(Core Set Perspective)

Since the card pool in the Core Set is quite small compared to where the game is now, one of the benefits is that you know (roughly) what to expect from each faction. With that in mind, I thought it'd be a nice idea to list some general things to think about, at least for when you're just starting out. As always this is very much my own opinion, so please feel to add to/correct what's here with your own points!

As Gabe

  • Import some breakers. Using your in-faction fracter feels like trying to pick a lock with a marshmallow. You may also notice that you don't have a decoder, so unless you want to rely on Crypsis you might want to do some shopping around.

  • Attack the Corp's money. You're a Criminal, it's what you do. They can't keep you out if they can't get their stuff online. You can also make money from their unprotected servers. Compared to the other factions, you've got the highest chance of swimming in cash. Which is good! Because...

  • You have some of the best evasive tools in the box. Is that an ice you see? No problem. Skip over it, swerve around it, sneak behind it, flip it or kill it; so many choices, and you don't even need a rig up. Very Criminal. Just be wary of hording them because...

  • Damage hurts you more. Since many of your best abilities are kept in-hand, losing them will cause you more problems, and one of Criminals innate weaknesses is they can't really get stuff back once it's gone.

  • Your console is amazing, but you only have one. Not sure what the consensus is, but I seriously consider sticking with a crap opening draw if I find this among it. Think of your hand like a party, and Desperado as the cool unassuming buddy who shows up and just makes you happy, even if everything else is terrible.

  • Lastly (for now at least) you have a lot of nice cards, but you've got some arguable duds in there as well. Lemuria Codecracker encourages some bad crutch-forming habits. Data Dealer is only really worth it against Weyland, sometimes, and both Crash Space and Decoy are components of an at best delicate defense, that (might) protect you (mostly) from something big (once).

Against Gabe

  • Protect HQ. If you've played any of this game at all, you'll already know why.

  • Most criminal events rely on you not preparing for them, so in most cases if you do things like, double up on ice, keep your best ones in the back, cover your sides and so on, you'll take a lot of the sting out of them.

  • Protect HQ.

  • Kill their stuff. No-one likes it when you kill their stuff, but for Criminal it can be particularly annoying. In general, they can find whatever program they need with pinpoint precision, three times. Beyond that they have to dig, and they're not good at it. A well-timed removal of an important card will probably slow them down, and might even screw them completely. This lead right into...

  • Packing some traps. As long as there is even the threat of damage you stand to gain from it. Criminal can't recover from a hit to their hand or rig as readily as the others factions, so there's a good chance they will play more cautiously. Ironically, the better the cards they have in hand, the more threatening your nasty surprises can become.

  • Seriously, protect HQ.

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I snort laughed at picking a lock with a marshmallow. Another A+ review, Tirranek. —

(Core Set Perspective)

This card embodies being slick. It's a cool clean casual skip over a piece of ice to get something the Corp thought you'd at least struggle with. Doesn't matter what it is. It can be the biggest, baddest, most credit shlorping piece of ice there is. You'll get by it all the same for 2.

It's suave, Core Set Criminal emboided, so it's a shame that whenever I look at this card all that comes to mind is a crazy guy going 'HEHHHH!' while those in the stalls next to him just try to take a dump in peace.

That aside, it's good. You know it's good. You knew it was good before you even read the rulebook. It's simple, cheap, effective and one of your best tools as a Core Set criminal to do what they do best - be a cheeky bastard who walks up to a problem and promptly chooses to ignore it. It's consistently one of cards that will make your opponent go, 'Gah! I forgot you had that!' and whimper as you nab the agenda they thought was safe behind a Tollbooth.

As for playing against this card, there's only one real way to deal with it, but that's ok because it's all you need - whenever possible, put down a token Ice Wall, Viktor, or something similarly cheap out ahead of your heavy-lifters, forcing their smug rich faces to deal with your defenses head-on. Just be aware that while this removes a lot of Inside Job's bite, cards aren't used alone, and you can bet that there's probably a sneaky Femme Fatale or Forged Activation Orders waiting to make all your plans seem pointless in fresh, tear-inducing ways.

531
Makes Curtain Wall cry, too. Can't just slap something cheap in front of that! —
+1 for the use of "shlorping", which is also now my new favorite word. —

(Core Set Perspective)

Melange. It sounds like a wibbly-wobbly dessert. It conjures images of cinnamon from the memory of that time you read that Sci-Fi book. In a world of wild cyber-colour, it seems to embody grey, dullness and drudgery. It's also one of your few economic options in the Core Set, and will likely be the piece in your money-making engine that sends you down one of two paths - one where you say 'Right, so how can we make this work...' or 'Screw this. Bring me naked men.'

The thing about Melange is it's tricky, it's demanding, it's fragile, and it's quite possibly just shi*t.

A full turn's worth of clicks is a huge halt on your progress in other areas (a 'tempo hit' in cool, experienced runner parlance). Taking a full turn to use means you also have to have it down the turn before, leaving it vulnerable. And hoo-boy, at 1 to trash, is it vulnerable; one of the most casual targets in any server the runner cares to target, in fact.

"A steal here...an access there...oh and sure, I'll destroy that multi-billion credit mining enterprise while I'm at it." - All the Runners

I like the idea that Melange's health and safety standards are so terrible that someone dinking the walls with a small hammer could cause an industrial catastrophe.

So you've had some bad experiences with it. It's been largely underwhelming, a liability even, and you're thinking of shelving it. But then you stop, and you look at that 7 it promises you, and you remember the early times (when neither of you knew what you were doing) when it did pay off, and you start trying to justify it, and, in the Core Set, at least, those justifications can sometimes make sense.

