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How to prepare for the next solved meta?

Right now (Sept. 30,2017) a lot of players are enjoying the open feel of the meta. All the changes in the card pool have given many players a fresh boost of enthusiasm for the game.

After Worlds - and perhaps before then - the best minds in the game will have settled on the best decks. They might be “fair” Netrunner, but odds are good they will be few in number and very strong. We will find again that there are a handful of best decks that all serious competitive players use and know, with a few extraordinary exceptions.

When we get there, will all the joy drain away again for some of the players who seem so enthusiastic right now?

How can we help buffer the community from what will always happen in a game like this?

Please note, this topic is not inviting attacks on competitive players or the tournament meta. Those players and that meta are responsible for the vast majority of what makes the ANR community a community. I am grateful to the competitive players for their contributions to the game.

I am merely trying to encourage conversation about what we can do to help foster positive experiences for those who find excitement in the unpredictable and unsolved meta, because we all know that the meta will not remaIn that way long. Can we create some space in the community via events or formats that provide that unsolved feel that some players really love?

(My contribution to this effort has been running regular online Cache Refresh tournaments.)

I think this year will be different, because FFG have shown—via Damon’s Core 2 and Michael’s Restricted/Banned list—that they are responding. I suspect each new pack in the Kitara cycle will get more analysis and feverish invention because we’re finally at a point where we simply need to look harder at new cards (and who knows, we might even have a little fun along the way).

I also believe that more of this year’s testing will be conducted in closed groups, rather than the way the UK took a “distributed computing” approach to solving the meta last year. I believe there’s more to be gained this year by working privately, since there is less consensus to begin with and regionals season was conducted in a completely different meta. We’re going to see more pronounced regional preferences, I think, which is thrilling.

Worlds last year was a low point for me due to its monochromacity. I didn’t really touch the game until January and a couple of my friends didn’t either. Since then I’ve lightened up, played almost 1,000 games of Netrunner, and learned to love many of the “better” decks (gosh do I ever love “classic” CTM). I just know this year’s gonna be different. All that to say, sometimes it’s a personal/emotional thing too.

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I think the only way around this problem is the “gentleman’s agreement”. I’ve been playing card games for over 20 years, and no one has solved this problem yet. You can ban and restrict all you want, but top decks will always be there.


This isn’t necessarily how it will turn out.

There will always be a ‘best’ deck, but if its only a % point or so better than the pack of good decks (rather than the significant percentage better CtM and Foodcoats were in their heydays) you’ll see even the toppest of top players going with decks they feel in tune with rather than the mathematical pinnacle.

But yeah in essence if you want the bestest decks not to show up, the gentlepersons agreement (or just making sure you bring both Srz Bzn decks and silly decks) at meetups is the only real way to make it work week in week out.

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I think that at least for a while we will have great decks and a lot of good decks, and imo the greater the number of viable corp decks, the more diverse the runner field instead (ironically depending on how broad or narrow the answers on the runner side are you can actually have the opposite effect). As the card pool expands we’ll likely get back to a point where some decks will be better than others, but hopefully that’ll take a little while. Only time will tell

This summer had the most variety in the Netrunner meta that I have ever seen, so I don’t think what’s attracting to people to Netrunner now as opposed to pre-core 2 is variety. I think people are happy that FFG is paying attention to Netrunner again, and they’re also curious how the meta will shake out after such a big change. We should also see a much bigger impact from each new pack of the Kitara cycle as FFG starts to reintroduce power cards to the game. I really liked the meta during much of Red Sands, but I have to admit that the new packs themselves weren’t all that exciting.


I don’t think people are prepared or honest about how good asset strategies are going to do at Worlds. Gagarin, I’m looking at you. IG49 could go the distance, too.

I can’t wait for the “solved” meta. I can’t wait to play good decks again and crush the dreams of Sunny players.


I saw @d1en playing a Sunny deck on Jinteki today. Blew my mind.


what I’m truly scared of is that Sunny may be one of the good decks now.

Pls no


I, for one, welcome our new Mom overlords.


Hot Take: Security Nexus out of Sunny is just as good as, if not better than, Sifr and will be on the next ban list. It’s always been this way and it was just hidden by the asset spam meta.

Sunny is also in a nice position because she can use all of the drip econ cards (Data Folding/Underworld Contacts) and those are some of the only widely usable long-term econ cards left after Desperado and Kati Jones’ rotation and the restriction of Aesop/Clone Chip and Opus.

Doesn’t this deck basically constantly lose to titan FA and any assets? Seems sus.

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It’s also nearly auto-win against any glacier plan. I’d prefer if it was a little less black-and-white in its matchups, personally. I think Security Nexus is the reason why it is so strong vs. that plan and it’s for the same reasons that made Sifr appear on the banlist. I am against the idea of cards that completely, and repeatedly invalidate the core economic transaction of ice-and-breaker (like Sifr and Faust do/did).

