Orca

Orca 10[credit]

Program: Icebreaker - Killer
Memory: 2 • Strength: 3
Influence: 2

The first time each turn this program fully breaks a piece of ice, you may charge 1 of your installed cards. (Add 1 power counter to a card that already has one.)

Interface → 2[credit]: Break any number of sentry subroutines.

2[credit]: +3 strength.

Illustrated by Jakuza
Decklists with this card

Parhelion (ph)

#89 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
Printings
Parhelion
Rulings
  • Updated 2023-03-25

    Can a player charge cards that have 2 or more power counters?

    Yes, a card that has 2 power counters qualifies as having at least 1 power counter.

Reviews

I've loved this card from the moment it was first spoiled. It's big and dumb and silly, and I love it.

All of it's numbers (both the good ones and the bad ones) are huge and ridiculous. But it's also astonishingly good at what it does, if you can land it on the table.

As a rule, shapers are the worst faction at breaking sentries. Usually this manifests as simply having terrible break costs. Pipeline and Creeper were the original awful shaper killers. Things have gotten a little better since then, but even so, most shaper killers are highly specialized, and only really good in particular situations. There are several that require stealth credits (Dagger, Fawkes, etc), several that have other weird limitations (Ika), and the usual run of ones that are just plain inefficient. (Echelon, Na'Not'K, etc.)

In general, if you want to break sentries as a shaper, you just pay the influence cost, and import the latest hotness from criminal.

Well, there's a new sentry breaker in town. And it has a slightly different approach to its limitations. It's actually got good break numbers. Great numbers, even! Breaking all subs for 2 is actually pretty nice, since sentries often have multiple subs. And base strength of 3 is actually really amazing. As of this writing, there are 13 sentries available in startup, and 9 of them are strength 3 or less, with only 4 requiring you to boost Orca to break. (Okay, really 5, since Stavka really should be on that list.)

AND it givers you free power counters for your power-counter-powered shenanigans!

So where's the downside? It has two big ones. One is that it costs 2 which is a little steep, although manageable. (Shapers have plenty of good ways to boost their memory after all. Endurance, in particular, has very nice synergy with the charge mechanic, and gives +2 by itself!) But the real downside is, of course, the eye-watering 10 install cost.

For reference, consider Carmen, a solid criminal killer in its own right. To get through, say, Archer, Carmen requires 8. (Archers are no joke, you guys!) Orca gets through impressively for half that, 4. But Carmen also probably only cost 3 to install, which means you have to break that Archer three times with your Orca before the improved break costs start saving you money, vs. just using Carmen.

And that's against Archer, which is one of the best-case scenarios for Orca. If you're facing smaller sentries like Rototurret, then Carmen has equal break costs, and if you start hitting single-sub sentries like Anemone or Vasilisa, then Carmen is actually cheaper, and Orca will never catch up!

But hey. Orca is a program. And we're shapers! "Tricky nonsense with programs" is practically the unofficial motto of the faction! So obviously if you're planning on including Orca in a deck, you're likely to have some way to cheat it out for significantly less than full price.

In standard, this is pretty straightforward. Good old Test Run plus Rejig puts it on the board for a total of 3. (And two card plays.) In startup, our options are a bit more limited, but we still have access to the classic Retrieval Run.

There's also this new card, Spark of Inspiration, which seems designed to pair with Orca. You can use Test Run to make sure Orca is on top, but at that point you're using a 2-card combo to save 4, which doesn't seem quite as worth it. (I've had good luck just using Spark of Inspiration without knowing, and fishing for it though!)

I've been using this breaker in my startup deck with Captain Padma Isbister, and I have to say, I am really impressed. I put it in at first for fun, thinking it was not going to be practical, but I've managed to get it on the table every game, and I don't think I've paid full price for it once yet. And once it's on the table, you really don't have to worry about sentries ever again. Heck, most of the weak ones might as well just read "pay 2, charge up the boat!"

(Parhelion era)
741

Install cost aside, being able to break Anansi or Archer for 4 creds can't be beat.

Right? Once you get it on the board, I think it might actually be the single best sentry breaker ever printed. (I'm having trouble coming up with a better one!) It's just that actually getting it on the board requires either some way to cheat it out, or taking a huge 10c tempo hit. It's an interesting design direction - Taking a sentry breaker that is supposed to have some serious downsides (according to the color pie) just putting 100% of them into the install cost and leaving the rest of the breaker good.

With current meta: Zato + Stavka / Drago + Retribution paying 10 (or using 1-2 slot for making it more affordable) seems weak :/ Other than that I'm in Orca's church hah

This breaker pair (like all breaker) with K2CP Turbine to allow you to break any sentry for 2<span class="icon icon-credit"></span>. If you use this with Concerto, you would also get a massive amount of credits to use in a run!