Teaching and Learning: Jinteki Deck

(This is a sequel to: This article)
At long last, the public’s cries have been answered. What follows is the long-awaited article and decklist for my 7th Teaching and Learning deck. While you are here, please check out Fighting_Walloon’s teaching league. This is an online league using only my Teaching and Learning decks. The league is very relaxed and welcoming to players of all skill levels (although if you are an expert you should use your best judgment before trying to hustle some newbies…). More information here:

https://forum.stimhack.com/t/the-second-bigboy-teaching-league-starts-june-3/8893

Without further ado, here is the article:

FetalPEBen_M

Decklist

Jinteki values balance, honor, and deception. They create uncertainty in the runner and cause them to second guess their plans. Jinteki does not only fight the economic war. They attack the runner’s hand: both their ability to draw cards quickly, and their inability to deal with losing certain cards. Against Jinteki, runners must carefully balance making money, installing their rig, and keeping their hand-size up. Failing to maintain this balance can have fatal consequences.

Playing This Deck:

In your opening hand you are looking for an economy card, hopefully 2, and some Ice. You do not want Snares in your opening hand if possible, since the runner will likely access them before you can easily afford the 4 credits. This deck plays very aggressively (although not as aggressively as GRNDL!). Spend the first turn or two establishing your economy with a couple operations. Try not to play Celebrity Gift until you have installed some ICE (particularly on a remote server since you would like that ice to be unknown), but don’t be afraid to use it if you don’t have another way to get money. Once you feel comfortable economically, go for a score. Komainu, Enigma, and Kakugo are all excellent ice to begin a scoring server with, but Eli and DNA tracker can also work in the right situation. Getting an agenda, or two, out early will make the runner feel much more pressured to spend resources running, opening more scoring windows for you later.

In the mid-game you want to leverage work-compression to score agendas. This means creating situations where the runner could get into your scoring remote, but is likely to either die or open a safe window for you to score another agenda immediately afterward. Kakugo, Hokusai Grid, Ben Musashi, House of Knives, and Fetal AI all aid you in this regard. Try to combine as many of these effects as possible to make your remote server truly dangerous. The runner will be furious when they decide not to run your potentially lethal Fetal AI score, and it turns out to be a Global Food Initiative. On the other hand, if you managed to score 4 early points, the runner may be forced into the opposite situation, having to run a heavily upgraded Fetal AI for fear of a 3-pointer, only to be met the next turn by a lethal Neural EMP!

Finally, if the game goes very late and the runner has built a full rig, you have a few ways to close out the game. If you have managed to get to 5 points, then your single Biotic Labor will either close out the game for you or force the runner to attack centrals recklessly, trying to find that last 3/2 before you do. If you have built a remote server of multiple Kakugos, then you can try to use Upgrades, Jackson Howards, and even Snares to try to force the runner through them as many times as possible. A runner who gets fooled too many times may find themselves out of cards entirely!

Tricks of the Trade:

Hokusai Grid + Ben Musashi + House of Knives + Action window 5.3: All 3 of these cards do Net damage to the runner when they least can afford it: right before accessing an Agenda. When the runner passes the final piece of ice on a server, ask them if they want to access. Only after they agree do you have to rez and use these cards (You do not have to ask on Jinteki.net. Just use the “action before access” button). At this point it is too late for the runner to jack out. Hopefully they are about to take more damage than they bargained for!

Komainu + Personal Evolution: Normally a Komainu would not be an adequate defense for an agenda, but Personal Evolution makes stealing an agenda with no cards in hand a lethal proposition. Most single-ice remote servers are either painless for runners to Facecheck, or cannot prevent an agenda from being stolen, but Komainu out of PE is both nasty to run into AND agenda-protecting at the same time. The fear of Komainu also empowers your other gear-check Ice. Many runners will dig for their Sentry breaker while you score agendas, only to groan when they see they allowed you to score 4 points behind only a simple Enigma.

Biotic Labor + Philotic Entanglement: This interaction is not common since both cards are 1-ofs, but it is so powerful that it is worth mentioning. A surprise Philotic Entanglement can nail a runner with 3, 4 or even 5 surprise net damage. At the right time this can lead to both a Jinteki victory, and a moment you and your friend will never forget!

Finally, I would like to point out that this is a net-damage-based deck that does NOT use a shell game, does NOT use advanced traps, and does NOT use Mushin No Shin. I really wish FFG would support this style of scoring-damage deck more. Kakugo and Ben Musashi were a great start, but there is still a lot of ground to make up. In my mind this is how Jinteki was always meant to be played. Hopefully after playing with it you see why!

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Defining Fairness: My Vision for a Healthy Metagame

As everyone who reads my content should know, I am an unwavering proponent of Fair Netrunner. For those of you who have not yet figured out that Battle of Wits was satire, it should be clear that I only champion decks that I believe embrace just and true Netrunner as it ought to be played. I often scold people for playing with Personal Evolution shell game, Blackmail Spam, CI7, and other combos and gimmicks. It is my belief that the death of a game comes when players feel that to be competitive they must subvert one or more facet of the game’s core mechanics.

There has been much debate in the community lately around what makes a deck fair or unfair, overpowered or not, or if fairness and power even have anything to do with each other. I like to think of fair and Unfair decks as components of a meal. The fair decks are the meat and potatoes, the Unfair ones are the spices and seasoning. You need some unfair decks to keep things interesting and exciting, but with no fair component, a Meta just becomes an unpalatable mound of spice. Additionally, some spices are just too strong or aggressive for most people, and the presence of even one of these can ruin the whole dish.

For this reason, I think a good rule of a healthy, diverse meta is:

There should be numerous options for unfair strategies, but they should all be limited in their unfairness. There must always be multiple fair options for each side at the top tier of competitive play.

What makes a deck unfair?

The unfair decks are the ones that provoke these reactions from their opponents:

“How am I supposed to stop that?”

“I didn’t feel like anything I did mattered.”

“My decisions felt pretty random this game.”

“I didn’t feel like I had any control over how this game went.”

“I don’t think I could win after how the first few turns went.”

“Do you ever run?/Do you ever try to score out?”

“Do you even have any Ice/Icebreakers in that deck?”

“Don’t show that to a new player, they might get the wrong impression about the game.”

“That didn’t feel like Netrunner…”

I’ve tried to take the emotions behind these statements and concretize them into a few core tenets of the game. These are statements about how the game should be played so that it feels fair and pure. Remember that violating one of these is OK, just so long as a deck does not do so to an unacceptable extent, and that multiple competitive options exist that do not violate any.

247

Non-Interactivity is Unfair

The most impactful plays should involve decisions made by both players. You should feel like you care what your opponent does on their turn and they should care about what you do on yours.

mushin

High Impact Hidden Information is Unfair

Players should be able to use hidden information to create advantages, but a single piece of hidden information should be limited in its impact, especially if high impact instances can be created frequently.
sensiewyld

 

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game, is Unfair

Players should be able to make meaningful decisions and leverage their skill before a random occurrence determines or strongly influences the outcome of the game. Opening hand strength should be of minimal importance.

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Ignoring Large portions of card-types/game actions is Unfair

Players attempting to play a simple strategy should not feel like their deck contains an overwhelming number of useless cards. Players should feel like, although some cards are more effective against a given strategy than others, most of their deck will be relevant every game. Corp decks should, to some extent, attempt to protect servers and score agendas. Runner decks should attempt to make runs and steal agendas.

To illustrate these metrics, I will now go through several competitive archetypes that have been present in the game over the last 2 years, rating each of them. I accept that my ratings are purely executive and that you may disagree by 1 point here or there, but this should still give some semblance of objectivity to the question of whether a deck is unfair. I also know that I have not covered every competitive deck, but I leave it as an exercise for you to rate whatever you feel I’ve left out for yourself.

