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Ice upgrades

So i was browsing through netrunnerdb, saw wetwork refit and thought “I’d like to use that card.” It’s kinda cool, but with ice being so vulnerable investing extra cards on top of ice isn’t really worth it. In fact, it’s never been worth it. Sub boost was the same.

I quite like the idea of being able to upgrade ice, I mean thematically it makes sense but unfortunately the payoff just isn’t there yet.

In the case of wetwork refit, as it’s narrowed to just bioroid ice to begin with, would also making the ice indestructible have been too much? Make it cost a couple of credits as well or even variable cost, like 1 credit per sub already on the ice.

Mausolus was a nice example of how to make upgrading ice work. Hopefully we can get more!

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Maybe adding an ability to ice upgrades that said “Trash: Prevent host ice from being trashed” would work. Less powerful than making the ice indestructible, but stops the runner from trashing both the ice and the upgrade just as easily as trashing the ice alone.


That could work, just something to make ice upgrades worth playing really.

They really need to be good enough so you don’t just want to slot an extra ice in instead.

like totem armor in mtg :slight_smile: (auras used on creatures, if they were killed the aura died instead)

or the other mechanic was if the creature died, the aura goes back into your hand that’s nice too

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I like the idea of ice upgrades too, but they need to be a lot stronger than the ones we’ve seen to be playable. As others have said, they are very vulnerable to ice trashing, and they take up a deck slot too - that’s pretty valuable.

Wetwork Refit is a prime example of what not to do: adding a sub is a pretty nothing effect - regardless of what that sub is - as the usual effect is just to make the ice one more cred to break for the runner. That’s not worth a card slot; just putting another ice in that slot would likely be able to achieve the same effect while having a lot more uses besides.

Stuff like Patch is better, with effects that are harder to replicate: that did see occasional use to make Str 5 Architects when Mimic was in every single runner deck.

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I would like to see upgrades that adds on encounter effects.


In a world with a lot of options for ice destruction, making it resilient to ice destruction is good. But that also makes it a dread draw if they don’t have ice destruction. I feel like something that has makes ice desctruction harder would be nice. Maybe something like

“Host this operation on a piece of ice as a hired conditional counter. The counter gains the following '2credit: swap the ice this condition is hosted on for another installed, rezzed piece of ice. The new ice gains all hosted cards and conditional counters of the previous ice”.

This has the ability to provide resilience to important ice against forked/spooned/knifed/parasite, but has other utilities (swapping out etr ice on a scoring remotes for example).

Hmm. What about something like this:

[quote]Enhanced Security Protocols
Weyland Operation - 4 Influence - 0c

Install Enhanced Security Protocols on a rezzed piece of ice with as a hosted condition counter with the text “The Runner must pay 1c as an additional cost each time he or she uses a icebreaker to break a subroutine on this ice.” and “Trash: Prevent trashing of this ice and trash all hosted programs.”[/quote]

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I was thinking the ability I suggested would be in addition to whatever other ability the upgrade provided, not the only thing an ice upgrade would do.

I’ve been running a deck that uses both Data Ward and Macrophage paired with Sub Boost, and it’s been pretty solid. Obviously, yes, it’s no less vulnerable to ICE destruction, but the rest of the ICE suite is chosen to help shore it up against then decks that specialize in it. So far it really, really shits on Anarch, does quite well against Shaper, and is merely okay vs Criminal, depending on what their deck is doing. If they’re on a Power Tap deck, it’s pretty damn bad. If they’re not, it’s way better.

I think the main reason why Sub Boost works well in the deck is that the deck is fairly good already without it, but throwing a Sub Boost on one of those 2 ICE can sometimes just shut a server up completely. I only run 2 Boost (2 Data Ward, 3 Macrophage) so as to not over do it, and I rarely have it stuck in hand.

So far the fact that it adds Barrier to the Macrophages hasn’t mattered yet. It’s still a billion credits to get through.


sub boost on IP Block can also be nice. gives it a hard end instead of a merely taxing effect

I’m no NR expert at all, but one large problem with the ICE upgrades is that they have to be put on rezzed ICE. This makes total sense in terms of gameplay, however crucially the runner sees it happen and so there’s no surprise. Even without the issue of ICE destruction, this problem pretty much renders ICE upgrades uninteresting or weak I think.

It seems to me that the possible uses (and their value) for the current flavours of ICE upgrades fall like this:

  1. Add strong/exotic effects to ICE - e.g. brain damage (though potentially a lot more interesting stuff). This is generally pointless as the runner will see it coming and so just not run it if they can’t handle the effect (though perhaps they will for a hail-mary run if this still won’t stop that, but then it’s likely too late anyway). Even things like choosing the ICE subtype, or borrowing subs off other ICE or doing RSVP stuff etc. - anything like that the runner will just see it coming, calculate the price/risk and run/not run.
  2. Make taxing ICE more taxing - more subs/more strength on already passable ICE. This has value (I’m no expert though), but does it run the risk of your taxing becoming too taxing and becoming blocking ICE instead, thereby defeating the object of the point of it being taxing? Perhaps taxing ICE could do with a taxing upgrade later in the game when econ has increased, but then…what about just more ICE?
  3. Making an open ICE closed - by which I mean they could break it before and now they can’t - e.g. too strong now, or they need a breaker, or perhaps it’s too dangerous, basically the runner stops running the server as they can’t get in. This has value, but often your ICE is carefully chosen and so when the runner stops running it they’ll stop hitting those subs. Again, is this what you want? Perhaps, but I would think it’s a niche use case of you having porous ICE and no blocking ICE for your servers, and you need some blocking ICE quick and cheap. Perhaps you would be better served with some actual ETR ICE instead? Maybe the fact that it costs 0 is useful? Dunno.

I think people’s suggesting of the upgrade making the ICE un-trashable (or at least harder to trash) is perhaps one of the most useful things it could do. In a similar vein, make it so that it can’t be moved around by runner cards, or perhaps that it cannot host any cards (parasite, Knight etc.), or can’t be un-rezzed. Perhaps the most useful things that can be done are simply to prevent the runner doing things to the ICE that are not encapsulated in ICE vs ICEbreaker interaction, because anytime you get to ICE vs ICEbreaker on rezzed ICE you both know what’s going to happen already. However, this just leaves upgrades as counters to other cards really, which can be useful for sure but, I dunno that sounds a bit lame to me.

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I had been thinking about this as well and if players are going to devote any sort of deckslots towards ice upgrades, the upgrades need to meet a few requirements.

  1. It can’t be too expensive, 1-2 credits is probably correct.
  2. It can’t autodie to ice destruction, so it should needs one of the "strength can't be lowered|can't host cards|not trashable while installed... clauses."
  3. It can’t be a dead card in the runner doesn’t have ice destruction, so it needs to have a secondary effect such as “on encounter effects|tempo acceleration...”.

A week or so ago, I had made an ice upgrade for each corp which I think met these requirements.