This review is written from a Startup point of view.

To start talking about Chekist Scion, we should probably start with its predecessor, Ghost Branch. Both are 0-cost, 0 assets that can tag the runner if they access it while installed and it is advanced. There are only two differences: Scion is 2 influence where Ghost Branch was 1, but Scion gives one tag for free in addition to the number of advancement counters.

I compare this change to the change from Project Junebug to Urtica Cipher: it doesn't fundamentally change the desired play pattern of the card, but it might offer some options that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Giving the runner a single tag is rarely a big deal, but getting it at no additional cost is quite nice.

To discuss the card, we should talk about the other cards related to it, the runner cards that can counter this, and what you can do once you've tagged the runner.

Relevant interactions

The ID in Borealis is Pravdivost Consulting, which has an ability that synergizes quite nicely with this card. Not only can you give a runner two tags at the cost of a card and a to install, the Pravdivost trigger occurs after the runner commits to access so they don't even know it is an advanceable card before they hit it. Alternatively, you could Install Advance Advance this, and when the runner hits it, even assuming they ran first click, taking 4 tags means they won't be able to clear all tags in their turn.

The counterpart to the Scion is Drago Ivanov, and is an excellent way to ensure that the runner can't simply ignore your advanceable cards. Having both in your deck may make your R&D quite porous, but it does mean that the runner has a damned if you do, damned if you don't problem to deal with.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention NBN: Reality Plus, the ID from System Gateway. Generally speaking I prefer more repeatable sources of tags in that ID, like Funhouse, but this will trigger the ID ability. The fact that this gives a single tag when not advanced could potentially make for some nice bait games if you're playing Beale or No Beale.

Runner counters

There are actually shockingly few tag removal cards in Startup. As of Midnight Sun there are three: Networking, Flip Switch, and No Free Lunch. Networking doesn't help clearing tags faster, only cheaper, and both Flip Switch and No Free Lunch only help in the sense that they let you pre-spend the click (unless you're using Az McCaffrey: Mechanical Prodigy trickery on that Flip Switch).

None of these cards are seeing wide play, so if the runner gets tagged they'll probably just take the basic action to spend a and 2 to clear the tags. However, they might decide to ignore the tags completely, because...

Tag punishment

I wouldn't say that there is no tag punishment, just that very little helps to win the game. In Standard, you have BOOM!, and until very recently you also had High-Profile Target. Startup has no damage operation based on tags. As such, there are some things you can do while the runner is tagged, but it is very hard to leverage tags into a straight-up wincon.

The most straightforward wincon with tags in Psychographics. Give the runner a bunch of tags and fast-advance agendas. Maybe even get that mythical 7-point Project Beale. While it is unlikely to outright win you the game unless the runner racks up an impressive number of tags, even just 2 tags turns it into a fast-advance tool. And as long as Beale is around, there's no real upper limit to the advantage more tags can give you.

So, I had forgotten that there is a way to do damage if the runner is tagged. That is, if you score Orbital Superiority, you can do 4 meat damage. All you have to do is score this 4/2 agenda and then you can maybe hurt the runner. I know people have tried with this and Neurospike and while I'd love to see a deck that makes it work, I don't think it is reliable enough to flatline.

Finally, Backroom Machinations. While by no means even close to Exchange of Information, it is a way to get agenda points with tags. There are decks that run all 2-pointers that force the runner to steal 4 agendas, while they try to score 3 and play a Backroom Machinations to get to 7. I think this is the best use for Chekist Scion in Pravdivost Consulting, though I still have to test that. If the runner doesn't go tag-me Psychographics isn't a reliable wincon, but it will most likely be possible to land a few tags with this card at some point and trade them for a point.

The other major tag-punishment card is Retribution. There are some cards you can baseball bat pretty hard, but the current meta has some pretty strong runner economy and if they are playing Endurance playing rigshooter seems impossible. Blowing up the boat is fun and can set the runner back economically, but unless they've discarded their second copy they can probably afford to install a second boat and keep running you down.

I could talk about Predictive Planogram, but the short version is that it is good but not worth running Chekist Scion for. You don't need to run traps to make your econ better. Trust Operation seems neat, I haven't had a chance to play it yet, I hear people like free Archer though?

So yeah, Chekist Scion. A powerful tag tool at a time where tags feel a bit weak. Looking at this card and Mutually Assured Destruction, I really wonder if we'll see a High-Profile Target replacement in Parhelion. It seems like there should be some kind of "land 3+ tags, win the game" option available, because right now the runner is probably better off not clearing their tags and just trying to win before you can Psychographics to win.


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.

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


NISEI seems to use 'they/them' everywhere nowadays. Inconvenient imo; makes it harder to distinguish from plural.

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!

I love that Quetzal is nonbinary (and their flavor text is about how we can free ourselves from any genetic heritage).

I don't know why maxitaxi777 thinks "The Runner must trash a card from their grip" is somehow more ambiguous than "The Runner must trash a card from his or her or their grip", or how it's ambiguous at all. Although, ex-netrunner Graham Linehan would agree...

