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Corps > Runners

At this point, it should be abundantly clear that Corps are doing better than Runners in the current environment, even in tournament play. Both taxing and fast decks are now clearly viable and strong, and Runners are having trouble coming up with decks that will be able to address both. Further, it seems like Upstalk (and perhaps the Lunar Cycle as a whole) may be continuing to strengthen Corps while Runners stay broadly stagnant.

Are there any exciting new Runner strategies or builds that you guys are seeing to help counteract this? What does an all-comers Runner deck look like these days? To get the discussion rolling, here are some things you should be expected to have at least decent matchups against:

-NBN: Making News taxing ICE fast advance (see Alex/SneakySly/my Plugged-In decks)
-NBN: TWIY* w/ Biotic Labor (and Near Earth Hub’s variant when that comes out)
-HB: EtF fast advance with program destruction
-HB: EtF taxing decks (Red Coats and varaints)
-Cerebral Imaging (scorch or FA)
-Jinteki: RP taxing decks with asset economy
-Jinteki: PE net damage and program destruction
-Supermodernism out of either BABW or GRNDL

It strikes me that it’s quite hard to hit all of these bases solidly-- indeed, I’m not sure what the best Runner options are at this stage. What do you guys think?


One thing I like about Netrunner over MTG is how you can just click for credits and cards in the former, while the latter you risk getting mana screwed.

In early Android Netrunner, clicking for credits/cards was not much less efficient than cards that generated credits/cards, but as cards were printed that were more and more efficient at generating credits and card draw, luck slowly became a greater factor, and the possibility for getting something like a weak form of “mana screwed” may become more prevalent (unless sufficient options and tutors for those options are available).

Because cards are becoming more efficient, I’m afraid that the Runner game will become more reliant on drawing specific high efficiency cards, and even if you can still click for credits/cards, the gulf will become so significant in efficiency that some games may become decided just by how many of some card you draw.

As Corps inch further in their advantage over runners, drawing multiple Account Siphons becomes more relevant, for example. Runner decks become more of high risk, low consistency, unless sufficient tutors are printed or alternate options become available.

Corps could (especially in the early days) get screwed by being agenda flooded (now mitigated somewhat significantly by Jackson Howard), but now Runners also can get screwed by not drawing their high power cards. Runners used to be able to build for consistency, but now it is becoming more apparent to me that they need to incorporate high risk, high reward, low consistency cards if they hope to keep up with Corps.

Hence, e.g., the vanishing of Professional Contacts in decks and the imperative to run 2-3 Account Siphon out-of-faction.

Maybe I’m dramatizing a bit, but I still think there is an apparent trend.


I think you’re probably about right that Corps have marginally the best of it at the moment. Though I think it’s still pretty close, which is testament to the balance that the FFG team has managed.

Currently I’m running a toolbox deck out of Exile with lots of one off trash on use programs, program recursion and an Opus economy. It’s not a new idea but it seems to cause a lot of those decks trouble. It might also be better out of Kate, but that’s another discussion.

I think there are still 2 strong runner archetypes.

  • Early aggro criminal with Desperado
  • Big breaker shaper with event econ or opus

Steven Wooley would add:

  • Siphon recursion Anarch

ICE destruction is an archetype, I think it probably works best in Shaper, but Anarchs also play this game pretty well.

I think all the corp decks you’ve listed has one of those archetypes, if not more, that it would prefer not to see across the table. There’s a 400 post thread that started from Lucky Find + PPVP is a thing, which suggests that Runner strategies aren’t all that stagnant. I think that it’s easier to categorise Corp decks, whereas many runner decks take ideas from several places, so ‘new ideas’ are less obvious. For example, Sundew comes out and Replicating Perfection with asset econ is a thing. John Massanori comes out and Criminals with run econ is slightly improved. Runner decks seem to evolve, whereas whole new ideas for corp decks pop up.

I’d be interested to know if anyone has any idea about whether that’s a function of the asymmetry of the game, the corp player gets to decide what sort of game we’re playing and the runner has to react. Or is it just a result of the cards that have been printed?

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This sounds right to me. I think it’s most true of Anarchs, but true for runners in general – you often don’t have a solid plan for victory the way the corp does. Instead, you have the bones of many plans, and need to make use of whichever is best against the corp you’re dealing with. With the increasing diversity of actually competitive corp decks, this is more true than ever.

