Eater is a Program that denies the main purpose of a run (to access cards) while strongly supporting its secondary purpose: to trigger conditional abilities or play conditional cards.
At 4 cost and 2 strength, this is the strongest AI in the game. In comparison:
Atman is tied to a fixed strength that has to be decided from the moment the Runner plays it
Knight is click costing and can't break subroutines on multiple pieces of a ICE during a same run
Darwin's strength can't be boosted for credits during a run. It takes many turns to get efficient. Plus it costs 2 credits per broken routine.
Wyrm is such a bad joke that I don't write it in markdown format. I don't want you to see it. Just forget about this card.
Pros - Make successful runs
Providing the cheapest way to make successful runs with a single breaker, Eater allows you to play some really powerful tricks. Think of any card that reads "whenever you make a successful run..." and/or "instead of accessing cards..." Here are a few examples:
First, it supports run events to trigger their ability. Go:
With Eater on the rig, we can play all this crazy stuff and punish the Corp badly. Ruin their credits, Trash a server (goodbye SanSan City Grid), Trash HQ etc...
With John Masanori, you are sure to make an extra draw each turn.
Expose HQ with Expert Schedule Analyzer
Works well with Silhouette: Stealth Operative has an ID to get a complete overview of the board.
Run again with Doppelgänger.
Trash pieces of ICE. Yes, rip a server with:
Once the server is stark naked, go and access cards.
But by far the strongest interaction Eater allows is to make successful runs triggered by Keyhole. The latter bars you from accessing cards anyway. It is then possible to win a game only with Eater + Keyhole + Hades Shard.
Cons - Access 0 cards
From the moment you use Eater during a run, say goodbye to:
Eater is counterproductive with Edward Kim: Humanity's Hammer as an ID.
But mainly the bane of this card is Swordsman. If Eater gets popular - and I personally expect it to be - Swordsman might see a lot of play anew.
Looking forward to play this.