Best Defense

Best Defense 2[credit]

Operation: Gray Ops
Influence: 0

Trash 1 installed card with an install cost equal to or less than the number of tags the Runner has.

When a shooting war threatens, the prudent course is to shoot first.
Illustrated by Kate Laird
Decklists with this card

Intervention (in)

#79 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
  • Updated 2023-12-16

    ANCUR UFAQ 20 [Michael Boggs]

    Can Best Defense trash facedown Runner cards?

    No. Facedown Runner cards do not have install costs.

  • Updated 2023-12-16

    NSG [NSG Rules Team Update]

    Can Best Defense trash a Corp card?

    No. Corp cards don't have install costs.

    Audited by NSG Rules (2023.12).


List of 0-cost runner cards:

You're welcome.


(Intervention era)
add t!event to filter out the events —
Hey, there you go. I tried cramming an exclamation point in there but didn't know you had to take out the colon. —
best defense also allows you to trash your own cards —
@Him Actually no, because corp cards don't have install costs. —

The coolest thing about this card is that even if the Runner has 0 tags you can still trash a 0 cost card.

That said, this is kind of a hard sell. If you've got the Runner tagged hard enough to trash anything significant with this you might as well be sending a missile through their window.

(Intervention era)
trash plascrete and BOOM! —
Trashing Misdirection (a 0 cost program) might help you stick the tags you need for the BOOM! play. You can also trash Net-Ready Eyes to hurt Yog, Inti to turn your Vanillas and Wraparounds back on, or Techincal Writer. And less common stuff like Off-Campus Apartment or Adam's directives. —
If you need to hit obelisk before the boom...this is the card for you —

Most people seem to think of this as a way to trash 0 install cost cards for 2.

I'm not sure that's a worthwhile trade-off in general. Sure, it'll kill Technical Writer and Self-modifying Code and a bunch of other cards. But how much is a 0 cost-to-install card worth to the runner? Technical Writer can represent a significant credit income, but most 0 cost-to-install cards will rarely be worth 2 and a click to trash. Not to mention the opportunity cost of drawing Best Defense and not another card that may advance your own game plan more.

There's one category of decks however where Best Defense can have teeth: tag heavy decks. If your goal is kill Best Defense lets you take out defensive measures (Plascrete Carapace, Sports Hopper). If your goal is to slow down the runner Best Defense can take out vital programs or hardware that The All-Seeing I cannot reach.

The question of course remains: is it worth it? In most decks: no. The chances of a sufficient payoff are just too limited. In a tag heavy deck: maybe. If you think you can actually keep tags on the runner around for one turn AND the runner will be well defended against the obvious meat damage or resource trashing approaches it could have value. That's a lot of if's though.

So I guess it's one for the binder.

(Daedalus Complex era)