Swapsies — the Deva Breakers

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:

  • Archer
  • Architect
  • Builder
  • Caduceus
  • Datapike
  • Eli 1.0
  • Enigma
  • Errand Boy
  • Harvester
  • Hudson 1.0
  • Inazuma
  • Interrupt 0
  • Markus 1.0
  • Negotiator
  • Pachinko
  • Pup
  • Ravana 1.0
  • Rototurret
  • Shadow
  • Spiderweb
  • Swordsman (because of the anti-AI clause, otherwise Sadyojata would work)
  • Turing (same deal as above except with Vamadeva)
  • Upayoga
  • Viper
  • Yagura

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.


If there was anything that you said that I disagree with it would be this. I feel that as a main breaker Aghora is the best positioned. This would of course have to be viewed in the lens of its support cards, Rook and Xanadu which with both breaks 110 of 148 (74.3%) of the ICE listed in NRDB. It potentially slots favorably into an existing deck archetype (credit denial), whom as a control archetype might not want the natural turn cap that using the faust/pancakes setup brings with it.

Do we know that Rook & Xanadu contribute towards the rez cost that Aghora counts? I suppose they do, it would read “printed rez cost” otherwise. I really don’t like that because remembering the cost of an ICE you rezzed turns ago can be tough (& so much can affect it, like Reina, Executive Boot Camp, Brain Taping, Surat City Grid).

Still, if we’re talking about viability with support cards, Sadyojata plus 2x Panchatantra breaks all but the anti-AI duo. Good point about fitting into an existing archetype, though. Also, combining both of the themed subtype programs is a neat idea.

Yes, they do.

Triggering Haley mid-run. More shaper shinanigans…

As far as I understood it’s a swap and not an install so it won’t trigger Hayley.


On the criminal side, the combination of Vamadeva and Grappling Hook + E3 Feedback Implants will get through every piece of ice in the game except Turing, for 0 influence.

Very excited to play around with these in bb45 - in regulation play though? It’s pretty much casual night only stuff here. All of these are strictly worse that other comparable breakers, and taken together a huge sink of influence and credits for a suite that can’t handle enigma.

Love the idea of this combo but it’s tough to justify with no recursion or way to tutor e3/grapple. Also don’t forget the 9 influence you’ll be spending on clone chips…[quote=“5N00P1, post:6, topic:7594, full:true”]
As far as I understood it’s a swap and not an install so it won’t trigger Hayley.

this is correct. the swap mechanic is basically useless.

I feel this (Aghora+Rook/Xanadu) is one of the few reasonable ways to use the Deva.

Besides that, the only one I can come up with is Panchatantra+Sadyojata.

But, with the limited usability and cost effectiveness being not so great, I don’t think we’ll see Deva that much. Too bad, really.

I agree. There are two uses for them right now.

1.) Run Aghora and Rook/Xanadu. It works basically like a weird Eater in those builds and is pretty decent. I might try it with Caissa jank, then cry and put my Caissa away forever.

2.) Run Sadyojata next to Sharpshooter/Deus Ex and Panchatantra. Its been pretty good in those builds as a replacer to Atman.

Ultimately, it might go in some weird rig that uses a bunch of MU, but the reason for the swap mechanic is still a total mystery. Its pretty useless until something comes out that plays with it.

If people would forget or not read the line “2c: swap”, that would immenselly help people to evaluate those cards.
Meh. You can’t unread what was read, I guess.

Look mom, installed some 6c stuff and beat half of ices with the golden ratio.

Is there some merit in being able to disguise what breaking abilities you have? i.e. with breakers in your hand the corp has less information about what you can deal with mid-run and so may rez ICE at sub-optimal (or just plain bad) times. E.g. a big piece of ICE with Aghora waiting.

With that in mind they would need to be coming out early game really, if indeed that has any merit at all. But what about late game?

Perhaps they could possibly be gap fillers for an unorthodox/incomplete breaker-suite, giving you a bit of a ‘toolbox’ approach to that last breaker slot? The problem here is that I can’t help but think that they need to be together (two at least) to utilise their swap ability, which costs a lot of influence - too much really. So maybe @anon34370798 is right and we focus on either pairs that work so you only have to import one, or simply just ignore the swap ability all together.

Is the synergy with Dinosaurus worthwhile? They’ll all be 2 stronger each time, there’s a couple more ways to get them back onto Dino if it comes out late. Downside is you’re using a 1 MU program on Dino which feels like a waste, and also you can’t use Personal Touch etc. to pump even further. There’s a jank build in there somewhere, but unlikely to be competitive. You’re very likely to be able to keep 2 MU free for Data Folding or something? You’ll need more breakers, but…? Maybe? Shrug

Test Run: can we dig and install and then swap out from our hand as a paid ability to help us get setup more quickly? Is that at all worthwhile? You’ll still need to find one, and the dig for the second one I guess.

Regardless, having to think hard for uses of cards is never a good sign. Not counting the swap as an install has really reduced the combo potential for these cards.

There is no synergy with Dinosarus, all 3 devas are AI, and Dinosarus does not work with AI.

Otherwise we’d probably have seen Dino-Eater at some point.


I don’t think they pair super well, but for criminals and anarch these seem like pretty good “4th MU” breakers. They both can provide very cheap breaking solutions for certain targets. I think, in particular, Vamadeva seems good in a faction that has Syphon.

Off-topic: Now I want to see art of net!Dinosaurus hungrily chasing a panicked Chimera whilst holding a virtual knife and fork.

Somewhat more on-topic, it seems interesting that the one that breaks the most ICE is the one that doesn’t have a way of manipulating what it affects (panchatantra or rook/xanadu/maybe Reina?). I wonder if that means there won’t be further support, or if Criminals will soon be able to supplement their derezzing and bypassing by removing subs from multi-sub ICE.

I doubt this works, but if you swap a deva that has personal touch on it, what happens to the personal touches? I assumed they would get trashed.

If you take out ICE that can be broken with the help of a single Panchatantra, you are still left with 12 ice the Deva programs can’t break.

Notable non-non-AI ice on this list are:

Tour Guide

So if you want to be prepared for these, you sill need to have some other way to break them. Good thing no one plays any right? RIGHT?

Well, it seems like you need to still play normal breakers. If you’re playing Parasite, SMC, Shrike, and maybe zu and inti, these ice are less daunting. I do like the criminal breaker for how it dismantles a lot of stuff without costing Shaper lady creds or finding their cycy (or whatever). That said, they’re SO expensive, I can’t imagine they’re going to be used for anything but the most corner-case build’s need.

Doh! Good catch.

Dang, I thought I might be onto something, but alas no.

I guess with Test Run it does cost 5 to get one out, but at least you get a Special Order thrown in for good measure effectively…kinda? Meh, whatever, it’s not enough whatever it is.

Any chance one of these could help Apex? Vamadeva comes to mind, as I know Resistor, Archangel, and Turing are common problems for Apex, but I can’t really think of all the commonly used ICE that shut down Apex.

All the psi ICE are problems for him, but I don’t think they’ve emerged to see widespread use yet.