You better have a good target to derez. If you compare this to Eli 1.0, you are paying an extra 2 credits for its rez ability, and that's not a small fee. Sure, you have a better chance to land a brain damage and end a run, but if that's your main reason to play Hákarl, there's a few problem with it:

  • 5 credit is a lot at early game.
  • Its cost becomes even more prohibitive if you don't have a good derez target.
  • At midgame, it becomes less useful once the Runner has a fracter ready.
  • Its subroutines can still be broken by Boomerang, Botulus, etc.

So therefore, you are not playing Hákarl for its subroutines; you are playing for its wombo-combo potential. For example, you can derez:

But the big question is: Is this worth an extra 2 credits over Eli 1.0? So far, there's not a lot of good use of this card, so I'm hoping this will change once the entire Midnight Sun set is released.

There are no blank agendas in Netrunner,** but Braintrust comes pretty darn close.

Even if you could advance Braintrust after scoring it, it would still be a pretty iffy deal. Pay $2 and 2 clicks to reduce rez costs by 1? You'll have to rez four more ICE before you even break even!

What's worse, scoring an over-advanced Braintrust is incompatible with using it effectively: - You want to score it early, but you also need a surplus $2 and 2 clicks - You want to score it before rezzing much ICE, but it has to be protected enough to install-advance-advance - If you're a trappy corp that can bluff it out with Mushin or Kakurenbo, you probably aren't running much ICE

Between this and Project Yadi-Uga (only a bit less useless) it seems clear that NR designers feel that red 2/3 agendas would be OP if they actually did something. Compare these to Beale, Atlas, and Vitruvius. Apparently it's okay for red to have a few 2/3s, but they'd better not also be useful.

** except Vanity Project, but just being a 4/6 is special in itself

This card probably shouldn't exist. Most strong tag-me cards shouldn't exist, because they reduce Netrunner to rock-paper scissors. Liza Talking Thunder is banned for precisely this reason. She crushes corps with no tag punishment and she gets crushed by tag-n-bag corps.

The one defense I can imagine for Counter Surveillance is that it has at least a possible purpose in a non-tag-me deck. It can serve as a last gasp for a runner who is losing to NBN badly enough to be reluctantly forced to go tag-me. Mind you, I've never actually seen it used that way...

Why was this card ever printed. What was FFG thinking?

Strong tag-me cards do not make for enjoyable Netrunner. When Liza Talking Thunder faces a tag-n-bag corp, she loses in a boring game... either she dies to a BOOM or she has to refrain from using half the cards in her deck. When Liza faces a corp with no tag punishment, she runs them over in an equally unbalanced game.

The principle is simple: the tag-me archetype cannot co-exist with tag-n-bag... otherwise Netrunner devolves into rock-paper-scissors. I don't understand how a competent game designer could either fail to appreciate this or be indifferent to it.

<p>WotC? Now I'm confused, didn't FFG have the license up until Reign and Reverie? WotC hasn't published any Netrunner since the original game, unless I've messed up my history...</p> —
<p>Oy. Yes, my bad.</p> —

The most distinctive feature of this card is that it is an end-the-run Sentry -- and the only hard end-the-run sentry that Weyland has in startup. It's also fairly splashable at 2 inf.

However it has a bunch of drawbacks:

  • Rez to break ratio varies a lot depending on exactly what killer the runner is on. But 5 to rez is not that cheap. Bukhgalter will break it for 2 with the discount, and Mimic + one leech counter or ice carver breaks it for 1.
  • Only one sub. This means it is broken once per turn by a Botulus. This makes this not such a great card to play vs. Loup for instance.

In startup format, Weyland decks often prefer to play sentries like Winchester and Colossus.

Colossus costs one more and gives you an extra sub, so they can only break it every other turn with Botulus. (But still porous to Boomerang.) And it gains strength, so it may give Anarchs on mimic a much harder time.

Winchester costs one less to rez and gives you 3 subs when over HQ, so it is more expensive for killers across the board, and isn't completely broken by Boomerang.

This may be an interesting card to splash into corps that don't have strong sentries. For instance, this might find home in an NBN deck, because for many startup NBN decks, the only sentry they run is F2P, which can be broken without a killer. Runners that decide to skip installing their killer may run straight into Ballista, and then lose a program. That may be attractive to Reality+ decks that already want to destroy programs. In this way, this ice affects the meta when running against Reality+, whether or not the corp actually runs Ballista.

The main risk with running this ice is that it's going to weaken your corp against Anarchs generally, whether they are on botulus or not, since you will pay 5 to rez it but they may break it for a lot less than 5, resulting in a significant tempo hit.

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