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Common Agenda Compositions

I was reading one of the posts on Run the Net where @TheBigBoy mentioned:

For the agendas, I’m going to default to a 9-agenda suite rather than an 11-agenda suite .

This got me thinking, what are the common Agenda suites people use and why? So, I turned to Google:

Nothing in the last two years came up.

Really? We don’t talk about Agenda compositions? I searched here, and a whopping two posts come up, one where Vanity Project is suggested to give a 6 Agenda suite, and a lengthy discussion about the value of 1 point Agendas. Neither of which hold the answer I seek.

So I ask, has no one discussed this since Hollis? And if not, let’s talk about it!

A brief note on notation: When listing a composition, I think we should list the points value first, and the quantity second. There’s precedence in the BGG article I linked above. eg (3x2, 2x5, 1x4) denotes two 3-point agendas, five 2-pointers, and four 1-pointers.

I’m happy to start the discussion: Obviously, the composition is based on your strategy. I typically build Glacier style HB decks, so I want to have time to get a decently taxing scoring remote up. I find my decks typically have one of two Agenda compositions: 7 (3x6, 2x1) or 9 (3x3, 2x6), or (rarely) 10 (3x2, 2x8). I’m not a great deck builder, nor do I have access to a competitive meta, so I feel these are pretty untested, I just feel that fewer Agendas is better for my Glacier.

For Fast Advance (out of NBN for argument sake) I might try for (2x8 1x4), and for a Death By A Thousand Cuts style Jinteki out of PE I am looking more for (2x5, 10x1)

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Not to be glib/shut down discussion, but the 140 post discussion titled New Agenda Compositions: GFI & VP doesn’t answer your questions? It has folks charting out probability distributions for every type of composition, of which nothing has changed other than the Merger atrocity (which I’m sure someone crapped on somewhere).

(sorry for gross link - on mobile)

If anything, after reading that discussion way back then, my brain screamed enough, I get it, GFI is awesome. But everyone’s mileage varies I guess.


You’re not being glib at all, its a legitimate question. That post is the closest thing to the discussion I’m looking for, actually. It’s just not quite there yet. Also, it might be a little stale (see my first point below).

What I feel that post didn’t tell me was the following:

  • What Agendas do you want to see in a post-“limit 1 Astroscript per deck” NBN Fast Advance?
  • What Agenda composition do you put in your glacier deck?
  • What situations are neither of those suites appropriate (Jinteki PE?). What do you use instead?
  • Have any agendas that have come out since Data & Destiny changed how we compose our Agenda suites? (I’m looking at you, Merger and Improved Protein Source)
  • Does anyone use 4/2 Agendas?
  • What are the common numbers of Agendas in a suite? Is it really just 9 and 11? Why are those numbers magic?

And, maybe all those questions could be asked as separate threads, but I was hoping for a more general discussion of Agenda compositions that just happened to touch on some of those points.

Just for the record, I think this is an atrocious way of ordering the numbers. Even when you explain what it means you say the count first, then the point values. In any decklist or such, it’s also always “2x GFI” or similar. So before this goes any further, please swap the notation around. :slight_smile:


Also on notation: Describing agendas as advancement cost / points seems like the prevailing standard (Astro is 3/2, for example). This seems like the standard used previously in this thread and in the one linked to by @ijw473. I just bring it up because I have seen it reversed a few times.


Disclaimer: I would consider myself and “obsessive casual” as opposed to a “competitive” player.

Glacier decks in the style of redcoats/foodcoats/whatevercoats aim to tax the runner out to open scoring windows. So, choose agendas that synergize with this plan and force the runner to make taxing runs as much as possible.

My most recent experience with this has been HB:AoT. I’m running 3xABT, 3xVitruvius, 2xGFI, 1x Corporate Sales Team, and 2x Domestic sleepers. ABT, Vitruvius, and sleepers can all be installed and left unadvanced, then scored next turn. This encourages the runner to check any unadvanced card in a scoring remote to keep me honest.

Sleepers can act as a “fake GFI” that can be IAA’ed when I’m on 4 points: they have to check it if they can.

CST could be an NAPD contract if I had another influence (which would be more in line with the “tax to open scoring window” plan), but I didn’t have an influence and the extra econ can be helpful.

