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Hustler One Emblem
Hustler One / Nine-Ball
General information
Classification AI
Gender None (Technically), Male (as Hustler One/H-1), Female (as Lana Nielsen)
Affiliation and military information
Affiliation None
Occupation Raven
Rank 1
Real world information
Appearances Armored Core
Armored Core: Master of Arena
Armored Core 2: Another Age
Armored Core Nexus
Armored Core Nine Breaker
Voice actor As Hustler One (Japanese): Nobuyuki Hiyama
As Lana Nielsen (Japanese): Kumiko Watanabe

Hustler One is the pilot of the AC, Nine-Ball, he has been the top-ranked Raven in the Arena since its inception. Not much is known about this figure, as few Ravens are willing to challenge him and he rarely accepts missions. One fact though remains undisputed - he is a force to be reckoned with and displays few, if any, weaknesses. Serving as the main antagonist of both Armored Core and Armored Core: Master of Arena, it was he who killed the Raven's family and as a result of this, the Raven joined the Ravens' Nest in order to take his revenge.

In truth, Hustler One, or rather H-1, is merely the designation given to a super-advanced AI as revealed in Armored Core: Master of Arena.


Armored Core[]

AC Nine-Ball

AC Nine-Ball

Nine-Ball and Hustler One are the top in the rankings as the Raven starts with Ravens' Nest. As with Master of the Arena, this is merely an advanced combat AI. Several times later in the game, the AI sets traps in an attempt to kill the Raven, but his skill and tenacity see him though. In the game's final mission Destroy Floating Mines, the AI (presumably in control of Ravens' Nest) gives the Raven a mission in Ravens' Nest HQ itself. The mission is a trap, and the Raven eventually faces two Nine-Balls (guardians of the AI). He destroys them both along with the Ravens' Nest AI. Although it is never explicitly stated, it is hinted that the Ravens' Nest AI manipulated the war between Chrome and Murakumo with the intent for both to be destroyed and set traps to kill the Raven (due to his strength) in order to ensure its superiority and create peace.

Armored Core: Master of Arena[]

Nine-Ball and its pilot, Hustler One, are the main goal of the game as the reigning champion of the Arena as well as the main antagonist according to The Raven, whose family was killed by Nine-Ball. Thus, The Raven enters the Ravens' Nest in order to eliminate the man responsible for their murder. Its pilot, Hustler One is simply an advanced combat AI and its AC, Nine-Ball is being mass produced. Its purpose is later revealed and can be best described as being similar to The Controller in that it was created to allow humanity to continue existing; in fact, much of the infrastructure, the organizations (Ravens' Nest, the corporations), as well as the conflict between them were created and manipulated by this AI. Despite this, The Raven manages to defeat Hustler One and becomes the #1 Raven in the Arena, and is given the title Nine Breaker. His pilot description is "The strongest undefeated Raven, he is both feared and sought after by those ranked below him.". He appears in the mission Eliminate Fugitive and is fought in the mission Defend Laboratory, Eliminate Intruders and finally in Enter Factory. After The Raven destroyed Nineball-Seraph, The Ravens' Nest completely stop all functions.

  • In the novel version, it is revealed at the end that H-1 is made up of 7 personalities making up the AI, and was revealed to have been created before the Great Destruction. Number 3 and Number 7, Lana Nielsen and Hustler One, were controlling Nine-Ball Seraph, but were damaged and were undergoing restoration due to a feedback loop when Nine-Ball Seraph was destroyed.[1]

Armored Core 2: Another Age[]

Nine-Ball and its Nine-Ball Seraph version makes a cameo appearance as one of the extra enemies The Raven can fight against after completing the main game. The first time it is encountered, it is in its normal AC form; before fighting him, it is revealed that it has just crushed two top ranking ACs. It says nothing, but The Raven's Operator tells The Raven that the model is old, but to be careful. In Nine-Ball Seraph's battle at The Lost Field, it begins the fight saying "Target Verified. Commencing Hostilities." The line said by the first Nine-Ball Seraph in Armored Core: Master of Arena. However, the opponent's name is "???".

