Hardware • Install: 0 • Influence: 1

Whenever you make a successful run on R&D, instead of accessing cards, you may choose 1 of the top 5 cards of R&D and access it. You cannot access any other cards in R&D during this run.

"I usually find something interesting in there. Just not what I was looking for."
Shaper • John Ariosa • Intervention 67
Links: Decklists | ANCUR
Top Hat
Rulings
  • UFAQ [Michael Boggs]

    Does Top Hat allow the Runner to see the top cards of R&D before choosing which to access?

    No.

Reviews

"you may choose 1 of the top 5 cards of R&D and access it."

Can you guess what is missing from this card? Two words are conspicuously absent, what are they?

Give up? The answer is "look at". (I also would have accepted "reveal", although that's not how the templating normally goes) That's right, folks, without looking at the cards, you get to decide which of the top 5 cards you'd like to look at. "I'll look at.... number 4"

Is this good? Maybe, but not without some support. Accessing the top card of R&D is not much different from accessing a random card from R&D, if anything it's slightly worse, as the top card goes into the corp's hand, so that's extra info. So, when is this ability good?

If you have some info about the top few cards of R&D, accessing a particular one may be beneficial. Perhaps a digital friend or your bioroid programming have already told you that the top card isn't anything you want. Maybe you've already got R&D locked down, and your R&D Interface can only dig you so far. Looking one card further may help you grab that pesky final agenda.

Is this worth a card slot? Not in most decks, but it does have advantages. It's hardware, making it resistant to trashing, and it's install cost is priced just right, so it just may find a place in decks that already like hardware

Does Top Hat work with Eater so that you can access the card? It's an access replacement effect, right? —
It seems like this would be amazing with Indexing + Doppelganger. ***It's been so long since I've been on this site, I've forgotten how to hyperlink to the card page. —
@DGB123 Without an official ruling, I would have to say no. While replacing the access step normally allows synergy with Eater (i.e. account siphon, keyhole), top hat replaces it with an access effect. I believe Eater would prevent this access as well. "You cannot access more than 0 cards for the remainder of this run." —
I think it should be noted that this can also, turn off Prisec, Product Placement, Mumbad Virtual Tour, Disposable HQ, and Cyberdex Virus Suite when they are installed in the root of R&D. Still a niche card at the moment. However, if we see more upgrades with 'on access' effects get released, this card may become worth a slot. —
@Gilgamesh_KoH This is worded just like any other access replacement effect (qv Account Siphon). In this case, ee replace "accessing cards" with an access effect. It's counter-intuitive, but I feel that this does in fact work with Eater —
Eater should not work with this for the same reason it does not work with I formation Sifting. Just because the nature of the access has been changed does not change the restriction of Eater, which is that you access 'no more than ZERO'. In the case of Information Sifting, the official ruling of a 'pile' is that it contains at least one card. You would pick a pile, than access ZERO, and no more. The same would occur for Hat Trick, the normal access is overwritten, sure, but you end up accessing tje card you pick, which Eater then nullifies. —
Just a thought here. If I have 3 Top Hats installed, can I access more than one card from the top 5 of R&D? If I've seen the top card of R&D through another card effect (& there's enough of those), can I opt to access 3 of the other 4 cards instead? 'I'll look at cards 2, 3 and 5, please!' —
@MarkyG: only one replacement effect can be applied, so there's no point in 3 Top Hats installed (as only one of them can be used). —

Evoking imagery of conjuring something unseen from a digital hat, this magical card links thematically with Ele "Smoke" Scovak: Cynosure of the Net. It also has some interesting thematic and mechanical interactions with several other cards.

Of course, this card pairs nicely with anything that gives you information about the cards in R&D. See the top card using Woman in the Red Dress, Spy Camera, or Globalsec Security Clearance then bypass it if you want to keep digging. Do this as many times as you can run R&D in a turn for an additional unique access each time (barring additional shenanigans).

As the number of successful R&D runs increases, there are other interesting interactions.

With Equivocation the interaction is relevant on your first successful run on R&D. If you don't want to access the card revealed by Equivocation (it's not an agenda or must trash asset for example) you have options. One is to put that card in the corps hand, allowing you to access the second card directly. Another is to not put that in the corps hand, and use Top Hat to access the second card. Or third or fourth or fifth but without additional information these are functionally equivalent. Why choose one over the other? Well obviously on the one hand you are denying the corp a free draw by using Top Hat, usually to be preferred although mill type decks or certain combos may choose to offer the card anyway. As has been noted, in using Top Hat you forgo accessing any cards in the root, allowing you to dodge cards like Prisec, Cyberdex Virus Suite, Mumbad Virtual Tour, Disposable HQ, or Product Placement. That can be good. At the same time, you may want to access and trash any number of upgrades (Caprice Nisei or that Crisium Grid that's blocking your Indexing play, the list goes on) and therefore you may choose not to activate Top Hat.

So, impressive tactical flexibility in this combo that gets you: one access you want or reveals two cards with one blind access and potentially dodges an ambush or mills corp. All for the net price of 0. That compares favourably with the tempo hit of of 4 for R&D Interface. However you are also dedicating 1, which can be tight in stealth decks like Smoke

Now, on the second run things get more interesting. Obviously, your second run can dig past uninteresting reveals from a Find the Truth run elsewhere. Or, you can run R&D with Find the Truth on your first run, either accessing the reveled card or bypassing it as with Equivocation above.

Indexing presents perhaps the most interesting multi-run interactions. Find but can't access 2 agendas? Bury 1 deep and potentially grab it next turn. Or, continue to get unique accesses on subsequent turns while you maintain R&D lock for up to 5 turns.

Obviously, Top Hat will pair will with cards that reward multiple runs. Temüjin Contract, Net Mercur, The Turning Wheel (to gain tokens - you can't combine them), Datasucker. Consoles like Doppelgänger or Mirror. Events like Dirty Laundry or Möbius.

Other interactions (of admittedly limited utility):

Dodge the operation that Seidr Laboratories: Destiny Defined pulls from Archives when you their ICE.

As R&D dwindles, do deep digs against decks that have been using Daily Business Show, Sensie Actors Union, or Shannon Claire

It's not unique. Get consistency and credits by running 3 and feeding additional copies to Aesop's Pawnshop. Great value if you installed it for 0 using Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar

Bottom line - is this a tier one tournament card? Not as of this writing and maybe never (Station One). Is it interesting and playable? Yes.

Credit to stagalore and andrewboydston for noting some of these interactions already —
"However you are also dedicating 1 MU, which can be tight in stealth decks like Smoke", unless you meant something else, this is hardware, it doesn't take up any memory —
What Freq meant was the combo with Equivocation. Equivocation does take 1 MU. —
You're right, sorry, my bad —