Program: Icebreaker - AI • Install: 5 • Memory: 2 • Strength: 0 • Influence: 3

Maven has +1 strength for each installed program.

2credit: Break ice subroutine.

Shaper • Adam S. Doyle • Free Mars 87
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Maven
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Reviews

So Maven is a break system (as opposed to a build system) that looks pretty crappy due to 2-per-sub cost.

I'm curious however if it's really that bad and since I still have my ultra-hacky code from the Flashbang review it's easy to do some comparisons.

First up barriers and a comparison with Paperclip. Paperclip costs max(number_of_subs, strength-1) to break a barrier. Percentages are Maven in terms of Paperclip (100 * maven/paperclip).

  • Strength 0: 5 cards
    • Mean subs 1.00, median subs 1.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 1.00, median paperclip break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.00 (200%), median maven break cost 2.0 (200%)
  • Strength 1: 7 cards
    • Mean subs 1.00, median subs 1.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 1.00, median paperclip break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.00 (200%), median maven break cost 2.0 (200%)
  • Strength 2: 4 cards
    • Mean subs 1.75, median subs 1.5
    • Mean paperclip break cost 1.75, median paperclip break cost 1.5
    • Mean maven break cost 3.50 (200%), median maven break cost 3.0 (200%)
  • Strength 3: 4 cards
    • Mean subs 2.50, median subs 1.5
    • Mean paperclip break cost 3.00, median paperclip break cost 2.0
    • Mean maven break cost 5.00 (150%), median maven break cost 3.0 (150%)
  • Strength 4: 10 cards
    • Mean subs 1.60, median subs 1.5
    • Mean paperclip break cost 3.00, median paperclip break cost 3.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.20 (107%), median maven break cost 3.0 (100%)
  • Strength 5: 5 cards
    • Mean subs 1.80, median subs 2.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 4.00, median paperclip break cost 4.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.60 (90%), median maven break cost 4.0 (100%)
  • Strength 6: 3 cards
    • Mean subs 2.33, median subs 3.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 5.00, median paperclip break cost 5.0
    • Mean maven break cost 4.67 (93%), median maven break cost 6.0 (120%)
  • Strength 7: 2 cards
    • Mean subs 2.50, median subs 2.5
    • Mean paperclip break cost 6.00, median paperclip break cost 6.0
    • Mean maven break cost 5.00 (83%), median maven break cost 5.0 (83%)
  • Strength 8: 4 cards
    • Mean subs 3.25, median subs 3.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 7.00, median paperclip break cost 7.0
    • Mean maven break cost 6.50 (93%), median maven break cost 6.0 (86%)
  • Strength 10: 1 cards
    • Mean subs 4.00, median subs 4.0
    • Mean paperclip break cost 9.00, median paperclip break cost 9.0
    • Mean maven break cost 8.00 (89%), median maven break cost 8.0 (89%)

For sentries I'll compare to Mongoose.

  • Strength 0: 5 cards
    • Mean subs 1.40, median subs 1.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 1.00, median mongoose break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.80 (280%), median maven break cost 2.0 (200%)
  • Strength 1: 6 cards
    • Mean subs 1.83, median subs 2.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 1.17, median mongoose break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.67 (317%), median maven break cost 4.0 (350%)
  • Strength 2: 11 cards
    • Mean subs 1.64, median subs 1.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 3.18, median mongoose break cost 3.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.27 (98%), median maven break cost 2.0 (67%)
  • Strength 3: 13 cards
    • Mean subs 1.69, median subs 2.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 3.08, median mongoose break cost 3.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.38 (104%), median maven break cost 4.0 (133%)
  • Strength 4: 14 cards
    • Mean subs 1.64, median subs 1.5
    • Mean mongoose break cost 5.14, median mongoose break cost 5.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.29 (63%), median maven break cost 3.0 (60%)
  • Strength 5: 13 cards
    • Mean subs 1.92, median subs 2.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 5.31, median mongoose break cost 5.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.85 (70%), median maven break cost 4.0 (80%)
  • Strength 6: 6 cards
    • Mean subs 2.17, median subs 2.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 7.33, median mongoose break cost 7.0
    • Mean maven break cost 4.33 (58%), median maven break cost 4.0 (57%)
  • Strength 7: 1 cards
    • Mean subs 1.00, median subs 1.0
    • Mean mongoose break cost 7.00, median mongoose break cost 7.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.00 (29%), median maven break cost 2.0 (29%)
  • Strength 8: 2 cards
    • Mean subs 3.50, median subs 3.5
    • Mean mongoose break cost 10.00, median mongoose break cost 10.0
    • Mean maven break cost 7.00 (70%), median maven break cost 7.0 (70%)

Finally let's take a look at Gordian Blade, assuming there's only one code gate in the run (no leftover strength from previous boosting).