For each category above, I will give a rating of 1 to 4 for each deck:

1: Acceptable

2: Potentially Frustrating

3: Often Frustrating

4: Unhealthy

Totaling the 4 categories gives the deck’s overall rating:

7 or Lower: Fair (We need at least a few of these to be viable for each side)

8-10: Unfair (These are OK, if they are not obviously better than all fair options)

11 or Higher: Too spicy (These decks can exist, and are cool to see occasionally, but should never be commonplace at top tier play. When one makes the cut, we should feel excited by it as a rare occurrence, not roll our eyes saying “not again…”)

Remember that these final categorizations are still based on a spectrum. A deck coming in at a 7 may still feel unfair to many players, whereas a deck coming in even as high at 10 may seem fair to those with a high tolerance. These are just rough guidelines.

Corp Side

24/7 Boom SYNC

A 24/7 combo deck that tags and kills the runner without a trace (or even a run), while hiding behind extremely difficult to handle tag ice. Essentially never scores non-2/1 agendas.

Non-interactivity – 4

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game- 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

Power Shutdown Boom Combo

A Combo deck that uses Power Shutdown, Accelerated Diagnostics, and 24/7 to Boom the runner extremely quickly.

Non-interactivity – 4

Impact of Hidden information – 3

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game- 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

CtM Tempo Tag

A rush/tempo deck that uses the pressure of must-trash assets alongside the Controlling the Message ID to keep the runner at bay while it rushes agendas and disrupts the runner’s board and credit pool with Breaking News.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 4

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 2

Verdict: Unfair

 

Mushin PE

Uses Mushin No Shin to create high-variance situations that are weighted to favor the Corp. Attempts to hold off central server pressure with the threat of a net-damage flatline.

Non-interactivity – 2

Impact of Hidden information – 4

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 3

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

Russian NEH

An extremely fast Near-Earth Hub deck that uses Team Sponsorship to chain agenda-scores together, and a multitude of assets to stress the runner’s clicks and early-game economy.

Non-interactivity – 2

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

CI 7-Point Shutdown

A Combo deck that uses Power Shutdown and Accelerated Diagnostics to score 7 points in a single turn.

Non-interactivity – 4

Impact of Hidden information – 3

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

Astrobiotics (Historical, Post Clot, Pre MWL)

A rush deck that uses Biotic Labor and Sansan City Grid to safely Fast Advance an Astroscript Pilot Program, chaining into more Astroscrips for a quick and inexpensive 7 points, often without ever putting Ice on a remote server. Thought to be too fast and resilient.

Non-interactivity – 3

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 2

Verdict: Unfair (Pre-clot this deck certainly scores far higher)

 

Standard Palana Foods

This deck leverages the interaction of Caprice Nisei and Nisei Mk 2 to create a very secure remote server powered by the reliable economy provided by the Palana Foods identity and high impact operations.

Non-interactivity – 2

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

Foodcoats

Uses Breaker Bay Grid + HB Campaigns to generate a huge amount of money to rez several mid-range ice and score out with Ash and/or Caprice.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

HB Fast Advance

Uses never-advance tactics and burst economy to sneak out 1-2 agendas, then closes the game with Biotic Labor.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

RP Glacier

Use the economy engine of Sundew to rez several pieces of taxing ice, eventually scoring out with the Caprice Nisei + Nisei Mk2 Combo that makes a remote server nearly impossible to access.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

Blue sun Bootcamp Glacier

A Glacier deck that uses the economy engines of Oversight AI and Adonis Campaign to create an extremely taxing Ash server that the runner cannot afford to run more than once. Often audibles into a rush strategy against decks that it cannot tax in the late-game.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

IG 54 (Historical, although MUCH weaker versions are still being attempted)

A prison deck that uses Mumbad City Hall to repeatedly search for assets and Heritage committee, allowing it to quickly assemble a lock of Bio-Ethics Associations and Hostile Infrastructures protected by the Industrial Genomics ability. Thought to be too powerful, unfun, and non-interactive.

Non-interactivity – 4

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

IG49

A combo kill deck that uses a combination of Psychic Field, Ronin, Bio-Ethics Association, and Chairman Hiro to flatline the runner. The Industrial Genomics ability forces the runner to spend clicks and cards building credits, rather than just checking every new server for kill pieces.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 3

Verdict: Unfair

Runner Side

Blackmail Spam Valencia

A control deck that uses Blackmail and Rumor Mill to lock the Corp’s remote while it sets up large Medium digs. Often played with Account Siphon as well to create another angle of attack.

Non-interactivity – 3

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Unfair

 

Dyper

A Kate deck that uses the Ddos, False Echo combo along with 3 Hyperdrivers to Keyhole the win in a single turn.

Non-interactivity – 4

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Too Spicy

 

Andysucker

A tempo-oriented Criminal deck that uses the Anarch Icebreaker suite to invalidate cheap ice, and economic pressure to keep larger ice from being rezzed.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

AggroCrim

Aggressive criminal, played usually out of Gabe but possibly out of Andy or Ken, that Siphons aggressively and floats tags against all Corps with no punishment. Aims to keep the Corp in the early game until it can score 7 points, often with no solid plan for late-game.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 2

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

SiphonWhiz/Hate Bear

Use Ddos and Faust to land early Account Siphons, crippling the Corp and pounding them with Medium digs before they can set up a board-state that can stop the momentum of Obellus-power Faust runs.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 4

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 3

Verdict: Unfair

 

Temujin/Reg-ass Whizzard

Uses Temujin Contract to build credits quickly and Anarch Icebreakers with Datasucker and Ice Carver to invalidate most problematic ice.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

Dumblefork

Uses Whizzard and a critical mass of Ice destruction to continually rewind the Corp’s board-state. Powered by the Wyldside Adjusted Chronotype draw engine and Faust as essentially its only breaker.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 3

Verdict: Unfair

 

Stealth Shaper

Played out of Smoke or Kate, this deck aims to set up a stealth rig powered by recurring credits, allowing it to break into either the remote, R&D, or both, for close to 0 credits.

Non-interactivity – 2

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

DLR Maxx

A tag-me deck that aims to break the Corp with Account Siphon recursion and close the game by installing a Data Leak Reversal set-up that the Corp cannot afford to trash.

Non-interactivity – 2

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdict: Unfair

 

DLR Val (Historical)

Similar to DLR Maxx, but with no Wireless Net Pavilion errata in place yet, and with the additional remote pressure of Blackmail.

Non-interactivity – 3

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 3

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 4

Verdit: Too Spicy

 

Prepaid Kate (Historical)

The classic Shaper. Apply pressure to scoring servers with Self-Modifying Code, efficient specialty breakers, and burst economy. Punish Centrals with The Maker’s Eye, Legwork, or Indexing when the Corp is forced to overextend to score safely.  Thought to be too flexible and universal.

Non-interactivity – 1

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 1

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 1

Verdict: Fair

 

Wyldcakes Noise (Historical)

Install “Exodia” (Wyldside, Adjusted Chronotype, and Aesop’s Pawnshop) and use the disruptive viruses it supplies and pays for to force the Corp to protect their board-state rather than score. Eventually win with Noise’s ability if the Corp does not score out quickly enough.  Thought to be too difficult for the Corp to interact with.

Non-interactivity – 3

Impact of Hidden information – 1

High Variance, Especially Early in the Game – 2

Large portion of card-types/game actions ignored – 3

Verdict: Unfair

Hopes and Dreams

Now that I’ve provided a multitude of examples of fair and unfair decks, I can present my vision for a healthy Netrunner Metagame. Ideally a top 8 cut at a healthy tournament would have:

4 Fair decks (best if they are not all the same)

3 Unfair decks (better if they are all different from each other)

1 Very Spicy deck

Now let’s look at the worlds top 8 cut from 2016 and see how close we came (The tournament had a top 16, but lists are not readily available for all the decks that placed 9-16. Feel free to track them down yourself.)

