Identity: Natural • Link: 0 • Deck: 50 • Influence: 15

The Corp starts the game with 1 bad publicity.

"Everyone deserves a chance. Everyone."
Anarch • Adam Schumpert • Order and Chaos 30
Links: Decklists | ANCUR
Valencia Estevez: The Angel of Cayambe
Reviews

A lot of initial responses to this card have been "This enables the Blackmail recursion deck that I've been wanting to show off in front of an opponent to instead of playing games!"

Instead, consider the significant upside to a runner whose ability reads "Whenever you make a run, gain 1 credit".

351
Most people would rather have the runner that says you get no scoring window unless you tech against this runner. Then the corp wins the game. —
Something needs to be done about blackmail Valencia. Yo —
you may have the cards you need to beat her, but chances are you won't have them in your deck, or in your hand even if you do have them in your deck. It is just not a fun game playing vs that deck. —

Valencia packs a powerful ability, powerful enough that she is the first Runner to have the downside of a larger minimum deck size, 50 instead of the usual 45.

Cards that give the Corp BP are usually difficult to use; Frame Job requires you forfeit an agenda, Tallie Perrault only works when the Corp plays specific cards and Activist Support is easily trashed. Valencia's ability to give the Corp a BP at the start of the game enables a number of powerful effects without the need to use these cards, and will save you a ton of credits over the course of the game.

Pros

  • One free credit each and every time you run. This is a huge boost to your economy on par with (or even better than) Kate.
  • Makes one of the most popular agendas, NAPD Contract, worse for the Corp. Not only does the advancement requirement increase but the BP saves you one of the 4 needed to steal it.

Cons

  • If the Corp has some way of removing BP in the early game (e.g. Elizabeth Mills or Clone Retirement) then your ability (and many of the cards in your deck) become useless. Investigative Journalism helps to deal with this, though it is rarely useful in the mid-late game.
  • Minimum deck size of 50. Makes your deck less consistent - for example, as Valencia you draw 10% of your deck for your opening hand, while as Andromeda you draw 20%. Anarchs have few tutors in-faction so you will need to splash for them or have some way of getting through your deck quickly, such as Inject, Earthrise Hotel or Duggar's.

Combos

  • Enables Blackmail to be used without any setup. This is a very powerful card that Corps will have trouble dealing with unless they run cards like Executive Boot Camp or Caprice Nisei.
  • Enables Itinerant Protesters, arguably the best Runner current in the game at the moment, to be used without any setup.
  • Many Valencia decks splash for Self-modifying Code, Clone Chip or Personal Workshop to use BP credits to install cards. These cards are useful regardless - SMC helps deal with the lack of general tutors in Anarch, while CC lets you get Injected programs out or throw Parasites on ice mid-run.
  • Can easily pile on more BP with Investigative Journalism. Spending your whole turn doing this is a big investment, but applying extra BP has a few benefits:
22
I've decided that 60 cards would be more appropriate for this wench. She'll still manage to have 1 of her 9 blackmails in this deck in her opening hand against any rush deck, guaranteed. —
Note, the single bad pub is better when pushing against smaller ICE'd servers, one or two ICE where you can reliably make one or two runs a turn. Then bad pub is a monster. When towers start to be brought online, one bad pub does not go nearly as far. —

I absolutely despise playing against a runner that unless you have things that can effectively counter her, you lose the game. I haven't played a game against Valencia where I didn't have an executive boot camp, or amazon grid, or some sort of way to rez ice early against her, and won. Now with smc being a popular choice of card for her, because of her BARELY LARGER THAN NORMAL DECK SIZE and paige piper being around, you now need to have 2 pieces of ice, a formidable economic lead, and some way to stop the inevitable blackmail runs. It's like she came from a bizarro world where everyone lost 3 influence running executive boot camp and elizabeth mills, gave up on her dimension, and decided to mess things up for everyone here. I am not a fan of her, but it is incredibly effective to play a deck with 3 blackmails, 3 same old thing, and 3 deja vus, if only to stop the corp that trys to play other runners from doing anything. Horrible.

There are plenty more counters for her than that: Jinteki PE kill deck with remotes renders her useless by not relying on ice, and same for NBN NEARPAD (Dedicated Response Team shell game). NBN or HB pure Fast Advance is difficult for her too. Any glacier deck that is asset heavy can flush out the blackmail runs, then score afterwards. Ash 2X or Caprice can waste Blackmails, then score out. Clone Retirement for Jinteki can just turn her ability off. Crisium Grid + Off the Grid can lock her out. Junebug or other nasty ambushes can make her really regret a blackmail run. Sea Scorch can kill her for making the run. Likewise with Punitive Counterstrike. Yes, she needs some kind of answer, but there are plenty of choices with bit of creative thinking :) —
Not to mention critically thinking about how to play. Scoring windows against a blackmail deck are different. They are there, they are harder to find, but they are possible to find. I found that by building a tower remote, and letting the first agenda get Blackmailed from it, and a simple one ice remote that had a jackson or a DBS or some other asset in it for a time can really put the Valencia in a quandry - does she blackmail the big tower remote or the little one? A simple Install, Install, credit turn can leave her wondering where to go. Unless you are playing a lot of 5/3s of course... then you have to use other tricks. —
If you're playing 5/3s, you lose, if you're playing a rush deck, you lose. 9 blackmail is too consistent, you just need the one. making two remotes could work, unless they just run both. Val just makes you think about what you're doing with your deck, and it's not hard to tell whether you have a chance against her. either you win or you don't a majority of the time. And if a deck isn't focused on blackmail, the that is still there, which just makes for stressful games that don't really end up going anywhere. —
If you truly can't figure out how to counter this runner, just run Blue Sun and be done with it. —
You can build a deck that will work against her obviously. The problem is, most decks, and many of them are very good decks, will lose against blackmail recursion. With same old thing, deja vu, and trope around, she can use the card an obscene amount of times. Combo with Hacktivist Meeting and Drive by, and many decks cannot win against her; they will never get to rez an ice. —