Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
Johnny Quazar has been reporting a big market for the v1.0 rare,
Laser Wire. It's a strength 2, Wall ICE with 2 subroutines: "Do
1 Net damage" and "end the run." It costs 4 bits
to rez. After tossing the pros and cons of this card around, I've
come to a decision: Laser Wire sucks.
I'm still waiting for someone to build a killer "Wall"
My comparison is the v1.0 common, Neural Blade. Neural Blade is
a Sentry with strength 4, which also costs 4 bits to rez, and also
has two subroutines: "Do 1 Net damage" and "Runner
cannot break any subroutines on the next peice of ice encountered."
The cards have two clear differences. Neural Blade has twice the
strength of Laser Wire; but Laser Wire ends the run by itself, while
Neural Blade needs to be installed in front of another peice of
ICE to end the run.
The strength is important because the icebreaking programs for
Sentries are more expensive than the icebreaking programs for Walls.
That means the Runner must pay more to break the routines on Neural
Blade. As Spiny Norman says, "Bits are everything."
Here's a chart with the cost to break each peice of ICE with some
Icebreaker Installation Cost Cost vs. Laser Wire
Jackhammer 0 2
Pile Driver 1 3
Hammer 2 2
Corrosion 3 2
Wrecking Ball 4 0
Ramming Piston 4 4
Boring Bit 6 4
Average 2.85 2.71
Icebreaker Installation Cost Cost vs. Neural Blade
Raptor 1 7
Big Frackin' Gun 2 6
Shaka 4 6
Looney Goon 4 6
Evil Twin(!) 6 4
Black Dahlia 10 4
AI Boon 12 2 (at least)
Average 5.57 5.00
Ramming Piston or Boring Bit are seldom installed, and Evil Twin
is even less popular (if that is possible). Leaving them off the
chart, the averages are:
Average 2.00 1.80
Average 5.50 5.17
Neural Blade costs 2 extra bits for Bartmoss and 4 extra bits for
Krash. Blink is even.
Laser Wire also has some "helper" cards: Jerusalem City
Grid, Superior Net Barriers, and Data Masons. These are pretty unusual
to see in play. I'm still waiting for someone to build a killer
The clear winner is Neural Blade. It's also a common, which means
"free" to most traders. Laser Wire is rare, and with the
current demand on Rob's Netrunner Node, it may be hard to find.
You can do these kinds of comparisions with any type of ICE, and
sometimes the results are surprising. In this case they aren't,
so I'm going back to work to install Neural Blade.