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Agenda compositions really depend on what your deck is trying to do. I have listed some common suites below which is by no means exhaustive but are generally always good because they leverage the best 2/1s & 3/2s in faction (for never or fast advance) and reduce agenda density via GFI. If they slot something other than those types agendas its either because they are forced to (weyland) or the abilities are simply to good to ignore (Nisei) or synergise really well with the strategy or ID (Fetal, cats).

If you identify what your deck is trying to do then you can change the suite accordingly. False lead and chronos project for example have really powerful abilities that can justify their inclusion even though they are not 2/1s or 3/2s. If you are looking to leverage a money advantage in a midseasons or combo deck then exploda is very good, likewise EffCom in HB. Ask yourself are you trying to score out or kill? What is your method of scoring? Is your strategy attacking (rush/kill) or defensive (glacier/kill)?

NBN tagstorm (CTM/Sol):
3 BN
3 Beale
1 Astro

Sync Kill:
3 BN
3 Cats
1 15mins

Palana/RP glacier/rush:
3 Nisei
3 CST/Braintrust
3 GFI (or 2 GFI & 1 Philotic)

IG Prison:
3 Food
2 Fetal

HB Glacier/rush:
3 VV
3 GFI (or 2 GFI & 1 4/2)

BS Glacier:
3 Atlas
3 Oaktown
2 Hostile Takeover (or 1 CST/NAPD)

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Two more I’ll add to this list. These aren’t necessarily common archetypes, but they at least reflect my thought process in picking agenda compositions based on corp strategy.

Titan Rush/FA

The agendas serve one of 2 purposes: generate econ or be Project Atlas. GFI is the odd one out because it helps keep r&d density down and slots are tight, but I might swap it for a mix of Geothermals, The Future Is Now, and Profiteerings (tutoring for FA pieces or fueling economy).

Blue Sun Punitive Flatline

This deck used a mix of Oversight AI, Localized Product Line and Consulting Visit to make sure that you could get an early credit lead (OAI + Curtain Wall/Orion). A stolen GT/VP can be turned to a flatline with Punitive Counterstrike (or double-punitive). A scored False Lead sets up a kill with Hard-Hitting News and scorches. Localized Product Line and Consulting Visit help put together whatever you’re missing to achieve the goal.

Also this deck stopped working when Boom came out and people got used to HHN.

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In Blue Sun I always go like this:

x3 Oaktown Renovation
x3 Corporate Sales Team
x3 Project Atlas
x2 Hostile Takeover

This agenda pool lets me play without almost no eco (x3 Hedge Fundo and x3 OAI), note that all non-Atlas Agendas are eco cards, and that’s a lot of free deck slots!

the important thing to realize is that no suite is set in stone and needs to be re-evaluated on every new card that is released or trend in the meta

for example, HHN improved false lead. the relative decrease of decks containing Levy has reduced the appeal of chronos project, mwl updates change the influence that’s freely available etc


It seems like any common good agenda composition starts with 2x GFI, unless perhaps you’re putting regular 3-pointers in the deck, in which case there’re no rules anymore. After the two GFIs, you usually put in the 3/2s and check if there’re any good 1-pointers for the deck in question. Then you check how many more points you need and if it’s exactly 3, you probably put in the third GFI. If you still don’t have enough points, put in 4/2s until you’re at 20 (or 18 for 44 card decks). If you go to 21, you might want to fiddle around with GFIs, 1-pointers and the 4/2s (but not necessarily…a 20-point Weyland with 2 Hostiles may be worse in some cases than a 21-point Weyland with 3 Hostiles. Ideally you want a 20 points with 3 Hostiles, though…adjusting GFIs helps with that).

There’re exceptions, of course, like Ben Ni’s SYNC, which skips the 3/2s part and IG Prison, which for some reason still includes the GFIs even though it runs regular 3-pointers too (I guess it banks on them not being stealable since TFP is still good). Then there’s Jinteki, which has Nisei Mk IIs as the “3/2s” instead of Braintrusts.

Anyway, if you don’t have a specific plan for your agendas, the steps above should get you a somewhat decent agenda suite.

This is the most important thing said in the thread. GFI has changed how we play the game, to a massive degree.

It is a super powerful double whammy: Less agendas due to it being 5/3, and less available points due to it being only 2 in the Runner’s Scoring Area.

Since preventing the Runner from hitting 7 as fast as they can is THE most important part of the game, any other agenda either has to win the game for you faster or slow the Runner down harder. If it doesn’t, it isn’t worth it.


To go before GFI, yes. QPM, 15 mins and BN (into EOI or other tag punishment) are great contenders here. There’s more than one thing in common with those though.

