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Professional Contacts



Professional Contacts

Professional Contacts


Type: Resource: Connection
Cost: 5
Faction: Runner Shaper
Faction Cost: 2
[Click]: Gain 1 [Credits] and draw 1 card.
Set: Creation and Control Number: 049 Quantity: 3
Illustrator: Matt Zeilinger
Recent Decks Using This Card:
Ken Runs
Code Gateing
Cyber Explorer
Kit with Yog
Kit's Icecracker
Want to build a deck using this card? Check out the Android: Netrunner deckbuilder!


15 Comments

It's okay, but I fail to see how it garnered 5 stars. It's like Modus Operandi, sort of, except I get to gain a credit whenever I want to draw a card.
WAY overrated. I see this in every runner deck now. People just don't seem to get the fact that this takes, like 7 activations to pay for itself at 1 cred/click and way more than that at 2 creds/click. Not only that, but it is extremely vulnerable to tags, being a resource. Burst economy is so much better than this. Seriously, for any runners looking to improve your game, cut this sort of crap out of your decks and replace it with diesels, quality time and dirty laundry. For 90% of decks, the only non-burst economy worth looking at is Kati, and I think she is overrated as well.
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CovenantPhil
Nov 20 2013 05:29 PM

WAY overrated. I see this in every runner deck now. People just don't seem to get the fact that this takes, like 7 activations to pay for itself at 1 cred/click and way more than that at 2 creds/click. Not only that, but it is extremely vulnerable to tags, being a resource. Burst economy is so much better than this. Seriously, for any runners looking to improve your game, cut this sort of crap out of your decks and replace it with diesels, quality time and dirty laundry. For 90% of decks, the only non-burst economy worth looking at is Kati, and I think she is overrated as well.


It takes 3 actions to get the "cost" back if you think of credits and card-draws as being equal. If you're thinking strictly in terms of credits, then your math is fine, but those 7 activations also showed you 7 cards in your deck which is huge. As a Runner, I almost always want to draw a few cards, so gaining credits on top of that isn't a bad thing.

You're absolutely right that it's vulnerable to tags though. As a corp, this is my first target (unless they've got a charged-up Kati on the board) when I manage to land a tag. That said, as a Runner, I'm usually okay with the Corp trashing it so long as I've gotten a few draws out of it. I think of it as a diversion for the Corp, making them spend a click and two credits to take away the Contacts, which means they weren't spending that action or credits on getting their board better defended.
PC is a very strong card, no doubt about it. Hostage makes it even better since you want to find and install it as early as possible. And of course this is not a card for hyperaggressive decks because they make their money through running and don't need to draw that many cards anyways. But for runners who like to get their rig all set up before running, this card is very awesome (and just think how game breaking it would have been with the Collective)

But for runners who like to get their rig all set up before running, this card is very awesome (and just think how game breaking it would have been with the Collective)

It's also awesome for runners who build their rig on the fly.

It takes 3 actions to get the "cost" back if you think of credits and card-draws as being equal. If you're thinking strictly in terms of credits, then your math is fine, but those 7 activations also showed you 7 cards in your deck which is huge. As a Runner, I almost always want to draw a few cards, so gaining credits on top of that isn't a bad thing.

You're absolutely right that it's vulnerable to tags though. As a corp, this is my first target (unless they've got a charged-up Kati on the board) when I manage to land a tag. That said, as a Runner, I'm usually okay with the Corp trashing it so long as I've gotten a few draws out of it. I think of it as a diversion for the Corp, making them spend a click and two credits to take away the Contacts, which means they weren't spending that action or credits on getting their board better defended.


