I was writing a short response back to someone on reddit and I recalled some of the cards from the prior NetRunner version that are present in the newer version, yet some perform different things, even to the point of one previous Runner card now a Corporation card. So, I thought I’d write up a short comparison of the different cards, examine what changed (other than the art), and perhaps why. I’ve probably forgotten more than one, especially with the new set out that I haven’t gone through very thoroughly yet. This is more of an exercise in catching up some younger players that aren’t familiar with the older cards, along with re-living some of the glory days of NetRunner.
Without Further Ado…
The Imp underwent a bit of a change, but nothing terrifically dramatic. Once upon a time it was something of a mini-Djinn. The new Imp, however, is a virus that allows the runner to trash cards accessed out of R&D or Headquarters. Perhaps with a smaller cardset, another Daemon isn’t really needed at this time. This is a really unusual decision, given how the viruses are already well represented. The closest card like the current Imp from the previous set would have been a combination of Garbage In and Crumble. Given how convoluted those are, I’m glad they combined and simplified for the new Imp card.
The Snowball program barely changed at all. The special ability remains the same. But, it’s been switched from a Sentry breaker to a Wall breaker and the price dropped significantly while only taking a hit of 1 strength reduction. I’m glad they kept the special ability the same, though it’s a bit of a wonder as to why they switched it from a Sentry breaker to a Wall breaker. Of course, the Wall ICE in the new Netrunner aren’t quite as serious as the old Netrunner yet, so we’ll have to see how this plays out.
3. Ice Wall/Wall of Ice
Speaking of Walls, here we see an example of old ICE going by almost the exact same name, yet being almost completely different. About the only two things these pieces of ICE have in common is that they’re Walls. The new Ice Wall is a 1 cost, 1 strength Wall with one “End the Run” subroutine that is advanceable for more strength. The previous version, Wall of Ice, was a beast costing 13 credits to rez, a strength of 6, and 4 sub routines. This was definitely something you did NOT want to run into without some kind of protection. The older NetRunner was so punishing, Dropp was used quite frequently to save your ass when things got too hot.
4. Anonymous Tip
Anonymous Tip is probably the most seriously changed card from the old Netrunner to the new version. Once upon a time, it was a way for Runners to destroy Black Ice, some of the most expensive and dangerous ICE in the older Netrunner which doesn’t exist as such in the new Netrunner as of yet. Here’s an example, though. Now, however, it’s the Corporation’s version of Diesel. I’m not exactly sure why this happened either, as it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Perhaps it’s just an odd coincidence that FFG chose the name of an old Netrunner card. This is what the card was called in the previous Netrunner version.
This was a bit of a stretch, but it seems pretty clear that these are the same card. They are almost identical, but with some interesting functional differences. The cost is the same to install in both versions. The payoff is almost as good, 10 for the old and 9 for the new. The older version was clearly a one use only Resource, while the new version is multi-use. There is likely a very good reason for this. It’s a difference that I’ve noticed before in Archer. In the previous Netrunner, you could sacrifice individual Agenda points. This is something they decided to change for the newer version, instead of sacrificing a singular Agenda point (which can get confusing, I’ll admit). All Agenda sacrifices are now complete Agenda cards. Given that you now sacrifice a complete card, then the balance is restored by allowing the Data Broker to be used multiple times.
6. Wall of Static
This is a good example of a card that just barely changed between the previous version and the current version of the game. I’m not sure why FFG decided to increase the strength to 3 from 2, but given the smaller set, I think it makes this piece of a ICE a little more potent out of the gate.
7. Closed Accounts
This is a card that survived in tact, with only the art work changing between versions. This is a really good, solid card that can punish the runner for letting a tag stay on them. I don’t think there’s anything really special here, just a core card that everyone at FFG seemed to think was right where it belonged.
