What is the main purpose of an AI breaker?
You either use it instead of a full breaker suite (i.e. a Faust deck) or to complement a full breaker suite, handling weaknesses (i.e. Dai V in a stealth deck to counter mass sub ICE) or to apply early pressure while building up (i.e. Overmind in an Adam deck).
Baba Yaga is different.
So, what does Baba Yaga do? It is an AI that is constructed by building up a full rig, creating a single, extremely efficient omnipotent icebreaking tool. It replaces your "big rig", but you still need to install said rig, you just need to host it on Baba Yaga instead, which creates several issuses of it's own...
First, setup speed. You need to either install Baba Yaga first and slap everything else on top of it afterwards. Or you need to Scavenge things on top of it afterwards. So, either you build your deck around clumsy reconstruction plany, or you have a massive tempo hit of installing a 5 AI breaker that doesn't do anything on it's own! There. I said it. Baba Yaga alone does not do a thing at all. Yes, it is highly abusable, but only late game, when you've finished constructing it.
Second, safety. Usually, hosting your breaker suite onto anything should be avoided. Got all your main breakers on a single Daemon? Great, now the corp needs to land one single proram trash to wipe out your whole rig. Marcus Batty approves this. With Baba Yaga, you build a deck where your whole rig is planned around hosting all those breakers onto that one program. If you install Baba Yaga, host a freacter, a killer and a decoder onto it and then it get's trashed, you loose 4 programs at the same time and that is going to cost you the game.
Third, an AI is an AI. Even if it uses abilities from non-AIs, it still can't break the good old AI-hate ICE like Turing and Swordsman and still triggers all the new AI-hate ICE like IP Block and Chiyashi.
So, does Baba Yaga have the potential to be the most awesome, uber-efficient allround-breaker ever? Yes, but at a cost!
So, now for the fun part... How exactly to we use Baba Yaga? What do we host on it to make it shine?
We can host stuff that has great paid abilities, paired with pesky conditions we want to avoid. Some criminal breakers like Faerie, Mongoose, or the central breaker suite have text on it that keep it's awesome values in check. Baba Yaga does not copy this text. It gains "0: Break Sentry subroutine." from Faerie, but is not trashed on use.
We can also host breakers that have a great strength and a great weakness. Most of the times, breakers come with two abilities: One pumps strength, the other breaks subs. But some breakers have a highly efficient ability for one thing and a mediocre for the other. Baba Yaga fixes that by combining these awesome abilities with other awesome abilities. Sharpshooter for example has maybe the best pumping ability of all breakers, but is trashed on use. So we slap it onto Baba Yaga, copy the pump ability and ignore the effect. Now we have an AI with that pumps +2 for 1! Slap this onto Anarch Core set breakers and you get a pretty efficient rig.
Now, let's assume we have a Baba Yaga with 3 programs hosted onto it, what can it do?
- Yog.0 + Faerie + Breach (12 total, for ):
We can pump 2:+4 or 1:+1, so we're both flexible and efficient in pumping, and we can break Code Gates and Sentries for free. That's nuts.
- Dagger + Houdini + Corroder (12 total, for ):
We can pump for the whole run or for single ICE and we can use Stealth creds to do it efficiently, while covering small strength gaps with normal creds using Corroder's pump ability. With only little stealth support, we can boost all the way we want. And breaking? Well, we have the standard "1: Break 1 subroutine." for all the three types. That's not bad.
- Gordian Blade + Inti + Pipeline (12 total, for ):
Pipeline? Pipeline?! Well, yes, why not? It is cheap, doesn't cost inf and provides a standard "1: Break 1 subroutine." ability we can slap onto our Baba Yaga that is pumped by Gordian Blade and Gordian Blade only. Plain and simple.
There are many many more combos like this. (Even more if you are using more than just 3 breakers.) I'm excited to see which ones will get played.
Baba Yaga is a really unique new take on an both AI breaker and big rigs at the same time.
It has it's own limitations (like all AIs do), but can potentially be the most efficient breaker in the late game, if built accordingly.
And it is a very customizable tool that looks different from deck to deck and maybe for some decks even from game to game.