Ultraviolet Clearance has set itself up as the big brother of the "clearences" family, topping Green, Blue and even Violet (Black is kind of an odd one let's say).

It goes along the tradition oc combining drawing and gaining money with a better click efficiency than if you would do it mannually but also with a relative clumsyness. In detail, Ultraviolet Clearance gives you 4 credits, 4 draws and 1 instal for 3 clicks. That is a ratio of 3 actions per click. It can seem nice but it is the same as being forced to play Beanstalk Royalties , Anonymous Tip and a weird combination of Lateral Growth and Green Level Clearance, always together as your whole turn. That is clumsy, all the more that you will have to draw 4 cards with your only possible reaction being to install one of them. The flood can become real very fast.

However, despite this relative clumsyness, this card may be interesting in combination with two others. The most obvious is Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers: you can spend one turn getting your hand and your hand size bigger while installing one piece of your combo. That's... fine I guess? I'm not enough of a CI player to say.

However, were I think this card can really shine is in combination with our beloved Bryan Stinson. Bryan on his own has a lot of problems and he will not always work out the way you hope he will. But having an Ultraviolet Clearance in the bin and a face-down card can send the message to your opponent: "finish your turn with less than 6 credits and I will get all the cards I need and more money you can count in just a click". That's pressure, especially in the early game. That is also a way of widening scoring windows and capitalising of possible runner hailmary.

In combination with Blue Level Clearance and Lateral Growth Stynson can bring a new wind to HB rush decks, able to set up incredibly fast except if... the other is not ready to get down in credits and thus let us rush!

That is not Tier 1 talking as I can't call myself a Tier 1 player but this card for sure enable funny daring decks and I advise you to give it a try !

If CI players were still existent, they would love today's errata with UVC finally gaining the "may" option for its install. —

Surveillance Sweep fits in a weird position: it's a current that helps a glacier style deck... in the faction known for having a lot of currents, almost never putting more than two ices on top of each other and if possible just scoring out of hand. Would that fit in a typical asset spam NBN: Controlling the Message deck? Or in a butcher shop SYNC: Everything, Everywhere deck? Not really. You have better use of cards slots and if you want a counter current you might as well play Scarcity of Resources: it's cheaper and almost always hits.

So Surveillance Sweep does not appear to be the best card for the "tier one" decks people bring to big championship. Does it makes it a useless card that can't be extremely powerful in a deck a bit outside the box? Hell no!

First thing first: Surveillance Sweep just reverse how traces work. Often enough when a trace fire either you can pump it enough for the runner to be unable to counter it or you let it standard. Which means that if your traces are not spicy enough the runner can just tax you or pay the minimum cost. Not with the Sweep in play. A trace to end the run ends up being hard or taxing to the extend of your money reserve. Moreover, if the runner is ready to invest resources in a trace, you have the information about it being worthwhile or not and can use your money accordingly. It also makes multiple traces that much more powerful: all the resources used on the first trace won't be available for the second. And it is your decision to save your money when the runner invest and put it to use somewhere else.

So Surveillance Sweep is at its best used with tracing ices (and tracing effects happening during a run). What else is it good to combine with?

If you look at identities, NBN: Making News and New Angeles Sol: Your News have obvious combinations with this current. The Effect from NBN: Making News especially can read "Until the corp gets a successful trace you paid money on, all traces are 2 points stronger. " That is super strong. With Sol you can make sure to always have it on... but the price might be high.

Aryabhata Tech makes traces better, the Sweep makes them also better, + times + makes +.

Two recent new cards however could really push this card into average playability: Net Quarantine and Macrophage. With the Quarantine scored (unfortunately you can't Media Blitz it with the Sweep...) traces become even better: The runner spends money first, gives you money and you can then use that money back to pay for the trace. With two into play you can ensure any trace you want will fire as long as you start with one credit (a bit more if they have a lot of link though...). With Macrophage the Ice becomes "3 to rez 7 strengh virus hate. Last sub: the runner can spend a stupid amount of money or the corp will end the run". Bonus points if you are NBN: Making News or you have a Rutherford Grid installed or some Improved Tracers scored. All of a sudden, if you have a decent economy, that becomes a really good defensive ice, helping you protecting your servers... and ensuring the sweep survive longer!

