Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

Issues with Organized Play

This shows in their organized play structure. The other day, playing in a tournament, I wondered aloud “what’s Kitsune’s strength? is it 2 or 3?”. My opponent refused to answer (he was playing Jinteki and I had seen a Kitsune earlier). I asked the Judge, who responded that he did not know, and that I could not look up the full card text, because in the tournament rules it forbids using any outside informational resource, including taking notes or using your phone. This is a TERRIBLE rule. What point does it serve other than to reward players who spend time developing a photographic memory of every card, and develop mnemonics to remember the cards in their opponent’s hand? That has nothing to do with playing their game.

The FFG OP system smacks of a super casual anti-Magic attitude. Honestly, there is a reason Magic is the king of card games, both in sales and in quality of tournament organization. They have been doing it for 20 years… not to sound like a fanboy, there are plenty of issues with Magic, but their OP system is not one of them. There’s no reason to think they’ve missed the mark on things like intentional draws, taking notes during games, being allowed to see card text on request, and a clear infraction procedure guide. Netrunner isn’t big enough yet, but if it continues to grow, I really hope we can see a change in some of these things…

Damn, that was a huge tangent. Sorry.

As far as the C&D goes, I agree with what most people have said here. It reminds me of music industry giants trying to C&D websites hosting lyrics to thousands of songs. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot…

I get that Jinteki.net went too far, but isn’t it better to just offer the best deck building site than to offer a mediocre one and try to blow up everything else?


The very first game I played in an official store tournament I attempted to write down my opponent’s hand off a celebrity gift, and he told me I wasn’t allowed to. Lucky I already had been playing casually for months, so was already convinced the game was great, but what a discouraging experience. Whenever I think of travelling out-of-state for a netrunner tournament, I’ll remember that.


I’m constantly amazed at the kinds of rulings they make. Spectating other people’s matches is bad sportsmanship, no notes allowed in a game with important hidden information, it’s just absurd coming from an MTG background. I trust Lukas’ team more than WotC R&D, but the OP system needs an overhaul. Mask style >:)


The spectating one is tricky though. It does make the game an awful lot easier if you know what your opponent is playing before you begin the game (primarily when playing as the runner). More so than in games like MTG or L5R because of the influence mechanic. On the one hand, yes I want people to watch other games because it creates an atmosphere. But someone wandering around the tables early in a tournament, watching every game for five minutes or so - that’s obviously scouting and my instinct is that it should be possible to stop it.

[going way off topic now, sorry]


Yea, what, are you saying spectating one’s future opponents in a significant tournament isn’t bad sportsmanship?

And one shouldn’t be allowed to take notes precisely because Netrunner is a game of hidden information. Besides, it’d just be silly to have everyone play Netrunner with pen and paper.

The OP rules should be adapted to the appropriate tiers of play. They’ve identified different levels, so why not let people take notes and watch games at casual, local events but prohibit that as you increase the prestige? You don’t want to put people off the game at an early stage due to officious rulings, but similarly at the top end of the game there ought to be some protection of the hidden information aspect.

At the end of the day Netrunner is a game of skill. Players are entitled to have an advantage if they have remembered what cost/strength particular ICE is, or how much money the Corp will need to SEA/Scorch them successfully etc. That is, in part, how skill manifests itself in a game of Netrunner.


Adamantly disagree here.

Skill isn’t remembering the cost, strength, and text of Ichi 2.0 or remembering what the Trace is on Midseason Replacements. Skill is knowing what to do with that information, how to play around these factors once you’ve determined that they’re in play.

Would the same argument be made if a player did not did not know a complex rules interaction (such as Hades Shard Timing or Sharazad + Knight)? What if an opponent is using foreign language cards? A Tournament Judge should not be a barrier to play, but a facilitator of the game, even at high-level play.


Totally agreed. Skill doesn’t manifest in memory or information, but in decision making.

how would u apply that to chess when first few dozens of moves are done by the book?

its not that black and white.

Skill is expecting Ichi 2.0 as a possibility. I don’t know of a game where experience doesn’t give you an edge. Knowing the contents of a game comes with experience. Half the “skill” I have playing Dota 2 comes from knowledge of what each hero is capable of in every situation. Similarly in Netrunner you need to know the entire card pool to be able to predict what the opponent will play and what they’re capable of.


