Calvin B4L3Y

♦ Calvin B4L3Y 0[credit]

Asset: Bioroid
Trash: 3
Influence: ○○○○

click: Draw 2 cards. Use this ability only once per turn.

When the Runner trashes this asset, you may draw 2 cards.

Unit is holding .78 asimovs of stress potential in all three directive logic traps. Psychiatric session mandated during next maintenance cycle.
Illustrated by Kira L. Nguyen
Decklists with this card

Downfall (df)

#33 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
Printings
Downfall
Rulings
  • NISEI Downfall Release Notes [NISEI Rules Team]

    Does Calvin B4L3Y’s last ability trigger when it’s unrezzed or not installed?

    No.

Reviews

The main use of Calvin is for asset spam. But it is still a good card anywhere else. The tempo gain with this asset is very good. One click, get two cards, fantastic. Even when it is trashed, you get the effect.

And with only 1 influence, you can splash it anywhere. Litterally any deck is better with it. Of course, Rashida Jaheem give an even better tempo boost. But Calvin does not trash after use. With this, you can litterally install two cards per turn without ever diminishing your hand.

This card pairs well with Divert Power, since it has a rez cost of 0. And with a cost of 3 to trash, it is a tough choice for runner, since the corp gain even more when the runner trash it, by creating a credit differential AND getting 2 cards.

This beg the question : why not use it in every deck. The answer is always the same : there is only so many card possible in a deck, otherwise, this is so good that it should be there nearly all the time.

Did I mention the wonderful art of the card. Sooo good.

(Uprising era)
2547

A very weak source of card draw, for the simple reason that it does not do a whole lot unless the runner trashes it. There are a lot of asset comparisons you can make, like Wall to Wall or Rashida Jaheem or Daily Business Show, but I think the most enlightening comparison is to a card that saw relatively little play, to the point that a strictly better version was printed: Anonymous Tip.

Both Calvin and Tip have the same, singular job: to draw a bunch of cards. Let's say that you play Anonymous Tip, you draw 3 cards immediately. You've spent one click, one card, and drawn three cards. If you instead installed and then clicked Calvin, you'd have spent two clicks, one card, and drawn two cards. So, you're already pretty far behind, and you can't pull ahead this turn. In fact, let's say that you install Calvin, and then click Calvin every turn for this turn and the next two. You'll have spent 4 clicks to draw 6 cards - which is the same result you'd have gotten if you'd played Anonymous Tip and then clicked to draw three times. Calvin takes at least 5 clicks and 4 turns to be more efficient than Anonymous Tip.

This is also not including any discussion of how awkward Calvin can be to use. Spending one of your three precious clicks each turn power drawing precludes you from a lot of other activities, such as scoring agendas. Meanwhile, actually drawing 8 cards over 4 turns, in addition to having 4 mandatory draws, means drawing 12 cards and only having 7 clicks to play them all, so in almost all practical scenarios, you'll need far more than 4 turns to make Calvin pay off - the card is not just slow, it is also enormously inflexible.

Before you comment - yes, Calvin has asset synergy that Anonymous Tip does not, synergizes with MirrorMorph, and can draw in patterns that Anonymous Tip cannot. However, these are all relatively small upsides when you realize that Anonymous Tip saw basically no play.

As a runner playing against this card, it is basically never correct to go and trash it. You're spending a precious click and three credits to let the corp draw 2 cards clicklessly - it's like giving them a two-turn advance on actually using Calvin. It's not worth falling massively behind in tempo for a theoretical future where the corp is marginally more efficient every turn.

If you need to power draw and you're not in HB, you're probably better off spending your influence on Spin Doctor and Predictive Planogram, or just using whatever in-faction draw you have. If you're in HB and you absolutely cannot spare the influence, Red Level Clearance, Tranquility Home Grid and maybe even Fully Operational are better options.

Or just play Rashida Jaheem.

(Midnight Sun era)
281