Corp Control Decks

For much of Netrunners’ history Runner decks have generally played the role of ‘controlling’ the Corporations, having to be flexible in order to deal with a range of reasonably linear gameplans that corps might execute. Conversely, the majority of successful Corp decks have been ‘aggro’ decks, dictating the pace of the game forcing the runner to respond by applying pressure through scoring agendas or developing other threats.

Recently however, Runners have gained tools to execute powerfull linear gameplans of thier own; milling the corp with DLR or constantly clearing out ice on RnD to threaten medium digs. The designers have long been trying to push cards for more reactive corp decks, it was the lead justifiation given for currents, however there has been at best mixed success. Even so, I am not convinced the existing card pool has been fully explored, and the Mumbad cycle seems likely to be pushing this theme even further, notably through powerful effects like Museum allowing recursion of ‘removal’ and solving the corps’ inevitability problem.

The purpose of this thread is to facilitate discussion on exploring a different way to play corporation, focussed primarily on countering the runners moves and depleting thier resources rather than executing a common gameplan against all decks.

Specifically, there are a few key questions that I think warrant answering:

  • What current decks, if any, already have this as a primary goal? (Note: I do not see PE in this category)

  • Which factions / IDs are best suited to it? Control cards have hitherto been split mainly across Jinteki, Weyland, and NBN.

  • What are the different styles / methods of controlling the runners boardstate?

  • And have the designers now done enough to make this a viable deck-type and to what level?

I do not believe any existing threads directly pertain to this topic; hopefully others with similar thoughts will find this useful.

Until corps get a way to force the burden of agendas onto the runner, or until they get spilt cards, along the line of fire/ice (except with netrunner stuff Snatch and Grab/Successful Demo or something like that), I don’t see a way for Corp to be anything but the default aggro.


Thanks for replying! It’s an interesting point whether corps are fundamentally too constrained by the need for ice and agendae to incorporate this sort of flexiblility into thier decks without the sort of jamming together you suggest. It seems this has been realised to some extent though, with cards like Contract Killer, and agendae with powerful effects that either replicate other significant cards or can hurt the runner such as chronos Project.

It seems to me as if we might be approaching a critical mass of ways both to not lose, such as GFI, News Team and Museum; and sufficiently powerful answers that can be tutored and reccurred such as corporate town or Marcus Batty with rig destruction. This is alongside the general increase in good taxing ice that can constrain runners’ options. Whether this is enough to overcome structural difficulties in how corp decks are built seems more up in the air than ever.

Would fast advance count as a corp control deck? The corp has inevitability and just has to try and stop the runner from scoring points for long enough to draw their biotic labors.

Good question, I didn’t really offer a cast iron definition. In my opinion most FA wouldn’t, as it primarily has a single, non interactive, focus that the runner has to respond to: scoring agendas generally as soon as they are drawn. All the interaction is generated by the runner.

An example of an existing deck that seeks to control the runner might be one which recurs blacklist, shutdown and cards like batty to deny the runner the ability to make accesses before scoring out. Similarly decks which proactively keep the runner poor such as this recent SC deck from NRDB:

Edit: Wrong deck! Here’s what I meant:

All credit to @Nobo715, feel free to correct my definition. Sorry for confusion.

Arcs for a control deck might include any focus on denying the runner some key aspect or aspects of thier ability to affect the corp’s gamestate, i.e. thier credits, cards, or rig, in order to win in the late game. The proactive element is important as it sets these decks apart from conventional rush decks that are strongest in the early to mid game, and allows them to execute this plan almost irrespectively of the runners actions (e.g. secretary is not a ‘control’ card, bad times is). Hopefully this makes things clearer.

Spark is one of the few IDs that you could argue has control aspects. By and large though, most corps require the runner to make a mistake in order to put any kind of direct pressure on them.


This is an interesting conversation to have, though I think probably not one likely to come up with many/any competitive deck types along this vein.

The linked sync deck has one strong controlled element (Keegan) but it’s actually good because it also threatens a very strong “aggro” game plan through generic nbn FA.

Historically I think the only faction to be able to almost fully invest in this line of play would be Weyland, using a simplistic rushing plan to force runner reactions, and cards like power shutdown, archer, batty, will-o, etc. to try to “respond to the responses.” Overall it hasn’t worked out as clone chip, smc, special order, multiple breakers, or parasites are in basically every runner deck.

Do we have to pigeonhole Netrunner decks into the MTG ideas of “control” and “aggro”? I feel like the games are different enough such that the descriptors don’t really apply very well.


