Generic Engines

DISCLAIMER: I know that there is no overall, “always do this” answer to any of these questions. No need to point that out. Thank you.

In another thread, someone wrote that in building a deck you should not compromise credit production for fun cards and you should not compromise draw engines for fun cards. This leads to a question from a newbish player and novice deck builder.

What would you say are the generic, factory-issued credit engine and draw engine for runners in the various factions. For instance, I suspect Magnum Opus is the generic credit engine for most Shapers, but what else would you call basic starting points?

I could see someone saying that by default you want to start in Shaper with the following:

Credit Engine
Magnum Opus
Sure Gamble
(Dirty Laundry?)

Draw Engine
Quality Time

Of course, yes, I know, as you build decks you will want to break away from these rules and if you run something like Astrolabe or Beth, you might decide you don’t need the factory spec engines in your deck. I get that.

But that said, if you were teaching new players some deck building fundamentals, what would you say are the basic credit and draw engines that they should start out with by default in each faction until they decide to tinker with them. (Corp fair game, too.)

Good stuff Criminals

Money: primary engine is run based econ so desperado sectesting (sometimes bank job) dirty laundry temujin and datasuckers. Alongside this you have career fair sure gamble Casts and Kati jones as your non run based econ. Account siphon is also economy too.

Draw: earthrise, john mas, and andy, sometimes hoppers, sometimes a quality time if influence permits.

Recently a nexus andy build has emerged which uses power taps, nexus, john mas and citadel sanctuary as its engine for both money and draw. It takes a while to set up but it quite oppressive when all the pieces are in place.


I’ll focus just on shapers, since that’s what you started on, and there’s a lot to say about it.

Most shapers, traditionally, don’t use Magnum Opus, just because it’s such a slow card. 2MU and a 5 cost is pretty big, and since you need to click for your credits, most tempo-based corps can just tax your clicks so that you’re either not getting money or cards fast enough. There’s some decks that can do it successfully (Nexus Kate, most notably), but most shapers stay away from it.

For a long time, the Prepaid engine was good in Kate. It was basically just prepaid voicepad along with a bunch of event econ, with Levy as a deck recycler. That’s drastically less common now, since the MWL specifically broke that deck.

Shapers then moved to a similar deck, but powered by Professional Contacts and Hyperdriver, as well as some event econ and daily casts, as well as technical writer. You’d use Hyperdriver to have power draw turns which would draw you into your other econ and Shaper bullshit.

Now this is less good because of the decks reliance on powerful resources and the current meta of super tag punishment decks on the corp side. Losing an early ProCon to a breaking news play practically loses you the game on the spot.

So what we’ve learned here is that shaper econ is kinda balls atm. As I said earlier, Nexus Kate still works, for the most part, because it plays basically the exact cards you linked above. The Kate discount is often enough to offset the tempo loss of the chunky card installs, but even then faster decks usually out pace it. It’s fire against glacier builds, but those are bad right now for several reasons.

The other shaper deck that does okay is Smoke, who I’ve usually seen people play stealth out of, which is another form of engine. This usually plays diesel and sometimes QTs as draw, and then plays Cloak and some mix of ghost runner or lockpicks as the stealth econ. The real econ is usually just the standard Gambles and either dirty laundry and or daily casts, propped up hard by temujin. This deck severely struggles vs CtM, though, and I have yet to see a build I think is reasonable against the field, simply because shaper econ is kinda in the dumpster.


I know I just spent forever on shapers, but the more I think on the phrase you mentioned about not cutting money or draw for fun cards, the more it reminds me of “the deck to beat” at Worlds, aka Temujin Whizz. That deck is basically just loads of money, draw, and breakers. I’ll just use the Worlds winning list as my example.

The draw engine is comprised from a fairly standard-ish 3 I’ve Had Worse, with 3 street peddlers, 2 inject, and a lone earthrise hotel (which I’d imagine started as a third inject, but sometimes you just don’t want the potential of throwing programs away if there’s something you need). This is then bolstered later in the game by Obleus drawing you cards on access, and then bolstered even further by the extra accesses Medium gets you, which Obleus turns into cards.