Does making it less likely that the Runner can win off of R&D Access count as “slowing the runner down”? In that case, it would seem that having the lowest possible Agenda density is a good thing. But we are not playing decks with minimal Agenda density. If we were, I’d expect to see more 1x Government Takeover + 4x Vanity Projects + 1x Project Atlas, giving us a mere five Agendas in a 49 card deck.

To answer my own question, it would be a pain to score without some serious Fast Advance hi-jinks or a nearly-impenetrable scoring server.

But we have the Fast Advance tools to pull it off in NBN, don’t we? How about a Tag-storm with Psychographics running 3x GFI, 2x Vanity Project, 1x Astroscript?

Or even just splashing one Vanity Project in a deck with 3x GFIs and 4x 2-point Agendas. There is no scoring avenue that doesn’t require the runner to steal 3 (or 4) Agendas where the corp only needs to score 2 or 3?

Is it just that the math doesn’t work out, and those reductions in density are not significant enough? Or are the other Agendas too good at manipulating tempo?

The problem with the really thin composition is it trades volatility on one end for consistency on another. For example, I once seriously advocated for a Blue Sun deck that played 1 Government Takeover, 3 GFI, and five other points, because if they don’t take GT, they have to take usually 4 of 7 remaining agendas (and this was back before NAPD were on the MWL). That adds a few points to all your matchups. But then you lose those points in many matchups because if they take GT, you were usually at 5% or less to win. So you have to decide if that’s worth the risk. In certain matchups, volatility is better than consistency, if those highs are rewarding enough and/or the lows are sufficiently infrequent.

Well, that is an interesting point.

I would say that you are correct in that those agendas are just too hard to score to reap the benefits they would have in slowing the runner down or reducing density.

For instance, Vanity cannot be scored without FA tricks by Install, Advance, Advance in a scoring server the Runner can’t break for 1 turn, whereas other 5/3s can.

Before GFI, there were Glacier decks running 1-2 of certain 5/3s because of the density reduction and their ability to score them if they had a 1 turn scoring window.

Prime example was RP 8 Agenda: 3x Nisei MK2, 3x The Future Perfect, 1x Hades Shard, 1x NAPD. The Hades was played because 1) scoring it was possible and, 2) scoring it was very very powerful.

The other reason the much large agendas aren’t as useful, even if they do dramatically reduce density, is that they don’t really slow the Runner because they also reduce the number of agendas needed to win dramatically. EI, 2 scores to win rather than 3-4. So your reduced density is mitigated by the fact that the Runner needs less accesses overall.

Even with non GFI 5/3s, a minimum of 3 scores is necessary regardless, so their downside of increased point value isn’t necessarily that terrible.

GFI is soooooo damn good, though, because you get the best parts of 5/3s (reduced density, scoreability) on top of the fact that the Runner still needs 4 scores to win.

I think the argument that it requires either a three turn scoring window OR FA shenanigans to score is the black mark against Vanity Project. Otherwise, I suspect we might see more singleton copies to keep the density down. Probably the same reason we don;t see more Government Takeover decks.

Help me understand this. Assuming the agendas are evenly distributed in R&D, then isn’t the Runner wasting more resources on an R&D run against a lower density deck than on a higher density one since the number of accesses needed to find an agenda is increased? Put another way, the runner needs fewer cards to win, but they need more accesses per card in a lower density deck. Doesn’t it stand then that the Runner needs to run MORE to get the points they need? Or am I not thinking this through correctly?

If they’re exclusively winning off of r&d, yes. The most elemental part of runner strategy is to go where the agendas are, so I think the point is that a good runner will recognize what’s going on and prefer to remote camp and wait for HQ to fill up or force the game to go long and wait for Jackson to restock the pond.

But that’s no different whether we have a high or low density in R&D, right? The Runner will always go where the agendas are.

Right, but if you need to make 3 runs through a remote vs. 4, it’s cheaper. I agree with the your assessment that fewer agendas -> less fruitful AVERAGE run, was just trying to clarify (what I think was) @Orbital_Tangent’s point about the runner needing fewer total runs to win the game in the best case.

It’s an interesting theoretical question, though. I’m going to try to do some simulation/analysis to see what the average number of accesses for the runner to win is under a couple of different assumptions/agenda compositions. The accuracy of these predictions will be a function of how many beers have been consumed before I try to work it out.