So, this is the most obnoxious piece of ICE in the game. What do you want your ICE to do? Like, generally, in the game of Netrunner, what's the plan?
- You want it to End The Run. Check.
- You want it to be bad for the runner if they run it without knowing what it is. Check.
- You want it to be difficult to get through every time afterwards. Check.
- You want it to be difficult to Parasite. Check.
- You want it to have a decent influence cost so you can use it in every deck. Check.
So, just for example, this costs a Gordian Blade 3 to encounter, 3 to buff, and 1 to break.
Cyber-Cypher is 3 to encounter, 1 to buff, 1 to break.
Even a D4v1d is going to still cost you the 3 encounter fee.
Faust is 3 and 3 cards.
I could go on, but there are only 15 Decoders in the game right now, and in my opinion, at the time of this review, big code gates are the biggest issue for runners, but Anarchs especially. With Yog.0 and Parasite taking hits in the Most Wanted List, getting code gates down to a manageable cost is very difficult.
So, how do you play around it? Well, easy answer is to make that large 8 rez cost a really difficult choice for the corp. It's not always easy with Breaker Bay Grid asset econ being the flavour of the month, a corp will gladly go down to zero knowing they can bounce back up to 2/3 credits before even their mandatory draw.
Femme Fatale is the best answer, turning this card into a simply 1 tax, but this has its own issues with the card being 9 to install. (Femme in the bin, Stimhack + Clone Chip.) Sure they might remove the targetted Tollbooth, but even if they replace it with another one, you've made them spend 8 credits.
The other answer is to run a few Spooned out of Anarch, and I think this is the way to go. Anarch's already have the worst problem with Code Gates. Lotus Field, is already enough of a headache for Yog.0 based rigs, enough to spend the influence on Atman for, and an Atman at 4 can break both Lotus and Tollbooth with Datasucker/Parasite support, but you've still got that egregious tax for encountering that is simply unsustainable, especially on a central. If you can't poke centrals consistently, the game moves to the remote, and thanks to BS like Ash 2X3ZB9CY and Caprice Nisei, contesting the remote is extremely difficult.
And hey, even an Ash behind a Tollbooth is egregious on a remote as well. Making two runs in a turn against that nonsense is painful.
Hunting Grounds is also a sort of answer, and does help against NBN especially with Data Raven, Pop-up Window and the like, but it's not foolproof by any stretch. You still have to actually break the Tollboth, but at 1 influence, it might be your preferred solution.
So, all in all then, great card, maybe even the best ICE in the game, post-MWL. 1 of goes in pretty much every corp deck I build, and as a runner it's one of the cards I really hate to see rezzed.