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Negotiator



Negotiator

Negotiator


Type: ICE: Sentry - Destroyer
Cost: 4
Faction: Corp The Weyland Consortium
Faction Cost: 2
The Runner can pay 2 [Credit] to break any subroutine on Negotiator.
[Subroutine] The Corp gains 2 [Credit] .
[Subroutine] Trash 1 program.

Negotiation is an art, so never negotiate when you can intimidate instead. -Thiago Reyes, VP Strategic Operations
Strength: 3
Set: The Valley Number: 19 Quantity:
Illustrator: Andreas Zafiratos
Recent Decks Using This Card:
NAPD
powerunleashed
Want to build a deck using this card? Check out the Android: Netrunner deckbuilder!


25 Comments

Seems to want the runner to break the second subroutine with the payout, leaving the first sub alone. It's good enough to encourage this behavior against Ninja, but not against Mimic, which is too bad.

 

One more strength makes this card more interesting, but hardly a world-beater.

    • KillerShrike likes this
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AdorablePython
Apr 03 2015 10:13 PM

Against Mimic, you can still Patch it.

Against Mimic, you can still Patch it.

 

Sure, you can always invest more into it, but the Runner can do the same in a variety of ways. This is so much more an interesting decision-point at strength 4, without being out of balance. Then the Runner has to pump Mimic, spending resources, etc.

 

It's a small thing, but I think it'll be the difference between this one being a fun quirky taxer and a bookmark. Time will tell, and that's only an opinion.

    • KillerShrike likes this
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AdorablePython
Apr 04 2015 03:31 PM

How does it have 4 strength? It's only 3.

How does it have 4 strength? It's only 3.

 

It doesn't. It should; ergo, it is a bookmark. ;P

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KillerShrike
Apr 06 2015 09:00 PM

Yeah; Mimic eats this, making it basically useless.

I'm sorry; I'm sure I'm missing something, but if people don't consider Rototurret a bookmark, then why would we consider this to be one? It costs the same, and it has higher strength... I suppose it doesn't have ETR...

Rototurret also can't be paid through. This thing doesn't even punish a face-check. It taxes the Runner for 2 credits once, and pays the Corp 2 credits, once, against a Runner charging in like a naked fool.

 

That's not what Rototurret does. Rototurret actually requires the Runner to install a breaker, or use up an event . . . something, anything.

 

Negotiator just rewards the Runner for installing a breaker by no longer paying the Corp. It should be forcing a decision, but it really isn't.

 

If the Runner has a really inefficient breaker for this, like Ninja, Negotiator just hands the choice to the Runner: pay 5 to break, or pay 2 to break and let the Corp have 2 credits.  Against Mimic, there's not even a question.

 

Rototurret is good early ICE. Negotiator looks like good early ICE, but it doesn't do anything. A pair of Pop-up Windows will do the same thing . . . for zero rez cost and fewer real options for the Runner.

 

cf. Caduceus: cheaper to rez; 2 subs; better payout; ETR; trace can be beaten, but this, too, is a tax, and it can't be paid through (well, it can by beating the trace, which is generally more expensive and more flexible for the Corp). Weyland doesn't use Negotiator instead of Caduceus. The program trash that won't ever fire is fool's gold.

    • KillerShrike likes this
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KillerShrike
Apr 06 2015 09:40 PM

I'm sorry; I'm sure I'm missing something, but if people don't consider Rototurret a bookmark, then why would we consider this to be one? It costs the same, and it has higher strength... I suppose it doesn't have ETR...

 

Rototurret will often hit once, punishing the runner and ending the run, forcing them to get and install their breaker. Thus it has an effect, demands a response, and protects its server until the runner comes up with one. It is a great early game piece of ice. It is also a poor mid to late game piece of ice, but the early game benefits make up for it.

 

This card will very rarely hit at all, and is completely porous if the runner has no programs installed. Sure, the corp will make a couple bucks, but many a runner (criminal in particular) would be perfectly happy running through this ice rigless with impunity letting the corps get $2 richer each time only to slam through a siphon. So, this is a poor piece of ice in all phases of the game.

Right on, Meadbeard and KillerShrike. Your posts clarify a lot of the distaste for this card, and I can see why it isn't as good as Rototurret.

 

I wonder if this card could be a better tax, though, than you give it credit for. If its first subroutine fires once, you spent two credits to rez this piece of ice. If the runner spends two credits to break the trash program subroutine, you've spent even less, in a sense. Also, if you are spending credits to get past this when you don't have a breaker out, it sets you back further from getting the breaker required to break it efficiently.

