Psychographics: Mind-pictures. The study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Also a win-condition in tag-heavy Netrunner decks particularly NBN when combined with Project Beale. But I get ahead of myself… Let’s take a look at the card first!
No errata applies to the card.
For a click, X credits and whatever investment has been put into getting the runner tagged to the value of X, you can place X advancement tokens on a card that can be advanced.
It’s a form of click-compression in the turn that it’s played (as you get more advancement tokens for the click than you would otherwise have), but the true utility depends upon what it is that you’re advancing.
Before we get into that, let’s take a look at ways in which the Corp can get the runner tagged:
- Various ICE sub-routines
- Midseason Replacement
- Hard Hitting News (HHN)
- The ID effect of Controlling the Message
Ice sub-routines can be broken, and Midseason requires an agenda to be stolen as well as having money to play the operation and beat the runner’s economy to generate sufficient tags. Hard Hitting News has a lower trace, but also a lower barrier to entry and it guarantees a particular number of tags.
Of these CtM is the most consistent, as a deck with that ID is also likely to be spamming assets to bait the runner into getting tagged through the trace. Combining that with either HHN or Midseasons usually leads the runner to choosing to not sacrifice their tempo by constantly removing tags and they decide to accept tags as a fact of life and generally don’t clear them (called ‘going tag-me’).
The number of tags defines what can be achieved with Psychographics. So let’s take a look at what you could do with those advancement tokens.
What makes Psychographics better?
You’ve got a stack of credits, you’ve got the runner under a mound of tags… What’s the best thing to do:
- Score agendas! You click to install the agenda, click to play Psychographics and then immediately score it
- Install another agenda with your third click to play around Clot (which stops agendas being scored on the turn that they were installed)
- Over-advance a Project Beale and win the game (more on this shortly)
- Score costly agendas like Mandatory Upgrades!
- Other stuff, maybe advancing ice?!??
So, Psychographics is a form of Fast Advance that uses tags and credits to execute the plan. The clearest win condition is the combo with Project Beale, so let’s take a look at this.
To over advance Beale, you need to place the three normal advancement tokens, and then 2 tokens for each additional point:
- To score 7 points requires – 13 advancement tokens – turn being: install, advance, psycho with 12 tags and 12 credits
- To score 6 points requires – 10 advancement tokens – turn being: install, advance, psycho with 10 tags and 10 credits
- To score 5 points requires – 8 advancement tokens – turn being, install, advance, psycho with 8 tags and 8 credits
- To score 4 points requires – 6 advancement tokens – turn being: install, advance, psycho with 6 tags and 6 credits
- To score 3 points requires – 4 advancement tokens – turn being, install, advance, psycho with 4 tags and 4 credits
Put into an easier table Corp’s points scored & tags / credits needed to score a Beale to win:
0 – 12
1 – 10
2 – 8
3 – 6
4 – 4
Towards the mid to late-game, you will have wanted to have sufficient tagging of the runner that they are likely to be floating somewhere north of 4 tags; it’s likely that they will be either trying to attack R&D to dig for the win and / or attacking your economy to shut down the other aspect of the game.
If your win condition is a psycho’d Beale then you will want to ensure that you are able to manage the R&D digs as well as keep your economy tight enough. Protecting against Account Siphon, Temujin Contract and Medium become important.
It’s also because of Psychographics tending to become a late-game card that you tend to see so few of them in decks. A single card will likely turn up later in the game and mean that you have less risk of it being inadvertently trashed.
Because of the combo, it also makes sense to hang onto a Project Beale to wait for the other part to turn up rather than recycling it or scoring it naturally.
What makes Psychographics worse?
A lack of ways to land tags, economy or good targets to advance make Psychographics a bad card for your deck. And at 3-influence you might want to think very hard about including it out of faction.
If you’re not building a deck that is going to consistently force the runner to go tag-me, then it is unlikely that you’ll have sufficient tags to make the Psychographics fit. If you’re aim is to tag the runner so that you can then kill them, you’re unlikely to want the advancement tokens from Psychographics, so again a poor fit.
As a runner, at the start of the tagging game you want your economy to be more advanced than the Corp’s to avoid the tags, but once you’ve chosen to go tag me you will want to deny the Corp economy over and above managing your own.
If you suspect Psychographics is in play, then considering the ‘match point’ to be lower than normal and changing behaviour makes sense as well, and trying to hit R&D hard is a sensible play trying to rush the corp. Having a counter to Archangel (or other program trashing) is useful at that stage to keep Medium in plan as long as possible building counters.
All in all Psychographics is a win-condition in NBN decks due to the synergy with Project Beale. It’s a late game plan that suits a Fast Advance strategy and the ability to consistently land and keep tags with the runner.
Once the runner’s mental attitude has switched to a ‘go tag-me’ approach, the strategy moves to digging for Psychographics and Beale, whilst keeping sufficient credits available and R&D protected against Medium or other multi-access digs.
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