Name: Startup Immolator
Commonality: Uncommon
Installationcost: 0
Type: Program - 1 MU
Game Text: [T]: Pay the rez cost of a piece of ice to trash that piece of ice. Use this ability only if you have just broken all the subroutines of that piece of ice.
Illustrator: Mark Collen
Sets: v1.0

Card Spotlight by Chris Wagner (Foolkiller)(was: Card of the Day #3)

With the sudden popularity of Siren forts equipped with cheap Ice and Rio de Janeiro City Grid, the usefulness of Startup Immolator has redoubled. Already a useful card, it has jumped to the status of a great card.

The ability to deprive the Corp of a key piece of Ice is always beneficial. In fact, entire decks are built to keep the Corp without Ice and open to Runner attacks. Many tools help in this task; Security Code WORM Chip, Core Command: Jettison Ice, Forged Activation Orders, etc.. Disintegrator is useful for derezzing Ice, but ending the run, and the fact that the Ice will likely return, detract from its overall power.

Startup Immolator is able to remove Ice as you pass it without stopping your run. Combined with Joan of Arc or Microtech Backup Drive this can create a voracious Ice eating machine. Paying to remove heavy Ice is usually not in the runner's best financial interests, but tossing cheap Ice off of a fort can make your life much easier. Consider removing the Filter installed just after Shock.r. You no longer need to deal with either piece of Ice!

The Corp strategy which has made this card so useful involves Siren. The Corp stacks tons of cheap or free rez cost Ice in front of a Siren and Rio de Janeiro City Grid. The odds of any run successfully making an access are very slim. However, if each time you run, you strip the outer piece of Ice off, the chances of getting inside grow steadily better.

Most Corp use a mix of low cost and high cost Ice. Startup Immolator can really help to keep the Corp off balance in the early game, before they have set up some secure forts. If used in a dedicated Ice destruction deck, Startup Immolator is best complimented by Demolition Run or Remote Detonator. Once the Corp gets heavy Ice in place, set the Startup Immolator aside and just blow up the whole fort!

The disadvantages of Startup Immolator are the MU required to use it and the fact that you must have some way to recycle it. Using it as a one shot can of course help, but concentrating your deck on using this card to its fullest is much more effective. This means using Joan of Arc or the Microtech Backup Drive. My choice here is Microtech Backup Drive, because Joan of Arc uses a valuable MU slot that I probably need elsewhere. There is also no bit cost involved in recycling with Microtech Backup Drive. The advantage of going the other way is that one Startup Immolator can yield two trashed pieces of Ice in one run with Joan of Arc. Using all three cards together is a great idea but can be too much of a setup to count on. Junkyard BBS would drive the cost of recycling too high to be useful, and as a resource, it is more suceptible to getting trashed.

I find that when planning to destroy the Corp's Ice it is Ok to use breakers that are otherwise not cost effective. My suite recommendation is Big Frackin' Gun, Skeleton Passkeys, and Pile Driver (or Bulldozer). The guaranteed break for a set number of bits allows me to plan for trashing Ice as needed. If the Corp uses superheavy Ice, my breakers are suited to that task as well. The low install cost of these breakers makes your early game finances free for other tasks, such as trashing Ice. Of course the possible time lag in setting up your breakers can be dangerous, but a well-constructed deck should be able to get its breakers installed quickly.

Old Corp stand-bys are affected by Startup Immolator as well. The plain Rio de Janeiro City Grid deck is just as vulnerable to Startup Immolator as the Siren version. Any deck counting on Ice installed at the innermost position is very vulnerable to Startup Immolator. For example, a Corp that sets up a bunch of free or cheap Code Gates and Walls in front of a Minotaur can be hurt by either trashing the Minotaur or the Ice it depends upon.

Choose your targets well when using Startup Immolator to minimize the need to recycle it indefinitely. If faced with a fort equipped with Ball and Chain, then Canis Major, then Fire Wall, destroy Fire Wall. You can then ignore the other pieces of ICE as you pass them. While Canis Major is cheaper to remove, you gain more by targeting the Fire Wall.

Overall, Startup Immolator is a great card that can serve a part in any Runner deck, but which really shines when used in a deck tuned to take advantage of its ability. Siren, watch out!

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