How about a format like Commander in MTG for AN:R?

So I’ve been thinking about it, and why isn’t the card pool large enough to support this type of format? For those who don’t know what commander is in Magic the Gathering, it’s a format where you can only include one of each card by name, you have more life than you start out with usually in the game, and you start with a certain card of your choosing at the beginning of the game you can always pay for, like an identity kind of that you can turn on later in the game with your resources.

So why not this for Netrunner? I love playing commander against the computer in Forge MTG, and I’m sure it would be great to have this type of game in Netrunner as it’s easier to create a type of themed deck that is more about fun than pure efficiency. The runner could start out with a console in play, and there would be no influence limit, since you are only playing one of each card, I can’t see how that’s terribly broken. To prevent people from just playing astrolabe or desperado or turntable all the time, there would have to be a restriction tied into what cards you can import into your deck from the card pool. For example, if you pick Desperado, since it has 4 influence, you can only play cards that are worth the remaining influence out of 5 the card isn’t using, from out of faction. So therefore with Desperado, you would only be able to play cards that are 1 influence if they aren’t criminal. However, if you were to use the Toolbox, you could include any 3 influence cards in your deck from another faction. For corp, you can still only add agendas from your own faction, except how about you can also include one each of any other factions agenda, but 3/2’s are treated as 4/2’s if they aren’t in your faction. That way Astro can’t be out of control, and we don’t have to ban it.

Since corp cards are more easily disrupted, the way the commander ability would be handled there would be something like, you can start with 2 Jackson Howard tokens in your imaginary score area, that let you either tutor for jackson clicklessly for 2 tokens, let you shuffle cards in your archives into r&d, 2 for each token, or let you search your deck for jackson for a click with 1 token. That way, since Jackson is pretty much necessary, the one copy per limit doesn’t hurt the corps as hard. You could start with a global region upgrade that is installed in your HQ but unrezzed, and has it’s effect replicated on all centrals while rezzed, and has it’s trash cost increased by 1 for every 2 credits it costs. A Ruhr Valley would therefore cost 3 extra credits to trash, as it costs 6 credits, and a Surat City Grid would only be increased by 1, or you could choose to start with it in your command zone, where you would be able to play it to a remote for a click, but without the trash cost increase, as this would make SanSan City Grid pretty unbearable. Each time the runner’s console, or the corps region gets trashed it goes back into the command zone, which is like a removed from game zone that you can play cards from. So it’s not installed there, but you can install it after it gets trashed, but each time you install it, the rez and trash cost are increased and reduced by 1 respectively.

The way netrunner works, the game would probably go smoother with Draft IDs and 30 card decks, but playing to more than 6 points, as Government Takeover is one of my favorite agendas, and I’m not going to invalidate the inevitable Exchange of Information decks people would obviously want to make, (:p) and it’s a different format that is supposed to focus on interesting card interactions, rather than blasting through the game. So therefore, I think playing to 8 points should be alright. 3 pointers would be less auto death for the corp, and it would be just a little harder for fast advance to overwhelm the runner. I also think that the Shadow and Masque should have the ability to play a single card as a 2 of, or start with an extra card and money or something, nothing huge, but something to make it worth playing over the Mumbad Draft IDs that isn’t broken. Weyland certainly gave us enough tutors to make whatever kind of deck you would want to make possible, at least I think. I’d like to start thinking productively with fellow stimhackers to really develop this idea, if everyone thinks it’s good enough.

I basically want help with deck building restrictions, and making the game balanced.


Nice job with format C! I like the idea!

Now we need a format D.

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This is an example deck I’ve built using all the deckbuilding restrictions I listed for Corp. I tried to make the most broken fast advance deck I could, but without the ability to use biotic labor or trick of light, it wasn’t really going anywhere. I could probably balance it with more economy or whatever, but I wanted to make a quick example. It’s a 35 card deck, because you’re supposed to start with SanSan in your special area. Really need a better name for it than command zone.

