How Many Bees make a Swarm?

Swarm is an advance-able ice that puts pressure on both the corp & the runner to make difficult decisions. Not even considering the 8 rez cost, the corp needs to ask, "Do I take a bad publicity and spend several turns and a bunch of credit on one piece of ice? Since it takes at least 2-3 tokens on Swarm to get it's /break ratio into positive territory (depending on the killer or AI the runner uses) At which point the runner then needs to ask, "Do I trash programs or lose a bunch of money?" For either side those are weighty decisions.


Cheap Rez: Because of the high cost of Swarm, other supporting cards that allow it to be installed for free (albiet often with conditions) make it much more attainable (in order of least to most difficult strings attached): Priority Requisition, Braintrust, Shoot the Moon & Oversight AI.

Advance Efficiency: since Swarm is advance-able, it's helpful to know the corp has many options to quickly get it advanced or save s or 's when doing so. Possible ice: Builder, Matrix Analyzer, Clairvoyant Monitor, Possible operations: Trick of Light, Shipment from SanSan, Shipment from Kaguya, Psychographics, Possible assets: Space Camp Constellation Protocol Possible upgrades: Satellite Grid, Possible agendas: Hollywood Renovation, AstroScript Pilot Program, Firmware Updates, Award Bait Possible IDs: Weyland Consortium: Because We Built It, Tennin Institute: The Secrets Within, Jinteki Biotech: Life Imagined,

Economy: Commercialization could potentially net the corp a tidy sum if Swarm is fully stacked. In certain circumstances the corp may want to actually trash Swarm (get rid of Knight or a Femme Fatale token for example), if so having Blue Sun: Powering the Future could help recover some sunk costs.

Remove/avoid Bad publicity: Exposé, Rex Campaign, Clone Retirement, Restoring Face, Broadcast Square, The All-Seeing I, Elizabeth Mills & Veterans Program all make it possible for the corp to avoid or remove bad publicity which may take some of the sting out of rezzing Swarm. NOTE: Ireress basically negates bad publicity on a server IF it isn't broken.

Combined with strength buffing options such as Chum, Corporate Troubleshooter Experiential Data, IT Department, Lag Time, Patch etc all can improve Swarm making it more taxing especially for ice like Ninja who's 3: +5 strength range forces the runner to spend yet another 3

(Did I miss something obvious, I'd appreciate suggestions in the comments below, I may add it to this review)


Can become infinitely taxing to the runner given time and economy to setup.

As a 5 strength Sentry it has some sticking power

Threat of trashing runners rig or heavy tax forces very painful decisions on the runner.


At 8 Swarm is a big chunk of change that still requires more s & s to really get it setup.

Bad publicity undermines economic taxing for runner throughout corps servers

With 0 advancement Swarm might as well not even be there, with only 1 advancement token on Swarm most runners will find it cheaper to pay the 3 rather than bother breaking it.

As a Destroyer ice, Swarm is susceptible to Sharpshooter or other anti-Destroyer ice

As a Sentry Switchblade guts Swarm for 2 stealth-based s regardless of how many advancements have been placed.

Forked and with a few more variables Forged Activation Orders Parasite etc can trash Swarm taking the 8 rez sacrifice and all the corps investment into advancements with it.

4 influence cost quite high for out of faction decks

Advancing while un-rezed will provide some hints to the runner to approach it prepared possibly negating element of surprise


Swarm puts a lot of pressure on the table. It puts pressure on the corp to invest a lot in it and there is no doubt it can become a taxing juggernaut but at what cost to and tempo. Facing the right runner rig a well-advanced Swarm could effectively shut the runner out of a server as both runner & corp keep a close eye on the runner's credit pool, it's a gamble with a lot of drawbacks. Perhaps someday there will be a combo where bad publicity that actually benefits the corp, if this every happens I suspect that Swarm will see more play, until then or some other possible synergy #swarm sightings will remain rare.

