Kabonesa Wu is literally wearing the cat on the coffee mug from Record Reconstructor. Okay...the eyes on the coffee mug are open, but still! Backstory flavor ideas? Have we finally gotten the Princess Space Kitten ID we've all been waiting for?!!!

As someone that is currently playing a lot of Criminal and is far too anxious to change to something else, I always have a Stimhack on me in-case of an absolute emergency. I love this card, and I hope I can explain why.

Stimhack has very clear positives and negatives right from the start. Firstly, it's free to play, allowing for you to make a reasonably funded run for as little as one , even when your pool is completely empty. Next, it lets you boost your -- perhaps already hefty -- economy, and make a run so over-funded that not even the most advanced Weyland space-ice will stand in your way. Oh, you used your entire turn gaining 7 's from a Melange Mining Corp.? That's nice; I gained 9 's from a single and can still spend the other 3 kicking your ass; as long as I spend all the 's in this run, of course. Also, it's a Run event, meaning that it carries all the quirks of a Run event, such as the ability to use it in conjunction with Planned Assault, making it even more likely that you can play this card whenever you like. Lastly, it costs one influence to use in your deck, meaning that you can splash this thing rather freely, assuming you want to use it outside of the comfort of its home faction; Anarch.

On the more negative side, however, Stimhack lands you with an unavoidable, unpreventable, un... something else... chunk of brain damage. Once you deploy this bad boy you'd better make sure this run is worth it, because what you don't pay in 's you're going to be losing in IQ. This, to some people, is a massive turn off, and I can see why. Nobody wants to have their hand size permanently reduced by one, or worse, up to three if you really like to run it. I would like to make the case, however, that this negative side effect is what makes Stimhack truly special.

This card is not to be used lightly, y'see, and, in some circumstances, perhaps not at all. I've always felt it most suited to an end-game rush when perhaps yourself or the Corp are so close to winning that one poxy agenda could swing the game for either of you. If I want that agenda, you can bet your ass that I'm going to sacrifice the memory of my mother's face in order to get it. The punishment of Stimhack is what makes it such a remarkable tool, as you're going to be thinking VERY carefully before you even consider playing it. And, sometimes even the Corp's defences, assuming they have them, aren't going to stop you. If you're set up with, say, a Gordian Blade, an Aurora, and a Femme Fatale, any decent amount of 's is going to break through their ICE like there's no tomorrow; which there won't be, as you'll have stolen that agenda out from under them and won the game like it was nothing.

My own personal preference involves the use of the Silhouette: Stealth Operative ID as, with her, I almost always know exactly what I'm running before I do so, making the use of a Stimhack more of a risky yet well-informed and tactical decision than just an expensive shot in the dark.

To conclude, then, Stimhack is one of the biggest Risk=Reward cards going in Android: Netrunner that is easy to get your hands on. It's cheap to splash, free to play, and has the potential to win you the game in the right scenario; which comes up much more frequently than you might expect. Sure, you have to blow out a piece of your brain in order to achieve such a thing, but, if you're in such a dire situation that you need to make a well-funded run right this second, a spot of brain damage is probably the least of your worries.

It is a great card, I'm not sure why I rarely slot it. —

Emergent threat on the horizon. Holy wow this card in an incredible power boost for Adam and, as of its release, may be the strongest tutor in the card pool. Self-modifying Code? That costs me 2 and the install cost of the program. Special Order? Just as many clicks and I'm still paying. Test Run/Scavenge is in the neighborhood in terms of efficiency, but it's a two card combo.

Oh, and did I mention it also puts the available hardware tutors to shame? Tyson Observatory is laughably inefficient. Trade-In rarely sees play and needs fodder installed first. Outside of that you're looking to more general use tutors like Artist Colony (and partner in crime Fan Site) or Logos, each of which have considerable restrictions.

Now, firing it without trashing anything is an option, but that shouldn't be your first thought. Dream big. Your looking to trash a Femme Fatale for...another Femme Fatale. 2 2 Femme Fatale. Yes please! Magnum Opus anyone? Need a console, duplicates now help pay for themselves! The possibilities are endless! Silver bullets oh my! Get Monolith. No wait. Dial it back.

And yes, you will be tempted to pay the whopping 5 influence. I doubt it will ever be a common choice but the lure of jank is strong! Hmm, Ayla "Bios" Rahim: Simulant Specialist with NVRAM, maybe two of Emergent Creativity, why not Logos to round it out....[shuffles off giggling maniacally].

I like this card a lot with the conspiracy breakers. Oh, I'm out of memory and can't install my primary breaker? I'll just tutor for my Brain Chip/console/additional memory/ and trash my MKUltra only to install it on my next run. —
Yes indeed, that's great synergy. —

Assimilator actually makes this card lose the draw back of having your cards flipped. After an Apocalypse it's easy to get your setup running again in a few turns just by installing Assimilator and click-clicking the necessary pieces back up.

For example, if the corp doesn't have any ice to slap on the centrals just flip your Turning Wheel or Aumakua and go to town. If you flip a Rachel Beckman first, it's not even going to take you much effort to bring the whole rig back and keep clicking runs, cards or credits either.

It's pretty neat. Can build a big rig Apex with Morning Stars and shiet and just flip them back up after apoc.

For newer players joining us post-C2R who have never experienced the god that is Jackson Howard, this card joins the list of many trying to replace the Executive, but which are significantly weaker.

It's not hard to tell why a card that helps un-flood HQ deserves a slot in your deck so let's start comparing if this is the card you want doing that vs. similar cards Preemptive Action and Whampoa Reclamation.

Vs. Preemptive Action:

It's one less card to shuffle back into R&D if you're the poor sap that has 3 or more agendas in your starting hand but the advantage here is that you don't have to survive a turn with those 2 agendas in your Archives or using cards that trash from HQ like Reuse. Unfortunately, that's where the good ends as you give the runner a 2 gift instead of possibly baiting the runner to spend clicks running into your ICEd Archives. But hey! It's not a terminal, at least?

Vs. Whampoa Reclamation:

You're spending 3 more here but so is the runner to trash this if they know what's good for them. You're also going to get as many or more cards out of HQ with the added benefit of being bottom-ed. Distract the Masses' only advantage here might be saving 2 influence per slot.

Cards that reduce flood are obviously the most useful in the early game and giving 2 to the runner is a hefty tempo swing in their favour that just can't be ignored. But maybe you're rush Jinteki and you already slot x3 Medical Research Fundraiser anyways so this card seems meager in comparison. That is until you realize that a rush deck doesn't want to shuffle away agendas and a non-rush deck can't afford the tempo loss. Overall, I don't see this card replacing what Jackson alternatives we already have. Gotta give it props for the mechanics & flavour though.