Nisei Division: The Next Generation

Nisei Division: The Next Generation

Identity: Division
Deck size: 45 • Influence: 15

Whenever you and the Runner reveal secretly spent credits, gain 1[credit].

Perfecting the Imperfect.
Illustrated by Emilio Rodríguez
Decklists with this card

Honor and Profit (hap)

#2 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)

No rulings yet for this card.


But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would spend zero, or one credit?

Now, a clever man would spend nothing, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose zero.

But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose one credit.

Because your credits come from Account Siphon, as everyone knows, and Account Siphon is intended to be played with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose zero credits.

You've beaten my Lotus Field, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've spent no credits, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose zero credits.

But, you've also bested my Caprice, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the credits as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not pick one credit.


You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I chose two credits when your back was turned!

Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this:

"Never go in against Jinteki when death is on the line"!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha... Keels over

(Business First era)
This was awesome. All of the upvotes. —
wow nerd —
EPIC The Princess Bride reference. You sir have won the Internet. Epic bow. —
Been on here for months now. Registered today to say Thank You for this! Lol —

This made me laugh so hard! Congrats. I wish I could get this on a plaque and mount it in my room.

Years later we would learn what it means to Keel over when faced with Jinteki...

Nisei Division is just not very good.

There, I said it. But it's worth discussing why it's not very good, and thinking about maybe what it would need to become decent.

Any discussion of Nisei Division needs to start with a discussion of the psi game. Each player secretly and simultaneously spends 0, 1, or 2 credits. I'm going to repeat that, with added emphasis: each player secretly and simultaneously spends 0, 1, or 2 credits. This is crucial to the function of the game--the players are not simply choosing random numbers, because in Netrunner, every single credit matters.

So, spending less money is better than spending more money, all other things being equal. At the same time, though, the benefits of winning the psi game (or the penalty for losing) is typically so huge that it is worth the extra cost, if it works. This leads us to a strange situation, something vaguely similar to the Battle of Wits scene from The Princess Bride, with one crucial distinction--the corp has to make the values different, which is much easier than making the runner's task of making the values the same, giving an edge to the corp.

However. In some cases, the runner might be able to trigger the psi game repeatedly, or the penalty for losing might not be particularly severe--taking 1 brain damage from a Cerebral Cast, losing an early run to Snowflake, or letting the corp hold onto The Future Perfect when they don't have a scoring remote are all places where the runner can afford to lose the psi game. In this situation, an experienced runner will almost always bid 0--if the corp bids 0, they win, and if the corp spends 1 or 2 credits, they've at least forced the corp to burn resources.

This is where Nisei Division is theoretically advantageous. Now, instead of losing 2, 1, or 0 credits from a psi game, the corp might lose 1, break even, or gain 1 credit. Suddenly, the "always bid 0" runner tactic doesn't work, because the corp can always spend 1 (because they get it back), winning the psi game without cost. Betting randomly makes some sense now-- Nisei Division will break even in credits in the long term, while the runner will lose a credit per game on average.

This means that Nisei can afford to play a lot more psi game cards. Snowflake? Put in three of them. Cerebral Cast? Why not, put in a couple. Clairvoyant Monitor? No, that one is still pretty much terrible, leave it in the binder next to Bullfrog. And of course, the classic Jinteki cards The Future Perfect. Caprice Nisei, and Marcus Batty.

The problem is that this doesn't lead to any sort of real strategy. Cerebral Cast needs Scorched Earth to make both the brain damage and tag painful, but Caprice Nisei does nothing to help a kill strategy. Even if they break it every time, Snowflake is just a slightly cheaper Wall of Static, and there's not much point in using Marcus Batty to trigger an "end the run, maybe" subroutine. And because there aren't enough psi game cards to fill a deck, any Nisei Division deck will need to start pulling in cards that would fit better in Personal Evolution or Replicating Perfection--and at that point you might as well just play one of those IDs instead.

For Nisei Division to be able to stand up as a decent ID, there need to be more psi game cards, cards which trigger psi games more than once, and they need to have some internal synergy. That could happen--but I sincerely hope it does not, because reducing the outcome of every match to "who plays psi games better" would be a sad thing to happen to this game.

