歌え or Utae is the Japanese word for "sing." ... look, that's all I've got for the translation bit of this, I'm just happy I have IME installed on my computer so I can even type out the Kanji.

Anyway, holy crikey! A decent Decoder coming out of Anarchs!? What is the world coming to?

In our modern world of Netrunner, we have the luxury of comparing any new card to a wealth of older cards, and through this we can build a basis of comparison for whether or not something is good, or bad. One of the most obvious comparisons for Utae is the tried and true Gordian Blade, since their break and boost costs are rather comparable. Out of the gate, Utae has a much more palatable install cost--2 versus Gordy's 4 . 2 is pretty stinking cheap for any breaker that doesn't have limited uses or that doesn't trash itself. It does come at the cost though, of starting off at 1 Str, whereas Gordy has 2. This means that after needing to boost Utae by at least 1 during two different ICE encounters, you've broken even with Gordy, and afterwards Gordy would just be cheaper. That's assuming that you're not facing more than one higher strength Code Gate stacked on any single server though--Gordy keeps its Str during the run, so if at any point this becomes relevant, Gordy is also going to be much more economical in the long run. It doesn't stop there though; unless you have 3 Virtual Resources installed, Utae is a one-per-run-and-done kind of breaker, only being able to break subroutines on a single piece of ICE before requiring its back-up breaker ability to move forward. This means you'll need to make sure you're running at least 3 virtual resources that you not only want to install at some point, but also stick around--not impossible to do, but certainly not a situation every runner deck finds themselves in. Lastly, Utae is Anarch at 2 Inf and Gordy is Shaper at 3.

Ultimately, influence and faction are a big factor when choosing whether to use Utae or Gordian Blade. Most of the time, you'd rather have Gordy--so if you're a Shaper who doesn't use Virtual Resources, you're never going to splash for Utae. That being said, if you're in Anarch and you're already using Virtual Resources, Utae seems like a pretty attractive non-influence option. It is clearly meant to synergize with the new Anarch Virtual Resource Companions. Additionally, the benefits of Gordy's persisting Strength will never really appear if the runner is trashing all of the Code Gate ICE on a server--something that Anarchs are known to do from time to time. Likewise, the lower install cost makes it an easier and faster card to play in the early stages of the game, as well as a less punishing target for program trashing. If your deck focuses on these kinds of strategies, (moving fast, Virtual Resources and ICE destruction) then Utae's downsides are mitigated anyway, and in fact, you may never need to break more than one Code Gate in a run anyway.

I should also point out that Adam can slap this down turn one and not have to worry about the Virtual Resources angle--all of his Directives are Virtual. With the lower influence cost and lower install cost (considering Adam tends to want to play cards fast to get the Safety First draw) this is a pretty solid choice for his Decoder if you're focused on speed. In a pinch, your Logic Bombs are also Virtual Resources, so if someone trashes any of your objectives, you still have a bit of wiggle room.

At the end of the day, Utae isn’t immediately going to blow any runner’s rig into god-tier status. That being said, it’s a fairly unique little tool that will be appreciated by those whose decks it finds a fit with.

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Reclaim, at a glance, doesn't seem particularly amazing in the same world where Clone Chip exists. However, there are a lot of little nuanced angles to look at the two cards from. Strictly from an install standpoint, while both are cheap, Reclaim is free, with CC costing 1. CC is a bit safer in general though, considering that it's Hardware and options for trashing hardware are uncommon, and even less commonly slotted into decks. Reclaim, being a Resource, is susceptible to Scarcity, and of course can be trashed when tagged (although it's not that bad to make the corp pay 2 and a to trash a 0 card). Both card's abilities have , so any triggers will work with both. The infamous CC fires instantly (or more technically, at the speed of any available trigger window) and that's where we see a big difference between the two cards. Reclaim costs you a , which is not only relevant because of the cost, but also lets us know that we won't ever be firing it on the Corp's turn (no instant-clots). It doesn't stop there though; as an additional cost to play Reclaim, you must also pitch a card from hand. Not the end of the world (often runners have redundant cards to get rid of) but it's still a cost that CC is without. On the flip side, you do get a bit more freedom in return for these extra costs--CC only allows you to pull programs back from the bin, whereas Reclaim lets you do programs, hardware and virtual resources. That's nearly any card (sans non-virtual resources) that a runner installs as a valid target. Lastly, both cards are Shaper, and cost 2 Influence.