Of course, all of that nice dream of a yellow glacier can fall into pieces if your opponent play some Power Tap which, in my humble opinion, just annihilate traces. Link is also a problem but this is a good enough mitigation: the runner is less taxed but he still has to pay to go through your ices or bad things may happen.

I'm in no way a top player nor can advise this card and the archetype that goes with it to any power player. But if you just want to have some fun, try it out some day, you may discover wonders!

Nice review. Back in another age (shortly after Data&Destiny) I used Surveillance Sweep + Improved Tracers to make slow yellow never-advance glaciers. They _kinda_ worked (I'm a Tier 2 player at heart!), because they were so unexpected. I think today this is harder, because of so many high link runners, but with Macrophage and Net Quarantine, hey... maybe it's worth a try to dust them off. Just, you know, to confuse people on JNet :D —

This piece of ICE can seem like no big deal to a first observation.

A code gate with three strength? Any key can open that right? A psi-game to make the runner draw? Giving him options and possible valuable card draw? This ICE can be used as click compression by a savvy runner: an access and two cards? Please! And yes it inflicts two damages but that's no more than what the runner can draw. The damage is negligible.

However, understanding that ICE as something powerful that can stop upfront the career of an unprepared runner is a nonsense. That card is there for the long run, the very long run, and it starts having teeth really early in the game. Let's dive in.

First thing first: this card is insanely powerful in the early game. With a rez cost of 1, a runner might well think the corp is too broke to rez that on thin layer of protection in front of their HQ. Too bad for them Aiki is here, if they want to draw, they have to pay 1 credit, otherwise they will simply lose two cards. Moreover, cards in a runner's grip early in the game are the most valuable. Even if their hand size is not changed by going through Aiki, if they lose one of their icebreaker early, they can then have to lose a lot of time digging for the next one. And did I underlined that Aiki is a Code Gate and those pesky runners thinking hiding behind a mask can protect them will get really bad surprises?

So okay, Aiki can be a setback early but what about later on?

That Ice remains a code gate with strength 3 and 2 subroutines that need to be deactivated. That is one ghost credit and two true ones with a Refractor, 2 credits and one token with a Cerberus "Rex" H2 or 3 credits with a Gordian Blade. Considering this card cost you 1 credit and can be up and running turn one... prices add up and the swing get real really fast. The runner can also use the psi game to draw... but that can be to your advantage: in late game when their hand is full, more draw is not always good for them, so they will bet 0 which can mean: either they don't use the "disadvantage" of this card, or if they run last clic or with only one clic left, you can pay 1, let them draw and have to discard precious cards they won't be using against you.

So Aiki can be quite taxing and be a really good deal for the corp. Now question is, can Aiki get even better?

An obvious synergy Aiki have is with Pālanā Foods: Sustainable Growth: dealing damage and forcing the runner to draw which bring credits. But that is limiting your thinking. Aiki does wonder in front of a Harvester (let them draw 5 cards and discard to their hand size) a Komainu (who cares how many cards they have in hand?) or a Psychic Field. All those cards turn the "disadvantage" of Aiki into a strength.

However, the stronger synergy I have experimented with is with the yet un-released Jinteki: Potential Unleashed. That ICE becomes nuts with that ID. As PU, your goal is not to deplete the hand of the runner, but his deck. Experiencing on jinteki.net it is not rare to destroy and entire deck that include a Levy AR Lab Access in a few turns and Aiki contributes a lot to that. With PU, Aiki let the runner lose 4 cards of his card pool while diminishing his stack by 4 cards. Things can go really fast if the runner uses the psi game to draw too much, and if he is not, that card is still a 1 to rez, 3 strength, 2 subs ICE. What else do you need?

Per usual Yog is the bane of this ice, but for 1cr, can you really complain? Also plays well with Sandburg, moving it out of easy Yog range - and who's going to D4v1d it? —
Another synergy worth some thought is Chronos Protocol; even if they pass the psi, it just means you've got more cards to pick from. —