8. Power Grid Overload
The Power Grid Overload was used somewhat sparingly in the original Netrunner, as all the really nice stuff you wanted to destroy was cybernetics (aside from that pesky Armored Fridge). However, in ANR, the Power Grid Overload is just a little bit different and I think it fits a bit more thematically. The more exactly you know the runner’s location (trace over link), the more power you can channel directly at them in order to remove that piece of equipment. I would’ve liked to have seen the restriction on cybernetics kept in place, even if purely for thematic reasons.
9. Scorched Earth
Another great example of a card that didn’t change at all from the previous version to the current version. Tag and Bag really didn’t need much work, it was a very solid mechanic and play style previously and it still is in the new version, though it’s effectively restricted to two factions, mainly.
10. Red Herrings
Yet another example of a card that survived the transition in Netrunner versions. This card was probably one of my all time favorites to use in Netrunner, and I still enjoy using it in the current version as well, when I can afford the two influence splash. This does strike me as more of a Jinteki card than NBN, but there are a few cards like that out there. But, if all the tricky stuff was ONLY in Jinteki, I can see how that would get boring. There does need to be a little ‘leakage’ between corporations.
11. Demolition Run
Demolition Run was dropped from the top of the nerf tree and seems to have hit every branch all the way down. Initially with a very high cost (4 bits, 3 tags, no cards accessed), this card could destroy an entire data fort worth of rezzed ICE (that’s a server for all you weefles). Now, it’s strictly upon Headquarters or R&D, and it allows you to trash any cards accessed. With the new virus on the scene that allows you to access extra cards in HQ, this card isn’t quite as bad as it was before Cyber Exodus.
12. The Personal Touch
The Personal Touch almost survives untouched, but in this case, there is actually a cost reduction! That is probably to account for the fact that it is now an actual piece of hardware, rather than an Event (Prep) card previously. I’m all right with that change, though I could easily have seen keeping it exactly as-is, just investing more time on a piece of software to change it in some way.
13. Test Spin / Test Run
This card went through a few interesting changes. First, it costs two more than previously, though it does enable you to search through your stack OR heap now whereas the earlier version was strictly your stack. Previously, the card would essentially let you use the program for one run, then shuffle it back into your stack, punishing you rather heftily if the program wasn’t installed by the time the run ended. The newer version is much more forgiving, flexible and useful. As noted above, it searches stack and heap. It lets you use the program for the entire turn, and at the end of the turn the program is put on top of the stack instead of shuffled back in. Though this is somewhat expensive in clicks, it can definitely make the difference during a key turn in the game, and setting you up for your next turn as well. I definitely agree with what they’ve done to improve and change this card.
14. Liberated Savings Account
Liberated Savings Account and Liberated Account are very similar cards, with a few key differences. In the Proteus expansion for Netrunner, a new type of resource type was introduced that allowed the runner to have a few secrets of their own : Hidden Resources. Perhaps these types of resources are on the horizon for the ANR runner as well. The Liberated Account of ANR is not much different than the Armitage Codebusting, just with faction and influence cost. It addressed a good weakness of the Anarch at the time, having no in-faction credit generation above and beyond the neutral Armitage Codebusting.
15. Fetal AI
Another example of a card that changed very little from its previous version. The Agenda point value of the new Fetal AI was reduced to 2 from 3, likely because there is no way to regulate the rarity of the card. Fetal AI was a rare card in the original set. Given that everyone has equal access to it now, it seems fairly correct to lower the Agenda point value.
Hunter also saw very little change from the previous version of Netrunner to the current one. The rez cost was lowered from 2 to 1, and the strength was likewise lowered by one point, from 5 to 4. This is likely due to the fact that FFG changed the way the Trace mechanic worked. Previously, the Trace value on the card was the limit for that trace attempt.
I’ve probably missed a few cards out there, especially since the new pack came out in the midst of my writing up this post. But, there’s a little trip down memory lane for those of us who have been playing Netrunner for quite some time, as well as showing off some of the other cards that used to be to the newer players that haven’t seen them before, possibly. For my next post, I’ll likely be looking at some of the other mechanics previously used in Netrunner to attempt a little Precognition of my own to see what else may be in our future.