Now that the comparison is out of the way, there's a myriad of potential theory-crafting that can be done. Instead of trying to hit all the marks though, I just want to focus on Adam. (My favorite runner. The only runner.) While lacking the speed of CC, Reclaim does the lion's share of any kind of recursion work you could want in Adam deck. Typically, Adam only runs a few breakers, since all of them cost precious influence. This normally makes him susceptible to program-trashing, but with a Reclaim or two, he no longer needs to worry about being locked out permanently. Likewise, his small hand-size can get gummed early on with programs that he doesn't want to install until later (drawing into 2 Multi-Threaders in turn 1 is awful). Reclaim lets you confidently pitch them early on, or even better--use them as Emergent Creativity fodder only to pull them back later when you have the MU space to afford them. Next, while all the Directives have their place people typically consider Find the Truth to be the strongest, and any time Adam is tagged, FTT usually hits the bin from a corp trash. Reclaim lets you pull back "Virtual" Resources, and as it happens, all of Adam's directives are Virtual. No longer are you blind after a corp trash if you happen to hit a Prisec tag after a Logic Bomb run with no clicks--simply recur it with Reclaim. Speaking of, Logic Bomb (one of Adam's strongest, if not the strongest card) is also a Virtual Resource. One Logic Bomb can change the course of the game. How about 6?

In closing, a lot of times recursion (if it's not naturally built into a deck with things like expendable breakers) or trash-protection comes off as a silver bullet. You don't want to put it into your deck, but you might be tempted just to save you from those awkward SDS corp-scores that snipe your one-of breaker. In Adam, Reclaim fulfills this role as a silver bullet, but is also never wasted--you'll always find a use for one, even if it's just to recur Logic Bomb, which honestly is almost completely worth just on its own.

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This is going to sound weird but I think Seidr might actually be the brain damage ID. Sorry Cybernetics Division, I have tried to love you, but its over.

What does spending/losing s mid-run have to do with brain damage? Spending s is how you turn the nasty brain damage facecheck penalty on Viktor 1.0, Heimdall 1.0 and especially Fairchild 3.0 into a gentle "miss half a turn". Seidr tips that end of the scale by also offering recursion, which is going to force some runners to take it on the noggin to keep that away from you. If you love jank you could even tip the scales back the other way again for a pretty severe catch-22.

In general a lot of lost s during runs come from ICE subroutines, so Seidr makes facechecking more dangerous. Therefore, if you rush to score out, you can force the runner to run while your ID still has teeth on those nasty facechecks, and maybe you can threaten a kill if they go too fast and end up reducing their handsize.

Even with Engineering the Future gone Seidr has stiff competition from economy IDs. Sportsmetal in particular can rush faster and keep tempo while trading agendas with the runner. But none of these are quite as cool as Seidr, and if you went out of your way to look up reviews of this ID that won't deter you from having your fun.

I don't want to do anything extensive here, because hey, the card is new and I haven't had the time to analyze all the angles yet. Actually, in a world without NASX, this is a pretty innocent economy card, encouraging the corporation to actually put ICE in front of their assets, instead of spamming out new server after server to gain Turtlebacks money. ...the problem is of course, we live in a world with NASX.

NASX makes this card read, "The corp probably just gained anywhere from 9 to 21 credits for two clicks." With just 2 ICEd remotes with something in them (not that hard to do) this gets you 9 credits for 2 clicks (3 triggers of FO, 6 credits gained, dumped onto NASX doubling the 6 to 12 credits gained, -2 for NASX -1 for FO cost for 9 net). 9 Credits for 2 clicks and 2 cards isn't actually that degenerate--after all, Roughneck Repair Squad gets you 6 for 3 clicks, removes a bad Pub and is re-usable for just 1 card. The problem is when it starts getting out of hand--when your ASAs of the world are doing what they want to do anyway, which is dump things into servers and free-click an ICE in front of it. When these ASAs have upwards of 4 or 5 loaded one-ICE servers, FO/NASX becomes a bit nuts. Heaven forbid they have 2 FO's in hand, because at that point they might as well have infinite money.

That being said, this does require time to set up. If they have 5 remotes with ICE, it's safe to say it's around turn 4 or 5. Likewise, I'm a runner--and if I'm letting things sit in single-ICEd servers, then I'm probably a bit at fault for just letting things sit on the table. Realistically though, there is a limit on just how many times you can trash a Jeeves behind a Fairchild 3.0.

Is it broken? No, not really. There's a lot of counterplay -- trash NASX's when you find them, clean out servers of their contents, or just ignore the shell game entirely and go straight for the centrals in hopes of rushing out. I think my problem is, the FO/NASX combo just feels cheesy. It takes a more or less honest card that was meant to reward a different kind of shell game (actually ICEing all your stuff) and turns it into a "this card only exists to trigger off of NASX." Ah, well; I know those are just my feelings, and I'm sure plenty of people love this thing.

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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.

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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. —