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Are Mill Decks Viable?


#1

We all know that there are 2 win conditions for each side in Netrunner. We have been 4 main variants of the corps second win condition, flatlining, by net, meat, and brain damage as well as negative hand size. But I believe the runner win condition of milling has not been explored to the fullest yet. Is milling the corp a viable primary win condition? (Wall o’ text, tl;dr at the end.)

Recently, I was looking back at some old data pack unboxings for a laugh, and noticed that a lot of them discussed how “another 1 cost virus for that inevitable Noise mill deck” had been released, but I have not seen that deck come to fruition yet. Recently, I did a couple experiments of milling.

Experiment 1: Noise All Out Mill

Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire

Event (3)
1x Levy AR Lab Access •••
2x Mass Install

Hardware (7)
1x Brain Cage
1x Chop Bot 3000
3x Cyberfeeder
2x Turntable

Resource (10)
3x Aesop’s Pawnshop ••••• •
3x Duggar’s
1x Hades Shard •
3x Public Sympathy

Program (25)
3x Cache •••
3x Clot
3x Datasucker
2x Gorman Drip v1 ••
3x Gravedigger
3x Imp
3x Ixodidae
3x Lamprey
2x Scheherazade

15 influence spent (max 15)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Chrome City

This is the final version of a deck that is still not very good. I’ve found that Duggars is superior to Wyldside + Chronotype ,just because you can empty your bad in one turn with Mass Install The Hades Shard is still there just for insurance. Also, Turntable can slow the game down by feeding the corp low point agendas. The deck still plays painfully slow, and you end up with a bunch of money you can’t do anything with. So until a (probably OP) card comes out that converts credits into cards more than once (i.e. Don’t say Quality Time) comes out, I don’t think that the mill only plan out of Noise is going to work.

Experiment 2: Chaos Theory combo

Chaos Theory: Wünderkind

Event (12)
3x Amped Up ••••• ••••
3x Diesel
3x Quality Time
3x Sure Gamble

Hardware (6)
3x Clone Chip
2x Comet
1x Titanium Ribs ••

Resource (10)
3x All-nighter
3x Data Leak Reversal •••
1x Eden Shard •
3x John Masanori

Program (12)
3x Hyperdriver
3x Leprechaun
3x Magnum Opus
3x Self-modifying Code

15 influence spent (max 15)
40 cards (min 40)
Cards up to The Underway

I built a previous version of this and immediately won my first game. I was so pumped I played around 3 more games online and lost all 3. With lots of editing, I got the win rate to around 45%, still horrible, but if you have the surprise element, and the corp over draws with Jackson early, you can get so far ahead in cards in the corps deck. Basically, you gain a bunch of clicks, run into and ETR sub (or jack out) to get a tag from John Massanori, then DLR until they have one card left, then Eden Shard and pop it immediately for the win. This deck is very mentally fragile, as you have to count the corps cards in deck in your head. Nevertheless, no matter how fun it is to see you League mate’s reaction as they show you they had a Jackson on the board, it is not consistent or really good at all.

I honestly think that milling can be a win condition fairly soon, but I can’t make it work. Can you? Post ideas below.

tl;dr: My mill decks suck. Can you come up with a good one?


#2

It’s never been that my mill decks have been too slow, but that corp decks (who know what you’re doing) are too fast. So I try to slow down the corp and it turns out the best way to slow down the corp is to run, force them to rez stuff, and threaten to steal. So the best mill decks end up being more switch decks imo.


#3

I played a Stirling DLR deck a little bit after H&P came out that I ripped off from someone or other. It was pretty fun but not super viable for high-level play.

Your best bet at this point would probably be Noise with DLR and Fisk Investment Seminar.


#4

Here’s an old milldromeda deck that brought me modest success. I think corp economies are probably too robust for it to work well these days, though.


