Mala Tempora: In Depth

med_reina-roja-freedom-fighter-mala-temporaMala Tempora is latin for “bad times”.  Bad times for who? The game’s runners I think – because the corporations got the best of this pack, cards 41-60 of the Spin Cycle. Here are my thoughts on the cards in this latest data pack for Android Netrunner, rated on a simple scale of 1-3:

1 – cards I won’t be using anytime soon – deck space is tight
2 – cards that seem to have some utility and are worth experimentation
3 – cards that look promising, may make others obsolescent, and may actually change the game

Reina Roja
I’m always excited when a new Identity comes along, and Reina Roja is worth getting at least a little bit excited about. Unlike the other 2 Anarch identities, Reina comes with 2 bonuses: her +1 cr ice rezzing ability, and +1 link. Of the 10 runner IDs, only 4 of them have 2 bonuses, and of the 3 others, Reina is most like Kate. Kate saves you 1 cr per turn, which is a typical Shaper trait – but Reina makes the corp pay 1cr more per turn. Both involve money, but in different directions; and I for one am eager to have her counter HB’s Engineering the Future ability turn for turn. A decent runner ID. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 3/3  Useful and sexy, RR may obsolete Whizzard, especially with Scrubber in play. Good credit denial and a bonus 1 link to boot.

William: 3/3 Really like her, a solid ability that is always relevant as long as you are running (and if your not…), plus a link never hurts. Good to finally have a solid all around Anarch Runner. Noise’s ability tends to be more a build around and Whizzard is a meta call ID to keep higher trash costs Assets in check.

ffg_deep-red-mala-temporaDeep Red
Consoles are a big deal in Netrunner, and Deep Red is a big deal for the Caissa player. If you’re not going to try Caissa running, then it’s worthless to you- but if you are, then it will deliver. A 2 cr install console with 3 memory for Caissa programs that immediately lets you install them? Yes please. It’s really doing 2 things – giving you memory for your crippling chess pieces, and saving you an action. But you don’t have to use the ability – it says MAY, so you can hold tight for a while if necessary. The +3 mu is a big deal –only Monolith delivers +3 mu as well. And for 2 creds, it’s the cheapest console on the market atm. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 1/3  Obviously only useful in Caissa decks, which I won’t be making given the presence of Isabel McGuire.

William: 2/3 Cheap and low influence is always nice. Anarch consoles are all fairly narrow in scope so theirs not much competition for the console slots in faction. Its use is ultimately tied to how well a heavy Caïssa programs deck will do. I’m unsure the number Caïssa being run before including it, but if I had to guess at least 6-9.

A floating strength 7 AI icebreaker that breaks any subroutine for 2cr is in a word: awesome. It’s 2 influence, 2cr cost makes it one of the most versatile ice breakers in the game. Anyone can use it. What’s not to like? What am I missing here? Right now there are only 2 pieces of ICE that are higher than strength 7, and one of them is bioroid. Of course Jinteki’s Swordsman is a natural foil to this card, so don’t be too eager to put it on unrezzed Jinteki ICE kids. A must for Caissa decks. – Dave: 3/3

Glen: 3/3  Powerful for low cost. Combos well with E3 Feedback Implants. Future possibilities are endless.

William: 3/3  A cheap Strength 7 AI breaker and probably one of the better Caïssa programs, will see play both in faction and out. Just be careful where you leave it hosted.

ffg_running-interference-mala-temporaRunning Interference
For 4 creds, this card has a place in a Criminal deck – and a Criminal deck only – it’s 4 influence to include! This card can shut down a server’s ICE, that is, make a server too expensive to rez and protect. This is a money card – a tax on the corporation – again encouraging corps to play cheaper ICE. When used in tandem with Rook or Reina Roja (+6 creds for those 2 alone!) even 0 cost ICE becomes stupid expensive. It’s 4 cr and 2 click cost could end up saving you a lot of money though. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 1/3  Too expensive for my taste.

