Previous reviews point the two first effects of Assimilator :

  1. Install non-virtual resources : Aesop's Pawnshop, Film Critic, etc.

  2. "Rez" for FREE

- Programs : Morning Star, Mass-Driver, etc. - Hardwares : Blackguard, Security Nexus, etc. - Resources : Rachel Beckman, Hades Shard, etc.

Want to add the missing part : 3. Bypass "when install" restriction

Cause facedown cards do not have name, type or subtype, and their abilities are not active; you can install and "faceup" them without their "install" restriction.

(*) need confirmation

Happy New Apex x)

5
CyCy needs confirmation as well. It can only be used on the chosen server. Since it is never installed, the server is never chosen, so there is no chosen server it can be used upon. Without an official ruling, I'd say CyCy can not be used at all if you use Assimilator to bring it into play. —
You convince me ! If CyCy work, i am gonna use chameleon with no named subtype xD —

This is the HB Obokata Protocol. But of course HB being HB it's less about hurting you and more about stopping you. HB has quite an arsenal of tricks to make you run out of clicks during a run such as the ubiquitous bioroids and Mr Stone.

So let's see what combines well with this. Obviously I'm a sucker for punishment as I always make some dumb mistake when making these lists so be sure to check the comments for what I got wrong this time.

  • Bioroids, bioroids, bioroids. If you can trick the runner into spending their last click this agenda is unstealable.
  • Strongbox is good with Ikawah Project and the other options by virtue of boosting the steal cost to two clicks. Btw, you may install multiple (though they'll probably be trashed).
  • Mason Bellamy ensures the runner loses clicks when breaking ice. Mason Bellamy + Ikawah Project in a 3 ice server where all ice is encountered and must be broken means the runner cannot steal the agenda without extra clicks.
  • Enhanced Login Protocol can further reduce the clicks available to a runner. It can be avoided through event based runs though.
  • Heinlein Grid works with the other options by making the runner so broke they can't pay 2 to steal. I don't think it works with Strongbox and the click cost on Ikawah Project since that would require the click cost to be paid first and the credit cost after that instead of simultaneously. Note that if the runner steals Ikawah Project first they'll still lose all their remaining credits. So they have to trash Heinlein first, which costs 3 (in practice this means that a runner with 5 or less will end up with 0 credits one way or another).
  • MCA Austerity Policy lets you reduce the clicks available to the runner. However it requires you to spend a click on your turn first, which is not really what you want to do when scoring a 5/3 as expands the scoring window for the runner from 1 to 2 turns.
  • False Lead when scored lets you remove 2 clicks mid run. Scoring it is a bit of a downer of course but False Lead + Strongbox + Ikawah leads to a pretty safe scoring window.
  • Ryon Knight doesn't do anything to protect Ikawah Project but it can add a bit of vengeance.
  • Manta Grid could set up up with another click the next turn, though it rules out the (stronger in my opinion) Heinlein Grid.

The 2 cost is unlikely to be much of a hindrance to the runner, but occasionally it will trip a runner up. As mentioned it does set up a combo with Heinlein Grid that could be interesting.

What the name refers to is not quite as clear as with some cards. I suspect it's a reference to a writer: Alexander Ikawah who's an Kenyan (note Nairobi in the flavour text) SF writer, at least some of his work (from skimming posts I found on the internet) seems to fit the cyberpunk style.

203
Another thing to consider is that if the runner steals it, you can get a card from archives onto the top of R&D with Seidr's ability (assuming it's stolen before Seidr has already triggered) —

In the new meta after rotation and the introduction of the revised core set Pheromones is looking better than it used to. Runners now have less economy due to all the banning and restricting going on with MWL 2.0 so economy cards are more valuable than they used to be.

Pheromones is useful for criminals that get into HQ regularly (which is to say: winning criminals). After a few runs or just one run and a few turns the recurring credits will have outweighed the install cost. A Pheromones with just 2 is a two credit per turn income source, though you can of course only use those credits while running on HQ.

Being a virus program Pheromones is vulnerable to things like Macrophage, Cyberdex Virus Suite and plain old purging virus counters. Macrophage is probably the biggest issue, it's a silver bullet against viruses and when placed in front of HQ is likely to nullify the economical benefits of Pheromones. Cyberdex Virus Suite is a bit of a pain but if you hit it in HQ at least you can trash it. Just beware of running archives when CVS is in there. Purging is the least of your worries. At the very least that free turn you get is worth 4 and of course you could try to run HQ again to get some counters back on Pheromones. Oh and of course a free turn could be exploited for all kinds of criminal mischief, you're a criminal, right, think of something.

