GameNET looks at first glance to be very powerful.

"Hey look, it's a 'whenever'! It's always the 'whenever's that are the broken cards!"

Sadly, there's a bit more to this.

ICE is often bemoaned for either never firing or not doing enough, and that's for a good reason: the runner has the choice to let subroutines fire or to pay credits to break the ICE. These "punisher" effects that let your opponent choose what happens always play much less powerfully than they appear on paper — remember, when evaluating cards, you shouldn't look solely at the best case scenario: you need to consider the average case and the worst case too.

GameNET falls down because when the ID fires is almost entirely dependent on the runner. They choose when to run, they choose when to let subs fire, they choose when they spend credits on traces. Would you want your economy tied to the actions of your opponent?

Let's also look at it from a different angle: economy is most effective early in the game when you want to be setting up: you need money to install ICE, to rez ICE, to advance agendas, to play Hard-Hitting News. When does GameNET come into play? When your Gold Farmers and Turnpikes are already rezzed. GameNET starts raking in the money when you can force the runner to run through your servers over and over... but how did you get to that point? How did you get the money to rez the ice and to score enough agendas to force the runner's hand?

The answer is that you were Azmari EdTech instead.

Maybe GameNET would be less underwhelming if it had been released a few years down the road. As it is, the shadow of the slightly-too-pushed Azmari will loom over GameNET for most of its Standard-legal lifespan.

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<p>I agree that Azmari can make a lot of money over the course of the game. This ID makes the runner play differently. I have noticed that runners are way more cautious when running through ice like Slot Machine, Turnpike, and Gold Farmer because of the money you get. Servers start having a lot more weight and in NBN that is sort of strange. Azmari forces the runner to consider whether they will play a type of card but after that they don’t care if they run through your servers as long as they can get in.</p> —
<p>Whoops hit post a little early. I don’t think this ID is dead you just can’t play it the same way you play Azmari. Don’t rely on the ID money but use it to position to defend multiple servers. If they run through a server they give you enough money to Rez the rest of your ice. Early glory runs with Link runners also give you extra cash because they want to just pay through the cheap trace for one coin.</p> —

It's going to be compared with Black Orchestra, let's face it, so let's do just that.

Common code gates:

Looks like it's mostly just comparable rather than anything else. Over the course of a game, Utae could save anywhere between 2-8 credits. (Or more, obviously, but let's not look at the best-case — more useful to consider the average-case)

The worst-case is that you need to break two code gates and you don't have three virtuals installed yet, at which point the much more flexible Black Orchestra is looking a lot better.

So the golden question for whether to run this or Black Orchestra: Does the extra efficiency of Utae make up for the set-up cost of three virtuals, and the need to pre-install it?

I think for a lot of decks the answer will be no. Black Orchestra's not being dethroned, but cracks are showing...

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I've had a bit of fun with this ID already. Hoshiko and her console, Keiko, give me the impression of how to build a companion deck. If you're running Taka, Fueno, Maemi or Poemu, Keiko helps lessen the credit loss from Mahou Shoujo.

Speaking of which, we finally have a flip identity for a Runner! Let's talk about Untold Protagonist for a bit. 4, 45 minimum, 15 influence... I'm not the best at Netrunner, but I feel this is pretty standard. Her ability, though, is what sets her apart: "When your turn ends, if you accessed at least 1 card this turn, gain 2 and flip this ID". In other words, you have more of an incentive to run. 2 credits as a reward for an access seems good, but then we come to the flip side: Mahou Shoujo.

Side note, my Japanese isn't the best (only two semesters in college), but I think it translates to "Magic Girl". And this magic girl has three things going for her. First, she now has a link. In my LGS meta, there weren't a lot of tracers, but there were way too many Weyland Kill decks. Second, she's Digital. Correct me if I'm wrong, but only one other ID had the Digital subtype, and it was Apex. A card also released in Uprising, DreamNet, can be used without needing to spend time on link. I'm not sure if there are any other digital interactions, but I think theoretically, you could run a cloud suite if you had an additional link, such as from The Archivist. Third, her first ability: "When your turn begins, draw 1 card and lose 1". If you remember earlier, I mentioned how Keiko helps mitigate the credit loss. Simply drop a Fencer, and you get your credit back. Or just install a resource with Poemu. Get your credit back.

