Embracing your inner scumbag: how I learned to stop worrying and love the Astrotrain


“choo choo” “fuckin astro” “bleh not again” “anti-fun dickhead” “don’t you feel guilty playing this shit”

– various opponents

If there’s one thing people love to hate, it’s Astroscript Pilot Program. Whenever a thread bitching about game balance pops up, it’s always “make Astro unique” “make Astro a 4/2” “BAN THIS SICK FILTH”.  I used to be the same, back in the dark ages. But I’ve seen the light.

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Literally Hitler and Lady Hitler

Because it’s “not Netrunner”, right? There’s a right way and a wrong way to play, and this is clearly the wrong way. The right way is to build a sweet rig and a scoring server and then everyone throws money at each other until someone (ie, the runner) wins. BUT.

The majority of people who’ve complained about this to me aren’t playing Netrunner either. You know why? Because they’re playing solitaire. They want to put down their totally sweet 7-card economy combo or their cool Blackguard thing. And their opponent has the nerve to score points first! Quick note: this doesn’t apply to everyone, because two time world champion Dan D’Argenio is on record as being very anti-NBN, and nobody can accuse him of not knowing how to play.

Good job.

See, Astroscript and the NBN faction fills a vital role in the game – scoring points as fast as goddamn possible. And this is what really pisses people off. There’s a perspective that the game is uninteractive. Yes, this is sometimes the case – the NBN player just gets the god draw and you can’t do anything about it. It’s so much rarer than people think, though.

Right now, we have to live in the world where the Astro chain is very much a thing – and this is good for the game. It means that runners can’t just spend the first half of the game not interacting with the Corp and building their mega-rig. You need to have the capability to deal with a fast build, or get run over. By which I mean, if you’ve built a big rig deck and not put in Clot then you don’t get to complain if you get rushed out because you’ve decided to whinge about a massive part of the game instead of doing something about it.

INCIDENTALLY, this also goes for hyper-aggressive runners like Minh MaxX, which I would love to do an article about if Minh says it’s ok. Getting Siphoned and DLR’d to death is shitty, yes, but it can be played around and it’s by no means unbeatable.

What I’m getting at is that these super aggressive decks ensure that a healthy metagame exists. If you want to derail the train the tools are there. Until then, don’t bitch to me when your 3 Technical Writers can’t keep up.


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