For money, it basically just has everything. Firstly, Our Lord Temujin, Bringer of Light and Mad Cash. This is followed by a full suite of Gambles, Laundry, and Casts, with a lone Liberated as a final bit of dough. Finally, there’s that “hidden” econ card, the Whizzard ID, which is probably going to get you from 3 to a billion credits, depending on your opponent. With as hard as corps are trying to steal your money and force you into poverty to make you go tag me, all this cash is really still the best way to combat it.

There’s other cards in the deck that can be thought of as econ as well. Employee strike is often economy against decks like CtM. Datasuckers are often used even with non-fixed breakers to ease the cost of accesses, Ice Carver pays for itself and then some, especially if you can get it set up early (which is sweet, because the card was panned as a POS for literal years, until it finally found its deck), and Net-ready Eyes is also often used on non-Yog breakers as a cash saver. Also, Yog breaks for free. And Parasiting ice makes that ice free for the rest of the game.

If you look at the cards beyond what I mentioned, it’s basically just a couple breakers, a couple recursion cards, and Medium (and Progenitor, because the British are sly motherfuckers).

The damn thing is basically just Breakers and Money: The Deck. With all the cheese runner decks out there, this is the one that won Worlds.


Let’s not forget the ‘drip econ package’. IMO it’s better in shaper than just mopus, but still undeniably way too slow:

kate (1 link)
3 data folding
3 underworld contact
3 sports hopper (1 link)
1+ mopus
3 career fair
3 earthrise hotel
3 daily casts
3 diesel
2+ quality time

How many cards slots should you spend on the engine? That drip rig is 24+…

That begs the question then, where do you draw the line between an an engine and just a big chunk of a deck. Obviously you don’t play a drip econ list in any deck that happens to be Kate because who has the deck slots and can guarantee the free MU for Folding.

To be considered an engine does it have to be something that can be clipped out of a deck, stuck into another deck and still function (like WyldCakes that does pretty different things for Noise and Whizz but is perfectly playable in both) or does it just have to be a pile of playable cards that synergise well and get stronger the more you have on the board and are your main econ?

Personally when I’m building a deck, I almost always start with the econ and build around that (well more often than not I start with netrunnerdb but hush). Almost all econ requires some sort of deckbuilding around it so ‘generic’ economy is a bit of a vague term.

mopus-need to build your programs/hardware around the mu cost
temujin-including run economy like desperado, datasucker, patron, sec testing, dirty laundry etc is advisable
au-revoir+snitch package-3 mu, including turning wheel is advisable
lucky find- influence sacrifices or even prepaid voicepads
aesops pawnshop-lots of cheap trashables and a dozen other factors
proco- hyperdriver, lots of cheap events that gain money

The only truly splashable econ I can think of is daily casts, dirty laundry, sure gamble and msot notable temujin (even with the influence its just good to the point most shapers run it). Oh and katy jones, forgot about her must try her out more often. Oh and liberated accounts/day job if you’re anarch. Oh and bank job. Anyway point is not enough.

Right, but there feels like a distinct difference between an econ package that requires minor deck tweaks (say, Mopus/Beth/Casts/Gamble) and an econ package (“engine”) that effectively fuels and is the whole focus of your deck (e.g. Snitch/Au Revoir/Turning Wheel).

I don’t disagree with what you’re saying about how to make deck building decisions, I was just suggesting in response to the question “how many cards do you devote to an engine” that there’s a fundamental difference between econ cards that are just good and fuel your game plan (usually get money, play breakers, win) which you can see any of in any order and a tightly coupled engine that itself is the primary way you win games. Maybe it’s just semantics though

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I argee that these discussions can get into semantics.

I personally think its better to conceptualise this by breaking down economy cards into three classes (though a card can certainly be in multiple classes).

  1. Direct value
    You play this card, it’ll give you economic value in credits/cards/clicks: Sure gambles, Daily Casts, Mopus, Wyldside.
  2. Card Synergy
    When used in combination with another of your own cards that have a particular quality, this card will generate economic value. Prepaid Voice Pad, Aesops, Scavenge recharging programs, Career fair etc. These can be a network of synergy effects through your deck of varying strength (I.e. Career Fair synergises with both Wyldside and Chronotype, Chronotype with Wyldside)
  3. Action Synergy
    When you perform an action, this card will generate economic value. Datasucker, SecTest, Desperado all give you value from making the successful run action. With these you generally only want to focus on one action to maximise as doing alternate actions won’t fire your action synergy cards.