I think we’re already covered the fact that they don’t really apply (given the multiple layers of asymmetrical inevitability baked in to the Corp) but I think it’s handy language for describing different sorts of gameplans, some of which have barely been explored by the card pool.


The problem with that line of thought is that “control” doesn’t mean anything in Netrunner. There is no comparison to Magic to be made and any attempt to describe what it means often describes a good deck in general (as an example,. “makes it hard for the runner to score agendas”, “limits the runner’s options”, “taxes the runner’s clicks” all just describe any good Corp deck, and likewise for Runner if you change instances of “runner” to “corp”). It doesn’t describe a game plan or strategy like it does in Magic, and in Magic the reason it’s used is because it defines a strategy.

It’s nice to discuss niche archetypes, but “Control” is meaningless in Netrunner. It doesn’t tell anyone what it means and what it’s actually trying to allude to, and the fact that there isn’t an agreed on definition even in this thread should surely evidence that. Surely it’s a better idea to use one of the following thread titles?:

  • Corp Hand Disruption Decks

  • Corp Net Damage Decks

  • Corp Glacier Decks

  • Corp Fast Advance Decks

  • Corp Econ Denial Decks

  • Corp (insert strategy here) Decks


FA, Glacier, Rush & Kill are the four primary strategies to win a game of netrunner as corp. Everything else is just tactics.


What’s the difference between rush and FA? Does it just involve scoring fast without scoring out of hand?

Yes, FA is specifically installing and scoring agendas in the same turn. Many good FA decks also rush pretty well. Especially if t means you can score Astro.

This is a battle I’m not real interested in fighting (in a practical sense, there’s not much to be gained because viable corp decks that could be described as “control” basically don’t exist) but I will just say that dismissing this idea out-of-hand because using words like “control” and “aggro” give you MtG PTSD (understandable) is pretty short-sighted. Regardless of my (very negative) feelings for MtG, I think it’s dishonest to pretend that fundamental terminology from the most deeply analyzed and thoroughly written-about customizable game can’t have any possible application to a game that is, in an extremely literal sense, it’s direct descendant.

fundamentally, FA and rush are the same strategy (score before the runner can find answers), one is just worse at it (more answers are needed against FA than rush, due to the random nature of single central accesses). In many ways, this strategy (and the two tactics within it) could be described as “aggro”: it seeks to develop and exploit early tempo advantage without building anything much in the way of “staying power.” it intends to win before the opponent can fully react.

viable corp decks that could be described as “control” (again, just using terms from MtG as accessible shorthand for broad strategy concepts, not describing a one-to-one game comparison) basically don’t exist, but I think we can see the see the skeleton of what they might look like in the now-defunct “uncorrodable” archetype in weyland. the goal isn’t to test the runner for answers or efficiency; it is to completely exhaust a specific resource (in this case “ways to break barriers,” in mtg it is usually something much simpler like “cards” or “creatures”) and win using this inevitable game-state.

I deeply disagree that FA and rush is the same thing. These days FA decks are fast enough that Rush is mostly pointless, but there have been slow FA decks in years past, like ETF decks making towers of ice on centrals while drawing for Biotic and hoarding money, or AD combo decks that chain biotics.

Never Advance was also a succesful strategy in olden days, but that is mostly a glacier tactic.


Yeah there’s overlap- Weyland can rush without FA, Haas can FA without rush.

1 Like

Well I guess this thread got a discussion going! :slight_smile: I agree that ‘Control’ is a vague term in Netrunnner, and could cover an array of corp tactics. I use the term because Lukas used it in an interview (maybe it was an article) where he discussed the purpose for introducing currents, and because it’s a term that I thought was generally understood.

The vagueness is partly deliberate as I’m interested to see what ideas people are working on and where people have had success. Because there are so many possible vectors of play; clicks, cards, creds, breakers, ass well as multiple ids and factions to try each of these out from, often using different tools; most of the discussion and development has been spread very thinly accross a whole host of threads. For example I tried resource + credit denial in Gagarin a while ago, but I could have tried it in NBN. I feel it would be useful to get a survey of where the community is up to on decks using these strategies, and hopefully to spark off of each other.

Ideally a result of the discussion could be to clarify what archetypes might exist, out of what ID’s do they make sense and under what conditions are they strong. As to viability, well these decks haven’t had it in the past, but it seems FFG will keep trying until they do, in which case I think it makes sense to be thinking about.

Currently I have:

  • Recursion and breaker denial decks, Jinteki CP + Weyland, maybe stronger now the MWL has hit but seems weak to the meta.

  • Econ denial, NBN (ID?) + Weyland? Some promising signs, Spark or Sync? Glacier vs FA?.

