How I play NBN (Featuring Clickbait)

When someone puts down a yellow Identity, you are probably thinking through these possibilities of what to expect in some order:

  • Fast-Advanced Astroscript Pilot Programs
  • Murder
  • …Psychographics?

…and that’s about it. NBN is a faction where after about 2 turns of poking you are usually close to 100% sure what they are up to. The difficulty in beating yellow decks is usually how fast, reckless, and non-interactive they are.

That’s not how I do things.

When I won my Store Championship this year, Cutlery Whizzard stole the spotlight. No one paid much attention to my Corp deck. It was NEH, why would you? The people I played against definitely got a taste of something special though:

NEH Never-Advance Semi-Glacier

Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center

Agenda (9)

3 AstroScript Pilot Program ☆☆☆

3 Global Food Initiative   •••

1 15 Minutes

2 Project Beale

Asset (11)

3 Daily Business Show

3 Jackson Howard

2 Marked Accounts

3 PAD Campaign

Upgrade (6)

1 Ash 2X3ZB9CY   ••

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

2 Product Placement

2 SanSan City Grid ☆☆

Operation (7)

3 Hedge Fund

1 Interns

3 Sweeps Week

Barrier (3)

2 Eli 1.0 ☆☆  ••

1 Wraparound

Code Gate (10)

2 Archangel

2 Enigma

3 Pop-up Window

3 Tollbooth

Sentry (3)

1 Ichi 1.0   ••

1 Swordsman   •

1 Turnpike

The Netrunnerdb description says everything that needs to be said about this deck. I knew that this tournament would be the last time I could play it, however, because my Whizzard deck (which is now plaguing the Meta) beats it pretty soundly.

I’ve been working hard to keep this archetype alive, and I think I’ve finally succeeded. Here are some of the revelations I had along the way:

  • Naked assets suck.

Between Whizzard, Imp spam, Astrolabe and Security Testing, the PAD Marked econ package was not going to cut it anymore.

  • Gear-checking is hard.

More than half of the Meta is AI decks, making Enigma and friends the worst they have ever been.

  • Ice Destruction is everywhere…

…and without click-less drip economy, getting a Tollbooth blown up is game-ending.

  • Runners REALLY don’t want to be tagged.

Anarchs have Wyldside, Shapers have Pawnshop and/or Professional Contacts, Noise has Wyldside AND Pawnshop. No one is keeping a tag in the early or mid-game right now.

  • Everyone is really good at interacting with Fast-Advance.

Between Clot and Medium + Turntable, if you go to 0 credits for your 3rd agenda you have often just lost the game.

  • Runner economies have a lot of ramp-up time and upfront cost.

If you can force or trick runners into running early, it can be a huge tempo hit for them, more so than ever before in the game’s history. This is because run-economy is out of favor and burst economy got nerfed when Prepaid VoicePAD got the Most Wanted List treatment. Click-intensive resource economy engines DO NOT want to interact with ICE in the early game.

So I tried to make a deck that forces the runner to interact, and hits them where it hurts when they do: their clicks, their credits, and in some cases, their resources. I also want my ICE to interact favorably with Faust whenever possible. This means maximizing on-encounter abilities and awkward strength thresholds. I don’t want to spam remotes, so the Near-Earth Hub identity is not going to do much for me. All of this led me to building a deck featuring 3 of each of these cards:

TrollpikeBoth of these cards do tremendous work in the Faust and ICE destruction Meta. Their cost-strength ratios are excellent, they are really annoying to run into in the early game, and they interact with Faust incredibly favorably. Getting one of these ICE Parasited and then having its on-encounter effect fire again when it is killed by Datasucker counters is the best exchange against that combo you are ever going to get.

