Sorry guys, this week has been a bit busy (and my playtime has been limited) so I don’t have a huge, in-depth, fancy article this week.
So, instead, I figured I’d talk just a bit about what I feel What Lies Ahead has brought for Criminal players. Please take all of this with a rather large grain of salt, since this is mostly theoretical (again, only really managed a few plays with WLA so far) and first impressions.
1. Cortez Chip: I’m a bit more excited about this card then most and I’ve had some mild success with it so far. Will it hold up as I continue testing? Ehhhhh.
Look, the fact is that Cortez Chip fills a VERY specific niche: it helps hyper-aggressive Criminals continue applying pressure. If you can keep the Corp poor, it has a fair amount of power in cutting off certain pieces of ICE.
The problem is that, quite often, you are going to use it while anticipating certain pieces of ICE and end up wasting it when you turn out to be wrong. Or you’re going to have a bad start, the Corp is going to get cash, and Cortez Chip is going to be dead weight.
So yeah. Not sold one way or the other yet. I can definitely see potential, but it might just be too limited/guesswork dependent.
2. Imp: Well… Criminal does run HQ a lot? Honestly, I don’t like it much for them. The effect is, admittedly, handy, but Criminal has other tools to deal with problem cards (primarily keeping the Corp poor). I saw some very fierce Criminal w/ Anarch splash, but that was mostly banking on the strength of Parasite to pressure the Corps forts heavily.
Yeah, I just don’t see it at the moment.
3. Morning Star: Yeah. No. We’re criminals, not barbarians.
4. Peacock: It is an in faction Decoder! That provides inherent value! Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding that blasted chart that lists general costs for Icebreakers vs specific ICE, so I’m having trouble remembering exactly how good it is! I think the general assessment is that 2 to break subroutines sucks and causes some odd problems against lower end Code Gates, but the higher end Code Gates have it off-set by virtue of the uneven 2 Credit – +3 Strength boost. I’ll double check this one at some point, but I actually don’t like it as much as the other new decoder from WLA.
5. Plascrete Carapace: Stylish as all hell and pretty much completely pointless in Criminal. It does have unique uses, but I feel Decoy or Crash Space, in general, are superior options.
6. Spinal Modem: Not convinced that I’d run it over Desperado. I find myself opting to lose Traces a lot, so this would not be a good choice. I just don’t see it finding a place in Criminal where you can deal with losing a surprising amount of Traces with minimal repercussions normally.
7. Helpful AI: Pretty cool in my book, but it is definitely the card I’ve thought least about in WLA. I need to fix that, because he is pretty damn awesome.
8. ZU.13 Key Master: I love this guy. He is fantastic. While Gordian Blade (with its annoying 3 Influence), Yog (which can’t be boosted naturally), and Peacock (which costs 2-4 to break Enigma and 6 to break Viktor) have their strong points and uses, I just prefer the flexibility offered by ZU.13. Additionally, his super cheat cost is fantastic in very aggressive decks where it can sometimes be hard to drop a bunch of credits just to get a breaker into play.
Seriously. ZU.13 is my favorite card out of WLA. He is gold.