This deck is using the NBN draft ID, so whenever an agenda is scored or stolen, as long as there are more NBN cards rezzed than any other faction, the runner gets 1 tag. I’ll try any see how broken a tag based deck would be then. I don’t think it would be outrageous considering you can’t import Scorched Earth cause the lowest influence region is 2.

Region (1)

1x SanSan City Grid ☆ •••

Agenda (9)

1x Accelerated Beta Test
1x AstroScript Pilot Program ☆
1x Global Food Initiative
1x Merger
1x NAPD Contract ☆
1x Philotic Entanglement
1x Project Atlas
1x Project Beale
1x 15 Minutes

Asset (4)

1x Adonis Campaign ••
1x Corporate Town ••
1x Jackson Howard •
1x Snare! ••

Upgrade (2)

1x Ash 2X3ZB9CY ••

Operation (4)

1x Archived Memories ••
1x Fast Track
1x Hedge Fund
1x Sweeps Week ••

Barrier (5)

1x Eli 1.0 ☆ •
1x Resistor ••
1x Vanilla
1x Wall of Static
1x Wraparound •

Code Gate (5)

1x Archangel ••••
1x Enigma
1x Little Engine ••
1x Quandary
1x Tollbooth ••

Sentry (5)

1x Architect ☆ ••
1x Caduceus ••
1x Guard
1x Ichi 1.0 ••
1x Rototurret •

Other (1)

1x Mother Goddess

I guess it should be called Professor format.


I believe that was known as Hard Mode AKA playing The Professor

By the way, from the looks of it, Weyland would have the most access to out of faction cards if you chose to play amazon industrial grid, or crisium, so if anyone is looking for Weyland to maybe be good??? :smiley:

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Something that tries to be more equivalent to EDH would probably be:

  • 99 Card Decks (with one ID to make 100)
  • Only one of every card
  • No out of faction non-neutral cards at all (ignore all influence)
  • 9 points scored/stolen to win the game

This encapsulates the color restrictions of edh, the hardcore highlander format (huge decks, singletons only), and the “larger life/game length” with increased agenda points.

Can we actually build decks under these restrictions is another question entirely.


Good point, I couldn’t really think of any other variant that was remotely as popular. Building a deck under those restrictions would be impossible, or the number of viable decks you could build with it would be heavily limited at best. At worst, it would be clicking for credits every turn with your cards only having synergy if you drew them in exactly the right order. All the worst things about card games, card game hell on earth.

I don’t mean for it to be equivalent, since Netrunner is asymmetrical and weird, so should this format. If the game was just a tad bit slower, it might be able to work under these conditions. The question is whether or not playing to 8 points would be broken. I am thinking about ID’s hard, and I’m sure there’s an elegant way to approach it. I was thinking about making currents mandatory, as well as having at least 1 type of card from each card type that is of a certain type. Like, having 1 gear hardware, 1 genetics. Or maybe 1 location that starts in play. Something like that. I’m not entirely sure how to make a game design document, and that’s kind of what I want to do.

I’d be up for playing some games of this. Just normal decks of 1 ofs. The card pool seems big enough to facilitate it.

I don’t think bumping deck size is necessarily needed in Netrunner, it adds a bit of extra variety but I think the biggest change we’re aiming for is to have games that go back to basics. Singleton might be fine for that purpose. I’d also be tempted to go for set or block restriction (only cards from one block, only cards from one large expansion and three small ones) to get a similar feel.

If you did bump required deck size there’s no need to go to more agenda points, that’s already handled in system, and I really wouldn’t recommend going straight for 100.

30 card decks playing to 8 points? Are you tweaking the rule for agenda points too then? A 30 card deck rquires 14-15 AP which is very little in getting to 8 points and can result in 7-7 and no-one can score out. Increasing the mandatory AP in a 30 card deck would allow fewer non-agenda cards…

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Why the interest in commander? If we’re going to try to shoehorn in an MtG format into Netrunner, then I’d really like to find a way to make a variant similar to ‘star’ magic (I had always heard it called ‘wingmates,’ but I stopped playing MtG in the 90’s).

