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Tech Talk - Bankjob

Android: Netrunner Tech Talk Scud Bankjob

Hello and welcome to Tech Talk! Each article in this series will take an in-depth look at a single card, analyzing its strengths, discussing when to include it out-of-faction, and hopefully providing tips on what to do when you find yourself on the other side from it. This week, the criminally good Bank Job takes center stage this week!

DOCUMENTATION: On the surface, Bank Job (Core) seems pretty simple - for 1 Credit, you give yourself the ability to gain 8 credits from a successful run. As far as the straight Credit-gaining Runner cards go, it's pretty great. Easy Mark (Core) and Infiltration (Core) can get you a smaller number of Credits easier; Sure Gamble (Core), an auto-include in the Core Set-only meta, can get you one additional credit as long as you can pay its cost. Armitage Codebusting (Core), also an auto-include in current Runner decks, doubles your Credit-gaining efficiency over 6 Clicks. Magnum Opus (Core) can do the same thing but for the entire game, which is why it has a high cost and MU requirement. The much-maligned (and soon-to-be Tech Talk feature) Data Dealer (Core) gets you 9 credits but its cost is much harder to calculate. Bank Job can get you credits for doing what you were going to do anyway, namely running. And the sheer Credit swing it provides, potentially taking you from 1 to 8 Credits in two clicks can really mess with the Corps math. Bank Job can, in that way, be a tempo card, one that allows you to make a move much sooner than the Corp was assuming.

In order to benefit from a Bank Job, though, you have to give up your ability to access cards. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Many people see this as the main drawback to Bank Job. "If I get through the ICE protecting that remote server over there," they reason, "why wouldn't I want to look at the cards installed?"

PAD Campaign (Core) is the obvious answer. Many Corp players will put out a PAD Campaign or two a.s.a.p. without any protection because, with a Trash cost of 4 Credits, it is often a losing proposition for the Runner to bother with them right away. Bank Job changes that math, making an unprotected PAD Campaign (or Adonis Campaign (Core), if the Corp is feeling extra-cheeky [no naked-bioroid pun intended]) more dangerous for them than for the Runner. That slow and steady trickle of Credits suddenly doesn't seem as sweet when the Runner can refill his coffers with very little effort.

Another very basic reason that Bank Job is good is simply that it is a Card That Gives You Credits. C.T.G.Y.Cs don't just grow on trees and, since you can only have three copies of any given card in your deck, packing a Bank Job or two dedicates more deck slots to getting you your lifeblood, the all-powerful, program- and hardware-installing, icebreaker-fueling, resource-gathering Credit.

An overlooked component to Bank Job's value in your deck is that it can give you something other than Credits. Bank Job can give you information and, in a game that hinges on bluffs, shell-games, and risky moves, information is a valuable commodity. Does the Corp rez any (or all) of the ICE protecting the Remote Server you're running? Do they just let you through toward that double-advanced Project Junebug? Bank Job lets you make a run on a possible trap with a safety net. You don't need to declare the use of your Bank Job until right after the Run is declared successful, so don't. Wait to see what the Corp does. Read his to her cues, watch they way they sweat or smirk, and bail out at the last minute if you need to. Some Corp players will go the other way, expecting you to Bank Job instead of accessing the cards and may, therefore, not rez all the ICE they can, allowing you to keep the few credits you're going to need to trash the installed Red Herrings or Security Subcontractor. Bank Job lets you play mind games, which is usually the purview of the Corps. Those fatcats aren't usually comfortable when you start bluffing them.

IMPLEMENTATION: Early-game, Bank Job is best dropped onto the table the moment you plan to use it (unless, of course, the Corp has multiple unprotected remote servers. Then, well, punish them at your leisure). When using Bank Job primarily as a source of income, drop it with your first Click, make your run against a Remote Server as the next Click, taking your Credits, and then do what you will with your ill-gotten gains. Play poor for a turn or two, see if you can't get the Corp comfortable, spending a little more money than they normally would, then hit them in the wallet and suddenly be ready for a mid-size run.

Mid- to late-game, Bank Job is going to be a nice threat, forcing the Corp to dedicate dwindling resources to protecting areas they thought relatively safe. As the game drags on, the playing field levels out between the two sides and at that point, Credits are going to be a deciding factor (along, of course, with smart play and fair bit of luck).

Remember, if you are running Aesop's Pawnshop (Core) in your deck, leave 1 Credit on Bank Job when taking Credits from a successful run on a Remote Server. You can eke out an extra 2 Credits by trashing that Bank Job at the beginning of your next turn.

INSTALLATION: Bank Job is great in a Criminal deck but it really shines when splashed out-of-faction, where the element of surprise will be huge. When your Shaper deck unexpectedly drops one, you'll see you opponent sweat. You'll be using this card mostly as quick income because, with enough Credits, there is very little a Shaper can't do.

Anarchs splashing Bank Job can spread the Corp very thin, forcing them to worry about their central servers AND making them think twice about lightly protected Remote Servers. Spreading out the ICE makes the Corp even more vulnerable to your trademark ICE destruction - fewer pieces of ICE per server means fewer Parasite (Core) per server.

COUNTERMEASURES: When the Runner drops a Bank Job, it can feel very much like the tables have been turned. Suddenly they have the ability to bluff you, feint at a server you had been giving very little thought to, and quite possibly call your bluff. It's unsettling to be in the dark when you're usually the one pulling the dirty tricks. Just remember, bluffing is YOUR game. Ramp up your subterfuge. Use that Matrix Analyzer (Core) to advance the card the Runner is making her way toward, let her figure out if it's a pumped up Aggressive Secretary (Core) or a ready-to-score Accelerated Beta Test (Core). Many times, refusing to rez ICE as the Runner comes through will be enough to get her to leave your card alone. Yes, she'll end up on solid economic footing BUT you will have taken back a bit of control. Remember, under most circumstances, a Bank Job can only be pulled once.

Scud is a former editor in educational publishing and is currently working on his first novel and prepping for grad school. He played the original Netrunner, played Dreamblade competitively, and writes and self-publishes a couple of comic books at Lonely Robot Comics. Also make sure to check out his Android: Netrunner blog here at CardGameDB,Electric Sheep.


5 Comments

This is a neat idea... Are you maybe taking requests? I have been wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of Stimhack...
I am, indeed, taking requests. I'll add Stimhack to the list. It'll be good for me to work on since I got my face punched in by back-to-back Stimhacks recently...
I'd like your opinon on Anonymous Tip (with Research Station cameo). People are all against drawing cards as Corp, but frankly, I do it often as Corp and it wins me games.
Great article!
I like the article - I'd like to get a Tech Talk on Djinn!