This will probably fire most turns. If the corp isn't gaining credits through some ability or another, they're probably losing. Worst case scenario, one of these drawn early will cost the corp a click and 3 credits, so this is an effective tactic for delaying corp plans about as much a reverse Hedge Fund.

If you see one of these early, playing it is usually part of the best turn available. Late game, it's less valuable, but still probably valuable enough to play.

If the corp lets Pad Taps survive (probably because they are financially strapped or because the end is in sight), every money-gaining option gets less appealing. Every "the corp gains $1" subroutine becomes a potential liability. In case Tithe wasn't hurting enough, now it's a double agent for the runner.

The flavor text doesn't fit the story very well. Unless the corps are a lot more forgiving and/or incompetent than we've been led to believe by every other card, it'd be odd if corporate employees were blase about doing something which might get them murdered. If a company has dedicated response teams, kill teams, contract killers, secrets punishable by death, cricket-bat psychos, yakuza on speed-dial, or seppuku at gunpoint, it's probably a very unusual employee who doesn't care whether the security department thinks he's a problem. Most of the other corporate characters with major individualistic streaks usually have a more interesting explanation than incompetence (e.g. Exile's grief or Emelyov's warlike nature or Cortes' megalomania). Also, if corporations have taken over most of the universe and are supposed to feel threatening, it should take more to fool them than getting a haircut.

Late-game, this is crazy-efficient. If you are setting up towards a Conduit win and can afford to spend 5+ turns setting up, a 3-strength Echelon is roughly as efficient as Bukhgalter and a 5-strength Echelon is one of the most efficient killers there is. With DZMZ Optimizer, we have some of the pieces available to make a huge rig work. But corps have great high-tempo options currently, and Echelon generally won't help create early pressure. For a lot of the game, Echelon matches up very badly against the most commonly used sentries (Drafter and Turnpike, both strength 3). Until you have 3+ breakers out, Anansi costs 9. Brutal.

Pros:

  • +1 link
  • IDs that like to explore are good for learning Netrunner
  • That monocle
  • Just about the only guy in Netrunner who still has both his hands

Cons:

  • While his ability has helped him keep his hands, it doesn't create value in the way that a modern ID does. 419's ability drains a corp credit most turns. Zahya gets paid to explore. You're paying a LOT for that monocle.

If tagging the runner is an essential part of your gameplan, or you're in Reality+, this is a very cost-effective ice. It usually cause a 3-4 credit swing, which is great for a 2-cost ice. If you're in Reality+, this is one of the most cost-effective ices to raise the costs on trashing a non-essential asset. E.g. if you install an Authenticator on a Rashida turn 1, they could take a tag to bypass, but that adds something like a click and a 4-credit swing to trashing Rashida.

You could also risk an early agenda behind Authenticator. If the runner is not likely to check, maybe AR-Enhanced Security. If the runner is likely to check, maybe Quantum Predictive Model.

Authenticator doesn't solve all of the problems that Funhouse has -- when a runner has already decided to go tag-me, this ice doesn't do anything but add a tenth tag and won't stop their desperate scramble to steal the last agenda. BUT it only costs $2 and it has much much early value than Funhouse does. It doesn't take a tempo hit to rez Authenticator.

Ansel 1.0 is an attractive, if expensive, sentry with fairly high strength and a nasty facecheck.

For this review we will focus on the startup format, which is my preferred format right now.

Points in favor:

  • 3 impactful subs, so even if the runner Boomerang's it, they likely have to spend a click as well.
  • Similarly, resists Botulus for the same reason
  • 4 STR is a sweetspot for sentry strength right now, putting it just out of range of Mimic, and forcing Odore to pay 6 to raise strength to match.
  • Runners using Echelon likely also need to pay to raise strength, costing 6 to break total
  • Runners using Bukhgalter need to pay 6 outright, and 4 net if they get the bonus
  • Runners using Afterimage need to pay 1 stealth to raise strength and 2 credits to break
  • Because this is a bioroid, it makes Ravana 1.0 much nastier once it is rezzed. In a Haas-Bioroid: Architects of Tomorrow deck you are almost certainly going to play Ansel 1.0.

Points against:

  • Costs 6 to rez. For 6 credits, you could also rez Brân 1.0. Brân 1.0 also has 3 impactful subs and ends the run. It will usually cost the runner more credits to break this ice, whether they are on Corroder or Cleaver, or at least, they will need a lot of Leech counters or something. This leads into the next point.
  • A runner with Ice Carver, which is many Anarchs and some Criminals nowadays, reduces STR to 3, and now it is in range of Mimic, substantially cheaper to break with Odore, or Echelon. At this point the rez-to-break ratio doesn't look so good anymore.
  • Because it costs so much to rez, this ice has a tendency to get Chisel Charm'ed, or Tranquilized, or Shutdown. That can be a significant tempo hit to the corp.

As a result, this ice falls into sort of an odd niche:

  • It isn't quite as nasty of a facecheck as something like Hagen, which can't be clicked through, but it is substantially more expensive
  • It doesn't fall off in strength quite as badly as Hagen does, but it is very likely that a runner will be able to break this for relatively cheap in the late game
  • In particular, it doesn't really have the staying power of Brân 1.0, or nastier sentries like Archer.

My take is this:

Most runners won't facecheck ice unless, they have a killer out, or they can Boomerang it or put a Botulus on it with two counters, or they have no cards on the board to trash yet. Against HB, they also usually won't run last click.

Because of this, the first subroutine will almost never fire, and then it is a toss-up whether the second or third will fire, if either.

Therefore, I tend to view this card sort of like a very big Drafter.

If you are running a deck with

then Ansel 1.0 may do a lot of work. E.g. a runner doing a Khusyuk run really must break not only the third sub but also the second sub, or you will re-install Crisium Grid just in time before they reach R&D.

If your deck already has 3 Drafter it might make sense to run an Ansel 1.0 or two, particularly because stacking Ansel 1.0 and Drafter makes Bukhgalter less efficient.

If the second sub isn't likely to do very much in your deck, you might want to consider a different ice IMO.

<p><a href="/en/card/26079">Afterimage</a> can also bypass it with 2 credits, maybe important!</p> —