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The least efficient icebreakers?

7 posts in this topic

 As per the topic, where "efficiency" is defined according to getting the most out of what you pay for.

When I started, I figured that Criminals had the most efficient icebreakers in the game: you get more strength boosts out of them than the money you put in. Given that and that they're the fast Credit-generating 'runner faction, I knew they were the faction I wanted to play.

However, now that I've got some games under my belt, I find myself revising that assessment. Their style of large increment strength boosts only save you Creds when fighting high strength ICE; against smaller ICE (which are the likelier to be encountered in general and given the Criminals' speedy style of play), they cost more than what you'd normally pay for when using other icebreakers. They're not cheap either but also come with low base strength. Lastly, though it would seem that they shine in the late game where the big ICE are rezzed and active, against multiple ICE defending a server, they eat up a lot of cash.

To be fair, I have to keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of the icebreakers of the other factions. Anarch icebreakers tend to have base strength equal to what you pay for or at least close to it. Breaking subroutines is cheap for them. However, both Mimic and Yog.0 have no way to boost strength; they rely on the Anarch's strength-reducing tricks for them to work on more powerful ICE. Shaper 'breakers aren't cheap to operate although their cost-to-base-strength ratio isn't as bad as those of Criminal icebreakers.

Please take note that I'm not saying Criminal icebreakers are bad; I think I'm just looking over the fence and thinking the grass there is greener. I run all Criminal icebreakers in my Criminal deck, using only Yog.0 to fill in for the missing decoder in the Criminals' set of tools while preferring to use my influence on other stuff. But I sometimes wonder why Criminal 'breakers aren't more like Anarch icebreakers when the former are supposed to be fast and aggressive. Fast and aggressive means using cheap, easy-to-use cards; and as long as Mimic and Yog.0 are fighting small fry, they go right through with minimal cost. Thematically, where Yog.0 is really just an organized set of stolen passwords and access codes, you'd think that's more likely to be in the hands of Criminals than Anarchs.

I am grateful that FFG paired Criminal icebreakers with their ability to make money fast thus offsetting their costs, but I can't help wonder about this.

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sydwys8 said:

I feel like fast and aggressive is supposed to mean "good early game to the detriment of the late game." Their icebreakers support that theory.

I disagree. As I said: they're credit-to-effect ratio is quite poor, including in the early game. They only become efficient later on and with a specific scenario. Rather, it's not their icebreakers that support that theory, it's their quick and easy access to cash and their evasive abilities that support that concept.

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Anarch's icebreakers are part of their Core set "burn" theme. It's the riskiest on paper, but after a bit you figure out the routine. Instead of pumping breakers, you burn ice. Burn is rather good; you can potentially win the game with no breakers at all, just using parasite on ice, data sucker to accellerate, and medium run on the weakened R&D. Just run on archives to prime the datasucker pump. But really, anything you can't kill outright can be weakened enough to allow you in cheaply.

So yea, criminal is likely the least efficient breaker suite. You don't even have a code breaker, for godness's sake.

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I have to disagree with the general opinion, at least with Sentries.

Criminals have access to two Sentry Icebreakers: Femme Fatal and Ninja. Femme Fatal is a special use icebreaker so it's never going to be as efficient as others against most targets. Ninja, on the other hand, is generally quite efficient.

Right now there are eight different Sentries: Data Raven, Hunter, Matrix Analyzer, Shadow, Archer, Roboturret, Ichi 1.0, and Neural Katana. There are 6 ebreakers that break sentries: Wyrm, Crypsis, Femme Fatal, Mimic, Ninja, and Pipeline. Comparing those icebreakers to those sentries:

On four ice: Data Raven, Hunter, Archer, and Ichi 1.0, Ninja is the cheapest when breaking all subroutines.

On four ice: Matrix Analyzer, Shadow, Roboturret, and Neural Katana, Mimic is the cheapest when breaking all subroutines. However, although Mimic is the cheapest for those four, it CANNOT be used on the other four at all without some sort of strength lowering effect.

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[QUOTE efidm=741667]
On four ice: Matrix Analyzer, Shadow, Roboturret, and Neural Katana, Mimic is the cheapest when breaking all subroutines. However, although Mimic is the cheapest for those four, it CANNOT be used on the other four at all without some sort of strength lowering effect.

[/QUOTE]

Actually, Ninja is just as cheap as Mimic against Rototurret--both cost 2 to break all subroutines.  For that matter, same goes for Femme Fatale, and Femme isn't any more expensive than Mimic against a Shadow with fewer than two advancement tokens.  Mimic's only real efficiency advantage over the Criminal icebreakers is against Strength-3 ice (ie: Katana and Matrix Analyzer), and, as you say, against anything bigger it's helpless on its own.

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