Cheap HB Code Gates

In most factions it´s simple. You need a code gate, you take Enigma. Not because it´s overpowered or exciting, it simply does not have any competition.

In HB you actually have alternatives, but browsing decklists from worlds I still see Enigma in almost every deck. I believe that´s wrong, but I´d love to hear your opinion. Below are my opinions on the cheap HB code gates.


Probably the best choice from the bunch. It´s quite week on centrals against non-Faust decks, hence I´m not entirely sold on 3 copies, but everyone seems to agree that 2-3 are very good in the current meta.


The tracing Enigma. You sacrifice a hard ETR for a very good rez-pass cost ratio. A good deal. The biggest downside is 4 str: it makes the already substantial weakness to Atman 4 even worse.

Viktor 1.0

Eli´s forgotten, inferior brother. Downsides are obvious: it´s clickable and weak to Yog. With CVS around Yog is not much of an issue these days. What´s worst is that one BD is a price runner will gladly pay on important runs. There are also a lot of upsides. It does punish facechecks better than Enigma does. It is strong against Atman 4. And it is more expensive to break, requiring a boost from Faust, Gordian, Refractor and Faust. This one is my personal favorite.


Very cool with it´s flexibility: you can try to play around Yog, Atman, D4vid, whatever is the threat in the matchup. Sometimes you´ll even be able to rez it cheaply with few cards in hand. Even without it gives reasonable stats for ist costs.

Next Bronze

Obviously synergizes with NEXT Silvers, but is not terrible on it´s own. It´s 1 cheaper than Enigma and does not have Quandary#s weakness of insta-dying to Parasite. That being said, omnipresent Parasites are what keeps it from being the best cheap code gate in the game.


Even though it theoretically ends the run, it doesn´t really stop Anarchs and their Parasites, which makes it unacceptable for me.


By all means solid, but it is in the 2str sweet spot of most of the decent Decoders (and Faust). The first sub sometimes prevents the runner from mustering enough resources to get through a server. However I don´t feel that it is better than it´s less straightforward alternatives.

My personal preference is 2-3 Turing, 2 Viktor 1.0, 0-1 IQ. 1-2 Tollbooths on top of that obviously. I´m curious what is your take on the cheap HB code gates. Discuss!


Turing is weak to d4vid, but that’s it on a remote. Stomps out faust, costs 3 clicks to go through, which is rarely done. It’s really strong right now when noise was / is popular and Faust is almost a 1-2 of in every single anarch.

Viper is better out of faction bc of your points on atman. It’s good but every list already has 3 eli and ichi.

Viktor 1.0 is weaker than Enigma because it’s an early game ice that you can if you want, click through. You can’t do this with enigma. It’s important to note that this is the difference sometimes between Adonis sticking or not. Aside from that it’s slightly more parasite resistant.

IQ is fine for the slot it fills. It has good rez/str ratio. Turing basically took it’s place. It’s not bad, the meta is just calling for turing.

Quandary is terrible in HB since the name of the game is tax. Also parasite.

Enigma is good in HB because it lets you possibly rush an ABT early for cheap or protect Adonis. It’s solid and at a different str than the rest of the ice in the deck.

Worlds decks were built for a Faust meta, thus Turing is king. Your ice mileage varies per region / meta. Ice is also more or less powerful during different points of the game. This is important when you consider the speed of a deck.

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2 Turing and 1 IQ is a fine and flexible package for both taxing and rushing ends.

Don’t forget Enigma goes from ok to great against criminals, making impossible to :

  • run
  • special order
  • breaker
  • run again

Yeah, I feel like a big part of enigmas popularity is the face-check punishment. a click seems very minor, but especially early when the corp is trying to rush and the runner needs to get set up, it feels really good to make them eat that click.

Turing is a great card, as is Next bronze (in the right deck and meta) - IQ feels over-rated to me honestly (as often as not I end up paying 5 to rez…) and 1 influence 4 str viper is way better splashed than in-faction. Enigma is just too much of a complete package - hard etr, facecheck punishment, dirt cheap, doesn’t die instantly to parasite - to completely cut from most decks.

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In all seriousness ( seriously ), Hudson 1.0 should be added to this list. Almost everyone on Team Toronto at Worlds came around to using a 1-of Hudson 1.0 in their decks. It does nothing on single-access runs, sure, but Food Coats should never really fear single accesses as their taxing ice makes that a tough way to win for the runner. Therefore, medium, rdi, and makers are your concern. Dealing with Hudson 1.0 on a remote is just crappy for all the major archetypes – click-click, ugh, 3 creds with cyber-cypher, ugh, 2 d4v1d tokens, ugh, Zu … you get the point. Less useful on HQ but I’ve still lost to Legworks a bunch of times that I wish I could have stopped (or at least taxed more). And even useful on your scoring remote sometimes … okay, you beat the ash, you beat the caprice, … do you want to trash one of those or do you want to access the maybe-its-an-agenda ? It positional and does nothing against keyhole, single access, etc. but what do you want for a 3 cost ice? Oh, and forgot the best thing about it, even experienced tournament players pick it up and read it.


I liked 1-of IQ for a bit, not for the dream of the super cheap 5 str, but because it’s easy to make it a 4-for-4. It’s a way to specifically gearcheck for Faust instead of Faust-or-David or Faust-or-Parasite. The Enigma, Turing, Booth package is hard to argue with, though.


This slot (preventing multi-access) is much better used with Crisium Grid.


I don’t know, a lot of people are teching against crisium by not playing criminal, rdi, scrubber, Hudson as a permanent fixture actually seems pretty nice on a remote if there is no multi access threat. It’ll definitely be something people don’t expect, which will, I feel, translate into an advantage when you want.

If you’re splashing for Wraparounds Quandary is extremely powerful as a rush piece when in tandem with Wraparound.

I guess I need to test it. Hudson always leaves my deck as 50/51st card.

Is good if you’re particularly weak to multi access, or you have a lot of upgrades. It’s so nuts with caprice really

I’m a huge fan of IQ, mainly because of the flexibility. I think part of the reason it works well for me is that I also play BLC and often go down to 3-4 cards in HQ in preparation for BLCing next turn. Rezzing IQ for 1-2 isn’t too uncommon either, and I’ve rezzed it for free at least twice. I think I pay ~3.5 credits for it on average. I dislike Turing because it’s fairly useless on a central, clickable, and vulnerable to David on a remote. The David vulnerability in particular seems to more or less completely nullify the “can’t be broken by AI” part as the faction that most often uses AIs is Anarchs. On centrals it just gets Parasited.

I used to play a lot of Viktor 1.0s, particularly between Lotus Field and NRE getting released. The 3 strength is nice for Parasite resistance (and was really great when the most popular decoder was Passport). The clickability is really Viktor’s biggest downside and I think that is the main reason why Enigma is common in HB. I dislike Viper because the runner is more likely to have spare money than spare clicks and the 4 strength isn’t good enough against Yog to be worth it, so I’d rather just take Viktors.

I don’t like Quandary in HB. If I’m going for an HB rush deck, I’m probably playing NEXT ice instead, but I pretty much never do because rush doesn’t seem worth it in HB.

I’m currently playing 3x IQ, 1x Enigma, 1x Viktor 1.0 and as many Tollbooths as I can afford influence for.

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