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The Killer Problem

What is your go-to Killer solution?

There’s an easy answer for Fracters; just get a Corroder. If you can’t afford the influence and you’re Shaper, pick up your choice of Snowball, Inti+Datasucker or Lady+Recursion. Criminals will usually have to import, but a single Corroder + Special Order makes this mostly painless.

There’s also an easy answer for Decoders: just get a Gordian Blade, or Zu if you prefer. Yog+Sucker can be strong also. Passport + Rex is viable in Criminal.

But Killers suck. The Corroder-equivalent (Garrote) is 3 influence, has more than triple the cost and takes up 2 MU. Ninja is touted as the most efficient, but it is expensive as hell to use; 10 credits to break Archer, 7-8 credits to break a Komainu. 7 to break a Tsurugi. 5 to break Architect. You’re never happy using Ninja.

Faerie rules. It is by far the best Killer in the game, but it requires a permanent solution on the side. It’s also unsplashable at an influence cost of 3; and let’s face it, you want 3 Faeries in your deck.

Femme + Datasucker is 10 credits to install; if you’re not getting good value out of the Femme bypass, you’re in frowntown. Mimic + Datasucker is a strong option, but it eats up 2 MU, 4 inf (minimum) and 4 deckslots. You also risk getting locked out if there’s a Sentry protecting each central.

Dagger and Switchblade are very deck-dependant, and my attempts to make Cloak+Dagger work have not been encouraging. Given that you can’t break Archer before you have 2 Cloaks online, Dagger requires more support; either in the form of Ghost Runner (a temporary solution) or costly 3-inf Silencers. Cloak is very MU-hungry, and tends to demand support cards of its own.

Pipeline and Creeper are not viable economically, Alias is situational and Cuj0 is fairly bad (not to mention 3 inf).

The “least bad” of all these seems to be some blend of Mimic/Femme and Datasuckers. Which is not a satisfying answer; not every deck wants to run 3 Datasuckers.

What is your go-to Killer, and why?


I’m actually playing Mimic + Deus X/Sharpshooter and pretty happy with that :). On a serious note, Mimic + Femme with Faerie and Datasucker support is usually enough in Crim. Mimic/Femme + Datasucker and deus X/Sharpshooter is all you need in Shaper. When you’re playing Anarch … Well, I guess D4V1D, Knight and Darwin/Crypsis (+eventually Sucker/Parasite) is your solution. Not great but could be worse.


Well, for Shaper, you can have sharpshooter and deus ex which take care of the destroyers/AP targets. Deus ex is also quite versatile, against HB big barriers and Jinteki:PE Shenanigans. Personally I throw in a mimic (caduceus, architect, other small sentries) and a femme as well. With these one-shots, you just need to make your runs really count. (Oh and I see while I’ve been typing that @Calimsha has just replied with a similar idea. Makes sense - I basically run his deck!

I’ve been screwing around with Ninja + Ice Carver. Fixes it against Komainu and Archer, makes it a much better breaker (still sucks against Caduceus though). Of course, no matter how you slice it, that’s some serious influence, so probably not competitive, but it’s been working ok for me. In a deck where you’re already using suckers and don’t really want Femme as your main breaker for whatever reason, Ninja is still excellent. You can easily tweak strengths for the most efficient break against both low and high strength sentries.

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Mimic + Datasucker is the most common solution. I do that in Criminal and Anarch, it’s great. Archers are pretty easy to predict (in faction). Grim can snipe you though. So long as you’ve a few counters built up you’re fine though.

Switchblade is about to be the next real deal imo. Silencer is nice and all, but Cloak and Ghost Runner might be a little easier to manage.

I’ve used Garrote before in Shaper. Testrun/Scavenge makes the price irrelevant - and Leprechaun makes the MU irrelevant too.

I don’t mind Creeper in any “Link” factions, so long as I can hold E3 on board. It’s just barely less efficient than Garrote. Takes bit of set-up to be decent though.

When playing out as Ser Gabe, it was a tonne of fun to play around with 3 copies of Faeries. While Faeries are fantastic - the deckspace that they eat up is hard to manage imo!

I’m planning on trying Mimic + Ice Carver + Personal Touch once O&C hits. It’s a lot, but it also helps out Yog (and even Corroder) to have those around. (One PT on Yog and it eats Lotus Field. One on Mimic and it eats Ichi 1.0. Get out an Ice Carver and that’s Grim and Tollbooth gone. Then build up datasuckers for the real nasty stuff.)

In Criminal I’ve been pretty happy with 2 Faeries and 1 Garrotte, buuut I can see how people might want to run more than that. I’m also a… less immediately aggressive criminal player, so there’s that as a consideration. I want a 3rd Faerie or another killer to complement Garrotte, but fitting them in isn’t easy.

