by Frisco Del Rosario
Tin Soldiers -- A look at one-cost sentries
Lessening the costs of various corporate activities will always be
a winning strategy. Install seven Data Masons and rez Wall of Ice
for free. Play with an agenda set of six Executive Extractions, six
Genetics-Visionary Acquisitions, and six Artificial Security Directors
-- eventually you're scoring agenda instantly upon installation.
So, you go through your Security Purge phase, score a few Priority
Requisitions, Emergency Rig this, Skalderviken that.
I've begun looking to the other end of the ice spectrum for new
ideas, and this week I'll look at the three sentries from v. 1.0
which cost one bit to rez: Shock.R, Fatal Attractor, and Too Many
There's not much new to discuss about Shock.R, a card whose praises
I've been singing for a long time. Throw a Shock.R on top of a Filter,
and you've paid one bit in rez cost for a combination of ice which
forces the runner to find two icebreakers. Then, even if the runner
breaks Filter for zero, it's Shock.R which extracts the toll --
Shaka pays three bits to break Shock.R, for instance.
I have one corporate deck which includes Shock.R as its only sentry,
to be combined with cheap walls and code gates, but Shock.R's "stun"
subroutine combines neatly with another sentry, like Banpei. Let's
say one unrezzed piece of ice is outside a rezzed Banpei, and the
corporation has only a few bits in his pool. That situation lulled
me to sleep when I played most recently -- I figured my two or three
bits would break Banpei and even a Data Wall 2.0 (if that's what
it was), but one corporate bit rezzed Shock.R, and to the trash
goes Raffles. That's a nasty surprise.
Reflector, of course, is the card which embarrasses Shock.R, but
I see it employed in too few decks. Two bits for Reflector is such
a small price to pay for Bolter Cluster insurance.
Fatal Attractor is not as good a card as Shock.R. Shock.R in conjunction
with an "end the run" forces the runner to find a sentry breaker
in order to run successfully. Fatal Attractor doesn't even slow
the runner down if he's willing to take the damage, or armed with
And why does Fatal Attractor deal net damage? All the other black
ice scrambles runners' brains. Fatal Attractor would be much cooler
if it dealt one or two brain damage if the runner didn't break each
subroutine on the next piece of ice. Fatal Attractor would also
be improved by an increase to two in rez cost, justified by an increase
in strength -- I'm thinking that it would then find a home with
all the other black ice in Skalderviken SA Beta Test Site decks.
Fatal Attractor's subroutine is the only one in the game which
takes effect if the runner doesn't break subroutines on the next
piece of ice. That suggests combining it with strong, cheap ice
which doesn't even have to end the run. Canis Minor and Ball and
Chain are well suited to install behind Fatal Attractor.
Fatal Attractor also works nicely with that stupid Proteus ice
which can be rezzed in different ways. That is, if the runner decides
not to jack out after encountering Fatal Attractor, ice like Caryatid
and Sumo 2008 gives the corporation two chances to rez a subroutine
that the runner can't break.
The other dopey Proteus ice -- Food Fight, Gatekeeper, Sandstorm
-- which permit the corp to pay for as many subroutines as it wishes,
is also suitable for combining with Fatal Attractor. That ice belongs
in Data Fort Reclamation decks, certainly, in order to maximize
the Data Fort Reclamation agenda bonus.
Speaking of dopey Proteus ice, has anyone found a use for Iceberg
What's the difference between Too Many Doors and the other two
sentries discussed here? Too Many Doors ends the run. Shock.R needs
to be installed outside another piece of ice, and Fatal Attractor
only deals damage.
Too Many Doors is a fun card. A 1-cost sentry which ends
the run, and forces the players to play rock-scissors-paper during
the encounter. I don't think a deck could be built around its unusual
character, unless one was willing to heap several Too Many Doors
over an Obfuscated Fortress, perhaps. A better use of Too Many Doors
is in an ambush deck, I think. Imagine the runner's mood after "winning"
the mind game, passing Too Many Doors, and then hitting a Setup.