Event: Run - Sabotage • Cost: 0 • Influence: 4

Make a run on HQ. If successful, instead of accessing cards you may force the Corp to lose up to 5, then you gain 2 for each credit lost and take 2 tags.

Criminal • Outland Entertainment LLC • Core Set 18
Links: Decklists | ANCUR
Account Siphon

(Core Set perspective!)

You can't spell 'account' without certain other words, one of which you might be tempted to call the supposed friend who takes this from their hand and sits there with that smug, 'Sorry, but...' look on their face. In a game that already has a lot of interaction such as: stealing agendas from your hand (please, not that one), peeking at your deck (oi!), destroying critical assets (FF-!) This one has a certain something that just stings.

Maybe it's the stealing of your precious life monies, without which nought may be advanced or popped. That lovely Snare(!), usually so >=D, will suddenly be all >=| , and you will be ='( as they trash it for nothing.

Maybe it's them getting double their money back, like some Netrunner God is going, 'Ha! Ya sure did good there kid. Look at that face, that sad, creditless face. Love it. Have a bonus.' With nothing but 2 tags given out as a consolation prize.

Maybe it's the moment when, after spending a whole turn clawing back some money (any money), they hit you with another.

There comes a point where you'll stop being angry, and just start sobbing. How can something so mean, so vicious, so cruelly one-sided be ok? This is the card most likely to expose you to the wider world of Netrunner, via you going 'Right, I'm going straight onto Youtube to hear how ridiculous this card is from everyone else' then going '...oh...I guess it isn't THAT bad actually...oo, a tournament video!"

Here's why it's not actually (that) bad,

  • Up to 10 for a 0 event will seem like a crazy amount of money, and it is, but under most circumstances the runner won't keep anything close to that. From that 10 you can deduct 4 for the 2 tags and anywhere up to the remaining 6 on ICE protecting HQ. Past a certain point it's not even worth it as a money-making tool.

  • As a means of draining the corp's money it's more potent, but if the corp is poor it will cost the runner more to do it. If you have some defenses up, they might not consider it if you've got fewer than 5

Of course, there are some exceptions,

  • A turn-1 Siphon will always crush you for maximum pain (and maximum gain of their end) if you don't ICE up HQ, so don't forget to do that. If you do, you'll soon learn not to. If you find yourself supremely screwed by chance and drawing no ICE on your first turn (this almost never happens), and you're certain your opponent is planning a Siphon, then consider throwing down and rezzing an asset of some sort, preferably economy, but anything to put that money you're going to lose anyway to some use. They might not even do it after seeing the lower payout they'd recieve.

  • Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional with a Desperado down will make 3 extra from this, almost removing the 'tag tax'. If you're up against him you need to consider strengthening HQ further. Good news is because of his ability, you'll probably be doing that anyway.

Basically it's still a painful card, but it's not as ridiculous as it first appears. If you have some defenses up on HQ and/or have some form of tag punishment looming as a threat, the runner's net gain will be less than you intitially think, and it won't hurt quite as much (it will still hurt a little).

As time goes on, you'll toughen up to the existence of this card. You'll learn to expect it, prepare for it, and after a while merely wince on the increasingly rare occassions where it manages to get through.

If you can't ICE up HQ, you can still rez that SanSan (or Eve, or whverever) in the remote and make yourself broke. Sure they will get an access instead of cash, but if you really want to deny them money, there are other options to save yourself. —
I love your reviews. Please keep them coming. <3 —


  • a potential swing of 15 credits is huge
  • reinforces what Gabriel Santiago wants to do anyway


  • you better remove those tags immediately
  • 4 influence, fuck yeah


  • when ran on an empty HQ this card generates +7CE (+9 with Gabe)
  • this number (or closely to) should be the price tag on HQ to prevent useful Account Siphon runs
  • However sometimes it is more important to bankrupt the Corp, so be aware of that
  • Also traces are a good way of "losing" money before the runner can use the Siphon, getting down from 5 to 3 credits sounds like a good idea
  • A different way of doing that would be to rez assets or upgrades after the runner passed the last piece of HQ Ice, such as SanSan City Grid, Private Contracts, Dedicated Server,
  • All this math changes a lot, if the Corp has no way to punish tags (and the runner is aware)
  • If a bankrupt Corp is the main goal then chaining it with Vamp is strong
  • don't use it when there is a Nisei MK II scored and ready, or if you suspect the upgrade in HQ is Caprice Nisei or Crisium Grid

If someone had to sum up the Criminal Faction in Android: Netrunner with one card, they might choose Account Siphon.

This card has defined Criminal since the dawn of running nets, even before Emergency Shutdown told Tollbooth to stuff it and Andy made the mulligan her man-servant. Tournaments of all levels have been won and lost by those who could play this card often or those who couldn't defend against it fast enough.

Experienced players don't need a review of this card because you've already felt Syphon's sting enough to know: Account Siphon is one of the defining cards in Netrunner. So, yeah, it's good. 10/5, or whatever.

Why So Good?

Newer players may want to know why it gets all the hype. I will do my best to illustrate:

  • Siphon is sometimes thought of as an Econ card. You play it, you have 10 more than you had a click ago. It's easy to see why, but I'd urge you to not think like that. Siphon is a denial card that debilitates the corp, with a side effect of giving the runner spending cash. An early-game Siphon completely kills the corp's econ, making it hard to get enough credits to rez campaigns or play burst econ cards. This keeps the corp in the defenseless "Early Phase" of the game, where the runner is free to dig around R&D and HQ for agendas. Without money, the corp cannot rez ice, advance agendas, or trigger powerful traps.

  • Spending turns to recover from the econ hit is extremely costly for the corp. When not stealing agendas, runners are establishing their own econ and building up their rigs with those sweet sweet stolen creds. This pushes the game to the "Late Phase" where the runner is able to threaten servers no matter what defenses the corp has.

These two effects are renewed and exacerbated with repeated Siphons, thus creating the Siphon Recursion archetype.


  • Same Old Thing and Déjà Vu allow recursion, meaning you can hit with Siphon that many more times. These also allow non-criminal decks to run 1 fewer Siphon to save on influence.
  • Planned Assault tutors for Siphon, giving you more chances to get it when you want it.
  • Gabe, Silhouette, and Ken all trigger with Siphon, making themselves great Syphon recurrers (is that a word?).
  • There are a multitude of cards that let you avoid or remove the two tags from Siphon for less than 2+4; some personal favorites are Networking to save 2-3, Lawyer Up to save 2 and draw 3, and New Angeles City Hall to save 2.
  • Reina and Jessie love to run Siphon and its orange cousin, Vamp.

Comment with strategies, exceptional combos, or just really good siphon stories.


In short, Siphon simultaneously prolongs the early game (when the runner is strong) and shortens the mid-game (when the corp is strong). It's a huge tempo hit that can and will determine how the rest of the game goes.

Oh, and if your opponent is playing criminal, always ice HQ turn 1.

Solid 5/7 —
It bugs me that you spell it "syphon". Otherwise, great review :) —
Wow, @WayneMcPain, how did I miss that? I spelled it weird without even realizing! I'll fix that b/c now it bothers me too. :-) —