System Update - Startup Review!

Sneakdoor Beta is a card, that in startup at least, I think will excite a lot of new players before they use it and realize that while it is not bad, it is not necessarily as amazing as it looks at first glance, requiring a reasonable amount of support to reach it's full potential, and in Startup, that support might not be enough. The dream here is the corp spends lots of time icing up HQ, they think they're super safe and have lots of agendas in hand, when the runner slams this down and then gets into HQ 3 times for free, getting all of the agendas. This is a beautiful dream of course, and not impossible, but I think not really as likely as one would hope. Since I'm starting off so negatively, let's look at some cons first.

Cost: 4 is not a super high cost, but it's not a cheap card you can casually throw down. It'll probably have to be done with at least a little bit of planning. 2 is a pretty high cost as well, and even late game will crowd your memory, unless you've got your full suite of DZMZ Optimizers out.

Click to Run: Click to run cards can be pretty good. Red Team is a pretty useful tool early on for runners. However, I'd say that for that the economy is more important - you're getting 3 creds and also potentially getting a sweet access at the same time. However, for Sneakdoor Beta, since you're clicking to run, you're locked out of your nice HQ multi-access, namely Jailbreak and Legwork. You do have Docklands Pass, but you are locked out of those really big amazing HQ runs. And single accesses are downright sad. As a Corp I've giggled when a runner installs this and wastes 3 clicks running HQ when I have no agendas in hand, knowing they can't be sure if they're getting unlucky on their picks or if they're just unlucky overall.

Meta: Startup in general is not a meta which is adverse to icing up Archives. Red Team, Security Testing, Leech all benefit from running an unprotected archives. Corps might even ice up archives before dumping some agendas in their and reshuffling with Spin Doctor, just so it's not totally free. While most corps aren't putting their best ice here, something still taxing might show up, and hey guess what, you're probably running low on space for breakers since you had to install this.

So when is Sneakdoor Beta useful? It really shines when it has other cards along with it that want you to get into HQ, however Startup doesn't have too many of those. Steve Cambridge: Master Grifter is probably the runner happiest to use this, since he now has 2 routes to get into HQ and get a card back, and he can choose the easier path. The aforementioned Docklands Pass also gives you that necessary multi-access. The other two cards which reward the runner for getting into HQ in startup are Lucky Charm and Emergency Shutdown. These can both be powerful effects, and you could set up a turn where you play Sneakdoor -> get the free HQ access -> Derez their Archer -> Run the remote and stop the Anoetic from ending your run to steal the game winning agenda, but that is another beautiful dream that is even more convoluted than the first one.

The other place this can be useful is with Tāo Salonga: Telepresence Magician, since it will usually force at least some kind of ice on Archives, and with Tao's ability you can really start moving the ice around to right where you want it. If HQ is very unsafe since there's now two paths to get in, corps are going to be desperate to install agendas, and shaper has great tools for digging in R&D, and has the DZMZ Optimizers to make this affordable.

Overall, Sneakdoor Beta is a very powerful effect that I think doesn't have the support required to really make it a great card in startup, but in a few cases it can really do some work.

<p>I think any criminal deck that doesn't rely heavily on run events can benefit from Sneakdoor as a 1-of. The possibility of it hitting the table and giving you a turn of 3 free runs into HQ once, or enabling the derez on the scoring remote, either of those scenarios can win a close game - the first is aided by the pass and the second requires the shutdown. Another card you didn't consider is <a href="/en/card/11063">The Gauntlet</a>. But, I hear you say, that's anti-synergy! No, no - it's sideways synergy. It is mind games. The corp has a limited number of ICE in the deck. Where are they gonna put them? Pile them up on HQ? If you get through anyway, Gauntlet gives you big multi-access. Spread them out? Then it's easier for you to go in directly. If you have both the glove and the back door, whatever the corp picks is wrong. Essentially, the two combined make the older review's "operation twizzling fist" even more effective.</p> —
<p>My reviews only consider the Startup cardpool. And I'd be wary of just splashing it in since you'll need to make sure you can support the MU for it - if you're using any programs past 3 breakers (with console) you'll have a problem.</p> —
<p>It's not the powerhouse it once was, maybe, but it's still enormous out of Steve and Zahya.</p> —

System Update - Startup Review!