I did the math, and if you plan on using this over burst draw options like Diesel and Quality Time then you need to trigger it 18 times before it becomes better than those. And that analysis assumes that you have it in your starting hand. And if it gets trashed before triggering it 18 times then you have to start over. Also, as the runner it is not ok for PC to be trashed after you have triggered it a few times. You already spent 2 clicks and $5 getting it onto the table. As the corp I am perfectly happy trading 1 click and $2 to force you to spend another 2 clicks and $5 to play another one.
I would really like to see your math.
An excerpt taken from an essay I wrote on why burst draw is better:

Let's take a look at the overall efficiency, assuming you are going to draw through your entire deck (40 draws). With PC, assuming it's in your starting hand, that's 40 actions and $40. With burst draw, if you assume you can use each card for maximum effect then that's 22 actions and -$9. With burst draw, you spent 18 fewer actions and have $49 to make up. Obviously that's not going to happen, but it's actually not THAT far off. Keep in mind that this is after you draw your entire deck, which is pretty extreme. If you consider the fact that PC is at least 4 clicks behind in the above example then this margin comes down even more. Now burst draw only has to make up $49 over 22 actions, which is much closer. It's close enough, in fact, that it is going to take a SIGNIFICANT amount of time for PC to overtake burst draw in terms of efficiency. Let's go into a little bit more depth. If we average the above numbers (-18 actions and -$49 for burst draw compared to PC) over 40 draws we get -0.45a (actions) and -$1.225 per draw. Let's assume that the PC player plays PC on the first action of their first turn and it doesn't affect their other early game econ and tempo (it does). From here, how many draws does it take for the PC player to catch up? For the number of actions of the PC player compared to the burst draw player we have the equation 1+0.45d (d=number of draws). For the amount of money the PC player has compared to the burst draw player we have the equation -5+1.225d. If we want to find out at what point PC overtakes burst draw, we need a click to credit conversion c. The equation becomes -5+1.225d-c(1+0.45d)=0, which if we solve for d becomes d=(c+5)/(1.225-0.45c). Here are some results: c=1.5, d=12; c=1.6, d=13; c=1.7, d=15; c=1.8, d=16; c=1.9, d=19; c=2, d=22. As you can see, the number of draws required for PC to catch up goes up really fast as you increase your click efficiency. If we value clicks at around 1.7 creds, which is pretty reasonable in a meta full of cards like Dirty Laundry and Daily Casts, it takes around 15 draws for PC to pay off compared to burst draw. That is quite a while. You also have to take into account the fact that this is draws from the time you lay down PC on the table. If you didn't draw it in your opening hand then you are even worse off since the burst draw player is getting more efficient draws than you while you hunt for PC (keep in mind that for the burst player we averaged their drawing efficiency over their entire deck, whereas the PC player we only looked at after they have PC played). Also, keep in mind that we are assuming that the PC player is not sacrificing any tempo when they play this card, which they certainly are in a huge way. If you take that into account, the number of draws that PC takes to pay off goes up, probably by a few draws to around 17-18 (I actually did the tempo analysis in the essay and found that these were the numbers).
First, 3 PC takes less deck slots than 3 QT + 3 Diesel. That isn't a big enough advantage to prove the card's worth by itself, but it's still there.

Second, PC lasts longer in terms of providing you with benefits. A single Diesel nets +1 click. QT, assuming 1 click = 1.7 credits, nets +2.235 clicks: QT's cost (1 click to play) + (3 * [1/1.7] clicks' worth of credits) = 2.765 clicks, subtracted from QT's gain of 5 clicks, results in +2.235 clicks. These gains remain static as you draw more with the normal action, and the efficiency increase drops. However, the raw gain and efficiency gain from PC increases the more you use it, meaning that a single copy can benefit you more than a single burst draw card, because you need not wait for more cards to increase your draw power. However, over drawing several cards you usually do draw multiple draw cards.
Let's assume the burst draw player uses two Diesel and one QT over the course of drawing 20 cards, and the PC player draws 5 cards before playing PC and then draws 15 after. The burst player has a net gain of +4.235 clicks, and an efficiency of (15.765/20) = 0.788 clicks per draw. The PC player has a net gain of +4.883 clicks (5 * [1/1.7] + 1 + 20 = 23.941 clicks of cost, subtracted from 15 * [1/1.7] + 20 = 28.824 clicks of benefit). This results in an efficiency of 0.756 clicks per draw. Thus, because of PC giving a consistent benefit, it can reasonably give a larger benefit than burst draw. Your calculations resulting in PC needing 18 draws to get ahead of burst draw assume that all six draw cards have been played.[Edit: I think I'm wrong here.] Most games, you will not draw all of your deck and thus you will not draw all of your burst draw cards.

