So after the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Pyramid of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria has graced us with its shining presence! That leaves only the Temple of Artemis and Statue of Zeus for our '7 Wonders of the Ancient World' ice set. Can't wait to see what Nisei will come up with next!

On to the card itself. Pharos is a barrier with 5 strength and 3 subs. It gives the runner a tag, which is uncommon for a barrier although not unheard of, and has two etr subroutines. All of this for the high cost of 7 credits. When it comes to barriers we (unfortunately) always have to let it face off against the gold standard fracter, Paperclip. Clippy breaks Pharos for 4 credits, which is not insignificant but doable. Corroder and Sherman go through it for 6 credits and Makler for 7. Gauss will require just 5 credits on the turn it is installed, but 7 after that. So all in all, good numbers, but nothing fantastic.

However, a piece of 7 wonders ice wouldn't be what it is without some kind of advancement counter syngery. Pharos gets a strength boost if it is triple advanced, similar to Akhet. Except its strength doubles to a whopping 10 strength! That number is absurd and puts it on par with Curtain Wall (on the outermost position) or Wotan, but for literally half the price of either of those. At this point even clippy has to pay 9 credits to get past Pharos, and any other conventional breaker starts in the double digits.

So essentially, we want Pharos to always be triple advanced, to make it worth the investment cost. Luckily there are some support cards. This ice is a great addition to SSO's repetoire, although I fear that ID might have lost too much to rotation to be viable. There are also Priority Construction and Wall to Wall. And since unlike the space ice, Pharos benefits from being advanced at any point, not just before its rez, you can always use Dedication Ceremony. Like any other big ice, Pharos is somewhat weak to destruction and derez shenanigans (they just printed Tranquilizer), so keep that in mind.

The art is lovely, and I love the sense of scale we are getting by looking "up" at this gigantic tower. I am always excited to see how artist's are gonna interpret something so old from real life, and Owen did an amazing job!

In conclusion, I think this barrier is quite niche and won't see widespread play, but it is another strong tool for the advanceable ice archetype, as well as a cool newcomer to the wonder family.

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<p>I think it's worth noting that Boomerang, the common go-to for breaking high-strength ICE can't get through it without sticking the runner at least with a tag, which is pretty cool. Or terrible, if you're the runner.</p> —
<p>I will say that Pharos has been a beast in Startup format, where we don't have Paperclip. Corroder and Cleaver are the best fracters in town, and we are hard pressed for high-powered ICE in that format. Slotting two Pharos has been very strong if your deck wants to build remotes.</p> —

A functional reprint of HQ Interface, with a couple of twists. Whereas HQI works on every HQ run, Docklands Pass works only on the first access every turn. This is only a minor nerf however, as even criminals are only gonna be making multiple runs on HQ a turn if they are in complete control of the game. The biggest downside is that it makes the popular "got ya!" play of installing Sneakdoor Beta click 1 and then cleaning up HQ in 3 clicks somewhat less threatening. Also, since this is unique, you can't install multiples for even bigger accesses.

None of that takes away from the power of this card. At only 2 credits vs HQI's 4 (!), this card now directly competes with Legwork. IMO, this discount alone is significant enough to push this card's power level to beyond HQ Interface. Zahya especially likes the continuous multi-access this hardware provides for a very reasonable cost. Steve likes it for his 'once a turn' value run. And Az can install it for a single credit, or 2 during a Masterwork run.

Expect to see this card out of most criminals going forward. The biggest question will be if you include a single copy (because of its unique status) or multiple for consistency.

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<p>Great review! It really is astonishing how much a 2&lt;span class="icon icon-credit"&gt;&lt;/span&gt; discount makes. This card feels so good to play.</p> —

Any player who was around during the heydays of Yog.0, remembers the state of code gates at the time. Quandary was the most popular one, as its low rez cost made it worth playing as a simple gear check. And as soon as Yog came out, you would just install over it, as your code gates were now worthless. Lotus Field was also prevalent, as it was immune to Datasucker shenanigans, even more so after ┼×ifr was printed. But otherwise solid ice like Viktor 1.0, Enigma and Magnet? All unplayable. A breaker that breaks ice for 0 was, to put it mildly, completely busted.

