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Creating an anti Gabe/Criminal deck


this might be a weird topic to some, but since I understand Stimhack.com aspires to be a site about competitive Netrunner, I feel like this is the place to ask:

As far as I can tell Criminals and especially Gabe appear to dominate regional events and while there might be a multitude of reasons for this (or not), I am interested in one thing:

If you’d only have to build a deck to defeat Gabe (maybe Andromeda too), what would you bring and why?

I realize that this is an purely theoretical question and while it may not be worthwhile to bring such an anti deck to an actual tournament, if it loses to everybody else, one can sometimes deduct some strategies big or small to adapt your play against Gabe

HB probably has the most potential for winrates over 50% vs gabe.

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This is actually an interesting question, and I am going to give a long complicated and inconclusive answer.

Why are Criminals Good

So to start off, why are criminals considered the best to begin with? I think that there are many reasons for this. They have the most powerful suite of events in the game (account siphon, emergency shutdown, etc), both of their identities are very strong with solid abilities, and in general Criminal does a very good job of punishing bad luck.

All of that said, I think that really the key to the strength of Criminal is that they are the faction that plays best with the action “make a run”. The advantage that runners have over corps is that they have the ability to make a run. Making a run on it’s own applies pressure, forces ice to be rezzed, and scores agendas all without spending credits or cards. Criminals have the cards (and in Gabe’s case the ability) that synergizes most with making runs. Between Desperado, Emergency Shutdown, Bank Job, etc, no other faction stands to gain the most from making runs.

This is very important! Often when you play Shaper or Anarch, making runs really sets you back and stifles your game plan. Not so with Criminals. I think this single fundamental difference goes a long way to explaining why Criminals really are the best runner faction. ( Account Siphon certainly helps too)

Building Against Criminal

Ok, so how do we build against that? In general whenever I have made anti-criminal specific plans, it has not targetted something fundamental to Criminals, but aspects that are common to Criminal decklists. It is difficult to just build a list that counters aggression. Currently the state of ice in the game is rather poor. You can build lots of small cheap ice to keep out the early runs. But then the runner simply play a corroder or Yog, etc and blows through with no problems. There is a lack of good midrange ice (HB has the best) that can help to keep early runners our without being a total cakewalk as the runner plays breakers. I do not think there are any “good” answers to punishing aggression outside of playing enough ice intelligently.

Instead I have sometimes done things like targeting specific card choices. For example, playing lots of code gates that a Yog.0 cannot break to punish all of the Criminals playing Yog.0. This is obviously only partially successful, and isn’t really the solution you seem to be looking for. Sometimes people talk about doing things like saving Eve Campaigns or SanSans to rez in response to an Account Siphon. These are good tactical choices to make, but not really anything to keep in mind during deck building as much as reasonable plays to make against a specific criminal card.

Right now corporations do not have comparable silver bullet style cards like Plascrete Carapce or E3 Implants, so they cannot make targeted choices against specific runner factions. I don’t think there are any corp cards out right now that are specifically good against criminals.

Realistically the best you can do is to change your style of play and strategy against Criminal. You can play solid corp lists that are good at fast advancing or rushing agendas through, but these are not meant to beat Criminal specifically as much as existing as good generic corp lists.

So to sum up. This is not an easy task, and I think that what you would probably come up with when trying to target Criminals would just be something we considered a good list in general.

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A few thoughts I have on the subject. Criminal deck lists are the best in the game at punishing mistakes and taking advantage of miscalculations. When you play against criminal you have to always make sure you have enough money to do what you need to do after an account siphon. Refining your corporation play and making consistently solid decisions will generally increase your win percentage.

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Thanks for your thoughts so far!

Maybe we have to take a step further into the picture and instead of talking general, start talking specific. As far as this is concerned: Is there a consensus on “the best” out of the Criminal decks? I honestly don’t know, because I rarely play them myself. From following the Internet so far, I’d guess it has to be jopejope archetype (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/966226/so-cal-regionals-1st-place-runner-deck/page/1).

Maybe trying to focus on one deck gives us a good entry point for the bigger question?

Hiding your secret tech? :stuck_out_tongue:

Haha, i just said “JopeJope Gabe was the best deck but i think the new Andromeda has taken that spot and is th ebest runner deck now.” Then i felt like the post didn’t contribute to the thread enough and i wanted to delete it :P.
I didn’t know the post would stay there though haha.

With Andromeda, you mean the Anarch breaker suite version?

Yes, i’ve been testing this list lately: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/992310/new-holland-pa-regionals-top-8-runner-decks
I believe that i’ve only lost 1 game on octgn till now. Still have to test it at the LGS though, i still need Future Proof

I haven’t played against this runner deck enough to worry about specific strategies against it. One of the guys in our league plays it, and I don’t recall ever losing to it. What, in your opinion makes it better than a well built gabe?

Better game against the most common corp deck?
Or is Andy-Sucker just more popular, rather than more better?

I guess it’s that powerful because you need almost no credits to win. You just need your credits to install the some of the breakers and from there you make runs for almost no money. Mimic and fairy make you extremely resistant against archers, ichi’s and katana’s and enable even more agressive running than Gabe. You are also less reliant on running the HQ. I tend to run agressively everywhere with Andro which causes a lot of pressure.That maybe makes it better agains fast advance decks.
That and people seem to be shifting their attention to Andromeda. Other than that i have no evidence though, i’ll have to test it more thoroughly and i probably will on stream today or tomorrow.

