Netrunner FAQ

Netrunner FAQ
Vapor Ice Edition 
by Marc "Sparky" Schmalz 
with assistance from WotC R&D and Customer Services 
(especially Mischa Donders, Glenn Elliott, Eric Gum, Rich Redman, 
Charles Keith-Stanley, JD Wiker and Jon Wilkie) 

Q: What exactly am I reading right now? 

A: You're looking at the first edition of the Netrunner FAQ. Please note
that this is a snapshot of a living document, and that changes will 
happen regularly, especially in the early months of Netrunner's 
existence. There are a couple of reliable ways to get the most current 
version of this document. It will always be posted to our World Wide Web 
site (http://www.wizards.com), and WotC Customer Services will send you a
copy if you supply them with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. You can 
get the Customer Services contact information from page 59 of the 
rulebook. Please note that all page references in this document are for 
use with the Netrunner Limited Edition rulebook, which came with v1.0 of 
the game. These references may not work with later editions of the 

Q: What happens to an agenda after it is scored? 

A: The player scoring the agenda gets the agenda points and the agenda 
card is removed from its old location and set aside. At this point, it 
can no longer be affected by the opponent. If the Corporation scored it, 
the Corporation can use any special abilities or effects of the card as 
long as appropriate. 

Q: What happens when the Runner draws a card from R&D or HQ that is not 
an agenda and does not have a trash cost? 

A: That card is returned to the location from which it came. If this is 
R&D and the Runner somehow accessed more than one card, the Runner must 
maintain the original order of the cards when he or she returns them. 

Q: What happens to ice after all the subroutines are broken? 

A: Nothing special. The runner has passed the ice and can choose to 
continue or jack out. The ice card stays in play, remains rezzed, and 
waits for the next runner to come along. The Runner isn't destroying the 
program; he or she is merely evading it. 

Q: When does the Runner have to increase the strength of an icebreaker? 

A: During an encounter with a piece of ice, the Runner has to decide if 
he or she wants to break its subroutines. If the answer is yes, then the 
Runner has to ensure that the strength of the icebreaker is equal to or 
greater than the strength of the ice. If it's not, the Runner will have 
to increase the strength of the icebreaker for it to be effective--most 
icebreakers allow for their strength to be increased. Any increase is 
good for the duration of the encounter with that piece of ice; the Runner
does not have to pump strength up in-between subroutines, but the 
strength bonus is lost as soon as the Runner is past the piece of ice he
or she is currently encountering. 

Q: How are nodes played? 

A: Nodes are installed vertically and face down, and only in subsidiary 
data forts. Nodes are not active until the Corporation rezzes them. 
Occasionally nodes can be advanced; this will be indicated on the card. 
The further the node has been advanced, the more effective it will be, as
indicated on the node card. If the Runner ever accesses a node, the 
Runner can pay its trash cost to put it on top of the face-up pile of the

Q: What's the difference between Mouse and SeeYa? 

A: Mouse exposes a card installed inside a data fort. Since ice is 
installed on a data fort and not in it, the Runner cannot reveal ice with
Mouse. The Runner can reveal any installed card with SeeYa (note that 
cards in the draw pile of R&D, the HQ hand, and the Archives are not 

Q: Will an I Spy counter on R&D reveal the Corporation's whole deck? 

A: No. I Spy counters reveal installed cards. The stack of cards is 
simply stored in R&D, not installed there. Same goes for the hand of 
cards in HQ. 

Q: What happens if the Runner has Loan from Chiba out and can't pay the 
bit at the beginning of his or her turn? 

A: Nothing happens. If a player suffers a penalty and can't fulfill that 
penalty (for example, is forced to spend more bits than possible) then 
the player must meet the conditions or parts of conditions as far as 
possible and ignore conditions or parts of conditions that he or she 
cannot fulfill. 

Q: In order to remove virus counters, does the Corporation have to skip 
three actions immediately after the mandatory draw? 

A: No. The virus cards state that the Corporation has to forgo three 
actions, not that it has to spend them. In order to spend actions, a 
player would have to have them immediately available to him or her, but a
player can declare that he or she is forgoing actions during an 
opponent's turn. The virus counters are removed as soon as the 
Corporation declares that it is forgoing its actions, so at that time it 
no longer suffers the viral effects. Being required to forgo more actions
than are left in the turn does not count as a penalty that can't be 
fulfilled: a player simply forgoes actions on succeeding turns until 
enough actions have been forgone. 

Q: When does the Runner become flatlined? 

A: Damage causes the Runner to discard a card for every point he or she 
takes. If damage ever forces the Runner to discard a card when he or she 
has no cards in hand, the Runner is flatlined; thus, the Runner is not 
flatlined if his or her hand is at zero cards or if he or she has a 
maximum hand size of zero, unless he or she is then required to discard a

Q: Can the Runner use Signpost or The Springboard even if he or she 
doesn't have a base link card in play? 

A: Yes. Even without a base link card in play, the Runner always has a 
base link of zero. 

Q: When can a card's special effect be used? 

