Sting! 3/1

Agenda: Ambush

When a player scores or steals this agenda, do X net damage. X is equal to 1 plus the number of copies of Sting! in the other playerʼs score area.

“‘It is my nature,’ said the scorpion.”
—Conceptual Frameworks in Bio-Ethics and Synthetic Morality, Moser University Press
Illustrated by Krembler
Decklists with this card

Downfall (df)

#41 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
  • Updated 2019-04-27

    NISEI Downfall Release Notes [NISEI Rules Team]

    How much net damage does Sting! do?

    The first copy of Sting! Scored or stolen just does 1 net damage. Assuming no agendas are swapped or forfeited, the second copy does 1 net damage if the same player scores or steals it, or 2 if the other player does. The third copy does between 1 and 3 net damage: 3 if that player just scored or stole their only copy of Sting!, 2 if they already had one and their opponent had one, and 1 if the same player has all three.


Why do we not have a review for this card yet? It feels like the elevator pitch writes itself.

Commercials aside, the interesting comparison to make is against House of Knives, the original 3/1 agenda that has made its way into many a Jinteki deck:

  • Knives does a total of 9 damage when all 3 are scored, spread out over several turns. Runs are more dangerous to do while there are still valuable cards in-hand, against ICE like Komainu, or when stealing that final Obokata Protocol, perfect for grinding down the Runner's stack and options over a long game. Best scored early, to slow the Runner down and get those pings in.

  • Sting does a total of 3 to 5 damage (best case 1, 1, 3 or 1, 2, 2) in larger chunks. This is perfect for setting up proactive flatlines since this burst damage can be done clickless for a future turn, similar to Ronin. And if enough copies of Sting are scored, this turns into a Gene Splicer where you got a good chance of giving the Runner no good options to steal it, threatening flatlines on follow-ups.

So which agenda do you put in your suite? That mostly depends on what the deck is trying to accomplish.

You can't go wrong with either, but I feel decks aiming for a flatline will want Sting! for more chances at landing that killing blow. Decks that want to slow the game down early while seeing an empty stack late game will want House of Knives. Of course, you can always take both since they are doing different jobs.

And of course, you can't talk about Sting! without talking about the ID this sits most at home with, Personal Evolution. It's a bit scary how good this agenda is in there, making both defensive and offensive uses of the scorpion all that much more lethal.

Long live the scorpion.

(Downfall era)
Excellent review. Long live the king. —
Since the damage keys off the other player's score area, you can't do 1-2-3 without shenanigans; best case is 1-2-2 or 1-1-3. —
Thanks for pointing out that small mistake! I've updated the review to reflect that. —

In PE, this is as close to a guaranteed 3x slot as a 3/1 agenda can be. It's a reliable 2-4 damage on either steal or score. Defensively, 2-4 damage is comparable to a Snare or most Urticas, if they were free and could trigger from anywhere. Offensively, this is comparable to Ronin, except it's a Ronin which only requires 3 advances and no extra clicks to fire, and also defends itself everywhere. Overall it's one of the stronger net damage cards in the card pool.

Mitosis synergy: because this card works effectively whether the runner checks or not, it is exceptionally useful in Mitosis plays. In Jinteki's card pool, Sting arguably generates the most reliable value from Mitosis's 2 advancement counters. After you Mitosis, a Runner that takes 4 damage from your Urtica (first install) will get crippled by Sting (second install) whether they check it or not. They also have to guess whether your third manual install is a Snare or Reaper Function or another 3/1 agenda.

Outside of PE, it's more ordinary. 3 deck slots for a potential 3-5 net damage is maybe situationally valuable depending on what agenda density you're looking for and/or how much low-cost passive defense you need. It might be playable in Issuaq as a better-than-blank 3/1 even though Issuaq probably cares about 3/1 than about the net damage.

(Parhelion era)