Name: Skeleton Passkeys
Commonality: Common
Installationcost: 3
Type: Program - Icebreacker - 1 MU
Game Text: [0]: Break code gate subroutine.
[3]: +4 strength
Strength: 1
Illustrator: Michael Kellner
Sets: v2.1

Card Spotlight by Chris Wagner (Foolkiller)(was: Card of the Day #11)

Hands down, the best code gate breaker available to the Runner (IMHO). The cost effectiveness and utility of this card make it a real boon for the runner.

The low install cost allows for an early economical installation. This is very useful as it reduces the reliability of Filter as an early-game standby. Many Corps use Filer, Sleeper and Misleading Access Menus early on and Skeleton Passkeys slices through them like a hot katana through butter.

Quandary, Scramble, Keeper, Mazer, Ball and Chain, Cortical Scanner, Endless Corridor, Gatekeeper, etc... all fall down for 3 bits flat. Only Haunting Inquisition gives Skeleton Passkey a go for the money, costing 6 bits to pass.

This card is perfect for use in Clown decks. Each Clown installed brings another group of gates within the realm of the free break for Skeleton Passkeys (and Clown #1 reduces the effectiveness of Haunting Inquisition.) The Personal Touch also helps here, and, to a lesser degree, Lockjaw can be of assistance. In conjunction with Forward's Legacy and Jackhammer you can build a suite that allows you to break any fort for free. This takes time of course, but if your opponent is building up slowly, you will have a decisive advantage in the long run.

One really powerful advantage to breakers with a '0' break cost is the fact that it denies the Corp of several strategies. Ice Transmutation loses most of its juice if it doesn't cost you anything to break the extra routines. Ice and upgrades which add routines can be ignored. Antiquated Interface Routines won't affect you unless it pushes the strength of the Ice over 5. Cards like Crystal Palace Station Grid (while always useful) are not nearly as bothersome if you aren't paying to break in the first place.

The set cost of breaking most Ice also allows this card to work well in conjunction with similar "guarnateed break" cards which can reliably break nearly all Ice for a set cost, like Pile Driver and Big Frackin' Gun. The fact that it works with multiples of 3 like the other programs means Broker works as a perfect bit engine. Combined with Mouse and Technician Lover you can time your runs for maximum bit efficiency.

Another deck that Skeleton Passkeys helps to beat is the Siren/ Rio de Janeiro City Grid strategy which usually uses many light Ice and relies on the slim probability that the Runner will ever successfully pass all the Ice. If you don't have to pay a fortune each time you are forced into the Siren fort you can afford to try and buck the odds. It also facilitates the use of Startup Immolator to strip off the Ice as you go.

Overall, Skeleton Passkeys is an excellent card, made even better by the fact that it is common and easily available. No deck that uses a traditional breaker suite would be hurt by the addition/ substitution of this card. If you are prepared to deal with the economical needs of this card you will find it even more attractive.

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