That is one of the most terrifying sounds that a Runner hitting a server can hear.
That is the sound of a Rototurret warming up before it opens fire on that Runner’s avatar.
Yes. This week’s Running the Nets for Fun and Profit is going to be completely dedicated to playing with Rototurret as the Corporation. Do you have a problem with that?
Seriously though, you’re probably wondering why I’m willing to dedicate an entire article to a single piece of ICE from the Core Set. You might even suspect that it has something to do with the fact that I’m at the airport right now and remembered that today was Sunday a little late. Well, that might be part of it, but, honestly, Rototurret is a piece of ICE that deserves some discussion.
So, let’s get some of the basics out of the way. What does Rototurret do that makes it worth talking about?
Well, take a look.
That is some good ICE right there. It is fairly cheap, incredibly light on influence, and contains the words that, on a subroutine, are guaranteed to make a Runner wet themselves: “Trash 1 Program.”
Oh, and it ends runs, too.
Yeah. Rototurret is sexy as ALL hell. If Rototurret were a woman, I would marry it in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, like all things in life, it isn’t perfect. As you can see, it is pretty damn easy to crack (every Icebreaker that can break Sentry subroutines at the moment does it for 2 credits) and dies the instant a Parasite gets attached to it.
So, what can we deduce from this? The most obvious is that Rototurret is NOT intended to be a piece of lategame ICE. Once the Runner can break sentries and has decent credit flow, Rototurret isn’t usually going to be anything more then a little bump in the road.
This means that Rototurret is an excellent piece of earlygame ICE. Right? …right?
Well… do you remember what I was talking about last week? That whole thing about being able to run pretty aggressively in the earlygame without Icebreakers? Yeah, that causes some problems for Rototurret.
See, Rototurret is a very powerful piece of ICE. I would, in fact, argue that, on paper, it is one of the most powerful pieces of ICE in the game right now. Let’s do the sexiness rundown again real quick: it is cheap, low influence, ends runs, and can trash programs. The only truly comparable piece of ICE right now is Archer. And when you’re competing with a piece of ICE that people are willing to throw out scored agendas to rez? You’re doing pretty well.
The problem is that, if your opponent runs without Icebreakers, knows its there, or gets a sentry breaker into play, it’s maybe as good as an Ice Wall. Seriously. A revealed Rototurret has about as much impact on the game as an Ice Wall. In general, you’re costing your opponent 1 more credit a run with Rototurret, which isn’t going to break too many banks.
Oh, and like I mentioned earlier. Rototurret and Parasite get on like a house on fire.
What this translates into is that the window in which Rototurret can operate with 100% effectiveness in is incredibly narrow and varies from game to game. To put it simply, you need to hit the Runner with Rototurret after they get a program into play, but before they can get a sentry breaker into play. Some games you’re going to have a pretty decent window in which to smack them with Rototurret and other games they’re going to drop a sentry breaker on T1 and you will just feel a little bad about the whole situation.
I see a lot of the second one. I swear, my Rototurrets magnetically attract Ninjas.
Now. You’ll notice I said above that a revealed Rototurret is maybe as good as an Ice Wall.
Let’s make sure we’re all taking that statement correctly. Even if it can’t trash a program, Rototurret is still an okay piece of ICE. Pretty much anything that ends runs is, since it means those annoying runners still need ways around them. It won’t hold up lategame, but into midgame, a server packing, say, Rototurret, Enigma, and Ice Wall can be a bit tough to swallow. Unless you’ve got Wyrms or Parasites lying around.
There is, of course, one other way to make use of Rototurret once the runner has an Icebreaker to deal with it. And it is a doozy, too. Can you guess? I’m pretty sure you’ve already guessed.
Surprise strength boosts (most notably Corporate Troubleshooter, although I guess there are circumstances under which Experiential Data could do it too)! Yes, a well-timed Corporate Troubleshooter can inject some serious life into a lagging Rototurret, allowing you to restore it to its full glory by sniping a problematic breaker.
So, with all that in mind, how can you best utilize Rototurret?
Well, let me try to sum it up as succinctly as possible.
1. Any deck packing Rototurret should consider the possibility or running Corporate Troubleshooter as well. These cards synergize incredibly well and a well timed use can turn a game around. If you’re running HB, the two together are pretty much a no-brainer, but even if you aren’t, their low, low influence makes the combination worth considering.
2. If you can, try to avoid springing Rototurret when they don’t have anything to trash. Once Rototurret is up, the likelihood of it doing anything other than ending runs for the rest of the game is severely decreased. If you can deal with them getting past it early, it may be worth feigning that you played something more expensive there and just can’t rez it yet.
3. The above said, don’t let your opponent get around it for free all day. Sometimes you’re going to have to bite the bullet, give up on trashing programs with it, rez it, and treat it like an expensive Ice Wall or Enigma. Having all three types of ICE in your deck capable of ending the run is pretty good and, very worst case, it is still going to cost 2 credits a turn to get past.
4. Remember that good players will have to play with the knowledge that Rototurret is such an easy splash. If they’re a Criminal with their 1-of Gordian Blade in play and you’ve got a piece of unrezzed ICE and four credits, they’re going to need to think very carefully about whether or not they want to risk running on it.
Consider that Rototurret related advice my holiday gift to you all!
Special thanks to FFG and cardgamedb.com for images. If you want them down, just ask.
Think I’m stupid? Super intelligent? Disappointed about the lack of Portal jokes? Then comment away!