It may be worth opening a new topic for this…

It may not be “skill” to know those things, but knowing those things makes you a better player. If you’re running, you should know how much it could cost to break potential ICE after seeing it in your opponent’s hand. If you know the cost of ICE, you’ll know generally what you’re about to facecheck. If your opponent is sitting at 3 creds, you’re not scared of a Neural Katana. If they’re at 4, you may fear the Katana, but not a Koimainu. Making decisions off that info makes you better as a player.

In a tournament, if a player didn’t know how a certain interaction works and they make a mistake because of it—like losing a Knight by hosting it on a Scheherazade or not using Hades Shard in their timing window—that makes them worse as a player. Nobody should be responsible for that player knowing how to play the game on a competitive level.

If I see someone host a Knight on a Scheherazade, and they’re an otherwise competent player, I’m going to let them make that mistake. You should be up-to-date with the FAQ at the least for the cards that you have in your deck. If they’re obviously new to the game or the tournament scene, maybe I’ll let them know the Knight’s going to get stuck and let them re-think it, especially for such a weird ruling. It depends on the situation, but it’s not my responsibility to help someone do things correctly. Capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes is a big part of this game…

When playing casually, I’ll mention most mistakes every time and let them fix it because I learn best from people correcting me in the moment and I’d prefer it of others did the same for me.


Sorry, wasn’t clear in my questions earlier. I’m not referring to you as the opponent answering a question (that as you say is likely a full topic in itself) but if a player had the foresight to ask a Judge this question.

Oh, that makes sense. I’d say rules clarification is a totally different thing than asking how much a certain piece of ICE costs or etc. Judges are there to enforce (edit: and clarify, including preemptively) rules, not to help players know the card pool.

1 Like

At the risk of running this train off the tracks even further, I’m going to respond once more about the OP issues.

There is a middle ground between knowing the common cards you are going to face and how to play against/around them, and not being able to read a card on demand. For instance, is Legwork’s replacement effect a may ability like Account Siphon? I bet most of you aren’t 100% certain about that. It doesn’t come up as often as Siphon’s may text does. It might, however, make a big impact on something you do in a game. Why should it matter if you’ve memorized the exact text on Legwork? You know how the card functions in general, it’s credit cost, that it’s a run event, criminal faction, 2 influence, etc. So you can see how having access to the text on a card (particularly with NEW cards coming out every month) can still be useful even if you’re not a derpy scrub who gets surprised when Fetal AI kills him.

I only have one argument for being able to take notes. Imagine, if you will, that FFG made a rule saying you cannot look at anything but the top card of your opponent’s Heap/Archives. After all, you’ve seen every card that goes in face up, why can’t you just memorize everything that you saw? Looking at their discard pile is a way of aiding your memory, just like writing down what an opponent shows you with celebrity gift, so it’s not allowed. If you think you should be able to look at the face up discard piles on demand, then you have no good argument against note taking.


My argument against note-taking is that at the moment, the game is balanced with the restrictions in mind. It’s balanced and play tested with archives and heap as open info (other than faceedown in archives, of course) and balanced with celebrity gift and expose effects requiring memorization.

Not to mention someone along the way is going to get out of hand with taking notes and slow down the game to annoying and unreasonable levels, which they’ll have to figure out how to properly penalize. That would be a headache to standardize… It’s already bad enough sitting across from someone intent on figuring out the math on how much each server will cost turn after turn rather than actually knowing their breaker suite well enough to do quick math.


I have always found the embargo on scouting other people’s matches unrealistic. I have yet to go to one tournament where long, exciting, close games happening towards the end of the round didn’t draw spectators. It’s part of the social aspect of the game, an encouraging reward for people to strive to finish their games quickly, and just a basic outlet for human curiosity.

As is, playing by the rules as written, upon completing your match you need to remain seated, looking down at the table until all other matches are completed, like a sad robot, and that seems both silly and unappealing.


