After my last review where I lambasted my least favorite Runner ID, I thought maybe go back and visit a card I really like. And that card is everyone's favorite guardian: Aumakua. Fun bit of trivia: an aumakua (pronounced oh-mah-KOO-ah) is, according to Hawaiian folklore, a guardian deity of one's family. One of the forms it can take is everyone's favorite turtle program.

I absolutely love Aumakua. Not because it's exceedingly strong (it can become the juggernaut if the Corp doesn't purge), or because it's incredibly cheap (1 per subroutine is pretty good, especially for a 3 install). I don't play Criminal all that often, either, but it isn't because of influence (1 influence is incredibly cheap). So why do I love Aumakua? Because it's one of the first cards I saw during my first game.

Bit of story time. At my LGS, the January before the announcement of Jacking Out, I made the mistake of picking up the Core Set of L5R. While looking for people to play against at my LGS, I came across some people playing Netrunner. Curious, I stopped to watch the game, and after a few rounds, I asked if I could play. One guy, let's call him J, let me borrow a Valencia Estevez deck. I don't remember the entire deck setup, but there were two cards that stood out: Maw and an fan-made alt-art of Aumakua he had gotten from eBay (sleeved, obviously). The turtle stuck with me, and as soon as I got my copy of the (original) core set, I picked up Crimson Dust and Daedalus complex, making a Noise deck with Aumakua, not realizing Noise was rotated. During my early days, I would try to slot Aumakua in wherever because I liked the card. If NISEI wanted to print their own promo art for Aumakua, I'm sure I'd buy it in a heartbeat, all because it's the card that got me into Netrunner in the first place.

I hate this ID so much. Leela is the bane of my existence when I play Corp. The first time I encountered her, I was playing a Sportsmetal deck I lifted from here called "Real Fake Points". I got swept badly. In addition, a friend of mine who I play against on J-Net continuously uses a No-Run Leela deck. As in he doesn't run, he simply relies on three Gang Signs, three Fisk Investment Seminars and three HQ Interfaces. To be perfectly honest, I feel that Leela's ability is a crutch for new players. Bringing Gabe back in the System Core was a good idea, but you couldn't save Andy or Steve? To be perfectly honest, I was hoping she'd rotate out with Lunar. Maybe I have such strong feelings about her because I don't play Asset Spam, but I still feel that Leela is too strong in any game state. Maybe I should start adding some copies Cerebral Static... Oh, wait, that's gone.

<p>I don't feel as strong about Leela, but boy is it a bad matchup with sportsmetal. In my experience you want to avoid the draw reward from sportsmetal scoring once gang signs hit the table. But your in deep waters even then. A run focused Leela is still a lot of fun for beginner players in my mind in a similar fashion that sportsmetal is funnily enough. If your opponent steals/scores you get a bonus. Ain't that nice :)</p> —
<p>I think Leela’s ability by itself it not a terrible problem. It can be strong, but it also helps keep the pacing of the game if the Corp has a strong FA strategy. The problem is when people pair her ability and make a “no run” deck. That idea goes against the whole idea of Netrunner and playing a Runner. These are decks made by “Spike” players and they usually foster NPE. I completely get that feeling as it is prevalent in all deck building games, although LCG’s tend to suffer from it less than CCG’s, where Spike players are encouraged to break the game for everyone else.</p> —
<p>That deck is frustrating to lose against, but it's plenty beatable. You just need to go fast and take some calculated risks. I think that every corp deck needs a rush mode, and I'm happy that runner archetypes exist to enforce that necessity. My main criticism of Leela is that she is enormously high variance, so when she goes from 'lucky snipe' to 'ruining your whole day' it can feel extremely unfair. That said, I actually think she's fine.</p> —

The easiest thing to compare this to is Clone Chip. Both are 1 install hardware that allow a program install from your heap. If he wasn't rotated, I bet the Exile would have fun with it. Anyways, with Clone Chip now gone, we have this to take its place. The first notable difference is the additional cost. Whereas Clone Chip is a flat to install for cost, this costs 3 less, but in order to use it, a program has to have been trashed this turn in order to fire off; otherwise, you have to trash a program. If you have a disposable program, such as a Kyuban on a piece of ice you can no longer feasibly get to or an SMC when you have your full suite out, then Simulchip is the chip for you. Otherwise, the best time to use it is after dealing with or recovering from a trash subroutine or operation, such as Enforcer 1.0 or Trojan Horse. In addition, if you're running bounce programs, like Lady, Gauss or Euler, this could be useful for a reinstall.

My thoughts on this hardware? Personally, I like Clone Chip better, simply because of its flat "install for cost". You could see this as a better version of Clone Chip if you have a lot of disposable programs, but I tend not to do that. However, Simulchip does give the option to save a program after having to trash it from a Corp card. However, if I need to recur something like SMC, I'd prefer to not waste the 3 less on it. 0 or 1 programs are probably better as fodder for this if you can spare it. Otherwise, this is a more reactive hardware to be used after the Corp tries to shut you down.

Well, Cpt_Nice beat me to it, but I'll say it as well: This is Cloak, but better. When I first saw this card, I dismissed it. I wasn't paying attention at the time; I was at work and it was way too cold to check my phone without killing the battery. When I got a good look at it, I realized it fulfilled the same role as Afterimage: fill a niche emptied by rotation.

So why is this better than Cloak? Same install cost, same memory unit cost, same amount of recurring credits. However, unlike Cloak, this lets you pay for programs and hardware. In other words, you're not limited to just using it to fire off icebreakers. Cloak was limited to just your icebreakers, but this has so much more utility.

On the bright side, I'm ahead of Cpt_Nice on something: I've already slotted Mantles into my Smoke deck.

I guess I wasn't expecting this to be saved from rotation. It's nice to see some of the older cards get saved and given a new lick of paint, so thanks for that, Nisei. I don't have a lot to say about Cerebral Overwriter, except that I think this version has a much cooler artwork. Nicely done, Krembler.