So Snowball gets a lot of flak for not being better, or even as good as, Corroder. If this were in any other faction, I could agree with that statement, but in Shaper, I've found it can really shine. That said, it should not be used without support from cards that can mitigate its big weakness—the base strength. Yes, I know, installation also costs more, but Shapers (Kate especially) have more than their fair share of tools in faction to address this. The bigger problem is the initial buff cost to break the first barrier that crops up every time you make a run.

So how do we solve this problem? Well, if you've also got Atman in your deck, odds are you already have one potential solution included, which is Net-Ready Eyes. Need that for the Atmans instead? Well, Dinosaurus or The Personal Touch can help. Still not satisfied with the available options? Now that D&D is out, if you can spare a few influence and , Multithreader can work wonders. Lastly, don't forget the 2 on The Toolbox if you're using that.

Of course, it's not all roses even with these options, as things like a 10 strength Curtain Wall are still costly to get though. But short of Femme Fatale or an Inside Job, these will be taxing regardless of the fracter you're using, and Corroder is, at best, 1 cheaper on the initial break. And if they have any barrier ice behind the first, this is almost always on-par if not cheaper than Corroder for those centrals or scoring servers you'll be hitting time after time.

Lastly, I'd like to touch on the subject of advanceable-for-strength barrier ice and what it means for Snowball compared to Corroder. Most people think, "Ah, if they're running advanceable ice, they'll just buff the outermost barrier ice, negating the persistent strength bonus for the run." While it's true this is what the corp wants to do, it's actually a lot harder to accomplish than it sounds. Usually those corps that bother advancing said ice are doing so in hopes of using Commercialization for a big boon to their economy. And when they're in that situation, they like to start advancing early, and they like to advance as few pieces of ice as possible, as Commercialization is single-target. Compound this with the fact that newly installed ice must always be installed in the outer-most position, and you'll quickly realize the dilemma this causes the corp.

"But they'll just avoid stacking barriers then," you counter. Fine! Then Snowball has done its job without even spending a single credit during a run. Let's see Corroder pull that one off. Ultimately, I think the biggest deterrent to including Snowball isn't advanceable barriers at all, but Wraparound, as the extra 2 install cost can really hurt early on, which is the only time Wraparound is effective. That said, I still think Snowball deserves a second look from anyone creating or modifying a Shaper deck, particularly if they already have some of the supporting cards present. I love to free up the influence spent on Corroder for an I've Had Worse.

267

This is one of those cards that prompted a confused "Huh?" response on release. However, with the advent of Spark Agency, this might start seeing some play. As the other review mentions, this works well with Personal Workshop decks, as long as you don't mind floating at or near 0 credits for most of the game.

But there are a few problems with this, and they are quite substantial. For starters, it is pointless to try and use this with some other terribly useful cards in the current meta, like New Angeles City Hall. Even with burst econ, you usually don't want to stay low in credits, as a wise corp will know you either have that Stimhack in your hand, or you can't contest the server, and they can just install an asset or upgrade in their scoring server to test the waters.

If it weren't unique, I could see this being pretty powerful, but as it is, you're probably better off with other drip econ, namely Underworld Contact or even Data Folding. There are just too many other, better options out there, and while Spark Agency is really catching on, I don't think it's enough to warrant inclusion of this in your deck.

267

I've been playing with Data Dealer for a while now, and I think it's better, or at least more versatile, than I originally thought. Let's get the obvious out of the way: poison assets (or useless-when-stolen agendas). News Team, Shi.Kyū, et al., all get turned from grief to gold, as 9 is a massive amount of money to get for a single , not to mention the agenda point gain. The problem is, or was, the odds of a corp running them were low enough that you couldn't justify including DD.

Enter Fan Site. Now, even if the corp isn't running said poison, this is still kind of useful. But wait, this has some trouble too, as you need to get the Fan Sites out early enough, and you need to allow the corp to score to even make them worthwhile, and this all assumes you have DD ready to go at some point as well. And finally, Fan Site is out of faction, so you're (in all probability) either importing DD into Shaper or Fan Sites into Criminal. So even with Fan Site, this is still passed over in favor of other econ options.

Finally I asked myself, "What if I actually sacrifice real agendas (i.e. things actually worth points) to this?" Sounds crazy, right? I thought so too at first, until I realized there are times when that is exactly the right thing to do. For example, in a recent game I was way behind; the corp had 6 points scored, and I had only a single 1-point agenda in my score area. He had already burned through his options for fast advance, so what does the corp do? He continually plays agendas into his scoring server, with the hope that I'll eventually run out of econ and be unable to contest them for even a single turn. Desperate, I sell my agenda to the DD, giving me enough credits to contest the server and steal the next agenda. This snowballs, as I now have another agenda to pawn off, and I can just barely afford to break into the server every time he plays an agenda there.

I eventually face-plant into an Aggressive Secretary, and lose the critical breakers I needed to get in to the server. Game over for me? Not so, as the corp has only two cards left in R&D, and, as it would turn out, only one of them was an agenda—the bottom one. It's his final Self-Destruct Chips (corp was playing Cybernetics Division), and he has no way to score it this turn. Even if I have no way to contest the server, it doesn't matter, as I can just sit back and do nothing. When mandatory draw finally rolls around, he's dead.