In some ways the faction/influence system already lends itself to some of the restrictions typical of the format,but it’s really the cutthroat nature of “my two allies want to kill each other” that I’d like to capture.

Unfortunately, the asymmetry or netrunner presents some difficulties, to say the least. The game was designed to pair off 1v1, and many of the cards reflect that. Also, netrunner turns tend to be longer and slower then MtG turns, so any format trying to play with more than 2 players will likely drag on.

Commander was meant to be a free for all format, but the 30 life variant called Duel Commander is actually pretty cool and I like it better than regular magic really. I’m all about 1v1’s though.

If you wanted to create a DuelCommander inspired format for Netrunner, keeping in mind you want to get the good qualities, not necessarily mimic the rules, this would be my suggestions:

80 card deck minimum for corps and runners
No tutors (They break the spirit of the singleton restriction. They are more expensive in MtG, and people still like to see the really good ones banned for Commander).
7 points to win, but the corp’s required agendas in the deck is relaxed by 4 points, while runners, let’s face it, they’re not getting scorched or FA’d in this format so they’re gonna be ok. So the format slows down organically.
The corp may reveal 3 agendas from HQ, then shuffle two cards from HQ into the random portion of R&D and draw two cards from the random portion of R&D. They can only do this any time they could spend a click, but it doesn’t cost them a click.

Last but not least, I suggest custom IDs that strongly motivate deck design.

Cleaning Co
You may play operation cards as though they were Scorched Earth

Whenever you install a new server, draw a card (look it’s a good design ok)

Progressive Designs
You get an extra click and credit each turn, use it only for advancing non-agenda cards.

Billboard Inc
Ignore the “trash this card if another current is played” on Corporation Current cards. Draw a card whenever you play a Current Operation.

Xanatos Corp
Whenever the runner passes a piece of ICE, if they didn’t break all of its subroutines, gain a credit and draw a card.


Quetzal, Rielle, Noise are good cantidates to consider for being sufficiently shoehorned. Tenma too.

Click: Look at the top five cards. You may reveal a piece of hardware from among them and put it into your head. Otherwise, draw a card. Either way, put the rest of the cards you looked at on the bottom of your stack in any order.

Same thing but for connection resources.

Uncle John
When your turn begins, you may trash an installed card to draw two cards.


Well, um, this seems quite good (^_^; ) ‘I have 3 of any operation, $12 and a tagged runner seems not so tough.’

This sort of requires “You may only have 1 current in play at a time” or it could get ridiculously abusive.

And the Tutor Runners should really be 1/turn.

I like the others though. :slight_smile:

I agree with 1 per turn. That’s a really good way to make them flow better.

Cleaning Co might be overtuned. The point was to demonstrate the concept of a corporation that gets to kill people as a reward for tagging them. It can be powered down as needed.

Billboard Inc could lose the card draw if it needs to but it was supposed to be kind of abusive and fun. The currents are one per deck and can’t be tutored, and they still vanish if the runner steals an agenda.

Yes, inspired by Duel Commander. I am definitely aiming for the good qualities, there’s no real connection between the two games rules.

I have an issue with making the deck size too big, for corp and runner because of the game’s natural design. If there’s a lot of cards in a corp deck, you could be agenda flooded big time, or you wouldn’t see any for a very long time before the runner has a chance to lock you down. The corp deck could even be a different size from the runners deck entirely. maybe 50-54 corp deck, 55-65 for the runner? I hesitate to add too many cards to the runner’s deck size, because of lack of options in the card pool, and too few because of potential ways to abuse the small size perhaps.

Singleton is definitely an aim, but shouldn’t NECESSARILY be a solid restriction. I think a slight breaking of the rules for specific cards would be a good design aim.

No tutors seems a little extreme, with the single card format, you can’t really abuse recursion in the same way as in normal netrunner. If your runner draws Corporate Scandal, Deja Vu, Same old thing and blackmail and has the 6 clicks to do them all and apocalypse you with all those cards the same turn, chances are you were probably taking your sweet time and you should just appreciate the sheer power of those cards, and scoop and play another game.:stuck_out_tongue:

I like that ability, and I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with it, but I think there should be a limit to how many times you can do it, or HQ becomes a worse target for any runner including a lot of HQ tricks.