Armored Core: Nexus[]

In the final mission of Armored Core: Nexus "Prevent Weapon Activation", The Raven faces a mysterious mecha protecting the Old Weapons Facility. The Japanese version refers to it as "???" whereas the English version label it "Nine-Ball."

Armored Core: Nine Breaker[]

This version was built by an anonymous figure who based its AI around the skills of the Raven that defeated the original Hustler One in order to train the best of the best for certain situations should the need arise. Much like its Armored Core: Master of Arena form, it displays unusual abilities: Its linear rifle can fire three shots in a row (the grenade launcher can fire two shots in a row) with much faster intervals.

Armored Core: Last Raven[]

A VR opponent, Code: Crimson pilots the AC Baby's Breath which uses the exact same color scheme and parts (save for the booster) as the Armored Core: Ninebreaker incarnation of Nine-Ball. Unlike its Armored Core: Nine Breaker counterpart, it does not display the same special abilities.

Armored Core: Brave New World[]

A black version of Nine-Ball Seraph is seen fighting AC Victoria in the novel, piloted by "the black unknown". It is unknown how or why Nine-Ball Seraph appears in the novel but it is one of the few known units to appear as a cameo appearance, along with the TYPE-LAHIRE and 04-ALICIA, though they are stated to be unmanned prototypes, also piloted by "the black unknown".

References in Other Games[]

Armored Core 2[]

One of the first Ravens faced in the arena battle mode, Hustler Two, uses an AC called Eight Ball. The pilot claims to be a descendant of Hustler One, but considering both his poor fighting skills and the truth behind Hustler One's identity, this is highly unlikely.

The AC he uses, Eight Ball, is similarly designed to the original, a middle-weight biped painted red and black, except with much poorer weapons and parts.

Armored Core 3[]

Cropped MT

Hover MT seen in Armored Core 3

The Fiend NB MTs encountered during a couple of missions bear a striking similarity to Nine-Ball Seraph. They are red, with the same booster style. They have a dual missile launcher, and a pulse rifle. They are quite weak, but work well as a team. The best chance to look at them is during the Destroy Escaping MT mission.

Armored Core Nexus[]

Nine-Ball's Emblem can be unlocked on the Nexus Revolution disc, by getting an A or S rank on Episode 4 missions.

Silent Line: Armored Core[]

Shatter and Zero share a rivalry similar to Annihilator and Nine Ball.

Mobius, the top ranker of the game, has a similar weapon loadout to Nine Ball (right hand energy weapon, small missile launcher on right shoulder, grenade launcher on left shoulder & a red-colored laser blade on the left arm). In addition, the I-C003-IN also sports a similar weapon configuration, and in the same arrangement.

Armored Core: For Answer[]

In Armored Core: For Answer, Nine Ball's emblem is unlocked for achieving S rank on all missions on hard difficulty.

Another Century's Episode R[]


Nine-Ball in Another Century's Episode R

Nine-Ball Seraph appears as the second to last boss of Another Century's Episode R, under the command of the original character, Winter One. It shows up after the first phase of the ACE Core is defeated during the third playthrough the game. However, the player can unlock it for use in one Extra mission after every mission in the game sans the Extra ones have been completed. In this mission, the player's objective is to destroy a thousand suits with no allies. It is one of the most powerful mechas in the game, easily on the same tier as the Hi-Nu Gundam.

This version has been heavily updated from its original frame, featuring large wing-like binders on its shoulders, longer arms, larger thrusters capable of unfolding when boosting at full power and gold accents added to the color scheme along with a more pointed core resembling that of an AALIYAH core (it also seems to have the Master of Arena novel color scheme, as evidenced by the core). It retains its original arsenal from the original games, armed with machine guns in both its arms along with dual laser blades with wave blade functionality, missile launchers in its thrusters (both which consume the Tension gauge) and its flight mode. However, it is armed with a slew of new weapons and devices which use up the Tension gauge such as orbit cannons (one which functions similarly to Exceed Orbit and another which pursues other targets), and a force field akin to Primal Armor. It also has a new stealth ability which renders the machine invisible to all enemies for a period of time and is armed with a chargeable laser cannon in its abdomen that fires a concentrated beam capable of instantly tearing through most enemies. Its strongest attacks aside from the laser cannon is the ability to charge up the orbit cannons for a concentrated beam assault similar to the previous weapon and a Limited Burst wherein it charges towards a target, grabs and holds it up into the air where it deploys its orbit weapons to attack with a barrage of beam shots before ending the attack with its laser cannon.