Controlling people by controlling language is just another form of fascism.

@simombo You mean like when someone claims the language other people use to identify themselves is invalid and they're just going to antagonize them over it? Agreed, glad we're on the same page.

This review concerns mostly experiences in Startup. I don't play enough Standard to claim to know the meta.

So, oddly enough, I've found this to be a good combo kill... in HB. I don't think it is impossible to pull off in Jinteki either, but I found that HB is just easier to put this in. Running Haas-Bioroid: Precision Design you can play only 6 agendas (3 Project Vacheron, 3 Vulnerability Audit). Seamless Launch is probably the best card in the meta right now if you want advancements on things, and between some reasonable ETR ice, Sprint, Nico Campaign for money and draw, some Spin Doctor and Archived Memories for recursion, you've got yourself a kill deck. Manegarm Skunkworks protects your server.

Now, I'm not going to claim this deck is very reliable or even tournament-competitive. It mostly relies on the fact that you are so agenda-light that runners need to work for those points, and that if the runner isn't careful, they might just get flatlined out of nowhere. If you can double-advance a Vulnerability Audit, a Seamless Launch + double Neurospike kills. Don't forget you get to pull one card back with your ID too.

I have also toyed around with a list that ran Luminal Transubstantiation but I ran into issues playing 2-pointers, mostly that I needed to score more than 1 to kill with. You can do it, and going a bit wider maybe lets you play Fully Operational. I haven't gotten it to work yet.

If you haven't tried this yet, I suggest you give it a shot. It is a very fun deck.


I've been monitoring the meta on lately, and a common strategy seems to be combining this with Punitive. Either they steal it and you Punitive them, or you score it and you get to Neurospike them.

MirrorMorph. Such a shame that Shipment from MirrorMorph rotated with the new System Core. At first, I said that mostly as a joke, but the more cards from Downfall are previewed, the more I believe that the shipment would've made a powerful tool in this deck.

Any new HB ID will inevitably be compared to Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future, so let's just get it out of the way. In this case, the comparison isn't entirely without reason, either. Both have a triggering condition, that, when met, can give you 1. So is MirrorMorph just a strictly worse ETF? Not quite, since if you can take four different 's, you can get an extra action instead. And I assume most people will agree that a is worth more than a . So you'll end up triggering this less often than ETF, but when you do trigger it, it will be stronger.

However, by default, the options available to you don't really encourage you to take 4 different actions per turn. Draw/Event/Install/Advance, maybe but that seems like a stretch. Luckily, assets with abilities also count. MCA Austerity Policy seems especially potent in this kind of deck. And in Downfall, we're getting a few more assets that can help with this style of deck: Nanoetching Matrix and Calvin B4L3Y.

However, all of these assets have a problem: they can be trashed. And apart from MCAAP, you can't put them in your scoring remote, since you need to keep them around to make use of them. This would mean some kind of asset-spam deck would work better, but MirrorMorph doesn't provide any way to protect your assets. A of 3 is not cheap, but it won't stop a runner. And yes, you do get some value when this happens, but getting all your assets blown up all the time means you can't take advantage of your ID.

But what if you ICE'd them? Historically, asset-spam decks don't bother putting ICE on their assets: they need the ICE they have to defend their central servers and scoring remote, and decks like Gagarin Deep Space: Expanding the Horizon and NBN: Controlling the Message have ways to stop you from just trashing all their assets. However, the existence of the card Fully Operational seems to hint at the fact that NISEI wants us to ICE our asset remotes... or is at least willing to reward us when we do.

In this approach, you would use cheap, taxing ICE, not to stop the runner, but to make them pay even more for trashing your Nanoetching Matrix and Calvin B4L3Y. When they do, you get more money and cards, that you can then use to play more assets and ICE, and so forth. Agenda-flood can be solved with Preemptive Action, Gatekeeper, Drudge Work, Attitude Adjustment, and so forth.

This would lead to a very snowball style deck: if you can get enough assets in play to draw lots of cards and gain lots of credits which you use to get ahead further and further. If the runner can stop you, you'll probably be helplessly flailing trying to stop them. I'm curious to see what this deck ends up looking like. Maybe I'm looking in completely the wrong direction, and is there a combination of cards that is yet stronger still. And CSR Campaign still needs to find a place somewhere...

One final note about the ID: getting operations that can let you install cards is important. Lateral Growth and Red Level Clearance can assist when you want to install an asset, ICE it, and still get four . Maybe Advanced Assembly Lines can be used to "store" an install for when you need it. Shipment from MirrorMorph would've worked great here, letting you fill the board with your assets, but sadly, it is not meant to be.

Pad Pad Factory could be great too, as noticed Beyoken ^^ —

I disagree with Apex Predator. I think aggressive criminals can easily have more than one successful run per turn. In addition, the ability to this at any time makes it far more powerful than Jackpot!, a card that's only barely playable. I think that Bankroll is very playable in aggressive criminal lists, especially with it's partner-in-crime, Paragon.