Corp: 6 Unfair, 2 Spicy

Runner: 3 Fair, 5 Unfair

This is pretty far from what we would like to see. Now let’s look at 2015:

Corp: 6 Fair, 2 Unfair

Runner: 4 Fair, 2 Unfair, 2 Spicy

Even without the Most Wanted List to reign in power, and with Wireless Net Pavilion un-fixed, 2015 was a fairer Metagame than 2016 (It did still have a diversity problem, but this is easier to fix with the printing of new cards than a fairness problem). This shift happened for a few reasons. First, aside from Astroscript Pilot Program, all the cards on the original Most Wanted List were cards that enabled fair strategies! The second Most Wanted List certainly included more unfair cards like Faust and Wyldside, but the damage had already been done, since fair strategies often rely on their influence to import win-conditions, while unfair decks exist that can run on close to no influence. Second, so many powerful runner hate cards have been printed, nearly all targeting Corporation Win-conditions, that every fair deck in the game right now has at least one extremely problematic match-up. For more on this, check out Kenny Deakins’ Stimhack article on the subject:

Kenny’s Article

Conclusion

A lot of people have asked when I am going to write my next deck article and the truth is: I can’t. I have not been able to make a successful new fair deck on either side since Sleeper Hold (which is actually even better now than when I wrote about it). Until something fundamental changes about the current environment, you probably wont be hearing much from me on this platform…

I’m not here to propose that any action be taken, just to provide a foundation to have a discussion around. Can you build fair Corporation decks that can survive in the current environment? Do you agree with my assessment that the presence of fair decks is necessary to the health of the game? Do you just want me to just brew toxic nonsense and post it here? What, if anything, do you think should be done?

Thanks for reading.

-TheBigBoy

Battle of Wits: A Response to the Temujin Meta

“I basically only lose to trap decks when I run an Overwriter” -TheBigBoy 2016

battle-of-wits

Corp sucks right now. Runners are rich, fast, and difficult to score against. I set out to build a deck that forces the runner to interact in a way that they are not ready to. Here’s the list:

https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/37733/bigboy-s-battle-of-wits

Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future

Agenda (9)
3x Accelerated Beta Test
2x Global Food Initiative ●●
1x Mandatory Upgrades
3x Project Vitruvius

Asset (7)
1x Aggressive Secretary
3x Cerebral Overwriter
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Operation (20)
3x Archived Memories
2x Biotic Labor
1x Blue Level Clearance
3x Green Level Clearance
3x Hedge Fund
2x Lateral Growth
3x Mushin No Shin ●●●●● ●
2x Neural EMP ●●●●
1x Restructure

Barrier (5)
3x NEXT Silver
2x Quicksand

Code Gate (3)
3x NEXT Bronze

Sentry (4)
3x Brainstorm
1x Vikram 1.0

Other (1)
1x Mother Goddess

If you can’t tell, this is a deck that plays Mushin No Shin over and over again until it wins.

A lot of people have made decks like this before, but they have all failed because:

  1. They include stupid other trap side-plans like psychic field and friends instead of just more money and ICE. This leaves them too poor to move fast enough or have any kind of back-up plan. These side-plans ARE NOT do-or-die for the runner like Mushin is. They can be solved safely by good players, especially if they have I’ve Had Worse in their deck.
  1. They use identities that aren’t Engineering the Future. This leaves you totally poor and, secondarily of course, removes a lot of the surprise value of the deck. If you do this out of Jinteki your ICE and money situations are both crap (Exception: Cortex lock is sweet, but we have Brainstorm for the same purpose).

Here is your plan.

  1. Secure centrals with cheap ICE or Brainstorms. You don’t want to lose traps or agendas out of HQ or R&D. The more cards the runner see/trashes, the better deductions they can make later.
  1. Mushin-Advance to 4 (for net 0!) something. If you have to choose between 2 agendas your priorities are: Man-ups > Vitruvius > GFI > ABT. If you only have Overwriter then just Mushin that. If you have Overwriter AND an Agenda then Mushin the Overwriter if the agenda is ABT (the least good one to score) and otherwise just shuffle up the cards or use Random.org to decide (unless you know your opponent and have a read obviously).
  1. If you score Man-ups you are obviously on easy street. Just FA to the easy win while piling ICE on your centrals to buy time. If you get a Vitruvius then you want to jam it up to 7 advancements for the 4 counters. You can use these to recur more Mushins, recur biotics for the FA win, recur Neural EMPs to machine-gun a runner who runs an Overwriter later or does something dumb, or even just recur some money if you get siphoned and need to dig out. If you get GFI out then you can just biotic twice for the win. Just turtle up, Mushin traps (or are they…), and eventually win because you have 3 archived memories. If you get ABT then leave it down until you have a Jackson or 1-2 Archived in hand and then fire away! You don’t have a ton of ICE, but even 1 ICE is something if it’s free.
  1. If your first Mushin is a triggered Overwriter, congratulations! All you have to do is survive until you draw 1 Neural EMP and 1 Archived Memories (or 2 Neural, or a Neural and a Vitruvius counter) and then the runner is dead! Surviving when you have a bunch of EtR ICE and the runner is on 1 hand-size is usually not that hard.
  1. 50% of the time your first Mushin will fail, that’s OK. The worst thing that could have happened is that now the runner has 2 points. Just Archived Memories your Mushin and try again. ALWAYS WAIT A TURN SO YOU CAN ADVANCE TO 4. 4 Brain damage basically guarantees the Neural-Archived-Neural win at some point, whereas a runner CAN STILL WIN WITH ONLY 3 BRAIN DAMAGE. In fact, waiting a turn can bait an HQ run into a Brainstorm since the Runner will want to knock out your Mushin target.

Card Explanations:

Win Conditions (14):

3 Mushin No Shin: Removing skill from the game since H&P. Basically all reasonably-minded skilled players hate playing against this card. There’s a good reason for that. When the runner has infinite money this is the only tool left in your arsenal. AWLAYS ADVANCE TO 4!

2 Biotic Labor: This is how you close the game if you get a couple Mushin’d agendas out. You can also use this to get to 4 points so that all your Mushins threaten the GFI-win. You don’t need 3 copies because you can recur these in a lot of ways.

2 Neural EMP: This is how you win once the runner has 4 Brain Damage.

3 Archived Memories. Counts as more copies of any of the above cards. This is really your next biggest power card after Mushin. It’s so flexible and cheap that it makes you wildly consistent.

3 Cerebral Overwriter: 4 Brain Damage means you win. ALWAYS ADVANCE TO 4! Ok… if they already have Brain Damage then you can leave it at 3, but really you should probably have already won. Fun fact, in my testing I have 3 times made the play of recurring an Overwriter and then Mushining it in the same turn. For some reason it has gotten run every time. This is probably close to the top of the list of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a runner.

1 Aggressive Secretary: I wanted 1 more trap but was out of influence. I wasn’t sure about Agg Sec but it has already won me a few games. I had a game where both the runner and I were on game point and they ran my Mushin figuring that if they hit Overwriter they could hail-mary some centrals for a shot to still win. The Agg Sec blew up their rig and they were locked out forever. This is obviously way more situational than the Overwriter, but it can win the game in situations where you are SO far behind that the Overwriter wouldn’t quite be enough. Bonus points if you manage to Mushin this with all 3 Overwriters in the trash.

Agendas (9):

Ahhh, a 9 Agenda trap deck. That’s more like it.

3 Project Vitruvius: This is your core Mushin Target. 4 Vitruvius counters takes you most of the way to winning. It gives you Mushins, Biotics, and money for days.

3 Accelerated Beta Test: This card is at its worst in this deck, but we need 6 3/2s for our alternate win-condition and getting some free ICE happens fairly often.

2 Global Food Initiative: These make your density great and with Mushin you can actually score them. In theory you can also chain-Biotic this with a Super-Vitruvius although this takes 16 credits and I have only done it once.

1 Mandatory Upgrades: This is our alternative to having a 4/2. You can’t biotic this out but the upside of scoring it with Mushin is good enough that it’s worth having 1. Playing too many copies of this agenda is where a lot of Mushin players go wrong. If you don’t have 6 3/2s then scoring your Man-ups isn’t even that good.

ICE (13):

3 NEXT Silver 3 NEXT Bronze 1 Mother Goddess: We want cheap gear-checks to keep us safe while we find the first Mushin. These ICE also stop Criminal from totally running over you. NEXT Silver is a beast against decks without Parasite. You can recur these with your 3 Archived Memories if they die.

2 Quicksand: A recent addition to the deck. This is really nice against Medium and Temujin Contract. I used to have Vanillas but this has been just a little better. Feel free to swap for Vanilla if you feel poor.

