Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
What's the best use of Evil Twin? It can pass a Bolter Cluster
or Zombie for 4 bits. In fact, it works great except for those Sentries
with a "trash a program" subroutine. Six bits is too much
to break Banpei. So...
Free Bits would avoid the expense. Stealth sucks due to its high
installation cost and MU requirements, so how about hardware? Corolla
Speed Chip, ZZ22 Speed Chip, and Eurocorpse Spin Chip are the options.
Corolla gives the best return for its cost. With 3 of these chips
installed, Evil Twin could break that expensive "@trash a program"
for free and only pay for the "@end the run", just like
If you meet a Mastiff, you can take the counter, let the remaining
ICE get +1 strength, and pass for 5 bits...
To make sure chips get installed early, multiple copies should
be installed in the stack. That uses up space. Including six Corollas
and an Evil Twin uses 16% of the space in a 45 card stack.
One fix is using Eurocorpse or ZZ22. They give more bits/card,
but the startup cost is high. To make these cards pay off, Evil
Twin has to break Sentries at least 3 times. The extra MU provided
by the Eurocorpse makes it a decent deal, but including more than
one in a stack wastes space. Playing with Eurocorpse, a pair of
ZZ22s, and an Evil Twin only uses %9 of a 45 card deck, but...
Getting Hardware is tough. Hardware cards are the hardest cards
to pull out of a stack. Lowering the total number of cards (only
3 hardware) makes it unlikely they will show up without specifically
going to get them. The only options are Mantis, Fixer-at-Large and
Mantis is always nice to include because it's flexible, but if
it's used to get a ZZ22 Speed Chip, the cost is 8 bits and 2 actions
so that Evil Twin can get 2 free bits/turn. Ronin' Around is WEAK.
It does give a very expensive ability to expose cards, and a way
to strain hardware, but the chances of those three hardware cards
being there for Ronin are slim in the early game.
Microtech 'Trode Set makes Evil Twin even better at breaking AP
ICE, and cripples everything else. So...
Saving Programs might work. An Umbrella Policy or Joan of Arc could
save three bits for each "trash a program" ICE. Hitting
two of these Sentries in one run, however, is trouble. There are
ways around this but they don't seem practical compared to installing...
Two Killers. A fourth option is using another Sentry breaker besides
Evil Twin. In my playgroup, you almost never see Ice Pick Willie
or D'Arc Knight. If you look at the list of breakers, there are
several that pay the same cost to break Banpei and D'Arc Knight,
so corporations waste bits by installing the mid-strength ICE (Ice
Pick Willie and D'Arc Knight). Ignoring those two pieces of ICE
Breaker Install Cost Banpei Triggerman Sentinels Prime Data Naga
Colonel Failure Total
Wildcard 0 0 9 12 15 18 54
Raptor 1 4 6 7 8 15 41
Looney Goon 4 2 5 6 7 11 35
Shaka 4 2 4 6 8 13 37
Black Dahlia 10 4 4 4 4 12 38
AI Boon (str3.5) 12 2 2 2.5 3.5 7.5 29.5
Big Frackin' Gun 2 6 6 6 6 6 32
Evil Twin 6 6 6 7 8 18 51
The best option here seems to be Big Frackin' Gun, but it can really
hurt when facing Banpei, which is very popular ICE. Looney Goon
and Shaka are also decent. AI Boon is always a great card, but the
high installation cost makes it a bad match for Evil Twin.
Hybrids would combine the different strategies for using Evil Twin.
The plan would be to avoid using too many cards but still create
options for saving cash.
A possible lineup would include Eurocorpse Spin Chip, Looney Goon
(or Shaka), 3 Corolla Speed Chips, and Umbrella Policy. That's still
16% of a stack. There are also four hardware cards in this collection,
which are hard to find.
Another try would be Wildcard, Big Frackin' Gun, and Succubus.
These are all programs, which are much easier to pull from a stack,
and there are many options for breaking large and small ICE.
Conclusion: Evil Twin is hard to use. I recommend using Joan of
Arc, Umbrella Policy, and Big Frackin' Gun as backup. If you have
the space, try some chip hardware. If you encounter a Mastiff, you
can take the counter, let the remaining ICE get +1 strength, and
pass for 5 bits with Evil Twin. If you enounter Colonel Failure....