William: 2/3  Useful event for sniping off an early agenda or getting through a huge ice fort late game. Even just taxing the corp will have its uses. The timing of when you use it is important and there’s plenty of commonly played ice that just stops it cold. Probably would have been more useful out of faction if not for the high influence.

ffg_expert-schedule-analyzer-mala-temporaExpert Schedule Analyzer
Remember the last time you played Andromeda and used all your mu during the game? Me neither. Why not throw a copy of ESA in your rig and give it a go? How many times have you played a game and your corp opponent said “I started with 3 agendas in my hand, and I drew 2 more after 3 turns.” In this game knowledge is power, and if the corp knows that you know it’s worth it to jackhammer HQ, then he won’t be icing up R&D nearly as fast. It’s a win/win. And it’s a program with a 1cr install cost, so if you’re Criminal, and you’re going to run HQ anyway, why wouldn’t you want to try it? Install it on your Djinn, Anarch boy. Add Lemuria Codecracker for additional card exposing knowledge. It’s becoming more important to expose cards these days. Definitely worth using for an HQ/R&D oriented deck strategy. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  Combine with Indexing or Deep Thought, and you know almost every card in the corp’s hand at all times. Cool.

William: 1/3  Could be useful in some match ups and situations but ultimately is a meta call in its use or potential future combo use. Also HQ is usually well defended against Criminal and I doubt it will be splashed.

ffg_grifter-mala-temporaGrifter : 1/3
It’s a 1 influence card, so you know Lukas wants everyone to try it. But it costs 2 to install and will go away as soon as you don’t make a successful run  in a turn. This card is slowing your momentum for a possible – but not sure – payback. Deck space is tight – no thanks. – Dave: 1/3

Glen: 1/3  Too expensive, disappears easily and you don’t get the credit until your turn is over. Nope.

William: 1/3  Kinda slow to pay off and more of a late game card. Once setup with a full rig it could allow one to keep running every turn along side other running bonuses such Desperado, Datasuckers, etc. I feel it will sit in your hand for too long most of the time when it could be something relevant.

I’m digging Torch, but it’s in a competitive ice breaker category: decoders like Yog, Gordian Blade and even Key Master. If you can swallow the 9cr install cost somehow though, you’ve just installed the best decoder in the game. But can you? As David Sutcliffe points out in his ICE breaking article on The Satellite Uplink, Yog is breaking 80% of the Code Gates corps typically use in competitive settings. Not only that, Gordian Blade’s install cost of 4 will have you ahead in the money game for 2-3 ICE breaks before you’re likely to break even in cr. I like it’s synergy with Femme Fatale and Scavenge – both cost 9cr, and can be installed in typical Test Run/Scavenge fashion. Torch is a heavy duty card for Kit’s ID too – no explanation necessary. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  Could be useful in the future. Now only with Eureka! decks.

William: 2/3  Good code gate breaker if not terribly exciting, wont see too much play other then Shaper Scavenge shenanigans until more higher strength code gates show up.

ffg_woman-in-the-red-dress-mala-temporaWoman in the Red Dress
It’s a 4 inf., so it must be good right? Nice Matrix tie-in, but I’m not going to be using this card anytime soon. I’m all for knowing what’s on top of R&D, but letting the corp know too, and possibly giving him a good card is not a worthwhile trade. Corp doesn’t have to discard for another turn, so the Woman in the Red Dress could be doing you more harm than good. Right Neo? – Dave: 1/3

Glen: 1/3  Too situational, requiring too many obscure combos to be useful now.