#5

In watching better players than myself, I noticed that with Noise, just playing a good old fashioned Noiseshop will win you some percentage of games because of mills. That percentage is not that high, but a few cards switched around to focus on a mill strategy could be a push to go in that direction. That way, you begin with a strong base deck, and then just modify slightly to alter the gameplan. Your Noise deck is already pretty similar to Noiseshop, although it’s missing a few key bits. For instance, you have no breakers and no Parasites. Your plan is to just Mill agendas and then Hades Shard them for the win (it seems like).

If I can realize your plan actually includes no breakers, I can just slam every agenda behind any ETR ICE and it’s safe. Even something like an NAPD that I never plan to score. I can make a new remote server for every agenda and put in a hard ETR, and you’re literally locked out forever unless you Lamprey me to nothing.

Putting something like a Knight on a remote along with Parasites in the heap you can CC out instantly with Sucker tokens is terribly threatening, and I think the extra turns the Corp has to spend finding an answer to that issue will be more useful than the extra mills you get from having the extra viruses.

So my final answer - I think the “Mill Deck” is viable if you’re going for the idea that milling out the Corp is your primary win condition. But having a backup plan is also a good idea, and if you’re actually able to seriously threaten a remote, the mill plan becomes that much more devastating, because you’re actively denying the corp cards, you’re thinning their deck, and they’re thinning their deck because they have to draw for an answer.


#6

Hivemind decks with demo runs can aim for mill as a solid plan B. 2x VBG and a grave digger can give you two mills per turn to infinity, and chakana lock can mean that slow moving corps literally get caught without enought turns left to win.

still, in 90% of those games you could just as easily score out.

Related to the topic, I don’t think the mill rule is supposed to be the same kind of alternate win condition as flatlining. it’s basically a timer on the game, and it means that corps must plan on a way to score out (thus keeping the game more interactive rather than just autopiloting a trap deck and waiting for people to kill themselves on it.) It’s not something that comes up a lot, obviously, but a good safeguard rule to have, just in case.


#7

The issue with mill as a win condition isn’t actually the speed or anything along those lines. The biggest reason you don’t see mill out victories is because you can access archives pretty easily and win off that before the corp is milled out, in fact if you’re milling heavily on a regular agenda spread (~8-11 agendas) you will likely have a game winning hades shard by milling ~15-18 cards, barring a jackson intervention of course.

Basically there’s no reason to actually wait for them to mill out when you’re milling them.


#8

I used to play an Stirling deck with Data Dealer that picked up some wins by milling. It’s not a mill deck, and I’m not sure I would recommend it, but it’s certainly a route worth considering.


#9

It feels like with cards like spoilers anf fisk investment seminar, mill should be viable in every faction by the end of thee cycle. Personally I’m looking forward to shoving some of these cards into Fisk, but I think the correct goal is to force agendas into play more quickly, rather than just to mill the corp out. I feel like Gang Sign is worth a mention in criminal “mill” decks for the cheap hand pressure.


#10

They certainly are viable, I’ve milled out many a player with my Noise mill deck. Wildsides are a must as is Aesops, I also run a backup Earthrise hotel. A couple of breakers let you try and nick the odd agenda to slow down the corp, but once your resources are in place you can mill them for 2-3 cards every turn. You don’t need to run most of the time, even archives and therefore are immune to a lot of the net and meat damage, though not all of it.


#11

Sometimes they’re IG and have an archives full of pain, but I have Magnum Opus and a rig, so we just wait for the inevitable.


#12

I think Echoes of Truth is a good R&D mega-run deck that can also mill out the Corp with Demolition Runs.

I’ve toyed around with my Valencia’s Mega DLR deck to try to mill the Corp while relying on Blackmail for pressure. I feel like it has a decent chance of milling out the Corp but that I usually end up waiting too late (ie. when I’m fully set up) to start milling.

I think Fisk Investment Seminar and click boosters are the biggest additions to mill decks as milling the Corp is pretty click-intensive.