Power Tap

Power Tap 2[credit]

Influence: 1

Gain 1[credit] whenever a trace is initiated.

"Public network kiosks, vending machines-there's all sorts of poorly-secured power sources in the city. Tap in to one of these and you've got plenty of juice when you need it. A little advance warning when the power grid starts misbehaving, too." -Gabriel Santiago
Illustrated by Ralph Beisner
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#16 • English
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Once upon a click, there were three card brothers.

The eldest was named Access to Globalsec, and he was the best. "I'm a neutral card", he bragged, "which means everyone gets to use me. Whenever there's a trace, I make it easier to break through it. I laugh at SEA Source and Viper. And, perhaps most importantly, I let runners use Underworld Contacts and cloud breakers like Crowbar and Spike. So much value for only 1, what could be better?"

The middle brother was named Compromised Employee, and he knew he wasn't as good. "I also make it easier to pay through traces", he explained, "even though I can't do it more than once a turn. But, I am a connection, and I have my friends Off-Campus Apartment and Calling in Favors who like that about me. And I'm good for things outside of traces: if the corp rezzes lots of ICE, I can pay you back anyway. For 2 and 1 influence, I'm not so terrible."

And then there was the youngest, Power Tap. Poor Power Tap was laughed at by his brothers. He wasn't all bad; after all, he was the only one who let runners keep the credit if they decided not to beat the trace. But he couldn't work with Underworld Contact, and he didn't give money for anything other than hitting traces. "What if the corp doesn't want to trace you?" his brothers mocked him. "Then what are you good for?"

Power Tap knew it was true. He was situational at best. He had no friends, no other cards that could make him work.

But he had hope. A hope that one day--maybe not the next cycle, but surely the next, or maybe even a deluxe expansion--there would be a card. A runner card, with a ability that would simply say something like ": Trace 3-- if the trace is un successful, the runner draws a card". He normally imagined it would be an Anarch card; voluntarily starting a trace seemed a very orange thing to do. But perhaps, if the theme were right, it would be right at home with him, a fellow criminal in blue.

And he dreamed of this card. He dreamed how sweet it would be, to stand alongside it and his brothers, facing trace after trace, showering the runner with money, cards, and agenda points. Then his brothers would see; he was the greatest of them all.

To this day, Power Tap sadly sits in the binder, watching Access and Employee see play in deck after deck, waiting for FFG to give him the chance to shine.

(Chrome City era)
The brothers also had an uncle by the name of Dyson Mem Chip who, although significantly older and more expensive than all three brothers, was better than all three of them. He was not often played, of course, because of his high install cost, but not only did he help runners out with their traces, he also had a spacious apartment in which programs could live in. —
Well... I'm yet to see a deck with a successful use of AtG :) Hang on there, little brother, your time will come... Someday... I'm sure! —
I actually think this time will come in the next deluxe because of a certain runner. —
I think the issue is looking at this as a "way to defeat traces" instead of a "way to monopolize on traces." If you have a Link of 1 and a power tap out and you hit an Ichi, the Corp has to boost by 1 to keep you from coming out a Creidt ahead, whereas if you have 2 link, the Corp can leave it be and loses just the same as if it had boosted by 1. Right now traces are weak enough that this doesn't come into play, but imagine a runner like Sunny who wants an influence free +1MU and uses Dyson? Does she want another Link or does she want a way to make the corp feel that even trying a trace is a money suck? —
This might be good once Data and Destiny comes out for Sunny, she can stack a fair amount of link easily and her console can fire traces on command (to bypass ice). —
I think the only way you can ever actually want to include this card at the moment is with Sunny's Security Nexus. —
Another Day, Another MAKE IT RAIN Y'ALL —
Install for free with The Supplier, combo with Citadel Santuary in the upcoming Intervention. John Masanori's bottom line will read "The first time you make an unsuccessful run each turn, gain 1-3c at the end of your turn". —

The dream is alive, and the card is Security Nexus. Nexus is Sunny's console- "Once per turn, when you encounter a piece of ice, you may force the Corp to trace5; If successful, give the Runner 1 tag and end the run. If unsuccessful, the Runner bypasses the currently encountered ice." With enough link, Security Nexus will force the Corp to pay out to prevent you from bypassing, and the worst they can do is stick you with a tag. Power Tap makes this even better- you get paid to bypass ice. Throw some of these out along with some link-boosting stuff and you can not only facecheck with impunity and slip right by their nastiest pieces of ice but get paid for the privilege. And at 1 influence it's an easy import into Sunny or whoever you run Nexus with. Disruptor also combos with it, although I think that might be a little too janky to work well.

(Old Hollywood era)
From just a little playtime with her, I can say without question that once you have about 5 link with Sunny, Power Tap becomes totally demoralizing. —
Second that sentiment. Totally wrecks glacier decks. —

Okay, this is just a quick review after some initial testing but...

I think...

Right now...

Power Tap might actually be < looks side to side > good.

Now, I don't think it's going to blast the scene wide open, but I've been running it in Supplier Andy against a few decks around the time DnD became available for everyone (I know people are talking about bringing this into Sunny, but at 1 inf and 2 install I don't think it's great. Free off the Supplier in faction is how this card should be played!).

So, why actually play it? Well, my testing has shown, rather than shoring up your weakness to traces and tagging, this actually makes you stronger against decks running it. Consider, if you will, an early game Viper rezzed on a central. A run last click against this when you have a Power Tap installed nets you 2 credits for no drawback. The effect stacks, of course, so having 3 of these gives you 6 creds from running into that ice. Remember when everyone went crazy about Au Revoir (in Shaper, where it also used influence and MU and only worked against unrezzed ice)?

Once you're in a deck with a few slices of Link, it becomes even better; the corp isn't going to pay in to match your 4 or 5 link (or, if they do, fine, let them Vamp themselves, match the trace if it matters, suck up the consequences if not).

Let's look at this with another card that seems to be making a comeback... NACH. Gutenburg has been a horrible staple of Butchershop and tagging decks since it came out; it's expensive to break, but costs a click and (at least) 2 to clear the tag after, and multiples stacked over each other might compress your clicks so you can't get in. With a single Power Tap and a single NACH, an RnD of 2 Gutenburgs and a Data Raven is absolutely trivial. Once more Power Taps come online, it's possible a run on RnD might actually net you a profit as you sell the corp's own traces back to the grid.

Let's throw Security Nexus into the mix as well! Power Taps give you money, and NACH clears the tags if the corp pays into the trace. And of course at that point, you run again and use your actual breakers after the corp has paid out.

So, yeah, maybe I'm 'best case'ing this. Maybe in some games it's a pseudo link that never fires and wastes you 2 creds and a click. But look through your corp decklists; how many have absolutely NO traces? Think back to the games you've been playing against DnD NBN decks; how many traces popped up in THOSE games?

Just imagine that NBN carelessly leaving a resistor on the outside of a server...

(Data and Destiny era)
this card is virtually +1 link —
It's better than +1 link, because runner has a flexibility of taking credits instead of paying for trace. OP mentioned Viper as a good example. —
Lots of traces in the game are quite low, maybe 3 or 4? Maybe you can get your link up to 6 but once you get past the level of those small traces you're putting in a lot of effort for not much return. With these, you can turn those small traces directly into cash, giving you money for investing in link, something that was previously a dead end. —

5 years later: (Power Tap has been added to the Restricted List).