How to approach that game, as a beginner?

Good day everyone!
This is my first post ever on this forum, and probably my first post ever dedicated to Netrunner. With the recent stall in Conquest release (or approaching stall I guess), I wanted to start investing in another LCG. I got my hand on a nice starter for a nice price. I have 1 core, the 2 first cycle and the 2 first expansion.

I intend to build decks slowly using the card I have in my possession, while slowly expanding my collection. I want to possess all the release cards at one point, much like I did for conquest.

My question: How does one approach deckbuilding in a game already this developed? I look at Decklist online, I see sooo many different things. I look at tournament on Youtube, and they all run the same, but change from year to year. So here I am, with a passion for deckbuilding and card game, lost in a massive card pool, and I don’t know where to start.

It seems like some cards literally just trump other (or people comments make it seem that way). Like, if I use a Corroder instead of the brand new Icebreaker that just got release, is that really gonna impact my game? If I use this X ICE because I needed an extra sentry, but I don’t pick the best ‘in-meta’ sentry, am I doing it wrong and dooming myself to stay casual until I catch up with all the cards?

tldr; I am a anxious noob, I spent some money, and don’t want to regret it. Will I be able to enjoy the game, the community and tournaments if I don’t know the whole cardpool right away?

Thank you! Btw, this forum looks super nice :slight_smile:


Welcome to Netrunner!

My first tip would be to find a friend to play with. Due to the dual nature of Netrunner, they could be borrowing your cards without interfering with deckbuilding in the slightest.
This way, you share a card pool.

Secondly, find a project. It could be an ID you want to explore, a card you want to make work, or a particular combo you want to pull off. Netrunner is amazing at providing “inspiring” cards. Look for some, and try them ^^

I wouldn’t worry about being alienated by the community because you happen to be missing a couple of packs: I’ve found Netrunners to be amzingly welcoming and supportive. Find local players, and I’m sure they’ll help you out.


Stimhack has a number of good articles on the main site. Some recent ones you might find useful are an overview of corp archetypes and a description of some classic runner engines.

Both articles come with decklists that you can use for inspiration; with a limited set of cards, you can always do one-for-one or group trades (e.g., “I don’t have Ashiguru for an expensive in-faction Jinteki barrier, so I’ll try Wall of Thorns”; “Without Jackson Howard, Anonymous Tip and Archived Memories look useful”).

You’re not likely to make a strong showing in any tournaments outside game night kit tourneys without owning a good chunk of the card pool (at least the packs you need for a specific deck), but it’s good for casual play. and the deckbuilders on netrunnerdb and can be useful for playing around with the card pool to figure out what you want to pick up next.

Despite (or because of) the game’s complexity, it’s a pretty noob-friendly community, and few (none?) of the players I’ve met have a “git gud, scrub” attitude. Feel free to ask questions.

Of course, I’m just a casual player myself, for the most part, so I’d wait for some of the more experienced players to chime in if you want to get to tournament-level play. It’s a fantastic game, though, so I hope you stick with it!


The forum is indeed super nice, and all involved in its creation are basically the best =)

As far as deck building goes, there’s actually a lot of leeway. Yeah, technically Paperclip (the new icebreaker that just got released) is mathematically just a better card at breaking barriers than Corroder, but against most barriers right now it’s either extremely close or exactly the same to break with either. Honestly, its completely fine using Corroder, and overall I wouldn’t stress over using cards that aren’t quite as good as other ones. At the very, very top tier of playing and competition it’s going to matter, but as a beginner it’s all basically the same.

What matters more than a slightly better break ratio is knowing when to break and when to just let the ice end the run. What’s better than that is knowing when it’s a good idea to run at all, and when it’s safe to run. Usually, as the runner, it’s a good idea to run (big surprise there), but it might not always be a good idea to continue a run to completion. Sometimes the point of a run is to make the corp spend money rezzing ice. Conversely, sometimes as the corp it’s a good idea to let the runner access a card if you can’t realistically afford to get too low on credits.

Starting the game, it’s identifying these things that actually matters. Card choices actually matter a lot less, because if your making bad runs and are constantly too poor because of it, that’s a much bigger issue than not using a better card. If you think your runs are fine but you’re still too poor, make sure your deck has enough money in it; the most common deck building mistake I see is adding too many goodies and no money to pay for them. If, after all that, you’re still too poor, then maybe you need to reexamine your card choices (whether it’s breakers and tools for runner, or ice and assets for corp), and make sure they simply don’t cost too much to use as a whole.

