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Down with Kate


Gosh, I’m sick of the sight of her. Everyone who builds a green runner deck immediately asks themselves “Would this be better in Kate(1)” and more often than not, the answer is “Yes”.

How do we move past this core set ID? It’s sooo… 2013. Good economy and all the right answers to ICE-like questions mean pre-paid Kate is hard to beat, and even Cache-Kate or other varieties are strong.

Is there no alternative? Surely there are enough programs in the card pool to make Professor viable by now? Stealth Kit does well in Scotland - has the rest of the world yet to catch up? Chaos Theory has free memory - can we not leverage that?

What’s the latest on building Shaper that isn’t (and wouldn’t be better in) Kate?

(1) Yes Kate. No one calls her “Mac” except a lonely writer at FFG that nobody pays attention to. Frankly, he might as well get another job and write fan fic.


Maybe DLR Hayley could be neat?

Stimshop is always better in CT, although it’s a very niche deck that needs a very specific meta to succeed in.

I think Kate just gets better with Rebirth though.


The reality is that they need to print a new version of the core set. The IDs range from brokenly good (Kate, ETF), to the point that no new ID can compete, to brokenly bad (Weyland), and many of the cards are in the same situation too.

This is not surprising; there was nothing for the developers to compare to, so some mistakes were inevitable (although on what planet BABW = ETF I don’t know; and Data Dealer, seriously?). Just take a look at Alpha Magic the Gathering. Given that pedigree, the developers did a good job.

But they still need to fix it.


I think no, probably not ever. The one influence is too much of a hit, and there will only ever be 45 slots to fit in more and more programs .

[quote=“evilgaz, post:1, topic:5747”]
Stealth Kit does well in Scotland - has the rest of the world yet to catch up?
[/quote]Maybe? Kit has it rough with influence, but the ability is crazy strong. I kind of think that, like whizzard, she might just be waiting for the right meta to dominate. Also, I think there may be some decent rebirth-into-kit builds once that card hits.

[quote=“evilgaz, post:1, topic:5747”]
Chaos Theory has free memory - can we not leverage that?
[/quote]CT is tough, perpetually just a step or two behind kate as a “pure effeciency” ID (no “unique” special ability) The ultimate victim of “is this better in Kate.”

Hayley might be the most under-explored shaper ID. The ID has huge potential and might just be awaiting the right decklist to unlock her. She seems great for stealth given that she can set up insanely fast.

Ok, personal bias time, Nasir has way better legs than anyone thinks. I guess he probably won’t every truly be “Tier 1” but El-ad’s current Solidarity list with multithreader is actually really strong (and has a crazy good HB glacier matchup…). This might have been the card to make him tournament-ready imo…


Mac is great but I personally don’t play her. If I build shaper I will use Hailey and I really like her.

The problem: Kate, ETF etc are too strong at being generic IDs in that they’re better than the other generic IDs that have been printed

Kate and ETF are both incredibly strong IDs. They have very solid effects throughout the game that it’s very hard to match with other ‘numbers’ IDs without blatant power creep. DLR aside, Haley is almost ubiquitously worse than Kate in every respect because they both try and do the ‘numbers’ thing, but Kate does it better. The same can be said for NEXT Design, The Foundry, and Stronger Together, you can swap out the ID and have a better deck with ETF.

Now let’s talk about two cases where this doesn’t apply: Cerebral Imaging and Nasir. Though I don’t think either are exactly to the level of tier one that Kate/ETF are, they’re IDs where you can’t just swap out the ID and get an automatically better deck. They don’t try and do the ‘numbers’ thing and are better for it because it means they have a place.

The solution: Print more ‘out there’ IDs with very unique effects

CI Shutdown would not exist without CI. You can’t play that deck anywhere else, in the same way you can’t really play a Blue Sun deck outside of Blue Sun or a Noise deck outside of Noise. This is good design and what FFG need to aim for. It also makes the game a lot more interesting, as it opens up vastly different playstyles. The solution isn’t making a better Kate, that would just mean Kate sees no play and new-Kate sees all of it, it’s making new, radically different IDs that Kate/ETF can’t hope to be like.

I think FFG understand they missed the mark with IDs like NEXT Design and Stronger Together, but The Foundry was relatively recent in comparison and doesn’t help my confidence. We need more CI-esque IDs, less IDs that try and compete with ETF (the same applies with Shaper), more IDs that do something different and demand a different style of deckbuilding (and have adequate rewards for such). The reason we’re seeing so much ETF and Kate in their respective factions is because the IDs aren’t really diverse, they tend to all be about efficiency but ETF/Kate does that best, and Kate even has a Link to boot.

Anarch is a very, very good example of ID diversity, it has Noise, MaxX and Val who all have extraordinarily different decks and all see competitive play, none of them try and do the same thing as each other. HB and Shaper need to follow suit. This isn’t even the end of the faction, IDs like Reina and Whizzard also have radically different decks to the aforementioned three. This same design philosophy needs to be applied to all factions, else we’ll continue to see Kate and ETF dominate their respective factions’s representation.


The CT Bagbiter Notoriety Combo would be worse in Kate. It’s a neat deck that is quite close to competitive. Kit is much cooler, and might have been OP at 15, but probably not then and certainly not now. I think caution at the start may have been wise, but it has led to a lot of binder cards that in hindsight are a bit disappointing.

