(Core Set perspective)
"Dude! someone broke into your stuff"
"Well, did you stop them?"
"Nah, but I got a sweet pic of it."
"...Ok, where is it then?"
"Oh, they deleted it."
Something about Hunter made me think it was bad from the first moment I saw it. Before I even knew the rules and I was just thumbing through the cards, I got to this one and thought "Hmm..."
My hmm was later confirmed when this card taught me that not all ICE inherently ends the run and you don't need to match the strength in order to pass it. Instead you can just breeze on through and give a cheery wave to what is basically a narcoleptic speed camera. It was the card that made me realise the terrible truth every player quickly learns, that the image you have in your head about ICE as these amazing engines of terror, isn't very accurate:
Sad early games aside, the trouble is even if you know what Hunter can do there's very little to recommend it, because it can't do much. These are the problems I found with it:
It gives them 1 tag, 1 (one). Not 1 for every point your trace exceeded their link. Not 1 for every unspent click the runner has. Just 1.
They get it on their turn. If they have a spare click they can just remove it and suffer no consequences. Which leads to the additional point...
It's trace 3, which doesn't sound bad, until you realise that with a 0link runner (Noise and Gabe in the Core Set) that means it's cheaper to take the tag and clear it than trying to avoid it in the first place. Provided they haven't run on their last click it they'll have time to remove it and put aside time for it in the future.
When you start looking into later packs you come across some things that could take advantage of a tag given during a run, Things like reflecto-cats and so on, but with just the Core Set there's nothing to really take advantage of a single tag given on the runner's turn. Your only real hope is to hit them with more tags than they have available clicks to clear them, and then that on the turn they do that you have some punishment awaiting them. Essentially you have to wait for them to make a mistake at the right time, in the right place.
Ultimately, it made me realise several of necessary but still somewhat sad truths about Netrunner, and I did start to play better (correctly) once I did. So in that way, I suppose I'm grateful for the quick lesson about how things really are, and how ICE actually works. So, thanks Hunter. You can go back to snoozing now.