Cube Drafting 201: Cube Design

Originally published at: Cube Drafting 201: Cube Design - StimHack

Discuss the latest StimHack article here.

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Really enjoyed this article. I’ve been reading up on cube construction and drafting methods this year, and looking at my medium-sized pile of AliensPredator cards and dreaming about making a cube out of them. The game has some similar challenges (distinct species, but not totally different card pools) and the discussion of card roles (good stuff, tier 2, combo piece, …) can be ported right over.

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Necroing this thread to report that we tested a bunch of the optional identity powers, and none of them seemed grossly overpowered. The resulting games were loads more fun than if we had played with blank identities.

There was a titan transnational deck with psycho-beale, vitruvius, atlas, etc.; a +2 MU runner deck with overmind and opus; a “runner gets 1 additional tag” corp with virgo, TGTBT, snare, sea source and triple scorch; a “grimoire ability” runner with a bunch of viruses and a real grimoire.

My corp deck played a shell game with the hostile infrastructure ability, but additionally had 2 real hostile infrastructures. Highlights included trick of lighting a license acquisition to recur eve campaign, and scoring a naked sentinel defense program after the runner saw an untrashable cerebral overwriter in R&D and subsequently baiting the runner into the same overwriter for some sentinel-defending action.

We also came up with a new runner ability: “Lower the install cost of the first resource you install each turn by 1”, and I made a sweet supplier deck that went undefeated as runner. Rachel beckman is really good when she only costs 5 to get down.

We all had the sense that the eden fragment ability was underpowered next to all these. Still struggling to come up with an ability to support conventional glacier in the 6-point format.

I just put together a cube and am bringing it to game night. Would you recommend using the optional IDs the first time or just letting draft be draft? Also what would you say the IDs should be? I was thinking based on what you said and what is in the article:

Grimoire ability
+2 MU
1 credit discount on first resource
2 Link
1 Recurring Stealth Credit (can only be used on stealth cards?)

Titan Transitional
When the runner takes a tag for the first time on a turn they take an additional tag
Hostile Infrastructure
Something to help glacier… Ignore cost of first installed ice… Perhaps discount the first piece of ice rezzed per turn by 1?

The first time I’d just go with with blank IDs. Then after your group is familiar with the cube, introduce some abilities based on which ones everyone agrees upon. You can go nuts and make up whatever you want, but I’m comfortable now guaranteeing that my list is appropriately balanced.

Don’t discount ice rezzes though, that’s too good, and more importantly doesn’t require you to get creative with your draft picks to build a deck around.

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Hi. Your 6 person decks have 300 cards, that’s 60 more than needed. Is it for variety so you just set them aside, or do you draft 50 cards/person?

Also, are you planning to include Order & Chaos in your draft decks? :smile:

I once drafted for than the typical number of cards and I found that it severely tilts the games in favor of the runner. The extra cards are simply to increase variety in my opinion. Also as a start to make the 8 man Cube.

Yes, drafting with not quite the entire cube gives some variety/surprises in the draft environment. I also think 300 is about the optimal size for the cube given the current card pool, in terms of being big enough to fit enough “goodies” (like 3x mushin no shin) but not too big to require 3x of too many boring staple cards.

I’ll be updating them with O&C soon. Got a cube set review article in the works too.

And yes, based on the draft we hosted on dien’s stream a few weeks back, I agree about the runner being favoured. Need to tweak the balance a bit.

Love this article !
When we “Cube-Draft” playing Magic The Gathering
with my friends, we do not only randomize all the Cube together no
matter how many players we are but we keep a specific ratio of Cards
from each Color in Mtg (Artifacts, Multicolored and Special Lands being
one more Color) and put the rest out of the game.
Does it make sense to do the same with this netrunner Cube ?
Setting a specific number of cards from each type ?
Something like “if you’re playing a 4 players draft shuffle all the Events together and secretly draw X of them. Shuffle all the Ressources together and secretly draw Y of them, … Finally shuffle all the cards you drew and draw boosters from it.” ??