William: 1/3  Probably the weirdest card from Mala Tempora. Imagine there will be some combo potential in the future but currently other then questionable combos such Demolition Run+Nerve Agent/HQ Interface lock down it wont see any play. There is a lot of power in knowing whats on top of R&D and in HQ but giving the corp decisions without being able to control them makes this card really bad.

ffg_raymond-flint-mala-temporaRaymond Flint
Flint’s ability is great – on its own, or combined with HQ Interface. Raymond Flint has given HQ Interface a whole new lease on life because now you will be accessing multiple cards without having to make runs. And bad publicity is everywhere these days. In fact, why not throw Frame Job into the mix and give the corp bad publicity whenever you want? No running required! Love it. This card can end games – but in a bad way too – remember that Raymond Flint and HQ Interface are not optional accesses – they MUST access cards, so don’t use him against a tricky Jinteki deck. Scoring a Clone Retirement could do more harm than good. But I love this card. Trash it to expose a card when you don’t want it anymore. – Dave: 3/3

Glen: 3/3  One of the big problems with resources, is Pawnshop is the only way to voluntarily get rid of them. Here is a useful, though dangerous card that you can opt to trash at virtually any time. Sweet!

William: 2/3  Expose effects are always useful. Adding an very powerful though narrow (but becoming less so) ability on top of that is nice. Choosing it over Infiltration will probably be a mix of a deck and meta call along with personal preference such as losing the surprise factor.

ffg_isabel-mcguire-mala-temporaIsabel McGuire
She’s Scottish. She smokes cigarillos. She golfs. ALL AT THE SAME TIME! But she really shines pulling cards out of installation locations, putting them back in your hand, and allowing you to reposition them later. Great utility for nearly exhausted assets, obvious traps, agendas that are no longer secure, and ICE that has freakin’ Caissa programs hosted on them. Not to mention just rearranging ICE. There are so many good uses for this card – and at 1 influence, Lukas wants us all to use her. If you ask “Does she or doesn’t she?”, the answer is “ She does.” – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 3/3  My favourite card of Spin Cycle so far. I think Isabel is going to become awesome as time goes on. Can reset card with abilities that trigger when rezzed like Elizabeth Mills. Reset assets like Eve Campaign when she is down to the last 2 credits. Return failed ambushes like Snare or exposed cards to your HQ for reuse. Prevent trashing of cards like Server Diagnostics for reinstall later. Reuse surprise ice like Rototurret, which brings up more bluffing potential. Rearrange ice installed poorly early in the game, especially if runner is using Copycat. Get rid of hosted cards like Parasite and Caissa. All this for 0 credits, 1 influence and 3 trash cost. As Dave say, she does!

William: 2/3 Very nice utility card with a nice rez to trash cost ratio all for just one influence. Being able to reusing Assets and ambushes, trashing hosted programs and moving ice is quite useful. Just have to find room in the deck to include it.

ffg_hudson-1-0-mala-temporaHudson 1.0
A 3 cr, 5 strength ICE that’s 1 influence. Good start. The ability to access only 1 card during a run? AWESOME. Hey kids, I don’t care how many R&D Interfaces you have, you’re only getting 1 card. Works well against Indexing runs and the dreaded Maker’s Eye/R&D Interface run. Hudson has to be used with a plan though in external servers. If there are 2 cards in a remote, like say, an agenda and Red Herrings, it could potentially stop you from losing Red Herrings even with its low trash cost of 1. Or that Ash that didn’t quite work this turn. Or two unrezzed cards in a server – which one will you choose? So many uses including a good counter to Whizzard’s ability. Hudson 1.0 in front of any central server is good. I wonder how it would work against Noise’s end game Archive run? I’m going to look that up. – Dave: 3/3

Glen: 3/3  Want a way to stop those R&D/HQ Interfaces, Mediums and Nerve Agents that are constantly pissing you off? And something that Yog.0 can’t touch? Ya, it’s a bioroid, but you can’t have it all. Works great with 2 in a server, save for Copycat. Should increase the amount of upgrades that see play.