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Take another look at Howler and Awakening Center. Both would certainly be much better cards if they targeted all ICE, not just bioroids. —
Thanks FarCryFromHuman, Absolutely right, yeah copied that section from one of my Bioroid reviews, should have given it closer look. They have been removed! —
Also removed mention of Bioroid Efficiency Research again, Bioroid only! —
HB: Stronger Together also buffs only Bioroids. And I'm pretty sure Back Channels can't be used on ICE, cause it says "IN the server" and ICE is never IN the server. And for some reason you forgot about Because We Built It ID, which allows you 1 recurring credit for ICE advance specifically. It might help mitigate the cost of making Swarm actually do something. And I have to mention, that Forked makes this ICE incredibly sad, especially if you poured a lot of clicks and money into advancing it. —
Also, Switchblade just rapes this ICE like pretty much any other multi-sub sentry under 7 str. —
To the rescue again Shieldwall, thanks review has been updated accordingly! —
Another small mistake: NeoTokyo Grid only works on cards in and not rotecting the server. —
Thanks Krams, attention to detail is not always my strong suit. NeoTokyo Grid is gone. —

Name & Shame!

Thematically Character Assassination fits really well with NBN! As a 4/2 agenda it's pretty average but with the growing presence of more powerful resources it's brighter days may yet be ahead.


24/7 News Cycle along with a cheap agenda like Breaking News or Veterans Program etc to trigger Character Assassination's ability to trash yet another clutch resource the runner is depending.

Advancement cards such as Trick of Light Shipment from Kaguya, Shipment from SanSan etc can aid while advancing cards like Character Assassination

(Did I miss an obvious combo, I'd appreciate any comments that can help improve this review)


Trashing a particular resource like a fully stacked Kati Jones, Wireless Net Pavilion or Data Leak Reversal or perhaps even more devastatingly a fully loaded Personal Workshop. Likewise trashing a Tri-maf Contact at the right time could be a game-ender depending on how disciplined the runner is with keeping the grip stocked.

When Character Assassination fires, it's (cannot be prevented) provision negates Fall Guy's ability to protect a card.

With an advancement cost of 4, an installation of Character Assassination with one advancement token can be scored the next turn while possibly bluffing the runner to think it is an advance-able trap which often behave this same way. With a couple bad publicity the runner may even assume that it is an NAPD Contract and be lulled into false security leaving it alone and opening a scoring opportunity.

Character Assassination can cause chaos to a carefully setup Theophilius Bagbiter-based deck depending on how big it has grown the runner may end up with a pile of cash and no access to many of the cards needed for the end-game.


Other more powerful 4/2 agendas for NBN including NAPD Contract Market Research, Private Security Force etc vie for the same deck slot(s).


Basic question with the current meta, "How much is my opponent going to depend on a key resource?" Perhaps to change things up an NBN corp could swap out a 2 point agenda or two to put Character Assassination into play, it just seems at this time it's lacking combos to really bring out it's potential, still if the answer to the basic question is "Very likely", then perhaps Character Assassination is a worthwhile gamble.

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I wish this card was still around. Good times! —
Still have Paper Trail fortunately. —

What's NEXT?

NEXT Bronze is the first in a suite of NEXT cards which include NEXT Design: Guarding the Net, NEXT Bronze, NEXT Silver & NEXT Gold. In a NEXT-based deck, installation & rez-ing of an instance of one of the NEXT ice buffs up all other installed & rezzed instances leading to ridiculous combos that get stronger and stronger as the game progresses.


As a NEXT subtype of ice, NEXT Bronze is a natural fit with it's only slightly more costly friend NEXT Silver. Together when both rezzed throughout your servers, each of your NEXT Bronze will have an End the run. at strength of 6 and each NEXT Silver will have 6 X End the run.'s at strength of 1.

NEXT Gold is also quite at home with the above combo, at 8 it's harder to get out, but is often the beefy ice of choice in NEXT-based decks. Theoretically, with full suite of NEXT ice installed and rezzed, each each of your NEXT Bronze will have an End the run. at strength of 9 and each NEXT Silver will have 9 X End the run.'s at strength of 1 while each NEXT Gold will feature a Do 9 net damage and a Trash 9 programs

Mother Goddess besides offering an End the run. it is kind of a stealth NEXT ice that if installed on a server with a NEXT-subtype ice, it gains that subtype as well further adding to the growing tally of NEXT ice installed. If you are keeping track that's now a total theoretical ceiling of 10 for each (since it's unique only one copy can be installed)NEXT instance throughout your servers!

NEXT Design: Guarding the Net with enough NEXT ice in your deck, this ID could help get your NEXT synergy going right from turn 1.

Because NEXT ice favors a rush style getting ice installed & rezzed quickly, The Foundry: Refining the Process can really help get that suite up and runner quickly, furthermore combined with Executive Boot Camp can give the corp an opportunity to use The Foundry: Refining the Process's ability potentially any turn and at 1 savings to boot. (Similarly cards like Aggressive Negotiation, Levy University, The Future is Now & Amazon Industrial Zone can all aid with accelerating the installation of your NEXT ice defenses.)