At least both are at the top IMO. And to build your deck against either one of the two you have to discourage agressive running i think. Neural katana’s and snares will force the runner to spend clicks drawing cards before he can run again which can buy you time enough to fast advance an agenda.

So Andromeda with Anarch breakers is a strong flavor of the month (nothing wrong with that)?
Also I read a couple of times that people might switch Gabe for Andromeda with very few alterations and vice versa. So maybe Gabe with Anarch Breakers would be good too? So would “classic” Andromeda?

Yeah they are all good decks but for the anarch breaker version i’m pretty sure Andromeda is the best. You want tos set up Datasucker as fast as possible and andromeda offers the highest chance of setting up fast.
The deck relies on static breakers+datasucker+desperado/employee to make runs without spending more than a credit or 2.

I agree, data suckers work for Andy because she can start with 1 along with a piece of ice.

I’ve been playing Whizzard this week, and It does the same thing a data sucker gabe would do - not get data suckers when I want them; and instead the gameplan becomes: account siphon them and make plan b work somehow.

Yeah, I dunno. Criminal is so well-rounded (especially since Kati Jones happened) that it’s hard to pin down one aspect to defend against. My initial reaction is that you have to allow the runner to make mistakes – Archer, Rototurret, and Aggressive Secretary all come to mind. Also exhausting criminal events seems good, since you can start lowering the likelihood of specific events (siphon, inside job, maker’s) as they waste them, so assets come to mind. Like Anthony said, mid-range ice is probably your best friend since they aren’t a great shutdown target but do the job relatively well.

So I guess if you put that together you’re looking at HBFA with Aggro Sec, an Archer or two and all the money assets. False Lead sounds reasonable in this deck, as Archerbait and to crush people’s rigs with Ichi. Maybe I’ll try that out at my league next week :smile:

I think a lot of the time corp gets punished for making mistakes against criminal, forgetting about the range of possible actions criminal can take. Criminal gains a lot of value by having a powerful set of events that he/she may or may not have in hand – compare this to playing vs Shaper, a pretty predictable faction.

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Next time just delete it if you want to remove the post, or ask me and I will delete it.

First and foremost it’s worth pointing out that in as the game goes on the advantage shifts to the runner. Unless you’ve somehow irretrievably smashed his rig, the runner will eventually be able to deal with anything you can throw at him. So the first thing to note is that whatever you do you’re playing for the short term, because you can’t realistically hope to win in the long term.

The criminal has best access evasion cards. They keep the corp poor by making them rez (or lose) ICE on a server they have little interest in, and will de-rez ICE later on once conquered. All ICE will be conquered (eventually) so you don’t want to pack really expensive stuff that you can’t really afford to lose in the mid-late game.
I would only use ICE that guarantees having an effect the first time you rez it. The main problem is that criminals are pretty dangerous even when totally naked - so program trashers are no good early game. ICE that ends the run is good as a speed bump (that’s all I used in my regionals winning deck) but it won’t keep him our forever. Neural Katana is about the best card to surprise an unprepared runner.

Little play tips like trashing useless Enigmas once Yog shows up will save a credit or two here or there, so be aware of that.

The runner’s key strength is surprise, and criminals in particular always seem to have the right tool for the job. As such you need to make it so that they miscalculate: change the job!
The best two cards for this are Corporate Troubleshooter and Midori. The criminal can’t adapt on the fly like Noise Workshop or shaper (when self-modifying code comes out). Once you have the criminal on a run, he’s way more vulnerable. This is where you can make those ICE count. You’ll almost never hit a good runner with a Rototurret (he’ll either be naked, or equipped to deal with it), but if he’s packing a Corroder that he just special ordered to deal with your Ice Wall he’ll be a bit upset when it suddenly changes into a Roto and blows up his program.
Midori’s best use, I think, is to ship in rig-wreckers that the runner is not prepared for.

Beyond that, you have to play the psychology game . for instance, use a Matrix Analyser to advance the card the runner is about to access - make him think it’s a trap so he jacks out. It’ll cost you one to do it but occasionally it’ll save an agenda or earn you a kill (when it actually is a trap).

Finally, accept that the dynamic of the game will change and we will have periods where one side or other dominates. i.e. we might realistically expect the runner to win significantly more than his fair share at times. If you believe we’re in such a period now (where the runner has the advantage) then your corp strategy should be to get the best losses that it can and hope that you run better than they do.

Long story short: Play fast advance!


I pushed on the delete button , the little trashcan button, right? That’s what i clicked.

Huh, weird. Guess that’s what it does for non Mods. I will clean those up in the future then.

Thanks everybody for the further input!

There is one thing at the moment bugging me though: All of this advice is good, yet it doesn’t seem to apply directly to Criminals or their decks. It is more like “play smart”, which is useful against anybody.
Are Criminals really that strong? I feel like if we can’t come up with a “hate deck” that can get to 55% win rate or more something is really wrong with the current state of the game…