Legwork is a card with a powerful effect that really competes for slots in a Startup deck. Looking at 3 cards in HQ is really quite nice, since it means it's more likely than not that if there is an agenda in there, you will get to see it. You'll also get to see most of the corp's upcoming gameplan. Downside is that it costs 2creds, 2 influence, and if you only look at a bunch of ice it doesn't actually give you much information. Also if the corp is only sitting at 3 cards, it's more access than is even necessary.

Your main competitors are Docklands Pass and Jailbreak. The pass can actually combo really well with legwork, letting you see a whopping 4 cards, which can be great if you feel the corp is getting Agenda screwed or is really planning something big next turn. However, getting that persistent additional HQ access is probably worth more to most decks than a slightly larger burst access turn. Jailbreak is a more interesting comparison. You're getting to access one less card, in exchange for drawing a card if successful, the run being free, and having the flexibility to target either HQ or R&D, and costing no influence. It's a lot of advantages to Jailbreak, and I would most decks who are interested in getting additional multi-access to go for Jailbreak first, and then Docklands Pass. However, it's hard to beat the sheer burst access of Legwork, so I would except many runners to still run a copy alongside the above mentioned tools, especially in run heavy event decks like Ken "Express" Tenma: Disappeared Clone, or in Zahya Sadeghi: Versatile Smuggler where the extra access will pay for themselves, making this card free.

Outside of crim, this card can be useful in Anarch who's going trash heavy with René "Loup" Arcemont: Party Animal and/or Imp, really robbing the corp of some options. Generally I wouldn't except to see it too much in shaper, where you have lots of excellent R&D multi-access tools, and would expect for runners to spend their 2 influence on the pass and using jailbreak over this.

As a startup player, every runner should be aware of Saisentan. It has the honor of being the only card in Startup that, with no setup, can flatline an unsuspecting runner with 5 cards in grip. Yes you need to have at least 3 of a card type in hand to make that possible, but that's not really that unlikely, especially if you're running a specialty runner like Az McCaffrey: Mechanical Prodigy or Ken "Express" Tenma: Disappeared Clone. But what are the odds of being flatlined? If you were curious like me, the math is: Assuming the corp picks the 'correct' card type: 3 Same type in hand - 10% chance of being flatlined 4 Same type in hand - 40% chance of being flatlined 5 Same type in hand - 100% chance....

Seeing the above math, and the fact that the minimum is 3 net damage, and you're often worried about being low on cards against Jinteki, it's clear this ice is meant to be a punishment for runners face checking random ice with no breakers, or basically an ETR against runners who don't have a killer installed (just, this ice ETR by killing the runner. Which will do it). You can even cheekily get some damage on runners who think they are safe putting a Botulus or Boomerang on this and running.

So how does Saisentan do when the runner has the killer? In startup, it's okay. Basically every killer is breaking for 3 creds. Bukhgalter gets through with 4 but their rebate brings to 2, and Afterimage also spends 2. Odore pays 5 if they don't have their virtual friends, and Echelon has to pay 6 if it's by itself. None of these are terrible deals, but really you're looking for an unprepared runner facechecking this. And that's why runner friends, always be aware of your face.

<p>&lt;B&gt;Saisentan significantly affects runner calculations on how dangerous an unrezzed ice could be&lt;/b&gt;. If they get surprised by Saisentan and don't have a method to break most of its subroutines, they will probably lose or at least take a devastating amount of net damage. &lt;Br&gt;&lt;Br&gt;If the runner knows/suspects your deck has Saisentan, all of your unrezzed ice look scary early on, enabling high-value early plays. &lt;b&gt;This ability to act boldly early makes Saisentan very valuable.&lt;/b&gt; It fights very well against most of the cards a runner might use to break an unknown ice early (e.g. Boomerang, Engolo, and Botulus), so a turn 1 Rashida will probably work out for you even if they do think they have a way inside. It's also the perfect rez cost (5) to deter early Diversion of Funds plays if you have an unrezzed ice on HQ. &lt;br&gt;&lt;Br&gt;After the runner has a killer, it usually costs 3 to break Saisentan, which is reasonable for a 5 cost ice. MKUltra costs 6 to fully break Saisentan, which is excellent ice efficiency.</p> —

This just in! Tomorrow's Headline makes big waves TODAY!

CAVEATS: I am a new player brought in from System Gateway, playing the Starter Format, and only deck building with cards from Gateway + System Update. I've also been jamming and having the most fun with NBN: Reality Plus.

PROS: - It's a 3/2 Agenda with an ability. In Startup, that honor is restricted to the One Of Agendas released per Corporation. In NBN we also have Project Beale, but that ability is that we can treat it as a 5/3 Agenda if we have the time, which I don't count. - It is an Ambush! Glad to see the runner getting punished for taking your agenda.
- It is a way of getting a runner a tag on your turn. There's not too many ways to do this in Startup - Public Trail and Orbital Superiority are the only other ways. This is really useful if you're running tag punishment and want to make sure it connects. It also can be nice if you're running NBN: Reality Plus - and want to get more triggers.

CONS:
-It can be a little bit tricky to use the tag you're generating offensively. Putting one counter on it early and then advancing twice, scoring, and using your last to trash a resource or play a Retribution isn't too difficult, but you're unlikely to get to live the Orbital Superiority dream. Seamless Launch exists and is only two influence so it's not impossible, unless you're under no pressure and can afford to advance several agendas.
- It's a one of. It's a good sign when a problem with a card is that I can't have more of it. Though because of this, your opponent isn't going to be playing around it in an NBN deck, which is also great if you want to pop in some other ambushes....

Overall, this is a great card. I think every NBN card in Startup should run this, unless you're doing something extremely specific, or just don't want to put good cards in your deck.

Funhouse is some jank.

Let me give some context for myself - I am a new player brought in from System Gateway, playing the Starter Format, and only deck building with cards from Gateway + System Update. I've also been jamming and having the most fun with NBN: Reality Plus. However, I wanted to put out some thoughts on this card since I figured few other people would.

PROS:

-It's a 4 Strength Code Gate, so we're above Buzzsaw.
-It has an on encounter trigger, which is really valuable in a format with Botulus, Boomerang, and just wealthy, kitted out runners.
-Runners hate tags, and since you're probably putting this with NBN: Reality Plus, you're getting value back if they hit it.
-Startup doesn't have a lot of options for putting multiple tags on things outside of AMAZE Amusements (which requires an Agenda to be stolen), so with Funhouse you have some options for plays involving Psychographics
-Look at that long tongued purple man! What a guy.

CONS:
-Expensive. With a rez cost of 5, you need to be in a pretty comfortable position if you're going to be rezzing Funhouse. Which could be okay if....
-Terrible Facecheck. An unprepared runner hitting this basically always going to end the run right away. Which I guess, I want from my ice? But not for a rez of 5 - I want that to hurt them. So for facecheck -> they chose to end the run with some pain I would much rather use Whitespace, or Enigma or Ping. Since it's so expensive we might as well also compare it to Tollbooth, which is more expensive with a whopping 8 but will at least cost the runner 3 .
-Doesn't actually stop a dedicated runner from getting into your server. Ignoring whether they can break your ice or not, a runner doesn't actually need any tools to get past Funhouse, and they'll just get away with 2 tags. So Funhouse is definitely not going to stop anyone from stealing the game winning agenda. In this way we're comparing unfavorably to something like Karunā, which doesn't necessarily stop the runner, but the runner will need to load up on resources early to get through. For Funhouse, if they're running first click they can recover from their run with some credits and extra clicks (depending on how the got through the subroutine).

So where does this leave Funhouse? Because of the cost and bad facecheck, it's a really bad early game rez. And since it's not keeping anyone out, it's not a super protective ice like the Tollbooth or a Pharos. So we need to use it somewhere in the middle game - and it can be okay here. Since runners aren't going to want to take the tag, this can be a decent defense for early advancing agendas, if you can keep the economy to rez it and advance, especially against some of those aforementioned non icebreakers. . Finally, since it is so porous, it can be a really good bluff ice in front of an ambush - nothing like making your opponent run through a Funhouse to then pick up an Urtica Cipher. Overall, there are probably better ice unless you have a very specific gameplan, or you are trying to tech specifically against Botulus and Boomerang.

<p>Being tagged during a run can be noxious to the Runner. Data Raven had its spot back at the time, and Funhouse is obviously designed to occupy the same one. But without the Trace mechanic.</p> —
<p>One of these in front of a Quantum Predictive Model is pretty great.</p> —