Was I lucky? Yes. But that's missing the point, as none of this would have been possible without DD. It allowed me to snatch victory from the utter depths of defeat, and turn an impossible situation into merely an improbable one. Sometimes you've just got to cut off the finger to save the hand, and DD lets you do that while keeping you on the edge of your seat in true Criminal style. And it's because of this flexibility that I've really come to appreciate this card for what it is, and what it does. If nothing else, it will probably make for some of the most memorable games of ANR you've ever played. How often does selling off 11 agenda points seem like a good idea?

267
I don't think this was mentioned, but if an NBN is running 15 Minutes, and you score it, just sell it next click (if possible), and their chances of getting it back are zero. —
Yep, and there are a few other agendas like Medical Breakthrough that you might want to sell off as well. I didn't go through the entire list as Waltzard's review covers them pretty well, and I wanted to look more at selling agendas that effectively do nothing more than give you points once they're in your score area. —
Also great for those panic moments when you touch a SEA Source or something in their hand and realize there's no way you'll be able to afford that trace next turn. —

This is hands down my favorite agenda in the game, for a few reasons. First, I'm often indifferent to it being stolen or scored, as it's only one point anyway. In fact, in many cases, I want this to be stolen, as 3/1s aren't the greatest return on investment. But why? Fear. All the runner has to do is know at least 1 copy is in your deck, and all of a sudden, their plan to use Clone Chips, Test Run, Levy AR Lab Access, Déjà Vu, or Same Old Thing to do whatever it is they wanted to do with them is called into question.

This frequently causes the runner to make bad decisions, or at least sub-optimal ones. "Maybe I should SOT that Account Siphon right now, even if I don't know if I can get into HQ." Or sometimes it just makes for very strange decisions. "Oh no, I was planning on playing my Atmans during the run via Clone Chip. With all that unrezzed ice and no left, what strength do I make them?" This is, of course, promptly followed by the runner installing them with guesses as to what strength they should be.

While all of this makes for great entertainment, what if you do score it? Well, in the right circumstance, it can be game over. Runner has no stack left, and was planning on Levying? Whoops, try again next game. The best part is, all factions fear this, save for maybe a Criminal without Same Old Thing or Anarchs without Déjà Vu. Still, those are the exception, not the norm, and that's what makes this card so fun. Best of all, you probably only need one of these in your deck. Maybe. Or two. Does the runner know how many you have? Well, aside from "less than four," no, and keeping them guessing is all it takes. Don't forget your poker face.

267
This agenda alone makes all MaxX players very sad indeed! —

Pachinko is a bit of a conundrum for me. On the surface it looks amazing—a 4 strength barrier for 1 that punishes tag float? Sign me up! But then I looked more closely, and started play testing, and I've finally come to the conclusion that I don't think it's very good and I won't be playing it. Allow me to explain.

Without tags, this does absolutely nothing. Runners can walk over it and into anything if they feel so inclined, and even though you could rez it, it would do nothing but give the runner free information that they don't need to have. Ah, "But it combos with Bandwidth," you say? Yes, this is true, but then you need both this and Bandwidth to be effective, and that's an extra and spent setting all of that up.

"What about putting it behind Data Raven?" you protest. Data Raven by itself is usually enough to keep a runner out, almost certainly if they're running on their last , and needs no help from Pachinko. And if they do walk through Data Raven, they're probably going to spend a and 2 (or often 3 if you're playing SYNC) to clear the tag, which is usually sufficiently punishing in its own right.

And then there are those times you want the runner to get through if they're tagged. Got a Quantum Predictive Model on the board? This will make sure they probably don't help you score it! Got a few unrezzed Dedicated Response Team ready to flatline the runner? Oops, you've rezzed this earlier, and now it's just hurting your chances. Now, if the subroutines were instead End the run unless the runner is tagged I think this could be a very interesting card.

But as it is, I can't recommend it over Wraparound. Wraparound costs only 1 more and spews hate all over Faustian Anarchs without Corroder in play. It doesn't require the runner to be tagged (so no need to combo with another piece of ice), it merely requires that they don't have a fracter out yet, which usually has a fair chance of happening on those first few turns. So to parody the flavor text, I think this is going to be Un-un-un-used!

267
In the end, this is mildly a positional ice, and just like the reviews of Chum and Inazuma and the rest, positional ice isn't reliable because you need two cards. I think your point about Data Raven is somewhat valid, although if I want to keep the runner broke, 2 credits and a click isn't really enough. But I simply cannot rely that the scoring server in my NBN glacier will quickly and easily set up with Chum over Data Raven over Pachinko over NAPD, so including Chum and Pachinko tends to be riskier than Wraparound and Pop-up, even if the server is a lot less expenvice for the runner in the end because you can do them in any order and over different servers. —
I can see one area where it seems like a good solution, and better than Wraparound. It seems perfect for icing HQ if you are worried about getting "siphon train"-ed to death. It seems like it ought to slow down a hyper-aggressive siphon-wielding runner (probably going to be four credits to break vs. one credit for wraparound), and has a rez cost that is perfect for starting to rebuild when you are at rock bottom. Outside of that I think it is true that it is of marginal use, but if you have an NBN deck where your biggest worry is getting "siphon locked" it might be a decent piece of ICE for HQ. —
Popeye - Quite true, I didn't think of that. But usually when I get account siphoned, it's followed closely by a lawyer up or simply paying to remove the tags. Sure there are the oddball decks that love to float tags regardless of what they're playing against, but any deck with this in it should have its own ways to punish tag float other than just a piece of ice that becomes ETR. —
Speaking of Chum, Pachinko's subroutines still fire if ignored due to the Runner lacking a tag. So even just slapping it behind a Chum can be irritating, albeit inefficient. —