3 Brainstorm: This card just wins games. Some logical players will stop respecting Architect after they see Green Level Clearance or Lateral Growth and just plow into this thing. A super common play is for runners to click 1 blind Account Siphon when they see a Mushin play, hoping that they can click through an HQ Bioroid or force a rez of an ICE expensive enough that they can run the Mushin. A 4-5 damage Brainstorm is just as good as a successful Overwriter (actually better because it sticks around to help out a bit). The Criminals are cutting their Faeires. Put one of these on Archives after they play a Security Testing or put a Temujin contract there and send them to the hospital when they “force” you to rez it. If you get a weird draw with a ton of money and the runner doesn’t have a sentry breaker, you can Mushin an agenda and put a Brainstorm on it. You get good stuff either way!

1 Vikram 1.0: More good value for slowing down Medium. I wanted one ICE that was a bit beefier and this seems like the best option. Feel free to try Assassin as well, but I tried both and Vikram was a tiny bit better and won the slot mainly because it costs 1 less. If you can, try to hold onto this until you can put it in a spot where the first sub isn’t blank.

Notice this is a lot of ICE for a Trap deck. We have room because we didn’t waste space on traps that don’t work against good players.

Economy (13):

3 Hedge Fund 3 Green Level Clearance 2 Lateral Growth: Easy Operation Money. 3 Lateral Growth was too many. You don’t have ton of stuff to install, but you have enough for 2 Lateral. Lateral and GLC are great because we have 8 ways to have Brainstorm money up on turn 1.

1 Restructure 1 Blue Level Clearance: These are a bit more powerful but harder to pull off. I just included one of each so that you can get a little extra situational punch, but not get clogged by cards you don’t have the time/money to play. I’m happy to see them whenever I draw them, but sometimes they take me a couple turns to play so I’m glad I don’t have more that would clog up my hand.

3 Jackson Howard: Great recursion and card draw that goes in every deck. Also helps you fire ABTs if you ended up Mushining one.

Final Thoughts: 

This deck is super powerful, but obviously can lose to anyone. You only need to succeed at 1 or maybe 2 Mushins to win, but sometimes the runner will guess right 3-4 times and you will lose. That said, the odds of the game favor you and as I practiced with the deck I found my decisions feeling less random and more calculated. This deck takes basically NO collateral damage from the hate-cards that players are already running. Employee Strike, Film Critic, Salsette Slums, Networking, Plascrete Carapace, Sports Hopper, and I’ve Had Worse all do nothing or almost nothing to affect our game-plan. The hate cards that we DO care about are useless against basically any other deck, making this the perfect time to put your hand on the table, look the Runner in the eye and do your best Princess Bride impression:

Hope you enjoy!

-TheBigBoy

Recommended Teaching/Learning Decks

For this month’s post I decided to provide a resource that has been painfully absent from Netrunner content as far as I can tell: A library of Teaching/Learning decks. We all know that the front page of Netrunnerdb is more often a silly deck, bad deck, or very complex deck than it is a good deck to learn the game with. After a player learns the basics, there aren’t really any places they can go to find a deck which is:

  1. Fun to play.
  2. Fairly straightforward to play.
  3. Fairly powerful.
  4. Devoid of tech cards specific to a certain meta-game.
  5. Legal with current tournament rules.
  6. Not a gimmick or built on a bizarre combo.

My goal for this project was to create decks that have all of these traits and also which:

  1. Match up interestingly and as evenly as possible against each other.
  2. Give the pilot a good sense of what each faction’s style is and which might be a good fit for them.
  3. Teach the pilot some fundamental skills and techniques that will translate to many top tier decks.
  4. Are consistant and keep card variety and 1-ofs to a minimum.
  5. Are “real” Netrunner (whatever that means).

These decks are not arbitrary combinations of “simple” cards. They are well thought-out cohesive strategies that just happen to avoid certain aspects of the game that commonly disrupt the learning process. These decks are not massively under-powered ‘noob decks’. All of them were able to win games for me more than 50% of the time in the competitive section of Jinteki.net.

You will maybe notice there is no Jinteki deck. This is because I was unable to build one that meets all of the requirements I set above. I think both Caprice Nisei decks and Net Damage decks are cool and interesting, they’re just not great for building fundamentals.

For every deck I provide a decklist, a description of the faction it represents, a brief summary of how the deck works, and explanations of some of its more subtle tricks and complex plays. Enjoy!

Shaper

Decklist

Kit Teaching

Shapers are tinkerers and explorers. They run for the thrill of discovery, the intellectual challenge, or even just the bragging rights. Shapers don’t much care about disrupting the Corp. They are confident that they can solve any puzzle thrown at them, given enough time and the right tools. A Shaper doesn’t need a lot of the advance preparation that a Criminal or an Anarch might. They’ll just get together what they need on the fly or even bend the landscape of the run to suit their strengths.

Playing This Deck:

The first thing you’re going to want to do every game is get Magnum Opus installed. Your deck has a few ways to find the Magnum if it’s not in your starting hand, and you should mulligan any hand that does not have one of those ways or the Magnum itself. You can play Self-Modifying Code, take 2 credits and then search for the Opus. You can also use Test Run to go find it, click it 3 times, and then reinstall it for good the next turn. Magnum Opus strategies like this typically get off to a slow start, but that single card will provide you with all of the money you will need for the entire game! If you ever feel low, spend a turn (or maybe even two) just taking 8 credits. Shaper isn’t about constant aggression. It’s about saving up for a few really high-impact runs. The Corp will be sweating after you’ve just taken 8 credits for the 3rd turn in a row, wondering what nastiness you could be planning…

Once you have your Magnum online; you’ll need a way to get into servers. Because of Kit’s ability, all this means you need to do is get a Gordian Blade installed. You can do this in all the same ways that worked for the Magnum Opus. Once you have your Gordian Blade, look for opportunities to hit the Corp with The Maker’s Eye, Legwork, or R&D Interface runs. Remember that if a server only has one ICE, you can guarantee that you’ll be able to break it with your Gordian Blade. Because of Kit’s ability and tricks like Tinkering and Test Run, the Corporation is going to need quite a few ICE on a remote server before they feel safe advancing an Agenda in there.

Eventually, the Corp will have two ICE on all of the servers that you want to attack and you’ll have to get out the rest of your Icebreakers. The only weakness of your rig is Sentries, since Femme Fatale is an excellent tool for dealing with a single ice, but isn’t great as a regular breaker (2 credits for 1 strength is always quite poor). If this is a big problem for you, try hosting your Femme Fatale on a Dinosaurus to give it a permanent boost in strength. If you need Dinosaurus’ memory boost, but don’t feel like you need to increase the strength of your Femme, putting your trusty Gordian Blade on it is never a bad call. Normally you can only host a program when you install it, but you can use Scavenge to trash an already-installed breaker and bring back that very same breaker at no cost, allowing you to host it on the Dino. This trick can also be used to change the ICE targeted by your Femme or reload the counters on your “Lady”.

Tricks of the Trade:

Personal Workshop/Self-Modifying Code + Stimhack: Personal Workshop can store the Programs and Hardware you can’t quite afford, allowing you to install them later at your leisure. If you’re not a fan of waiting, you can play a Stimhack to gain 9 credits for a single run, and then spend all of those credits installing cards off of your Workshop! The run doesn’t even have to have another purpose (although it can if you really want to get a little extra value out of the combo.) Self-Modifying Code can also be used with Stimhack to get a program out of your deck at a massive discount. This can really speed you up when you have to SMC for Magnum Opus on turn 1, since you will not have to take 2 credits first. Don’t worry too much about the Brain Damage, you can always host cards on Personal Workshop to avoid having to discard things you want to save for later.

Test Run + Scavenge: Test run lets you get any program you like installed for free, but with the drawback of only being able to use it for one turn. However, if you play Scavenge, trashing the program you searched for and bringing back that same program, it will not go back on top of your deck at the end of your turn! This is a great way to get a Magnum Opus or Femme Fatale out on the cheap!

