This ice gets much more deterrent power in GameNET: Where Dreams are Real. Letting the subs fire just once banks the Corp a net 4 credits of swing during any run, including the current one. That can be just the thing to push a Bellona out of an inattentive Runner's reach, for instance, or throw off their run math.

I am absolutely the wrong person to evaluate this card on its playability. I am about as casual a player as it is possible to be; I still want to make a brain damage/click-denial HB deck with cards like Heinlein Grid and Kamali 1.0 and Mason Bellamy work. So when other people say that Whistleblower is generally not powerful enough to be playable right now, believe them. I'm not going to review this card on playability.

What I will review Whistleblower on, however, is its design, because I think Whistleblower opens design space in a way that gets missed when we only talk about whether or not it's worth a deck slot.

Whistleblower owes its lineage, of course, to Film Critic. Film Critic is a Runner tool for getting around nasty, hard-to-steal agendas like Obokata Protocol. It's also been Restricted since the beginning of the Banned/Restricted list, particularly because it's so damn good at what it does. At one influence and 1 to install, Film Critic is the gold standard tool for getting around defensive agendas. Want to have an easier time stealing Obokatas or Degree Mills? Slot Film Critic. Want to shut down SSL Endorsement? Slot Critic.

Film Critic, in other words, has the Jackson Howard problem: it's head and shoulders above anything else in its field. It's a first-order optimal card. While there may be niche cases when you pick something else before it (cases artificially made more common by Restricting the card), it's generally going to be an optimal pick. And that's boring and stifling from a design perspective.

Whistleblower is assuredly not a first-order optimal card. If more seasoned players are to be believed, it's actually pretty lousy. But weirdly, I find this encouraging. Jackson Howard, after all, wasn't supplanted by a single newly optimal card, because then everyone would have simply replaced Jackson Howard 1.0 with Jackson Howard 2.0. Instead, FFG recognized that Jackson's ability to sneak agendas out of Archives and back into R&D was critical enough to be available to all factions, and provided a number of powered-down options so players had choices based on the decks they were making. Attitude Adjustment, Gatekeeper, Genotyping, and Drudge Work all brought faction-specific Jackson effects on a variety of different card types. Preemptive Action and Distract the Masses were neutral options, both with their own costs or drawbacks. Breaking down Jackson's functions and divvying them up among multiple suboptimal cards opened up design space.

I think Whistleblower, underpowered though it may be, shows that NISEI recognizes that there's value in protection against defensive agendas and is interested in making that more accessible and varied. Maybe the next piece of protection against defensive agendas will come in the form of three faction-specific answers. Maybe it will be a neutral run event similar to Direct Access that ignores the abilities of any agendas accessed. Whatever it is, I have hope that future cards continue to explore this design space, so that the answer to defensive agendas becomes more interesting than "just slot Critic", and for that reason, I applaud the design behind Whistleblower.

<p>I was looking to write a similar review, but you pretty much nailed it. The netrunner designers have struggled for a long time making 5/3 agendas usable, and now through years of tweaking we are at a place where they are worthwhile. Stealing a 5/3 is a big win for a runner, and even with the nastiness that comes with Obokata or SDS, again and again runners suck it up and keep going. Let alone random luck on R&amp;D accesses of those agendas. As you rightly state, having a silver bullet is <em>not</em> the answer. Film Critic will rotate, and it won’t be replaced (if card design like Whistleblower is anything to go by). And that’s a good thing. That’s not saying Whistleblower doesn’t have its problems. For instance, perhaps a trash after accessing the said agenda might have worked better, or a shuffle into deck if no agenda was stolen. As it stands now, Whistleblower is a one shot wonder, and if you steal the wrong agenda (so to speak), that’s basically it for the rest of the match. It’s not very reliable, and probably won’t be slotted. Players should feel empowered by picking their agenda suite. Cards which nullify a strategy as soon as they hit the table don't make for a satisfy experience. A thrust and parry, where questions are continually asked instead of one knockout answer makes for the white knuckle ride that defines Netrunner. More cards designed in the way Whistleblower is keep things interesting.</p> —

Flavor review:

What does Weyland do? Judging by the word used in all three of the Weyland Consortium's current megacorp identities, it's build. Weyland builds nations. Weyland builds a better world. Weyland built it.

This is why Weyland uses advancement tokens so much. It's not just construction projects like Oaktown Renovation; even Weyland's ice can be built up. With bricks of clay and blocks of code, Weyland is leaving its mark on the world.

So what is Hortum all about? Why is Weyland suddenly interested in digital gardening? Isn't that a little Farmville for Jack Weyland, the man who built the Beanstalk?

Only two other pieces of ice have Hortum's "parenthetical text" ability, and looking at them reveals what Weyland's building. Mausolus is a tomb... or mausoleum. Colossus calls to mind a certain giant statue from antiquity. Hortum here has a name that means "garden" in Latin (which you might recognize from English words like horticulture).

The Weyland Consortium is paying homage to the seven wonders of the ancient world. Mausolus is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Colossus is the Colossus of Rhodes. And Hortum? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Could there be a more perfect theme for Weyland? A megacorp all about building, about wonder and expanding the horizon, tips its hat to some of the great dreamers and builders of eras past. The architects of antiquity had the audacity to aspire to greatness and do what seemed impossible. No doubt, Jack Weyland sees himself in the builders of yore.

At the time of this writing, there are four wonders left unrepresented: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Athena, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Weyland's not the type to leave a job unfinished. I expect to see these Seven Wonders ice rounded off in packs to come.

Great catch. The theme does seem likely. —