Parasite 2[credit]

Program: Virus - Trojan
Memory: 1 • Strength: -
Influence: 2

Install only on a rezzed piece of ice.

When your turn begins, place 1 virus counter on this program.

Host ice gets -1 strength for each hosted virus counter.

When the strength of host ice is 0 or less, trash it.

Illustrated by Bruno Balixa
Decklists with this card

Core Set (core)

#12 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
  • Updated 2017-04-09

    Parasite cannot be hosted on Djinn [or any other Daemon program]. A card or counter can only be hosted in one place at a time, and Parasite has the restriction that it must be installed on a piece of ice. [Official FAQ]

  • Updated 2017-04-08

    If a piece of ice hosting Parasite is derezzed, the Parasite continues to collect virus tokens, but the hosting ice has no strength while derezzed and therefore cannot be trashed by Parasite unless it is rezzed again. [Official FAQ]

  • Updated 2017-04-28

    NAPD Most Wanted List - Level 1: Each copy of this card costs 1 universal influence, which is separate & in addition to the normal printed influence, and counts against all Identities influence limits, even those in the same faction. [MWL v1.2]


(Core Set Perspective)

Like many things in the Core Set, when you first use something you'll think it serves a certain, necessary role. Then, as time goes on those views will most likely change. I used to think Lemuria Codecracker was an indespensible bit of kit that the other factions were at a severe disadvantage for not having; now I just think Gabe's about to give a credit card receipt to a door. I used to think PAD Campaigns were fragile little driplets that always needed protecting with at least three layers of ice. I used to think Desperado was bollocks.

In the case of Parasite, I used to think it was a vital part of a faction whose limited ability to deal with ice meant they needed a more permanent way of equalising the field. Now I realise it's just one of the many ways for Anarchs to be bunch of caustic jerks. Which is good! Because in my opinion that's one of the things they should be - a chaotic force of disruption that grabs the corp's carefully laid plan off the table, eats some of it, spits out some more, rolls the rest up into a makeshift kazoo and then parps loudly in their sad little ruined faces.

Parasite is your ticket to achieving that in the Core Set, one of the key things that gives you that malicious edge. Especially when working in tandem with good old Datasucker, you are able to not merely overcome, but actively wreck the other players defenses with worrying speed. Couple that with Noise's ID ability (frequently triggered by Parasite), and the ability to recur (get back) the little bastards with Déjà Vu, and you have a system of attack that not only threatens what they are hoping to get into their hand, but also weakening their ability to take advantage of it once it does.

Functionally, this all translates to agendas getting bunched up in HQ, being thrown in the bin or going down without adequate protection. With the Anarch breaker suite being as good as it is, you could Shaper your way to victory quite happily, but where's the fun in that?

To finish, here's a few things I've noticed during my time with it:

  • Rezzing big ice early is usually a solid investment for a Corporation but against Parasites it becomes a potential waste. Do you rez it early and risk not finding the cards you were hoping to put behind it, or do you wait until they show up? By which point you might not have the option.

  • It might be tempting to hold onto your Parasites for juicy targets, but the earlier you use them the more times you'll benefit from Noise's ability to trash cards, and you can always get them back later. A middling piece of ice in the right place at the right time is much more valuable than a big piece when it doesn't matter.

  • Having Grimoire ready for Parasites (or any viruses) is ideal, but don't do what I did and have it hold back your plans if it doesn't show up. Waiting for the ideal set-up can and will cost you games. The nice thing about Parasite is it will always be useful in some way, even if it's not quite as potent as it could have been.

  • Wyrm is aways going to be a little unwieldy, shall we say, but with Parasite you can at least give it some meaning. While it's not as strong as Datasucker for bringing ice down to be gnawed to bits, Wyrm doesn't rely on virus tokens and will keep the danger of your little green nibblers present even after an annoying purge.

(Blood Money era)

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.

(Order and Chaos era)
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. —
So strong that they finally did something about it with the MWL. —
Bad card. —
It costs 1 influence even in-faction! Terrible, terrible. —

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.

(Order and Chaos era)

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.

(Data and Destiny era)
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. —
Parasite on the NAPD Most Wanted / 02.01.2016 —

First, let all agree that the art is great and evocative. I don't know if a quote could be used here (although I always prefers when there is one).

Parasite is the better version of Trypano and Chisel. It give yet another ice destruction card to anarch. But the great thing about Parasite is the influence cost. Now, you can easily splash it in criminal and shaper to get some ice destruction.

Shaper are the winner in this. Using Simulchip, they can put #parasite and get rid of an ice, then bring it back again to get rid of another ice, using Simulchip. And with tools like Harmony AR Therapy, this would be a great card to bring back, along with Simulchip, to do the combo again. Now, the ice destruction archetype is not limited to anarch anymore, Shaper can use it too (and maybe better than anarch).

The only real counter to this is Macrophage and Magnet. Of the two, Macrophage would be the best.

It is nice to give Shaper, an underpowered faction, a tool to try a different archetype. Fun time ahead.

(Salvaged Memories era)