An identity I initially underrated at first, Lat has the ability to draw you a large chunk of your deck, which is something only a few cards in the game’s existence can brag about. Let’s explore him further, shall we?
Lat’s “minigame” revolves around matching the number of cards in grip at the end of your turn vs. the number of cards in HQ. The minigame is checked after the hand-size discard is completed so if Lat draws you a 6th card, a discard down to a hand size of 5 is not needed. While the minigame is fun in itself (and really, that’s all that being a Shaper is about), it can also be a great pressure tool to force an opponent to consider playing sub-optimally. This can come in the form of excessive ice installs or perhaps even excessive drawing on your opponent’s part; this sub-optimal play almost reminds me of what a Criminal like Leela or 419 can do.
Actually playing Lat can be a bit intimidating at first especially given the analysis paralysis that can come with planning all 4 of your clicks (or more) to capitalize on your ability. Common combos with Lat to fix your Lat number (cards in grip – cards in HQ) include:
• Patchwork: If you’re +2 with one click to go, “Lat-chwork” gives you the option to save 2c on a play/install and earn a draw.
• Professional Contacts: If you’re -1, ProCo is a great way to make that last click draw into a Build Script. Alternatively, the same thing could be applied for Artist when you’re 0 after your 3rd click to get a Process Automation.
I hear you asking how Lat stacks up versus 40-deck Shapers, and it’s a fair comparison – both can get through their decks quickly. However, if you can fire Lat’s ability every other turn, the 5-card difference can be made up in only 10 turns with any further Lat-drawn cards just being icing on the cake. And trust me, when you earn enough experience, firing Lat’s ability 60%+ of turns becomes muscle memory.
What about Hayley and Wu? That’s a tougher question as those two have click compression abilities that allow them to spend slots/basic actions on draw while Lat is trying to spend slots/basic actions on everything besides drawing.
I actually think the biggest thorn in Lat’s side is the fact that a lot of his gameplan is controlled by the Corp’s actions. There have been many times where I’ve been screwed over by a Sportsmetal off-turn trigger, an Audacity, or just an empty HQ. Ultimately, these factors make me believe that Lat is slightly worse than those competitive Shaper powerhouses for the time being. However, if he’s given a few more hand manipulation cards - just enough to enable him to fire his ability 90%+ of the time - he has the potential to become the best Shaper in the game.
P.S. I don’t recommend playing this guy in Eternal.