Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
"Big Morphing Boon" defined the best Sentry ICE breakers.
This week we look at a suite of ICE breakers you might not have
considered. The idea came about by considering a pair of Sentry
breaking cards that are nearly as good as AI Boon: Redecorator and
AI Boon is still the best Sentry breaker. It is a single card that
ends up doing your work more cheaply than any two other cards in
the game. Redecorator and Clown are close, though, and as long as
you have 2 MU remaining, what Wall and Code Gate breakers benefit
most from a Clown?
...Crystal Wall, which is favored for its uncanny ability to make
Wall breakers pay at least 2 bits.
The Code Gate breaker of choice for this setup (like so many others)
is Skeleton Passkeys. Adding the Clown really brings it to life.
Many Corporations include Quandary and Haunting Inquisition specifically
as a match for the Passkeys. These include Jim McCoy's "Nasty
Code Gate Deck" and Frisco Del Rosario's "The World Would
Swing..." Adding the Clown moves the advantage strongly back
toward the Runner.
For Walls, I cannot recommend Wrecking Ball highly enough. This
breaker single-handedly made Worm obsolete, at least in lieu of
Silent Impact. It just gets 2 bits better with a Clown, and also
foils the Corporation's use of Crystal Wall, which is favored for
its uncanny ability to make Wall breakers pay at least 2 bits (exceptions
include the unpopular Bulldozer, Dwarf, and Fubar).
That leaves us with the best 4 MU breaker suite: Redecorator, Skeleton
Passkeys, Wrecking Ball, and Clown. How does it stack up in the
competitive world of Netrunner?
Bartmoss Memorial Icebreaker and Joan of Arc are still the King
and Queen of Runners. Compare the setup cost of my suite, 21 bits
and 4 cards, to the setup cost of Bartmoss/Joan, 5 bits and 2 cards.
You must run repeatedly to make your money back.
Comparing Sentries, Bartmoss pays a weighted average of 5.8 bits
per Sentry (those commonly encountered) while Redecorator/Clown
pays only 2.6 bits. Assuming this savings holds roughly for the
rest of my suite, you still have to encounter 8 ICE before you start
reaping the benefits. That may or may not be realistic depending
on the Corp you are facing.
You might try Zetatech Software Installer(s) to lower the installation
cost. Using a Raptor until you get enough bits for the Redecorator
is another option.
Another cool thing to try is playing The Personal Touch. Playing
this card on your Redecorator, with the Clown installed, means you
can pass nearly every Sentry for pennies. Playing a second The Personal
Touch on the Wrecking Ball can also reap big savings if you repeatedly
run over a Wall of strength 4 or higher. Because Skeleton Passkeys
has such a large strength increment, The Personal Touch doesn't
affect it much once the Clown is installed.
I've decided to call my breaker suite "Zamboni". It really
flattens ICE nicely. Play with Redecorator, Wrecking Ball, Skeleton
Passkeys, Clown, and two The Personal Touch. You'll beat Bartmoss
if you run enough, and earn the respect of your fellow players,