    • Meadbeard and KillerShrike like this
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KillerShrike
Apr 07 2015 08:19 AM

I wonder if this card could be a better tax, though, than you give it credit for. If its first subroutine fires once, you spent two credits to rez this piece of ice. If the runner spends two credits to break the trash program subroutine, you've spent even less, in a sense. Also, if you are spending credits to get past this when you don't have a breaker out, it sets you back further from getting the breaker required to break it efficiently.

 

Could it be better than I give it credit for? Absolutely. I tend to err on the side of pessimism and undervalue cards until they prove their worth. I've found that this ultimately works out better for me than getting excited about cards and slamming the latest thing to catch my fancy into decks only to have them fail during actual play, often via total deck collapse. So, once bitten twice shy, says I. Subsequently my first pass on a new set of cards tends to be somewhat cynical and doubtful of value. Later experience may promote a card in my esteem.

 

 

 

However, I really don't think so in this case. Even granting you the premise that the runner will spend 2 credits to prevent me from getting 2 credits on a regular basis, which I don't think is legit but am willing to float you, the card still isn't that good compared to other easily available and more effective options.

 

Compare to Checkpoint for another $4 in-faction piece of semi-porous taxing ice. Granted, Checkpoint generates bad pub.

 

Also, Archer. Granted, you have to feed an agenda to it or cheat it out.

 

Or Errand Boy. Granted, it has no bite at all but works better if psuedo-economy is your goal.

 

For $1 more you can get Taurus, which can wreck a rig or take out a carapace...or Grim for a 5/5 program trasher (though, also illicit)

 

For $1 less you can get Shadow which has a similar econ subroutine and a trace to tag...or Caduceus for econ / trace to ETR.

 

Anyway, etc...the bottom line being that the available in-faction / neutral ice of this general category is a pretty packed field containing many viable options, none of which basically say "the runner does not need a breaker to pass this ice" like Negotiator does.

 

 

Also, just to probe your logic a bit, making the runner install a breaker is also a tax, both on credits and on tempo. Any ice that requires a runner to dig up and install even a well-costed breaker is intrinsically more taxing up front than a piece of ice that does not require the runner to find and install a breaker. Also, paying $4 to rez and then getting back $2 from the sub is not quite the same as only spending $2 on the ice; as if you are sitting at $3 or less you can't rez it at all. And as to the runner draining their coffers paying to break with credit and thus being unable to install a breaker to get thru it due to the economic loss, I find it difficult to believe that a skilled player would consistently make that mistake as even a moderately skilled player would likely realize that they don't have to install anything at all to beat this ice; in fact if they don't have any programs installed, they can run it for free, letting the corps get $2 and ignoring the trash program as well as they have no programs on the board to be trashed.

 

So, to sum up, yes I might be wrong as to the viability of this ice. But I feel pretty comfortable taking that risk and not including them in my decks unless proven wrong. Others mileage may vary.

    • Meadbeard and AdorablePython like this

I tend to be less pessimistic overall, I think, than KillerShrike. I agree with all of the above analysis, however.

 

I also agree that I could be wrong (I'm wrong plenty, but for me the point of discussion is to vet ideas, not to be right).

 

My "short version" that might add something to the above is simply to ask the question "how am I finding room for Negotiator in my deck when there are so many other slightly better options that do the same thing in-faction?"

 

The answer to that question is the reason why I'm disappointed that it's not strength-4: that'd cause me to make a choice, but it'd also hardly be an "auto-include." (The additional cost to break at S4, and the additional setup time and tax on Mimic, would actually make a straight Negotiator a really interesting piece of ICE early . . . it'd be just enough to give it some real play).

 

Negotiator seems to be only slightly worse . . . in every possible way . . . than several other options. Is it worth trying in a deck? Absolutely! Is it going to make the cut? I say "probably not."

 

If you know you are facing Ninja, I'd say that Negotiator will be really fun to play, as the S3/S4 difference doesn't matter. Out in the open, however, it'll be disappointing more often than not.

    • KillerShrike likes this

Alright, I'm on board. Thanks for the detailed responses. 

Just one question:  what if this is a "beefed up" Pup?

 

How would it factor in then?  I recognize some breakers eat it cheaper than its cost-to-break, but most breakers don't.

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KillerShrike
Apr 27 2015 09:39 PM

Pup does damage, always. It's basically pay $2 or lose 2 cards. You can't just run through it without suffering some impact. It is immediately impactful, from turn 1, and never stops being impactful as a constant tax. And there's no real point to breaking pup, usually, as it is typically cheaper to just pay the toll.