It’s not like anything surprising ever wins anyway ;D


changes in organized play comes from the ground up ie the game stores. Unfortunately there is not much incentive for local stores to run netrunner events in comparison to running magic events. The LCG format while wonderful for the players is not good for game stores. they sell at most 1-2 datapacks a month to each netrunner player while magic players pump hundred of dollars into boxes during release weekends and bleed money the rest of the month at friday night magic events and scooping up singles to complete playsets of chase cards.

the netrunner league i set up i had to constantly badger the store owners. i had to convince them netrunner players would spend enough money to justify the prize kit and the event space and when it was all said and done the store broke even at best. when the stores can push netrunner for profit, the tournament scene will grow, the rules will have to change to meet the demands of the local tournaments scenes and that in turn will change the higher level tournaments.

the magic tournament scene evolved to meet the demands of the players but there is not enough of a netrunner tournament scene to evolve the structure/rules and i dont think there will be until the stores find it economically beneficial to do so.

1 Like

I think the incentive to play Netrunner is that it’s much easier to commit to it, since you know you’ll never have to chase a $50 mythic rare. FFG will get my $15-40 a month for a long time, while I’ve burned out on Magic due in part to the expense. In the end, I think Netrunner is a better game than Magic, and that’s the biggest reason to play it, but the OP system is very rudimentary, and really that just doesn’t make sense. There’s no reason not to import the fundamental aspects of Magic’s OP.

I don’t really understand what that means. Does taking notes making Celebrity Gift a lot worse? Is part of the strength of the card that your opponent might forget what they saw? What if they don’t? I don’t think this has anything to do with game balance. These rules also aren’t Netrunner specific as far as I know (can someone confirm?) so I doubt Netrunner is balanced around them. They probably just copy-pasted the tournament rules from every other LCG.

Slow play is a problem anyways, and there are no ways to enforce a standard pace of play in the tournament rules, so I don’t see it as a particular problem with note taking. How slow do you write? With Gift, I find it slower to sit there, looking at the cards and trying to memorize the hand than just jotting it down in shorthand and being done with it. I have far more problems with players sitting there, trying to find an out that they know doesn’t exist, or spending far too long on trivial decisions. I prompt them gently and let them know when we’re at the halfway point and haven’t finished game 1, but there’s no way to enforce slow play. What is the penalty for ridiculously slow play?

The scouting problem is tricky. This game definitely functions on hidden information, so if you can get a few key pieces of information on what problem cards other players have in their decks, you can gain a lot, but honestly, take that idea to it’s natural conclusion… no matter what you do, unless you stop holding in-person tournaments and just have everyone playing anonymously on OCTGN with no usernames, you cannot stop players from getting information about their opponent’s decks that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Unenforcable rules are a disaster waiting to happen. I think it’s better to have your LGS talk to people who are maliciously scouting, and let a possible suspension or ban from the store be a deterrent. Generally players know if someone is scouting or is excited to watch a match.


Magic actually has the opposite approach, to a degree.

Scouting is discouraged, and if a player asks you to stop watching a match they are playing in, Judges will enforce this. However, note taking is allowed at all levels of play, and all good players do it.

When you get into Grand Prix and Pro Tour top 8 situations, each player’s entire decklist is given to each of their opponents, including sideboard. This is because they do not want decklists of certain players getting posted or leaked online, and for one player to have full information of their opponent’s list, but not the other way around. Rather than expecting a perfect world in which no one sidesteps the (unenforcable) rules, they simply level the playing field. Are games in the top 8 of a Pro Tour less competitive or more because of this? It probably doesn’t affect it much.

Magic is about hidden information too, and seeing an opponent’s hand is a huge deal, especially since Magic has a much slower hand turnaround time (1 draw per turn and usually far fewer cards played per turn than netrunner). This isn’t about gaining some kind of unfair advantage… since if you had a photographic memory, you’d have that same “advantage”, and you can’t expect everyone who plays netrunner to have that.

Disagree. What if I said that during a long tournament, bringing food into the store was banned, because part of the skill of the game was finishing your match in time to go eat outside the store? Is playing super fast a skill that is inherent to Netrunner? Not in my mind. Neither is being able to remember a 5 card hand 20 minutes later.