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Ashigaru- the red tollbooth

I’ve been running a taxing Jinteki deck for a long time now, and I’m starting to think we’ve been underestimating Ashigaru. I played it at as a 1-of at a recent tournament, and it really impressed me. In fact, I’m considering saving influence on tollbooth and switching them for ashigarus.

Consider the comparison. Tollbooth costs 7 to break with gordian blade, while ashigaru costs 7 to break with corroder (assuming a full hand). Ashigaru costs 1 more to rez, but it is immune to D4v1d, much more resistant to Femme. Tollbooth also gets a lot cheaper to break if your opponent is running refractor or cyber-cypher, both of which see play, while Ashigaru only folds to morning star, which is virtually unplayed.

Now, Tollbooth does have some advantages. Most notably, it taxes for 3 when facechecked. Also, Ashigaru requires you to keep a full hand to maintain its effectiveness. Finally, it’s strength of 4 makes it slightly more vulnerable to parasite, and atman at 4 might be trouble (although it will still cost 5, more than an atman at 5 costs to get through tollbooth). Despite these disadvantages, at a savings of 2 influence per copy, I think there’s a strong argument for using it over Tollbooth in faction. Might be worth a try in modern RP builds. We know tollbooth is a good card, and an influence free tollbooth feels like it has a place in some jinteki decks. What do people think? Anyone tested it more extensively?

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I’ve tried Ashigaru, and it’s a lot more awkward than Tollbooth for the simple reason that it can’t be the outermost ice on one of your centrals, and when you IAA in a remote – i.e. when you need it to be at its best – it gets worse. On top of that, it’s more expensive than Tollbooth.

Although I’m actually not running Tollbooth in RP right now.

I feel like ashigaru was passed over when it came out because atman was big back then. Now, lady is big and likewise makes short work of it (although less short than wall of thorns). Also another big disadvantage is that ashigaru is a LOT easier to kill with parasite+suckers, as tollbooth has an extra str and also costs $6 to destroy (pay tax to face check the first time, pay tax the second time to get in with suckers).


I play 1 or 2 of regularly in my RP decks, I like it a lot as a remote tax - WoT is fine for centrals, but a bit too easy to skip past in the remote- 2 cr and 1 token for lady, or 1 token for d4ve. Ashigaru on the other hand devours 3 lady counters, and is immune to d4v1d. very tough to run through twice after hitting ash.

That said, I’m not running tollbooth in RP anymore… I think you have the right sense that you could be spending the influence better. I don’t think these two ice serve the same function really - tollbooth is meant to be punishing to check, but “fixable” (femme, d4vid, etc) where Ashigaru is just a plain ole’ meaty ETR barrier. The best is when atman 4 players pay 5 credits a pop to break this bad boy.

?? generally when I’m IAAing I started the turn with 5 cards, mandatory drew to 6, then IAA, leaving 5 in hand.

This is the big thing to consider. with the current popularity of Weyland and their high-str ICE, parasite seems to have gotten somewhat less popular, but it definitely is still around a lot and this ICE is very vulnerable for its cost.

I would argue the opposite; Ashigaru makes short work of Lady. Yeah, the runner will get through Ashigaru for one credit, but burning 3 Lady counters is a big deal.


Where will you put it against a lady deck? R&D? HQ? Remote? The calimsha kate deck makes infrequent, “quality” runs and tends not to mind burning an entire lady if it means getting in with legwork or getting to play psi for the remote without simultaneously going bankrupt. In that matchup I only see it being any good on R&D, but then it’s a very positional ice…

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Wanton Destruction and Itinerant Protesters are things right now and may continue to be for some time yet.

Until they aren’t, it is difficult to justify spending 9 credits on it.

Oh and the Parasite thing. Tollbooth takes an additional sucker token and 3c to trash, which is much superior.