 

Negotiator on the other hand can be run through for free and with no impact to the runner if they don't have a program installed. It is not a threat on turn 1, usually. Even if you have a program installed you can pay $2 to break just that sub if you want, but with Mimic on the board you break the whole thing.  Etc.

 

 

 

So...here's the thing. People who like this card (or any card that other people hate on)...just put it into a deck and play it anyway. If it performs for you and you still like it, keep it in the deck. If it doesn't pan out, replace it with any of the numerous similar cards listed up thread and try them out. Keep doing this until you find the right ice for the deck. It is entirely possible, that Negotiator is that ice for you and your deck. It is not the right ice for me, for various reasons that I think I've covered in depth. But, your mileage may vary and there is no harm in trying it out for yourself to see.

If they come up with more such "Runner may pay credits to break" cards and an upgrade/asset that says that each time the runner breaks a subroutine without using a program he must pay 1 additional credit. Besides boosting those cards, it will also help those poor, poor bioroids. Will it then seem good? Depends on the rez cost and faction influence. Bookmark this and come back again when the time is right.

 

Also, finding a person to play with who doesn't have a myriad spreadsheets with click efficiency calculations may prove more interesting than you expect,

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AdorablePython
Apr 28 2015 10:49 AM

There's a synergy with RSVP though, which is a good card in Gagarin Deep Space anyway.

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KillerShrike
Apr 28 2015 04:30 PM

There's a synergy with RSVP though, which is a good card in Gagarin Deep Space anyway.

 

So...pretty much every piece of ice, and every trashable card has "synergy with RSVP", assuming they are behind one and would cost more than $0 to interact with. That isn't a feature of the other cards; that's a feature of RSVP. It is quintessentially an enabler combo card whose reason for existence is to provide synergy with other cards.

 

RSVP is a great piece of ice, and I've been a fan of it since it released. And yes, using RSVP makes other weaker cards better. But it also makes stronger cards better.

 

So, in the comparison of a weak card such as Negotiator vs a stronger similar card, RSVP is on both sides of that comparison and therefore is removed as a wash. Where ??? is some other equivalent piece of ice that is stronger than Negotiator,

 

(Negotiator + RSVP) < (??? + RSVP)

 

is the same as

 

(Negotiator) < (???)

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AdorablePython
Apr 28 2015 05:14 PM

Hmm... does a triggered RSVP mean that the runner can't spend ANY credits (even for using icebreakers) or just for purposes of cards that require spending credits, like Gagarin or Pop-Up-Window?

    • KillerShrike likes this

Hmm... does a triggered RSVP mean that the runner can't spend ANY credits (even for using icebreakers) or just for purposes of cards that require spending credits, like Gagarin or Pop-Up-Window?

 

The Runner cannot spend any credits: can't trigger an SMC or Savoir-Faire; can't pump an icebreaker; can't solve Caprise Nisei (unless the Corp bids zero); can't boost link; can't spend Bad Publicity credits . . . nothing.

 

The Runner can spend zero credits, however, so Yog.0 still works. Tokens can still be spent too, so Cerberus + Datasucker (et al.) still has a chance.

 

There are a million ways to try to get Negotiator to work: put it behind an Inazuma; Chum it; do those things with a Port Anson Grid on the table . . . but these complexities rarely work on the table, and you could just do the same thing with Caduceus and probably be happier.

 

I almost never hate on cards. Heck, I wanted Tyrant to work. Seriously. Also, I think Negotiator is excellent card design, because it makes you want it to work, even if it's not really that great. There's something to be said about that. It's a Sirens' Song. It lures you in. It's even going to work, sometimes (against Ninja), just never as well as several other comparable options.

 

All that said, a card could be released that suddenly makes Negotiator (and specifically it) the bee's knees. That happens. I love it when that happens. It's one of those cool things about the game (and, frankly, FFG in general -- they make correctives in their expansions). On that day, I'll retract my criticisms. Until then, keep yourself tied to the mast, brave Ulysses.

    • KillerShrike likes this
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KillerShrike
Apr 28 2015 05:33 PM

Hmm... does a triggered RSVP mean that the runner can't spend ANY credits (even for using icebreakers) or just for purposes of cards that require spending credits, like Gagarin or Pop-Up-Window?

 

->The Runner cannot spend any credits for the remainder of this run.

 

If you would reduce your credit pool by $1 or more, you are spending credit(s), which RSVP prohibits if it triggers.

 

You can trash things that cost $0 to trash, you can trigger paid abilities that cost $0, you can bid $0 in a psi game (though that's obviously academic it would matter if the corp was on $0 credits).

