last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

Evil Indeed

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 AP ICE.
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 Ronin' Around.

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 gives:

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.... jack out.