(The Universe of Tomorrow era)
This lines up pretty much exactly with my own observations. Every time I've tried to make a Nisei Division deck, it's either had no central strategy, or it would obviously work better in a different ID. —
This is basically a perfect summary of why Nisei struggles so hard for relevance. It's sort of an econ ID attached to a really awful condition. The upcoming (SPOILERS FOR MUMBAD) Palana Foods does reactive econ significantly better. The runner has to draw cards eventually, so you're going to make money. By comparison PSI Ice is bad, The Future Perfect is circumventable with Film Critic, and Cerebral Cast is only useful if you land more than one since no sane runner will take the tag. Caprice and Batty are good cards, but they're better cards in a better ID. —
Love the analysis that the Psi cards don't really cohere into any single strategy. Nisei Division isn't top tier but still performs decently amongst the total ID population, e.g. if you look at the OCTGN win % numbers I believe it's 3rd highest for Jinteki behind PE & RP. Yes, it's not as good as those, but it's a strong ID because it rewards you for playing cards that were already great (Caprice) & turns unplayable ones into decent (Snowflake). Geist accomplishes something similar. —
One big reason Nisei doesn't cut muster is the flatline condition has never been incredibly strong in Jinteki ICE. It's easy to rack up one or two points per run, perhaps even on demand, but you need a decent amount of net damage to initiate a kill. The only things that do that are Komainu (Worthless with Batty,) Neural Katana (Worthless against Mimic), and Shinobi (Just worthless). All good net damage ice have multiple weaknesses, likely to keep from just ending the game on an unlucky rez. But this leaves us with PE being the only net damage kill game around. —
I actually think this ID is very strong but it doesn't see any tourny play because it's too difficult to play psi games over and over under timed conditions. To really capitalise on Nisei division you have to bombard the runner with psi games but you eat up too much time when you're against the clock and it's also mentally tiring. Psi games are always stacked in the corps favour when you play Nisei as the ID is more of a psi enabler than an econ ID. There are now enough psi cards supporting this ID to make a tax archetype and a kill archetype, you just need to pick the psi cards that support the strategy you want —
@DGB123 I'm not sure what Psi games you expect to be playing repeatedly other than Caprice Nisei and The Future Perfect (which many Jinteki ID's use equally as often). Cerebral Cast is one-and-done, and the Psi ice can be broken just like any other ice, thus skipping the psi game. —
I think for Nisei to become a contender, the Corp would need to be able to trigger a couple of proactive psi games. For example, I could envision a card that let you play a psi game on your turn for an econ boost (if you win the psi game, you gain 4, or something like that). It would be consistent with Jinteki's econ events and their various drawbacks. —
Empathy Session (Operation - 0$) —
@Bigguy There are now 9 psi cards, 7 of them are pretty good with this ID. Nothing's going to salvage the 2 codegates though. Snowflake, mamba, caprice, and future perfect should be included with this ID and the other 3 are worth including too if you build around them - that's alot of psi games I think —
Psi game. If successful, gain 5$. Influence *** —
@DBG123 I hear you on the tourney play. I play with friends, but I think multiple games on a time budget during a tourney would be tough. Still, I think the deck I use held its own []. (Gotta change the Eli for NAPD Most Wanted soon though.) —
I'm going to experiment with a Nisei deck that use Cerebral Cast like a Sea Source for Scorched. Snowflake becomes gearcheck ice. Caprise protects a scoring remote like Ash. Future Perfect protects itself (maybe in archives with Shock). Ideally it would work like a Supermodernism-esque deck where you adv-score points to pressure the runner into making mistakes. Thoughts on this? —

I think it's about time that we revisit Nisei. I love Parzifal's flavor review, but it's been nearly two years since the last substantial review. And said review is excellent--it hits on a lot of the difficulties that Nisei faces. It's sort of an Econ ID, but not a substantial one. It supports a play style that is chancy and porous. However, some newer Psi cards have come out to support the ID (Hyoubu Research Facility, Mind Game, and Fumiko Yamamori, to name a few). Rather than dispute what tiedyedvortex claims, I'd like to offer a different approach.

Some corp IDs rely on advantage through economic denial, rather than their own gain. Spark Agency: Worldswide Reach and Gagarin Deep Space: Expanding the Horizon are excellent examples of this play style. I may not gain as much money as a turn one Oversight AI Curtain Wall in Blue Sun: Powering the Future, but I can make you hurt. I think Nisei is another (janky) version of econ denial. Why is that? Because every time you fire a Psi game, money is being spent. Your job as the Corp is to make sure they are too poor to do what they want to do. Nisei accomplishes this by forcing taxes on nearly every subroutine and upgrade. Don't think of Psi Games as some random, uninteractive, "I'll roll a D6 to decide how much to spend". As a matter of fact, tell the runner "I'm spending 2 on this Snowflake; if you match me, you won't have enough to get through my Caprice Nisei, second Marcus Batty, AND spend the 2 to steal Fetal AI. NAPD Contract is also an excellent addition to the deck.

Granted, the Corp has to spend money too; there's the rub. Good econ is necessary to keep the deck going. On top of that, how do you deal with a rich runner? In today's meta, Temüjin Contract, Daily Casts, Liberated Account, or the newly released Bloo Moose (I could go on) will keep the runner quite healthy. As a matter of fact, they are highly unlikely to be too poor to ever completely be locked out. But that's the Jinteki way; embrace it. The trick to Nisei is that the other half of your deck is a classic shell game. Throw in your Project Junebugs, your Ronins; even dust off your Edge of World. Why? Stacking ICE deep on a server is a huge tell. It means, "hey, I want to score. Stay the hell away." But with Psi ICE, it's all porous. Let the runner think he's accomplishing the impossible by demolishing a 4-ICE server for that juicy agenda you IAAed last turn--only it's a trap. Naked ambushes arouse suspicion; but guarded too heavily, they may not be accessed in time. Psi ICE confuses the signals of scoring server and well-laid trap. Adding these ambushes aids your Dedicated Neural Net when they stay in HQ; scoring one of these can turn a HQ run into a dead run, or even a flatline. The runners death can be outside HQ as well; a total Psi flatline condition now exists, according to the FAQ: Fumiko Yamamori triggers AFTER Psychic Field. Thus, they lose all cards in grip, then take the meat damage from Ms. Yamamori.

I won't say it'll ever be top tier. And Psi games can exacerbate the variance inherent in Netrunner. But I think the support has arrived for what remains to be a game of hidden stakes, bluffs, and game-deciding calls.

(Free Mars era)