As a boss it is supported in combat by several examples of black-colored "mass production" type, which is mostly the same except for a lower armor protection value that is similar to battleship-class enemies. Uniquely, it uses sound effects ripped directly from Armored Core 2: Another Age.


Destroy Floating Mines[]

  • Stop such foolishness...
  • Resistance is futile.
  • Your fate is sealed.
  • Go is not too late...
  • ...What is your wish?
  • ...Come no closer.

Enter Factory[]

  • Why are all of you here?
  • Why do you insist on interfering?
  • The Corporation, the ACs, the Ravens' Nest...
  • All of these were formed by me.
  • For the sole purpose of recreating the world and humankind with it.
  • That's the duty to which I've been entrusted
  • Those who wield too much power...those who only bring chaos...they are simply not part of the program.
  • I was created to protect mankind and this world. I intend to fulfill this task.
  • Modifying level...
  • All system checks are complete.
  • Combat mode is now engaged.
  • Target verified, commencing hostilities!


Nine-Ball (Armored Core/Armored Core: Master of Arena/Armored Core 2: Another Age)[]

Wp2 low

Nine-Ball as seen in Armored Core: Master of Arena.

Though sporting slightly new looks with each game it appears in, Nine-Ball remains the same in terms of appearance: A middle-weight class AC sporting a red and black color scheme. Its emblem is a solid black circle with a golden-amber 9 super-imposed over it. Its weapons often consist of a laser blade, a pulse rifle, a small missile launcher, and a grenade launcher. Due to Human PLUS (in fact, an AI controlled AC) enhancements, Nine-Ball performs far better than most ACs encountered in the games it appears in as it can fire waves of energy from its blade and fire shoulder cannons without having to kneel. Also in Armored Core, Nine-Ball's Pulse Rifle, while using a normal model, is unique in that it fires in a rapid six-shot burst, ripping apart armor. This feature was removed from him in Master of Arena, but makes a return in his Armored Core 2: Another Age incarnation. The one appearing in Another Age also seems to have an improved core anti missile system. In the novel The Fake Illusions, Nine-Ball also featured with a few different loadouts and parts.


Parts (The Fake Illusions novel)[]

Nine-Ball Seraph (Armored Core: Master of Arena/Armored Core 2: Another Age)[]

Nine Ball Pulse 2AA

Empowered WG-XP2000 used by Nine-Ball

ScreenHunter 95 Jun. 17 14

Nine-Ball Seraph as it appears in Armored Core 2: Another Age

A heavily enhanced version of the Nine-Ball AC. Though classified as an AC unit, it uses completely exclusive custom parts that cannot be obtained at all by the player, but retains the same paint scheme. One of its most prominent features are a pair of back-mounted oversized thrusters that resemble wings. They double as a dual-back weapon, firing large vertical missile volleys. Its arms contain machine guns and rapid fire laser cannon blasts (changed to Pulse attacks in Armored Core 2: Another Age due to that type of laser cannon no longer existing) as well as a MOONLIGHT colored laser blade in each arm with blade wave capability where the attack power of blade wave is 20,000, being the strongest attack in the game. The unit is capable of using the blades in quick succession, making it a deadly opponent up close. Added with its ability to transform into a Over Boost-like bird-mode, Nine-Ball Seraph is well-armored, nimble and deadly, striking fear into even Irregular Ravens.


  • Pulse Rifle/Cannon
  • Vertical Missile Launcher (AC: MOA incarnation)
  • Dual Missile Launcher (AC2:AA Incarnation)
  • Dual Laser Blades
  • Machine Guns/Chain Guns

Nine-Ball (Armored Core: Nexus)[]

Prevent Weapon Activation - Nine Ball Unit

The Nine-Ball unit activated within the Old Weapon Facility.

This version of Nine-Ball isn't an AC, but a Special Weapon similar in purpose to that of a Pulverizer. The Armored Core: Nexus version uses weapons similar to that of Nine-Ball Seraph. The model has fold down mechanism for it's head to allow access to its Grenade Launcher. It also retains the Vertical Missiles from MoA. The only changes to it's arsenal is that Nine-Ball now uses a Dual Pulse Rifle for a faster rate of fire, as well as a Plasma Rifle, a very powerful energy weapon.