Criminal

Decklist

Teaching Andy

Criminals are greedy and opportunistic. They run for the money and…the money. Criminals like to get in the Corp’s face early and don’t let up the pressure until they’ve milked them for all they are worth. Criminals are typically sneaky and stealthy in their approach, but they’re not opposed giving up their whereabouts if the profits are large enough.

Playing This Deck:

In your starting hand you’re looking for 3 or 4 strong cards to play on the first turn. These cards are Desperado, Security Testing, Sure Gamble, Dirty Laundry, and Daily Casts. Most important of these is the Desperado + Security Testing combo, which is how you will make most of your money throughout the game. Two chances at drawing a 9-card hand should get you this combo right away a good deal of the time.

After your first turn, you’ll want to spend the early game attacking the Corp’s HQ and R&D with basic runs. If you are successful then Desperado will pay you for your efforts. If the Corp rezzes ICE to stop you, then you’ll gain valuable information about what parts of your rig you will need to set up first. Criminals cannot react to ICE mid-run like the Shapers can, so they rely on getting as much ICE face-up as possible so they know what they are dealing with.

Once a lot of ICE is rezzed, you will not be able to harass the Corp with basic runs anymore. At this point you will have to spend some time building your rig. Not to worry, you hopefully forced the Corporation to rez so much ICE that they should struggle to score agendas during this period of time. If they try to catch you unprepared, a little Inside Job should teach them to slow down.

Your rig uses the Stealth Icebreakers Switchblade and Refractor. These Icebreakers break ICE incredibly efficiently, but require stealth credits to work. Your deck has some recurring sources of Stealth credits in Silencer and Cloak, along with a temporary, faster solution in Ghost Runner. Your weakness is Barriers, since your Corroder is far less efficient than your other breakers. Hopefully you have enough money saved up from the early game to pay for your Corroder usage.

If the Corp does not adequately protect HQ, don’t hesitate to hit them with your signature event: Account Siphon. Although the windfall of 10 credits feels like it will last forever, remember that the Corporation can trash your Security Testing, Daily Casts, and other resources if you do not remove the tags. You will have to decide for yourself whether the short-term gains of keeping your tags are worth the long-term sacrifices, but choices like this are what playing Criminal is all about!

Tricks of the Trade:

Security Testing + Recurring Credits: When the Corporation has rezzed ICE on all of their servers, it can be difficult to run them for a profit with Security Testing. However, with your Cloaks and Silencers you can break a lot of lightly-defended servers for no actual credits. Keep an eye out for servers that you can break into for free and use them to continue gaining 3 credits per turn all game long!

Account Siphon + Inside Job: Because the threat of Legwork makes the Corporation feel very unsafe with Agendas in HQ, they may try to take a risk and score when they have just barely as many credits as they need. When they do this, hitting them with an Account Siphon and then playing Inside Job on their Remote Server will almost certainly leave them with too few credits to rez enough ICE to stop you.

Anarch

Decklist

Teaching Whiz

Anarchs are saboteurs. They range from social and political activists to downright trolls. They run to shake things up and like watching the Corp squirm. Anarchs don’t have the economic stability of the Shapers or Criminals, but they can counteract this by neutralizing the Corp’s ICE and Assets completely.

Playing This Deck:

The Anarch playstyle is a bit less linear than the methodical Shaper’s or the aggressive Criminal’s. You have two goals for the first few turns. Your first is to set up a solid economic footing. Liberated Accouts, Daily Casts, and Kati Jones can make you a lot of money, but you have to get them going early. If you run out of money as an Anarch, it can be tricky to climb out of that hole. This means that you should mulligan most hands that do not have 2 or more Economy cards in them. Second, you want to force the Corp to rez ICE so you can deploy some Parasites. Use Datasucker, the threat of trashing things with Whizzard and Bhagat, or even Medium to scare the Corp into rezzing their ICE. If you can help it, try not to waste Parasites on Code Gates that are under 4 strength, since they will all become blank when you install your Yog.0.

Once you have installed some of your important programs (Yog.0, Corroder, Medium, Mimic) you must be wary of ICE that can trash them. Mimic may not be able to break some Destroyer Sentries if you do not have enough Datasucker counters to lower their strength. You can protect yourself in these situations with a D4v1d, which, although not a permanent solution to these ICE, can protect you from their initial sting if you get caught unprepared.

You may never get to a point where you feel like you can run wherever you want. This is fine as long as the server you CAN get into really hurts for the Corp. Whether you’re trashing a card every turn with Bhagat, accessing several cards with Medium, or trashing everything they put into a remote server for free with Whizzard, the Corp should feel the pain every time you do manage to access a server. Don’t worry too much about scoring points early, if you can keep attacking the Corporation’s board by destroying their ICE and trashing their Assets and Upgrades, then their agendas will fall into your lap soon enough.

Tricks of the Trade:

Clone Chip/Street Peddler + Parasite + Datasucker: If you have built up enough Datasucker counters, you can use Clone Chip or Street Peddler to install a Parasite in the middle of a run and immediately destroy the ICE you are encountering by lowering its strength to 0 with Datasucker. Having a Grimoire or ICE Carver installed can make this even easier.

Inject/Street Peddler + Clone Chip: Sometimes the best place for your programs is the trash! Your full rig is actually quite expensive to install, and you have no tricks to make it cheaper. However, if you use Inject or Street Peddler to throw your Icebreakers in the trash, you can use Clone Chip to pull them out right when you need them. This works especially well with Yog.0, your most expensive breaker. Sometimes when the Corp sees you have access to your Yog.0 they may choose not to rez their small Code Gates, knowing they will immediately be blanked. If they do this then you do not even have to pay for your Yog.0 in the first place! It’s a game of chicken that will always go in your favor. Just make sure you don’t have too much fun using all your Clone Chips on Parasites, or you might lose one of your Icebreakers forever!

Haas Bioroid

Decklist

Teaching HB

Haas Bioroid values efficiency and security. Their strengths are defending themselves and mitigating risk. Getting into HB servers is always either slow or expensive and quite often both. However, HB’s greatest strength, it’s ICE, is also its vulnerability. If the runner manages to neutralize or find ways to ignore HB’s ICE, there is very little that HB can do to turn things around.

Playing this Deck:

Your two objectives in the early game are to secure an Adonis or Eve Campaign protected by ICE, and to defend your Central Servers. Most of your ICE is quite expensive and without the cash-flow of a campaign you can find yourself out of money in a hurry. If you are lucky enough to draw a Breaker Bay Grid early on then your campaign will make you even larger and faster profits. Against Shaper and Anarch it is usually best to focus on securing the Campaign first, while against Criminal it is usually a good idea to defend your servers from Security Testing and Account Siphon first. When you are running that first campaign, try not to click to draw too much. You don’t want to lose your agendas out of HQ before you are ready to score them. When in doubt on how to spend your turn, just install a card and take 2 credits. This maximizes the value of your Engineering the Future ability.

Once your first Campaign runs out, you should be ready to score. If the runner might be able to get into your remote server, it can be best to just put down one of your 3/2 agendas without advancing it. The runner will very often ignore this agenda, because spending a bunch of money just to look at another Campaign is very wasteful. If, on the other hand, you know that your remote server is totally secure, you can go for one of your larger agendas, a 4 or 5-advanced Project Vitruvius, or even the ABT-Jackson trick (described below).

Even though your ICE forts will get impressive as the game goes on, you do not want to take forever to score out. Your Bioroid ICE will slow the runner down immensely, but it will not keep them out forever. Always be on the lookout for chances to score your Global Food Initiative, since after you get to 5 points, you are a single Biotic Labor and 3/2 agenda away from winning.

Tricks of the Trade:

Accelerated Beta Test + Jackson Howard/Archived Memories: If you put at least one advancement on your ABT when you install it, you will have an extra click on the turn that you score. This means that you can safely fire its ability if you have a Jackson Howard or Archived Memories in hand. Use the extra click to rescue any agendas that you might accidentally dump into Archives. It also works to protect Jackson Howard with your remote server ICE and use Biotic Labor to score your ABT the turn you install it.

Trashing Campaigns on Breaker Bay Grid: If you have an Archived Memories or a replacement Campaign, you can freely trash a campaign in a Breaker Bay Grid server to score an agenda. When you replace the campaign after you score, you will go back to making money as usual without having to repay the campaign’s rez cost!

