I feel like netrunner’s complexity has increased dramatically recently, not just because players need to learn more cards (because many recent cards are actually played quite frequently) but because of the significant number of decks that you need to know to beat before sitting down if you want a chance at doing well. I think this may or may not differ from depth, but I think that there are enough mechanics, and layers of mind games, and a need to memorize and learn cards, that there is a fair bit of depth. To me it often does still feel like a very complex and elaborate two player boardgame, rather than a straight up card game. And I am ok with that. Also the fact that (in my opinion) chance in the game relative to chance in similar card games is somewhat mitigated by having drawing a card and clicking for credits be actions that you can take any time is also good. Which also kind of kills luck vs skill arguments, as skill is then effectively playing to probabilities. Someone might win a game making the wrong play but finding the winning agenda in 4 runner games out of 10, and the correct play might only win the game or find the agenda 7 or 8 games out of 10. Learning the right from wrong plays requires a lot of practice, and intuition (this is one that seems to create a little bit of a barrier, skill wise, between those who know what their plan is, and those who don’t, during a game)
There definitely are mini metas, which imo is good for the game. However I feel that if the game grew dramatically, you’d have a significant increase of competitive players, and a reduction of players not playing generally accept top tier decks. That being said I think there are often a number of decks that can win events on both sides of the table (though I respect that IG in particular atm strongly pushes people who want to win to play whizzard, which is unfortunate, let’s wait for mwl).
Not super fond of comparisons to chess, the game is asymmetrical, we don’t use the same pieces, and don’t even always have the same goals. The poker comparisons I can see, and enjoy them. It’s a huge part of the game for me, and I trash talk a lot during the game, trying to add that extra bit of poker table trash talk into the mix