Accelerated Beta Test is commonly used with NEXT decks because of it's powerful ability more often than not of throwing more NEXT ice out there and giving a nice momentum boost to the runner.

Architect, Jackson Howard Project Vitruvius and other recursion methods can be a very important answer to any ice trashing mischief the runner may throw at you. (Parasite being a significant threat to NEXT-based strategies.

(Did I miss an obvious combo, I'd appreciate any comments that can help improve this review)


With it's End the run at only 2 can provide reasonable server protection early at a nominal price

In combo with other NEXT ice NEXT Bronze can provide a formidably taxing End the run all while mutually buffing all other instances of NEXT ice.

Strength grows throughout the game providing some counter-balance to the runner's growing capabilities.


Card doesn't stand on it's own very well putting pressure on the corp to persue an all-in NEXT strategy

Parasite and other ice trashing methods can throw off the NEXT synergy


At 2 influence points for both NEXT Bronze and NEXT Silver as an out of faction NEXT-based deck is likely to be rare. Still whenever there are meaningful secondary benefits to doing things you want to be doing anyway it's always a good thing. In the case of NEXT-based decks, which is truly the secondary benefit, rezzing the ice to stop/tax the runner or increasing the entire suite of NEXT ice? When you put an agenda or tempting asset in a server just hoping that the runner will allow you to rez some ice on it you'll know your answer. (One interesting combo?: stolen Mandatory Upgrades in combo with Media Blitz

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#Mother Goddess is unique so you can only get 1 rezzed which tops out the NEXT jank at 10 - still very impressive though. —
If playing through Foundry Glacier Rush, then Executive Boot Camp deserves a look-in as it will allow you to pop the ID ability every turn while still boosting the ICE. —
If running through the Foundry for Glacier rush strategy, then Executive Boot Camp deserves a mention as it will allow you to fire your ID ability in both turns while powering up the suite. —
Thanks Legion1979, totally missed that on Mother Goddess! Kicking myself for not mentioning Executive Boot Camp because I knew of this combo. Anyway, I have updated the review on both counts and the credit goes to you! —
Amazon Industrial Grid is also pretty great with NEXT ICE, especially out of The Foundry. —
Thanks FarCryFromHuman, review has been updated accordingly —

Sahasrara: aka "the White Lotus"

From Hindu tradition the Sahasrara or White Lots is described as having 1,000 multi-colored petals located just above the top of the head. Sahasrara symbolizes detachment from illusion; an essential element in obtaining higher consciousness of the truth that one is all and all is one. Sahasrara is an economy program definitely worth a look.


Sahasrara can pay additional copies of itself to be installed, ramping up an economy quite quickly.

Shaper ID's like: Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker & Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar can work in tandem with Sahasrara for or efficiency respectively.

Chameleon can pop onto the runner's deck turn after turn at no cost out of the runner's hand. Even more powerful once 1+ copies of LLDS Processor are in the runners rig as well.

Make money: Sahasrara in combo with Aesop's Pawnshop & Scheherazade will open up a large suite of programs that can be used for their effect then sent to the heap effectively netting the runner the equivalent of a Sure Gamble each time this cycle is run. Self-modifying Code and other tutoring or recurring methods could keep this cycle well supplied

Autoscripter adds even more option to the runner by handing the used to install back to the runner for other purposes.

(Did I miss an obvious combo, I'd appreciate any comments that can help improve this review)


2 frees up some economy to focus on runs & other expenses each.

Installation-based economy decks can really take off with 1+ Sahasrara programs installed

Return on investment turn around happens the first time it is used.


1 requires careful management especially in rigs where s are tight


Shaper decks in particular often feature installation-based synergy and so could have a lot to gain by including Sahasrara, the sooner in the game the better. If the runner has the available deck slot(s) & this card can offer a lot even if not supported by a specific combo.