Weyland

Decklist

Teaching GRNDL

Weyland values audacity and brute force. Their strengths are making bold moves and punishing Runners who take risks in order to stop them. Weyland moves fast and fearlessly, building a large bank of credits while scoring agendas that continue to pad their fat stacks of cash. By the time the runner is set up enough to stop Weyland from scoring, they may find themselves paid back by a lethal dose of Meat Damage.

Playing this Deck:

With most Corp decks you will want to set up for a bit before you try to score. With this one you should go for your first score by turn 2 and sometimes as early as turn 1! The 10 credits that you start the game with plus an early Hedge Fund or Restructure should set you up with enough money to safely score for a few turns. The purpose of your ICE is not to cost the runner credits to break, it is to stop them in their tracks. Mix the ICE types on your remote server so that the runner will have to install as many Icebreakers as possible before they can get in. Archer, in particular, is extremely difficult for most runner decks to break. Don’t be afraid to forfeit even a 2-point agenda to it. The time it will buy you should let you score far more points than that.

You often do not need to ICE your central servers at all, although you can toss an ICE Wall or Quandary on one of them if you drew more ICE than is typical. Don’t worry about the runner taking your agendas from R&D before you can find them. With 3 Fast Tracks, you should have no trouble getting something to score when you are ready, and an overeager runner who is digging into your R&D may just get a face full of Snares! Whenever possible, try to get 1 or 2 agenda counters on your Project Atlas. These counters can search for more agendas to score, the ICE you need to stop the runner, a transaction to keep you in the money, or even the missing piece of your Flatline combo.

Tricks of the Trade:

Sea Source + Scorched Earth (+ Scorched Earth): Assembling a combo of 3 cards seems difficult, but remember that you can search your deck for the pieces you are missing with agenda counters from Project Atlas. Having 6 more credits than the runner and this combo in hand means Game Over (7 credits for a 1-link runner). Since the runner can break most of your ICE for free due to Bad Publicity, they may focus on building their rig rather than building a big bank. This combo lets you punish that strategy.

Project Atlas + Hostile Takeover: Another reason why Project Atlas counters are so valuable is that they are essentially worth a point each! If you get to 5 or 6 points with enough Atlas counters, you can search for and score a Hostile Takeover each turn to close out the game. You can also do this earlier if you want to rez an Archer without having to forfeit a 2-point agenda.

NBN

Decklist

Teaching Spark

NBN values acquisition and materialism. They excel at disrupting the runner’s credit pool and profiting from runs made against them. NBN often doesn’t mind if an agenda gets stolen from them, as long as the economic exchange was favorable for the Corp. No matter what the runner does, NBN gets paid, and the runner signs the check.

Playing this Deck:

The first thing you are going to want to do is set up some Economy assets. Against most runners you do not have to protect your PAD Campaigns with ICE, but your Launch Campaigns should be lightly protected. Put a Launch Campaign behind a Pop-up Window or Caduceus and you will make some money no matter what the runner does!

Once you go to build your scoring server, you don’t necessarily need the ICE protecting it to end the run. Since you will score most of your agendas using Ash 2X3ZB9CY or Sansan City Grid, you don’t mind if the runner gets in, as long as once they do they are too broke to do anything when they access. Your 3 NAPD Contracts will be nearly impossible for the runner to steal a good deal of the time. Don’t underestimate the power of the bluff when playing this deck. Putting a 3/2 agenda behind some lightly taxing ICE is often a safe play, even if the runner could get in. You have so many other annoying cards to install in that server that the runner cannot afford to check everything. Paying 4 or 5 credits to look at a Product Placement or two is just demoralizing. You can even do this trick with your 4/2 NAPD Contracts if you have a SanSan City Grid in the server allowing you to score them with only 3 advancements.

Tricks of the Trade:

Spark Agency Double-Trigger Trick: If you have 2 unrezzed PAD or Launch Campaigns, you can rez one at the end of the runner’s turn and one at the beginning of your own turn. This will cause Spark Agency’s ability to trigger twice and you will still get money from both campaigns that turn! Remember that Product Placement can be rezzed to lose the runner one credit (even though rezzing it does nothing other than trigger Spark). Rez it right before they access it to get some extra value, or rez one on the first turn of the game to make playing a Sure Gamble that much more annoying!

Sansan City Grid + Global Food Initiative: If you have scored 4 points, install and advance once a Global Food Initiative on an unrezzed Sansan City Grid. Since you have 5 other upgrades in your deck, the runner will likely read this as an NAPD contract with an Ash or Product Placement. Since it would be expensive for them to steal if that is the case, and not game-winning for you, they may let it slide, allowing you to rez your Sansan and advance 3 more times the next turn for a surprise win!

Final Thoughts

Playing different combinations of these decks against each other is a great way to get a lot of your Netrunner fundamentals up to snuff. If you and a friend together build all 6 of them, you will have 9 very engaging and unique match-ups to play with each other (18 if you count switching sides).

These decks are  strong enough that if you really like one, you can take it just as it is to a GNK or small tournament and feel confident that you know what you are doing. Although respectably strong, these decks are not optimized for competition (For example, the Whizzard deck cannot break a Lotus Field, but I was mindful enough to leave 2 influence free for you to solve that problem). If you really enjoy a strategy then it is your project as a learner to take the introductory version presented here and tune it for the problems you are facing in your competitive games. However, while you play the decks against each other for the sake of learning, I highly recommend you make no changes.

A great way to use this resource as an experienced player is to build a few (or all) of these decks with your own cards, and bring them to your local meet-up to share with newer players. I guarantee they will have more fun playing these against each other than playing this week’s NRDB deck of the week against last week’s…

If you have questions about these decks or how to best use them as a resource, drop me a comment here or message me on the Stimhack forums or Slack channel.

-TheBigBoy

DumboKate: A Refreshing Approach to Shaper

I have no idea how to play Shaper. I feel very out-of-control and at the mercy of the Corp when I play a remote-camping strategy. When the Corp draws cards and floods themselves I want the freedom of running HQ without feeling like it’s slowing me down too much. I hate having to fall for remote bait because my judgment of my opponent is off. I’ve always wanted to build a Shaper deck that could be aggressive and put real pressure on the Corp.

A few months ago, this card was spoiled, and I was filled with hope

Patron

By itself, Patron is optional Wyldside with the condition of an open server. I figured it would only be good when combined with other successful run effects, of which Shaper has very few (DaVinci is NOT worth it…) I really wanted to make Patron work (It has tiny Elephants!), but I was worried that the support just wasn’t there.

However, if we combine Patron with a classic combo from out-of-faction, things start to get very interesting:

DespieDatasucker

Spending a click to gain 2 cards, a credit and a Datasucker counter (that cannot be blocked by Cyberdex Virus Suite in Archives) is VERY strong. This is an engine that the Corp MUST respond to, and this means I can force them to alter their game-plan, rezzing ICE on all their centrals before they can proceed with what they wanted to do.

I built a draft of this deck and actually had a lot of fluff in it. The last 5 slots were utility and pseudo-efficiency cards that, although useful at times, watered down my game-plan and made the deck feel clunky and inconsistent (things like Paricia and Cloak). I played the deck a bunch and by the time Patron actually came out in Salsette Island I was a bit unsatisfied. Then The Liberated Mind came out and I saw a card that took this deck to the next level:

Ashes

With this card added into the above engine, we are running at beyond Wyldside-Chronotype efficiency. I immediately cut all of my fluff slots for Ashes and the deck became WAY faster and a genuine blast to play. Here’s the list:

 

DumboKate (Credit to ErinRockABitch for the Elephant Reference)

https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/35554/dumbokate

Kate “Mac” McCaffrey: Digital Tinker
Event (17)
3 Diesel
3 Dirty Laundry
2 Modded
5 Out of the Ashes
3 Sure Gamble
1 The Maker’s Eye
Hardware (9)
3 Clone Chip ☆☆☆
2 Desperado ☆☆  ••••• •
1 Plascrete Carapace
3 R&D Interface
Resource (9)
3 Daily Casts
1 Film Critic
2 Kati Jones
3 Patron
Icebreaker (5)
3 Atman
1 Cyber-Cypher
1 Inti
Program (5)
1 Datasucker   •
1 Parasite ☆  ••
3 Self-modifying Code
9 influence spent (max 15-6☆=9)
45 cards (min 45)

 

General Game-Plan: Apply pressure immediately with some combination of Patron, Desperado, and Datasucker. SMC for Datasucker if you feel like you’ll be able to get a lot of counters if you do. Try to get agendas out of HQ with Desperado runs if you can so that the Corp can’t force you into remote runs before you are ready. Get as much ICE rezzed as possible. Since Atman + Parasite is your primary breaker suite, multiple consecutive face-down ICE in front of a Corp with a bunch of money is your greatest enemy. Discard your Ashes and use them to keep up the pressure. Install RDI’s with Modded as you draw them and once you have 1-2 of them out start putting serious pressure on R&D. Use Kati Jones to pay for your Atmans if your Patron gets blocked. Late game jam Kati and see 3-4 off R&D every other turn until you win.