I agree with the premise though, Kate and HB:EtF are too generically good for other IDs in those factions to have any breathing room. If there was a reprint, Kate (if included) should be a 50/15. Then there would be an excuse to play non-Kate IDs.


I agree with everything you said, Anarch is by far the healthiest ID faction. Crim doesn’t have interesting enough things it can actually do in faction yet to really pull different decks away from each other (although there are notable differences between Andy and Leela builds), and yes, the world would be a crazy place if ETF had a link. =D

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I’m not so sure, though. The solution isn’t to make Kate/ETF worse, all that will do is mean there’s a new best generic HB and Shaper ID.

The reason we feel like there’s a problem with ETF and Kate is because FFG’s IDs in that faction have been printed as ‘numbers’ IDs and are not as good as Kate/ETF. Printing a better Kate/ETF would certainly mean they’d see play, but obviously would not be healthy for the game. The solution to the Kate problem isn’t, for example, making Haley an objectively better Kate, it’s making more Nasirs, more IDs that are out there and do different things. Kate is fine at 45/15, but there have been so many other IDs printed that just read “play Kate instead” (which is no better than reading “play this instead of Kate”).


I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “Numbers ID”, could you explain further please.

I think the Kate/Haley/Exile question would be more interesting if Kate were fractionally less consistent. They all do different things and Exile and Haley narrow your deck building in other ways. Kate is just better, so making her worse levels the playing field.

You might be right that there would still be a correct answer. I think it’s more complicated.

Hugely agreed. The best IDs (for interesting game’s sake) are the game changing ones. Leela is better than Andromeda. Kit is better than Kate. Noise is better than Whizzard (and even Whizzard is kinda weird).

But the id design has been great of late. Val, MaxX, and Quetzal are fantastically different. Nasir, Kit, Professor - that’s cool. Criminal is the weakest, but Leela is good design. Silhouette was a good try. Geist may end up ‘by the numbers’ but his ID at least forces some unique choices.

They just need to make such abilities stronger in their niche.


I personally think Hayley is better than Kate in a lot of situations. They have very similar abilities, but Hayley gains an action while Kate only gains a credit; it’s pretty commonly accepted that a click is worth more than a credit. Yes, you need to build around the ability, and you won’t always want to double install, but if you can fuel it, there’s no beating the setup speed.

The real difference is ease of play. We view top tier decks in the context of tournaments, where you’re playing high stakes games for 6+ hours. You want a deck that’s easy to pilot, and Hayley decks generally fail that test. Kate’s (and ETF’s) ability is trivial to remember and doesn’t require planning beyond “install clone chip before SMC”.

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If Hayley read “the first time you install something, gain a click” then sure, Hayley would be better than Kate, but we both know that’s not what she reads. You don’t always want to install two things at the same time, you don’t always have two things in hand that you can install at the same time. Hayley is absolutely not a strictly better Kate.

However, regardless of any debate about how good Hayley is or isn’t, the conjecture that people only play decks that are easy at big tournaments is complete poppycock. If any players do do this, they’ll be beaten by players who can play hard decks to a good level even after a big tournament. There aren’t any autopilot decks in Netrunner, and I think it’s a testament to the game that a deck such as DLR won Worlds, that deck is amongst the hardest Runner decks to play optimally in my eyes.

To put it another way, somebody that’s turned off an ID because they’re ‘too hard for a tournament’ probably wasn’t going to win that tournament anyway. There is no ID in Netrunner that doesn’t see tournament play because it’s ‘too hard’.

Essentially just an ID that doesn’t do anything special or crazy but tries to be a bit more efficient than a blank ID. For example, Stronger Together and ETF are what I’d consider ‘numbers’ IDs, since they improve your ‘numbers’, but IDs like Blue Sun or Cerebral Imaging do not. It’s a weird concept I guess, but it’s one that makes sense in my head.


Have you missed the year long discussion over 46 card Kate decks? She is marginally less consistent for most people.


Play non PPVP Kate. It works. Its fun. Its VERY different.

Dont blame* such a cutie for the sins of a stupid 2 dollar hardware and 2 influence econ cards.


The failing of the Crim faction is a lot of situational ‘numbers IDs’ like Gabe, Iain, Ken, etc are all competing against Andy, the best/most consistent crim Numbers ID, while there’s only one solid ‘game changer ID’ in Leela.

If Faerie and Clone Chip weren’t quite so strong and easily usable, Silhouette would be a very good ID, but these cards make it really easy to just deal with ice as it’s rezzed or shortly afterwards, rather than having to plan for it ahead of time.

I’m fairly certain the new crim guy is just a slightly revised version of Silhouette, and will see similar levels of play. It’s a shame that FFGs tries to print so, so many IDs and ends up with lots of bad/marginal ones, rather than slowing the release of IDs and focusing on them significantly longer than other cards.


I’d call these ‘additive’ IDs and ‘tangential’ IDs. I.e. there are some that would play exactly the same as a blank ID of that faction but add something extra, and are those that play at a tangent to how a blank ID would play.

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Absolutely. But hey, Rebirth!

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Yeah, rebirth will mean fully 85% of Crim decks start as Andy until she gets disappeared.