♦ Excalibur 2[credit]

Ice: Mythic - Grail
Strength: 3
Influence: 0

[subroutine] The Runner cannot make another run this turn.

There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth work
Of subtlest jewellery. -Lord Tennyson
Illustrated by Andreas Zafiratos
Decklists with this card

The Source (ts)

#111 • English
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Excalibur is the Grail unlike the other Grail. Sharing nothing in common with the other ICE of it's type (Galahad, Lancelot, Merlin), Excalibur can only be revealed, unable to reveal its buddies itself. And it can often be overlooked, allowing many runners to save a credit or Cerberus "Lady" H1 counter when used with the other Grail ICE. No, Excalibur is a beast of its own. I see it as:

Neutral Trap ICE with a nice effect

Trap, because Excalibur notably has no ICE type. It cannot be broken except by AI breakers.

Excalibur, instead, hangs out with the Upgrades. For a measly 2 credits, Ash 2X3ZB9CY, Red Herrings, and Caprice Nisei, along with other strong Upgrades that typically require a second clean run, become maximally efficient. Excalibur + Red Herrings in a server means that the Runner will pay those 5 credits.

Ultimately, try to separate this card from the Grail subtype. In fact, I would instantly cut it from decks running the actual Grail ICE. I firmly believe this card is strongest when slotted into Glacier-style decks that intend to score in a remote, who naturally run powerful Upgrades to protect them.

(The Valley era)
I want to like this review twice. Totally accurate and very insightful review. —
Orrrrr you keep it in your hand and reveal it with every other Grail Ice, they'll all pick up the "cannot make other runs" subroutine. In fact, all Grail Ice benefits from having a lot in hand, so pack some handsize expanders - Research Station or Cybernetics Court. —
I wouldn't cut this from a deck with 9 Grails. It can be tough to get and keep 2 grails in hand while trying to lay out ice. A 10th one would be good for that, it would also be good on the scoring remote in combination with Caprice or something. All in all, still worth keeping in a Grail deck I would say. —

I have found this ice to be particularly great in RP as the runner is forced to run a central server. Plop it down in front of HQ and/or R&D while having your score server ready with an agenda. Rez it when they run either central server and BAM, an open scoring window. Make sure that that you have Swordsman out in case they are running AI breakers, they only thing that can stop this ice in a hurry.

(The Source era)
Its better on your scoring remote where excalibur and nisei tokens or caprice can lock them out for the rest of the turn. —
I have also taken to putting it on a central (along with Uroboros, considering this is unique) instead of a remote. I'll have to try this on the scoring remote, though. With Caprice + Ash + Nisei tokens, that server is on lockdown. —
Excalibur is unique - but can you also reveal it from your hand if you have one copy installed? —
I don't see why not, but it is much more likely to get broken when revealed. Because it adds the routine to an ICE with an 'ordinary' type. —

Excalibur is a welcome addition in the neutral ice. Having a neutral ice with the mythic subtype help.

It is a well balanced card, but less powerful than it seems. Let's first start with its qualities.

  1. It is mythic, meaning there is only 5 things you can do about it : use a AI breaker (Aumakua), use Engolo or any other painting ability (Pelangi, Rielle "Kit" Peddler: Transhuman), or bypass it, use any of the single use breaker (Kongamato], Boomerang, Gbahali). This seems like a lot, and it is. Mythic subtype is not the greatest thing, but it is better than any other subtype.

  2. It is cheap for its effect. 3 creds to rez with a strenght of 2. Not bad at all.

  3. It combine well with card that give the corp end the run (ETR), like Bio Vault or Border Control.

  4. It is a defense against Stargate and Medium by not allowing multiple runs. Shaper usually use Engolo, so it will not deter a Shaper using Indexing.

The bad part is pretty simple : It does not end the run, and it does nothing against runner who normally do only one run per turn, like most Anarchs and stealth Shapers. Also, it is unique, meaning you cannot put it on two centrals and a remote. Having 2x of it, unless you strategy rely on it, is useless.

Slightly above average card, same goes for the art and quote. Good to see it back in the meta.

(Salvaged Memories era)