Custom IDs seem fun, and there’s no reason you can’t play with them if you wanted. It might even be cool to just play with regular IDs, as I think a lot of the underplayed ones get better with more deck building restrictions. I think a cool idea would be to have cards that compliment the IDs when played in this format. Like cards that can be attached to mega corps only, or some special help for certain divisions, or cards that let naturals do things different from g-mods different from cyborgs.

As for the agenda point thing, I didn’t think 8 could do anything but make regular 3 pointers more playable, but maybe they should all be worth 2 points to the runner in this format, and the game should just be played to 7 like normal. I’d like that, anyone else?. :smiley:

I’m more sold on “recursion is ok” than “tutors is ok”. I am kind of worried about games becoming samey because everyone is on SMC - Test Run - Code Siphon - Mopus. Maybe it’d be better to wait and see what happens. I’m not worried about combos and interactions between cards at all, I’m worried about tutors being used as pseudo duplicates for really solid cards like Mopus or Faust. Maybe a banlist addresses the same issue in a better way. In a format where inconsistency is forced on you, regaining consistency by adding several tutors for a specific card like Mopus or Faust and then including cards that synergize with it seems really strong and overly popular potentially.

Recursion doesn’t really play into that at all, I think I had just been siphon recurred too much the particular day i posted that :P.

With deck size, I think it’s best to start really big and trim down from there. Sometimes “fresh is better than optimal” though, and just making the format feel different from normal netrunner by virtue of the extra cards has merit even if it is damaging the gameplay somewhat. I mean, MtG rotates from a better balanced standard to a less balanced one all the time, and is better for it just because hey it’s time to try something new though.

I like GFIing all the 3 pointers, that seems cool, since then they could see play. It’s probably about on the same extremity as what I suggested.
Going to 8 without GFifying all the 3 pointers doesn’t actually make 3 pointers more playable, I’m pretty sure. I’ve posted about the 3 pointer problem at length before, and I don’t think it’s about 3 pointer 3 pointer 1 pointer being awkward, it’s about sacrificing the never advance play and install advance do something play as corp to run a 3 pointer while the runner sacrifices absolutely nothing to steal a 3 pointer.

The main point of suggesting custom IDs was to have build-around-me IDs be the only ones around without leaving too few IDs left in the card pool. If Kit and Kate are both legal and you have to use this super broad amount of the card pool due to singletons, no one will play kit.

I’m pretty sure the deckbuilding restrictions do the opposite of what you anticipate and power up the “good stuff” IDs. Reina can’t find her lamprey, Geist can’t find his fall guys, Exile can’t find his Scavenge. Kate can find a program or hardware, she can actually find 99 differently named programs and hardware if she likes.

A simple method for handling size and influence would be:

  • new minimum size: printed size plus the printed influence
  • new influence: printed influence plus 15

This gives Kate a 60 card minimum (compared to 46 for the Professor), and makes most corp decks 60 cards / 26 agenda points, allowing you to stipulate that games run to 8 points. I think Harmony Medtech / TWIY would be the smallest corp decks at 52 cards, which would still have 22 points.

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If the format had modified influence instead of ignoring influence, as suggested by Runaway, then singletons could be encouraged by something like this:

  • the second copy of any card costs two extra influence, even if it’s in faction;
  • the third copy of any card costs three extra influence, even if it’s in faction.

That would allow for decks to have multiple copies of a few cards, and it wouldn’t require creating or maintaining a list of exception cards. The formulas for the costs could be tweaked to make sure that they provide the right level of disincentive to multiple copies and to fit with whatever other changes to influence the format ends up with.

Alternately, what if the minimum deck size was treated as the minimum number of different cards you must have in your deck? You could have three copies of anything you like, but adding copies would make your deck larger, so it would generally get less consistent rather than more consistent.

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I like these lines of thinking :slight_smile:

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