Really amazing games can be played using really “bad” cards if the players using them know what they’re doing. No single card choice is going to hold you back entirely.

Welcome! And have fun =)



There are some cards that are archetype defining - if as a new player you don’t have those cards you can’t play those archetypes.

However the great majority of cards are substitutable: there will various versions of the effect that are better or worse in differing contexts and you choose the one you want based on what cards are available to you and what you want out of that card slot. That Paperclip might be slightly better than Corroder in the current ‘global meta’ doesn’t mean Corroder won’t be effective at doing the job of a Fracter in your deck - in fact a lot of the discussion is over if Paperclip is always the superior Fracter.

Play with the cards you have, build decks you enjoy from earlier in the game and update them as you get more cards.

Also remember that youtube videos are generally from big events (or online where all cards are available) the meta considerations there are not the considerations that go into your weekly meetups meta or local events meta.


Generally speaking, having the absolute best cards is going to help your game and affect how often you win. However I think a lot more can be attributed towards your skill level. Since you’re coming from a Conquest background I think I can give some examples.

I play Ork a lot. I got used to playing against a lot of DE and Space Marines when I first started playing, and I got around the initial hurdles of making poor deploys on the first turn that would make me lose the game. Suddenly I’m at a tournament sitting across from Zarathur thinking to myself “goddamnit I don’t remember most of the good Chaos cards…”. I do some poor deploys not accommodating for some standard Chaos tricks like the X cost dmg and Warpstorm. I get wrecked.

As you’re learning Netrunner you’re going to encounter similar hurdles. Say you’re running a remote server with an upgrade and an advanced card in it. The potential of that upgrade varies wildly not only between factions but between deck archetypes. Is it gonna be an Ash in this extremely standard HB glacier deck, or is it gonna be some crazy Mumbad City Grid. Is that advanced card even an Agenda, or is my opponent trying to catch me in an ambush?

The more you play the more you’ll be able to weigh these options. If you play against some veteran players, you’ll likely fall for their tricks once in a while. As you play them more and more you’ll get a feel for the kinds of risks you might put yourself in based on all of the hidden information of the game.


Ok cool :slight_smile: I am a competitive player, so hopefully I will be able to grab most cards very quickly. But ya, for now I’ll read some of the linked article, build decks using the cards I will own (I have been eyeballing Ken Express a bit now hehe) and will try to buy cycle by cycle, while reviewing my new cards and seeing how they would fit the deck I was using.
Thanks for those quick response, I’m already way less anxious about the game hehe :wink:


Don’t necessarily feel constrained buying everything in order either. There’s a lot of great things in later packs as well, and the cards might fit some decks better. As an example, criminal got a residually got econ card in the last pack after a long drought of needing something, and if you’re eyeing Ken than that might be something want.

That being said, buy things in whatever order you want; it’s your money, not anyone elses!



I think all the required cards are in those cycles you listed…

Oh, there’s two that you don’t have: Drive By and Fisk Investment Seminar. You’d have to find two other Events to replace them with.

Have fun with that deck and playing Netrunner in a completely goofy way? :wink: (For an actual Good Tenma deck, I think you can find them running Public Terminal? I’d also been experimenting with a Comet Tenma, which is in SanSan Cycle … which you don’t have. Oops. >_>)

In other news… Yeah. You got a heck of a headstart with the two cycles and expansions. My advice is to pick an ID for each side, then choose a strategy, and pull out cards you own that fit that strategy, then whittle down until you satisfy your deckbuilding constraints (usually 45 cards/15 influence on runner side, and 49 cards on corp side. … Why 49? That’s a very long debate. Boils down to ‘lowest possible Agenda density in deck’)

For instance, try out a Kit build with Escher. An Andromeda build using Desperado/Datasucker/Atman (this happens to be known as AndySucker and was very good in the era that you have cards from.) Try out a Making News deck with SanSan City Grid and Biotic Labor in it. (This one’s called Fastrobiotics.) Try a Replicating Perfection deck utilizing Sundew and Caprice Nisei.

Try a few different IDs and strategies (super aggressive? build a huge rig? Rush out agendas as quick as possible? Build up behind a large tower of ICE?) to find what niches you like, then explore them deeply! That’ll give you a good place to continue on from.