And then running tangentially to these classes is if they are:
A) Limited Use, at some point soon you will run out of the card/charges on the card and need to play another one.
B) Unlimited Use, this card will continuously provide value without you needing to play another copy of it (sometimes these are like wyldside which has an upper limit of cards in your deck that you are unlikely to reach in a game).

It is (B) which really categorizes an ‘engine’ in my opinion and it can come from any of the first three classes. I’d say the Mopus/Beth/Casts/Gamble package has an engine: Mopus & Beth, alongside some limited economy. Thus an “engine” can just be a single card within a ‘package’ of direct economy, categorized by its limits rather than the cards devoted to it.


I like this, but I do want to point out that your #3, Action Synergy, is already defined in the Netrunner community. It’s what is referred to as Click Compression.

The most straightforward examples of click compression are found in Professional Contacts and Magnum Opus. Both of those turn an action that takes two clicks into an action that takes only one click. (Cred+Card for Proco, Cred+Cred for Opus.) Where this became a force is in the ‘Make a Run’ action. John Masanori adds the Draw a Card action to it, Desperado adds Gain a Credit to it, and Datasucker adds to it as well. Stacking a bunch of these ‘compression’ cards is what made The Deck, or alternately known as Andysucker.

I also agree that Unlimited Use cards generally form the engine, but there are exceptions. Prepaid Voice Pad is the main one that I can think of, since you will, eventually, run out of Events to use that recurring credit on, yet it was (is?) the foundation for a very powerful Shaper archetype. I believe it falls into the category you mentioned, like Wyldside, where they technically have an upper limit, but practically never reach it in a game.

I feel the main idea behind an ‘Engine’ is the answer to the question “How will you be able to deal with Corporate Server Defenses?” For Nexus Kate, the answer is ‘Make lots of money with clicks, then bypass the best defense once a turn.’ For Whizz, the answer is ‘Destroy their defenses, making lots of money with my cards to fund the destruction.’

It’s not your icebreaker suite, but it is how you plan to get and pay for using your icebreakers, that determines your engine. (In my opinion, anyway.)

Oh definitely its overlapping, but a) action synergy (or action economy) is a more generic term across LCGs which lack clicks and b) there are some action synergies that are not about clicks - for example Apex’s has a whole (albeit shitty) suite of cards built around the trashing action and c) whilst click compression is a nice term I was trying to not introduce jargon for a new player query ;).

The better example here might be Geist with his trash actions. Running Tech Traders they provide you money and cards, without even using one single click. I would say Click Compression is one kind of Action synergy - the most common one in Netrunner, but not the only one.

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Warning: Pedantry ahead. TL;DR: Nothing in Netrunner happens without spending clicks. Thus, most engines are about trying to do as many things in one click as you can. Thus, Click Compression.

To be back on topic, the primary thing you want to focus on is how you’re going to power your deck’s card and money needs.
And now: Off-topic pedantry regarding Click Compression as a concept.

Click: Install a Program, Hardware, or Resource.
I’m pretty sure you’re still using clicks, and compressing the Install action with the Draw and Gain Credit actions.
(Apex, at least, has a clickless install, but it’s really slow.)

Without Geist, installing a Crescentus is Click: -1 credit, derez an ice (given other conditions)
With Geist and Tech Traders, installing Crescentus is Click: Gain 2 credits, draw a card, derez an ice (given other conditions)

(This, by the way, is why Sports Hopper is not ever really considered as being ‘card draw’. Spending a card and three credits for three cards is difficult to argue that it’s efficient. Contrast Diesel, where spending a card for three cards is definitely efficient.)

So instead we’ll introduce an entirely new jargon instead? :wink: This is all just arguing semantics, I’m just pointing out that if you’ve ever heard of ‘Click Compression’ before, this is what it is. When asking for information, and we’re already Defining things, this is the time to note that the term has been used before, and is defined thusly. :slight_smile:

Fair point, there are definitely clicks involved somewhere down the road, even for Geist.

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