so it's costing me $500 at any given moment to run 1 algorithm. Quite expensive.
I rather think you could make the same argument against any multi-effect unit, including our more expensive rack systems.
But, this is a flawed viewpoint, You are not just buying a unit that runs one algorithm. If this is all you want, an H9 is not for you. Amazon has a $30 fuzz box you might consider.
What you are buying is a unit that will run fifty or more high quality algorithms, meaning you can select from them to give you many many different great sounds in a single set. If this appeals, an H9 is worth considering.