(In other news, I have a few friends that are getting into it and their strategy is to purchase the oldest pack they don’t have along with the newest pack when it comes out. I kinda like that idea.)


One thing to consider before buying the packs one at a time is that the cheapest way to catch up is to buy a collection off someone who is leaving the game. So you may want to just play some games with the cards you have (maybe one of your Conquest opponents is willing to check it out?), decide whether you like it, and then buy an entire collection that has been posted on ebay or the Netrunner Geeks FB page or the Facebook page for your local scene.

My other suggestion is: if you go to the local Netrunner meetup and get stomped, don’t give up. You probably already know this from playing another LCG, but being stomped for a couple months does not mean you won’t be a competitive player someday!

I would say you should not be afraid to make stupid plays as you start feeling the game out. You’ll lose, but you’ll learn a lot.

As the Runner, run more often than you think you need to and don’t be afraid to ‘facecheck’ ICE (that means running at unrezzed ICE without breakers). Try waiting to install things until you need them. Run into traps.

As the Corp, try scoring by placing 3/2s on the table without ICE, or score behind crap ICE, or try scoring behind unrezzed ICE you know the Runner can break.

If you’re not afraid to do that stuff, it teaches you when moves like that aren’t dumb plays, when you need to install or pressure, how to identify scoring windows, etc…

Oh. Learn basic game vocabulary too: Essential Vocabulary for Netrunner – Netrunner with Willingdone - StimHack

You can let much reverse everything he just said about runner if you’re playing against Jinteki :p.

Learn to play the game first, play the core set alone for a while to get used to those cards. Learn the cards. That’s it for me.

Play these decks a bunch. Take what you learned from playing them and either make edits or build from scratch using their core principles. DO NOT TRY TO BUILD AROUND A MULTI-CARD COMBO, ESPECIALLY ONE THAT INVOLVES AN ICEBREAKER. Stay away from Net Damage strategies.


I’ll second the recommendation of runthenet’s Teaching/Learning Decks. Another player and I, both still pretty new to the game, built four of these decks this week, and played four games with them last night – each of us taking a turn with every deck. Each of the decks is amazingly educational in its own right, but the clashes they set up with each other are also impressive.


You don’t have to have all the cards to compete in netrunner. there are only a handful of really essential pieces or silverbullets that you need to have/know or counter

Everything about netrunner is piloting and knowing your deck and your opponent’s

because of the assymetrical gameplay you need to know both how to know your deck and how to play it against the diverse strategies, if you dont have a counter play to a strategy you try to think what your deck can pull off ,add a card for the match up OR accept that you will lose most of those games

i have a very small collection, but i can compete in my local game store pretty good (1st or 2nd place) and on jinteki net (using only cards i own) both in casual rooms and competitive

tl;dr Stick with 2 decks, and get to know them REALLY well. then start getting to know your match ups and what you need to do vs them.

changing decks all the time or playing decks without knowing how to play them or their match ups is a recipe for failure

ofc you will keep changing your decklist until you find something that works vs almost everything ,brewing, changing cards is all the fun in games like this one

unless if you just netdeck…

don’t overthink this so much, dont paralyze yourself with information, the best way of learning is is playing and practice (reading articles isnt bad, but for a total newbie playing is vital, leave theory out see it live,THEN you can start delving deeper n deeper)

that’s what you need to know about netrunner

In Netrunner it is the player not the deck. Play as much as you can and learn how to get the most out of what you have. and octgn let you play on line (and against yourself) for free.

Do you warn about Net Damage strategies because they are hard for beginners to master or because they are bad in general?

Net damage isn’t very fun for the beginner (which is ironic because traps and bluffs are very fun to the beginner) because:

a) you have to look at your cards in a different way; they’re no longer a collection of abilities but become blank ‘hit points’*, and beginners like playing their cards.
b) Net damage hitting a key card is super demoralizing if you’re not prepared for it. And losing a breaker can be literally game over in a way they weren’t even considering - gives a pretty serious feel bad.

*The skill of deciding which cards are now hit points and which are still relevant given the game state being a key factor in playing against heavy net damage and one of the things that makes it fun for more experienced players.

There have been several different net damage based strategies over the years (Cambridge PE, Biotech one-turn kills, Spiky Glaciers in RP or Palana, IG Biolock) that depending on the meta have varied in strength from irrelevant to tier 0 overpowered.


They are both difficult and bad.