Program • Install: 2 • Memory: 1 • Influence: 3

click: Make a run on R&D. If successful, instead of accessing cards, you may choose an unrezzed non-ice card with no advancement tokens on it. The Corp shuffles that card into R&D.

Sometimes progress means returning to the past.
Shaper • Laura Wilson • Chrome City 48
Links: Decklists | ANCUR
Analog Dreamers
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Reviews

I've read reviews of this card all over the 'net, and watched the debate go back and forth about how good it 'might be', or how good it 'probably isn't' - but there's not been a lot of commentary about how it actually plays.

Please remember, I'm no world-class player. That said:

This card is far, far better than it seems - especially in shaper, where it can be situationally pulled out and applied to the game at hand. This card does three very nasty things:

1) It is a run event with the amazing phrase 'you may' right in the center of the card.

This means that the card neatly circumvents Enhanced Login Protocol, which is always nice. It also means that the corp isn't entirely certain whether you intend to use the card for the duration of your run, and they can't be certain of your target. They have to decide whether to rez all the things, or watch their carefully constructed servers slowly lose things that have cost them clicks and tempo to install.

And, if they do rez? You access R&D anyway.

2) It allows you to (fairly safely) cause the corp to remove potential traps or other nasty surprises when you can't afford to face-check or gut-check a card in a server.

Essentially, you can return these items to R&D, where a shaper can deal with them at their leisure. Just not sure what that card is? Torn between a Snare and an unadvanced 3/1 for game point? Just go stuff it back in R&D and buy yourself both time and tempo.

3) It causes suprisingly large tempo hits to the corp.

Because the card goes to R&D, and not HQ, the card is basically 'lost'. Whatever that is is now mixed in with whatever the corp has still got to work through - if it was vital to the corp's strategy, it's likely now gone.

And you? You, the runner, you don't lose tempo - if they rez their things, making them invulnerable? You just access cards in R&D anyway, and enjoy the fruits of your successful run.

It's worth noting that this card combos surprisingly well with John Masanori, giving you a dreamers run and a free card, so your own steps don't falter. It has an obvious combo in the overlooked Exploratory Romp, which can let you revoke tokens and pick up something that they've /really/ spent effort working on.

That combo, should it come to pass, is a direct counter to Mushin no-Shin, allowing you to rip off all of the tokens and stuff the card back in R&D without ever bothering to access it.

Having now played the card in a Kit-themed runner deck? It definitely punches suprisingly above its weight class. Once it hits the table, the corp now has limited options - it allows you to work solely in R&D, target remotes, and ensure that the corp has to advance important things lest they simply be drowned in other cards, made available for your heavy R&D access. It shines against Personal Evolution and Replicating Perfection decks, and does very well with NEH, at least in local matchups.

It's definitely more useful than it seems - especially in faction, where it's easily tutorable if needed, or ignored if not particularly useful in the current match.

(Chrome City era)
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Oh wow, it combos with Exploratory Romp. Someone please win a tournament with Exploratory Romp and Analog Dreamers. —
Thank you for writing a review after actually using the card. —
After playing with this now for several months, I find it situationally indespensible, for the reasons above. —
... to continue: the most important part? It combos with R&D Interface and Medium. "Hi, corp - I'm making an R&D run. I /might/ be going to look at four cards, or I might be picking up that thing over there you need - I'm not going to tell you either way. What are you doing?" It adds a layer to the mindgame that the corp is not generally prepared to deal with. It's not an auto-include in shaper for me, but it's definitely a card I want if I'm going for an R&D multiaccess shaper. —
Also worth noting that if you are already running a heavily R&D focused deck (for which Shaper excels), it ALSO gives you a free shuffle effect when you use the ability, giving you fresh cards on top of R&D. —
Fascinating how wide the range of reviews on this card. I have wondered if this card is useful for Shaper in the asset spam meta. You won't bounce all their assets, but it does let you bounce them without taking a CtM trace or spend money. —

This is a card I really want to be excited about, but wow, is it situational.

Let's start with the good stuff:

  • It gets rid of cards the corp has taken time to install and wants ready! So long as they're not ICE. And they haven't been advanced. And they haven't been rezzed yet. Sorry, this was supposed to be the good stuff list.

  • It shuffles R&D. Great for pushing some new cards to the top when the corp's exposed and you've flunked on an operation.

  • It's a replacement R&D run effect...which could be useful if you're pacing Mediums, building up to see even more new cards in your normal run post-shuffle.