Looking at the tournament winning decklists page, there’s actually more diversity in Runners. Either this is because Runners losing more doesn’t matter so long as they manage to win enough, or it’s a sign of the diversity of thought going into that side in comparison to the corp. There are fewer successful corp IDs, but most of them have won more than one or even two tourneys that have won any, while there are many runners that win just one.

I’d agree, you are dramatizing. :wink:

NBN: Fast Advance - Never truly counterable, the most reliable way to beat this deck is Parasites, Account Siphon, and Corroders, and most importantly, luck of draw. You can never reliably beat a NBN fast advance deck.

HB: EtF: The most difficult deck out the ones listed. Playing against the other deck types leaves this one is a very strong position. Mostly countered by traditional play, such as scalable breakers, interfaces, and good econ.

CI Combo decks: Legwork, luck of the draw.

Jinteki: RP: See HB EtF. Countered by Anatomy of Anarchy with Whizzard.

Jinteki: PE: People still run Plascretes, this style of PE is most predictable and can be played around.

Weyland Supermodern: Dead archetype. Sees almost no competitive play. Can be played around. Change this to Blue Sun glacier and we got a discussion.

Do you mean BABW Supermodernism, or GRNDL Supermodernism as well? 'Cause if you’re discounting the second, I think you’re doing it a disservice. Until Blue Sun gets here it’s far and away the most competitive Weyland option, and I’d much rather run against some of the other choices. I’d definitely put it above CI right now, though I know the data doesn’t quite reflect that. Recently, I know it made Top 8 in Seattle, though I don’t know the specifics of the Win-Loss ratio.

I suppose it’s not the most common because it’s difficult to play, but I think that writing it off – especially with Taurus on the way – is shortsighted. It’s the only non-FA deck I’ve played against that’s able to punish mistakes/openings as painfully as FA decks do.

That’s the difference, at least in my experience, between FA and other archetypes. It’s not that luck is any more required or that reliably beating them is impossible, it’s that they can create and punish openings in a way that other corps aren’t able to do. Instead of forcing you to exhaust yourself and then taking advantage of the opening (or using your hesitation against you), FA and Supermodernism force you to take action and keep taking action, because if you let the pressure up at all, you’re done.

Both of them then punish you for doing so (Scorched Earth being a deterrent more than a sure kill, though one they’re often able to deliver on). And both will be getting Taurus, allowing them to kill Plascretes with relative ease, making them substantially more dangerous to run sans-killer.

EDIT: Also, what do Plascretes have to do with PE? PE isn’t always going to be running SE, it’s capable of actually dealing sufficient Net Damage itself, now.

When I talked to him at the regionals it seemed like people up there had wizened up to siphon anarchs and he had kinda moved off it.

Disagree with most of this post :stuck_out_tongue:

NBN FA - HQ multi-access does wonders, both by itself and in conjunction with Imp

Jin:PE - if your deck doesn’t have a lot of built-in redundancy, you’re screwed. You will be losing important cards, don’t underestimate the raw damage output they’re capable of (4 net damage per run isn’t uncommon, even after you get a full rig)

Weyland - dude. Duuude. It’s a rush deck that picks up speed by scoring agendas. You can’t let an agenda slide, not ever. An Atlas with 2 counters means you may as well pack up your cards and go home. Thus, you need to play similarly fast and risky as you have to vs. TWIY, but the margin of error is much smaller and the consequences of error are “gg”. The deck is amazing in how many ways of creating scoring windows it has, and the sheer number of different ways to increase the impact of scoring windows your cards let you exploit. I honestly think Blue Sun glacier won’t really hold a candle to that.


Yeah. I think Blue Sun is going to be commandingly powerful, and probably more popular, but Supermodernism remains a good deck, and nothing I’ve seen particularly in Lunar Cycle looks like it’s going to be changing that. I think BS will probably be easier to play, though, and so it’ll probably remain more popular.

Blue Sun wants big ICE. The only Weyland build seeing much play right now is Supermodernism, which plays 0 big ICE. Its biggest ICE are Grim and Archer, both of which are awful in Blue Sun because their alternate rez costs make replaying them a dubious idea at best.

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how many runner cards in the spin cycle/ honor and profit made it into lists? legwork ? i saw keyhole for a few weeks after it came out and i think security testing is boss but other than that its been niche cards and side grades.

we asked for that though. the community said runner’s were too good and FFG listened…maybe too well.

This seems to be a reoccuring thing. Noiseshop is oppressively good, Anarch starts to lose massive amounts of ground. Core Set NBN is terrible, they get lots of the best cards thrown their way.

