Why does Jinteki want to defend Archives?
A couple good reasons come to mind:
- Jinteki: Restoring humanity wants to get their sweet drip credits
- Kakurenbo works a lot better if there are facedown cards in archives at the start of your turn. Usually the question for the runner is, did you use Kakurenbo to replay a trap out of Archives, or did you play something like an agenda from hand. If archives was revealed before you play Kakurenbo, then after you play Kakurenbo, the runner can run Archives and if it looks exactly the same, then they know you played something from hand.
- In Midnight Sun, we have new cards like Moon Pool and Regenesis, enabling Archives focused shenanigans described in a blog post by Doomrat
- Counterplay to Security Testing builds, Sneakdoor Beta, Sabotage focused runners, etc.
How do popular icebreakers fare?
- Bukhgalter breaks it for 2, including the discount. This is the same cost as Drafter, which is also rezzed for 3. I posit that Drafter is quite playable in the current meta.
- Afterimage needs 1 normal and 1 stealth credit, or two leech counters and a normal credit, so this is fairly taxing to that icebreaker
- Carmen breaks it for 3
- Mimic cannot break it unless the runner can reduce the strength by 1.
- Echelon likely breaks it for 4, (but only 1 if you have 4 icebreakers installed)
What alternatives stand out?
- Saisentan (probably) does more damage to the runner if they face-check without a killer. But it costs 5 to rez rather than 3, and is broken for the same or less with all of the above killers. On the flip side, Saisentan resists Boomerang and Botulus better than this ice.
- Karuna costs one more to rez, has one more sub and one less strength. A face-check without a killer is usually only going to do 2 net damage. Karuna is a bit weaker vs. Afterimage and Mimic. This ice is not often played in the current meta, because it usually is pretty low impact -- the runner either runs with their killer, or hits it with boomerang before running, and then it costs 4 to rez and probably does nothing for the rest of the game. In most cases you'd rather have Saisentan, because if they facecheck it it can kill them outright, and even if they hit it with Boomerang, you still probably do 1 or 2 net damage.
This ice is a lot closer to Karuna than Saisentan, and the same arguments against Karuna applies to this ice -- boomerang and botulus completely break it, and most runners won't blindly face-check this. But the difference is that it is bit more efficient than Karuna -- it's still 2-ish to break and it's only 3 to rez rather than 4. So we're reaching towards Drafter levels of efficiency in a faction that is usually pretty poor.
- Anemone is only two and a card to rez. Anemone does 3 net damage if the sub fires, but does 2 guaranteed net damage even if the sub is broken -- even if the runner played Inside Job and bypassed the ice.
- Because when you rez Anemone you pitch a card from your hand into Archives, it is possible that the corp pitches Sting! into archives when Anemone is rezzed. If there are a bunch of other facedown cards in Archives, then it's possible that the runner can be flatlined. So when Anemone is rezzed, it is likely that the runner actually jacks out. This is very tempo positive -- you paid two and a card, did two net damage, and the runner jacked out, abandoning their click. They probably spend the rest of their turn drawing up and don't actually run Archives until the next turn.
- This probably isn't what happens with Bathynomus -- they probably break it for 2ish, take no net damage, and complete their run.
- This argument doesn't apply if the runner is using Sneakdoor Beta, in that case you'd rather have Bathynomus.