It's also worth mentioning that the draw cards gain more actual draws, while PC gains more credits. The tempo of the cards is also widely different. Thus, the cards may suit different decks regardless of the raw benefits expressed in terms of overall clicks. Both ways are good; neither is strictly better than the other. In other words, it's good game design.
Trevaur's math is correct. If you boil everything down to a click, you can play 1 card, draw 1 card or gain 1 credit for a click. So, spending 5 credits is essentially spending 5 clicks. To play a card, you need to first draw it (1 click), and then play it (1 more click). 5 + 1 + 1 = 7. Take Magnum Opus. You can play it first turn and use it 3 times to end with 6 credits and "get back it's cost". But, you could have just used four clicks to gain 4 credits, and you would be ahead by 3 credits and 1 card in hand. It is not really about getting back to where you were before you used a full turn's worth of clicks; it's about where you could have been if you had done it differently. Continuing with the MO comparison, if I play Magnum Opus and draw a card (2 clicks), how many times would I have to use MO to pass someone just clicking to gain credits? They would already be +7 credits on me at this point. I would have to use Magnum Opus 7 times to catch them. On the 8th use of Magnum Opus, I would now have actually started to earn dividends on playing. Now, over the course of the entire game, when you are going to click to gain credits 10-20 times, Magnum Opus really pays itself back, so don't take this as me saying Magnum Opus is not a valuable card; I am just pointing out that it costs you an entire turn to get it out.

I used Opus as an example because the net is the same as PC and you don't have to worry about the discard part of the equation with PC in the math. The tricky part with PC is that you don't always want to draw a card when you want to gain a credit. When I play PC, I find that it seems at least a third of the time when I need credits, I have 5 cards in hand and nothing I can play, so I end up either not using PC or discarding at the end of the turn, effectively negating the card advantage that PC gives. Sure, I can choose from a handful of cards what I want to discard, but ultimately I lose that card advantage. Furthermore, as a resource, PC is much more vulnerable than Magnum Opus, and infinitely more vulnerable than the more efficient cards like Diesel, Sure Gamble and Quality Time. Magnum Opus has the drawback of costing two MU, and the others are one-shot events, so PC can fit better in certain decks and can net you more advantage over the course of the game, but I would agree 100% that this is not a 5-star card. 3.5 maybe 4.
    • bladerunner35 likes this
If you're playing this strictly as an economy card then yes, the math works out such that Professional Contacts is a deceptively bad idea.

How you should be playing this is as a way to upgrade all your future click-to-draws, if you'd be doing a large number of them anyway. This prevents you from needing to bloat your deck with Shaper draw fuel, and with Hostage you can include only a single copy and still get it out early. This also means it's one of the most influence-efficient draw options.

My current Criminal deck benefits greatly from having a lot of loose change on hand, and has almost no dead draws. Since I always want to "mine" rather than "dig" through my stack, Professional Contacts has proved far more effective in it than Mr. Li.
    • Meadbeard, NFLD and 4wallz like this

@travaneur, I think 1.7 is rather more than a click is worth otherwise nobody would play cards like armitage (1.375 credits / click)

I think nobody really mentiont how to use PC correctly. It was compared to burst draw. But that is not the correct comparision since PC allows you a completely different playstile. Often you have a lot of good cards in your deck but you need always the right ones. A stimhack is quite useless in the beginning. If you play PC you want to draw a lot. So you have to build your deck that way. This means that ideally every action is eider drawing or playing/installing a card. Now you could argue that sometimes you want to do someting different than using a card, making a run or so but your deck should be that way that you almost never have to do that. If you want to run use a card for it. There are a lot of run cards. Also you shouldn't include cards like kati since you then you do something different again. Use cards like sure gamble, daily casts and dirty laundry to get your money while building your deck and prepare it for every case. And of course you need at least two Levy AR labs to reuse your heap. And don't include to many cards which you might not be able to use.