If we are playing Troll and only making 1 remote, our identity has been selected for us. Most people will be happy to see it:


I modeled the rest of the deck after the play-style of my NEH that I loved so much. I switched totally to Burst-economy which meant I had to lower the average cost of the ice, but Troll helps mitigate this a lot. Here it is:


NBN: Making News

Agenda (9)

3 AstroScript Pilot Program ☆☆☆

3 Global Food Initiative   •••

1 15 Minutes

2 Project Beale

Asset (5)

3 Jackson Howard

2 Launch Campaign

Upgrade (7)

1 Ash 2X3ZB9CY   ••

2 Bernice Mai

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

3 SanSan City Grid ☆☆☆

Operation (12)

1 Closed Accounts

3 Hedge Fund

1 Interns

3 Restructure

3 Sweeps Week

1 The All-Seeing I

Barrier (3)

1 Eli 1.0 ☆  •

2 Wraparound

Code Gate (5)

1 Archangel

1 Enigma

2 Pop-up Window

1 Tollbooth

Sentry (8)

1 Assassin

1 Ichi 1.0   ••

3 Troll

3 Turnpike

General Game-plan: Get cheap, annoying ICE down on centrals early and don’t reinforce them unless the runner is committing to them heavily. Make a remote server with an Upgrade and a piece of face-check punishing ICE. Get a read on the runner’s game-plan. If they are giving you your remote, then start never-advancing or Sansan-Fast Advancing agendas. If they are building to threaten the remote, put some garbage in there RIGHT AS they are ready to run. Drain their money with remote plays to open scoring windows, or sneak out cheeky agendas in there when a steal would be too costly for them in the long-term. You only have 9 agendas in your deck (and one is 15 Minutes, which you can re-claim), so it should take a while before the runner is close to game point and can afford to ignore your porous ICE. Ideally you get to 4 points with an Astro counter and a Sansan (even unrezzed) in a really annoying remote. Every card you put in that remote could be the game-ending Global Food Initiative, further enabling your bluffs. Sniff out 2-3 scoring windows and the game is yours.

Is it Enigma Astro, or Turnpike Bernice? Click here to find out now!

Specific Card Choices:

Agendas (9):

3 Astroscript Pilot Program – Still the best agenda in the game. Do not tunnel-vision on Fast-Advance! If I have only 1 Astro scored I will very often burn the counter and a Sansan rez to get a Global Food out from 0 advancements. Getting to game-point is critical and the fewer points the runner has, the easier it is to sell that you just put down another agenda.

3 Global Food Initiative – You can’t score 4 agendas to win in today’s game unless you are going lightning fast. Having 3 of these in your deck can make you incredibly resilient to Turntable so long as you score it last against those decks. It is easier to win from 5 points than from 4 points and an Astro counter. Runners often steal this and groan because they can’t afford to give it to me to take my Astro counter. The math on this card is horrendously unfair for the runner.

2 Project Beale – This agenda sucks, but we need 3/2s to play never-advance. Deal with it. Beale is the worst card in the deck but there’s nothing we can do about that.

1 15 Minutes – This is our Project Junebug, except instead of doing damage it drains the runner’s money. Once you get to 4 points you can install-advance this in your remote and force both a Clot pull AND a remote run, only to reclaim your agenda the next turn. I have won countless games against excellent players with this play, since when you have 3 GFIs in your deck it is the easiest sell in the world. This agenda also makes it so that until the runner is on 6 points we basically only have 16 points in our deck. Good Luck. Feel free to just score this against Criminal in the games where you are 100% on the fast-advance plan, which does sometimes happen.

Economy (11 + 2ish):

3 Sweeps Week, 3 Hedge Fund – Standard NBN operation economy.

3 Restructure – Damn this card is awkward, but it’s really good to have a powerful economy card that Whizzard and Noise can’t interact with easily. If you have this in your opening hand with no other economy be ready to click for some credits…On the other hand, once you’ve played 2 of these you are usually set for the game.

2 Launch Campaign – This is an economy card that doubles as remote-bait. Putting this behind a Turnpike or Pop-up Window early game is a win-win for you. You either get a cheap restructure or you drain the runner’s money and time with your ICE when they are most fragile. Putting this behind Wraparound or Enigma is also fine if you really need the money.