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Combos well with Kaplan and Chameleon for the costs of installing a unusual breaker suite in a LLDS Processor deck. —
Thanks Goldstep, that's pretty cool combo! —
Can someone clarify if Sahasrara can be used in combination with Savoire-Faire/SMC/Clone Chip/Khan? Naively one would think it could, but as with the UFAQ ruling on using scrubber credits with PolOp I don't think you can use these credits to pay for the "abilities" of these cards. If so I (and I'm sure a few others) have been doing a fair bit of cheating (and still losing) —
In response to Difrakt's question: you can use Sahasrara credits to pay for install costs, but not for the cost of the installer's ability. I.e. you can use the creds to install a Cyber-Cypher with a Self-Modifying Code, but you can't use them to pay the SMC's 2 cred cost for a 0-cost program (e.g. Paricia). The point is that the install cost of the card isn't part of the ability cost of SMC, unlike PolOp. For PolOp, the trash cost of the card is a reference - imagine the cost was "Trash, X creds (X is the trash cost of the chosen rezzed card)" Scrubber/Whizzard can't be used because you're not trashing a card with those credits, you're paying the card cost (like the 2 creds for SMC) - it just so happens that the effect is the installed card is automatically trashed. —
Haven't tried it out yet, but I think this would work well with Khan and her birds. —

(Affordable + Efficiency) - Flexibility = Cyber-Cypher

Cyber-Cypher is admittedly not a very popular decoder due to it's "choose a server" installation requirement. Never-the-less the card exists so here goes.


If is not a problem up to 3 copies of Cyber-Cypher could be installed each targeting one of the three servers the runner wants to target the most (say R&D, HQ & the corp's main scoring server). Perhaps in a deck with Ekomind & Theophilius Bagbiter the memory hit could be mitigated?

Tinkering could give Cyber-Cypher some temporary flexibility within the target server

For an efficiency boost Cyber-Cypher could be installed on a main target server (say HQ or the corps main scoring server etc) then an AI ice breaker or a more flexible decoder for other servers like ZU.13 Key Master or Gordian Blade etc could be held in reserve as needed, perhaps not even needed depending on the board state.

For a mid-late game surprise, Cyber-Cypher could be held in reserve (perhaps even in the heap) then if a particular server is found to be protected by a meaningful number of code gate 's, the runner could then throw down Cyber-Cypher (perhaps with the help of Déjà Vu or some other recurring card) to surprise the corp with a more efficient path to navigate through a super server for some points or perhaps even the win.

Can be used as a place holder for Torch, using Cyber-Cypher in the early game until the runner has the 9 to put Torch down in it's place.

London Library to get Cyber-Cypher installed where it's needed most, then if Autoscripter Cyber-Cypher is installed the extra can send it back to the grip. (Bonus: Technical Writer for free every time this is done.) Furthermore, Rielle "Kit" Peddler: Transhuman with Cyber-Cypher is a nice face-checking combo meaning you'll always have an efficient ice-breaker to break that first ice, putting pressure on the corp to spend s on rez-ing ice rather than advancing other priorities.

(Did I miss an obvious combo, I'd appreciate any comments that can help improve this review)


+4 Strength which is buffable for only 1 makes this decoder much more efficient than the average

At only 2 this is card is very affordable, only Refractor, Crowbar, Passport & ZU.13 Key Master are cheaper decoders none of which match Cyber-Cypher's strength & efficiency


it's "choose a server" installation requirement makes Cyber-Cypher very inflexible. Therefore it often cannot stand on it's own as the runner may need to have another decoder or an AI ice-breaker installed to compensate for this lack of flexibility (or have some other kind of combo in place).

It's while only 1, still represents a significant reserve of resources


Functionally similar to Torch at a fraction of the cost, Cyber-Cypher is a decoder the runner may choose to take a gamble which may pay off on depending on how much the corp is going to rely on code-gate ice or how much the game play will focus on servers that Cyber-Cypher isn't targeting. Runners who take that gamble or compensate with AI or other decoders may find the secret sauce to reap efficiency from Cyber-Cypher but it remains a gamble imho.

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London Library allows you to choose a new server each time you install it. There are plenty of ways to improve this; my LL package includes Autoscripter and Technical Writer. I love LL. :) —
Combined with kit, you can face check any single ice each turn safely and cheaply. —
Thanks Lynx Kuroneko, yeah, review is probably long enough, but I liked your combo deck, so its in there! What do you call that your London Library/CyberCypher/Autoscripter deck.. tried to look it up. —
Also, you can use Scavenge to change target, as Scavenge allows you to trash a program and then install this very program back for no cost. —
I've toyed with tons of builds out of LL, but here's one with a little more spice to it (D4vid is new and hasn't been tested) but the LL package is evident. —

Back when this was legal and not yet rotated, Apex could use this by installing it facedown and flipping it faceup with Assimilator, bypassing the "choose a server" restriction