The cost-benefit numbers on this card are excellent compared to older assets. First, Nico only takes $2 to get started and it's credit-positive when rezzed. Nico nets 7 credits and 1 card drawn over 3 turns rezzed. That's solid medium-term value for a click. A PAD Campaign needs 9 turns rezzed to net that many credits and 3 turns rezzed to even turn a profit. Regolith Mining License nets $13 over 6 clicks.

If you're in a setup where you can guard multiple assets simultaneously, Nico is a strong contender. If you are in a setup where you can only guard one asset/agenda at a time, parking Nico in your scoring server for 3 turns may delay your scoring windows. Regolith Mining License will often be easier to use for these decks because it spends fewer turns blocking a scoring server and is more flexible. (If the corp is tight on time and needs to trash a Regolith which still has $3 left, even a partial Regolith produces a good economic return. A Nico trashed with $3 remaining is a slower, riskier Hedge Fund, not very appealing).

Just want to put out that Quetzal: Free Spirit is non-binary and that Anzekay, NISEI's narrative director, uses they/them to refer to them.

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I couldn't help but notice every other comment on this page use she/her.

<p>NISEI seems to use 'they/them' everywhere nowadays. Inconvenient imo; makes it harder to distinguish from plural.</p> —
<p>I think this was more or less known since their release ( not that I want to take away from the fact ). There's also at least one Queer ID ( Sunny L. ) and Chaos Theory has two dads!</p> —

This card is hard to use in Jinteki. 2-3 net damage will rarely be fatal on a Jinteki agenda-scoring turn, and setting up a double-Neurospike turn requires a LOT of passivity or fear from the runner when you leave a card on the table with 4+ counters. Jinteki's agenda suite doesn't synergize with this card very well besides that Obokata is kind of easier to leave on the board with 4 counters.

In NBN, the agenda which fits best with Neurospike is Reeducation. This seems like a strong combo in casual play but it usually disintegrates against a well-piloted runner deck. Immediately after seeing a Reeducation or Neurospike the runner will know that they need to challenge everything that ends your turn with 2+ advancement tokens on it or risk dying immediately to a Reeducation/Neurospike play. Counting influence, they know you're spending 6-9 influence on Neurospike and possibly 2-4 on click-compression (usually Seamless Launch) so they can reasonably rule out most fatal advanceable traps and Weyland tag-killers. With no killer bluffs and not much fear of tags, the runner should have a good idea of when it's run-or-die. With only 3 Reeducations, you and your NGO Fronts probably can't threaten this often enough to confuse or overwhelm an average runner economy. Most NBN ice isn't very good against a runner that can rule out lethal tag punishment and a NBN Neurospike deck won't have the influence for anything significantly better.

Neurospike is better in Weyland. Your threats are multidimensional and harder to play around. City Works Project, Dedication Ceremony, and the threats of Punitive Countermeasures and Hard-Hitting News force the runner into hard choices. They won't even know you're on Neurospike unless they see Neurospike. (If you spend a turn installing City Works Project followed by 2 Dedication Ceremonies, that looks like a legitimate scoring play and not just the setup for fiery death). Even if they do see Neurospike, your influence is a mystery so it's hard to figure out your other win conditions. Weyland doesn't need Seamless Launch here, so the runner only knows for sure that you have 6-9 influence on Neurospike. They can guess you've spent a few influence on draw/consistency cards like Spin Doctor, Predictive Planogram, or Digital Rights Management, but there's enough influence available that HHN can't be easily ruled out. In an ID like The Outfit, you're probably running multiple To Big to Fail and the money to pull off a HHN will come out of nowhere.

Good 1-copy card for HB decks still building the early rotation sets.

Super punishing for the Runner to trash. And the effect is handy to have. Not gamebreaking, but it might turn an early game Viktor 1.0 with an Eli 1.0 behind it into an unstoppable wall. So basically pretty good early on, and an annoying threat the rest of the game.

17

A really, really bad card. Consider that, in many cases, this is essentially a blank card with a trash cost of 3: the runner just pays those 3 credits into a trace rather than for a printed trash cost. A 0/3 upgrade with no ability is unplayable. The only two cases in which this card would seem to do anything are as follows: 1) The runner has fewer than 3 credits when they access it -- possible, but unlikely. In this case they can spend 2 clicks or take a brain damage, which is like a mediocre encounter with a piece of Bioroid ice. 2) The corp has enough money to make the trace component relevant. Ok, then you have paid some number of credits to, once again, force the runner to spend clicks or take brain damage. The only thing that might look mildly appealing about this card is the words "brain damage" -- but if this simply said "the runner discards a random card," it would be even easier to take the tinted lenses off and realize that this card is no good.

About the only mildly exciting thing you can do with this card is put it in a remote server with Warroid Tracker and tempt the runner into spending more credits to trash it -- in which case, you've just built the world's worst Manegarm Skunkworks.