William: 1/3  Interesting piece of ice with a good cost to strength ratio plus being a higher strength Code Gate. But doesn’t end the run and I feel it wont do enough to often more my liking. Could see it being used as a one of in some decks.

ffg_accelerated-diagnostics-mala-temporaAccelerated Diagnostics
For 1 cr you can play a card that may do more harm than good. OR you could play a card that, in combination with Power Shutdown and Jackson Howard will allow you to retrieve a SEA Source and 1 or 2 copies of Scorched Earth – however many copies you require. It’s an HB card, so why not use your Project Vitruvius or Efficiency Committee tokens along with it and use 3 copies of Scorched? In Weyland, this combo is magnified with The Cleaners agenda. I think this card will get changed after Season 1, 2014. – Dave: 3/3

Glen: 1/3  Right now the only additional cost to play operations is and extra click. And there aren’t too many of these in any 1 faction. This may have potential down the road, but I’m not counting on it. I would only use in an event heavy deck along side Precognition. And there are lots of event heavy Jinteki decks – right. If a runner version for Events materializes, it will be close to broken.

William: 2/3 Basically unplayable on its own. There’s just too much unknown and too much risk to using it. Synergizes really well with Jackson Howard and would probably see play as late game card to reuse econ and vital events such as Biotic Labor or Trick of Light. Its main play will be to combo with Jackson Howard and Power Shutdown to Scorched Earth the runner, otherwise I’d score it a 1.


Unorthodox Predictions
The main reason I like this card is because Jinteki needed more agenda options. Make sure to score it on a turn when you can legally install another agenda. So:
Turn 1: install UP, advance, advance
Turn 2: advance (score, declare subroutines), install next agenda, advance
This would work especially well with a San San City Grid, where you could chain enough Jinteki 3 for 1 and 3 for 2 agendas together for the game. I like it, and definitely worth it for its effect. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  Gives Jinteki the ability to include all 1 point agendas (with 3 Fetal AIs) in a deck for some massive net damage. I’m not crazy about 3 for 1 agendas, but this has its place until another 2 for 1 Jinteki or a neutral arrives.

William: 3/3  Really like see these kinds of denial abilities in Jinteki. Love the possibilities for more Jinteki mind games.

Sundew is an interesting money asset for Jinteki because it costs 2 to install, and 2 to trash. If you’re running it with Jinteki Replicating Perfection, you’ll make your money back right away, and if you can rez multiple copies simultaneously, you’ll be ahead of the money game after trash costs. But its next obvious competitor for your deck space is PAD Campaign. Is PAD better than Sundew? In the long run I’d say so, but in the short run I don’t think so – Sundew returns are much faster. Plus Sundew works well as a distraction in Jinteki decks – and at 3 influence, I’d say you’ll mostly see it in Jinteki decks. Many neutral economy cards don’t need the influence. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  I have so many ideas for this card if it were 1 or even 2 influence. But worst case scenario, it breaks even for the corp.

William: 2/3  Really good economy in Jinteki: Replicating Perfection, would be playable out of faction but its just too much influence.

ffg_city-surveillance-mala-temporaCity Surveillance
That’s CITY Surveillance right? I’m pronouncing that right? Okay. If you have more creds than you know what to do with, then sure – REZ THIS CARD. But at 5 cr to rez, and a trash cost of only 3, this card isn’t much of a threat, except in multiples. But then you’d have to be way ahead in the credit game to make that worthwhile, unless you were going for a taxation strategy against your opponent. I could see using this in a Pay to Win Weyland deck, but at 4 influence. No thanks. – Dave: 1/3

Glen: 1/3  Schity Surveillance.

William: 1/3  Would be good in multiples but has too high a rez cost and really requires some tag matters followup. NBN decks need to balance how much tagging included, otherwise can lead to the runner ignoring tags.

