Early observations of the Core 2.0 meta

What are you seeing in early testing for the new Core 2.0 meta?

I’ve been trying to test with Corp more than Runner so far, so can’t say what people are doing with Corp too much. Playing Corp on Jinteki.net here is some of what I’m seeing so far.

Anarch – Using Bad Publicity (Val and/or Mining Accident) to make runs and trashing more efficient, usually with heavy emphasis on the conspiracy breakers. Also running into Reina with Xanadu and Rubicon Switch trying to choke Corp resources.

Criminal – No clear pattern and only a couple of games. Seem to be exploring the derez cards as a means of controlling the econ war. Inside Job has made a big comeback. Fisk Investment Seminar (and Fisk himself) is showing up a bit in an attempt to capitalize on the no-Jackson meta. Gang Sign and HQI are big piece of this approach. I’ve heard people say Geist is well positioned, but I have not run into him myself yet.

Shaper – Mostly seeing Chaos Theory and Smoke, with the Smoke being pretty similar to pre-rotation builds. Nothing super consistent in the CT games I’ve played. Indexing is a popular Core 2.0 card.

A couple of general observations as a Corp player (mostly playing various forms of glacier):

  1. I often do not ice HQ early and sometimes at all. With no Siphon or Vamp to fear, if I keep my hand clear of agendas by aggressive remote play, I often don’t feel I need to spend clicks or resources protecting HQ, at least not in the early game.

  2. Runners are still super rich and it is really hard to open scoring windows. Ash is a welcome include in Core 2.0, but rich Runners (and I’m hitting a lot with link) make him not so helpful.

  3. Lack of parasite really make ice like Komainu and Kakugo more impactful. I’m sure there is a Jinteki deck out there that is going to be a beast to deal with. My glacier PE deck is way too vulnerable to Film Critic to be that deck, but even there it is great to play Anarch and know you get more than one turn of usefulness out of your ice before it is going to die to parasite.

These are a few early impressions I have. I’m not a very good player, so I’m sure other people have more refined analysis and a better read on what will be good or weak. Please share your thoughts and reactions.


Not icing HQ also works as a (albeit flawed) counter to Gauntlet, which I’ve been seeing more of in a post-desperado world

I’ve had a lot of fun playing corp, either rush or glacier with Austerity policy. Playing any sort of glacier deck, Special Report and / or Whampoa seems essential (I run 2 of each), but it still seems viable and rush seems legit. I’ve had a lot of fun scoring out of remotes!

Outside of the cards/decks, there are a couple of themes that I think change the face of the game.

First for me, is that it’s really hard to lock R&D. You have to really invest into mostly shaper events to make this work. This helps out corp lategame, I believe.

Secondly, and conversely, is that most Jackson replacements just aren’t as good or as frequently available to clear out HQ, you see the buildup happening more extremely if you have corp backed in a corner. A strong remote saves lives! With Sansan gone I suspect dedicated FA might be harder as it depended on jackson fixing you the right agendas and recurring biotics.

Third: kill combo’s are really awkward. As a runner, you can let go of the idea that you need a similar amount of money to avoid imminent death. What you need is enough money to not be poor so that nonlethal traces don’t break your back. If you wanted another reason to play smoke: this is one.

Fourth: Despite the lack of direct threat accompanied with tags, tag-me is at the very least taking a break. Not just because of siphon, but while you’d love to play with counter surveillance (it’s an anarch r&d threat!), there’s no cards apart from god of war which do tags for benefit, and nobody gets excited about 0 strength, 2 to pump. So corp passive tagging becomes more potent in my eyes. Add to that that ice destruction is less frequent (it’s down to the events now and they mostly force you to face the ice anyway, so they are more costly, though I suspect still quite worth it), means ice like data raven is just that bit more annoying.

Lack of parasite makes other ice destruction like Apocalypse in Steve, Immolation Script in Alice, and Cutlery in general Anarch much more impactful. Expect to see Ankusa in Shaper and some criminal decks as a tech way to deal with Kakugo.

Corp side Titan fast advance is faster and cheaper than ever between the Atlas train, Trick of Light, and Audacity as a finisher. Disposable HQ is an often overlooked one inf. option for a half Jackson replacement that triggers from archives.

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Jinteki ICE is incredibly oppressive, and Corp board state snowballs faster than ever. Asset spam Gagarin can sometimes be kept up with into the mid-game, until the Friends start coming down and the Sandburg is rezzed. We have never needed Friends on the MWL more.

HB can quickly build impenetrable scoring remotes against Criminal and Anarch. Jinteki Mushin strategies laugh as they ignore the two things that kept them in check: economic denial and Parasite. Moons IG crushes nearly everyone with relative ease. Rush Weyland is more tenable with little need to ICE HQ and more effective 0-STR gearcheck.

Shaper play generally involves smashing the Opus button a hundred times while the other two factions lean heavily on Moose. 20c in Criminal or Anarch disappear after a single run.

So far, my experience of C2R online has been against 90% Gagarin Spam with Whampoa and Museum. Rest of the time it’s against Jinteki, whose natural predators have been extincted and can body Anarchs and Criminals pretty handily, between their DNA Trackers, Kakugos, Komainus, et. al. Neither have any RND threat without spending at least 2 influence per TME, or Indexing/Equivocation for 3 pips/copy.


I expect Hunting Grounds as a splash to make a comeback with Kakugo, Komainu, Data Raven, Tollbooth etc… becoming more common with less ice destruction and removal of FA tools from NBN.

Unfortunately Hunting Grounds does nothing to stop the Kakugo pain train, IIRC.