If you play that way PC is much more efficient than burst cards. And it does not make sense to play this way otherwise since otherwise you don't really want to draw you do it because you must.

One advantige of this deck is that your enemie does not know where you will run, simply because you don't know eidher, you run where your cards send you.

Of course it might sometimes be good to run still if you don't have the right card. Then you do that. It will never work perfectly. But I think you see the Idea.

This card is excellent. Don't bother with the math examples above, none of which is an accurate statistical model (e.g. not one is mathematically modeling the runner's opening draw, the mulligan, or 5 starting credits).

 

None of the above examples is modeling probability for drawing 6 of 6 burst-draw cards in comparison with drawing any 1 of 3 Professional Contacts in anything that resembles an actual game, nor is that little break you take between turns ever considered.

 

So, to see the power of this card, let's consider that: what does a turn look like just using Professional Contacts?

 

The runner gets 4 credits and draws 4 cards.

 

What does it take to get 4 credits and 4 cards in a turn without Professional Contacts? (There are other, more complex and conditional ways to do it than the following example, of course).

 

You have to have a Magnum Opus in play, which, just like Professional Contacts, costs 5 credits.

You need to have a Diesel in hand.

Now you can click Magnum Opus twice to make your 4 credits, play Diesel for 3 cards, and spend your last click drawing another card.

 

Congratulations, you just managed to make 4 credits and draw 4 cards in a turn without Professional Contacts. You did this with a couple of cards that are actually, with all their copies, taking up 2.5 to 3 times as much deck space as your three copies of Professional Contacts (we'll just decide you're not using Hostage or Logos and running 1 copy of Professional Contacts -- let's keep it simple).

 

You also made 4 credits and drew 4 cards with the same initial payout of 5 credits, and by only drawing and playing twice as many cards (one Magnum Opus and one Diesel), one of which is effectively a one-shot deal.

 

Professional Contacts is great for building your hand, then having enough money to play what you've drawn. Someone mentioned not wanting to draw with his hand having reached 5 cards. Why not? You'll have the money to play what you've drawn, so you can routinely hit a 7-card hand mid-turn.

 

Prepping for a run against an AP dealing corp? You need cards in hand and money . . . we sure hope that Diesel shows up, or maybe you can just click Professional Contacts a couple of times . . .

 

The truth is, this card is great in the early to mid-game, with Magnum Opus coming on stronger later, when the draw matters less. This is especially the case in big-rig Shaper decks, where the power of your draw multiplies as you start seeing tutors like Self-Modifying Code and Test Run.

    • KillerShrike likes this

Double post, so I'll mention that yeah, PC is a resource, but just like Personal Workshop, you have several ways to protect it.

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KillerShrike
Jan 23 2015 12:28 AM

IMO, ProCo is good in many slower rig building decks and I used to use it heavily in a number of rig oriented decks. Alexfrog wrote up a great article about it back in the day that expressed the advantages of it in the right deck.

 

But with the corp being so fast currently I find it hard to justify such a long startup.

 

In particular I used it in a Chaos Theory Overmind / Lucky Find recursion deck to fantastic effect, but I recently retooled it into a Kate deck that is both more consistent and faster; ProCo was removed as part of that overhaul. Similarly, it was removed from the other decks I used it in, replaced by various other econ options.

 

There's a newish article on Stimhack that compares various econ packages and ProCo used to draw into econ events features prominently as a viable option. If new cards shift the meta again back to a slower corp tempo I'll likely bring it back to some of my decks, perhaps with Supplier support.
 

So, overall, I'd say its a strong card in the right deck. If it is cheated out for less than full price, or participates as part of a draw / econ engine it performs well, but it doesn't really stand up as well on its own in a vacuum. The one caveat to that is, it is very good vs Jinteki net damage annoyance decks, where it can reduce the click tax of drawing back up significantly. When I'm playing such a Jinteki deck, I do not like to see a ProCo drop. It isn't the end of the world and can be played around, but it definitely blunts the edge of Jin's punishment.

    • Meadbeard likes this

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