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A different mildish hot take - The mini factions were a mistake


#1

Continuing the discussion from Kitara Cycle: I bless the rains down in africaaa~:

Rather than going off-topic, I wonder if the mini-factions were just a bad idea. I say that as someone whose favourite runner is Sunny but it seems to me that they have diluted the game without adding much to it. I suspect that they were added in simply to balance the deluxe boxes and ever since then they have caused problems.

It seems to me that each them of could easily have been IDs in other factions (Sunny-Shaper, Adam-Criminal, Apex-Anarch) and if the R&R box marks the new direction for deluxes and if the old deluxes start to rotate out then there is a window to revision them as IDs in the normal runner factions.


#2

Totally agree here. If they wanted them to have a different set of influence restrictions, maybe they could have added a clause to the ID sort of like the Professor has with programs.

Sunny - Cards with the Link subtype do not count against your influence limit
Adam - Cards with the Directive subtype do not count against your influence limit (splitting the directives into different factions i.e. Neutralize All Threats is Anarch, Always Be Running is Criminal, etc. – so Adam can uniquely play all of them, but other factions can’t do so as easily)
Apex - Cards with the Virtual subtype do not count against your influence limit

Maybe make all of them like 45/8 within their respective faction so their influence is more constrained except when it comes to the things they excel at.


#3

Perhaps. I think you may have a point play wise, but in terms of flavour I think Apex and Adam are huge wins for the game.

Maybe it would be better to do them like Geist (a faction within a faction), but that seems to involve printing loads of niche cards that only work when they’re all lumped together with a powerfully synergistic ID. The mini-factions arguably allow for the same experience and mechanics with fewer, more impactful cards. That is to say, it would be very difficult to print Apocalypse or Nexus in a normal faction without having to make them much weaker and possibly spread the effect out somehow, maybe accross multiple factions.

Evolving them into thier parent factions might be a fair way to go, though I’d be slightly suprised if they did so, as it would seem to lead to a future where lots of the individual ID’s started to have mini-faction elements (i.e. cards that could only be included in thier decks or that are influence free for them. Seems messy).


#4

I think each minifaction sort of embodies a mix of 2 of the main factions.

Sunny - Shaper/Criminal (big rig but with lots of bypass effects)
Adam - Criminal/Anarch (run based effects, but also takes advantage of many of the anarch style recklessness too, such as having significant drawbacks to your positive cards)
Apex - Anarch/Shaper (Anarch makes huge sense because of all the trashing he does, but his general style fits both Pawnshop builds and Assimilator has been showing off how big rig he can get too)

Overall I agree that Minifactions were kind of a mistake. Part of the problem being that their faction defining cards had to be very powerful, and often ended up as neutral inf cards for the other factions. We are at a crux point right now where the Minifactions are potentially too competitive with all the new cards that are coming out for them, and that’s a worry because they should remain as they are (mini factions) rather than dominant meta forces. It looks like R&R has a card for each minifaction but after that it should probably be their last.


#5

Personally, I’d rather get rid of Anarchs than the mini-factions.


#6

I’m not sure about this. Shaper Nexus decks are powerful enough with Nexus costing influence, and some Anarch decks would probably like zero-influence Heartbeat a little too much.


#7

This is the kind of spice I’m looking for, not the bland pasta in the first post. :sunglasses:


#8

Revised Core Set 3.0: No Anarch, Crim, or Shaper cards or ID’s. The D&D factions have taken over. Prosperity reigns.


#9

Design challenge: Choose where significant minifaction cards go assuming there are no more minifactions.


#10

I think a lot of mini faction cards would be broken in other factions. If the problem is that they can fall in the color pie of other factions, then you need to address how those factions wouldn’t be utterly broken with some of these cards which have pushed power levels (the directives, Apocalypse, Security Nexus). No one seems to be singling out specific mini cards or archetypes as problematic so I’m not sure where the issue lies.

I don’t think this was the intention, but I actually think the mini factions were a kind of brilliant solution to a balance problem in Netrunner in general: that there are 4 corp factions but only 3 runner. As the card pool grows, it feels like runner subtly outpaces corp in power level. It’s easier for runners to focus their splashes, draw aggressively towards them, and recur them (e.g. siphon Anarch, with highly concentrated influence in one card). Pushing out cards for more factions, especially five influence cards as we see in Kitara, means there are fewer usable cards for major runner archetypes. We get more playable runners that are (slightly) less oppressive.

I think the mini factions have been a fun addition. Their play styles are fairly unique, though admittedly I see the similarities to existing factions that have already been discussed. I’ve really enjoyed them becoming competitive in the current meta, it’s a neat shakeup that I honestly never thought would happen. But it’s also fun to see these high influence, strangely specific mini faction cards find their ways into major faction decks. Find the Truth Val is a great example but immediately Heartbeat in the worlds 2nd place deck comes to mind, too. These interesting deckbuilding choices would largely be foreclosed with specific but fringe mini factions.


#11

I am not sure the mini factions were a mistake just yet. As others have said, they add so much flavor and are a fun and different way to play. That being said, I remember hearing/reading somewhere that they were intended to remain weaker than the main factions overall and maybe they shouldn’t get any more cards for some time after this cycle. With their special cards and influence numbers, I think it might become difficult to balance them even with restriction and ban list ifa really oppressive deck appears.

