Sorta mediocre in most decks, since you are basically just trading your clicks for your opponent clicks with an additional credit on top. You could just play Border Control, which costs you influence and more credits, but will cost the runner A LOT more since they will have to break all ice on a server, get flicked out, and they spend a click to run through it again. HB specifically also has Enhanced Login Protocol, which sticks around till an agenda is stolen and works on any server.

However, this is very obviously meant for MirrorMorph, who ideally will also have 4 clicks to work with. They need ways to trigger their ability, and this is a perfect way to accomplish that. For example, install Architect Deployment Test, advance, click Nanoetching Matrix for money, trigger ID, click Cold Site Servers. Now you essentially taxed the runner a click and credit for free.

I think it is a great card for one ID, but that's fine. Plenty of cards like that. Gold standard rez/trash cost as well.

756
The prevalent combo with Cold Site Server so far has been Efficiency Committee - as soon as EffCom rotates out later this year, Cold Site Server will see even less play than it sees now. —
Ah yeah, that is a synergy I forgot to mention —
It also combos with etr effects like Border Control, because each time the Runner initiates the run they must pay the cost. Although it would rarely happen, you can install an agenda and click this twice to make a server unassailable if you have Border Control in front of it. —

This is a really solid piece of ice. Not only does it have an etr subroutine, meaning it functions as a gear check, the program trash sub can definitely take runners by surprise. It doesn't work on 'classic' ice breakers, but it does work on AI's, making it perfect against runners who mostly or even solely rely on Aumakua. It can also hit non-icebreakers like D4v1d, Rezeki, RNG Key, etc etc. A base strength of 6 for a rez cost of 4 credits is also pretty bonkers.

As a downside, Hagen becomes easier to run through the longer the game goes on, as it will lower in strength when the runner sets up their rig. But even then this will rarely go below strength 2 or 3, meaning it'll still cost a bit to break with Gauss, Corroder or Tycoon.

For straight up turtle hate IP Block is still better imo, but Hagen is definitely a strong choice for a midtier barrier in HB.

756

I’m surprised there’s only one review for one of the most ubiquitous, polarizing, archetype-defining, and meta-warping Corp cards in the game.

As of writing, Hard-Hitting News (HHN for short) is featured in 39% of top Corp decks (according to knowthemeta.com). Often called “Damon’s best design”, Hard-Hitting News is one of the most interesting implementations of the Terminal subtype; you load the Runner up with tags, but they have an entire turn to clear them before they pay the media conglomerate piper.

In-faction, punishments that await the Runner include Closed Accounts, Psychographics, Exchange of Information, or Market Forces. Out of faction, HHN is widely used as the prelude to having a bad time.

So, when can the corp use Hard-Hitting News against you?

  1. If you’ve made a run last turn AND

  2. Corp ≥ Runner + (and remember they get two clicks before they use HHN).

As such, the common counterplay to HHN consists of not running until you have more credits than the corp, or enough where the money the corp would spend to boost the trace outweighs the value of landing the trace. The value of the trace is typically considered around 12 credits, as removing four tags costs the Runner 8 and 4. Thankfully, alternatives exist in the Runner card pool to avoid having to manually remove the tags. One of Shaper’s big strengths in the current meta is the fact that they can use SMC to find Misdirection in response to HHN. Networking and No One Home can also help removing or preventing the tags, respectively.

So while Hard-Hitting News certainly seems well designed and has counterplay in terms of both the card pool and Runner strategy, it does have some criticisms that I think are worth thinking about:

  1. Early game has historically been running time. Before the Corp has all of their defenses up, the Runner has the ability to get some early accesses to gain information or maybe steal agendas. Hard-Hitting News puts a stop to this, until the Runner can earn money to rival the Corp.
  2. HHN simultaneously protects all of your servers. Similar to complaints against Mti, HHN circumvents typical limits in Corp defense. Using ICE, a Corp can defend 1 server per , and the Runner knows that they are going to meet resistance if they run on that server. With HHN, the Corp can simultaneously protect all servers at once by punishing the Runner for running any of them. The tempo loss of 4 tags can be seen as similar to face-planting into DNA Tracker, one of the classic worst-case scenarios of running against Mti.
  3. The Phantom Menace: HHN can prevent the Runner from running important Corp tempo assets like Rashida Jaheem or Commercial Bankers Group turn 1 without the Corp ever spending clicks or even card slots. While this is true of all cards and is an integral component of competitive Netrunner, HHN is such a grueling punishment for such an integral part of the game, that its presence can be felt even if it is not in HQ or R&D.

Hard-Hitting News is a powerful Corp tool that allows them to punish Runners with a painful “fork”--tempo loss or death--and can certainly provide interesting decision-making opportunities for both players. However, it is a massive hammer drop of punishment for very little crime on the part of the Runner, and as such can feel unfair at times. For better or worse, Hard-Hitting News will likely be a key player in any Corp tagging strategy for the foreseeable future.