My Chaos Faerie deck says otherwise. 3x Faerie, 2x Legwork, 1 Utopia, 1 Stimhack for influence, plus Opus economy and all the shaper shenanigans (including Sacrificial Construct to keep Faeries around). It’s the tits.

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But you have no Parasite, and no way to put pressure on Archives.


Archives pressure is for the birds!


I’ve been wrestling with the same question for quite a while now, and the solution I’m most happy with at the moment is Dagger in Chaos Theory. CT is important both because of the small deck size and the extra memory.

Oh, to answer to OP’s question:

  • Mimic with Datasucker support is the most efficient
  • If you can support the above with Faeries, even better
  • Femme’s is a distant second for its ability to bypass large sentries and with Datasucker support is almost as efficient as Mimic

The list above makes me think that Faerie is a major factor for Criminal dominance. Here’s a thought: if Criminal didn’t have Faerie, how much worse would all those Andy decks be?


A lot worse.


My opinion is that Mimic is so much better than every other (repeated use) killer that any deck that doesn’t use Mimic or Faerie is probably bad - especially in the current meta where <=3 strength sentries are everywhere and >4 strength sentries are not very common.

This seems right, especially given that all three factions have access to cheap (albeit temporary) answers to higher strength sentries- faerie, sharpshooter/deus x, and D4vid. Combine that with Femme in criminal and atman in shaper, and investing in a dedicated pumpable breaker like garrote or cujo seems unnecessary.

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Faerie + Whatever… Femme, Mimic(+Datasucker), Parasite(+Datasucker), Switchblade+Cloak, Garrrote
Basically, Faerie makes running not scary at all, and with that you can just run smart and have few problems. Sentries tend to be very timing oriented. Grim when they don’t have any programs is useless. Komainu protecting a game-losing agenda is useless. Criminals basically limit the timing for big sentries, which allows them to run frequently.

Whatever… Parasite, Mimic, Knight, D4V1D, Crypsis, (soon Eater)
Anarchs tend to deal with ice in non-mainstream ways (fixed strength breakers, AI breakers, and non-icebreaker means of dealing with ice). This makes it both awkward and not awkward at all since your tools deal with things based on characteristics other than Ice-type. With Anarchs you are thinking less “what do I need to deal with Sentries” and more “what do I need to deal with in general?”

Test Run + Self-Modifying Code + Diesel + Quality Time… with something of the above (or Atman and/or Shapershooter/Deus X)
Not a huge Shaper player, but they basically just port in stuff from other factions to complement their tools.

Regarding the question generally,
I actually love the way that Killer/Sentry balance has worked out. Rather than their just being an obvious best card, and then sub-optimal cards, there are card combinations with different benefits, metagame considerations, influence/deck-type considerations, etc. etc.

Code Gates are also interesting since you have variance between the way the various Decoders play, Yog + Dinosaurs/Datasucker? Refracter+Cloak? Gordian Blade/Zu13/Passport?

Barriers are boring since the answer is “play Corroder” for the most part. Honestly, I think they should just take the idea of favored icebreaker-types out of the color wheel and focus on faction breaking style.


In Shaper I usually use a Femmasaurus backed up with Deus X and Sharpshooter that I can get at instant speed.

I think this is right. Thinking about my Trade-In deck, it really hurts not having Mimic. Would you prioritize a Mimic of, say, a Parasite?

I think that in a meta riddled with jinteki ICE, (pup/komainu/tsurugi), Switchblade can be pretty damn good. It doesn’t work for any old deck, obviously, but once you’re set up, it very nearly blanks every sentry in your opponent’s deck. It’s maybe not worth the high cost of setup vs just installing mimic vs most decks, but stealth also solves criminal’s decoder issue while synergizing well with masnaori/desperado/testing.

I’ve played around with it a bit, and it seems to work well when complemented with link - Caduceus ceases to exist and as a result, managing to get you into a situation where you run out of stealth credits due to stacked sentries becomes a tougher proposition for your opponent. It gets tricky memory-wise, though, because ideally you’d also like a Sucker, seems a better road to go down than all the conditional strength boosting hardware.

Honestly, I think the idea of favored icebreaker-types is something players came up with based on the order cards were printed, not something that actually was part of the design considerations.

A complete aside, but I pretty much haven’t run into any issues since switching to Rex + Passport (+ a couple Inside Jobs). The dog is way, way better than it appears initially (maybe because there aren’t any commonly played 3-sub code gates?).

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Faerie is far and away the card that pisses me off the most trying to play Weyland against Criminal.

To answer the OP question, Atman, Parasite, Yog, and the Kit ability. I just don’t even run a Killer anymore. I’M OVER THIS SHIT.