“On one hand, you knew you shouldn’t slot it in your deck. On the other, it was really shiny.”

Envelope, the latest addition to the Jinteki Barrier-AP suite, doesn’t have quite the lethality of Chiyashi or Wall of Thorns so its most similar comparison is Kakugo. Kakugo costs the same to rez, has 2 less strength, but comes with unbreakable net damage which makes it great for setting up Obokata Protocol remotes and the like.

Wall of Thorns’ little brother can’t deal out unbreakable net damage but it can be a gearcheck ICE with an unexpected facecheck penalty. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good gearcheck ICE as Clippy will be getting through it for 2. By slotting in Wall of Static, you could have got the same break cost for a credit cheaper.

So then Envelope's saving grace must be its facecheck penalty and even that’s a bit questionable. Yes, each net damage adds up (especially in Jinteki: PU but you could have spent 4 credits to rez Neural Katana instead and got an ICE that actually bites. You might say a wary runner always gets their killer up (or in the heap if it’s MKUltra) before they start running without needing to find their fracter but nowadays, there are even code gates that a corp can use that can deal some serious facecheck punishment.

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TL;DR – While Jinteki did need cheap-to-rez barriers (they only have Himitsu-Bako and Kakugo!), the numbers on this make it hard to warrant a deck slot. For surprising a runner without using a Sentry, there are tons of viable Code Gates these days to use that should be slotted in before Envelope.

Kamali 1.0 reminds me of a lot of ICE – it has the taxing trash effects of Fairchild 3.0 (and the rest of the suite), the crippling brain damage subs of Janus 1.0 (RIP), and rez/strength numbers similar to Tribunal (which also happens to force the runner to trash cards). Surprisingly, those 3 comparisons range from Restricted to Top-Jank to Unplayable status respectively. If I had to make a guess, Kamali 1.0 is going to be in the middle of those 3 - good, but not great.

With must-break subs similar to Janus 1.0, Kamali 1.0 will either fry your board or fry your brain, already making it better than Tribunal which gave all the flexibility to the Runner to choose which cards to trash as opposed to specific card subtypes. Kamali 1.0 does offer flexibility in being a bioroid but a runner will need to run first click if they want to avoid all brain damage/trashing. The ICE also gives the runner the choice between brain damage and trashing so it will often never lead to a flatline alone as long as the runner has cards to trash.

Finally, its numbers don’t exactly match the Fairchild suite in terms of rez/strength but it can put MKUltra users in a tight spot forcing them to spend either the full 6 or take a brain damage/trash a card after 1 boost. For other killers, you can expect a break cost closer to 3 or 4 (Mimic, Mongoose, Na'Not'K*, GS Shrike M2) which is respectable, but could be better for a 6 investment that doesn't ETR.

Overall, it’s a nice addition to the brain damage theme FFG has pushed for in the Kitara cycle and a lot cheaper than the Jank God that was Janus 1.0 for inflicting brain damage. While it won’t see play in every HB deck as a viable Sentry, it can be synergous in Architects of Tomorrow, with Wetwork Refit, or any deck looking for a good bioroid.

Imp

Imp

In addition to the straightforward uses of Imp (trashing expensive things for free and trashing operations), Imp can be used as a poor man's Film Critic. Against, for example, Obokata Protocol, you can trash it in the remote and pick it up later in Archives when you are ready for it. Against The Future Perfect, you can play the Psi game, lose, then trash it (or win and steal.) Against Punitive Counterstrike, you can delay the steal by trashing the agenda, waiting until you can beat the following trace or just straight win from points first. You can trash any agenda because the window to trash occurs before the window to steal.

Imp does not, however, avoid any on-access punishment just as trashing an ambush does not prevent its negative effects. Casting Call/TGTBT will still tag you, Quantum Predictive Model will still jump into the Corp's score area if you're tagged, City Works Project will still do meat damage, and Explode-a-palooza will still give the Corp credits, whereas Film Critic avoids these effects. And you still have to steal the agenda from Archives to take its points (assuming the Corp doesn't recur it back with Preemptive Action or Archived Memories.)

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O' God of Gates, Tear my brain, Leave this fate, For nothing remain. From first entrance, To final exit, Leave this sentence, As I am hectic. Tell me Janus, One last cheer, Why so heinous? "Face your fear."

Azmari EdTech: Shaping the Future: A Broken ID?

The ID has been out for enough time now for people to have had quite a dabble with it, and what have people reported back?

This ID makes bonkers money...

We have a situation here that is much like Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker and Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future, basic plays of cards mean money is made. Of course, there is the argument that Azmari EdTech: Shaping the Future is different because runners can play around the IDs ability, but I think most of us would agree that's not realistic if the runner actually wants to be competitive.

Runners in the early stages of a game almost always play events or resources. They want to money up, so they can setup their rig. Alternatively, they want to draw up (say with Earthrise Hotel or Diesel etc.). And more often than not, runners want to link those cards together; E.g. Sure Gamble into Daily Casts, or Career Fair into Earthrise Hotel/Liberated Account. Or even if require just playing one of those cards, if they didn't get a great draw.

So just play around it right? For instance, just play a console or program when the corp says event or resource. Let's see how that looks. Click one, install Paperclip, click two, three, and four, click for credits. So now you're back to 5 creds, with one program out and not a run made. No one wants to do that, they'd rather give the corp 2 credits with a money event or resource. Forget consoles, they are usually even more expensive, that's just a crazy tempo hit.

Azmari EdTech: Shaping the Future is there just to boost any deck archetype that wants to money up, or retain a good cash flow throughout a game. So Glacier and Rush works well here, or anything where you'd like to out trace and tax a runner. So that's likely 90% of deck types in NBN.

This ID in my opinion is just too good. I think we may end up finding ourselves in the same tired situation of Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future, where you look at other IDs and just end up going back to the one that makes you passive income because everyone needs money.

Employee Strike of course is an answer, but one has to wonder when you need silver bullets about how good an ID is for the game. Besides, even with a Strike out, you're likely just dulling the economic impact, as many corps will pack a range of econ options in the deck, and use Azmari's ID ability as that extra boost to make an economic competition untenable for the runner.

I'm not saying this ID is going to break Netrunner, but I think it won't promote creative and interesting archetypes, which is what is so great about the game at the moment (April 2018). We seemed to be moving past these sorts of "best in all cases" situations, and adding some real variety and flavour to the game. I hope this trend in IDs does not continue.

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The review that will probably get a lot of flak but actually has a very good point. Counterplay usually boils down to 2 ways IMO: 1) trying to hold hordes of the named card type until the corp gives up and switches types or 2) trying to play as many of the named card type in a single turn. Both ways, as people have pointed out, are sub-optimal for the runner. The only downside I've found in testing is that the ID itself doesn't have any tagging synergies like other popular NBN IDs CTM, SYNC, etc. It doesn't matter too much though since Azmari can just pump their SEA Sources with their exorbitant amounts of credits. —
And as far as Employee Strike being an answer, this ID will likely pack three copies of Scarcity of Resources which 1) taxes nearly every runner in some way and 2) clears other currents. Surprised that wasn't mentioned. —
@LynxMegaCorp that’s a good point, let alone a sneaky 15 Minutes score. —
@BlackCherries I figure I might get a bit of push back on this one, as it’s a popular ID at the moment (which isn’t surprising). The major saving grace for the ID is that it doesn’t inherently promote degenerate play (perhaps unfairly, but there’s an argument to mount against Gagarin with an incontestable asset spam). Azmari at least just gives money. —