A: If a card special effect requires an action, it can only be used on 
its player's own turn. An effect that does not require an action can be 
used at any time that the Corporation can rez a card, though we did not 
specifically mention that in the rulebook (you have our humblest 
apologies on this one). Remember that the Runner always gets the first 
chance to use special effects, then the Corporation has its chance. The 
Runner cannot use a special effect after the Corporation has performed 
its effects, unless the function of that effect is to prevent other 
Q: When can the Runner jack out during a run? 

A: Unless another card is in play, the Runner can only jack out between 
pieces of ice and after passing the last piece of ice on a data fort just
before accessing its contents. 

Q: If the Corporation trashes three of the Runner's hardware cards with 
Power Grid Overload, who chooses the order in which they hit the Runner's
trash pile? 

A: The Corporation chooses. Any effects caused by the trashing of those 
cards (for example, the Runner's having to trash programs due to reduced 
MU after memory chips have been trashed) are handled only after all those
cards are trashed. 

Q: When the Runner plays Hunt Club BBS, can he or she choose a card and 
then wait for it to be revealed before choosing the next, or must the 
Runner choose all cards before any are revealed? 

A: Again, if an effect does more than one thing, all the events happen 
simultaneously, unless indicated otherwise. If the Runner plays Hunt Club
BBS, all choices about cards are made before any of them are exposed. 

Q: Vapor Ops states, "Vapor Ops advancement counter: Gain [1]." When does
the Corporation get the bits for those advancement counters? 

A: Remember that abilities in Netrunner are set up as "cost: effect." 
What the card means is that if the Corporation spends one of the 
advancement counters on Vapor Ops, it gets [1]. The Corporation can use 
this special function at the same times it can rez a card. 
Q: The Runner has AI Boon on Shell Traders with only one shell counter 
left. Can he or she pay off the last counter and install it in the middle
of a run? What's its strength for that run? 

A: The Runner can pay the bit and bring it into play during a run, since 
it does not require an action to remove shell counters. This cannot be 
done during an encounter with a piece of ice, though, since no player can
use effects during an encounter, other than prevention effects. AI Boon 
is considered to have a strength of 0, since the Runner only rolls for 
its strength at the start of each run, and is already in the middle of a 
run. Remember that the Runner cannot react to the Corporation's rezzing 
of an ice card by using his or her own special effects. 

Q: If the Corporation scores Ice Transmutation and uses it on a piece of 
ice that is subsequently derezzed but not removed from play, does that 
ice keep the extra subroutines when it is re-rezzed? 

A: Since the card hasn't left play, it remembers that it was affected by 
Ice Transmutation. If that same card had been returned to HQ (or trashed 
and recovered into HQ) and re-played, it would not remember the change. 

Q: What happens if an icebreaker gets a negative strength? 

A: Strengths can be negative, and the negatives need to be overcome when 
trying to break ice. 

Q: When the Corporation plays Team Restructuring, can it put both 
advancement counters on one card? 

A: No. It specifically states that the Corporation can only put one 
counter on each of the cards it chooses to advance. 

Q: The Runner has The Shell Traders in play, and takes two actions to 
bring two cards into play, putting Shell counters on them. Can the Runner
remove a counter from both of them at the start of each of his or her 

A: No. First of all, there's errata on The Shell Traders. The line 
"Remove one Shell counter from one card at the start of each of your 
turns" should be on its own line. It is not part of the action listed on 
the card. Each copy of the card in play allows the Runner to remove a 
single Shell counter from any card that has them. 

Q: Is Clown cumulative? 

A: Yes. If a Runner has two copies of Clown installed, all ice is 
encountered with its strength reduced by 2. 

Q: Can the Runner use Startup Immolator after using Dropp(TM) to break 
the subroutines of a piece of ice? 

A: No. Dropp(TM) ends the run before the Runner can choose to use Startup

Q: Can the Runner use Joan of Arc to prevent the trashing of Startup 
Immolator when it is used to trash a piece of ice? 

A: Yes. Joan of Arc can be trashed to prevent the trashing of Startup 
Immolator, and the piece of ice will still be trashed. 

Q: If the Runner has an icebreaker installed in an Imp, and the Imp is 
installed inside an Efreet, is the icebreaker's strength reduced by 1 or 
by 2? 

A: The icebreaker's strength is reduced by 1. When checking for 
penalties, the Runner only checks to see where the icebreaker is 
immediately installed. 

Q: Can the Corporation use Pacifica Regional AI to gain actions during 
the Runner's turn? 

A: No. It was left off Pacifica Regional AI, but the meta-rule is that 
neither player can use effects to gain actions during the other player's 
turn. Treat Pacifica Regional AI as though it reads "Use this effect only
during your turn." 

Q: Can the Runner move programs that are already installed into a daemon 
when he or she installs the daemon? 

A: No, previously installed cards cannot be moved into a daemon. 

Q: The rules say the Runner can use two different icebreakers to get past
a piece of ice. So can he or she match the ice's strength with one 
icebreaker, and use another to get past the subroutines? 