Hopefully this thread revival is acceptable, I didn’t want to start a thread with questions about cube design when one already exists:

Traditionally, Netrunner has been drafted as 4 packs of 10, but what about 3 packs of 15? This way things wheel more and working out which archetypes are open matters a lot more, but it does mean players get 5 extra cards and I’m not sure whether it’s better or not, the upsides vs the downsides is unclear so I thought I’d ask about what people think of it. Though I have usually drafted in 6 person drafts, packs of 10 can get a bit awkward for 8 players.

I’ve not seen any discussion so far about the benefits of either one, and I’d like to optimise for the best experience possible. Note that I don’t necessarily mean the Stimhack Cube, I mean any Netrunner cube in general.

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Determining archetype openness feels pretty weird the times I’ve drafted. It feels like to go meat damage you just have to force it and pray. Reading signals is really hard in a format with lots of powerful cards that go with almost every strategy, 2 Gutenbergs still in a pack isn’t really a sure thing that you should stick with drafting the tag n bag because maybe the other scorch guy took a Jackson Howard or NAPD contracts out of that pack. Or maybe that is just the pack that had 3 gutenbergs 3 data ravens because cubes don’t have print runs, so next few packs your faulty assumption is gonna leave you starved. Ends up being, well the only way to ever get to play meat damage ever (which you probably want to do because it’s really strong) is to pray and force, and that feels like a bit of a crapshoot, and I feel like it discourages mixed strategies a bit too.

I don’t think 15 cards would actually be enough to introduce a significant wheeling mechanic due to the rainbow nature of most of the power cards. When cards like Nisei MK II or Jackson Howard exist in a pack it tends to seem like no amount of meaningful synergy with the cards you expect to be in the pack for 9th, 10th, and 11th pick can outweigh that regularly (except for the meat damage special case) You’d probably be left with pairing your 3rd pick with your 12th pick, which could have some interesting impacts, but is less likely to due to the low power level of a 12th pick card. I think if you wanted to to use only pack size to introduce a meaningful wheeling aspect to picking (is wheeling important or good for a draft format? I have no idea) you would need to go to 20 so that a 3rd and 12th pick can really complement eachother in an exciting way (the 12th pick is no longer 3rd worst in the pack, it’s now possible it has synergy and enough vacuum power level to make that synergy desirable, it’s now a Shock instead of a Lockdown or something).

One idea I thought of to try to promote more synergy drafting in A:NR cube is to just make wheel picks immediate by changing the basic passing rule:

You open a pack of 10 cards, choose 1 card to keep, pass 9 of the other 9 left to become part of that player’s next pack.
You open a pack of 10 cards, choose 1 card to keep, pass 8 of the other 9 left to become part of that player’s next pack.

So the one card you neither picked nor passed becomes part of the next pack you’re looking at when it is combined with the cards a player just passed to you. You will still be looking at 1 2nd strongest an 8 3rd-10th strongest cards from packs, one of them just doesn’t have the same mother. Instead of trying to line up a 1st pick card with a 9th pick card to create some synergy, you can do so with cards of similar power level. Adonis Campaign makes it exciting to play Tollbooth, sure. BN + Scorch. Archer + 15 Minutes. Etc. You can chain other cards of similar power level together later on too. If you open a pack with JH and two grail Ice, it’s probably correct to take JH and pass the grail left, and that might be true for the next raw power card also, but then somewhere along the line it becomes correct for someone to take one grail and clutch the other, and neither doing so too early nor being the guy who passes that up when the raw power card is Launch Campaign seems skill intensive to me.

I think there’s definitely tons and tons of parameters for tweaking Netrunner cube drafting and making it even better, which is astounding when it’s already pretty damn fun and challenging. It may be worth challenging several of the other accepted parameters, like number of cards to draft, final deck size, agenda points for victory, how many cards you can take for your deck from each pack, how many cards to pass from each pack, where you pass those cards, whether to redraft some of the cards collected as part of the draft, how many cards are left in a pack before the pack is abandoned and the next pack starts, how seats are ordered, whether to preserve seat order for the entire draft, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. That’s just even sticking within the same core format, maybe it’d all be better to have some sort of 4 man Fact or Fiction based format instead.

Sorry for the wall post, I think about this too much, hopefully everyone just doesn’t read it and I killed some unwanted taskless time at my deskjob and everybody wins.

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