Snoop is a deviously average card in my opinion – at first I didn’t see the value of its 6cr cost, because the subroutine is mostly harmless. But now I do. When encountered, the runner has to show you his hand, and he’s not likely to break the single subroutine on a strength 6 Sentry just to stop a trace 3. Better to spend the money breaking the trace instead, and take your chances there. But with NBN: Making News, that’s taxing. Snoop’s real power comes from constantly seeing the runner’s grip, and the power that knowledge provides – the card trashing counters are a bonus. It’s counter is Expert Schedule Analyzer – also letting you see you opponent’s hand. Once again, NBN proves it’s the king of annoying ICE. I’d put a couple of copies in my deck and give it a try. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  While it’s nice to see the runner’s hand, the real cool part of this card is getting a couple counters on it. Then you can trash 2 cards and Scorched Earth for the win. The runner has to be extremely careful about getting any counters on it.

William: 3/3  Can be quite taxing for the runner to get through once rezzed, the runner cant afford to allow a counter to get on it. Having a key card being trashed at the right moment can be huge. Also the information gained shouldn’t be underestimated.

IRS – get it? Ha! Ya, you did the first time you saw the card. Which should also be the last time you saw the card because THIS ONE’S GOING IN THE BINDER OF SHAME. Which is too bad because I love Chris Newman’s gritty illustration. – Dave: 1/3

Glen: 1/3  Seriouslay?!? A strength 2 code gate?!?

William: 1/3  Helps offset bad publicity but once a breakers out it goes from not great to terrible. Might be alright in the future with more accessible bad publicity abilities.

ffg_power-shutdown-mala-temporaPower Shutdown
Did you hear the one about the corporation trashing all his cards into R&D so he could use Jackson Howard and Scorched Earth to..blah, blah, blah. See Accelerated Diagnostics above. Power Shutdown is a great card because it’s a game changer. It allows the corp to actively pursue the runner and trash his programs or hardware. By choosing the number of R&D cards trashed, the corp can be very selective – but with a little card recursion, this can get annoying fast. I bet future data packs will add-on to Power Shutdown’s abilities. – Dave: 3/3

Glen: 3/3  While I don’t love this card, it is a game changer. The runner must build decks with this card in mind, especially for tournaments.

William: 3/3  Decent for trashing programs and considering its low costs, playing it in early game to destroy an early breaker can be quite effective. Allowing for some of those early small pieces ice to be useful that much longer.

ffg_paper-wall-mala-temporaPaper Wall
I’m not sold on Paper Wall, but I can see its usefulness – a 0 cost barrier that works until it doesn’t. And no influence cost either. It ends the run – what more do you want? Poof – it’s gone once an AI or fracter enters play, but hopefully in early game it will have done its job. You get what you pay for. Combined with Corporate Troubleshooter, it’s all you might need to score an early agenda. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  I’m torn on this one ;). I would love to get this installed in a remote server early with a Chum outside of it. I might be able to score a couple agendas early. However, with exposing cards become more common, this card may get shredded.

William: 2/3  Decent piece of early game ice that will save influence in some decks from not playing Ice Wall. More options for cheap early game ice is never a bad thing.

I like Interns – even with its 2 click cost – because its function is card recursion, and that’s good enough for me. The 0 influence cost certainly helps me like it – it’s neutral, so it’s a poor man’s Archived Memories (2 inf) with arguably more utility. This is a good card for putting those precious copies of Corporate Troubleshooter, Snare!, San San, Jackson Howard and any other upgrade or trap back into play. And you don’t have to reveal it when you do. More immediate than Jackson Howard, and less influence than Archived Memories, Interns has a rare ability. – Dave: 2/3

Glen: 2/3  What do you do when you have a super server with 5 ice on it and need to put a cheap piece outermost to protect against Inside Job? Get yourself an intern and lower your cost considerably. Obviously good for reusing trashed stuff, that was maybe trashed to get rid of a Knight. I think there will be more utility in the future. If you’re a fan of Accelerated Diagnostics (and I’m not), you gotta like this one.

William: 2/3  Won’t see that much play but always nice to have useful utility cards with these abilities available without having to spend influence. Of course finding room for them is always another matter. Ice fort decks, retrieving Agendas and re-using Asset econ are all possibilities for it.