Ballista 5[credit]

Ice: Sentry - Destroyer
Strength: 4
Influence: 2

[subroutine] Trash 1 installed program or end the run.

“Puts a hole in your rig and your plans.”
–René “Loup” Arcemont
Illustrated by Owen Sinodov
Decklists with this card

System Gateway (sg)

#62 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
  • Updated 2021-10-11

    Who chooses whether to trash a program or end the run?

    The Corp makes any choices in resolving subroutines unless the ability specifically directs the Runner to perform its effect.


I like this ice. It's simple and direct.

It's basically Rototurret, except it only does one of those two things. It costs 1 more, and is 4-strength instead of zero. Overall, I think it's better? 4-strength sentries are not cheap to break, so even after the runner has their rig set up, it can provide some tax.

Since it's ice, let's look at some break costs:

  • Carmen breaks it for 3
  • Bukhgalter for 4, (with the possible 2 rebate)
  • Femme Fatale does it for 5
  • Odore costs 6, assuming you have virtual resources. (And you wouldn't play Odore without virtual resources.)
  • Mimic just gets shut out, unless they have Leech, Ice Carver, or some other way to lower strength.
  • Echelon costs 1-7, depending on how many icebreakers you have laying around. (Usually going to be around 4)

So you can usually count on the runner needing to spend at least 3-4. Not bad, for ice that only cost you 5, and punishes facechecking! 4 strength means that it doesn't insta-die to Chisel, although 1 subroutine means that Botulus kind of negates it. One way or another though, the runner has to deal with it, because even the best case for the runner, you just stop the run. (And the worst case is you trash something they need.)

The existence of Simulchip weakens program trashing subroutines a little, but hey, you've always got the "end the run" alternative to fall back on!

All in all - Solid mid-range ice for Weyland. Good stuff!

(System Update 2021 era)

Carmen breaks for 3, and Bukhgalter for 4, right?

Huh. You are right. Apparently I can't math? Updated with correct numbers!

The most distinctive feature of this card is that it is an end-the-run Sentry -- and the only hard end-the-run sentry that Weyland has in startup. It's also fairly splashable at 2 inf.

However it has a bunch of drawbacks:

  • Rez to break ratio varies a lot depending on exactly what killer the runner is on. But 5 to rez is not that cheap. Bukhgalter will break it for 2 with the discount, and Mimic + one leech counter or ice carver breaks it for 1.
  • Only one sub. This means it is broken once per turn by a Botulus. This makes this not such a great card to play vs. Loup for instance.

In startup format, Weyland decks often prefer to play sentries like Winchester and Colossus.

Colossus costs one more and gives you an extra sub, so they can only break it every other turn with Botulus. (But still porous to Boomerang.) And it gains strength, so it may give Anarchs on mimic a much harder time.

Winchester costs one less to rez and gives you 3 subs when over HQ, so it is more expensive for killers across the board, and isn't completely broken by Boomerang.

This may be an interesting card to splash into corps that don't have strong sentries. For instance, this might find home in an NBN deck, because for many startup NBN decks, the only sentry they run is F2P, which can be broken without a killer. Runners that decide to skip installing their killer may run straight into Ballista, and then lose a program. That may be attractive to Reality+ decks that already want to destroy programs. In this way, this ice affects the meta when running against Reality+, whether or not the corp actually runs Ballista.

The main risk with running this ice is that it's going to weaken your corp against Anarchs generally, whether they are on botulus or not, since you will pay 5 to rez it but they may break it for a lot less than 5, resulting in a significant tempo hit.

(Midnight Sun Booster Pack era)

If the runner has no program to trash does it default to end the run ?