Lucky Find has made it into a fair few Runner lists, though. Aside from that, I’m a bit shaky on what came out in what cycle (as I started playing juuust around when Fear and Loathing came out), but that’s a big part of the PPVP archetype, at least.

I don’t think it’s quite that dire. Offhand, the following cards seem to see a good amount of play:

-John Masanori
-Prepaid VoicePAD
-Lucky Find
-Reina Roja, Freedom Fighter
-Deep Red
-Fall Guy
-Planned Assault
-Security Testing

That’s actually quite a lot of cards, some of which have made it into the strongest previous Runner archetypes (Gabe loves Knight and Planned Assault, Andy loves Security Testing, etc.) and some of which have created new archetypes (PPVP Kate, Fall Guy/DLR builds). However, Corps still seem to have progressed substantially more over the cycle.

In many respects, this was of course necessary. Post-C&C Netrunner was much less balanced than the present period. But it looks like Upstalk may continue the trend of Corps getting stronger options than Runners, which is why I’m a little worried. That said, FFG has done quite well with Netrunner development thus far, so I still have hope for the future.


Knight - Fell out of favor due to multi-sub ice
Masanori - Seems to get cut a lot, but sure, I’ll count it
Prepaid - 1 deck, kinda fringe
Lucky Find - 1 deck, kinda fringe
Reina - Seems interchangeable with the other two, anarch is not what I’d consider top tier
Deep Red - That one exile deck that functions sometimes and the rare anarch chess deck. Fringe
Rook - Same as Deep Red, only not in exile and sometimes not in chess. Super Fringe
Hostage - Sure
Silencer - Haven’t seen one in a winning deck, haven’t seen one in play, maybe I’m wrong but that seems like a bad sign. Fringe
Fall Guy - Sure
Sharpshooter - Most winning shaper decks seem to go with mimic or atmans over this
Legwork - Yep
Planned Assault - Worse than initially thought, but playable
Passport - Playable, but a sidegrade
Security Testing - Good
Overmind - I’ve seen one deck use it well, and it wasn’t great.

That’s maybe 6-7 cards depending on if knight is meta-relevant, and 1 more if you count keyhole. We can even go up to 10 if we count prepaid kate. Two of those were around pre-worlds anyway, and most of them just made current archetypes more consistent. As far as decks that don’t feel like a deck I’ve been playing since worlds, prepaid kate is kinda different (but not much), big resource criminals and tagme anarch, none of which are tier 1, and most of which rely a LOT on the older cards (a datasucker deck, a vamp deck and a siphon deck respectively)


The “Anatomy of Anarchy” type deck seems to be pretty popular right now, though whether it will stay in the meta is a different question.

When I went up to tulsa it seemed to be pretty dead up there, even steven was off it.

It just solidifies the concept you probably should be keeping in mind whenever you sit down to play some Netrunner - “Games may be won elsewhere, but they’re lost in HQ”.

(Siphon, Vamp, Shutdown, Escher)

i think its a bit premature to call a deck that spams what is arguably the most powerful runner card in the game dead. its a higher variance deck for sure but thats appealing to a lot of people right now against the corp field which has become stacked against the runner. runners are hammered on one end by turbo NBN and on the other by taxing NBN, RP and HB + have to contend with weyland that will never completely go away and all sorts of weird CI and jinteki decks.

i tested steven’s deck a fair amount after he posted it and you can tell people what is coming and still win because the plan is so simple and account siphon is that powerful. you gotta run hot and there are probably a lot of decks that would be more consistent and more resilient against repeat opponents but i still think its fair choice especially if you believe there is no runner deck that favored vs the corp field.

Apt observations for the most part. Compare the top Corp cards from Spin:

Jackson Tier:
Jackson Howard

Caprice Tier:
Caprice Nisei

Top Tier (This was going to be God Tier until I realized it was already taken by Jackson):
NAPD Contract
Sweeps Week
Power Shutdown
Subliminal Messaging

For-the-right-deck Tier:
Reclamation Order
The Cleaners
Celebrity Gift
Blue Level Clearance

Questionable Tier:
Punitive Counterstrike

Just comparing the lists, I don’t think that anyone’s going to question that Corp got the longer end of the stick in Spin. And from what’s been spoilered from Lunar so far, I’m honestly getting a little worried.

Lotus Field
The Shards
Blue Sun
Near Earth Hub
All the regions. All of them.
Targeted Marketing
Enhanced Login Protocol
Cerebral Static

Am I missing anything?