2 Pop-up Window – I actually put one of these on my remote a lot of the time, since that way you can force them to run through it a bunch before it dies, making you 3-4 credits. On R&D it gets run once and then dies when the runner is ready. It’s still pretty good there, but be open to both possibilities for placement.

Win-Conditions (5):

3 Sansan City Grid – Your plan A is to get a Sansan up that the runner never wants to go kill. A key play with this deck is to have a rezzed Sansan and pretend to dig for agendas. Draw a card and go into the think-tank for a good 20 seconds, then put something stupid like a Jackson, Launch, or Bernice on the SanSan and put new ICE on top. This works really when when HQ is open or totally compromised since the runner will think you don’t want to keep your agendas in there. To capitalize on their HQ lock they HAVE to run your remote, falling for your bait. Selling this play is the difference between winning and losing with this deck.

Also, against Clot, ask for actions EVERY TIME you put something on a Sansan and COULD score it. You should already be doing this, but it’s extra important with this deck. I have provoked some ridiculous Clot-pulls…

1 Ash 2X3ZB9CY – This is a nasty surprise for runners who sacrifice their economy and board-state to get into your remote. He combos very well with Bernice Mai, Tollbooth, Turnpike, Pop-Up, and the Bioroids. Ash + Closed Accounts is a great game-ender against runners who go tag-me. Making News makes this guy a Trace 6, which is bonkers. This is my main Interns target.

1 Interns – This is some great Noise hate as well as your 2nd Ash or 4th Sansan. Remember you can also use this to get back your premium ICE (AKA Ichi) if the runner trashes it.

Essentials (4):

3 Jackson Howard – Gets the right tool at the right time and can double as remote-bait. Don’t over-draw aimlessly with Jackson. If you draw too many cards you will hurt your R&D density too much which is one of your deck’s greatest strengths.

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite – Almost every Corp deck should have 1 of these. It can power you through Clot, bail you out on a Medium dig, get your Ichi or Assassin to fire through a Parasite-Datasucker play, or…double as remote bait (I hope you are seeing a pattern here).

Remote Bait (2, but actually 13)

2 Bernice Mai – This is the nastiest surprise that you can find at the bottom of an NBN remote. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a Noise play an Imp and run a remote expecting Sansan and instead found a Bernice with him on low credits and/or no clicks. RIP Wyldside. The Trace 7 from Making News makes paying Bernice off to get her trashed almost impossible for the whole first half of the game, meaning that against many runners she will often stick around in your remote after firing once (even against Whizzard if he had to use his ID credits on a Sansan in the same run). The best thing about Bernice as a trap is that if the runner doesn’t take the bait she will just stick around and hit them eventually, so unlike an asset-trap, she always gets some value. Also, if you have an Ash and the runner is tight on cash you can often stick them with 2 tags. It will make the 15 Minutes they steal at the end of it all just that much more bitter-feeling…

Barriers (3):

2 Wraparound – You do need SOME ICE that ends the run. This is the best Binary ICE against Anarch, since you can rez it early and not open yourself up to a slow parasite like with other cheap EtRs.

1 Eli 1.0 – Still the best taxing ICE in the game. The Synergy with this card, Turnpike, Bernice, and Troll is great. I wish I could have more 😦

Code Gates (5):

2 Pop-Up Window – The best ICE for when you want to protect a central but can’t afford to. 3 of these would be a bit much since we already have Trolls. Pop-up into Troll is a great SanSan server when you are running on low econ. It’s also great for selling an Agenda as a Launch Campaign if you’re feeling cheeky.

1 Archangel – This is great Face-check Punishment ICE for resource-heavy runners. Put this on R&D against Criminals and ruin their day. Put it on HQ against Anarchs since they will poke it early game and lose tempo. By the time they play their D4v1d you probably don’t care about HQ anymore. Put it on your Remote against shaper because 4 credits for a 3 credit tax against Cyber Cypher is the best deal you are going to get. The rare cases where the runner has to pay off a trace 8 are just gravy.

