ICE: Code Gate - Tracer - Ambush • Rez: 4 • Strength: 6 • Influence: 4

If Archangel is accessed from R&D, the Runner must reveal it.

If you pay 3 when the Runner accesses Archangel, he or she immediately encounters it. Ignore this ability if Archangel is accessed from Archives.

Trace6– If successful, add 1 installed Runner card to his or her grip.

NBN • Liiga Smilshkalne • Data and Destiny 13
Links: Decklists | ANCUR
  • When encountering an Archangel during access, the Runner follows timing step 3 of a run, ignoring the portions about approaching ice/ the server. [Official FAQ]

  • If Archangel is encountered while accessed and it is moved from its position as determined when accessed (e.g., from R&D being shuffled during the encounter or from Archangel being trashed from HQ by Utopia Shard during the encounter), then the encounter immediately ends and any currently open paid ability windows close. [Official FAQ]

  • Archangel is not considered to be rezzed during its encounter, and cards that interact with rezzed cards, e.g., Datasucker, cannot affect it. [Official FAQ]


Be a little careful rezzing this card against Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire, especially on R&D. There is no 'may' clause to the sub, which means the corp has to return an installed card, even if you've bounced his entire rig except for his last Cache.

Hopefully I never make this mistake again, as I was milled hard while my opponent giggled and set up a pile of credits while continuing to access and mill. Did I mention how he milled me constantly? He wanted to make sure I didn't draw another IE to replace this guy with.

It wasn't worth it to bounce a Medium.

Otherwise this card has saved my bacon on many occasions and is a powerful run deterrent to most runners. But screw Nosie.

I had an opponent do the same thing to me with Sherlock 1.0, back when I was still trying to make that card work. Even better, it was an imp that was recurred and they kept hitting my HQ through Sherlock. I lost that game very quickly. —
I just won a game recently because I was able to run on this card, force the Corp to bounce my D4v1d, and reinstall for a whole new set of counters. —
Screw Noise! —

This is a very taxing card for the runner indeed. If the subroutine is not broken then they would suffer a major tempo hit, potentially losing an expensive card back to hand.

It also offers NBN a relatively cheap, efficient and taxing piece of ice to add to its repertoire. Rush and kill decks both would benefit from its inclusion.

However, it is a weak early game piece of ice because the runner could be running without any cards in play, thereby nullifying its impact. So if it is installed early, do not rez it until its subroutine will do some major tempo damage.

Regarding the R&D access option, consider the cost/benefit of activating the ice in relation to the current credit differential between yourself and the runner. It would cost you 3 credits to activate it, but the cost to the runner could be much more than this. However, the rez cost is just 4 credits once on the table, so many times you may opt not to activate it from R&D.

If you can rez this ice at a point where the runner has a lot of cards installed, and does not have a cheap way of breaking the subroutine, then this card is sure to reap a solid dividend.

As a Prepaid VoicePAD Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker runner, I really find this ice to be a major problem these days!

I think the most obvious choice for triggering the ambush would be on deep Medium digs on RnD. Unless they have a loaded Kati or some other really sweet looking target, it's probably best to just install and rez. Still, ambush ice is an interesting design space. I hope there is more to come. Also, does anyone know what happens when you bounce a Film Critic with a hosted agenda? —
The agenda would go into Archives. —

The obvious uses are:

  • Archangel on the outside of a server, to force the corp to break or beat the trace, otherwise you bounce their breaker for the inside ICE. It's quite taxing to break, except with D4v1d. The trace is quite strong, so everyone who isn't running a Security Nexus build will probably pay 4-6. And for only 4 to rez!
  • Bounce other cards the runner needs during or just after a run. Self-modifying Code, Plascrete Carapace or Clone Chip perhaps.
  • Messing up runner cards with counters (virus/power/credits) like Kati Jones or Medium. That taxes the runner a mixture of and .
  • Bouncing expensive cards. Good targets include Femme Fatale, Professional Contacts, Yog.0 and Magnum Opus. Most runners don't play too many expensive though. Security Nexus would be a juicy target, but, well...

The trick I've missed so far is to just hold an Archangel in hand. If you can afford to trigger it multiple times, it can be a major annoyance for the runner. This is especially useful if HQ isn't very secure, inviting friendly runners for multiple visits. As an Ambush it is very difficult to trash. Typically an Imp or similar would be required. Using Archangel like this is relatively costly, but can generate a differential.

I can't believe how cheap Archangel is to rez.

I'll echo your last line. 99% of ice costs one more to rez than it does to break with Corroder/Gordian/Garrote. That's just kind of the rule. Ice that is better than that typically doesn't stop the run, or can be clicked through, or something. Archangel costs 4 to rez, and 5 to break with Garrote. That's insane. You can see what's going on. Its basically costed as positional ice. You can see similar cost efficiencies on other code gates that don't do anything on their own. Chum/Wendigo, etc. Archangel is better though, because of its permanent impact on the runner's board state. Every time someone Power Tap rabbit hole Nexuses through one of these an angel gets its wings. —
Archangel is Code Gate and Garrote is Killer. —
But it still costs 5 to break with Gordian Blade as well for those counting. —
This card absolutely wrecks OCA builds, since Fall Guy won't save a resource from being added to their grip and it won't save anything hosted on OCA because their host is no longer available. Any OCA build needs to respect any NBN deck on 3-4 credits if you aren't also filthy rich. —
I agree with Waltzard. This card is just too powerful for its cost. 5 to break with Gordian Blade! It pays for itself in one encounter. You got to be careful early game as they may run through it with nothing installed, but that'll last exactly one turn. Just put an Ice Wall in front of it and problem solved. There are only 3 economical ways past it, D4vid, Femme, and Study Guide. D4vid of course has only 3 uses. Even if the runner Femmes it, it's no big lose for the corp, they only spent 4 to rez it and it'll quickly pay for itself. Study Guide is great, breaking it for 1, but that's only after spending 3 to install it and 12 to get it up to strength. Even Refractor needs 2 stealth credits and credit. Then too the ice has the ambush option. I don't think it'll often be used, but its an option and a really good one in certain circumstances. Anyway, I don't like this card! —