So, now that we’ve finished out the Genesis Cycle, I thought I’d give a look at how each of the factions has shaped up so far. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments. Today we’ll look at Jinteki on the Corp side and Shapers on the Runner side.
Arguably the weakest Corp at the moment. Jinteki’s main problem is they don’t have an in faction economy, and their ICE is too positional, leaving them too much in need of import with no more influence to play with than anyone else. Despite these flaws they are still dangerous to play, and a skilled or lucky player can go far based on either the intimidation factor of their playstyle or sheer luck with too much net damage to be handled. (Curse you Snare!)
On positional ICE: what I mean by this is ICE such as Chum, Sensei, Cell Portal, or Whirlpool which have to be installed in specific positions of the data fort and are worthless without other ICE. This is an issue for Jinteki because it means for a large chunk of their ICE selections they will need to install at least two pieces to effectively protect the server. This is a serious problem early game when a lucky Runner can easily win the game if R&D is protected by tissue paper. Further, since the Runner only needs to break one of these pieces you have less protection than you should have with a multi ICEd server.
That said, Jinteki is still very tournament viable. Let’s call it hard mode. This shows how good of a job Fantasy Flight has done in their balance: even the worst Corp can still perform very well.
As to their strengths, there are several strong decks if played right, mostly falling into one of two categories: flat Jinteki or not. Flat Jinteki almost assuredly uses Replicating Perfection. It throws out so many remote servers the Runner has no choice but to play three card monte with traps and Agendas. This deck likely shores up the ICE weakness by using the bluff and the red herrings (not the card) to safeguard its Agendas.
The other Jinteki choice is flatline or slow. Obviously any Jinteki can flatline, but only one dedicated to the idea would include Scorched Earth. If not out right trying to kill the Runner, Jinteki is most often using all of its net damage as a way to alternate run turns. All Corps want to ensure that the Runner cannot run every turn in stage three. Most of the others do so with ICE walls (not the card) so thick that the Runner simply can’t afford to run regularly. Jinteki tries a similar trick, however it does so by making the Runner waste clicks drawing cards rather than just grabbing bits.
In sum, Jinteki is the weakest Corp at the moment, but that does not mean it is a weak Corp.
Jinteki Final Score: 5 Net Damage.
It’s really hard to argue which is the worst Runner. All three factions have really strong decks. I will argue Shaper is weakest right now simply because the other two have stupid toys. That said, they are still very strong. Runners in general have the edge right now (I’d argue mainly due to ICE availability Corp side)
The two different Shapers play very differently, but in some ways the same. Kate can do link tricks, while Chaos Theory’s smaller deck lets her pack a more efficient deck. Shaper in general have the best regular economy (Criminal have burst economy) Events like Modded and Test Run, Resources like Aesop’s and of course the Stupid Button, Magnum Opus, all combine to form a solid economy. Between Diesel and Quality Time you can easily burn through your deck to find what you need, especially if it’s the smaller Chaos Theory deck, or you can go a stranger route with the RepliKateor decks to quickly get all your cards out. Either way, the Personal Workshop brings not only a great boon to a deck’s economy but can completely change the way you run.
Where all Runners need to keep phase three in mind, that is where Shaper excel. A well-built Shaper deck should be able to very quickly set up a full rig and afford it regularly, possibly hitting multiple servers in a turn before the Corp is really ready to defend themselves. Slow and Steady winds the race, though Shaper is really only slow in comparison to the ridiculousness that is Criminal.
The one weakness of Shapers is their in faction breakers: for the most part they are not the most efficient to run. That said, it’s easy enough to import breakers, and even if you don’t the economy of the Shapers can still break through without too much trouble.
Shaper Final Score: 4 pushes of the stupid button = 8 bits.