It should be noted that the unit being named Nine-Ball is a liberty taken by the English localization. The Japanese release of the game labeled the weapon simply "???"/"Unknown." The developers did not intend any explicit connection to Nine-Ball, whether there is a connection or not.


  • Grenade Launcher
  • Vertical Missile Launcher
  • Dual Pulse Rifle
  • Plasma Rifle

Baby's Breath (Armored Core: Ninebreaker and Armored Core: Last Raven)[]

This version of Nine-Ball appears in two games: Nine Breaker and Last Raven. Of them, the Last Raven, piloted by Code: Crimson, is standard but the Nine Breaker version is modified, much like the original Nine-Ball in Armored Core. The Linear Rifle fires in a three shot burst and the grenade launcher fires in a two shot burst, making it especially lethal as it is one of the many AC's in the late-third generation of Armored Core that uses OP-INTENSIFY upgrades, allowing it to fire said grenade launcher whilst moving.


Nine-Ball as seen in Armored Core: Nine Breaker.

Also, the core is an Exceed Orbit core, (EO wasn't introduced until Armored Core 3) which gives it some extra firepower. It's a light-weight biped that sacrifices defense, so it cannot take a beating in both of its versions.



Armored Core Variable Infinity[]


  • Nine-Ball is the first AC to be depicted as an A.I. controlled AC unit, preceeding A.I. AC.
  • Original Nine-Ball's weapons have a reference to Billiards game.
    • The Pulse Rifle's ring/ball effect is based on billiard balls.
    • The Grenade Launcher's barrel is based on cue stick.
  • Nine-Ball's name may be symbolic of immense skill. Its namesake, the pool game of nine-ball, is a rare example of a money game which is pure skill, containing no element of chance. Perfect play in nine-ball guarantees victory while giving your opponent no opportunity to stop you. This is further suggested by its pilot's name, Hustler One, "hustler" being a term for a highly-skilled pool player who hides their talent to exploit weaker players.
  • Likewise, in the game "nine-ball" a "golden break" or "nine break" is a name used for a perfect game. In this perfect game the player begins the game with a "break" and in their break they shoot both the one ball and the nine ball towards a pocket on the pool table, sinking the one ball first and the nine ball second which legally wins a game of nine-ball in a single turn. This "nine break" is likely the origin of the title "Nine-Breaker" that Ravens earn by dethroning Nine Ball.
  • Also, to further the pool connection, in the 1961 movie "The Hustler", there is a man named Eddie "Fast Eddie" Felson, a hustler, and is known for his red shoes and desire to break into into the "major league" of professional playing, who carries a foldable pool-cue over his left shoulder. Said pool cue folds very similarly to Nine-Ball's grenade launcher.
  • According to Kaichi Satoh, he was responsible the original Nine-Ball AC's schematic, coloration, and emblem as well as the names "Nine-Ball" and "Hustler One." He also designed the Head, Legs, and weapons, while the Core and Arms were designed by Shoji Kawamori.[2]
  • Nine-Ball's emblem can be unlocked in Armored Core: Nexus by achieving at least an A Rank in the 3 missions in Revolution disc. Nine-Ball's 4th generation remastered emblem is also attainable in Armored Core: Nine Breaker by defeating the AC itself in the final training exercise.
  • As all parts of the original Nine-Ball as well as Human PLUS are obtainable in Armored Core, it is possible to recreate Nine-Ball minus the triple-round-burst Pulse Rifle.
  • Nine-Ball's supposed character illustration appears to be based off of Arnold Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the Terminator.
  • Nine-Ball has a battle theme named "9" since Armored Core: Master of Arena and also a remix in Armored Core: Nexus called "9 Memories" as well as "Nine -novem-" in Another Century's Episode: R.
  • Nine-Ball's theme is also available as a new remix in Armored Core: Verdict Day as DLC Music, also named "9", despite Nine-Ball itself didn't appear there.
  • Nine-Ball in the original Armored Core does not have its own theme. Instead it uses the music from the first mission "Circulation".
  • A blue Nine-Ball appears in the cover of Armored Core: Formula Front Extreme Battle. Unrelated to that, the Nine Breaker version of Nine-ball appears in game under the u-AC name NINE BREAKER; it features slightly different armaments.
  • In the Armored Core: Master of Arena intro, Nine-Ball is shown kneeling to fire its grenade launcher, despite it being with Human PLUS capabilities.
  • Armored Core V also has a potential reference to Nine-Ball in that the final Story Mission is Mission 09 and the difficulty is slated as being 9/10. The final boss, Chief in Exusia, is assumed to be an AI of some sort, and the sheer speed and firepower of this boss correlates to the difficulty players experienced when facing the original Nine-Ball. The boss has the ability to transform into a birdlike/jetlike form when using one of its attacks, and the Extra version of this boss encountered in Multiplayer Mode features a red and black paint scheme that almost certainly was intended to be reminiscent of Nine-Ball's Seraph form.
  • The Original Nineball design heavily resembles Prototype Garland from Megazone 23
  • The ACE: R incarnation of Nineball Seraph appears have been constructed through data accumulated from the various battles the various mechs have been in as it incorporates all of their tech in some form or another, which would explain its new weapons:
    • The usage of stealth/EMP technology appears to be derived from the Arm Slaves' ECS from Full Metal Panic.
    • The orbit cannons are a clear reference to the DRAGOONs and funnels used by Gundams that use a bit control system, specifically the Strike Freedom and Nu Gundams that appear in the game..
    • Its new chest cannon could also be seen as having been taken from the Strike Freedom as an identical weapon is located in the same area.
    • The presumed Primal Armor is the only one used by technology native to the protagonist/antagonist's world as it utilized by the original mech Alpha Heart.
  • Daemon X Machina has a free mission called Nine Ball which is a reference to AC Nine-Ball.