Of course, one must always awaken from their dreams. If you don't access any cards while you're playing Mahou Shoujo, she flips back over to Untold Protagonist. So the pressure's on to get accesses each turn, or return to the waking world. As such, you can be kind of screwed if the Corp decides to put a server behind a paywall, force you to trash your precious allies, or simply end the run with an earlier score.

My thoughts on Hoshiko? This ID, if done correctly, can be a lot of fun for you. Hoshiko might be an easy ID to build around. Just make sure you aren't wandering into an ambush blindly.

<p>Great first review. One thing I'd love to see more of is some comparisons vs other Anarch runners. Should someone use Hoshiko compared to Val, for example?</p> —
<p>I'll keep that in mind in the future.</p> —

This agenda does a lot for you as a Corp that other 5/3 agendas can lack in.

It instantly recovers your spent money after scoring. This may be obvious after reading but regaining the 5 credits spent to score is incredibly powerful to keep defenses up on central servers. If you are in credit hell (5-8 credits) it is usually a death sentence to try to score an agenda that will not give you some cash. SSL Endorsement would also fit for scoring with low money.

However SSL doesn’t do quite as good of a job for instantaneous evening of money. If a Corp is trying to land a trace on their turn this agenda does some work. Early game this will put the Corp up +5 (+6 if playing as GameNet) from their current position. That is often enough to ensure a HHN or a SEA Source. Since it just makes the runner poorer after a steal, I would recommend SSL Endorsement if you need it as a source of income.

As another NBN agenda that has an additional cost, making the runner poor can be a potential strategy with Degree Mill and this agenda.

With the additional cost, it can add another secret cost to your remote server that the runner had not anticipated. IAA on a remote with all of the ice rezzed can be dangerous without some additional defenses. This agenda has been quite successful to stop Stimhack runs that had not anticipated an additional 5 coins on top of the server costs.

This is a great agenda and will probably be joining Degree Mill as the only consistently played NBN 5/3s.

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<p>Good review with comparisons to other meta-heavy 5/3s.</p> —
<p>Important to note, however, this does lose to Critic :(</p> —
<p>That is true but since she is restricted we might see more whistleblower if NAPD Cordon and Bellona start bubbling up.</p> —

IMO, this is a prime example of a well-designed card that doesn't cost nearly enough and therefore ends up being a bit too powerful.

3 credits for a 2 MU console is amazing value at the worst of times. Except this only costs 2 credits, because Keiko triggers itself on install. No other card in the game gives you two unconditional MU for such a low price. Compare to CyberSolutions Mem Chip.

But, I hear you say, that isn't comparable. Keiko takes up a console slot. Fair. So let's take a look at the ability. A 1 credit drip every time you install or "use" a companion. Easy enough to reliably trigger every turn. There are several companions out already, most considered pretty strong.

A one credit drip isn't super broken, but in combination with a 2-MU console which costs two to install, I think it is slightly above the curve. Anarchs who like to be filthy rich and need MU for programs like Stargate will definitely consider this. Especially considering the lack of tempo loss compared to a card like Maw. Maybe Keiko should have kept its cost and been 1 MU instead? I don't know. I just know this feels a bit wrong to me.

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<p>I agree. I am not sure if it does refund a credit, may need a ruling on that, but even at 3 it's a push. Compare it to Paragon. 3 cost. Keiko has one more MU. Both have a way to make a buck each turn, but Keiko doesn't involve interacting with the corp. Just free money. Paragon may offer the deck peek as a bonus, but really, that's nothing compared to an MU, in terms of general power.</p> —
<p>I can see the Smoke over the horizon already, lol.</p> —
<p>It has been confirmed by Nisei on Facebook it triggers itself.</p> —
<p>Did NISEI think that <a href="/en/card/26070">Keiko</a> would force you to too much into a pre-defined companions template? There's just so few downsides to the console. Supporters of this card's power level are far and few. I wouldn't be shocked to see this end up as Removed soon.</p> —