design delineation to me. To thematically explain the functionality, I like Lupus's description. —
Lupus's rational for the flavor is pretty solid. Well played, sir. —