A: No. Each icebreaker checks only its own strength to see if it can 
break ice subroutines. 

Q: When does Dropp(TM) end the run? 

A: Dropp(TM) ends the run after the Runner finishes the piece of ice he 
or she was encountering when it was used. Future editions of Dropp(TM) 
will have the following word change to clarify: "[0]: Break all 
subroutines on a piece of ice and end your run." 

Q: If the Corporation has Wall of Ice in play on a data fort that holds 
an active Crystal Palace Station Grid, how much does it cost me to break 
it using Pile Driver? 

A: Crystal Palace Station Grid makes the Runner pay an extra [1] to break
each subroutine on a piece of ice. With Pile Driver ([3]: Break up to 
four wall subroutines on a single piece of ice) the Runner will still 
have to pay an additional [4] to break the four subroutines of Wall of 
Ice. The total to break through would be [7]. Since the Runner pays to 
break "up to four" subroutines at a time, he or she can choose to pay 
only for those subroutines he or she wishes to break. 

Q: What if the situation above involved Dropp(TM) instead of Pile Driver?

A: Dropp(TM) is slightly different. Again, the Runner has to pay [1] per 
subroutine he or she wants broken, but under Dropp(TM)'s corrected 
wording ([0]: Break all subroutines...) the Runner cannot choose to break
only some of the subroutines. Payment must be made for all or none of the

Q: When the Corporation scores Subsidiary Branch ("Gain an action during 
each of your turns"), does he or she immediately get an extra action in 
the current turn? 

A: Yes. Barring interaction from other cards, the Corporation will have 
four actions per turn for the remainder of the game, including during the
turn in which Subsidiary Branch is scored. 

Q: Some cards, like Hammer, Ramming Piston, and Pile Driver, say that 
when the Runner uses them he or she loses bits from stealth cards. What 
are stealth cards, and can the Runner use these icebreakers if he or she 
doesn't have any stealth cards in play? 

A: "Stealth" is another keyword that some of the Runner's cards have. 
Cloak, Invisibility, Vewy Vewy Quiet, and Raven Microcyb Owl are the only
stealth cards in Netrunner v1.0. All of these cards allow the Runner to 
put bits on them from the bit bank and use those bits to pay for 
non-noisy icebreakers. If the Runner has any stealth cards in play, he or
she will lose bits from them when using a noisy icebreaker. If the Runner
doesn't have any stealth cards in play, he or she can still use those 
noisy icebreakers, though. Losing stealth bits is not a cost, but a 
penalty. Remember that if a player suffers a penalty and can't fulfill 
that penalty, then that player must meet the conditions as far as 
possible and ignore conditions or parts of conditions that he or she 
can't fulfill. 

Q: Stealth cards state, "If you use any of these bits, replace them at 
the start of your next turn." If bits are removed from a stealth card 
because the Runner uses a noisy icebreaker (and not because they're being
spent), do those bits get replaced at the beginning of the next turn? 

A: Yes, even bits that are 'removed' will be replenished at the beginning
of the next turn. 

Q: Several cards are installed with bits on them, and state, "If you use 
any of these bits, replace them at the start of your next turn." Where do
I get these replacement bits, my bit pool or the bit bank? 

A: They are taken from the bank. Wording will be changed in v2.0 to make 
this perfectly clear. 

Q: For Techtronica Utility Suit, Zetatech Software Installer, and 
Poltergeist, from where is a player supposed to draw the bits that need 
to be placed on them when they come into play? 

A: The player gets those bits from the bit bank. The v2.0 wording will 
make this clear. 

Q: If I don't break Tutor's subroutine ([*] For the remainder of the run,
all ice encountered has an additional subroutine, "[*] End the run," 
after all other subroutines), does Tutor modify itself to include that 
additional subroutine? 

A: If a Runner has been affected by Tutor's subroutine, all pieces of ice
gain an additional subroutine at the time the Runner first encounters 
them. For this reason, Tutor doesn't add the subroutine to itself. 

Q: If one of the Corporation's subsidiary data forts has all cards 
removed from it, does it still exist? 

A: No. If a subsidiary data fort does not have a card installed in it or 
ice installed on it, it does not exist. 

Q: City Surveillance states, "For each card Runner draws, give Runner a 
tag unless Runner pays [1], in addition to any other costs, to avoid 
receiving that tag. You may rez City Surveillance just before the card is
drawn." If it is rezzed when the Runner states that he or she is going to
draw a card, can the Runner decide not to draw? 

A: No. The Runner cannot decide not to complete an action because City 
Surveillance is rezzed during that action. 

Q: If the Runner makes a successful run using Edited Shipping Manifests 
with no bits in his or her pool, can the bits gained from Edited Shipping
Manifests be used to pay to avoid the tag with Nasuko Cycle? 

A: Edited Shipping Manifests states, "... instead, the Corp loses [1] and
gives you a tag, and you gain [10]." The Runner must process these 
effects in order, so he or she does not get [10] until after the tag is 
given. At that point, it is too late to use Nasuko Cycle's ability to 
avoid receiving the tag. 

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