Armored Core: For Answer[]

  • Nine-Ball's emblem can be unlocked in Armored Core: For Answer after achieving an S rank In all missions on normal difficulty.
  • In Armored Core: For Answer, White Glint's rank within Collared is No. 9, a possible reference to Nine-Ball considering that both ACs share a similar design and both possess above-average fighting ability.

Gundam References[]

  • Nine-Ball's red color scheme may be a reference to Char Aznable from Gundam, who is a top rated pilot who usually colors his personal units red. The ability of the pulse rifle to fire in triple bursts may also be a take on the well known meme that Char's Zaku was three times faster than a normal one despite having the same outer appearance. In ACE: R, Nineball Seraph is equipped with orbit cannons, mirroring that of Char's final mobile suit, the Sazabi, which was equipped with funnels as a secondary weapon as well as a mega particle cannon in its chest.
  • Nineball Seraph seems to be partially inspired by the titular ZZ Gundam mobile suit. Both are greatly enhanced versions of a previous model (NBS being derived from the original Nineball and ZZ being developed from Zeta Gundam and Prototype ZZ), both share similar arsenals with their missile launchers being located on their large thruster compartments and both have the ability to transform into a fighter mode and in ACE:R, Seraph also gains a very powerful laser cannon not unlike ZZ's High Mega Cannon. While only an AI, the pilot behind it is very old as is ZZ's pilot, Judau Ashta, who continues to pilot the suit even at the age of 80.


  1. Page 211 of the Armored Core Master of Arena novel.
  2. Satoh, K. [sleek00]. (2021, August 14). I decided on the assemble of "Nine Ball" parts, the red and black paint, the emblem, and the name "Nine Ball" and "Hustler One". And regarding "Nine Ball" parts, "Core" and "Arms" parts are designed by Mr. Kawamori, and "Head" and "Legs" and "Weapons" are my design. [Tweet]. Retrieved from
Armored Core (video game)
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Locations Avalon CityChemical-Dyne Lab No. 4Chrome Gun EmplacementFortgarden CityGal City (Gal City Office District) • Isaac City (Isaac City Parking GarageIsaac City Power Plant No. 7Isaac City Sewers) • Old Military FacilitySpace Station KaedeRavens' Nest AC Training GroundRavens' Nest HQWhiteland Area Snowy RegionZam City
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