Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

How Deliberate Practice Helps me Become a Better Netrunner Player - by Kevin Tame

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/how-deliberate-practice-helps-me-become-a-better-netrunner-player-by-kevin-tame/

Discuss the latest article here.


I’m glad that’s been republished here, things tend to get lost on Medium. Been watching the author’s youtube videos and they’re genuinely very informative and educational. Hearing him talk through his decisions and thoughts about each matchup is really helpful, so I can tell there must be something to his training practices.


This is an incredibly valuable article for anyone wanting to get more competitive with Netrunner. Even if you don’t need to be a top Worlds player, there is a lot of great advice you can pick out from this that will help you improve even relatively casually. This article gets :+1::+1: from me.

1 Like

Great article. Is think #5 can’t be overstated. Playing in person, for whatever reason, tells me more about my deck’s consistency in four rounds than playing dozens of games online. I haven’t figured out why exactly, but the corp decks I do the best with on Jnet perform only average in-person (and these are decks without any bluffing component that could be given away by body language). I’m often betrayed by my own testing confidence.

1 Like

I think the in person thing is the same as why you can’t learn anything about poker by playing for pennies online.

That is, in order to improve you need the other person to care if they win or not. In person, people tend to play ‘seriously’, whereas online a lot of people just do whatever and are eager to get to the next game if their gimmick isn’t working out this time.

1 Like

I think games of Netrunner last too long for people to really don’t care.
On the interwebz, you would find a high variance of player skills. Some games have no interest, and some games are really interesting.

In order to bump # of interesting games, I think it’s ok to play a T1.5 “fair” deck. You will have to press it a little to get wins and your opponents can still defend themselves.

That zone is interesting because there is some exploration there. A T1 deck is more or less “auto-pilot” (not much in Netrunner, but still). The less you have “auto-pilot”, the more you learn.

I never learned more than since the rotation, playing with my last runner deck (w/r +/- 57%, 210 games + 100/120 with a slightly different list), which is 100% focused anti-autopilot, needing you to be creative each of your games in order to win. Since it needs you to be creative, you also never grow tired of it, and never grow tired of learning.

1 Like

Thanks for the kind words all. I’m glad you like the article!


This is neat. I like the idea that the deck type you choose can help you in the learning process. I’ve never thought about playing a lower tier deck to improve my skill.

Thanks for watching my channel. I’m glad you are finding the videos useful.

1 Like

T1 are fine to learn reflexes and efficience, but that’s part of one’s skill, the base part easy to learn in my opinion. The hard things to learn is too create ways leading to wins.

I think T1.5 control decks of the type “I’ll try to nerf my opponent” acheive this. T1 control decks are efficient by their own, so “the plan” works sometimes alone.
In T1.5, the plan never work alone (that’s why they are T1.5) : if you play like a dummy, you have results of a dummy.

In order to push results, you need to give hell of a fight. Opponents usually react to this by giving their best shot. Then, you have to analyse their best shot and understand how to surpass it with the tools you have. You can’t rely on the omnipotence of your deck.

This system is the reason I think of why I still learn in Netrunner after playing something like 5 years.

I won’t make publicity to this deck : 56-57% (vs casuals) is not that bad but it’s not that good either - that is compared to the 69% corp deck I netdecked play. It’s entirelly encouraging. A genius player may be able to grind 5-10% with it, making it T1, because there is still errors I do even after 216 games + 100-120 from an alpha version.
It’s not just hard to pilot, it’s the actual definition of hard : even after around 330 games, it comes with almost no “auto-pilot” phases. That’s why it stays T1.5 for medium+ players like me. Still, it’s my weapon of choice.
Any won % there is the result of a great struggle because of its frankenstein-like structure, that somehow lives. I love it a lot, it’s the perfect deck for a pilot that tries to be creative ! :slight_smile:

So on the basis of your article, a friend recorded a couple of games for me as part of the sparring league and I just watched them back with the benefit of hindsight/seeing open hands, of course. I hadn’t realised how close to death against PE I came - and how many times I clicked for a credit rather than drawing up to 5 when my opponent had 2 neurals in hand, and with Philotic Entanglement an obvious possible agenda.

Was very helpful to see that, and i’ll definitely do it again.

1 Like

It gives one great agency to look back at your game and go, ‘that was the wrong choice there - my decision making was flawed because of X.’

First, you learn from the mistake and adjust your thought process. Second, you can see where your loss was in your own control, and it’s something you can improve.

I love that in this game (at least for me) there is always a play or path of plays that could have been better. I have yet to see a case where an opponent won because I had no way to beat them. Maybe the game reached that state at some point (the win point mentioned in the article) but before that point I had an opportunity to win had I just made better choices.

Great article!

Thanks @kevintame for the great article!

About logging games: I used netrunnerlog.com and it was awesome but now it seems to have disappeared. Do anyone know if there’s anything else like that?

Great article, Kevin, and great content. You have given a great deal to the community in the last year. Thanks!

1 Like

Do you think it’s strictly tied to tier or more a function of reactive “nerf my opponent” vs. linear?

Pre-MWL I played a lot of Lock Hayley and learned a lot — the core of the deck is basically just a bunch of answers and ways to find them. Importantly, I rarely found myself in a game where I had no counterplay available. In fact I’d say tier 1 decks in general tend to have this characteristic.

I also played a lot of Smoke during this time, still somewhat reactive but just a hair short of tier 1 IMO. I played a ton of test games against rewiring and the main thing I learned was that just Clot + Clone Chip + 3 Sac Con wasn’t gonna cut it without the Hayley ability (and ultimately DaVinci) or better pressure (ala Comrades Val).

I’ll stop rambling now but the tl;dr is I think that the type of deck has more of an impact than what “tier” it’s considered.

I think it’s tied to tier, because cards in T1 decks sometimes win games alones.

The reasonning behind that is anytime you run a T1.5, you have to squeeze the deck to earn winjuice. If you don’t squeeze the deck, and your play, you lose and say “the deck is T2 at best” (this happens to me too).

If you want to learn, games shouldn’t be made easy.
Then, if you lose, you learn, and if you win, that’s because what you learnt served you well (or that’s because you learnt something live).

Essentially, you have to learn how to beat T1 with T1.5 stuff. Maybe with small w/r ratio, yes, but still, you’re learning.

The deck I play for that is there : Blitzkrieg Bop.
Before someone say “dumb dillution leading to nowhere”, Jinteki stats with it are “Games: 224 - Completed: 220 - Won: 121 (56%) - Lost: 94”. “Dumb dillution” serves a purpose there and is particullary studied. You cannot be anything else than creative with that deck, or you die.

I sometimes mull for a bad starting hand for a little added challenge.


Xanadu and Aghora are a nonbo.

Wait, why? Xanadu looks constant to me.

1 Like

See the UFAQ on Aghora for the Reina ruling. Xanadu is phrased identically to Reina.