1 for net 6 is nothing to sniff at (hazardous moon-dust particles aside). Play it behind a mass of ice and threaten a second time for the full 7, and you'll be practically forcing the runner to stumble through your (hopefully glorious) gauntlet of cyber-nastiness, draining them of time, money, and possibly the will to live. Play it in open, have the runner ignore it (because it's obviously a trap), then make them look like a tit. Install something else in the open after that, and this time make it a Snare(!). Oh-ho! Such tears. So evil. So fun. So Netrunner.

So, yes, there are ways (at a casual level, at least) to make this card playable and in some cases actually goo. Never mind that you've put that whole 'winning' thing on hold. Never mind that in a well-tuned deck you'll make only slightly less money for far less effort. Never mind that you've put it in your scoring server, just drawn a game-ending Priority Requisition, your HQ is guarded by a single Ice Wall and the runner has that look in their eyes. It has potential for both making loads of money and psyching the runner out, which when combined with some traps can make things all the more devious, and delicious (if you like the taste of moon rocks).

And lastly, this card has become the subject of one of my first (dumb) personal goals I'd like to share - to get an HB deck, and tweak it to the point where I can use this twice in one turn. Whereupon I will shower myself in the cardboard money that follows, revel in fake pecuniary glory, and then probably never play this card again.

531
(core set mentality) I don't know that I would call this a tempo hit for corp. Unless the runner is spending their turn clicking Magnum Opus, if you are preparing for SeaScorth for the win, a turn on this card is like licking your lips and shouting "Blood, blood, blood..." while the runner squirms. —
If installed and used early, Melange is often more than enough to carry you through the mid-game on its hazy wings. Sure, now that we have grown beyond Core Set, there are several better econ options in every faction which makes it the last resort, if ever, but this is the only one that enables space travel, future sight and gives you sexy blue eyes too! I'm completely in disagreement with your review, but I'm gonna like it regardless, because "bring me naked men" and "that Sci-Fi book". —
(No Longer Core Set alert) ((Jank Alert)) Ok guys, so Jeeves Model Bioroids. IF you are a corporation other than HB , and IF you are buildng a deck to capitalize on Jeeves alliance (Jinteki Biotech, perhaps?), then maaaayyyyyyyyyybbbeeeeeee you can do something sexy with this card? —
But why do that when you can be Engineering the Future, triple click for 7 credits, then install something and gain an 8th credit? You just used 3 clicks to gain 8 credits and install something (for many turns) for the up front cost of 3 credits and 2 clicks. —

(Core Set (beginner) perspective)

Deprived of all the fancy options players get in later cycles, Magnum Opus shines through in the Core Set like a gigantic glowing middle-finger to Corps who not only think they can be ahead on money, but also that they can rely on the sheer presence of ICE to protect then. As most games start out, you will put down a few assets, maybe play a cheeky hedge fund and advance some agendas, all behind some basic but affordable ICE to tax the runner and keep them in check as you contend for an advantage.

Then along comes Magnum Opus and says, "Those are nice ways of making money and all, but here's the thing...I am money."

And it's not lying. It is money. Pure, infinite money. Therefore...

  • It will remove most of the lasting tax from your early-game ICE.

  • It will, with worrying speed, put even the most exorbitant toys within reach.

  • It will allow the runner, even at low link, to comfortably contend with most traces.

  • And it will, barring any mistakes, never run out, thus putting the Corp on a slow but steady countdown to being royally f*cked.

Its one explicit weakness is that at 2MU it will need set up to bring the runner's full rig into play. That will, with luck, take some time.

Another implicit weakness is that Magnum Opus is precious, and therefore runners tend to be more cautious about face-checking in the early game, for fear of losing it. This indirectly gives some added potency to your Ichis, your Rototurrets, your Archers etc. Even when they don't reaaaally need it anymore, sniping Magnum Opus from their board can be very demoralising. What's more, since runners often chase after it with such gusto, they (may) have binned their fallbacks while hunting for it in a hurry. For single Core Set players there are only two available, after all.

You must therefore seize any opportunity in the time between them getting Magnum Opus and their full breaker suite (or vice versa), to get ahead. Be merciless when evaluating your ICE. Remove what no longer works and use the install savings to get down bigger, late-game ICE, something to at least make the runner spend time clicking back up to break. Any time you give the runner to relax is time they can spend casually clicking for credits. Stall for too long trying to find a vital card and you'll have allowed them to amass a pool of cash, with which they can walk into practically any server you have, big ICE or no. Especially if you're playing a deck that is thin on traps, you will have to just keep an eye for openings in the runner's momentum.

In this way, despite the frustration you might feel at seeing this, it is an excellent card to play against, because you will become a better player trying to beat it. You will learn to value the time before it appears, and how to be efficient once it has. You will learn to make snap judgements, cuts, bluffs and gambles as the board adjusts to its presence. And you will learn to remain calm under pressure, because in the Core Set at least, it rarely gets more pressuring than this. I suppose in this way, it's actually been one of the most valuable cards for me to start learning with, for two completely different reasons.

So, thank you Magnum Opus. Thank you on the one hand for giving me all the money in the world =D And thank you also for teaching me how to play the Corporations better, you horrible, triangular bastard.

531

(Core Set)

"Hellloo ladies. Look at your plans, now back to me, now back at your plans, now back to meee. Sadly, only HB has me. But if you stop spending all your influence on over-expensive ICE and rent some hot Bioroids you can have a splash with me. Look down, back up, how are you? You're flat broke, tied at six points, with no man to advance your plans with. One more time, now with me. I've got it. Here's 3 credits to do that thing you love. Click again, the credits are now advancement tokens! Anything is possible when your plan can make three money a turn and not have to click for credits. Just protect me, of course."

whistle-whistle-whis-Adonis

531
My life needed this review, read in the voice of Old Spice guy. —
This was as awesome as it was inevitable. Ingenious. —