Wanton… yeah, it’ll knock cards out of your hand, but it costs money to run HQ and most likely their whole turn, so what has the runner gained with regards to Ashigaru? Pretty much nothing. Itinerant Protesters on the other hand… this is RP we’re talking about, so the deck most likely contains ELPs and DBSes to look for them. Runner currents are not a big deal.

The fact is Tollbooth and Ashigaru have different weaknesses. If you’re worried about David and Femme, then Ashigaru is clearly superior. If you’re worried about Parasite and HQ destruction, then Tollbooth is clearly superior. Ashigaru is not a direct replacement for Tollbooth, but it is worth considering as an influence free alternative.


you summed it all up quite tidily. these are two pretty different ICE, but if you need to save influence, go for it.

How often do all three centrals have ice that is painful to facecheck, though? Usually there is a pain free option to bounce off of, so this isn’t really a big consideration.

Fair enough- perhaps the comparison is a bit strained. Still, you’re only going to run a few high cost taxing ice. You can’t afford to have too many 8-9 cost ice, so if Ashigaru is coming in, tollbooth is probably coming out, and vice versa.

As Razalhague says, I’m not really worried about wanton destruction- they spend their whole turn on it, so they aren’t running through ashigaru afterwords anyways. And I have yet to run up against anyone running itinerant protestors- that’s pretty much just a Valencia thing, right? And at 1 BP, its still worth rezzing ashigaru. I’m willing to have the card be bad in the situation that your playing agaisnt a Valencia deck that lands a second BP with investigative journalism and then plays and sticks an itinerant protestors you can’t get rid off- it seems pretty niche.

I think the closer comparison for Ashigaru is Hive. Both multi-sub barriers with variable number of subroutines.

Ashigaru is so much more expensive in exchange for greater permanence of subroutines. However in a meta where parasites and cutlery are rampant, that additional cost isn’t really justified.


I’ve used Ashigaru in 2 places. I’ve put it in RP IT Department to eat D4v1ds and put it in CI for obvious reasons. In CI, I worry that it’s too much influence, but if you want to run CI Glacier (never seen it done, but maybe it could work? Probably not) it’s an amazing choice. In RP IT it’s expensive, but has a very specific job to do which it does well.

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this sums up for me why I like this as a one-of. It is expensive and it has vulnerabilities, yes, but when you’re laying it all out to get that critical nisei scored, breaking this guy twice (ash, caprice, etc) in one turn is an extremely tall order for everything but morningstar (in which case, obviously, don’t rez this ICE :D) which frickin’ no-one plays, as far as I can tell.

I think PK and I might disagree.

Also, it seriously is really good, you all should be playing it. (not ashigaru)

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Yep, disagreeing :smiley:

Look at it this way: if you smash two Elis with MS, you already broke even compared to a Corroder. The things you can’t MS without support would probably murder your econ anyway if you tried to Corrode 'em with any regularity. For one-time deals like OAI, there’s David.

There’s exactly two barriers that could be considered problematic for such a rig, and they’re easily handled by a Parasite. Now that MemStrips took away its only issue, I really don’t see a reason not to play Le Mace.

I prefer Ashiguru in IT Dept-RP. It’s a taxing ice that you don’t need to pump, but if you do will probably out perform a D4v1d. Also, since it’s not a sentry and not a codegate its good against the stealth match-up. Tollbooth is still good, though in other builds and against other runners; So it-depends.

Analyze your concerns and pick whichever fits best.

Reasons to slot BlaKat +1

The only other reason is next-silver and lets be honest parasite is better. Blue Sun is going to continue to keep BlackKat out of the meta.

This is a great point - MS is my longstanding favorite but never felt reliable enough what with needing like 4 memory or a dinosaurus/etc. I wonder if becomes more popular if high-sub barriers like hive and ashigaru will become less (even less) viable.

Ug! now I can’t stop thinking about awesome MS decks I want to build!

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@PeekaySK What are the advantages of MS over Corroder? Seems fantastic for Eli’s and Hive’s but what else are you commonly saving creds on? Do you have problems getting enough suckers vs. BS to break Curtain, Orion, Hadrian?