Esâ Afontov: Eco-Insurrectionist

Esâ Afontov: Eco-Insurrectionist

Identity: Cyborg
Deck size: 45 • Influence: 15 • Link: 0

The first time each turn you suffer core damage, you may draw 1 card and sabotage 2. (The Corp trashes 2 cards of their choice from HQ and/or the top of R&D.)

Waiting is useless. The crisis is here; pick a side.
Illustrated by Benjamin Giletti
Decklists with this card

Midnight Sun (ms)

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Midnight Sun
  • Updated 2022-09-10

    Can the Corp look at the cards that are being trashed while resolving sabotage?

    No, the Corp must choose which cards to trash first, and then all cards are trashed simultaneously. The Corp can look at the trashed cards from R&D in Archives after all trashes from sabotage have been resolved.

  • Updated 2022-09-10

    If the Corp has only 1 card in HQ and must sabotage 2, can they choose to “trash 2 cards from HQ” in order to only trash the 1 card in HQ?

    No, the Corp must trash 2 cards if possible. The Corp must trash the remaining card from R&D.

  • Updated 2022-09-10

    If the Corp has only 1 card in R&D and must sabotage 2, can they choose to “trash 2 cards from R&D” in order to only trash the 1 card in R&D?

    No, the Corp must trash 2 cards if possible. The Corp must trash the remaining card from HQ.

  • Updated 2022-09-10

    What if the Corp has only 1 card total in HQ and R&D and must sabotage 2?

    The Corp trashes all cards from HQ and R&D.

  • Updated 2022-09-10

    Does the Runner gain a credit when they sabotage and have Demolisher installed?

    No, the Corp is trashing the cards when resolving a sabotage effect.


Midnight Sun's not even properly out yet so I don't have too much to say about Esa mechanically - xir ability seems cool, though repeatable core damage is hard to come by both because you only have so much hand size to lose (especially with Jinteki getting so many good scoops) and because there just aren't that many options to deal it to yourself, but it's a pleasantly strong effect, and I'm interested to see what decks people will come up with using xir.

ALSO HELL YEAH A RUNNER WHO CANONICALLY USES NEOPRONOUNS!!! Genuinely I cannot overstate how cool this is, as someone who also uses neopronouns, to see characters like me in a game I play!!!

(Midnight Sun Booster Pack era)


  • Finally, a counter to Hakarl!
  • Spectacularly bad choices make for great stories
  • Anyone who introduces themselves with "The crisis is here" has stories for days


  • Hard to wage an eco-insurrection in a $5000 couture parka
  • Uninteractive milling effects: if your first introduction to Netrunner is playing against a sabotage deck, I am so sorry, it gets better
  • Maxx ran off with all the good stimhacks. Most of the remaining Esa triggers aren’t great cards.
(Midnight Sun Booster Pack era)

traditional clothing that keeps you warm and looks nice is not "$5000" (lol). also… Buryat, Sámi, and many other indigenous Siberian/Arctic peoples wear bright loud colors without being rich.

anyways: (a) sabotage is more interactive than milling, since the Corp can just trash bad cards (or even ambushes like Shock!) from HQ, rather than trashing unknown/random cards from R&D.

(b) Esâ's core damage triggers is finite & small (it's a countdown), even if it weren't limited to once per turn, while Noise's virus installation triggers are frequent & recurrable. it's easier to install-over two empty Imps, then Déjà Vu & reinstall them; it's harder to keep increasing your maximum hand size with cards like Marrow.

and (c) If you say "beginner players hate getting milled out" (true) but don't also say "newer players love building mill decks and milling out older players", you're ignoring how fun (for most players, in most games) alternate win conditions are. they're one of the best ways to help a beginning player become an intermediate player, by building their first jank mill deck. it's what I do when I learn any game, and it's what I see when I teach any game. removing all mill from NSG sets (or even just from intro sets like System Gateway, or even just all competitive mill cards, or so ob) would not necessarily make them more beginner-friendly, since it's not just about preventing very negative experiences, it's about providing very positive experiences. and (like it or not) beginners love milling.

This parka definitely costs a lot more than Draco’s yoga pants

when you buy Rainbow clothing as a tourist in bolivia, you pay the gringo ya,

when you buy rainbow clothing as a tourist in Bolivia, you pay the gringo tax. when a Bolivian person makes clothing with colors, or buys it from a factory, it's cheap.

an eco-extremist who's sabotaging Jinteki factories and research facilities, has thought about how to make clothing and grow food without Jinteki's slave-clone labor.

runners modding computers and their own bodies is accepted worldbuilding, but an environmentalist modding a parka to be warmer and more colorful elicits incredulity.

(a) There is little difference between milling cards from RnD and thrashing them from HQ. In both cases you are remvoing your win conditions.

(b) The damage you can do is finite, yes. But it is not negligiable. Esa itself can sabotage 6-8 cards each game. You can mill 8 cards in general with Chastushka. You can be a mini Noise with the resource. Time bomb is unprevenable, etc, etc. The deck also just builds itself, write x:sabotage and go to town. It's not interesting deck building nor it is fun to play against. It is apalling to me that the designers learned nothing after years of playing agaisnt Noise and DLR mill decks.

"Little difference between milling cards from RND or trashing them from HQ." I'm not sure on this. Esa is bad enough at doing typical runner stuff that I think an Esa deck is banking on a small number of runs on central servers winning the game. Giving the corp the ability to choose HQ cards instead makes sabotage weaker even if they use it relatively rarely.

Against Esa, I feel pretty confident throwing away HQ cards even if it SEEMS more inefficient than throwing away unknown R+D cards because Esa is bad enough on economy that I am confident that I will win if I can minimize the amount of agendas getting sabotaged. On paper an HQ card SEEMS more costly to give up (because I am giving up a resource that I have paid ~ a click for) but I like to think of this as me paying a click looking for a card which is safe to pitch against a runner who is desperately searching for agendas and has less than normal long-term viability. When I'm facing a runner besides Esa, letting sabotage hit R+D is my default option because non-Esa runners are more viable to win on sabotage value even if they aren't sabotaging agendas.

This cyborg brings devastation to the corp.

The ability can probably trigger around 5 times in a game (give or take), thus trashing 20% (10 cards) of the corp cards without interactions. Talk about having an impact on the game.

If you can make 2 or 3 runs with Chastushka, you can trash 8 to 12 more cards.

With some careful combo, you can use Avgustina Ivanovskaya to trash 8 to 12 more cards.

This would allow you to trash possibly two thirds of the corp deck, possibly decking the corp. I'm glad the archetype can come back, as decking a corp is a difficult proposition.

But even if you just trigger the ability to get powerful cards like Marrow, Begemot and use Running Hot or Light the Fire!, it as an impact in every games. Non interactive actions on the corp does matter.

Esâ Afontov: Eco-Insurrectionist is a good ID. Is it as universally usable as Hoshiko Shiro: Untold Protagonist, probably not (we'll see how the meta develops), but still an identity that really feel like an anarch.

The art and quote are both inspiring. Good identity.

(Midnight Sun era)

Worth noting that now Time Bomb is a thing, this playstyle is even more relevant. Esa is brutal.

This is my favourite identity. Getting milled by Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire was only a fond memory. Not anymore! Only problem I have is the core damage. If only it was still called Brain Damage, it would be very thematic since I have not seen such a braindead play style for a long time.

Thank you NISEI for abolisihing me from my ANR addition. I can actually play other boardgames now.

(Parhelion era)

For people that want the full story about the core damage, it can be found here: