Reviews for this keep calling it a draw card, and it just isn't. It costs 2 to draw and play this, which you could have just used to draw two cards the regular way. (This isn't quite true if you draw it using some other effect, but even then it could have been some other card).

The trade-off for this card is therefore that it moderately delays your draw in favour of making it slightly more filtered. That's, erm, only very slightly better than nothing. Then again, it is better than nothing, which made me think BbD would be an auto-include for most crim decks when I first saw it. Why wouldn't you want free filtering, and an effectively slightly smaller deck to boot? The answer is that the delay to your draw is more noticeably annoying than you'd think. Starting your turn with BbD in hand, or drawing into it, effectively means it will cost you a to see your options for the turn, and although it's paying for itself in terms of long term economy, it's making your short-term options more of a faff. In a game where a single can make the difference between snatching the winning agenda and not, the negative impact of this card is far more memorable than its benefit.

That said, I think there's a more human reason why BbD isn't seen more often. Keeping runner decks down to size is hard. If your deck is 42 cards + 3 BbD, the odds are you can think of a ton of other things that can go in those slots. Although it's a valid argument that small decks are good, so a virtual 42 cards is better than an actual 45, in reality it's psychologically difficult to devote three slots to cards that do little more than replace themselves when there is so much cool stuff you could be playing instead.

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Given that it comes in the same virtual box as Jack Howard Jr. it's easy to overlook or write off Sprint. A lot of people are excited/apalled/conflicted about the former card, and with good reason; J-How Snr. was absurdly good. Every competitive deck played him, to the extent that his influence cost outside of NBN was referred to as 'the Jackson tax'. This was exacerbated by the fact that someone, somewhere, had decreed that the type of agenda burying Jackson offered was a part of the yellow colour pie, meaning that all of the (worse) alternatives were yellow too. This idea was eventually dropped, but FFG hadn't learned their lesson about the value of recursion into R&D for the corp. This led to horrible mistakes like Museum of History, and the less egregious, but still eventually banned Whampoa Reclamation. With this history, it's no surprise that this is a controversial area of the game's design space.

But this is a new era, and System Gateway shows an appreciation of the lessons learned from the FFG years. The fact is that Jackson-like effects allow corps much-needed space to breathe, and enable more flexible deck-building choices. As long as their power is appreciated, it's a good thing that they exist. Accordingly, three out of four corps get an agenda hiding tool among the cards which will define them going forward. There's the afforementioned Spin Doctor, Jinteki's new unique 3/2, Longevity Serum, and this card. Weyland's lack of a tool like this in Gateway subtly nods towards the fact that it's always had Rush as part of its identity, and if it does want these tools, the splashable options are only an influence each. In standard, it also has the entirely playable Drudge Work.

So, with all of that preamble out of the way, let's compare Sprint to Spin Doctor. In terms of the raw numbers of what you get, Sprint is better in some ways. Spin Doctor draws two and recurs two. Sprint draws three and buries two. The biggest difference, of course, is that Spin Doctor recurs from archives, while Sprint buries from HQ. If you're using these powers to fight agenda flood in HQ, that means to use Spin Doctor you'll have to draw and discard down, and in that case Sprint's numbers mean that it's superior. Spin Doctor offers a lot more flexibility however. Having it installed face down gives you a two-card draw that you can trigger in any rez window. Once it's rezzed, you can fire its recursion instantly too, meaning you can throw agendas into archives and wait for the runner to go their before you shuffle them away, just like the Jackson of old. It can also be used to recur non-agenda cards, like Anoetic Void, which it has horrifyibgly good synergy with, or fast advance tools.

For these reasons, if you're splashing for one of these tools, you're almost always going to choose Spin Doctor. But in faction there's a few reasons to consider Sprint. Apart from its marginal but undeniable superiority for the one job it does, there's also the fact that, being an operation, it doesn't have a trash cost. This means it doesn't die out of R&D, which could potentially offer the runner another access there, and once it's in HQ it's likely to be there until you need it. It's also worth looking at the ID it comes with in System Gateway: Precision Design. There's a couple of reasons why PD in particular likes Sprint. Firstly, it already has recursion from archives on the ID, so Spin Doctor's power is less needed. Secondly, its extra handsize means it can draw harder. This makes it easier to hold onto Sprint until you want it (it also mitigates agenda flood when you're drawing to find Sprint, but that would work just as well if you were drawing for a Spin Doctor).

In conclusion, Sprinting is usually worse than Spinning, but it's closer than you might think. Also, more generally, the sky is not falling. The existence and playability of cards like Sprint is testament to the fact that we are not returning to the days of orange waistcoats and stuffed toys.

I think this card is a sleeper. The fact that it's a 4/2 that isn't Nisei MK II makes it easy to discount, but it has a lot of upsides. First of all, it's 5 cards, which is a good boost to your economy. The reveal effect is slightly annoying, and clearly only there to create a slightly artificial-feeling synergy with the Hyoubu Institute: Absolute Clarity, but you can live with it. The counter mechanic means you can pull the cards as you need them. It's not Corporate Sales Team, but it's still a significant pace advantage.

Then there's the shenanigans. As Ip87 has already pointed out, you can use this to trap the top of R&D on demand. It's not really a 'mind games' effect though, as you can fire it in the window after the runner has committed to accessing. I actually think that Jinteki trap decks would be more fun with lower variance, and this supports a move in that direction. It's more 'if I have a trap in HQ, the runner will hit it', with a consolation prize of ensuring the top of R&D is safe even if you fire speculatively and draw drunk. You can also use it to clean/trap HQ in a similar way, although given that the only place you can 'hide' agendas is on top of R&D that's often not going to be a flawless plan. I guess you could argue that's where the mind games come in. Or you could just drop an Anansi over R&D.

Another very notable synergy with this card is Political Dealings. By firing it on the runner's last click, you can stack an agenda on top of your deck to set up a reliable fast advance. This makes PolDeals a much more viable card, as you can drop it among your shell game servers and rez it only when you know the fast advance is on. This makes it comparable to a Biotic Labor, except that now the runner has to spend resources trashing it.

All of this means that Flower Sermon belongs in an entirely different deck to Nisei. Sermon gives you pace, while Nisei supports a slow, grindy game. Sermon helps with fast advance trickes while Nisei wants you to play a bunch of ice. That means that arguably, the agendas Sermon is actually up against are Fetal AI and Project Yagi-Uda. The first may be better if you're doubling down on death and don't see yourself scoring agendas that can't be never-advanced. The latter has its own, more obvious synergy with fast advance and shell games - simply being a 3/2.

This makes Flower Sermon a bit of a puzzle. It's not as good as Nisei in the Jinteki decks that are currently thought of as strong. That's why I think it's a sleeper. It will need a slightly novel deck archetype to succeed. I hope someone works it out.

<p>The synergy with Political Dealings is very real. Especially with Medical Breaktrough and Project Yagi Uda. Also note the INSANE number of 5 COUNTERS! If you don't have the influence for Daily Buisness Show in your Jinteki horizontal deck this might be a usefull tool.</p> —
<p></p> —
<p>I mean, it is weird to say Nat 2nd deck is not strong enough. It is an Anti-Apocalypse card too. Only if you use snare, though.</p> —

I've played Lat a fair bit, and I wanted to offer the flipside of BlackCherries' review. To be clear, I think that review is a valid way of thinking about him, but rather than go over the same points, I'm just going to make a strong argument for the opposite analysis so hopefully the reviews will function as yin and yang.

I think Lat is a good vanilla ID, and the best way to play him is not to worry about his ability too much. Play a standard shaper deck with plenty of events and other easily playable cards, and triggering his ability is really not that hard. There's no need to include special combos, just get used to the fact that most turns the corp's handsize will dictate how many times you draw and how many cards you play out. This is generally not that onerous, and if it is you can just sacrifice your bonus card for a turn.

The corp might choose to do weird handsize things to faff with your ability. That's fine; they usually hurt themselves more than they hurt you. Go ahead and let them play as if they have zero handsize if they want. They're really showing you.

I agree that The Artist is a good card for Lat, but I'd like to highlight the other ability. The option to spend a spare for 2 is good because Lat's ability often leaves you wanting to burn a click without drawing (generally this is a parity problem; it happens when your handsize is even and the corp's odd, or vice versa).

Playing Lat as a vanilla shaper makes Hayley Kaplan the obvious comparison. Both give click compression at the cost of some faff. I won't deny that Hayley is better, but Lat has some advantages. Early on, he feels much smoother - you're not scratting round for s to fire your double installs. And he can play events without them getting in his way too much. I think these factors give him a slightly faster early game. Then there's his . That is very much not nothing at the moment, as IP Blocks and similar are still a common sight, and even taxing the corp a credit when they Hard-Hitting News you can prove crucial.

But Lat's biggest advantage over Hayley is one that goes outside pure strategic analysis. He simply takes much less brain space for the player. I took him to a small tournament for that reason and he was solid. I firmly believe that not having to process all Hayley's combos and options helped me to avoid burnout during the later rounds.

I prefer Symmetrical Visage to ProCo. It drops onto the table much more easily, and Lat's draws are a pretty big nombo with ProCo's 'I'm planning to spend half my s drawing' ethos.

A much hated card, now banned. It may be a little perverse to review a card that's now literally unplayable, but I'd like to offer a brief retrospective. A lot of people said Rumor Mill was badly designed. The argument ran like this: it's a very strong effect with no counter-play. It just shuts down the Corp, no questions asked. I think that's wrong for two reasons. Firstly, Rumor Mill was the counter play. It hated on a relatively small number of cards that happened to be very strong. Hate cards need to be above the curve against then strategies they target or they're worthless. Secondly, there were still options for the Corp. They could play their own current, or find a fast advance to kill it. That's counter play right there. Granted Rumor Mill guaranteed an access past Ash, Caprice or Marcus Batty but that's what never advance is for. There was even a hard counter of sorts, The News Now Hour.

The real problem with Rumor Mill was the context it was printed in. Starting with the Mumbad Cycle, and continuing on through Flashpoint and beyond, the strongest new Corp cards in Netrunner were notably skewed towards asset spam and away from glacier. Horrors like Museum of History, Mumbad City Hall, Mumba Temple and the bloody political assets started this trend, but they weren't the end of it, as deeply unfortunate cards like Friends in High Places and Estelle Moon attest.

Meanwhile, runners became richer and more efficient. The pack that Rumor Mill came in, for instance, upgraded Corroder to Paperclip and also afflicted the meta with Temüjin Contract, the most broken economy card ever printed (that's including Bloo Moose). Smoke and Şifr also both largely invalidated ice in their different ways. All this was bad news for glacier decks. What Rumor Mill did was turn off their last remaining advantage - defensive upgrades. It was a solid kick to the perineum of an already beleaguered archetype. Worst of all, it was the final piece in the Valencia Blackmail spam archetype. Now Val had no need to interact with glacier at all. She just said "no".

The combination of absurdly powerful Runner economy, anti-ice options, and a strong alternative Corp strategy in the form of asset spam, left glacier broken. Rumor Mill was the straw that broke the camel's back. And it was everywhere, because hey, turning off Jackson Howard was always gonna be good. In a different meta, losing the reliability of Ash, Caprice and Marcus might have prompted Corps to explore different options, such as Old Hollywood Grid, but as it was there was really no mood to try out downgraded versions of decks that were already falling behind.

I'd argue that a lot of this situation wasn't really Rumor Mill's fault. You'll note that this review has mentioned a lot of cards that are also now banned or restricted. That's where I'd lay the blame. Caprice and Jackson are now gone. Ash and Marcus are still with us, as is the sleeping giant Sandburg. I don't think it would be awful if Rumor Mill came back in some form to offer a counter to those cards. I realise I'm in a minority here. There's no arguing with the fact that it's strong, so maybe it should be on the restricted list, or reprinted in a weakened form.

I never had a big problem with Rumor Mill (one reason being because I hated Caprice). But you are right, RM along with other broken cards killed glaciers and contributed to those stupid asset spam decks (I had basically stopped playing before the new and wonderful changes that were just implemented). I'd be fine with a new iteration of RM. —
Honestly I don't think we need another iteration. We already have Political Operative, Councilman, Interdiction and Drive By for similar effects. I agree with you; netrunner was becoming unbearable at the time and Rumour Mill was just one of the pieces pushing negative play experiences and strangling the meta. I also agree that Caprice is a terribly designed card and I'm glad she's also gone. —