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Decode: Code Gate Breakers in Standard Andromeda


#1

Originally published at: http://stimhack.com/decode-code-gate-breakers-in-standard-andromeda/

Discuss the latest article here.


#2

Great article! Decoders have always been the hardest part for me when building a Criminal deck.

Rex and Peacock are even worse now that these new Code Gates are coming out with three nasty subroutines on them.


#3

If you think of the new code gates as punishing facechecks so that you wouldn’t want to run without a decoder, then the choice would be ZU.13. But breaking these with ZU.13 costs a million credits - for Fairchild 3 you’re better off clicking through, and for Mausolus you’re better off letting the subs resolve and removing the tag. So you realise that these are not like sentries. They’re taxing ice and need to be dealt with efficiently.

We will see decks running multiple Tollbooth-equivalents (including Tollbooth itself). You won’t be able to d4 them all, and you won’t have enough Femmes (and besides, the 3 sub code gates are stronger against both of those solutions than Tollbooth is). So is Gordian the answer? Not really: first problem is, they could be on different servers. Second problem is, if you pay ten credits to get through a Fairchild 3 and a Tollbooth, that’s still an average of five credits per ice, which is too much.

There are two breakers that stand out to me to solve the new “Tollbooth in every faction” meta. First one is Peregrine. Sure, it costs nine to break DNA Tracker compared to Gordian’s seven, but if the derez is useful even once (in the sense of getting a run on that server a later time without having to encounter that ICE) then it is worth it. The corp’s economy isn’t designed to rez their big ice multiple times.

Second one is Study Guide. It has a higher set up cost, and you need to use it three times before it’s better than Gordian, but Criminals are not known for only needing to make a small number of runs; on the other hand, they are known for having tons of cash. Breaking DNA Tracker for 3 is like having a Femme on every code gate. The 1 additional point of influence could make it unwieldy though.


#4

Study Guide is also four influence per copy in a faction not famous for having loads to splash around. That’s not an inconsiderable downside.


#5

Peacock used to be a great option when it was only bad against Enigma since it’s actually on par or better than Zu for everything else. But now that Fairchild 2.0 is everywhere, it’s simply not playable.

I took Zu to Nationals and regretted it because HB kept stacking code gates and paying one extra credit for Fairchild hurts. Though perhaps I should have rolled with it and played a singletone Turning Wheel instead. Gordian is too expensive against NBN.


#6

I was wondering whether anyone had considered Paperclip + Scavenge with Rex, Passport and Femme as a code gate solution. It seems like it could be pretty a pretty flexible suite for dealing with problem ice as well as providing recursion. You probably want double scavenge though.


#7

Well before the 3 sub code gates came in you could have played passport, 3 rex and some number of uninstall, but that’s too many slots.


#8

[quote=“ErikTwice, post:5, topic:8179”]
Peacock used to be a great option when it was only bad against Enigma since it’s actually on par or better than Zu for everything else
[/quote]I thought that, then I ran into Yagura.


#9

Excalibur was also hilarious.


#10

You mean Merlin?


#11

Sorry, Merlin. Yes.


#12

I disagree on several of these points.

First up:

Nobody is talking about importing David into criminal. The reasons are covered pretty well in the article, so let’s just stop any mention of D4 here.

There are very few cases where derezzing a code gate with Peregrine will cost the corp more credit than the runner. I think Peregrine looks pretty attractive as a breaker, and probably replaces Peacock, but I don’t foresee using its ability ever. If I wanted to play the econ denial game by derezzing ICE I’d focus on Emergency Shutdown or Crescentus, which can target any ICE, not only codegates. Again, as a breaker it looks pretty attractive, but it does benefit from support via Datasucker or NRE (but unlike Yog they are not mandatory).

I’m going to stop this one there. Criminals shine by applying early pressure, forcing the corp to rez ICE , and threatening runs on any server before the corp is setup. Furthermore, the criminal runner economy is powered by many cheap runs, even early in the game. If the corp puts an Archangel on Temujin server, the runner will take a major tempo hit to get credits from other sources to allow them to get Study Guide up to strength. Is it eventually efficient? sure, but the set-up time and cost (in credits and tempo) is too large to ignore or downplay.

Even Yog is difficult to play with at times, as it’s 5c install cost represents a significant tempo loss. But Yog at least pays itself back by essentially destroying any low-strength code gates.

I don’t doubt that Study Guide will give you some good games where you are flush with cash early, and set up the study guide and never have to worry about code gates as more than a 1-3c speed bump, but I believe that there will be many more where it hold you back and prevents the efficient runs you need to enable.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Yog + Datasucker. With so many criminals and anarchs running it now, Lotus Field has come back and basically demands a 1x NRE for yog as well, which really tips hard against it. I think Passport is a very good choice for a secondary breaker, but again, with Lotus Field coming back, I think I may need to look at a different secondary breaker, which Peregrine looks pretty good to try slotting (though 5c install is a lot for a breaker that only offers okay efficiency).


#13

I love the article.

Here’s an argument I’d have liked to see explored: it doesn’t really matter what code gate option you pick. For Crim, they all feel terrible. If code gates become so strong and popular that your choice of decoder becomes a very important factor in games, it’s probably a sign you need to switch faction.


#14

[quote=“BubbaTheGoat, post:12, topic:8179”]
There are very few cases where derezzing a code gate with Peregrine will cost the corp more credit than the runner. I think Peregrine looks pretty attractive as a breaker, and probably replaces Peacock, but I don’t foresee using its ability ever. If I wanted to play the econ denial game by derezzing ICE I’d focus on Emergency Shutdown or Crescentus, which can target any ICE, not only codegates.
[/quote]If the corp has the credits to rez it again straight away, then you’re right, it’s an even trade at best (seven plus a click to install versus 8 to re-rez the tollbooth / dna tracker). But if the corp is not able to re-rez it straight away, there is a hidden benefit to using peregrine: your next run(s) on that server will be cheaper. Unlike shutdown or crescentus, peregrine doesn’t cost you an extra card slot in your deck, it just takes the slot you’d be using for your decoder anyway. You don’t have to plan around using it, but it will co-incidentally be useful sometimes, and what I’m suggesting is that those some times will be often enough to make up for its inefficiencies.

Imagine that Tollbooth/Tracker is not rezzed yet. Then the corp would need to have at least 16 credits to be able to rez it twice against a peregrine. If they don’t, then the runner doesn’t even have to replay the peregrine that turn unless there is another code gate on that server.


#15

I see what you’re saying, but I think the cost to use this ability is just too high to be reliably useful. Of course, you are correct that this ability is just riding along with a breaker that I will use anyways.

I find the ability most interesting/useful in a situation where I am using some economy other than credits to break, such as Datasucker tokens or stealth credits. While I am inclined to like Yog, I worry about including 2 5c install decoders in my deck.


#16

To clarify, you can only use peregrine to derez if you used peregrine to break the subroutines.


#17

I am aware, but derezzing an annoying high-strength codegate appeals to me mostly if:

  1. I don’t think the corp will re-rez it immediately
  2. It enables me to run without spending many credits (because my other breakers are stealth and/or fixed strength)

#18

It’s the Netrunner article we need, but not he one we deserve.