Specific Card Choices:

Economy (16 + ID):

3 Sure Gamble + 3 Dirty Laundry + 3 Daily casts – Standard neutral economy package. Dirty Laundry is ESPECIALLY good with your run economy engine. Casts is a bit awkward. If you have to choose between playing it and Patron on turn 1 it is usually correct to play the Patron.

2 Kati Jones – Atman and R&D Interface are expensive to install and you are not running totally freely in the late game. Kati fits perfectly in this deck since you almost always have spare clicks to toss her way. Any turn you feel cramped for clicks just remove an Ashes or two so you can load her still.

2 Desperado – The first time I installed this for 2 credits I lost my mind. In this deck it is not uncommon for Desperado to make you 2-4 credits every turn for the entire game! So often I install Desperado Patron turn 1 and then poke an open HQ twice and steal an agenda. Most people do not expect Shaper to go there for multiple single accesses that early, and Desperado lets you punish these Corps for corner-cutting.

2 Modded – I found that drawing a bunch of R&D interfaces was super awkward since I never wanted to install or discard them early on. Modded lets you get them out of your hand pain-free. Sometimes these only get you 2 credits when you use Modded on Desperado, Atman, or even Plascrete, but they are still liquid money and you are drawing so many cards that you’re never sad to see them.

1 Datasucker – MWL why you do this to me? Ideally the deck would have 2 or maybe even 3 Datasuckers (probably a Stimhack and The Turning Wheel as well), but alas you usually have to SMC for this. This enables your Parasite Atman rig, just watch out for CVS! Run on early clicks against HB still if they might have a CVS down. You can’t afford the tempo hit of reinstalling an Atman. Against Archer decks don’t get greedy, just suck it up and install Atman 6.

Kate – Pretty busted Identity. This makes you about 8-10 credits per game and at the points when you need them the most. People also make a lot of assumptions about what you’re going to be doing when you put down this ID, and with this deck most of those assumptions are totally wrong!

Consistency/Efficiency (14):

3 Patron – The namesake of the deck. This card draws you through your deck like nothing else. It’s not at all uncommon to end the game with fewer than 10 cards left in your deck and not even feeling like the game was that long. There’s no need to ever install more than 1 of these. Also, NBN players can kill this with their stupid Breaking News plays that they are going for more often these days, so hold an extra in hand if you can against them. Against really rushy decks your Patron will be active for the whole game and you will have no trouble keeping up. If you thought John Massanori was good against NEH, wait until you’ve tried Patron! Also, TINY ELEPHANTS!

3 Diesel – These are pretty nice for finding your Patron and keeping you moving when you don’t draw it early. Feel free to still play this if your Patron draw doesn’t get you what you want. You always have Ashes to discard so overdrawing is rarely a concern.

3 Self-Modifying Code – Search for your Datasucker, Parasite, or specialty breaker. I REALLY hate searching for Atman with this. Atman is so expensive so I’d rather install it from hand if I can. Remember to SMC things on the Corp’s turn to save a credit when applicable.

5 Out of the Ashes – I REALLY wanted to find room for 6, but the only cuts that make sense to me are the 3rd Atman or MAYBE The Maker’s Eye. Those slots feel like high enough impact that I want to keep them for now. Ashes means that, first few turns aside, we are kind of running a 40 card deck and at best we are running something like a 35 card deck. These along with Desperado help you keep up with asset spam like nothing else. Naked Agendas NEVER work against this deck, which is very appealing to a low-variance inclined player like me.

Broken Cards (4)

1 Parasite – Once you have sucker counters, this lets you run fear-free. Prioritize your Parasite uses on R&D, since you only have 4 of them at most, but don’t be afraid to use one somewhere else if you think it will land a steal. I’ve even used it on Archives to kill a Pup when the Corp was poor so I could farm Patron runs there.

3 more Parasite I mean… 3 Clone Chip – If you use more than 1 of these on a non-Parasite, you’re doing it wrong. Really try to install your Atmans from your hand so you can save these to kill stuff. Clone Chip Parasite is your ONLY answer to Swordsman so be aware of that when using these up.

Win Conditions (4)

3 R&D Interface – This is your late-game win condition. I’ve never had 3 of these out as often as with this deck. Patron flows them into your hand and Modded gets them out. Before you know it you are poking R&D on click 0 with Ashes for the start of a super threatening turn.

1 The Maker’s Eye – Sometimes it’s YOLO time. Save this until the game is on the line for both players and then go HAM for 5-6 cards and win. Some games against HB end with me getting my rig and/or brain blown up on a hail-mary 6 card Makers that barely gets there in the last 2 cards. It may seem niche but this card has won me too many games already for me to cut it. This is obviously a great tool against NEH as well, where 2 credits for 2 accesses is a great deal at almost any point in the game. The new Exchange of Information decks often force you into a win-now-or-lose-from-tags situation, and Maker’s can help you reach for the last few accesses you need to close out the game.

Ice Breakers (5)

3 Atman – This really could be 2 with perfect piloting, but I’m really liking the crutch of having 3 of these and not having to worry about managing where they end up. I want to be able to lose one to damage and not have to Clone Chip it out. In some of the worse match-ups (like Archer decks) you may even need to install all 3. It comes up very rarely, but enough that I don’t feel safe going down to 2. Don’t have a fixed-mindset about your Atman numbers. This is a tempo deck, so set them to what you need for the situation, although 4 is the most common number for sure. Against HB Atman 3 + Atman 4 will carve through all of their ICE.

1 Inti – I added it as my Wraparound answer, but this card has really impressed me. I’ve gone entire games against NEH and SYNC with it as my only breaker. It stuffs the Wraparound rush harder than even D4v1d does. The more I play with this card, the more I like it. 0 cost is really huge for a tempo deck and lets you install it with a spare click even before you see the Wraparound.

1 Cyber Cypher – 2 of these would also be acceptable, since there is no Scavenge in this deck. This is your answer to remote Turing, but also to garbage Code Gates like Enigma and Quandary on R&D when you don’t want to waste a Parasite. You really don’t want to use this for Lotus Field against Palana Foods, since you will be installing Atman 4 for their Elis anyway, so only Cyber Cypher a Lotus Field if they make a very aggressive rush play and you can’t afford the Atman yet.

Tech Slots (2)

I hate tech cards, but these two are pretty acceptable for an aggressive deck and have already won me several games.

1 Plascrete Carapace – We run a lot and it can take us a while to get rich enough to beat a big trace. Having protection to not get paralyzed by SEA Source, Punative, or Argus fear is nice. 24/7 News Cycle is hard for us to interact with aside from Plascrete.

1 Film Critic – Helps against Midseason Replacements and The Future Perfect. Palana Foods will often somewhat under-defend R&D and HQ against you in the late-game and this can punish their reliance on TFP to keep them safe in that situation.