Until then, I will enjoy them as a fun part of the game. After all, playing against a lot of Adam or Sunny is not really different than playing against Andromeda or Valencia all the time.


#12

Well just for Adam and off the top of my head and not including the Kitara cards because I don’t feel I know then well enough.
Adam ID bioroid
Criminal. 40/12
Bioroid and Directive cards do not cost you Influence
You start the game with 3 different directive cards installed (these cards are not considered part of your deck).

Directives: all become neutral costing 3 Inf. (Possibly add the subtype bioroid so that Adam’s ID can be slightly simplified)

Brain chip. Add bioroid subtype. Becomes Criminal. Add “take 1 brain damage when installed unless you are a bioroid”

Multi-threader, criminal. (or Shaper with the bioroid subtype so Adam can play it without an influence cost.)
Dr Lovegood and Independent Thinking, neutral.

That all said, if D&D rotated out then you would look to reinvent Adam as a criminal runner. Possibly by removing the directives and setting him in the future when he has broken free of them.


#13

How I would do Sunny as a Shaper. Again set in the era of core 2.0. Sunny’s job of security testing for a living has got her somewhat addicted to running for the thrill of it.

ID. Shaper. Natural. Globalsec
45/12 Link 2 (or 50/15)
You have access to Globalsec. Globalsec cards don’t count against your Influence limit.

Nexus: neutral console, 3 Influence, Globalsec sub-type
Cloud breakers: neutral, 2 Influence each, Globalsec sub-type
Jak Sinclair: neutral Globalesec, 2 Influence

Security Chip. Criminal. Globalsec. (Stolen from Globalsec)
Another Day, Another Paycheck (criminal). Globalsec.
Globalsec Security clearance. Shaper. Globalsec. “When your turn begins, you may lose click. If you do, look at the top card of R&D; If you do not have access to Globalsec, trash the top card of your stack.”

White Hat. Shaper. “…trace0 (or trace 3 if you have access to Globalsec)…”

So the idea being that these runners are differentiated by having cross-faction sub-types that they have enhanced access to. Sunny’s a shaper who works for the man, Adam’s a criminal who has escape from control of the man, Apex is an AI who plans to eat the man…


#14

I’d agree with this. I think the more cards are printed for the mini’s (regardless of power level) the more that 25inf becomes a problem. When they first came out you were using almost every pip of influence for breakers/econ/draw. Now you still see a lot of that, but the mini’s don’t need to spend their inf on their tricks anymore. Sunny has her hats. Adam has FTT and Logic Bomb. Apex got… I guess assimilate was okay? But again, the more cards they have in their respective factions, especially if they’re high power, the more the 25inf starts becoming a problem because they can look more and more like current meta decks. There are Adams that look strikingly similar to reg anarch atm (https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/48893).


#15

Nah, mini factions are great. Putting these cards into the real factions would have been imbalanced. Mini factions are their own deal.


#16

this is how i’ve always seen them as well. i kind of feel like their influence spread should have limited them to these roles somehow

i also think the major mistake here was first designing them as neutral and being able to be used interchangeably (and with other neutral cards influence-free) but then last-minute changing it up.

the mini faction cards actually seem like they would work really well if you could actually fit them all into one deck too.

when they were first spoiled, my main concern was Adam, who had most of his cards kind of unusable in his deck (at the very least, you were limited to 2 copies of his directives in your deck unless you bought 2 D&D boxes)

i think it’s fine if a particular minifaction is at the top of the meta, but i think a lot more testing was necessary for them. i agree that they needed more cards to work well, but we’re potentially reaching a breaking point where it might be too much, but we’ll see. i think they should be getting more low-influence cards that are just passably useful for everyone (consider how the reactions to Process Automation and Build Script would have been if they were a minifaction card instead of neutral with 1 influence for everyone)


#17

Could be worse; they could’ve been Neutral Runners…


#18

This is a bit of a pipedream, but ever since Terminal Directive I’ve thought that that style of expansion would’ve been a much better fit for the mini-factions. If they just exist in the story mode you avoid any issues with importing their cards into the canonical factions, and their strong theming could help avoid the vague and incoherent crap that was the TD storyline.

Adam in particular seems to be begging for a campaign mode: “Who the hell is Adam?” is a good central driving story, and breaking free of directives works better as an arc over multiple games than within a single one.


Kitara Cycle: I bless the rains down in africaaa~
#19

You know, I think I would’ve been okay with them having 15 influence… if they had launched with more cards in D&D. At the end of this cycle (so they’ve existed for three cycles), each will have 10 cards, not counting ID’s. Each of the runner factions in just the core set have 15.

Take the NBN slots out (because NBN deserves no cards), and allocate them between the three, and they probably would’ve had a lot less miserable time up to now.


#20

Hopefully when we get Deluxe rotations (please FFG hear our cries), they do something like this to preserve the minis (ideally it’s just the mini faction cards from D&D and wishfully a core set completion set, not Strike and no new mini faction cards). It’d be a fun way for people to buy in since most people like them for their lore more than competitive viability. Adding a well though out campaign (not TD) would definitely have high appeal to those players and would likely see a fair amount of sales to existing players even if it offered no new cards.