As of writing, there are 41 legal Corp Identities in Standard. Out of those, Direct Access does literally nothing to 14 of them. Among the remaining 27, about 10 are effectively blank; either you only save a credit (or no credits by using Direct Access) or you prevent the Corp from maybe gaining a credit, or the effect would only be applicable in extreme edge cases.
I think the remaining 17 Corp Identities can be separated into three groups based on how useful Direct Access might be against them:
- Chronos Protocol: If you would take damage during this run, the Corp doesn’t get to see your hand. This might be critical in some cases (they don’t get to prep for Complete Image) but often doesn’t matter too much.
- New Angeles Sol: If you manage to steal an Agenda during this run, they don’t get to replace a Current.
- Personal Evolution: If you steal an Agenda during this run, you avoid taking a net damage. This doesn’t leverage more cards in your hand to steal Obokata Protocol because you’re spending a card to play this, but it does keep you from being ground down earlier since this card is recycled.
- The Foundry: Not being able to use their ability would definitely feel bad, if they’re playing this ID.
- Industrial Genomics: Depending on the state of the game, this might let you trash a critical asset, saving several credits.
- Argus Security: If you happen to steal an Agenda during this run, you can avoid two meat damage or one tag.
- Haarpsichord Studios: Can let you steal more than one Agenda a turn. Combine with multi-access to nab two agendas at once.
- Builder of Nations: Prevents an almost assured meat damage, throwing a wrench in their grinder.
- Sportsmetal: Can save you from giving the corp a fairly significant tempo boost if you steal an agenda during the run (which might be likely if they run lots of 1-pointers).
- The Outfit: If they rez an illicit ice, they still get a bad pub but don’t get the 3.
- Stronger Together: Reduce all Bioroid strength by 1, saving you multiple credits if the server is stacked.
- Seidr Laboratories: This ability rarely fires, but when it does it can be a nuisance. Preventing such a fire can be helpful.
- CtM: Saves you 2-3 credits, depending on your link. You can use this reliably to trash assets.
- Architects of Tomorrow: Costs the corp 4 pretty reliably.
- AgInfusion: Stops you from getting sent elsewhere for critical runs.
- Acme Consulting: Depending on what ice you hit, can save you loads of credits.
- Replicating Perfection: Saves you clicks, credits, and cards as you avoid having to run a taxing central before hitting the remote.
My thoughts: Direct Access is a far more balanced and well-designed version of Employee Strike. It does not smother Corps as unilaterally, but can really shine in particular matchups. I think if you slot it, you will use it to surprising effect in some games. However, whether or not it is worth a slot is dependent on the state of the meta, as well as what Runner ID you’re using because oh yeah, it blanks yours too.
ADDENDUM: This ID is slightly better against Argus, Personal Evolution, and Sportsmetal than I originally stated if you have multi-access such as The Turning Wheel (or against Mwanza PE), since these Identities trigger every time you steal an agenda. Avoiding 3 net damage, 3 tags, or denying 6 credits to the corp during a deep R&D dig is very good value, although this is a niche occurrence.