I just looked at it and now I’m hyper sad. :frowning:

Kakugo is ridic.

would you have a list?

Asking for a friend, naturally >.>

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Pure FA Titan lost almost nothing in rotation. You probably want Special Report more than JHow if you’re going for speed, and Audacity + ToL or Shipment From Tennin are the bulk of your tools (with maybe a Biotic or two depending on influence).

In terms of counterplay, not having to worry about R&D lock (medium is gone) and being able to pack more gear check code gates (yog, parasite are gone) is huge.

If I was going to worlds, I would 100% take Titan as my corp.


Having played a few runner games as well now (either aggro crim or anarch) I’m pretty happy with what’s going down. I haven’t seen any gagarin or moons decks, but have had fun, close games against a variety of decks including Titan and PE, winning more than half. Both decks run 2x indexing which seems a pretty impportant card atm. With less cheap ICE and money in the game facechecking is definitely a thing again and you can put a good amount of pressure on just by running and having a few tricks (both decks also run shutdown). I guess I’ll have to see how it goes against gagarin and CI moons, but I’m fairly optimistic.

Unfortunately I don’t but I’m sure StimSlack can help.

10 games played with Temu Smoke. Jinteki is not a huge problem, indexing + film critic and stealth credits are always a good counter. Kakugo is annoying but nothing that cannot be dealt with (Escher?).

Gagarin is always a pain in the ass because a 10-sub tour guide makes indexing very sad and the mere consideration of playing DAI V (or cutting clot for switchblade) makes me even sadder.

Watched Ben Ni’s video on Corp analysis of Core 2.0 and rotation. It is interesting and worth a watch/listen.

There was a lot of concern in that video about Gagarin asset spam and a lot of bemoaning the end of tag-and-bag in general and NBN broken cards in general.

In this and some other conversations, I hear an interesting contradiction (or so it seems to me) and a clear distinction.

On the distinction side, there seems to be a big divide between higher level competitive players and both Noobs and casuals. The video – and conversations I’ve seen on Slack – say that making the Core more of a positive game experience for new and non-competitive players makes the game worse and at least one person on the video expressed disappointment that the competitive players have to deal with what is to them a less interesting game so that new players and non-competitive ones don’t have so many negative experiences with the Core game.

On the contradiction side, I hear people saying that Corp is screwed without Jackson and also that asset spam is going to continue to destroy the game. Can you have a game strategy based on throwing out lots of cards in unprotected remotes if you do not have any good means of filtering your hand to keep agendas from piling up in there? It seems like the absence of Jackson would in itself be a blow to asset spam strategies.

It is very possible I am completely wrong on that last point, so take that as more of a question than an assertion.


I really don’t think it’s that meaningful to observe meta without a new MWL as we all know will be updated soon.


Whampoa is what makes Gagarin asset spam viable.
Throw it behind some ICE and even if it clears out the first two agendas from HQ, you’re set for awhile. Whampoa is clickless and can be triggered on your own turn and the Runners; coupled with Museum it also becomes selective recursion; coupled with MCH and Consulting they can keep Paywall active to disrupt Hacktivist hate, or play Diversified every turn, etc.

Shaper players are happier than ever since none of their toys were removed and they are best suited to DurdleRunner. They have all the RND pressure in the game in-faction, and the best breakers in Nano, Invers/Gordian, and Lady. They don’t need to splash for Film Critic, which is almost a necessity. All this combined with their tutoring, Beth, and Opus means the Shaper life is quite easy right now and their identity hasn’t changed. The same isn’t true for Anarch and Criminal.

To be clear, Shaper was strong before C2R, but so were the other two factions. Anarch had stronger strategies against passive Corps, but Shaper could crush all traditional scoring Corp strategies. The latter hasn’t changed, only the former.


Thanks for taking the time to post that thought.

Ok to start off I play alot of HB and Crim so my perspective is going to be from their perspective.

On the side of HB I’ve been messing with Architects of Tomorrow as my ID and going in on bioroids. Its a glacier set up like my old etf foodcoats variation I played. Since runners have insane econ in Bloo Moose rn Ive decided to try and tax clicks as much as I can. So bioroids like FC3, Ravana, Ichi are good for ice as well as the Mason Bellamy/Hienline grid remote. It taxes clicks and money so eventually you cant break the ice. Ive also been testing Ikawah Protical from Soverign Sight to see if it is a viable 5/3, because of the click tax. It turns out (spoiler) film critic is still a good card. I think also that like others have stated these Jackson “replacements” arnt solving the problem of what he does. Ive tried various combonations and so far my personel favorite is Whampoa and Preemptive.

On crim side its interesting. Siphon is out which frees up some slots as well as the search for a new counsel. Ive been trying a few and I think honestly my favorite one is daredevil in a run-based crim set up that hammers HQ and uses turning wheel as a medium replacement. The id I’m using is los but leela will be very good ik already because she can bounce corp things and take advantage of thier flood that is REALLY hard to fix. It turns out if you also derez kakugo a bunch with rubican or Anksua or even Saker can tax the corp on money because its trivial to break. or even installing a Caldera and just paying 4 (which is its rez cost) can put you on par with corp. But since you are runner that means you have bloo moose so really you had the money to spare already. also it feels bad but using Femme on kakugo will solve the net dmg on one of em.

So these are my 2 cents to what I think some people will gravitate to with Core 2.0


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Embrace the Dai V! Dai V is actually quite good. It’s not that expensive to use once you have set up and it’s brilliant against Tour Guide and Komainu. It’s also fine vs. Excalibur. I love it!