Ice Carver

♦ Ice Carver 3[credit]

Resource: Virtual
Influence: 3

While you are encountering a piece of ice, it gets −1 strength.

In the public consciousness, there's a hard line between corp and runner. In the real world, things are a little more porous. The corps need the best hackers to run their networks, and some of the best hackers are ex-runners who like the idea of a regular paycheck. But sometimes things run the other way, and someone on the inside makes something like this.
Illustrated by Mark Anthony Taduran
Decklists with this card

Core Set (core)

#15 • English
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  • Updated 2022-04-23

    Does Ice Carver apply its -1 strength before or after Chisel’s ability resolves?

    Before. Ice Carver has a static ability, which means it applies as soon as the encounter begins. The Runner doesn’t have to trigger the ability explicitly or wait for conditional abilities to resolve before it takes effect.


Ice Carver represents the Anarch way of life; slowly and steadily corrupt your obstacle. Gain access through decay.

Let's compare it to its common counterpart: Datasucker.


  • Does not require successful runs or limited virus counters to function. Affects all ice (save Lotus), all the time.
  • Only succeptible to tag-trashing; safer for facechecking.
  • Requires no MU.


  • Costs 2 more to install.
  • Not capable of draining ice strength.
  • Unique, limited to 1 at a time. Extras can be dead draws.
  • Not tutorable at all.
  • High influence makes it harder to splash.

Similar options:

  • Bishop - Best in Caissa decks, uses MU, cheaper, affects 1 ice at a time.

  • Scrubbed - Costly current that affects 1 ice per turn, with unreliable results.

Possible interactions:

I'm surprised its not included in more Anarch decks, considering its a super Datasucker! I know I'll try using it more often, especially in Anarch decks that set up first, run later.

(Order and Chaos era)
Datasucker is used more often because it's tutorable and it's a virus, which triggers a lot of other nifty interactions. Ice Carver's always been too much of a tempo hit for me when I've tested it, but if it's working for you, go for it. It's not something your opponent will expect. —
You've mirrored my sentiments exactly! :) —
Perhaps the value of Ice Carver will go up with the arrival of Paige Piper? —

Last review was 5 years ago. Let's revisit this.

Ice Carver is important. Mainly for the use of MKUltra and Black Orchestra, which are the most popular breaker for Anarch. The problem of those two is the cost to boost their strenght. An ice with strenght 5 and on sub will require two boost (for a total of 6 creds). With Ice Carver, it require only one boost, saving you 3 creds. There are a lot of popular ices with a strenght of 5, like Engram Flush, Slot Machine and Mausolus.

Ice carver will save you creds on the long run, by making every ice cheaper to break. It is especially good with breaker that boost 1 cred for +1 strength.

It pair well with Aumakua, allowing it to be useful earlier.

It goes very well with Gachapon, since it is virtual. Allowing it to be a target for Gachapon, thus installing it for 1 cred.

Finally, it is one of the rare ressource usable by Apex.

Well worth the investment. But at 3 influences, it will seldom be used out of faction, except for Apex.

While the art is nice, it is a bit too litteral (ice come from IC, as in Intrusion Countermeasure, not sub zero water). But the quote is perfect and fully give the flavor of the lore behind such a card.

(Uprising era)

A resource that might be considered essential for the fixed breaker suite. It brings all strength 4 ice into consideration of the likes of Yog.0 and Mimic, and yet it did not see that much of an impact over the history of the game.

This would likely be due to two particular points. First, its Unique status means you are only ever going to get one reduction of strength from it at a time, and future draws become dead cards. Second, as a resource it is still not tutorable, so to find it you have to draw and dig deep.

It also means that more setup would be required before running on certain pieces of ICE, meaning the runner slows down. Aggression, or a way to stall (Control) the aggression of the other side, is one of the more important concepts any CCG or LCG, and in Netrunner it is no different. If you are going to be including Ice Carver then you need other ways to make the corp not move as fast as it might, while you look for it and get it set up to take advantage of its ability.

Paige Piper might very well bring this card around again, allowing the extra copies to be tossed out of the deck early.

(Written during the meta of The Valley, part of the SanSan Cycle. For more reviews like it, visit

(The Valley era)
All ice except for Lotus Field, you mean. —
fair enough! Indeed, except Lotus Field. —

This card creates some mixed feelings and really depends on the breakers you are running. For most rigs it means you save 1 cred per ICE (I ignore Stealth Breaker for this discussion), which means when you get it early enough it will save you the 3 creds you used to install it. But you also need a slot for it, so it should save you another 4 to become a sure gable. Will you break 8 ICE a game? Usually you will, so when you get it early it makes sense. On the other side as it is unique you don't want to have 3 offs in your deck and the other 2 become dead draws. So is it worth the deck slot when you see it late?
On the other hand, when you have rigs that have awkward strength boost like Lustig or Passport it might save you more then one cred on a piece of ICE, main problem is, this are mainly criminal breakers and are currently rarely imported into anarch, while the question is, can criminals include it into their decks?
On the other hand, currently we have the heap breaker (Paperclip, Black Orchestra & MKUltra) which beside of Paperclip have this 3 creds pump strength by 2 & break 2 subs. Especially against Fairchild 3.0 the first pump breaks nothing, similar ICE would be Ichi 1.0, Tollbooth, News Hound and Cortex Lock. So currently Ice Carver shines together with this breakers as for some ICE it will immediately save you 3 creds to break subs and you can see this is a great efficiency and within the anarch faction. So until these breakers rotate Ice Carver is a very strong econ card that can save you dozens of creds during a game. And it has to be seen as a pure econ card that can replace one Liberated Account in terms of value.

(Sovereign Sight era)
The one issue here is how fast you get to install it. The value of 2 dead draws is real, and can be fully avoided through Paige piper. —
I would say since a long time you see this max. as a one off in many Anarch Decks and this is based on the meta how many ICE this might offer a discount for. e.g. against DNA Tracker this does nothing, you would need Datasucker to create value. —