  • Click consumption, HB + NBN. Have not seen anyone try this, probably doesn’t merit it’s own thread but could be interesting.

  • Hand disruption, Jinteki + NBN. Unsure about overlap with uncorrodable, lots of tools, but limited space and might work best with recursion such as Museum.

  • Mill the runner, Jinteki (maybe Weyland with more cards like Underway Renovation).

  • ?

It seems like there is a lot of potential overlap in strategies, as well as a plethora of tools, most of which have seen little use especially as the focus of a deck.

this is actually a great point, and I definitely stand corrected (I made the same mistake I accused others of, which is mistaking current meta for fundamental mechanics). It’s true that FA is really more of a tactic to exploit the inherent strength of defending centrals instead of a remote, and that this tactic can fit just as easily into a quick rush strategy (NBN, usually) as into a more drawn out glacier strategy (HB, usually). I think the main reason I wanted to conflate them is that thanks (in part) to clot and the time constraints of tournaments, out-of-hand scoring appears almost exclusively in faster, rush-style tournament decks.

Never advance is also more of a tactic than a strategy; similar to FA it can fit into a quick, rush-style deck or played behind a deep remote in a glacier-type.

So, a quick recap so far: Corp decks in netrunner are limited to just a couple of overall strategies, that are generally incompatible with each other, though hybrids of the two obviously do exist;

  • Rush (could be described as being similar to “aggro”) seeks to move very quickly early on and stress the opponent’s game by forcing the game to be decided before the opponent can bring all of their resources to bear.

  • Glacier (could be described as being similar to “tempo”) seeks to build up a mounting board state that requires more and more resources to answer, and force the game to be decided only after the opponent has fallen behind in this race for resources (typically later in the game, though not always)

FA, never advance, damage combos, IAAing big agendas… these are all just tactics that these types of decks can use. obviously certain tactics work better with certain strategies (most rush decks don’t do well with the highly-telegraphed style of IAAing 3 pointers, for example) but none of them are a wholly exclusive game-plan.

this thread posits a third overall strategy:

  • “Control” corp would seek to win by directly attacking a specific resource (in MtG it is usually simply “cards in hand,” ANR players will likely need to get more creative than this) to prevent the opponent from winning until some kind of inevitable game-state is developed, such as a game winning combo, or an impenetrable server.

right now this type of strategy basically doesn’t exist at the competetive level; 1000 cuts jinteki or uncorrodable Weyland could be said to be prototyples of this playstyle, but both currently suffer from some very difficult counter-cards being very prevalent (levy and clone chip being the most prominent two) and end up tacking on aspects of the other strategies in order to win


I guess then we could define a control deck as one that is able to get a game state where they haven’t won yet, but are almost guaranteed to win. A deck that will be the control in some matches won’t always be the control though:

In most games of netrunner, the game hasn’t been decided either way until one player actually wins. In this case neither deck is the control deck. Each side usually has some way to claw back an advantage. A desperate runner who is about to lose to a remote score might make a glory run on r&d / hq. A corp might get back some economic advantage by convincing the runner to go for a remote that has a useless or detrimental card in it. Etc.

But you could imagine a game where the corp has not built any backup plan into their deck at all and the runner can easily stay ahead and just click magnum opus while waiting for an install. Or one where the runner has got an r&d lock that prevents the corp from ever drawing an agenda. Or they have blackmail and can get in as soon as the corp advances a card. In this case the runner is the control.

And you could imagine a game where the runner (usually a crim) can’t use any of their stuff because it requires making successful runs, and the corp is able to increase the cost of servers faster than the runner can click for credits (maybe the corp has a melange mining corp they’re clicking when not installing ice). Or the corp has trashed all the runner’s decoders and has a blacklist behind a quandary. If the runner can’t win and the corp can score agendas whenever they feel like it, the corp is the control.


I think that what you could call “Corporation Control Decks” do have an equivalent in Magic but they are not traditional control builds, but lockdown decks like good old Stax. If you have played Stax, you’ll probably recognize many of the same principles while playing Industrial Genomics.

The key here is that in Netrunner the Corporation is always proactive. You cannot “react” to the Runner, there are no instants, much less counterspells. If you want to “control” the Runner you must play your threats first (Corporate Town, Hostile Infrastructure) so the Runner reacts.

This is extremely important. If you are playing Magic and the opponent does nothing, inevitability through card advantage leads to victory. In Netrunner, if the Runner can sit back and gets credits, inevitability favours him and you lose.

I think the decks you are looking for, though are not decks like Stax or Genomics. I think you are looking for something with more back and forth like a Toolbox Gagarin build.