25
Very well put! I would love to see this card leave Netrunner, but i have no idea what could be put in it's place. —
HHN is not banworthy imo but definitely deserves a spot on the restricted list for being very powerful. That would allow tag(-and-bag) decks to still be competitive, while making them slightly less consistent. Argus, The Outfit, Gagarin, CTM and NEH, all very strong decks which rely on Hard-Hitting, usually have either GFI or Mumba Temple as their unicorn card. With HHN restricted, they would either have to give up some econ or agenda reliability. That would be enough imo. —
I think it can be frustrating to play against, but personally I don't think it's ban or restriction worthy. Competitively speaking I think these tag-based decks have a place at the table. —

Turns out that this card is much, much better than we orginally thought. Perhaps that's because when it first came out, Medium and Keyhole were cards you could play? Next to those, this card is pretty garbage (or at least significantly less powerful).

As it is today, those cards have rotated we understand this is a card you don't use as a slow Legwork or The Maker's Eye. Instead you hammer whatever your cheap option is for incidental single access and then use the big load of counters to close the game.

The interesting thing about it is that it's a very portable wincon into almost any faction and it forces Corps to think about placement and spikey ice on HQ/R&D. Since ETRs build counters, they are a liability on either of those servers once this card comes down.

Oh, and Omar with Rebirth is a pretty significant power combo with this, ensuring you always have at least one line of attack to build and spend counters.

As of writing, there are 41 legal Corp Identities in Standard. Out of those, Direct Access does literally nothing to 14 of them. Among the remaining 27, about 10 are effectively blank; either you only save a credit (or no credits by using Direct Access) or you prevent the Corp from maybe gaining a credit, or the effect would only be applicable in extreme edge cases.

I think the remaining 17 Corp Identities can be separated into three groups based on how useful Direct Access might be against them:

Minor Payoff:

  • Chronos Protocol: If you would take damage during this run, the Corp doesn’t get to see your hand. This might be critical in some cases (they don’t get to prep for Complete Image) but often doesn’t matter too much.
  • New Angeles Sol: If you manage to steal an Agenda during this run, they don’t get to replace a Current.
  • Personal Evolution: If you steal an Agenda during this run, you avoid taking a net damage. This doesn’t leverage more cards in your hand to steal Obokata Protocol because you’re spending a card to play this, but it does keep you from being ground down earlier since this card is recycled.

Decent/Occasional Payoff:

  • The Foundry: Not being able to use their ability would definitely feel bad, if they’re playing this ID.
  • Industrial Genomics: Depending on the state of the game, this might let you trash a critical asset, saving several credits.
  • Argus Security: If you happen to steal an Agenda during this run, you can avoid two meat damage or one tag.
  • Haarpsichord Studios: Can let you steal more than one Agenda a turn. Combine with multi-access to nab two agendas at once.
  • Builder of Nations: Prevents an almost assured meat damage, throwing a wrench in their grinder.
  • Sportsmetal: Can save you from giving the corp a fairly significant tempo boost if you steal an agenda during the run (which might be likely if they run lots of 1-pointers).
  • The Outfit: If they rez an illicit ice, they still get a bad pub but don’t get the 3.
  • Stronger Together: Reduce all Bioroid strength by 1, saving you multiple credits if the server is stacked.
  • Seidr Laboratories: This ability rarely fires, but when it does it can be a nuisance. Preventing such a fire can be helpful.

Strong/Reliable Payoff:

  • CtM: Saves you 2-3 credits, depending on your link. You can use this reliably to trash assets.
  • Architects of Tomorrow: Costs the corp 4 pretty reliably.
  • AgInfusion: Stops you from getting sent elsewhere for critical runs.
  • Acme Consulting: Depending on what ice you hit, can save you loads of credits.
  • Replicating Perfection: Saves you clicks, credits, and cards as you avoid having to run a taxing central before hitting the remote.

My thoughts: Direct Access is a far more balanced and well-designed version of Employee Strike. It does not smother Corps as unilaterally, but can really shine in particular matchups. I think if you slot it, you will use it to surprising effect in some games. However, whether or not it is worth a slot is dependent on the state of the meta, as well as what Runner ID you’re using because oh yeah, it blanks yours too.

25
Nice list. You really want to highlight what makes it so unique - its ability to shuffle back into your stack for repeated usage. It may be an Event but it can see multiple uses during a game. —
Yeah, I realized after writing all this that there's a whole other side of the card to go into; how it shuffles back into the stack. For example, playing as RP against this might be a nightmare. As the game goes on, it just gets easier and easier for the Runner to get into your remotes as the stack thins out. Lots of little nuances that come up on the Runner side of things that are worth thinking about. :) But I think for now the bigger question is: should you play the card? —
Could be decent in a deck that wants to run through itself quickly. —