last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

Laser Wire?

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" corporation.

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 different icebreakers:

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 "Wall" corporation.

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.