 

There were some rulings on this back in the day as when it was released there was some confusion around the word "ANY", which in other places includes the value 0. But in the case of RSVP the key word is the verb "SPEND" which was clarified to not include $0.

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KillerShrike
Apr 28 2015 06:00 PM

I almost never hate on cards.

I hate to be a hater; I prefer to like things. But, part of the art of constructed card games is being able to tell good cards from bad, so...

 

And actually, I don't hate any card; that's a strong word. I do recognize that some cards are flawed, and exploring that with other players helps us all learn from each other. I think we all have different strengths as players. Some of us are better at gamesmanship at the table, reading tells, bluffing, head games, remembering cards played, counting influence, etc. Some of us are better at deck construction, finding synergies, picking good cards over bad, etc. Some of us are better at fostering community and keeping the game relevant with discussion, ideas, resources, etc. The very best players are good at everything; some of the guys over at stimhack for instance.

 

I'm not trying to bring people down on a card they like. I'm just trying to keep things grounded and offer some critical examination.

 

  • Some folks may not agree: ok, lets discuss why not
  • Some may prove my perspective wrong:  thanks for helping me get better
  • Some may find that it saves them time and effort and possibly game losses to come to the conclusion that certain cards are better than others: glad I could be of service

 

Heck, I wanted Tyrant to work. Seriously.

Yes, I feel your pain. I wish it worked too. It would be so awesome. But alas, poor Tyrant, ye doth suck.

 

Also, I think Negotiator is excellent card design, because it makes you want it to work, even if it's not really that great. There's something to be said about that. It's a Sirens' Song. It lures you in. It's even going to work, sometimes (against Ninja), just never as well as several other comparable options.

 

I agree with the general sentiment, and there are many netrunner cards that make me want them to work, but Negotiator is not one of them. As the corporation, I do not want ice that offers the runner alternative means of breaking them. That's always a flaw or a trade off with something I do want such as more strength or more subroutines or something unbreakable. For instance, bioroids offer the runner an alternative to break them, which is their defining flaw, but in return they tend to be strong and dangerous.

 

Negotiator is neither. Granted $2 is in theory > 1 click if you subscribe to the click equivalency idea, but in practice they are roughly comparable thanks to the plethora of efficient econ options available.

 

The problem with Negotiator isn't that the runner can pay through it, it that there is no penalty if they don't in some circumstances and that is more likely to be true early in the game before a rig is set up...and Negotiator is phase 1 / early game piece of ice. It's flaw is not counterbalanced by something that is beneficial to me. Nevertheless, I'm not eager to see the underlying pay $2 to bypass mechanic repeated on a newer piece of ice. I'd rather see that mechanic remain within bioroid and measured in clicks, as there is a selection of bioroid support cards already in print which makes that a more viable / receptive mechanic in the card pool as it is established and immediately useful / relevant on release.

 

 

All that said, a card could be released that suddenly makes Negotiator (and specifically it) the bee's knees. That happens. I love it when that happens. It's one of those cool things about the game (and, frankly, FFG in general -- they make correctives in their expansions). On that day, I'll retract my criticisms. Until then, keep yourself tied to the mast, brave Ulysses.

 

Yes, absolutely. Lukas / FFG has been really impressive in their ability to mold the card pool over successive releases to morph the meta. Good cards become not so good, bad cards become viable. I love that. The corrective nature of the releases has been good, and the shifting meta keeps it fresh. All things are subject to change with future releases.

    • Meadbeard likes this

This seems like a good piece of Ice to put over an asset that you kinda want to protect and make it costly for the runner to access/trash the asset. Over a Pad Campaign, suddenly the Runner is losing 6 or 8 credits to trash.

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KillerShrike
May 10 2015 04:16 AM

This seems like a good piece of Ice to put over an asset that you kinda want to protect and make it costly for the runner to access/trash the asset. Over a Pad Campaign, suddenly the Runner is losing 6 or 8 credits to trash.

 
So, nothing means anything in a vacuum. It is only by comparison with some baseline, or a competitive alternative, that relative pros and cons become more clear. Thus I will respond to your premise by comparing Negotiator directly to the extremely similar same faction Sentry, Caduceus. Hopefully the flaw in your premise will become clear when you see how Negotiator compares head to head against a piece of ice that is generally considered to be pretty decent.
 

 

Caduceus

Faction: The Weyland Consortium
Type: ICE: Sentry - Tracer
Cost: 3
Influence: 2
Strength: 3

Card Text: 
[Subroutine] Trace3 - If successful, the Corp gains 3[Credits].
[Subroutine] Trace2 - If successful, end the run.

