Once again, Criminals break new ground with clever ways to get past ice other than breaking it!
This is a card with a lot of interesting extremes. 0 install cost is great! 2 is painful. Preventing the first subroutine that would fire is awesome, but since it's "prevented from firing" instead of "Broken", you can't extend the effect with things like e3 Feedback Implants. It's really flexible, since it's "the first subroutine that would fire" - so you can break ice normally until you hit something you want to just ignore, and then let it take over, even if that's not the outermost ice on the server. And since it's a ability, you can't combo it with Criminal's powerful run events like Account Siphon or Inside Job.
It's clearly intended as a tool for early aggression. It's not technically an AI, but it fills a lot of the same niche, getting runners past single-sub ice without needing to have the correct breaker. It actually has a lot of overlap with Vamadeva, and is generally better for anything over strength 2. (Except for the memory cost, and the inability to use it with run events.)
All in all, I'm actually cautiously optimistic for this card. Şifr was the big news for this pack, but I think this card, sitting quietly in the background, will help enable an awful lot of criminal (and potentially other) nonsense.
Other random thoughts:
- It combos especially nicely with the breakers that break a fixed number of subroutines at a time. Black Orchestra, MKUltra, etc. Lets you use Black Orchstra to fully break Mausolus for 6 + 2 credits instead of 9, for example.
- If you can spare the influence and/or MU, it could be really useful for Apex: Invasive Predator. It's really flexible. It has a bit of overlap with Endless Hunger though, although they each have their strengths. (Endless Hunger can't get past Resistor, while Tracker is thwarted by the humble Enigma)
- Because of how it's worded, it actually doesn't benefit much from instant-install effects. You can't install it when you hit a high-strength, single-sub piece of ice. You have to install it early, before you run.
- It combos brilliantly with Grappling Hook.
- It will probably get exploded with Best Defense.
- You can combo it with Street Magic to make sure you always skip the worst subroutine. (Hat tip to @Kitescreech for the suggestion!)