So, even if the deck overall isn’t crazy good or has its own bad matchups, I still don’t like the design of Security Nexus’ ability. In theory it should allow the corp an “out” by paying to the trace, but in practice it’s not as interesting an interaction. The mechanics of the trace say the corp pays first, so if the runner is rich you’re just virtually Vamp-ing yourself. Sunny easily has and gets enough link to trivialize the cost of the trace from their end and has the drip to quickly recover economically after any attempt by the corp to bump off Nexus runs. The consequences of failure are also not overly meaningful in that context. An ETR and a tag isn’t much of an issue when you’re already rich and run on first click, especially since Scorched rotated and you’re not even at risk of death.


Isn’ part of this unsolved Meta to NOT being able to netdeck and just take the best deck from NRDB? So the question is how to achieve this?
One part of it is Cache Refresh as due to the smaller card pool the new data packs have more impact and will have a higher potential to change existing decks or to create new ones.
Additionally the question is how we can keep the game fresh and what kind of formats to use that keeps this freshnes.
What I found useful was an even more aggressiv approach to rotation. Using only one Deluxe (incl. TD) for both Corp & Runner and the last cycle. But this might be based on the fact that nothing was available about this at the time we were doing the tournament.

I don’t think being able to netdeck the best decks is in any way a bad thing for a competitive meta.

This depends what you want to evaluate in a competition.
If this is only piloting skills, then you theorically could say competitions are made only using coreset’s decks.

Netdecking says “this is piloting skills only against netdecked decks. All the rest is easy points no matter you face a good pilot or not”.

There are always going to be the really strong decks - if you break those, there will be new decks that become “best”. The meta right now feels really rock/paper/scissors, in that there some strategies that break others, but are weak to another set. This is good for a fluid game, as there are a variety of viable options.

There is always the option to subert expectations. Last year’s West Coast guys did the Hate Bear thing, which was unexpected and highly successful. I went with CtM as it seemed clearly strongest, but played against a bunch of shaper decks teched heavily for it at Worlds. In 2015 I made a Val deck that looked like the prevalent DLR, but was actually an all-in Siphon spam deck and helped get me to Top 16 as it confounded the expectations of players who thought they knew what was happening.

Even if there are “top dex”, that is in itself a weakness, as the player base comes to rely on what they hive mind thinks - by changing a couple of cards, or disguising one deck as something else, you can get good results.

I really like deck building, although I know a lot of people don’t, but even if it’s just one or two cards different, that can be really interesting (to me).

If we’re talking casual games or down the shop stuff, it’s quite easy to do the whole social contract thing and say “look guys, no one likes , let’s agree not to play that on club nights”. We’ve also had a lot of success with having Core-only, onesies, and Cache Refresh tournaments mixed in with the normal schedule. Also, the n00bs set up their own Pubrunner nights where they only play Big Boy Teaching Decks or some other thing, so they can have a specific kind of fun without so-called “OP Regulars” spoiling it for them.

I think the alleged new MWL every three months or so would be good for the game. A more regular set of checks and balances on the competitive scene helps mix things up. A comment I’ve seen a lot recently is “I don’t know how to build a deck any more” - I view this as a feature, not a bug.

From first blush, the significant changes mean we’ve got a lot more scope for deckbuilding now and what might be good, with a lot of the “must have” cards being rotated, banned or restricted. If FFG keep up with the keep nudging the list, it’ll be like trying to work out how to tightrope walk, while someone keeps poking you, and I like the idea of having to frequently rethink what goes in a deck.


I think that CR, as the first officially-sanctioned alternate format, is going to be huge for keeping the game fresh. You could argue that CR should just be “1 big box, last 2 full cycles” and skip the TD clause, but whatever. It’s close and it’s good.

Less concretely: JNet has been a lot of fun for me recently, precisely because there are a lot of players experimenting with a very different cardpool from the one we had a few weeks ago. For people that want to keep playing games with others where their enjoyment comes from experimental deck-building first and tactical play second, the lack of norms online makes it hard to keep that going. A strong player in “Casual” can mop the floor with a new player when they’re both trying something new. That same strong player might get their clock cleaned in “Competitive” because they can only get matches against [insert name of latest mtg tryhard boogeyman here].

Names like “C2RB” have shown that the community can (largely) self-organize. So, I think that if enough people of roughly-comparable skill level and roughly-comparable goals can find each other, we can keep this good thing going.

I don’t particularly believe in ‘solved’ metas. Good players can win with a variety of decks, and don’t always need to play the ‘best’ deck to win in smaller tournaments. Decks that win worlds or represent most of the top 16 can still get crushed at your local GNK.

Last year post-worlds many players were bemoaning the dominance of NBN, particularly CtM, and the dismal strength of criminal. I showed up to my first 3 SC’s with a Criminal list and won 2 over a field dominated by the ‘best deck’ of CtM.

I reported my results and many people insisted that I was somehow wrong, criminal was bad and my local meta must just be full of terrible players if NBN couldn’t steamroll me. The fact is, metas remain in flux, even after worlds when everyone knows what the ‘best deck’ is; in fact this is often the best time to bring a deck teched to beat the ‘best deck’ and clean up at tournaments.

My solution to a ‘solved’ meta is to keep playing the game, look at what people around me are playing, and bring something to beat them. There is plenty of room for innovation if you don’t complain about how completely ‘solved’ the meta is.

Sorry for the rant.


I think at least this meta makes me want to solve things.This is a huge improvement.