OK we have the long-awaited third Deva breaker now in Anarch's Aghora, so let's take a moment to evaluate everyone's favorite suite of programs not named Caissa. For starters, what ICE pieces fall into The Deva Hole such that the full trio cannot break them? Architect and Enigma immediately leapt to my mind, but upon review there are several others:
- Eli 1.0
- Errand Boy
- Hudson 1.0
- Interrupt 0
- Markus 1.0
- Ravana 1.0
- Swordsman (because of the anti-AI clause, otherwise Sadyojata would work)
- Turing (same deal as above except with Vamadeva)
Galahad, Ireress, News Hound, NEXT Silver, Salvage, Tour Guide, & Woodcutter all can potentially gain multiple subroutines & thus become unbreakable.
Whew, that's a long list. Would it actually have been easier to list the ICE they can break? Well I can definitively answer that with a "No." There are 25 ICE that cannot be broken, and 122 that can.* When you say "the Deva breakers can deal with 83% of all existing ICE" they almost sound playable!
Specific program stats:
- Sadyojata breaks 33 ICE (22.4%)
- Vamadeva breaks 74 ICE (50.3% - assuming it cannot break all potentially multi-sub ICE)
- Aghora breaks 47 ICE (32%)
What the hell are these cards good for? As a whole, they allow you to hold most of your breaker suite in grip, saving MU.
What are these cards bad at? Well, breaking ICE and being cost efficient, mostly. The gaps in this suite are huge and as soon as you start filling them in with other breakers or Panchatantra you're immediately pulled in the direction of discarding them altogether. The advantage of free MU is defeated because you need supplemental programs. And if you're being practical, Faust breaks all but 2 ICE in existence & has the same influence as every Deva—why not go with The Devil?
I'm sure others have dreamt up different advantages—the surprise of being able to break ICE with something hidden in your grip! saving the click to install! swapping a worse Deva in hand onto the board before losing your whole rig to Archer! the dreams go on—and I'd love to hear them.
But it's likely that the only way Deva programs see competitive play is if one happens to suit the meta's ICE choices exceptionally well or effectively fill in a very specific hole in an otherwise complete breaker suite. If I had to guess a breakout pick, it might be Vamadeva simply because it handles the most ICE & could have a place as an early Siphon-enabler in Criminal. Aghora deals with some ICE that has traditionally annoyed Anarch (Little Engine & Lotus Field come to mind) but it's not compelling enough to move people away from their devilish, degenerate breaker suites.
The extraordinarily high install costs make these cards laughable propositions right now. Maybe only a 0-cost neutral Deva that literally has no paid abilities other than a free Deva swap would be enough to save these horrid programs, but much as we haven't seen another Caissa I doubt more Deva are on their way.
Anyways, didn't mean to end up crapping on the Deva breakers. Their art & names are pretty sweet. I'll be trying out a Deva Au Revoir Andy (use freed up MU for Au Revoir + Snitch), & likely test Aghora as a D4V1D replacement.
* Using NRDB, I see 148 total ICE listed, but one is Chrysalis from the upcoming cycle. All the numbers in this post should be considered approximate because I probably miscounted or overlooked something. ICE is complicated.