  • If you make your R&D run and decide you don't actually want to use the effect (more on this in a moment), it is an optional replacement and you can have a normal access instead.

  • A 2 cost, 1-mem program for recurring uses as you want is quite nice.

  • It allows you to avoid Enhanced Login Protocol click tax (even allowing you to make normal 1 click runs on R&D by making use of the "may" clause).

So what are the problems? Well, it's all in that first point: target choice. Let's put it like this: it's no Leela Patel: Trained Pragmatist.

  • You can't target ICE, so it's not helping you get into other servers.

  • You can't target advanced cards, so you can't remove major Corp investment (although if you're feeling really ambitious, pre-combo this with an Exploratory Romp! But that's only ever worth it if you think it's a trap, otherwise why not just steal/trash it - and if it's a trap, you could just ignore it/trash it now it's down to 0 counters)

  • And, while this is shared with Leela, you can't target rezzed cards. Which means that the Corp can just rez anything they don't want to lose before you trigger the effect - because unlike some Leela triggers, this is never a surprise. The only way to stop it is if they don't have the money, or if rezzing the card now is worse than it going back into R&D. Maybe because it's an high cost rez that you could go trash; maybe because you've got a Hacktivist Meeting ongoing; maybe because it's a 3-cost Agenda that they installed and were waiting for a triple-advance this turn.

Overall, it's a super-situational program that a lot of the time will give the corp easy ways to work around it. But there may be ways to boost it - the aforementioned Hactivist Meeting, the upcoming Muertos Gang Member (although that's still the Corp's choice of card, and could be Ice) - and the best use of it may well be the forced shuffle of R&D, just so long as a target is available. Worth a card-slot? Hrmm.

(Chrome City era)
Agreed. Paired with Hacktivist Meeting, it can do a lot. If you face a ton of ELP (which basically means a lot of RP), this is yet another way to dodge around it. I think perhaps it has a use as a pseudo-Forged Activation Orders. I think the corp would have to rez the cards *before* you make the choice to use it or not, after you've passed the last Ice, but before you access or sub. So if they do rez everything, you simply make an R&D access. —
It's a coercion tool. You run R&D when someting is unrezzed and leave Corp with the choice to rez the thing - but it may expose something unwanted, so maybe let it come back later? This is not the Keyhole, where Runner wants the full effect. Analog Dreamers threats with the possibility (remember, it's optional!) of the effect, putting Corp into uncomfortable situation. —
I'm with @quiciuq on this one: this card is about the mindgame of the successful run. When you cross that line, the last rez window is vital for the corp. They don't know what you're targetting: do they trust you /won't/ grab what they need to exist in that server? What if you're pulling out their Ash that's protecting that scoring remote? If they spend money rezzing something, didn't they just tip their plans to you, showing you what matters to them? What if you don't /want/ to check it - was it vital, something they'll have to dig for? How much did you cost them? —
This card has 1 good use: pinging the agendas (or Snare!) from a Never Advance deck, and circumventing ELP. It's almost good enough for circumventing ELP right out the bat, but pinging the SanSan City Grid off a FA, forcing them to waste 5 credits is quite good if you play a deck with quite a lot of econ. So, TL:DR. Against the corps which are rich (HB, Jinteki), this is an ELP blocker, and against the poor one (NBN FA) it's credit denial. —

I am always sad to see a great artwork and theme on a "meh" card.

I see how you are trying to find some good viewpoints for it, but in any normal deck this will just not make the cut. Maybe in future there opens up a new avenue for such effect, but currently I can see this only as a funny way to surprise someone when they install agenda in scoring remote with rezzed Caprice and be like "come get it" and you then install this and then you both burst into tears of laughter because this was the only time in 1000 games when this card got a useful effect.

Let's look at this from Corps perspective. Let's say I have a useful Upgrade sitting in a remote.. I will rez it to keep it there paying the few credits and you will make regular asset.. no actual lose on my end as I would have done that also if you had run on the remote.. Let's say it's unadvanceable trap that I don't rez because why would I - you spend click and credits to get into RD just to put it back into my reach.. ok, I lost the click for install and the maybe favorable condition of setup, but I can get it back - in return you probably lost more than me. Let's say I have an agenda.. well if the remote is secure I would advance it to keep it there, if the remote is unsecure - thank you for shuffling it back into RD for me.

In the current cardpool I really cannot imagine a common situation where you would play this.

(The Underway era)
142