1 Enigma – Sometimes the runner gives you a blatant scoring window. This is the best ICE in the game for capitalizing on that, since it keeps them out and takes a little bit of tempo back, unlike any other EtR. People will never check last click against you out of the fear of tags.

1 Tollbooth – If you draw a lot of money this is an incredible ICE for your remote. The super-rich NEH version had 3 of these, but in the world of Anarchs we can only afford to play 1. Turnpike and Tollbooth into Ash is a great combination against Faust players running on low-econ.

Sentries (8):

3 Troll – Imagine being a runner with Wyldside and Liberated Account out. How annoying is this ICE? Against 0-link runners just stack away. 2-3 of these on R&D and they can kiss their Medium big-dig dreams good-bye. 1-2 on them on the remote and your Bernice/Ash just got that much more annoying. Make sure you tilt the runner by laughing when they begrudgingly Parasite this guy. Laugh harder when they realize that they have to lose yet another click to kill it with Datasucker. Against Siphon spammers stick one of these on HQ ASAP so you can use it to duck siphon since the trace cannot be broken.

3 Turnpike – Remember when the runner hit our Bernice Mai in the early game because it could have been an Astro? It had a turnpike in front of it. That’s 3 clicks and 5 credits wasted on nothing (and that’s if they didn’t trash the Bernice!). The face-check math on this card is the best of any ICE in the game. This ICE can be good everywhere, but it’s best on HQ and your Remote.

1 Assassin – This ICE is awesome against pretty much every breaker suite. Many runners just take the net damage and pay 4 the first time they get surprised by it. Taking the net and paying 6 because of Making News is just unbearable. The only reason the deck doesn’t have more of these is that it’s a bit expensive.

1 Ichi 1.0 – Surprise Ichi wins games. Many top-tier players have fallen victim to my Ichi. No one sees this guy coming. They install their Faust and D4v1d and run the remote and lose all their cards to him. They click the last sub because you’ll make it a trace 3 if they don’t. Then they hit Troll and have to pay 4. It’s beautiful. The best answer to Turnpike is Mimic and the best answer to Mimic is Ichi. I once put a Bernice behind a rezzed Ichi on a remote and the runner “called my bluff”, triple clicking the Ichi, getting tagged and losing their board to All Seeing I. This is the best ICE in the deck. Never cut it. It wrecks on both R&D and the remote.

Tag Punishment (2)

1 All Seeing I – When the runner makes an aggressive play and takes an agenda out of your remote in exchange for a bunch of tags, the tempo loss of paying 4-6 credits and 2-3 clicks can be hard to stomach, especially when you’re looking at a Restructure in hand and sitting on 5-8 credits. This is the situation in which All Seeing I shines. Some skilled runners will make calculated tag-floats knowing that you cannot afford to trash enough things at the time, and this card punishes them. You can also wipe out DLR Maxx with it, which is a nice bonus since, even though it’s not super common, that match-up is pretty awful in every other way.

1 Closed Accounts – Some runners begin to float tags when they have enough money to not care about their resources anymore. They think that if you spend time and money trashing everything they will coast to the end of the game with their current bank. Closed Accounts says no. This card also lets you leverage a last-click Bernice tag even if the runner is rich. If you get Siphoned through a Turnpike this is also some nice revenge.

TRASHING THEIR STUFF – You only need a small bit of tag-punishment in this meta. Everyone shakes.

Final Thoughts:

It’s a rough time to be a Corp. The need to leverage your own skill and the runner’s mistakes and lapses in judgment is at an all-time high. I think this deck allows you to do that very well. It is also an EXCELLENT deck for upping your Corp fundamentals. It is extremely unforgiving for both you and the runner, so mistakes on both sides should be pretty obvious. Playing this against a traditional remote-camping shaper with Clot is a great way for you and a friend to improve together!

MN screen cap

That card in the remote could be a GFI. Do you want to come find out? Enjoy the deck!