Maxwell James

♦ Maxwell James 1[credit]

Resource: Connection
Influence: ○○○○

+1link

trash: Derez a piece of ice protecting a remote server. Use this ability only during the next paid ability window after a successful run on HQ ends.

You remember when Maxi was making book for Chacon. He's moved up in the world and gained the veneer of respectability. But as an executive the people he works for now, are far more vicious, bloodthirsty, and crooked.
Illustrated by Marius Bota
Decklists with this card

Terminal Directive Cards (td)

#11 • English
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Rulings
  • UFAQ [Michael Boggs]

    When can the Runner use the ability on Maxwell James?

    Maxwell James can be used in any paid ability window during the same turn in which the Runner has made a successful run on HQ. Interpret the card as if it said "Use this ability only if you made a successful run on HQ during this turn."

    Designer's Note: Errata for this card will be issued in the next FAQ.

Reviews

This guy is one versatile connection.

1) He'll give 1 for 1, which is a pretty good deal.

2) He's one influence, so you will notice him popping up in Kim, Sunny, and Wu decks focused on link/connections, in addition to Geist, who he loves for the trash ability as noted below.

3) He's also a pseudo Emergency Shutdown that can be used at weird times during the runner turn! After running on HQ, you can run on a remote safe in the knowledge that any unrezzed ICE will be very expensive for the corp (sad days if it's Vanilla though). I believe the window on him is such that you can either force the corp to rez twice or simply shut it down and bypass entirely. (Please correct me on this if I'm wrong!)

Since he's unique you can't pull off completely absurd multi-James combos during a run without Street Peddler, which is probably for the best. Easily one of the best sources of (one and only one) link in the game, and a great splash in almost any faction for his great ability.

(Whispers in Nalubaale era)
302
You've almost got the derez part down, just a quick clarification: you can either 1) derez an ICE on-approach (this skips on-encounters BUT allows the corp to rez again, if they can) or 2) derez on-encounter, suffering any on-encounter effects (NOT bypassing) but taking away the opportunity for the corp to re-rez. What makes Maxwell special is that he allows the Runner to choose whichever is the better option. —
Btw for Anarchs who just need the link/connection and are influence-starved, The Archivist can provide a cheap +1 link and give a decent-but-not-great effect as well. —

When first looking at this card, I thought, "who cares? Its a resource version of "emergency shutdown" that has to be used on a remote server. Then I started playing it in my Leela deck, and now I understand. The fact that the derez ability is a trash effect and not click based or an event effect means that if Maxwell James is already installed, it can be used during any paid ability window. Including between when a run is considered sucessful and when Leela's "bounce an unrezzed card to HQ" ability triggers. Hence, a Leela player should always have a Maxwell James in play, as it allows you to derez a piece of ice on the corps remote server in order to taget it with Leela's "bounce and unrezzed card back to HQ" ability. That means if you have this in play, run HQ, and hit an agenda, you can derez a chosen piece of ice on their remote with maxwell james, and bump it back to HQ when Leela's ability fires.

Combine this with cards like Gangsign and HQ interface, and Leela gets Nasty real quick. It creates a passive threat that if the corp scores, you will access multiple cards from HQ with gangsigns/HQ interfaces, leading to their hessitance to score agendas with others in hand, which just continues to pile up as more agendas filter in as they draw from R+D each turn. Add to that fact that each time you do steal an agenda out of HQ, (or out of anywhere else on a turn you successfully ran HQ on a different click), you create the potential to derez and dismantle their remote server. Leaving the corp even more susceptible to Agenda pileup in HQ. Right where those sketchy ass criminals want them. Do this all early/mid game, then drop a sneakdoor beta first click, and just watch the dominoes fall. With a HQ interface or two, you certainly should be able to pull an agenda out of HQ on click 2, or at most 3. Firing the chain reaction of extra HQ acesses from gangsigns/HQ interfaces, Maxwell james derezing remote ice, leela bouncing it back to HQ, Logos tutoring a card from the runners stack.... often times in a backed up HQ, the gangsigns accesses will hit a second agenda, triggering the entire chain of effects over again.

While this certainly doesnt work every game played, it is consistently effective enough to warrant this card being 3x included in Leela decks, despite the fact that Maxwell james is unique. Because the effect is triggered by a trash ability, drawing additional copies throughout the game doesn't constitute a dead draw, but rather another opportunity to use maxwell james's effect. Say what you will, but this shady MF'er and Leela have dissasembled entire remote servers on my watch.

If anyone needs me, I'll be waiting with a breifcase in the rain....

(Midnight Sun era)