Name: The Short Circuit
Commonality: Common
Installationcost: 1
Type: Resource - BBS
Game Text: A, [1]: Search your stack for a program. Show that program to the Corp, and then bring it into your hand. Reshuffle your stack afterwards.
Illustrator: Ray Winninger
Sets: v1.0

Card Spotlight by Chris Wagner (Foolkiller)(was: Card of the Day #9)

The Short Circuit is one of the most commonly used cards in Netrunner. While "power gamers" probably use it less on the whole than new players, it still finds its way into a huge variety of decks. The special nature of Runner cards, which makes access a necessity, compelled the use of this type of card, which allows you to fish for the right tools.

The Short Circuit is a resource, and so the standard rules apply regarding losing it due to having a tag, and to setting up an Underworld Mole attack. With those warnings in mind lets examine the usefulness of the card.

First, it requires a draw, one action and 1 bit to put into play. Once accomplished, an action plus one bit net one program of choice in-hand. This program must be revealed to the Corp so this method of getting your suite in place will not allow for surprises. Once you have fetched all of your programs this card will serve no further function in play, and so may be sold through Smith's Pawnshop or misc.for-sale. Multiple copies still in-hand could be Organ Donored, or kept to absorb net damage at a crucial point. ;)

The Temple Microcode Outlet serves the same function as this card in the form of a Prep, and for some may be the better choice (such as those who use a single breaker, like Krash). The action and bit used to play the Prep put the card in hand (revealed) in one action, thus providing a faster, and slightly cheaper, method of getting one program in play.

Both these cards suffer from an inescapable rule of card games: if its not in hand when you need it, it does you no good. If you draw all your Programs in the opening draw, these cards will simply be wasting space in your stack. Likewise, getting no programs and no The Short Circuit until late in the game serves you equally poorly. For this reason it is wise to include multiple copies of these cards if you choose to use them. As a balance, multiple copies of The Short Circuit do you no good at all once the first copy is in play.

Mantis, Fixer-at-Large can serve the same function as The Short Circuit as well as being able to fetch other cards as well, but the 3 bit cost (plus a card) is usually too high to be worth the effort.

The alternative to The Short Circuit is rapid deck access, using Jack 'n' Joe, Bodyweight Synthetic Blood and other such cards to plow through the deck quickly, accessing all cards in rapid fashion. There are obvious drawbacks to this style, such as City Surveillance and the need to use memory chip cards to increase hand size (unless you like discarding a lot). Since access is granted to all cards this method is often worth the risks as it is faster and more utilitarian than The Short Circuit. The Short Circuit is immune to City Surveillance, as is If You Want It Done Right... so if you see a lot of City Surveillance in your area, you may be prompted to stick with the hunt-and-grab method.

The Short Circuit can help to facilitate complex setups, where one card may be needed before another (like Mystery Box or Zetatech Software Installer). It also helps to integrate your bit engine into your search for programs. By this I mean, if you choose to use Newsgroup Filter as your primary means of income, The Short Circuit can provide that for you, while Broker would have to filter its way to the top in the normal fashion.

Another nice feature of The Short Circuit is that if you include multiple copies you can use single copies of your programs in your stack as you will be able to get them as needed. This allows more space to be devoted to other cards, such as bit gainers or Preps.

One minor drawback to The Short Circuit is that it prohibits you from "setting" your deck with cards like If You Want It Done Right... because it requires a shuffle after use. It can also be frustrating to use The Short Circuit only to find the program you wanted was your next draw anyway!

Overall, The Short Circuit is a great card which serves a genuinely useful purpose in the majority of decks, but it may prove too slow in games where speed is of the essence or more efficient means of deck-access are available.


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