Nisei has clearly learned from this debacle, as Buzzsaw is completely rebalanced while still drawing inspiration from the past. The comparison to Yog is pretty clear. Buzzsaw is quite expensive at 4 credits (down from 5), but breaks ice very efficiently. Only 1 credit for 2 (!) subroutines. That is incredible value. However, I again can't overstate how big of a leap 0 to 1 credit is, no matter the amount of subs. Both breakers start at a very respectable 3 strength, take up 1 MU and are only 1 influence. However, where Yog has no ability to boost its own strength, Buzzsaw does. A whopping 3 credits for 1 strength. This is pretty garbage and not something you wanna do often, as it will sap your credits in no time.

The obvious in faction decoder competitor is Black Orchestra, which has the usual 'bin breaker' advantages right out of the gate, as well as being a credit cheaper. So how does Buzzsaw compare to Black Orchestra on some common code gates?

Enigma/Thimblerig/Magnet

1 credit vs 3 credits

Afshar

3 credits vs 5 credits (if breaking the etr)

Lotus Field/Hortum/Funhouse

4 credits vs 3 credits

Mausolus

7 credits vs 6 credits (provided you let the corp gain a credit)

Fair Child 3.0

8 credits vs 9 credits

Tollbooth

7/10 credits vs 6/9 credits

DNA Tracker

11 credits vs 9 credits

Fairchild

17 credits vs 12 credits

So unsurprisingly, Buzzsaw is way more efficient when it comes to small code gates, and falls short when it comes to the bigger ones, although the difference isn't as severe as one might think. Engolo shines against these big bois, but is ofcourse both 4 influence and 2 MU.

The biggest consideration when choosing your decoder will be how much support you run. With a Leech to help you, Buzzsaw becomes an absolute beast. Two virus counters is enough to break Fairchild 3.0 for the low cost of just two credits. Just a single counter gets you through Hortum for 1 measly credit. So if your runner makes lots of runs and likes virusses, I think Buzzsaw becomes (even) more attractive. You could even consider Dedicated Processor, which I think is now way more attractive for anarch between this and Cleaver.

Is all this enough to overcome Black Orchestra's established popularity and synergies? Possibly. I think this card will see play going forward. If nothing else, I think it is always a good thing to give more viable options to runners to assemble their breaker suite. Also, what a cool name and card art. Props!

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<p>I was on the fence about whether or not Buzzsaw was any good, but after seeing your numbers comparing it to Black Orchestra, I think I'm convinced.</p> —

Woah, this actually has a date on it-- something FFG probably would have never done. 22nd-century being decades (but not centuries) old? This seems to be one of the rare instances of placing the Android Universe at a certain date!

This card looks a lot like Shipment from Tennin, but 1 cheaper, 1 influence cheaper and the play requirement is in the Corp's control rather than the runner's. All of these things combine to make a card that's extremely strong- often acting as a Biotic Labor that costs 3 less.

As of this being written, this card is a lynchpin in both Asa Group: Security Through Vigilance and Haas-Bioroid: Precision Design "never advance" decks that seek to (generally) win extremely fast. These decks play ice that is taxing on rez, like Gatekeeper and copious card draw in the form of Violet Level Clearance and Sprint. By sculpting their hands quickly, they can find the right balance of ice, agendas, and operations to score 5-6 points before the runner can effectively contest.

I expect this card to be played a lot over the next few months.

<p>I agree this card seems really strong. However the fact that you can't fast-advance with this is definitely a significant difference between this and <a href="/en/card/12072">Shipment from Tennin</a> and <a href="/en/card/01059">Biotic</a>. But it does have the strength of throwing off all sorts of runner math. The ability to never advance a 5/3 to suddenly win with two of these is startling.</p> —