DumboKate

Final Thoughts: This deck is the first time I’ve really felt comfortable with a Shaper deck (that’s not some stupid Siphon or Vamp abomination). Patron and Desperado help you keep up with fast decks, while Kati, Atman, and Parasite give you the staying power to deal with slower ones. If you don’t know what to do with this deck, attack! Slamming your face into ICE and dealing with the consequences is the best way to learn how to pilot DumboKate. The first time I hit an Architect and still drew 2 and gained a credit I thought “That really wasn’t so bad…”. I’ve been on a monstrous tear with this deck since I built it. That said, it is not truly competitive for a lot of reasons that are not really worth going into here. That didn’t stop me from playing with my Cutlery events and it won’t stop me now. My hope is that someday this shell evolves into a real player in the Meta because it really is fun to play, both with and against.

 

The school year is over! This means I am entering my sweet, sweet teacher-vacation months. I plan on doing a lot of Netrunner streaming over on my twitch channel (twitch.tv/TGTheBigBoy), so check that out if you want to see some of my decks in action!

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:

https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/31635/neh-never-advance-semi-glacier-1st-place-mead-hall-store-ch

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:

MN

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:

https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/34440/clickbait

Clickbait

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!

-TheBigBoy

4 Tips for Improving your Runner Game

It’s good to be back! So far so good with 1 update per month.

I’ve gotten quite a few requests for an article on how to improve at Netrunner. I thought a lot about how to present my ideas in a way that wasn’t as blunt and unhelpful as “Play more OCTGN.” I decided to come up with my top 4 tips for each of Runner and Corp. You can think of these tips as a mix of “winning tips” and “learning tips”. Certainly learning entails winning more, but some ways of improving your win-rate do not improve you as a player as much as others. If you follow these tips, you should win more in both the short and long term.

Tip 1: Don’t run early without threat cards.

Threat CardsNew players are often taught to be aggressive. “Run early and run often”, their coaches say. The sad truth is that running early and often is a great way to help the Corp escape the early game. When you make a run in Phase 1, you invest a Click to give the Corp the opportunity to do one of 3 things. They can let you in, bounce you with an End the Run, or punish you with face-check-punishment ICE. Most players see the latter as the only possible negative of their efforts. They don’t consider the possibility of getting free accesses very early as a bad thing. To explain what I am getting at, consider this example:

Corp (Engineering the Future) begins central ICE – central ICE – credit

You run HQ twice, with the Corp declining to rez either time, and you conclude there is nothing worth having in HQ. You then poke R&D and see a card off the top. You continue to check R&D for free over the next 3 turns, finally stealing 2 points on the final shot.

Seems like a pretty good start right? Not really. You would really rather the Corp have paid money to rez their ICE. You spent 6 critical early-game clicks grabbing accesses against a Corp who had a very poor economic start. Because you invested clicks for access, which has no effect on the Corp’s tempo, this EtF was able to establish an Adonis Campaign behind some cheap ice and dig themselves out of their economic hole. If you had built your board and tempered your aggression somewhat you could have kept them down.

Many players experience this frustration and conclude that early game they should just not run at all, building their board and camping remotes. This is also incorrect and most players love playing against runners who play this way for good reason. They are the same runners who complain that Caprice Nisei is ruining the game as they stare at their useless 40 credit bank after having no central pressure all game.

So if running early is bad and building is bad, what is there to do? The answer is to run and build at the same time! By this I don’t mean on alternate clicks, I mean to use your runs to force the Corp to rez, lest you advance your own board-state relative to theirs while getting easy access. Here are some strong cards that allow you to do this:

Datasucker

Desperado

Security Testing (still fits in this category, even though you do not get the access)

Lamprey (My Favorite)

Imp (This one is overrated, but it’s better than nothing)

Medium

Playing as Gabriel Santiago 😛

Make a habit of starting all of your games with Threat card + Run HQ. Force the Corp to rez on the least important late-game server. If you can incentivize the Corp to put a 2nd ice on HQ early game out of fear, you have taken a big step toward economic dominance.

I love playing against players who spam runs for single accesses early-game with no threat cards. They’re the same ones who can never afford to trash my SanSan City Grids and Eve Campaigns, complaining about my lucky comeback from down 4-0.

Tip 2: Killers are for cowards

No Killers

This is a very difficult concept and one that is exceptionally hard to teach. A lot of players are terrified of the worst when hitting unrezzed ICE. They’ve eaten one too many Architects/Komainus to ever run again without their Mimic. In some ways their fear is justified, since at the wrong time, face-planting into a nasty Sentry can lose you the game. However, the best time to have these ICE fire is at the start of the game. If you hit a Turn 1 surprise Komainu against Replicating Perfection, the economic exchange is probably fine for you (unless you lose a critical card that you cannot recur, but this happens less often than people seem to think, and usually the affected decks run Faerie for exactly this scenario). 5 credits is a lot for a Corp to pay in the early-game. Likewise with Architect, the best time to slam into that thing is before you have spent any money trashing an asset that they can bring back from archives.

Once you have installed vulnerable non-killer programs, things get a little stickier, since now you must fear destroyers as well. However, while you are trying to improve at the game, I strongly suggest you just take your licks against these cards, only installing your Killer in advance if you are in a VERY comfortable economic position. You will be amazed at how often the worst just does not happen. Unless you’re playing Core-only, the world just isn’t full of Rototurrets anymore. You truly have very little to fear (especially if you run on your first click to deal with a potential Ichi 1.0).

Tip 3: Money is a crutch.

Money Crutch

Intermediate players can really struggle to manage their money. In Netrunner sometimes you are so rich that you can trash unrezzed Eve Campaigns, and sometimes you are so poor you can’t even trash a rezzed Adonis. A lot of players have trouble reading their current economic standing in the game. Every mistake they make compounds the feeling of “I’m so poor”. If they trash things that they shouldn’t, the obviously go broke, and if they leave things they should trash, servers become so taxing that they end the game feeling economically inadequate. Their response after the game is to put more economy cards in their deck. Even after doing this, they continue to make tactical errors and end up just as poor as before. This cycle repeats until they end up with a watered down deck that has no punch or tricks. This is part of why the Prepaid VoicePad engine is so often employed (poorly) outside of Kate; these players are just BEGGING for a way to justify their inclusion of 3x Lucky Find.

To overcome this as an intermediate player, try running with some decks that do not have a huge money cushion to fall back on. Play Tag-me Siphon Anarch, Gabe with no sustainable economy besides Desperado, Noise with nothing but Pawnshop and Cache, or even Nasir. Learn how to find ways to win when broke, and you well get a better feel for how much money you REALLY need to win a game. Hint: It’s a lot less than you think.

It is true that if you look at the best decks, they are loaded with money. Prepaid Kate, Reg-Maxx, and Andromeda are all loaded with economy cards. Making a huge pile of money and then turning it into accesses is only one way to win at Netrunner (even though it may be the best way a lot of the time), and it is not the best way to LEARN Netrunner.

Tip 4: Don’t run silver bullets.

Hate Cards

I’ll discuss this further in the Corp side of this article, but running cards like Clot, Film Critic, Feedback Filter, and even Plascrete Carapace and Deus Ex really hamper your ability to learn the game. Many great players have advised, “Learn it by dying to it.” I would take that advice a bit further and say, “Learn it by losing to it over and over and over.” I probably lost the first 10 games I ever played against Butchershop when the deck was new, but rather than jam Plascretes into my decks, I just changed the way I played and the general tactics my decks employed. Beating NBN became less about getting cheap early points through efficient aggression, and more about securing my board-state and then winning with a big dig or R&D lock. If I had just put 2-3 Plascretes in my decks and not changed my play-style, I would have learned much less. Silver bullets can give you free wins, and not having them can give you really bitter losses when the Corp gets a good draw, but when your focus is on learning and not winning RIGHT NOW, steer clear of them. I’m not saying these cards are bad. They’re not. They are very powerful and you should feel free to pack them in a big tournament if you think you have a good read on the Meta. For me, since I approach every game I play as a learning game, no matter the stakes, I almost never play these cards.

Thanks for reading! The next article will be the Corp side of learning tips. Featuring such incendiary tag-lines as:

When deciding between installing the Agenda and the bluff, go for the Agenda.

17 ICE is a crutch.

Play with Fast Track (and use it aggressively!).

Lose the game in the remote, not in centrals.

See you next month! (or sooner on OCTGN: TheBigBoy)