  • Strength 0: 5 cards
    • Mean subs 1.40, median subs 1.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 1.40, median gordian blade break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.80 (200%), median maven break cost 2.0 (200%)
  • Strength 1: 6 cards
    • Mean subs 1.83, median subs 2.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 1.83, median gordian blade break cost 2.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.67 (200%), median maven break cost 4.0 (200%)
  • Strength 2: 11 cards
    • Mean subs 1.64, median subs 1.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 1.64, median gordian blade break cost 1.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.27 (200%), median maven break cost 2.0 (200%)
  • Strength 3: 13 cards
    • Mean subs 1.69, median subs 2.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 2.69, median gordian blade break cost 3.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.38 (114%), median maven break cost 4.0 (133%)
  • Strength 4: 14 cards
    • Mean subs 1.64, median subs 1.5
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 3.64, median gordian blade break cost 3.5
    • Mean maven break cost 3.29 (86%), median maven break cost 3.0 (83%)
  • Strength 5: 13 cards
    • Mean subs 1.92, median subs 2.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 4.92, median gordian blade break cost 5.0
    • Mean maven break cost 3.85 (73%), median maven break cost 4.0 (80%)
  • Strength 6: 6 cards
    • Mean subs 2.17, median subs 2.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 6.17, median gordian blade break cost 6.0
    • Mean maven break cost 4.33 (67%), median maven break cost 4.0 (67%)
  • Strength 7: 1 cards
    • Mean subs 1.00, median subs 1.0
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 6.00, median gordian blade break cost 6.0
    • Mean maven break cost 2.00 (33%), median maven break cost 2.0 (33%)
  • Strength 8: 2 cards
    • Mean subs 3.50, median subs 3.5
    • Mean gordian blade break cost 9.50, median gordian blade break cost 9.5
    • Mean maven break cost 7.00 (73%), median maven break cost 7.0 (73%)

A very rough analysis is that if you can get Maven boosted to strength 5 it becomes competitive with other breakers. Of course that means 5 programs (including Maven). That's not as hard as it may sound however due to nice little helpers like Dhegdheer. Other non-memory eating programs are: Pawn, Scheherazade, Progenitor and Harbinger. Due to Harbinger being on this list Maven could potentially be interesting in a Apex: Invasive Predator deck.

If you use Maven in a typical AI way, as a fallback, in combination with a full breaker suite and if you're running a big rig with extra programs it's not all that hard to get like 7 programs installed (two Dhegdeer, 4 breakers including Maven, a support program). The gains however are still not terribly great considering the relatively low odds of encountering strength 6/7 ice.

I don't think Maven will be a card to build a deck around. Rather it's an AI that goes relatively easily into a big rig shaper deck to fill the AI role. And in such cases it's a pretty decent AI.

(Free Mars era)
294
Nice review. Looking at your analysis I think Maven would be great in addition to a cheap set of standard breakers that are efficient for low-strength ICE. In that case you would install it releatively late and only if the enemy looks like he'd pack some high-strength, low-sub ICE. A nice failsave for shapers against that one guy that packs Susanoo. —
The problem with using Maven for high strength ice though is that unless you make sure to have a big rig it will have too low strength. —

It is my belief that Maven is a greatly under appreciated card, especially for Shapers.

The first thing to note is that it is +1 strength for each PROGRAM, this includes itself. This means that things like Datasucker, Medium, Au Revoir, & Multithreader will all increase this card's strength. You could, theoretically, run this as your only Icebreaker, and simply load up on utility programs.

Some obvious synergies around this style...
Datasucker and/or Medium. Medium for multi-access; Datasucker for lowering ICE strength (effectively +2 to strength, if not practically).
Multithreader both increases Maven's strength AND helps to pay for breaking subroutines. 3 of these will mean your Maven is now effectively a strength 4 with 0: Break up to three ice subroutines (again, not practically, but close enough). Not too dissimilar from certain card we know, only useful on more than Code Gates.

The problem behind all of this is, of course, the memory cost. The multithreader combo in particular means a minimum of 5MU. This means finding ways of hosting cards that absolve you of memory costs... Like more programs: Leprechaun, Dhegdheer, Djinn, etc... And maybe while you're saving on memory you can earn some with Data Folding.

Here's the thing... The real issue isn't memory or credits. There are real solutions to these problems.

The issue is time. Time is always against the Runner. Time to get the cards out to make Maven work. It's a problem that has always existed with big rigs, and is the balance in power.

So would I recommend Maven? Well.... Even with everything I've described, I don't think it'll win any tournaments. But it's not a hopeless card, and in a deck well-prepared for it, it could turn a few heads.

Honorable Mention: It's an AI, subject to all the hate an AI receives from ICE.

(Crimson Dust era)
:cough: Medium is no more :cough: —
Running an AI as your only breaker is dangerous. Swordsman survives, as do Hortum and Turing. Be careful! —
I do think you can do Maven as primary with support breakers. It's pretty strong - like an unpurgeable Aumakua. —