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.
--It just saddens me when I see cards with no reviews. If you appreciated this review, please give a heart and I'll be encouraged to write more.