In anarch Pheromones might see some action as well given that it's reasonably priced and combines well with other anarch cards. Pheromones on a Progenitor kickstarts the economical benefits and anarchs have other tools for getting virus counters onto cards as well like Virus Breeding Ground. Combine Pheromones with Fester and the whole purging thing becomes less likely. Combine it with Incubator and you have at least one run cheaply. With Lamprey HQ runs are both cheaper and cost the corp money (be sure to add Ixodidae in the mix if you do that). And with Hemorrhage you can make the corp dump cards before you access HQ, increasing the chance of hitting agendas (corps are unlikely to dump agendas in archives against anarchs, so they'll probably discard other cards).

203

My first reaction to this is: eh, why?

Anarchs have the best fracter in the game in-faction: Paperclip and it's not due to rotate for quite a while.

Due to how Yusuf first requires charging by making runs and then allows you to break ice without paying money it seems designed like a secondary breaker. However it's 2. That level of memory hungriness is typically reserved for extremely efficient breakers that rarely see use in practice and very efficient economy cards like Magnum Opus.

Ok, I guess I should review this under the assumption that Yusuf is installed on Progenitor or with MemStrips to give it a fair review. The thing is though, if you're going to do that you need a Progenitor just for Yusuf. Pulling off a combo just to get a secondary breaker feels inefficient, to say the least. MemStrips is a bit better though you'd better have a use for that remaining 1 as well.

The only thing Yusuf does really well is generate virus counters. If there were a card that lets you use the virus counters on Yusuf for something else it could be a viable support tool. However I didn't find such a tool. Maybe one will be revealed later in the cycle but until that time I simply don't see Yusuf as a useful breaker.

203
Acacia is coming. This together with the turtle can make you VERY rich. https://netrunnerdb.com/en/card/21021 —
Incubator, Aumakua and Virus breeding ground all play very nicely with Yusuf. —

Puffer is not a great killer as is. 2 to boost is just too much to be good (although par for the course for killers) and a 2 killer that only breaks 3 strength or less sentries without boosting is pretty mediocre. Considering the main competition in criminal: Mongoose, Femme Fatale, Lustig and Golden I wouldn't want to say Puffer is bad but it's not ahead of the pack either.

All that changes though if you have a way to install programs without taking up MU. There are four general purpose cards for that: NetChip, Dinosaurus, Leprechaun and Dhegdheer. NetChip requires a lot of influence and space if you want to use it. Dinosaurus takes up the console slot. But Leprechaun (1, allows hosting 2 programs, 2 influence) and Dhegdheer (0, allows hosting 1 program, 2 influence) are perfect for hosting Puffer. Let me just assume Dhegdheer is going to be used since unless you have a lot of MU expensive programs the risk of installing 2 programs on Leprechaun given program destruction likely outweighs the benefits.

If you manage to install Puffer on Dhegdheer the cost benefit ratio changes dramatically. You just need to spend a few clicks to match the worst ice you expect to encounter and you can break any ice by paying 1 per sub. That's Paperclip levels of efficiency (once you've set it up).

Even if you don't have the strength matched when you encounter a piece of ice Puffer has a fallback option in just paying 2 per strength you lack. So unless you're running on a really tight budget you're not going to get into trouble with Puffer/Dhegdheer.

And note that even if you don't have Dhegdheer yet and still need to run Puffer is not a bad killer. It's perfectly reasonable to install a Puffer, run inefficiently at first and later once you get Dhegdheer out install a new Puffer to replace the old one.

The downside of this whole arrangement is that you need at least a few Dhegdheers in your deck if you want to have a good shot at drawing it early enough to make a difference. So that's 4-6 influence you need to spend on your sentry breaker as a criminal. That's uncomfortable unless you can make the Dhegdheers pull their weight in other ways as well, e.g. with Data Folding (though that's more of a long term strategy which might not yield results early enough for criminals).

I had originally discarded the idea of using Puffer out of faction due to the high influence cost. But a single Puffer in a shaper deck that already runs Dheghdeers and Self-modifying Code might just be worth it.

203
Throw in Rosetta 2.0 and you can find both Dhegdheer/Leprechaun and Puffer even if you only have 1 of the memory hoster in criminal. —