Here’s an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head: Criminal breakers that play on the “rich criminal” idea by being very inefficient (also very criminal) up front, but giving you a bunch of money back if you break all subroutines. The big problem with the idea is working out the numbers.
Augustus - 3c
Criminal Program: Icebreaker - Killer
When an encounter in which you use Augustus to break all subroutines on a sentry ends, gain credits equal to the rez cost of that sentry.
3c: +4 strength
3c: Break up to 2 sentry subroutines
So, some price points: vs. Archer, net 8c cost (12c to break, 4c return); vs. Assassin, net 2c cost (9c to break, 7c return); vs. Cobra, net 2c cost (6c to break, 4c return); vs. Ichi 1.0, net 4c cost (9c to break, 5c return); vs News Hound, net 4c (6c to break, 2c return). Assuming 3 or 4 cards in hand, you can break even on Brainstorm and pay 4 to get through Komainu. My biggest problem is that it further discourages expensive sentries.
Crassus - 2c
Criminal Program: Decoder - Icebreaker
When an encounter in which you used Crassus to break all subroutines on a code gate ends, gain credits equal to the rez cost of that code gate.
3c: +2 strength
4c: Break any number of code gate subroutines.
Examples: Tollbooth: Threshold 13c (including encounter ability), net cost 5c; Fairchild 3.0: Threshold 10c, net cost 4c; Aiki:threshold 7c, net cost 6c (ouch); Enigma: threshold 7c, net cost 4c. Again, much better vs. pricier ice.
Croesus - 1c
Criminal Program: Fracter - Icebreaker
When an encounter in which you used Croesus to break all subroutines on a barrier ends, gain credits equal to the rez cost of that barrier.
5c: +4 strength
4c: Break up to 2 barrier subroutines
So, here I’m being deliberately super clunky because it’s a criminal fracter. It’s just plain awful vs. cheap gear check barriers, as well as many of the newer barriers, but you can get through an outer Curtain Wall for 4c or Heimdall 1.0 for 5c.
Honestly, yeah, the numbers could use tweaking, and maybe there’s some value in basing some of the returns on strength or subroutines instead of rez cost (but that does mean more direct cost/return interaction, because you’re already paying based on strength and subroutines). I’ll give it some more thought, but feedback is welcome if it seems like an interesting set of breakers.