Running the Nets for Fun and Profit – What Lies Ahead for Criminals

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.

Love him.


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  1. #1 by A Rogue on December 31, 2012 - 1:03 pm

    Bleh. Found the chart this morning and this is what I get for running my mouth late at night.

    Peacock, against the existing Code Gates, is only very, very marginally worse then ZU.13 (losing vs Viktor and Enigma and winning vs Tollbooth). Given that Viktor is reasonably safe to ignore at the moment, this means that the two breakers are fairly even, with the main difference being in Influence (In Faction vs 2), cost to play (3 vs 1), and where it is likely to cost more (early vs late).

    Now. I’ll need to actually do some reexamination of ZU.13 vs Peacock as a result, but I’m still inclined to say that ZU.13 may still remain a better in choice in super aggressive decks (which can have the 2 credit cost difference and 1 extra vs Engima) actually matter.

    For anyone interested in the chart (an amazing resource) just follow this link:

    And thank Rob Dixon for his excellent work.

    • #2 by Tucker on January 1, 2013 - 5:42 pm

      Yeah, ZU.13 is a great codebreaker, and Peacock is clearly the worst of the existing codebreakers… but in my current deck, and with the current cardpool, the difference isn’t great enough for me to justify the influence cost.

      (It wouldn’t surprise me if eventually every faction has two of each type of breaker: a 1 MU ‘standard’ and a 2MU ‘super.’ I base this theory entirely on the existence of Gordian Blade and Morningstar.)

      • #3 by Tucker on January 2, 2013 - 9:15 am

        … and now that I’m awake I can remember that it’s Battering Ram that’s the Shapers’ 2 MU breaker, not Gordian Blade. Feh. So maybe each faction will get a big Barrier breaker?

      • #4 by cetiken on January 3, 2013 - 5:17 pm

        I think its rather that each faction is inherently good and bad angainst a specific type of ice. IE criminals are Good vs Sentry and Bad vs Codegates.

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