Set: What Lies Ahead
Illustrator: Christina Davis

Advantages over Negotiator:

  • -$1 to rez, for the same strength
  • if money gaining sub fires, +$1 gained
  • if corp does not pump either trace, costs +$1 to pass by spending credits
  • can end the run

Disadvantages compared to Negotiator:

  • trace based
  • cannot destroy a program

 

Cost to trash a Pad Campaign with no programs to protect in play:

  • Sitting behind Negotiator: pay nothing, corp gains $2, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $6 (you spent $4, they gained $2)
  • Sitting behind Caduceus: pay $2 to beat the End The Run trace, corp gains $3, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $9 (you spent $6, they gained $3)

 

Cost to trash a Pad Campaign with one or more programs you need to protect in play:

  • Sitting behind Negotiator: pay $2 to get past Program trashing, corp gains $2, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $8 (you spent $6, they gained $2)
  • Sitting behind Caduceus: pay $2 to beat the End The Run trace, corp gains $3, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $9 (you spent $6, they gained $3)

Cost to trash a Pad Campaign with Mimic in play:

  • Sitting behind Negotiator: pay $2 to break Negotiator, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $6 (you spent $6, they gained $0)
  • Sitting behind Caduceus: pay $2 to break Caduceus, pay $4 to trash Pad Campaign; net difference to corp: $6 (you spent $6, they gained $0)

 

Caduceus is basically the same or better than Negotiator and never worse, vs a 0 link runner. Vs a runner with 2 or more link (relatively uncommon) Negotiator more or less breaks even, and vs a runner with 3 or more link Negotiator starts to pull ahead.

 

Further, if the corporation chooses to exercise the option to boost the trace on the EtR, Caduceus becomes proportionately more taxing.

 

For instance, in the first scenario the corp can afford to boost the end the run trace on Caduceus by $3 and break even on the net difference, and boosting it by $6 would still be equivalent to the taxing impact of Negotiator. Only if the corp boosts by +$7 or more does Negotiator have the better numbers.

 

 

*I did this pretty quickly (wifey is impatiently waiting for me to watch a show), so my math might be a little off, but it looks correct on a single eyeball pass. Let me know if I flubbed the numbers and I will fix it.

    • GazzaM likes this

This page has generated so much traffic that it reminds of HaW, god forbid.
 
However, imagine this - another 4 strength, 4 rez cost barrier, that has the same quirk "pay 2 to break any subroutine" and the subroutines "the Corp gains 2 credits" and "End the Run". It is just as awful as the Negotiator and I will leave to you to imagine the Code Gate equivalent.
 

Regardless, if we consider the above quite possible creations, there are plenty of card designs that will make that suite of ice playable:

 

  • Upgrade - "Trash - the runner can't break any subroutines on the encountered ice without a program for the remainder of the run";
  • Asset - "Each time the Runner breaks a subroutine without using a program he must pay 1 credit"
  • Upgrade - "Whenever the Runner is about to break a subroutine on a piece of ice without using a program you may pay 2 credits to prevent that subroutine from being broken" - or similar wording to allow you to "negotiate" the price to break the ice;
  • Upgrade - "The Runner can not spend more than 1 credit to break each sobroutine on any ice protecting this server" (also hits Darwin);
  • Asset - "The first time the Runner breaks a subroutine this turn, gain credits equal to the credits spent by the Runner to break that Subroutine"
  • Weyland Agenda - 1/3 - "Whenever you gain credits from ice subroutines, gain 1 credit";
  • And many more.

Now just take Negotiator and the first upgrade (it will have appropriate unplayable cost for sure, but let's imagine that a new meta may happen other than demolishing neighbourhoods on top of the runner) - now it is a Grim without the bad publicity cost and 1 credit less to rez. Don't know about you, but I would take that flexible program trash.

Again if the suggested crappy barrier (see above) is paired with the first upgrade it will turn into Bastion for 2 rez cost (and the Runner will have paid 2/4 already).

 

Another positive for the above suggestions are that bioroids will really benefit from them - just make them Weyland cards with 3+ influence and the game is on. All in all, I really dig this design - creating weak or questionable niche cards allows to make great card desgins without making them completely broken (if they extend their effect to already efficient cards the balance of the game will shift and break). Nice example is the recent Adjusted Chronotype - it targets a few cards that would be good if it wasn't for their drawbacks and allows many new ideas around the "lose a click" mechanic.

 

TL; DR - future cards can easily make this one interesting and effective to play, put it aside for now ;)

    • Meadbeard likes this

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